|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-3 In figurative expressions, that destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish church and nation, is foretold, which our Lord Jesus, when the time was at hand, prophesied plainly and expressly. How can the fir trees stand, if the cedars fall? The falls of the wise and good into sin, and the falls of the rich and great into trouble, are loud alarms to those every way their inferiors. It is sad with a people, when those who should be as shepherds to them, are as young lions. The pride of Jordan was the thickets on the banks; and when the river overflowed the banks, the lions came up from them roaring. Thus the doom of Jerusalem may alarm other churches.
Verse 3. - There is a voice. The Hebrew is more terse and forcible, "A voice of the howling of the shepherds!" or, "Hark! a howling," etc. (Jeremiah 25:34, etc.). The destruction spreads from the north southwards along the Jordan valley. Their glory. The noble trees in whose shadow they rejoiced. Young lions. Which had their lairs in the forests now laid waste (Jeremiah 49:19). The pride of Jordan. The thickets that clothed the banks of Jordan are called its "pride" (Jeremiah 12:5). The lion is not now found in Palestine, but must have been common in earlier times, especially in such places as the brushwood and reedy coverts which line the margin of the Jordan. The prophet introduces the inanimate and animate creation - trees, men, beasts - alike deploring the calamity. And the terms in which this is depicted point to some great disaster and ruin, and, as it seems, to the final catastrophe of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the punishment of the rejection of Messiah. This reference becomes plainer as we proceed. It is inadmissible to refer the passage (as some do) to the Assyrian invasions mentioned in 2 Kings 15:29 and 1 Chronicles 5:26. Holding the post-exilian origin of the prophecy, we are bound to interpret it in accordance with this view, which, indeed, presents fewer difficulties than the other.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds,.... Which may be understood either of the civil rulers among the Jews, who now lose their honour and their riches; and so the Targum, Jarchi, and Aben Ezra, interpret it of kings; or of the ecclesiastical rulers, the elders of the people, the Scribes and Pharisees:
for their glory is spoiled; their power and authority; their riches and wealth; their places of honour and profit; their offices, posts, and employments, whether in civil or religious matters, are taken from them, and they are deprived of them:
a voice of the roaring of young lions; of princes, comparable to them for their power, tyranny, and cruelty: the Targum is,
"their roaring is as the roaring of young lions:''
for the pride of Jordan is spoiled; a place where lions and their young ones resorted, as Jarchi observes; See Gill on Jeremiah 49:19. Jordan is here put for the whole land of Judea now wasted, and so its pride and glory gone; as if the waters of Jordan were dried up, the pride and glory of that, and which it showed when its waters swelled and overflowed; hence called by Pliny (x) "ambitiosus amnis", a haughty and ambitious swelling river.
(x) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. shepherds—the Jewish rulers.
their glory—their wealth and magnificence; or that of the temple, "their glory" (Mr 13:1; Lu 21:5).
young lions—the princes, so described on account of their cruel rapacity.
pride of Jordan—its thickly wooded banks, the lair of "lions" (Jer 12:5; 49:19). Image for Judea "spoiled" of the magnificence of its rulers ("the young lions"). The valley of the Jordan forms a deeper gash than any on the earth. The land at Lake Merom is on a level with the Mediterranean Sea; at the Sea of Tiberias it falls six hundred fifty feet below that level, and to double that depression at the Dead Sea, that is, in all, 1950 feet below the Mediterranean; in twenty miles' interval there is a fall of from three thousand to four thousand feet.
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