Jeremiah 14:8
O the hope of Israel, the savior thereof in time of trouble, why should you be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turns aside to tarry for a night?
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(8) As a wayfaring man . . .—No image could paint more vividly the sense of abandonment which weighed on the prophet’s heart. Israel had looked to Jehovah as its help and stay, its watchful guardian. Now he seemed as indifferent to it as the passing traveller is to the interests of the city in the inn or khan of which he lodges for a single night.

Jeremiah 14:8-9. O the hope of Israel — That is, the object of Israel’s hope; the Being in whom alone thy people Israel have been wont to hope, or in whom they have just reason to hope; the Saviour thereof in time of trouble — Who hast formerly been their Saviour in their distresses, and who alone canst save them in such times of trouble as thou hast now brought them into; why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land? — That is, as one who, having no permanent interest in the land, is little concerned for its welfare; and as a wayfaring man, &c. — As a traveller who enters a place to stay only for a night, and never inquires, nor takes any care about the affairs of it. Why shouldest thou be as a man astonished — “As a man void of counsel:” so Houbigant. Or as one in such disorder, through some great emotion of mind, that he is able to do nothing. As a mighty man, &c. — As a mere man, who, though mighty, yet in many cases cannot save; or who, through some fear or surprise, is incapacitated to make use of his strength. Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us — Of the whole land, according to thy declaration, Numbers 35:34, I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.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.Do thou it - Rather, "deal thou, act thou for Thy Name's sake, i. e., not according to the strict measure of right and wrong, but as a God merciful and gracious. 8. The reference is, not to the faith of Israel which had almost ceased, but to the promise and everlasting covenant of God. None but the true Israel make God their "hope." (Jer 17:13).

turneth aside to tarry—The traveller cares little for the land he tarries but a night in; but Thou hast promised to dwell always in the midst of Thy people (2Ch 33:7, 8). Maurer translates, "spreadeth," namely, his tent.

O the hope of Israel; that is, the object of Israel’s hope, he in whom alone thy people Israel have been wont to hope, or he in whom alone Israel hath just reason to hope. The saviour thereof in time of trouble; thou who hast formerly been their Saviour in the times of their trouble, or who alone canst save them in such times of trouble as thou hast now brought them into. See Psalm 9:9 46:1. Why shouldst thou be as one that regardest thy ancient people no more than a stranger or a traveller, who taketh no further care for the place or the house where he lodgeth than for the short time that he is to stay or abide in it. O the hope of Israel,.... The author, object, ground, and foundation of hope of all good things, both here and hereafter; in whom Israel had been used to hope in times past, and had great encouragement so to do, Psalm 130:7 or, "the expectation of Israel" (f); whom they looked for to come:

the Saviour thereof in time of trouble; the Saviour of all men in a way of providence, but especially of the true Israel of God, of them that believe; who, though they have their times of trouble and affliction, by reason of sin, Satan, and wicked men, and other things, yet the Lord saves and delivers them out of them all in due time:

why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land; or, a "sojourner" (g); who abides but for a while; and it not being his native place, is not so solicitous for the welfare of it. Jerome interprets this of Christ when here on earth, who was as a stranger, and unknown by men; see Psalm 69:9 and the other characters;

of the hope of Israel, and the Saviour, well agree with him, 1 Timothy 1:1.

and as a wayfaring man; or "traveller" (h):

that turnest aside to tarry for a night? that turns into an inn to lodge there for a night, and that only; and so is unconcerned what becomes of it, or the people in it; he is only there for a night, and is gone in the morning. Thus the prophet represents the Lord by these metaphors, as if he was, or at least seemed, careless of his people; and therefore expostulates with him upon it, as the disciples with our Lord, Mark 4:38.

(f) "expectatio Israel", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius. (g) "quasi colonus", Grotius; "advena", Gataker. (h) "tanquam viator", Pagninus, Montanus, Schmidt.

O the hope of Israel, his saviour in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a {g} stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?

(g) That takes no care for us.

8. a sojourner in the land, etc.] a passing traveller, with no interest in the country or in the people.

turneth aside] mg., less well, spreadeth his tent.Verse 8. - How pathetic a supplication! Jehovah will surely not be as a stranger in the land - the strangers, or" sojourners," like the μέτοικοι, enjoyed no civic rights, and consequently had no interest in the highest concerns of the state, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside - or perhaps, pitcketh his tent; for the traveler in Palestine doubtless carried his tent with him then as now - to tarry for a night. With the latter figure compare the beautiful comparison of the hope of the ungodly to "the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but a day" (Wisd. 5:14). Description 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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