|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:19-31 The prophet had no pleasure in delivering messages of wrath. He is shown in a vision the whole land in confusion. Compared with what it was, every thing is out of order; but the ruin of the Jewish nation would not be final. Every end of our comforts is not a full end. Though the Lord may correct his people very severely, yet he will not cast them off. Ornaments and false colouring would be of no avail. No outward privileges or profession, no contrivances would prevent destruction. How wretched the state of those who are like foolish children in the concerns of their souls! Whatever we are ignorant of, may the Lord make of good understanding in the ways of godliness. As sin will find out the sinner, so sorrow will, sooner or later, find out the secure.
Verse 20. - My tents. Jeremiah uses a similar phrase in Jeremiah 30:18 (scrap. also 2 Samuel 20:1; 1 Kings 8:66; 1 Kings 12:16; Psalm 132:3; also Isaiah 29:1, "city where David encamped, i.e. dwelt"). The expression is evidently a "survival" of the nomadic, tent-dwelling age. (Comp. the parallel phrase, "my curtains," i.e. my tent-curtains; comp. Jeremiah 10:20; Isaiah 54:2; Song of Solomon 1:5.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Destruction upon destruction is cried;.... Or, "breach upon breach" (g); as soon as one affliction is over, another comes on; and upon the news of one calamity, tidings are brought of another, as in Job's case: it signifies, that distress and troubles would come thick and fast, and that there would be no end of them, until there was an utter destruction, as this phrase signifies, and the following words show. Kimchi interprets it of the destruction of the ten tribes which came first, and of the destruction of Judah that came now.
For the whole land is spoiled, or "wasted" (h); that is, the land of Judea:
suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment: meaning either the armies of his people, which dwelt in tents, and were destroyed at once; or the cities, towns, and habitations of his countrymen, which he compares to tents, as being easily beat down or overthrown; and so the Targum interprets it of cities; and the prophet seems to intimate that this destruction would reach to Anathoth, where his tent; cottage, and curtains were. So sudden destruction some times comes, when men are crying Peace, peace, 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
(g) "contritio super contritionem", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius. (h) "vastata", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Destruction … cried—Breach upon breach is announced (Ps 42:7; Eze 7:26). The war "trumpet" … the battle shout … the "destructions" … the havoc throughout "the whole land" … the spoiling of the shepherds' "tents" (Jer 10:20; or, "tents" means cities, which should be overthrown as easily as tents [Calvin]), form a gradation.
Jeremiah 4:20 Parallel Commentaries
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