Jeremiah 15:8
Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought on them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall on it suddenly, and terrors on the city.
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(8) I have brought . . .—Better, I have brought upon them, even upon the mother of the young warrior (i.e., upon the woman who rejoices most in her son’s heroism), a spoiler at noon-day, i.e., coming, when least expected, at the hour when most armies rested. (See Note on Jeremiah 6:4.)

I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly . . .—Better, I have brought suddenly upon her (the “mother” of the previous sentence) travail-pangs (as in Isaiah 13:8) and dismay. The Aramaic word for the anguish of childbirth is also the Hebrew word for “city,” and this has misled translators. The LXX. gives the true meaning.

Jeremiah 15:8. Their widows are increased above the sand of the seas — A hyperbolical expression. The prophet still speaks of things to come as if present. In Jehoiakim’s time we read of no great number of widows, but they were exceedingly multiplied when the city was besieged and taken in Zedekiah’s time. I have brought upon them against the mother, &c. — Blaney renders this and the next clause, I have brought against their mother a chosen one, spoiling at noon-day; I have caused to fall upon her suddenly an enemy and terrors. By the mother here we are to understand Jerusalem, the mother-city, as she is termed in the margin, against which Nebuchadnezzar, the spoiler, was sent, and who came, not secretly, as a thief by night, but openly, with an army at noon-day. “Nebuchadnezzar might be called a chosen one,” says Blaney, “as being selected by God to be the instrument and executioner of his vengeance. In the margin of our Bibles, בחורis rendered a young man; and this also would very properly characterize the same person. For Josephus (Contra Apion, lib. 1.) cites from Berosus, the Chaldean historian, a passage to the following purport: that ‘Nabopollassar, king of Babylon, hearing that the provinces of Egypt, Cœlo-Syria, and Phœnice had revolted, and being himself infirm through age, sent a part of his forces under his son Nebuchadnezzar, then in the prime of youth, οντι ετι εν ηλικια, by whom those provinces were again reduced.’ This was the expedition said to have been undertaken by him in the third year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, in the course of which, after having first defeated the Egyptian army at Carchemish, he laid siege to Jerusalem, took and plundered it, carrying away much spoil and many captives to Babylon.” See Jeremiah 46:2; Daniel 1:1-3; 2 Kings 24:1.15:1-9 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.Translate, "I have brought upon them, even upon the mother of the young man, a spoiler etc." The word rendered "young man" means a picked warrior. The mother has borne a valiant champion; but neither his prowess nor the numerous offspring of the other can avail to save those who gave them birth; war bereaves both alike.

At noonday - i. e., unexpectedly, as armies used to rest at noon (see Jeremiah 6:4 note).

I have caused him ... - Rather, "I have brought suddenly upon her," the mother of the young warrior, "anguish and terrors."

8. Their widows—My people's (Jer 15:7).

have brought—prophetical past: I will bring.

mother of the young men—"mother" is collective; after the "widows," He naturally mentions bereavement of their sons ("young men"), brought on the "mothers" by "the spoiler"; it was owing to the number of men slain that the "widows" were so many [Calvin]. Others take "mother," as in 2Sa 20:19, of Jerusalem, the metropolis; "I have brought on them, against the 'mother,' a young spoiler," namely, Nebuchadnezzar, sent by his father, Nabopolassar, to repulse the Egyptian invaders (2Ki 23:29; 24:1), and occupy Judea. But Jer 15:7 shows the future, not the past, is referred to; and "widows" being literal, "mother" is probably so, too.

at noonday—the hottest part of the day, when military operations were usually suspended; thus it means unexpectedly, answering to the parallel, "suddenly"; openly, as others explain it, will not suit the parallelism (compare Ps 91:6).

it—English Version seems to understand by "it" the mother city, and by "him" the "spoiler"; thus "it" will be parallel to "city." Rather, "I will cause to fall upon them (the 'mothers' about to be bereft of their sons) suddenly anguish and terrors."

the city—rather, from a root "heat," anguish, or consternation. So the Septuagint.

The prophet speaking in the name of that God who calleth things that are not as if they were, still continueth his style, speaking of things to come as if present. In Jehoiakim’s time we read of no such plenty of

widows; they were multiplied when the city was besieged and taken in Zedekiah’s time to a great number, hyperbolically compared to the sands of the sea. I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noon-day: there is a great variety amongst interpreters as to their sense of this phrase, about which those that are curious may consult the English Annotations upon this verse. By

the spoiler at noon-day is meant Nebuchadnezzar, in the sense of the best interpreters, who came not like a thief, who cometh by night to rob and to spoil, but with an army in the day time: the question only is about those words

against the mother of the young men. The Hebrew word, which our translation renders young men, is dxb which properly signifieth a choice man, or a person chosen, from the Hebrew verb which signifieth to choose; so as it may as well be translated the mother of the chosen, as the mother of the young men. Because young men are looked upon as the choice men, whether for beauty, or strength and ability for any thing, the word often signifies a young man, Deu 32:25 2 Samuel 6:1 Psalm 148:12 Song of Solomon 5:15 Isaiah 23:4 Ezekiel 9:6, and in many other texts. Some will have the sense, (as in our margin,)

against the mother a young man, meaning by the young man Nebuchadnezzar, and by the mother Jerusalem. The Jews are in the Canticles called the daughters of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem which is above is by the apostle called the mother of us all. The Hebrew word is in the singular number; how we translate it young men I understand not. Pagnine translates it electi, the mother of the chosen. I do think that by the mother is meant Jerusalem, and that populi may be understood to electi. Jerusalem was the mother of the Jewish people, or Judea at least, against whom Nebuchadnezzar the spoiler at noon-day was sent; and we know that the Jews were God’s chosen people. I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city: this last clause is yet more obscure than the other; word for word, as it is in the Hebrew, it is, I have caused to fall upon it suddenly, the city and terrors. The word here used dyu commonly signifies a city in Scripture, and is very rarely translated otherwise. Were it not for the adverb suddenly coming between it and city, the sense were plain, and thus, I will cause to fall upon that city terrors; others read it, I will cause him to fall upon it, terrors upon the city. The word sometimes in Scripture signifies enemies, and is so translated, 1 Samuel 28:16 Psalm 139:20 Daniel 4:19. In this signification of the word the sense is plain, I will send upon it the enemy and terrors. The learned author of our English Annotations observes it is translated a watcher, Daniel 4:13,23, and thinks the sense may be thus, I have caused it to fall upon them suddenly, a watcher that bringeth terrors; to which purpose he tells us the Chaldean forces are compared to watchers, Jeremiah 4:16,17 5:6. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas,.... Their husbands being slain; not in the times of Ahaz, when a hundred and twenty thousand men were slain in one day in Judah, by Pekah the son of Remaliah, 2 Chronicles 28:6, as Kimchi thinks; but in the times of Zedekiah, at the siege of Jerusalem, and the taking of it, and in the Babylonish captivity before predicted. The children of Israel were to be as the sand of the sea, and were very numerous; and here the widows are said to be so too, their husbands, who were numerous, being dead; and this, as it was of the Lord, so it was in his sight, and according to his counsel and will. Mention is made of "seas", in the plural, number, there being many in or near Judea, as the Red sea, the sea of Galilee, and the Mediterranean sea:

I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler, at noonday; that is he would bring upon the Jews, against the mother of the young men, or mothers of them; for the young men being destroyed by the spoiler, it was against them; a calamity upon them, and a distress unto them, who have generally a tender concern for them. The Targum is,

"against the company of their young men;''

the Jews; or against Jerusalem, the mother city, the metropolis of the nation, full of young men fit for war: or, "against the mother", that is, Jerusalem, a "young man" (e); meaning Nebuchadnezzar, who came against Jerusalem in the first year of his reign; and, as some say, in the eighteenth year of his age; and who came not as a thief in the night, but as a spoiler at noonday; not in a secret insidious manner, but openly and with force of arms making his way through the land to Jerusalem, in defiance of the Jews, and in the face of them:

and I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly; that is, upon the city of Jerusalem: for though he came openly, his march was quick, and he was presently at Jerusalem, and laid siege to it at once:

and terrors upon the city; or, "city and terrors" (f); the city was immediately filled with terrors at the appearance of Nebuchadnezzar and his army. R. Joseph Kimchi interprets it, "an army and terrors", from 1 Samuel 28:16, the Babylonian monarch, at the head of his army, which spread terrors where he came. Some render the word, from Daniel 4:13, "a watcher and terrors" (g): meaning the Chaldean army, called watchers, Jeremiah 4:16. The Targum is,

"I will bring an army upon them suddenly, and destroy their cities;''

it should be rendered "alienation of mind and terrors": from the use of the word, in the Arabic language (h).

(e) "contra metropolin, juvenem", Junius & Tremellius, De Dieu; "contra matrem", Piscator; "super matrem, juvenem", Cocceius. (f) "civitatem et terrores", Montanus; so Schmidt. (g) "Vigilem, vel vigiles et terrores", Gataker; "vigilias et terrores", Coeceius. (h) Ab "alteravit, mutavit et turbavit", Golius, Castel. Schindler.

Their widows {g} are multiplied to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.

(g) Because I had slain their husbands.

8. against the mother of the young men] mg. against the mother and the young men who have fallen in battle. If we may accept an emendation of MT. by Du., we shall read mother and suckling.

at noonday] i.e. at an unexpected time. Cp. Jeremiah 6:4 with note.

anguish] The word occurs elsewhere only Hosea 9:9, where it is rendered by “the city,” the ordinary sense of the Heb. word, but the reading of MT. there is suspected. Dr. (p. 361) suggests, but with hesitation, a root which would give the sense of excitement, or agitation of alarm.

8, 9. Co. considers the order of clauses to have suffered dislocation. He inserts “Their widows … the seas” after “… confounded” (Jeremiah 15:9), thus improving both sense and Ḳinah rhythm.Verse 8. - To me; i.e. at my bidding. It is the dative of cause. Against the mother of the young men; rather, upon... young man. The widow has lost her husband, the mother her son, so that no human power can repel the barbarous foe. The word rendered "young man" is specially used for "young warriors," e.g., Jeremiah 18:21; 49:26; 51:3. Others following Rashi, take "mother" in the sense of "metropolis," or "chief city" (see Authorized Version, margin), in which case "young man" must be connected with the participle rendered "a spoiler;" but though the word has this sense in 2 Samuel 20:19, it is there coupled with "city," so that no doubt can exist. Hero the prophet would certainly not have used the word in so unusual a sense without giving some guide to his meaning. The rendering adopted above has the support of Ewald, Hitzig, and Dr. Payne Smith. At noonday; at the most unlooked-for moment (see on Jeremiah 6:4). I have caused him, etc.; rather, I have caused pangs and terrors to fall upon her suddenly. Decisive refusal of the petition. - Jeremiah 15:1. Even Moses and Samuel, who stood so far in God's favour that by their supplications they repeatedly rescued their people from overwhelming ruin (cf. Exodus 17:11; Exodus 32:11., Numbers 14:13., and 1 Samuel 7:9., Jeremiah 12:17., Psalm 99:6), if they were to come now before the Lord, would not incline His love towards this people. אל indicates the direction of the soul towards any one; in this connection: the inclination of it towards the people. He has cast off this people and will no longer let them come before His face. In Jeremiah 15:2-9 this is set forth with terrible earnestness. We must supply the object, "this people," to "drive" from the preceding clause. "From my face" implies the people's standing before the Lord in the temple, where they had appeared bringing sacrifices, and by prayer invoking His help (Jeremiah 14:12). To go forth from the temple equals to go forth from God's face. Jeremiah 15:2. But in case they ask where they are to go to, Jeremiah is to give them the sarcastic direction: Each to the destruction allotted to him. He that is appointed to death, shall go forth to death, etc. The clauses: such as are for death, etc., are to be filled up after the analogy of 2 Samuel 15:20; 2 Kings 8:1, so that before the second "death," "sword," etc., we supply the verb "shall go." There are mentioned four kinds of punishments that are to befall the people. The "death" mentioned over and above the sword is death by disease, for which we have in Jeremiah 14:12 דּבר, pestilence, disease; cf. Jeremiah 43:11, where death, captivity, and sword are mentioned together, with Ezekiel 14:21, sword, famine, wild beasts, and disease (דּבר), and Ezekiel 33:27, sword, wild beasts, and disease. This doom is made more terrible in Jeremiah 15:3. The Lord will appoint over them (פּקד as in Jeremiah 13:21) four kinds, i.e., four different destructive powers which shall prepare a miserable end for them. One is the sword already mentioned in Jeremiah 15:2, which slays them; the three others are to execute judgment on the dead: the dogs which shall tear, mutilate, and partly devour the dead bodies (cf. 2 Kings 9:35, 2 Kings 9:37), and birds and beasts of prey, vultures, jackals, and others, which shall make an end of such portions as are left by the dogs. In Jeremiah 15:4 the whole is summed up in the threatening of Deuteronomy 28:25, that the people shall be delivered over to be abused to all the kingdoms of the earth, and the cause of this terrible judgment is mentioned. The Chet. זועה is not to be read זועה, but זועה, and is the contracted form from זעוה, see on Deuteronomy 28:25, from the rad. זוּע, lit., tossing hither and thither, hence for maltreatment. For the sake of King Manasseh, who by his godless courses had filled up the measure of the people's sins, so that the Lord must cast Judah away from His face, and give it up to the heathen to be chastised; cf. 2 Kings 23:26; 2 Kings 24:3, with the exposition of these passages; and as to what Manasseh did, see 2 Kings 21:1-16.
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