Jeremiah 14:2
Judah mourns, and the gates thereof languish; they are black to the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.
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(2) The gates thereof languish.—The “gates” of the cities, as the chief places of concourse, like the agora of Greek cities, are taken figuratively for the inhabitants, who in the “black” garments of sorrow and with the pallor of the famine, in which all faces gather blackness, are crouching upon the ground in their despair.

Jeremiah 14:2. Judah mourneth — The people of Judah and Jerusalem, here considered collectively, and represented as a mother oppressed with grief for the miseries which have come upon her children. And the gates languish, they are black — “They are in deep mourning:” so Blaney, who observes, “The gates of cities, being places of public resort, where the courts of justice were held, and other common business transacted, seem here to be put for the persons wont to meet there; in like manner as when we say, ‘The court is in mourning,’ we mean the persons that attend the court. So that by this passage we are to understand, that all the persons who appeared in public were dejected, and put on black, or mourning, on account of the national distress.” And the cry of Jerusalem is gone up — Namely, to heaven: That is, the cry of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; of their sin and trouble, but not, as it seems, of their confessions, prayers, and supplications.14:1-9 The people were in tears. But it was rather the cry of their trouble, and of their sin, than of their prayer. Let us be thankful for the mercy of water, that we may not be taught to value it by feeling the want of it. See what dependence husbandmen have upon the Divine providence. They cannot plough nor sow in hope, unless God water their furrows. The case even of the wild beasts was very pitiable. The people are not forward to pray, but the prophet prays for them. Sin is humbly confessed. Our sins not only accuse us, but answer against us. Our best pleas in prayer are those fetched from the glory of God's own name. We should dread God's departure, more than the removal of our creature-comforts. He has given Israel his word to hope in. It becomes us in prayer to show ourselves more concerned for God's glory than for our own comfort. And if we now return to the Lord, he will save us to the glory of his grace.They are black unto the ground - The people assembled at the gates, the usual places of concourse, are in deep mourning and sit humbly on the ground. 2. gates—The place of public concourse in each city looks sad, as being no longer frequented (Isa 3:26; 24:4).

black—that is, they mourn (blackness being indicative of sorrow), (Jer 8:21).

unto the ground—bowing towards it.

cry—of distress (1Sa 5:12; Isa 24:11).


Judah is meant the men and women in the whole country of Judah. The

gates is put for their cities; or the men of their cities languished, for want of moisture for themselves or their beasts. They are all in the habits of mourners, or their faces looked swarthy and starvedly, for want of due and wholesome nourishment,

and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up; either their cry unto God by their prayers in his temple, or their cry by the reason of, their misery and grief, is gone up to heaven. Judah mourneth,.... That is, the inhabitants of Judah; those of the house of Judah, as the Targum; these mourned because of the drought and famine that were upon the land:

and the gates thereof languish; the cities of Judah, as the Targum; the inhabitants of them, which used to be supplied from the field, and out of the country; gates may be mentioned, because through the gates the provisions were brought into the city; but now none; and therefore are said to languish; or else those that sat in the gates are meant, the elders of the people, the senators, the judges, and civil magistrates; these shared in the common calamity:

they are black unto the ground; that is, the inhabitants of the cities, and those that sit in the gates, their faces are black through famine; see Lamentations 4:8, so the Targum,

"their faces are covered with blackness, they are black as a pot;''

and which they turned to the ground, and looked downwards, not being able to lift them up through the sorrow and distress they were in, and through faintness of spirit for want of food:

and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up: meaning the cry and lamentation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem because of the famine, for that city was not exempted from it, it having its supply from the country; or the prayer of them, and of the people from all parts got together there, which went up to heaven for rain: it being usual, in times of common distress, for the people in the country to come up to Jerusalem to the temple to pray to God, and particularly for rain, when there was a want of it.

Judah mourneth, and her gates languish; they are {b} black to the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

(b) The word signifies extreme sorrow.

2. the gates] put, as often in Hebrew, for cities, i.e. for the inhabitants, as being the place of general resort.

they sit in black upon the ground] Cp. Jeremiah 8:21, Jeremiah 13:18; also Psalm 137:1; and Isaiah 47:1.Verse 2. - The tenses in the following description should be perfects and presents; the Authorized Version, by its inconsistency, destroys the unity of the picture. The gates thereof; i.e. the people assembled there. They are black unto the ground. "To be black," in Hebrew, is "to be dressed in mourning" (so e.g., Psalm 35:14, "I bowed down in black"). Here we must understand the same verb which is expressed in the psalm, "They bowed down in mourning attire to the ground." "Black," however, is not to be taken literally; it means rather "squalid, unwashed" (of garments). Judah will not escape this ignominious lot, since wickedness has so grown to be its nature, that it can as little cease therefrom and do good, as an Ethiopian can wash out the blackness of his skin, or a panther change it spots. The consequential clause introduced by גּם אתּם connects with the possibility suggested in, but denied by, the preceding question: if that could happen, then might even ye do good. The one thing is as impossible as the other. And so the Lord must scatter Judah among the heathen, like stubble swept away by the desert wind, lit., passing by with the desert wind. The desert wind is the strong east wind that blows from the Arabian Desert; see on Jeremiah 4:11.
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