Let a cry be heard from their houses, when you shall bring a troop suddenly on them: for they have dig a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Let a cry be heard from their houses.—i.e., let their city be taken by the enemy and the people suffer all the outrage and cruelty which their heathen invaders can inflict. What these were, the history of all wars, above all of Eastern wars, tells us but too plainly (2Kings 8:12; Hosea 13:16). Some of them, prisoners impaled or flayed alive, are brought vividly before our eyes by the Assyrian sculptures.
digged … pit—(Jer 18:20; Ps 57:6; 119:85).
when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them; or an army, as the Targum; either the Chaldean army, or rather the Roman army:
for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet: and therefore it was a just retaliation, that a troop or army should suddenly come upon them, and seize their persons and substance; though Kimchi understands it, as before, of poison, which they would have given him; but Jarchi, of a suspicion and vile calumny they raised of him, that he was guilty of adultery with another man's wife; a "whore" being called a "deep ditch" by the wise man, Proverbs 23:27; and so it is in the Talmud (h).Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. The havoc wrought in battle outside the walls is followed by the sacking of the houses of the city.
they have digged a pit … and hid snares] Cp. Psalm 57:6.Jeremiah 18:15 is introduced by a causal כּי. Ew. wrongly translates: that my people forgot me. כּי means for; and the causal import is founded on the main idea of Jeremiah 18:13 : A very horrible thing hath Israel done; for it hath done that which is unheard of in the natural world, it hath forsaken me, the rock of safety; cf. Jeremiah 2:32. They burn odours, i.e., kindle sacrifices, to the vanity, i.e., the null gods, cf. Psalm 31:7, i.e., to Baal, Jeremiah 7:9; Jeremiah 11:13, Jeremiah 11:17. The subject to יכשׁלוּם may be most simply supplied from the idea of "the vanity:" the null gods made them to stumble; cf. for this idea 2 Chronicles 28:23. This seems more natural than to leave the subject indefinite, in which case the false prophets (cf. Jeremiah 23:27) or the priests, or other seducers, would be the moving spirits. "The ancient paths" is apposition to "their ways:" upon their ways, the paths of the old time, i.e., not, however, the good old believing times, from whose ways the Israelites have but recently diverged. For עולם never denotes the time not very long passed away, but always old, immemorial time, here specially the time of the patriarchs, who walked on the right paths of faithfulness to God, as in Jeremiah 6:16. Hitz. and Graf have taken "the ancient paths" as subject: the old paths have made the Israelites to stumble on their ways, which gives a most unnatural idea, while the "paths of the earliest time" is weakened into "the example of their ancestors;" and besides, the parallelism is destroyed. As "by-paths" is defined by the apposition "a way not cast up," so is "on their ways" by "the ancient paths." The Chet. שׁבוּלי is found only here; the Keri is formed after Psalm 77:20. A way not cast up is one on which one cannot advance, reach the goal, or on which one suffers hurt and perishes. - In Jeremiah 18:16 the consequences of these doings are spoken of as having been wrought out by themselves, in order thus to bring out the God-ordained causal nexus between actions and their consequences. To make their land an object of horror to all that set foot on it. שׁרוּקות occurs only here, while the Keri שׁריקות is found only in Judges 5:16 for the piping of shepherds, from שׁרק, to hiss, to pipe. In connection with שׁמּה as expression of horror or amazement, Jeremiah elsewhere uses only שׁרקה, cf. Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 25:9, Jeremiah 25:18; Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 51:37, so that here the vowelling should perhaps be שׁרוּקת. The word does not here denote the hissing equals hissing down or against one, by way of contempt, but the sound midway between hissing and whistling which escapes one when one looks on something appalling. On "every one that passeth by shall be dismayed," cf. 1 Kings 9:8. הניע בּראשׁו only here equals הניע ראשׁ, to move the head to and fro, shake the head; a gesture of malicious amazement, cf. Psalm 22:8; Psalm 109:25, like מנוד ראשׁ, Psalm 44:15. - In Jeremiah 18:17 the Lord discloses the coming punishment. Like an east wind, i.e., a violent storm-wind (cf. Psalm 48:8), will I scatter them, cf. Jeremiah 13:24. Because they have turned to Him the back and not the face (cf. Jeremiah 2:27), so will He turn His back on them in the day of their ruin, cf. Ezekiel 35:5.
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