|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:10-18 Multitudes are ruined by believing that God will not be so strict as his word says he will; by this artifice Satan undid mankind. Sinners are not willing to own any thing to be God's word, that tends to part them from, or to disquiet them in, their sins. Mocking and misusing the Lord's messengers, filled the measure of their iniquity. God can bring trouble upon us from places and causes very remote. He has mercy in store for his people, therefore will set bounds to this desolating judgment. Let us not overlook the nevertheless, ver. 18. This is the Lord's covenant with Israel. He thereby proclaims his holiness, and his utter displeasure against sin while sparing the sinner, Ps 89:30-35.
Verses 10-18. - Provoked by the open unbelief of the men of Judah, Jehovah repeats his warning of a sore judgment. Verse 10. - Her walls. There is a doubt about "walls," which should, as some think, rather be vine-rows (a change of points is involved; also of shin into sin - the slightest of all changes), or shoots, or branches (comparing the Syriac). The figure would thus gain somewhat in symmetry. However, all the ancient interpreters (whose authority, overrated by some, still counts for something) explain the word as in the Authorized Version, and, as Graf remarks, in order to destroy the vines, it' would be necessary to climb up upon the walls of the vineyard. (For the figure of the vine or the vineyard, scrap, on Jeremiah 2:21.) Take away... not the Lord's. The Septuagint and Peshito read differently, translating "leave her foundations, for they are the Lord's" (supposing the figure be taken from a building). As the text stands, it is better to change battlements into tendrils. Judah's degenerate members are to be removed, but the vine-stock, i.e., the behooving kernel of the nation, is to be left. It is the key-note of the "remnant" which Jeremiah again strikes (see Jeremiah 4:27).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy,.... These are the words of the prophet, or of the Lord by the prophet, to the Chaldeans, ordering them to ascend the walls of Jerusalem, and break them down, as they did, even all the walls of it round about, Jeremiah 52:7, there can be nothing done without the Lord's will; and there is no evil in a city but what is done, or ordered, or suffered to be done by him, Amos 3:6,
but make not a full end; meaning not of the walls, for a full end was made of them, they were broken down all around; but of the people; there were a remnant to be preserved from the sword, and to be carried captive, and to be returned into their own land again, after a term of years:
take away her battlements; which must mean not the battlements of their houses, or of the temple; but of their walls, the fortifications that run out like branches without the wall (w). Kimchi interprets them the teeth of the wall; the Septuagint version renders the word, "the under props"; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, "the foundations of it". The word properly signifies the branches of a vine; wherefore Jarchi takes the word for walls, in the preceding clause, to signify the rows of a vineyard; and the Jews are sometimes compared to a vineyard; and here the Chaldeans are called upon to enter into it, to come upon the rows of the vines in it, and take away its branches:
for they are not the Lord's; either the walls and the battlements are not the Lord's, he disowns them, and will not guard them, and protect them, any more; or rather the people are not the Lord's, he has written a "loammi" upon them; they are not the people of God, nor the branches of Christ the true Vine. The Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic versions, read the words without the negative, "leave her under props", or "her foundations, because they are the Lord's". The Targum is,
"go upon her cities, and destroy, and make not a full end; destroy her palaces, for the Lord has no pleasure in them.''
(w) "propaginos; rami libere luxuriantes----item pinnae, vel potius munimenta et propugnacula extra muri ambitum libere excurrentia", Stockius, p. 675.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. Abrupt apostrophe to the Babylonians, to take Jerusalem, but not to destroy the nation utterly (see on Jer 4:27).
battlements—rather, tendrils [Maurer]: the state being compared to a vine (Jer 12:10), the stem of which was to be spared, while the tendrils (the chief men) were to be removed.
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