Jeremiah 15:3
And I will appoint over them four kinds, said the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.
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(3) Four kinds.—The sword, as the direct instrument of death, is followed by those that follow up its work, the beasts and birds of prey that feed on the corpses of the slain. The latter feature has naturally been from the earliest stages of human history the crowning horror of defeat. So Homer, Il. i. 4 :—

“And many mighty souls of heroes sent

To Hades, and their bodies made a prey

To dogs and to all birds.”

15:1-9 The Lord declares that even Moses and Samuel must have pleaded in vain. The putting of this as a case, though they should stand before him, shows that they do not, and that saints in heaven do not pray for saints on earth. The Jews were condemned to different kinds of misery by the righteous judgment of God, and the remnant would be driven away, like the chaff, into captivity. Then was the populous city made desolate. Bad examples and misused authority often produce fatal effects, even after men are dead, or have repented of their crimes: this should make all greatly dread being the occasion of sin in others.Kinds - literally, as the margin, i. e., classes of things. The first is to destroy the living, the other three to mutilate and consume the dead.

To tear - literally, "to drag along the ground." It forcibly expresses the contumely to which the bodies of the slain will be exposed.

3. appoint—(Le 26:16).

kinds—of punishments.

Four kinds of destroyers; the enemies’ swords shall slay them, and so make meat for the dogs, who shall tear their carcasses, and for the birds of prey, who shall prey upon their dead bodies that shall lie unburied. And I will also send amongst them wild beasts, who shall both tear their living bodies and their dead carcasses. And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord,.... Or four families (x), and these very devouring ones; that is, four sorts of punishment; and so the Targum,

"four evil punishments;''

which are after mentioned. These are represented as under God, and at his beck and command; servants of his, that go and come at his pleasure, and do his will; and as being over men, and having power and authority to kill and to destroy by a divine commission:

the sword to slay: the first and chief of the four families or punishments, which had a commission from the Lord to sheath itself in his people, the Jews; even the sword of the enemy, the Chaldeans, drawn against them by a divine order and appointment:

and the dogs to tear; the carcasses of those that are slain with the sword: or "to draw" (y); as the word signifies; it being the usual way of dogs to draw and drag the flesh about they are feeding on; this is another of the four families, and a very voracious one it is:

and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy; or "to eat, and to corrupt", the bodies of those that are slain by the sword. The meaning is, that such should not have a burial, but should be the food of fowls and wild beasts: these are the other two destroying families, which have their commission from the Lord for such service.

(x) "quatuor familias, sive cognationes", Vatablus, Tigurine version, Calvin. (y) "ad trahendum", Calvin, Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt; so Ben Melech,

And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the {b} dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.

(b) The dogs, birds and beasts would devour them that were slain.

3. kinds] lit. as mg. families. Four sorts of destructive agencies. Similar threats occur chs. Jeremiah 19:7, Jeremiah 34:20.

tear] lit. as mg. drag.Verse 3. - Appoint; i.e. give full power to them as my vicegerents (Jeremiah 1:10). Four kinds; literally, families; i.e. kinds of things. The first-mentioned has reference to the living; the remaining ones to the unburied corpses (Jeremiah 14:16; Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 34:20). To tear; rather, to drag along. Renewed supplication and repeated rejection of the same. - Jeremiah 14:19. "Hast thou then really rejected Judah? or doth thy soul loathe Zion? Why hast Thou smitten us, so that there is no healing for us? We look for peace, and there is no good; for the time of healing, and behold terror! Jeremiah 14:20. We know, Jahveh, our wickedness, the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against Thee. Jeremiah 14:21. Abhor not, for Thy name's sake; disgrace not the throne of Thy glory; remember, break not Thy covenant with us! Jeremiah 14:22. Are there among the vain gods of the Gentiles givers of rain, or will the heavens give showers? Art not Thou (He), Jahveh our God? and we hope in Thee, for Thou hast made all these."
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