Jeremiah 13:26
Therefore will I discover your skirts on your face, that your shame may appear.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Therefore will I discover . . .—The threat is substantially the same as that in Jeremiah 13:22. The form is verbally identical with that of Nahum 3:5.

Jeremiah 13:26-27. Therefore will I discover thy skirts — Lay thee open to shame and disgrace. See on Jeremiah 13:22. I have seen thine adulteries — Thy idolatries; thy inordinate desire after strange gods, which thou hast been impatient to gratify: thy neighings — A metaphorical expression taken from horses neighing to each other; the lewdness of thy whoredoms — Thy impudence and unsatiableness in the worship of idols, on the hills, in the fields, upon the high places. Wo unto thee, O Jerusalem — Miserable art thou, and greater miseries await thee, as the fruit of such practices. Wilt thou not be made clean? — The prophet here expresses, in the strongest manner, his desire for the repentance and reformation of this people. The original, מתי עוד, When once? is remarkably emphatical. The aposiopesis, as it is called, or form of speech, by which, through a vehement affection, the prophet suddenly breaks off his discourse, is remarkably beautiful and expressive. 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.Therefore will I-- literally, "And I also;" I also must have my turn, I too must retaliate. Compare Nahum 3:5. 26. discover … upon thy face—rather, "throw up thy skirts over thy face," or head; done by way of ignominy to captive women and to prostitutes (Na 3:5). The Jews' punishment should answer to their crime. As their sin had been perpetrated in the most public places, so God would expose them to the contempt of other nations most openly (La 1:8). Therefore I will expose thee to all manner of shame and contempt, without any regard to thy honour. Those that honour God, God will honour, but those that despise and dishonour him shall not be able to maintain their own honour. Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face,.... Turn them up, or throw them over the head or face; that is, expose to public shame and disgrace; which was done when their city and temple were burnt, and they were carried captive; hence it follows:

that thy shame may appear; that their sins might appear to themselves and others, of which they had reason to be ashamed. The allusion is to the treatment which captive women sometimes meet with, or adulterous women, to which the Jews are here compared. The Targum is,

"and I also will reveal the confusion of thy sin upon thy face, and thy shame shall be seen.''

Therefore will I uncover thy skirts upon thy face, {m} that thy shame may appear.

(m) As your iniquities have been revealed to all the world, so shall your shame and punishment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 26. - Therefore will I, etc. But the Hebrew is much more forcible, "And I also," etc., implying, as Calvin remarks (comp. Proverbs 1:26), a certain retaliation. Upon thy face; an allusion to Nahum 3:5. The 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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