|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:13-20 Nothing ripens a people more for ruin, nor fills the measure faster, than the sins of priests and prophets. The king himself cannot escape, for Divine vengeance pursues him. Our anointed King alone is the life of our souls; we may safely live under his shadow, and rejoice in Him in the midst of our enemies, for He is the true God and eternal life.
Verse 19. - Swifter than the eagles of the heaven. Jeremiah, or his imitator, repeats the figure which occurs in Jeremiah 4:13. There is probably no special reference to the circumstances of the capture of Zedekiah (Jeremiah 39:4, 5); the escape of many fugitives would be similarly cut off.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heavens,.... That fly in the heavens; and which, as they have a quick sight to discern their prey afar off, are very swift to pursue it; they are the swiftest of birds, and are so to a proverb. Apuleius (i) represents the swift pursuit of their prey, and sudden falling upon it, to be like thunder and lightning. Cicero (k) relates of a certain racer, that came to an interpreter of dreams, and told him, that in his dream he seemed to become an eagle; upon which, says the interpreter, thou wilt be the conqueror; for no bird flies with such force and swiftness as that. And this bird is also remarkable for its constancy in flying: it is never weary, but keeps on flying to places the most remote. The poets have a fiction, that Jupiter, being desirous of knowing which was the middle of the world, sent out two eagles of equal swiftness, the one from the east, and the other from the west, at the same moment; which stopped not till they came to Delphos, where they met, which showed that to be the spot; in memory of which, two golden eagles were placed in the temple there (l). The swiftness and constancy of these creatures in flying are here intended to set forth the speed and assiduity of the enemies of the Jews, in their pursuit after them; who followed them closely, and never ceased till they had overtaken them. The Chaldeans are designed, who pursued the Jews very hotly and eagerly, such as fled when the city was broken up; though not so much they themselves, as being thus swift of foot, as their horses on which they rode; see Jeremiah 4:13.
they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness: or "plain" (m); there was no safety in either; such as fled to the mountains were pursued and overtaken there; and such who attempted to make their escape through the valleys were intercepted there: the reference is to the flight of Zedekiah, his nobles, and his army with him, who were pursued by the Chaldeans, and taken in the plains of Jericho, Jeremiah 52:7; hence it follows:
(i) Florida, l. 2.((k) De Divinatione, l. 2. p. 2001. (l) Vid. Strabo Geograph. l. 9. p. 289. & Pindar. Pythia, Ode 4. l. 7, 8. & Schmidt in ib. p. 174, 175. (m) "in plano", Gataker.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. The last times just before the taking of the city. There was no place of escape; the foe intercepted those wishing to escape from the famine-stricken city, "on the mountains and in the wilderness."
swifter … than … eagles—the Chaldean cavalry (Jer 4:13).
pursued—literally, "to be hot"; then, "to pursue hotly" (Ge 31:36). Thus they pursued and overtook Zedekiah (Jer 52:8, 9).
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