Jeremiah 14:5
Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.
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(5) Yea.—Better, For, as the Hebrew is usually translated. What follows gives the reason of the terror which has come upon the people. Each region has its representative instance of misery. The hind of the field (the female of the common stag—the Cervus elaphus of zoologists), noted for its tenderness to its young, abandons it, and turns away to seek pasture for itself, and fails to find any.

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.Is chapt - Rather, is dismayed. "The ground" is used metaphorically for the people who until the ground.

In the earth - i. e., "in the land."

5. The brute creation is reduced to the utmost extremity for the want of food. The "hind," famed for her affection to her young, abandons them. Hinds use not to get their food in fields, but upon the mountains and in wildernesses; but the drought was such, that these wild creatures came into the lower grounds, nearer the habitations of men than they were wont, and there brought forth their young. The hinds are loving creatures, and as all creatures by a natural instinct love their young, so the hinds especially; but their moisture being dried up, they could not suckle them, but were forced to leave them, running about here and there to seek grass to eat.

Yea, the hind also calved in the field,.... Or brought forth her young in the field; of which see Job 39:1, and which they sometimes did through fear, particularly when frightened with thunder and lightning; and which are common in a time of heat and drought, which is the case here; see Psalm 29:9 of these sort of creatures there were great plenty in Judea and the parts adjacent. Aelianus (z) says, the harts in Syria are bred on the highest mountains, Amanus, Lebanon, and Carmel; which were mountains on the borders of the land of Canaan; and the flesh of these was much used for food by the Jews; see Deuteronomy 12:15,

and forsook it; which, as it is a loving creature to its mate, so very careful of its young, and provident for it, and nourishes it, as Pliny (a) observes. The reason of such uncommon usage follows:

because there was no grass; for the hind to feed upon, and so had no milk to suckle its young with; and therefore left it to seek for grass elsewhere, that it might have food for itself, and milk for its young.

(z) De Anima. l. 5. c. 56. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 32.

Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook {d} it, because there was no grass.

(d) Meaning, that the brute beasts for drought were compelled to forsake their young, contrary to nature, and to go seek water which they could not find.

5. the hind] For her affection for her young cp. Proverbs 5:19, and for ancient writers’ testimony to it see Bochart, Hierozoicon, Bk. 3 ch. 17.

Verse 5. - Even the animals starve. Yea, the hind also. The hind, contrary to that intense natural affection for which she was famous among the ancients, abandons her young. Jeremiah 14:5Description 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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