|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:30-38 The Lord has just ground of controversy with every nation and every person; and he will execute judgment on all the wicked. Who can avoid trembling when God speaks in displeasure? The days are fully come; the time fixed in the Divine counsels, which will make the nations wholly desolate. The tender and delicate shall share the common calamity. Even those who used to live in peace, and did nothing to provoke, shall not escape. Blessed be God, there is a peaceable habitation above, for all the sons of peace. The Lord will preserve his church and all believers in all changes; for nothing can separate them from his love.
Verse 34. - Wallow yourselves in the ashes. Supply rather, in the dust (comp. Micah 1:10), as more suitable to the figure (see on Jeremiah 6:26). The shepherds, and the principal (or, noble ones) of the flock, are, of course, merely different forms of expression for the rulers. The days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; rather, your days for being slaughtered are fulfilled; and I will scatter you (or, dash you in pieces). This is the reading of an old and valuable manuscript at St. Petersburg, and is partly favored by the pointing; it is adopted by most modern critics, the form in the text being ungrammatical. Pleasant; or, precious (comp. Daniel 11:8, Authorized Version). Compare the figure in Jeremiah 22:28.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Howl, ye shepherds, and cry,.... The Targum is,
"howl, ye kings, and cry;''
and the rulers and governors of the nations before threatened with destruction are meant; who are here called upon to lamentation and mourning for the ruin and loss of their kingdoms; though Calvin thinks that this is an apostrophe to the Jewish nation, and the rulers of it. It is no uncommon thing in Scripture to call kings and civil magistrates shepherds; see Jeremiah 23:1;
and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock; or "roll yourselves in dust", as a token of mourning; as being in the utmost distress, and incapable of helping themselves, and redressing the grievances of their people; and therefore lie down and tumble about as in the greatest anxiety and trouble, the Targum is,
"cover your heads with ashes, ye mighty of the people;''
meaning those who were in the highest posts of honour and profit; the chief as to authority and power, riches and wealth;
for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; the time is come when they who were the fat of the flock, and were nourished up for slaughter, should be slain. The allusion to shepherds and sheep is still kept up; and such who should escape that, should be scattered up and down the world, as a flock of sheep is by the wolf, or any other beast of prey, when some are seized and devoured, and others dispersed; and this was not the case of the Jews only, but of other nations in their turn;
and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel; a vessel of worth and value, and so desirable; as vessels of glass, of gems, or of earth, as of Venice glass, of alabaster, of China; which when they fall and are broken, become useless, and are irreparable; signifying hereby, that their desirableness and excellency would not secure them from destruction, and that their ruin would be irretrievable.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. shepherds—princes (Jer 22:22). Here he returns to the Jews and their rulers, using the same image as in Jer 25:30, "pasture" (see on Jer 25:30).
wallow yourselves—Cover yourselves as thickly with ashes, in token of sorrow, as one who rolls in them (Jer 6:26; Eze 27:30) [Maurer].
principal—leaders. The Septuagint translates "rams," carrying out the image (compare Isa 14:9, Margin; Zec 10:3).
days of your slaughter … of … dispersions—rather, "your days for slaughter (that is, the time of your being slain), and your dispersions (not 'of your dispersions'), are accomplished (are come)."
pleasant vessel—Ye were once a precious vessel, but ye shall fall, and so be a broken vessel (see on Jer 22:28). "Your past excellency shall not render you safe now. I will turn to your ignominy whatever glory I conferred on you" [Calvin].
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