Jeremiah 14:2
Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto 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). Jeremiah 14:2Description of the distress arising from the drought. - Jeremiah 14:2. Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish, like mourning on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goeth up. Jeremiah 14:3. Their nobles send their mean ones for water: they come to the wells, find no water, return with empty pitchers, are ashamed and confounded and cover their head. Jeremiah 14:4. For the ground, which is confounded, because no rain is fallen upon the earth, the husbandmen are ashamed, cover their head. Jeremiah 14:5. Yea, the hind also in the field, she beareth and forsaketh it, because there is no grass. Jeremiah 14:6. And the wild asses stand on the bare-topped heights, gasp for air like the jackals; their eyes fail because there is no herb."

The country and the city, the distinguished and the mean, the field and the husbandmen, are thrown into deep mourning, and the beasts of the field pine away because neither grass nor herb grows. This description gives a touching picture of the distress into which the land and its inhabitants have fallen for lack of rain. Judah is the kingdom or the country with its inhabitants; the gates as used poetically for the cities with the citizens. Not mankind only, but the land itself mourns and pines away, with all the creatures that live on it; cf. Jeremiah 14:4, where the ground is said to be dismayed along with the tillers of it. The gates of the cities are mentioned as being the places where the citizens congregate. אמלל, fade away, pine, is strengthened by: are black, i.e., mourn, down to the earth; pregnant for: set themselves mourning on the ground. As frequently, Jerusalem is mentioned alongside of Judah as being its capital. Their cry of anguish rises up to heaven. This universal mourning is specialized from Jeremiah 14:3 on. Their nobles, i.e., the distinguished men of Judah and Jerusalem, send their mean ones, i.e., their retainers or servants and maids, for water to the wells (גּבים, pits, 2 Kings 3:16, here cisterns). The Chet. צעור, here and in Jeremiah 48:4, is an unusual form for צעיר, Keri. Finding no water, they return, their vessels empty, i.e., with empty pitchers, ashamed of their disappointed hope. בּשׁוּ is strengthened by the synonym הכלמוּ. Covering the head is a token of deep grief turned inwards upon itself; cf. 2 Samuel 15:30; 2 Samuel 19:5. האדמה is the ground generally. חתּה is a relative clause: quae consternata est. "Because no rain," etc., literally as in 1 Kings 17:7. - Even the beasts droop and perish. כּי is intensive: yea, even. The hind brings forth and forsakes, sc. the new-born offspring, because for want of grass she cannot sustain herself and her young. עזוב, infin. abs. set with emphasis for the temp. fin., as Genesis 41:43; Exodus 8:11, and often; cf. Gesen. 131, 4, a, Ew. 351, c. The hind was regarded by the ancients as tenderly caring for her young, cf. Boch. Hieroz. i. lib. 3, c. 17 (ii. p. 254, ed. Ros.) The wild asses upon the bleak mountain-tops, where these animals choose to dwell, gasp for air, because, by reason of the dreadful drought, it is not possible to get a breath of air even on the hills. Like the תּנּים, jackals, cf. Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 10:22, etc. Vulg. has dracones, with the Aram. versions; and Hitz. and Graf are of opinion that the mention of jackals is not here in point, and that, since תּנּים does not mean dracones, the word stands here, as in Exodus 29:3; Exodus 32:2, for תּנּין, the monster inhabiting the water, a crocodile or some kind of whale that stretches its head out of the water to draw breath with gaping jaws. On this Ng. has well remarked: he cannot see why the gaping, panting jaws of the jackal should not serve as a figure in such a case as the present. Their eyes fail away - from exhaustion due to want of wear. עשׂב, bushes and under-shrubs, as distinguished from דּשׁא, green grass.

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