|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-9 The Lord declares that even Moses and Samuel must have pleaded in vain. The putting of this as a case, though they should stand before him, shows that they do not, and that saints in heaven do not pray for saints on earth. The Jews were condemned to different kinds of misery by the righteous judgment of God, and the remnant would be driven away, like the chaff, into captivity. Then was the populous city made desolate. Bad examples and misused authority often produce fatal effects, even after men are dead, or have repented of their crimes: this should make all greatly dread being the occasion of sin in others.
Verse 7. - The gates of the land. The phrase might mean either the cities in general (comp. Micah 5:5; Isaiah 3:26) or the fortresses commanding the entrance into the land (comp. Nahum 3:13). The context decides in favor of the latter view. Ewald's explanation, "borders of the earth" (i.e. the most distant countries), seems less natural. I will bereave them, etc. The proper object of the verb is my people (personified as a mother). The population are to fall in war (comp. the same figure in Ezekiel 5:17). The tense is the perfect of prophetic certitude; literally, I have bereaved, etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land,.... Either of their own land, the land of Judea; and so the Septuagint version, "in the gates of my people"; alluding to the custom of winnowing corn in open places; and by fanning is meant the dispersion of the Jews, and their being carried captive out of their own land into other countries: or of the land of the enemy, into their cities, as the Targum paraphrases it; gates being put for them frequently; whither they should be scattered by the fan of the Lord; for what was done by the enemy, as an instrument, is ascribed to him:
I will bereave them of children; which shall die of famine, or pestilence, or by the sword, or in captivity: I will destroy my people; which must be when children are cut off, by which families, towns, cities, and kingdoms, are continued and kept up; and this he was resolved to do, though they were his people:
since they return not from their ways; their evil ways, which they had gone into, forsaking the ways of God, and his worship: or,
yet they return not from their ways (d); though fanned with the fan of affliction, bereaved of their children, and threatened with destruction: it expresses their obstinate continuance in their evil ways, and the reason of God's dealing with them as above.
(d) "et tamen a viis suis non sunt reversi", V. L. Diodatus, Genevenses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. fan—tribulation—from tribulum, a threshing instrument, which separates the chaff from the wheat (Mt 3:12).
gates of the land—that is, the extreme bounds of the land through which the entrance to and exit from it lie. Maurer translates, "I will fan," that is, cast them forth "to the gates of the land" (Na 3:13). "In the gates"; English Version draws the image from a man cleaning corn with a fan; he stands at the gate of the threshing-floor in the open air, to remove the wheat from the chaff by means of the wind; so God threatens to remove Israel out of the bounds of the land [Houbigant].
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