|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:5-18 The fierce conqueror of the neighbouring nations was to make Judah desolate. The prophet was afflicted to see the people lulled into security by false prophets. The approach of the enemy is described. Some attention was paid in Jerusalem to outward reformation; but it was necessary that their hearts should be washed, in the exercise of true repentance and faith, from the love and pollution of sin. When lesser calamities do not rouse sinners and reform nations, sentence will be given against them. The Lord's voice declares that misery is approaching, especially against wicked professors of the gospel; when it overtakes them, it will be plainly seen that the fruit of wickedness is bitter, and the end is fatal.
Verse 11. - Shall it be said to this people; i.e. words like these may be used with reference to this people. A dry wind, etc.; literally, a clear wind (but the notions of dryness and heat are closely connected with that of heat; comp. Isaiah 18:4). The prophet doubtless means the east wind, which is very violent in Palestine, and, of course, quite unsuitable for the winnowing process. High places should rather be bare hills. Toward; or (is) the way cf. So Hitzig, supposing the conduct of the Jews to be likened to a wind which brings no blessing, but only drought and desolation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
At that time shall it be said to this people, and to Jerusalem,.... The inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem, the people of the Jews; or "concerning" (x) them, as Jarchi interprets it:
a dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people. The Targum is,
"as the south wind upon the heads of floods of water in the wilderness, so is the way of the congregation of my people;''
but rather the north wind is designed, since that is a dry one, and the south wind a moist one; and the rather, since this wind intends Nebuchadnezzar and his army, which should come from Babylon, from the north. Some render it, "a neat clean wind" (y); which strips the trees, lays bare rocks and mountains, carries away the earth and dust before it, and makes the stones look white and clean: it denotes a very strong, rushing, stormy, and boisterous wind. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "a burning one"; and it represents the force and power with which the enemy should come, without any opposition or resistance to him; for a wind on high places, hills, and mountains, and which comes through deserts and wildernesses, has nothing to hinder it, as Kimchi observes; whereas, when it blows in habitable places, there are houses, walls, hedges, and fences, which resist it; and it is observed, that in the way from Babylon to Judea, which the prophet calls "the daughter of my people", were many desert places. The Septuagint version is, "the spirit of error in the desert, the way of the daughter of my people"; which the Syriac and Arabic versions seem to follow; the former rendering it, "as the wind that wanders through the paths of the desert, so is the way of the daughter of my people"; and the latter thus, "there is a spirit of error in the desert, in the way of the daughter of my people";
not to purity, nor to holiness, as it with the Septuagint renders the next clause: "not to fan, nor to cleanse"; of which use a more moderate wind is in winnowing and cleansing the corn from chaff, and light and useless grain.
(x) "de hoc populo", Calvin, Vatablus. (y) "ventus nitidus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. dry wind—the simoom, terrific and destructive, blowing from the southeast across the sandy deserts east of Palestine. Image of the invading Babylonian army (Ho 13:15). Babylon in its turn shall be visited by a similar "destroying wind" (Jer 51:1).
of … high places—that is, that sweeps over the high places.
daughter—that is, the children of my people.
not to fan—a very different wind from those ordinary winds employed for fanning the grain in the open air.
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