And you shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, which the LORD your God has given you, in the siege, and in the narrow place, with which your enemies shall distress you:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body.—Specially confirmed in the siege of Samaria by the Syrians (2Kings 6:26-29; but see on Deuteronomy 28:56), and also in Jerusalem when besieged by Nebuchadnezzar. (See Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10.)Deuteronomy 28:53. Thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body — The stoutest and most obstinate resistance will avail you nothing; all the advantage you will gain by it will be to suffer such long and pressing straits by the siege as will force you, after thousands have perished with hunger, to feed upon the flesh of one another. This prediction was repeatedly fulfilled, especially when Vespasian and his son Titus begirt Jerusalem so closely that the besieged were reduced to a most grievous famine, which forced them, after they had eaten up their horses and other creatures, to eat even their own children, whom parents, who had used to live delicately, Moses here foretels, should themselves eat up privately, and let none share with them.
The description (compare the marginal references) applies undoubtedly to the Chaldeans, and in a degree to other nations also whom God raised up as ministers of vengeance upon apostate Israel (e. g. the Medes). But it only needs to read this part of the denunciation, and to compare it with the narrative of Josephus, to see that its full and exact accomplishment took place in the wars of Vespasian and Titus against the Jews, as indeed the Jews themselves generally admit.
The eagle - The Roman ensign; compare Matthew 24:28; and consult throughout this passage the marginal references.
the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee; which is an aggravation of the cruel and inhuman fact:
in the siege, and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee; this shows the cause of it, a famine by reason of the closeness of the siege, so that no provisions could be brought in for their relief; and all within being eaten up, and everything that was eatable, even the most nauseous and disagreeable, they would be led on to this strange, unheard of, and barbarous action, eating their own children. This was fulfilled in the siege of Samaria, 2 Kings 6:25; and in the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, Lamentations 2:10 and again in the Apocrypha:"Moreover he hath delivered them to be in subjection to all the kingdoms that are round about us, to be as a reproach and desolation among all the people round about, where the Lord hath scattered them.'' (Baruch 2:4)and in the siege of the same city by the Romans; of which an instance will be hereafter given.And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)53. And thou shalt eat, etc.] Cp. Leviticus 26:29, Ezekiel 5:10, and for instances of this horror 2 Kings 6:28 f., Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10.
in the siege and in the straitness] A Refrain as in Deuteronomy 28:55; Deuteronomy 28:57. Similarly Jeremiah 19:9, along with the eating of children as here.Deuteronomy 28:47-57 the horrible calamities which would burst upon Israel on the conquest of the land and its fortresses by its foes.
Because it had not served the Lord its God with joy and gladness of heart, "for the abundance of all," i.e., for the abundance of all the blessings bestowed upon it by its God, it would serve its enemies in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and want of everything, and wear an iron yoke, i.e., be obliged to perform the hardest tributary service till it was destroyed (השׁמיד for השׁמיד, as in Deuteronomy 7:24).
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