Jeremiah 13:18
Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.
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(18) The queen.—Not the usual word, the Hebrew feminine of king, but literally “the great lady” (“dominatrix” Vulg.), the title of a queen-mother (in this case, probably, of Nehushta, the mother of Jehoiachin, 2Kings 24:8), sharing the throne during her son’s minority. The same word is used of Maachah, the mother of Asa (1Kings 15:13; 2Kings 10:13; 2Chronicles 15:16), and meets us again in Jeremiah 29:2.

Your principalities.—Literally, as in the margin, your head-tires, i.e., the diadems which were signs of kingly state. The word is used nowhere else, and may have been coined by the prophet or taken from the court vocabulary of the time.

Jeremiah 13:18. Say unto the king and queen — That is, to Jehoiachin, called also Coniah, and his mother, who were carried captives to Babylon at the first coming of Nebuchadnezzar; see Jeremiah 22:26; 2 Kings 24:12. Some indeed suppose that Zedekiah and his mother are intended, which does not appear so probable. Humble yourselves — By true repentance, and so both give glory to God, and set a good example to your subjects; and sit down — Sit down and consider what is coming; sit down and lament your condition. For your principalities shall come down

The honour and power by which you value yourselves, and in which you confide, even the crown of your glory — For when you are led away captive, where will the badges of your power and pre-eminence be then? Blessed be God, there is a crown of glory which shall never come down, and which they who humble themselves before God, in true repentance, shall in due time inherit.

13:18-27 Here is a message sent to king Jehoiakim, and his queen. Their sorrows would be great indeed. Do they ask, Wherefore come these things upon us? Let them know, it is for their obstinacy in sin. We cannot alter the natural colour of the skin; and so is it morally impossible to reclaim and reform these people. Sin is the blackness of the soul; it is the discolouring of it; we were shapen in it, so that we cannot get clear of it by any power of our own. But Almighty grace is able to change the Ethiopian's skin. Neither natural depravity, nor strong habits of sin, form an obstacle to the working of God, the new-creating Spirit. The Lord asks of Jerusalem, whether she is determined not be made clean. If any poor slave of sin feels that he could as soon change his nature as master his headstrong lusts, let him not despair; for things impossible to men are possible with God. Let us then seek help from Him who is mighty to save.The queen - i. e., "the queen-mother:" the word signifies literally "the great lady." The king's mother took precedence of his wives.

Sit down - The usual position of slaves.

For your principalities ... - Rather, "for the ornaments of your heads, even the crown of your majesty, shall come down."

18. king—Jehoiachin or Jeconiah.

queen—the queen mother who, as the king was not more than eighteen years old, held the chief power. Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, carried away captive with Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 24:8-15).

Humble yourselves—that is, Ye shall be humbled, or brought low (Jer 22:26; 28:2).

your principalities—rather, "your head ornament."

The author of holy writ is discernible by this as by other things, that the Scripture equally speaks to the greatest persons as to persons of meaner rank. God here calls to the king of Judah, whether it was at this time Jehoiakim, or his son Jehoiachin, is uncertain. By

principalities he means both their dignity and their liberty, that which he often calleth the crown of their glory. Some expound it head-tires, because the word deriveth from a word which signifies the head.

Say unto the king, and to the queen,.... Jehoiachin, and his mother Nehushta, as it is generally interpreted by the Jewish commentators, and others; who, with many princes and officers, were carried captive into Babylon, 2 Kings 24:12 or rather Zedekiah and his wife; since the captivity after threatened is a perfect and complete one, which Jehoiachin's was not:

humble yourselves, sit down; or, "sit down humbled" (d); come down from your thrones, and sit in the dust; humble yourselves before the Lord for your own sins, and the sins of the people; in times of general corruption, and which threatens a nation with ruin, it becomes kings and princes to set an example of repentance, humiliation, and reformation; though it may be this is rather a prediction of what would be, that they should descend from their throne, and lose their grandeur, and be in a low and abject condition, than an exhortation to what was their duty; since it follows:

for your principalities shall come down; their royal state and greatness, and all the ensigns of it; and especially such as they had upon their heads, as the word used denotes, and as the following explanation shows:

even the crown of your glory; or glorious crown, which should fall from their heads, or be taken from them, when they should be no more served in state, or treated as crowned heads.

(d) "degite humiliter", Castalio; "abjectissime considite", Junius & Tremellius; "loco humili considite", Piscator.

Say to the {g} king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.

(g) For Jehoiachin and his mother rendered themselves by Jeremiah's counsel to the king of Babylon, 2Ki 24:12.

18. your headtires] The word in MT. means the place of the head (and so the same consonants with rather different vocalisation in Genesis 28:11, 1 Samuel 19:16; 1 Samuel 26:7). We should therefore by a slight shortening of the word (so LXX) render for come down from your head is your beautiful crown (lit. crown of beauty).

Humble yourselves, sit down] better, as mg. Sit ye down low. Cp. Jeremiah 14:2.

18, 19. Address to the king and the queen-mother

The highest shall be brought low, and the land with its cities emptied by universal captivity.

Graf and Du. make the king to be Jehoiakim and thus the queen-mother Zebidah (2 Kings 23:36). Most however take the utterance as belonging to the three months’ reign of his successor, Jehoiachin, whose mother, Nehushta, is referred to in 2 Kings 24:8; 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Kings 24:15. The prominence attached to the queen-mother by Eastern custom would be in that case enhanced by the king’s youth. Cp. Jeremiah 22:26.

Verse 18. - The extent of the calamity shown in individual instances. For the fulfillment, see 2 Kings 24:15. After a reign of three months, the young prince and his mother were carried to Babylon. And to the queen; rather, and to the queen-mother (literally, the mistress). It will be noticed that, except in two cases, the names of the mothers of the reigning kings of Judah are scrupulously mentioned in the Books of Kings. This and the title of "mistress" are indications of the high rank they enjoyed in the social system. In the case of Asa, we are told that he removed his mother, Maachah, from her position as "mistress," or queen-mother, on account of her idolatry (1 Kings 15:13). The political value of the station is strikingly shown by the ease with which Athaliah, as queen-mother, usurped the supreme authority (2 Kings 11.). From an historical point of view, the "queen-mother" of the Jews is a most interesting personage; she is a relic of the primitive age in which relationship was reckoned with regard to the mother (so with the Accadians, Etruseans, Finns, etc.). It should be added, however, that once (viz. 1 Kings 11:19) the same title, "mistress," is applied to the queen-consort. Humble yourselves, sit down; rather, sit down in abase-sent; i.e. take the station suitable for your abased circumstances (comp. Isaiah 47:1). Your principalities; rather, your head. ornaments. Jeremiah 13:18The fall of the kingdom, the captivity of Judah, with upbraidings against Jerusalem for her grievous guilt in the matter of idolatry. - Jeremiah 13:18. "Say unto the king and to the sovereign lady: Sit you low down, for from your heads falls the crown of your glory. Jeremiah 13:19. The cities of the south are shut and no man openeth; Judah is carried away captive all of it, wholly carried away captive. Jeremiah 13:20. Lift up your eyes and behold them that come from midnight! Where is the flock that was given thee, thy glorious flock? Jeremiah 13:21. What wilt thou say, if He set over thee those whom thou hast accustomed to thee as familiar friends, for a head? Shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail? Jeremiah 13:22. And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore cometh this upon me? for the plenty of thine iniquity are thy skirts uncovered, thy heels abused. Jeremiah 13:23. Can an Ethiopian change his skin, and a leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:24. Therefore will I scatter them like chaff that flies before the wind of the wilderness. Jeremiah 13:25. This is thy lot, thine apportioned inheritance from me, because thou hast forgotten me and trustedst in falsehood. Jeremiah 13:26. Therefore will I turn thy skirts over thy face, that thy shame be seen. Jeremiah 13:27. Thine adultery and thy neighing, the crime of thy whoredom upon the ills, in the fields, I have seen thine abominations. Woe unto thee, Jerusalem! thou shalt not be made clean after how long a time yet!"

From Jeremiah 13:18 on the prophet's discourse is addressed to the king and the queen-mother. The latter as such exercised great influence on the government, and is in the Books of Kings mentioned alongside of almost all the reigning kings (cf. 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 10:13, etc.); so that we are not necessarily led to think of Jechoniah and his mother in especial. To them he proclaims the loss of the crown and the captivity of Judah. Set yourselves low down (cf. Gesen. 142, 3, b), i.e., descend from the throne; not in order to turn aside the threatening danger by humiliation, but, as the reason that follows show, because the kingdom is passing from you. For fallen is מראשׁתיכם, your head-gear, lit., what is about or on your head (elsewhere pointed מראשׁות, 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 26:7), namely, your splendid crown. The perf. here is prophetic. The crown falls when the king loses country and kingship. This is put expressly in Jeremiah 13:19. The meaning of the first half of the verse, which is variously taken, may be gathered from the second. In the latter the complete deportation of Judah is spoken of as an accomplished fact, because it is as sure to happen as if it had taken place already. Accordingly the first clause cannot bespeak expectation merely, or be understood, as it is by Grotius, as meaning that Judah need hope for no help from Egypt. This interpretation is irreconcilable with "the cities of the south." "The south" is the south country of Judah, cf. Joshua 10:40; Genesis 13:1, etc., and is not to be taken according to the prophetic use of "king of the south," Daniel 11:5, Daniel 11:9. The shutting of the cities is not to be taken, with Jerome, as siege by the enemy, as in Joshua 6:1. There the closedness is otherwise illustrated: No man was going out or in; here, on the other hand, it is: No man openeth. "Shut" is to be explained according to Isaiah 24:10 : the cities are shut up by reason of ruins which block up the entrances to them; and in them is none that can open, because all Judah is utterly carried away. The cities of the south are mentioned, not because the enemy, avoiding the capital, had first brought the southern part of the land under his power, as Sennacherib had once advanced against Jerusalem from the south, 2 Kings 18:13., Jeremiah 19:8 (Graf, Ng., etc.), but because they were the part of the kingdom most remote for an enemy approaching from the north; so that when they were taken, the land was reduced and the captivity of all Judah accomplished. For the form הגלת see Ew. 194, a, Ges. 75, Rem. 1. שׁלומים is adverbial accusative: in entirety, like מישׁרים, Psalm 58:2, etc. For this cf. גּלוּת, Amos 1:6, Amos 1:9.

The announcement of captivity is carried on in Jeremiah 13:20, where we have first an account of the impression which the carrying away captive will produce upon Jerusalem (Jeremiah 13:20 and Jeremiah 13:21), and next a statement of the cause of that judgment (Jeremiah 13:22-27). In שׂאי and ראי a feminine is addressed, and, as appears from the suffix in עיניכם, one which is collective. The same holds good of the following verses on to Jeremiah 13:27, where Jerusalem is named, doubtless the inhabitants of it, personified as the daughter of Zion - a frequent case. Ng. is wrong in supposing that the feminines in Jeremiah 13:20 are called for by the previously mentioned queen-mother, that Jeremiah 13:20-22 are still addressed to her, and that not till Jeremiah 13:23 is there a transition from her in the address to the nation taken collectively and regarded as the mother of the country. The contents of Jeremiah 13:20 do not tally with Ng.'s view; for the queen-mother was not the reigning sovereign, so that the inhabitants of the land could have been called her flock, however great was the influence she might exercise upon the king. The mention of foes coming from the north, and the question coupled therewith: Where is the flock? convey the thought that the flock is carried off by those enemies. The flock is the flock of Jahveh (Jeremiah 13:17), and, in virtue of God's choice of it, a herd of gloriousness. The relative clause: "that was given thee," implies that the person addressed is to be regarded as the shepherd or owner of the flock. This will not apply to the capital and its citizens; for the influence exerted by the capital in the country is not so great as to make it appear the shepherd or lord of the people. But the relative clause is in good keeping with the idea of the idea of the daughter of Zion, with which is readily associated that of ruler of land and people. It intimates the suffering that will be endured by the daughter of Zion when those who have been hitherto her paramours are set up as head over her. The verse is variously explained. The old transll. and comm. take פּקד על in the sense of visit, chastise; so too Chr. B. Mich. and Ros.; and Ew. besides, who alters the text acc. to the lxx, changing יפקד into the plural יפקדוּ. For this change there is no sufficient reason; and without such change, the signif. visit, punish, gives us no suitable sense. The phrase means also: to appoint or set over anybody; cf. e.g., Jeremiah 15:3. The subject can only be Jahveh. The words from ואתּ onwards form an adversative circumstantial clause: and yet thou hast accustomed them עליך, for אליך rof ,, to thee (cf. for למּד c. אל, Jeremiah 10:2). The connection of the words אלּפים לראשׁ depends upon the sig. assigned to אלּפים. Gesen. (thes.) and Ros. still adhere to the meaning taken by Luther, Vat., and many others, viz., principes, princes, taking for the sense of the whole: whom thou hast accustomed (trained) to be princes over thee. This word is indeed the technical term for the old Edomitish chieftains of clans, Genesis 36:15., and is applied as an archaic term by Zechariah 9:7 to the tribal princes of Judah; but it does not, as a general rule, mean prince, but familiar, friend, Ps. 655:14, Proverbs 16:28, Micah 7:5; cf. Jeremiah 11:19. This being the well-attested signification, it is, in the first place, not competent to render עליך over or against thee (adversus te, Jerome); and Hitz.'s exposition: thou hast instructed them to thy hurt, hast taught them a disposition hostile to thee, cannot be justified by usage. In the second place, אלפים cannot be attached to the principal clause, "set over thee," and joined with "for a head:" if He set over thee - as princes for a head; but it belongs to "hast accustomed," while only "for a head" goes with "if He set" (as de Wet., Umbr., Ng., etc., construe). The prophet means the heathen kings, for whose favour Judah had hitherto been intriguing, the Babylonians and Egyptians. There is no cogent reason for referring the words, as many comm. do, to the Babylonians alone. For the statement is quite general throughout; and, on the one hand, Judah had, from the days of Ahaz on, courted the alliance not of the Babylonians alone, but of the Egyptians too (cf. Jeremiah 2:18); and, on the other hand, after the death of Josiah, Judah had become subject to Egypt, and had had to endure the grievous domination of the Pharaohs, as Jeremiah had threatened, Jeremiah 2:16. If God deliver the daughter of Zion into the power of these her paramours, i.e., if she be subjected to their rule, then will grief and pain seize on her as on a woman in childbirth; cf. Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 22:23, etc. אשׁת לדה, woman of bearing; so here, only, elsewhere יולדה (cf. the passages cited); לדה is infin., as in Isaiah 37:3; 2 Kings 19:3; Hosea 9:11.

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