|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-8 Whatever methods are used, it is vain to contend with God's judgments. The more we indulge in the pleasures of this life, the more we unfit ourselves for the troubles of this life. The Chaldean army shall break in upon the land of Judah, and in a little time devour all. The day is coming, when those careless and secure in sinful ways will be visited. It is folly to trifle when we have eternal salvation to work out, and the enemies of that salvation to fight against. But they were thus eager, not that they might fulfil God's counsels, but that they might fill their own treasures; yet God thereby served his own purposes. The corrupt heart of man, in its natural state, casts out evil thoughts, just as a fountain casts out her waters. It is always flowing, yet always full. The God of mercy is loth to depart even from a provoking people, and is earnest with them, that by repentance and reformation, they may prevent things from coming to extremity.
Verse 6. - Hew ye down trees; rather, her trees. Hewing down trees was an ordinary feature of Assyrian and Babylonian expeditions. Thus, Assurnacirpal "caused the forests of all (his enemies) to fall" ('Records of the Past,' 3:40, 77), and Shalmaneser calls himself "the trampler on the heads of mountains and all forests "(Ibid. p. 83; comp. p. 90). The timber was partly required for their palaces and fleets, but also, as the context here suggests, for warlike operations. "Trees," as Professor Rawlinson remarks, "were sometimes cut down and built into the mound" (see next note); they would also be used for the "bulwarks" or siege instruments spoken of in Deuteronomy 20:20. Cast a mount; literally, pour a mount (or "bank," as it is elsewhere rendered), with reference to the emptying of the baskets of earth required for building up the "mount" (mound). Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1:10) says of the Chaldeans, "He laugheth at every stronghold, and heapeth up earth, and taketh it" (comp, also 2 Samuel 20:15; Isaiah 37:33). The intention of the mound was not so much to bring the besiegers on a level with the top of the walls as to enable them to work the battering-rams to better advantage (Rawlinson, 'Ancient Monarchies,' 1:472). She is wholly oppression, etc.; rather, she is the city that is punished; wholly oppression is in the midst of her.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thus hath the Lord of hosts said,.... To the Chaldeans; for as it was the Lord that brought them out of their own country, and directed them to Jerusalem, and ordered them to prepare war against it; so they were as an army under his command, and he it was that ordered them to do this, and that, and the other thing: the whole affair was of the Lord, and the Jews had more to fear from him, who is the Lord of armies, than from the army of the Chaldeans; for, as they could do nothing without his divine permission, so, having that, there was a certainty of succeeding:
hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: in the Hebrew text it is, "pour out a mount" (q); the reason of which is, because there were a ditch or ditches about the city; and into these they poured in stones, and dirt, and trees, and pieces of wood, and so filled them up, and cast up a mount, on which they could raise their batteries, and demolish the walls and houses; hence mention is made of hewing down of trees, in order to cast the mount; for these were to be cut down, not so much to make battering rams, and other instruments of war, as to fill up the ditch, and raise the mount, so that the walls might be more easily battered and scaled: though some (r) interpret it of taking precise, fixed, determined counsel, about the war, and the manner of carrying it:
this is the city to be visited; or punished; not only that deserves to be so visited, but which would certainly be visited, and that immediately; its punishment was not far off; vengeance would soon be taken on it, and that for its sins: and so the Targum,
"this is the city whose sins are visited;''
as it follows:
she is wholly oppression in the midst of her; there were nothing but oppression and oppressors in her; not only full of oppressors, but oppression itself. This is instanced in for all kind of wickedness; the meaning is, that she was a sink of sin, and very wickedness itself.
(q) "fundite aggerem", V. L. Munster, Tigurine version; "fundite vallum", Schmidt. (r) "decidite, vel decernite consilium". So Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 628.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. cast—Hebrew, "pour out"; referring to the emptying of the baskets of earth to make the mound, formed of "trees" and earthwork, to overtop the city walls. The "trees" were also used to make warlike engines.
this—pointing the invaders to Jerusalem.
visited—that is, punished.
wholly oppression—or join "wholly" with "visited," that is, she is altogether (in her whole extent) to be punished [Maurer].
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