|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 29. - The whole city. The reading of which this is a version can hardly be the right one; for "the whole city" can only be Jerusalem, and in ver. 6 the people outside are bidden to take refuge in the capital. Hence Ewald, Hitzig, and Payne Smith (after Septuagint, Targum) would slightly amend the word rendered "city," so as to translate "the whole land" (of Judah). Shall flee; literally, fleeth. So afterwards render, "have gone.... is forsaken," "dwelleth." It is a vivid dramatic representation of the effects of the invasion. Bowmen. It is singular that Herodotus should say nothing about the use of the bow by the Chaldeans. But the monuments give ample evidence that they were a people of archers. So of course were the Scythians, as Herodotus testifies. The rooks; i.e. the limestone caverns which abound in Palestine, and which were frequently used as strongholds and hiding-places (see Judges 6:2; Judges 15:8; 1 Samuel 13:6; 1 Samuel 14:11; 1 Samuel 24:3 (especially); 1 Kings 18:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The whole city shall flee,.... Or, "every city"; for not Jerusalem only is meant, but every city, or the inhabitants of every city; and so the Targum paraphrases it,
"all the inhabitants of the land,''
who would be put into a panic, and flee: "for" or
at the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; of which the army of the enemy would greatly consist: it intimates that the inhabitants of Judea would not stand a battle; but at hearing the sound of the trampling of the horses, and the clattering of the bows and arrows, that the men upon them had, they would flee at once:
they shall go into the thickets, and climb upon the rocks; that is, either the horsemen and bowmen, who would pursue the inhabitants into those places: or rather the inhabitants themselves, who would flee thither to hide themselves from their enemies; namely, get into woods and forests, and among the thick trees, and cover themselves; and upon the highest mountains and rocks, and into the holes and caverns of them, and secure themselves from the enemy; see Matthew 24:16, the word for "thickets" signifies "clouds" (i); and Kimchi interprets it of places as high as the clouds, as the tops of some mountains are, so that going up to them is like entering into the clouds; and which are sometimes covered with thick trees, and look like clouds; but the Targum explains it of woods or forests:
every city shall be forsaken; of its inhabitants:
and not a man dwell therein; as the prophet had seen in his vision, Jeremiah 4:25, this was to be when a full end was made, not by the Babylonians, but by the Romans.
(i) "in nubes", Munster, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. whole city—Jerusalem: to it the inhabitants of the country had fled for refuge; but when it, too, is likely to fall, they flee out of it to hide in the "thickets." Henderson translates, "every city."
noise—The mere noise of the hostile horsemen shall put you to flight.
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