|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:12-22 In Zion the voice of joy and praise used to be heard, while the people kept close to God; but sin has altered the sound, it is now the voice of lamentation. Unhumbled hearts lament their calamity, but not their sin, which is the cause of it. Let the doors be shut ever so fast, death steals upon us. It enters the palaces of princes and great men, though stately, strongly built, and guarded. Nor are those more safe that are abroad; death cuts off even the children from without, and the young men from the streets. Hearken to the word of the Lord, and mourn with godly sorrow. This alone can bring true comfort; and it can turn the heaviest afflictions into precious mercies.
Verse 21. - Death is come up, etc. "Death," equivalent to "pestilence" (as Jeremiah 15:2), the most dreaded foe of a besieged population. (For the figure, comp. Joel 2:9.) The children from without. The ideal of Zechariah is that "the streets of the city should be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof" (Jeremiah 8:5). But the pitiless reaper, Death, shall cut off even "the playful child from the street" (so we might render more literally). Streets, in the parallel clause, means the "broad places" where men congregate to toll the news.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For death is come up into our windows,.... Their doors being shut, bolted, and barred, they thought themselves safe, but were not; the Chaldeans scaled their walls, broke in at the tops of their houses, or at their windows, and destroyed them: for the invasion of the enemy, and the manner of their entrance into them, seem to be described. Death is here represented as a person, as it sometimes is in Scripture; see Revelation 6:8 and as coming suddenly and unawares upon men, and from whom there is no escape, or any way and method of keeping him out; bolts and bars will not do; he can climb up, and go in at the window:
and is entered into our palaces; the houses of their principal men, which were well built, and most strongly fortified, these could not keep out the enemy: and death spares none, high nor low, rich nor poor; it enters the palaces of great men, as well as the cottages of the poor. The Septuagint version is, "it is entered into our land"; and so the Arabic version; only it places the phrase, "into our land", in the preceding clause; and that of "into", or "through our windows", in this:
to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets; these words are not strictly to be connected with the preceding, as though they pressed the end of death, ascending up to the windows, and entering palaces, to cut off such as were in the streets; but the words are a proposition of themselves, as the distinctive accent "athnach" shows; and must be supplied after this manner, and passing through them it goes on, "to cut off", &c. and so aptly describes the invading enemy climbing the walls of the city, entering at windows, or tops of houses, upon or near the walls; and, having destroyed all within, goes forth into the streets, where children were at play, and slays them and into courts or markets, where young men were employed in business, and destroys them. The Jews (e) interpret it of famine.
(e) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 60. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. death … windows—The death-inflicting soldiery, finding the doors closed, burst in by the windows.
to cut off … children from … streets—Death cannot be said to enter the windows to cut off the children in the streets, but to cut them off, so as no more to play in the streets without (Zec 8:5).
Jeremiah 9:21 Parallel Commentaries
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