Jeremiah 19:2
And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,
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(2) Unto the valley of the son of Hinnom.—The site was chosen as having been the scene of the most hateful form of idolatry to which the people had addicted themselves, perhaps also as connected locally with the potter’s field. (See Note on Jeremiah 7:31; and Matthew 27:7.)

By the entry of the east gate.—The Hebrew word is obscure. The Authorised Version adopts a doubtful etymology, connecting the word with the sun (so “sun gate” in the margin) and therefore with the East. Luther, with the Vulgate and most modern scholars, renders it as “the potter’s gate,” or more literally, the gate of pottery. The LXX. treats it as a proper name, and gives “the gate Kharsith.” No such fate appears in the topographical descriptions of Nehemiah 2, 3; and the two gates which led into the valley of Hinnom were the Fountain and the Dung gate (Nehemiah 3:13-15). Hence it has been inferred that this was a small postern gate leading into the valley just at the point where it was filled with rubbish, possibly with broken fragments like those which were now to be added to it. On this supposition the connection both of the name of the gate and its use with the symbolism of the prophet’s act may have determined the command which was thus given him.

19:1-9 The prophet must give notice of ruin coming upon Judah and Jerusalem. Both rulers and ruled must attend to it. That place which holiness made the joy of the whole earth, sin made the reproach and shame of the whole earth. There is no fleeing from God's justice, but by fleeing to his mercy.The valley ... - See Jeremiah 7:31 note.

The east gate - Others render "the pottery gate." Two gates led into the valley of Hinnom, the Fountain-gate at the southeast corner, and the Dung-gate on the southwest side of Zion; some think that "the east gate" was neither of these, but a small or postern gate, used for throwing out rubbish, the valley having been put to this degrading use from the time that Josiah defiled it 2 Kings 23:10. And thus the mean symbol of a proud nation was carried out through a back door to be broken upon the heaps of refuse already cast there.

2. valley of the son of Hinnom—or Tophet, south of Jerusalem, where human victims were offered, and children made to pass through the fire, in honor of Molech.

east gate—Margin, "sun gate," sunrise being in the east. Maurer translates, the "potter's gate." Through it lay the road to the valley of Hinnom (Jos 15:8). The potters there formed vessels for the use of the temple, which was close by (compare Jer 19:10, 14; Jer 18:2; Zec 11:13). The same as "the water gate toward the east" (Ne 3:26; 12:37); so called from the brook Kedron. Calvin translates, as English Version and Margin. "It was monstrous perversity to tread the law under foot in so conspicuous a place, over which the sun daily rising reminded them of the light of God's law."

Go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom: we shall hereafter hear why God commanded Jeremiah to go thither, rather than to another place, to break this earthen pot. This valley was a place very near unto Jerusalem, of which one Hinnom was owner in Joshua’s time, Joshua 15:8 18:16. The valley is in Scripture sometimes called Ge-hinnom, from whence came the Greek word Gehenna, used by our Saviour for hell, Matthew 5:22, eid thn geennan, because of the hellish torments they there put their children to when they sacrificed them, and of the hellish cries they made.

The east gate; in the Hebrew it is, the sun gate, supposed to be so called, because the sun riseth in the east. This valley is said to have lain very near to this gate; thither Jeremiah is commanded to go, and there to proclaim the following words.

And go forth into the valley of the son of Hinnom,.... To whom it formerly belonged, and so it was called as early as Joshua's time, Joshua 15:8; from the faith and abomination of the place, and the shocking torments here exercised, "hell", from hence, in the New Testament, is called "Gehenna": here the prophet with the elders were to go, for reasons after mentioned; because here their cruel idolatries were committed, and Jerusalem was to be made like unto it for pollution and bloodshed:

which is by the entry of the east gate; the way to it out of Jerusalem lay through the east gate of the city. The Targum calls it "the dung gate"; through which the filth of the city was carried out, and laid near it, and where lay the potter's sherds; hence some render it the "potsherd" gate (m); or rather it should be the potter's gate; for that reason, because the potter's field and house lay near it, from whence the prophet had his earthen bottle; others call it the "sun gate" (n), because it lay to the sun rising; but seeing the valley of Hinnom was to the south of Jerusalem, this seems rather to be the south gate; and a proper situation this was for the potters to dry and harden their pots. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, leave it untranslated, and call it the gate Harsith or Hadsith:

and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee; for as yet it was not made known to him what he should do with his bottle, or say to the elders, until he came to the place he was ordered to.

(m) "portae fictilis", Munster, Pagninus. (n) "Portae solaris", Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius; so Ben Melech, and Stockius, p. 389.

And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,
2. the valley of the son of Hinnom] See on ch. Jeremiah 7:31.

the gate Harsith] rather, as mg. the gate of potsherds. Apparently so called from the fragments of broken pottery cast here as refuse “or perhaps crushed, as it is now, on a flat rock, with heavy stone rollers, into dust from which a cement is made, used for plastering cisterns. The place where this is now done is near the Birket es-Sultan, a pool at the S. W. of the city, in the upper part of what was probably the ancient ‘Valley of Hinnom.’ ” Dr., who also quotes Pal. Expl. Fund, Quart. Statement for 1904, p. 136. It is thought to be identical with the “dung” gate (Nehemiah 2:13; Nehemiah 3:13 f., Nehemiah 12:31), leading into this valley.

Verse 2. - The valley of the son of Hinnom (see on Jeremiah 7:31). The east gate; rather the potsherd gate, i.e. the gate where potsherds were wont to be thrown. Another possible rendering is "sun gate," of which "east gate" is but a paraphrase. But there is evidently a connection between the name of the gate and the action performed by Jeremiah. The Authorized Version seems to have misled Captain Warren into identifying the valley of Hinnom with that of Kedron. He confirms his view, it is true, by the Arabic nomenclature, which speaks of the Kedron as the Wady Jehinnam - a nomenclature, however, which is by no means uniform (see Robinson, 'Biblical Researches,' 2:396, 403). The situation of the "potsherd gate" must remain uncertain. Jeremiah 19:2The Broken Pitcher. - Jeremiah 19:1. "Thus said Jahveh: Go and buy a potter's vessel, and take of the elders of the people and of the elders of the priests, Jeremiah 19:2. And go forth into the valley of Benhinnom, which is before the gate Harsuth, and proclaim there the words which I shall speak unto thee, Jeremiah 19:3. And say: Hear the word of Jahveh, ye kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus hath said Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth his ears shall tingle. Jeremiah 19:4. Because they have forsaken me, and disowned this place, and burnt incense in it to other gods whom they knew not, they, and their fathers, and the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents, Jeremiah 19:5. And have built high places for Baal, to burn their sons in the fire as burnt-offerings to Baal, which I have neither commanded nor spoken, nor came it into my heart. Jeremiah 19:6. Therefore, behold, days come, saith Jahve, that this place shall no longer be called Tophet and Valley of Benhinnom, but Valley of Slaughter. Jeremiah 19:7. And I make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of them that seek their lives, and give their carcases to be food for the fowls of the heaven and the beast of the earth. Jeremiah 19:8. And make this city a dismay and a scoffing; every one that passeth thereby shall be dismayed and hiss because of all her strokes; Jeremiah 19:9. And make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and each shall eat his neighbour's flesh in the siege and straitness wherewith their enemies and they that seek after their lives shall straiten them. - Jeremiah 19:10. And break the pitcher before the eyes of the men that go with thee, Jeremiah 19:11. And say to them: Thus hath Jahve of hosts said: Even so will I break this people and this city as one breaketh this potter's vessel, that it cannot be made whole again; and in Tophet shall they bury them, because there is no room to bury. Jeremiah 19:12. Thus will I do unto this place, saith Jahveh, and its inhabitants, to make this city as Tophet. Jeremiah 19:13. And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall become, as the place Tophet, unclean, all the houses upon whose roofs they have burnt incense to the whole host of heaven and poured out drink-offerings to other gods."

The purpose for which Jeremiah was to buy the earthen jar is told in Jeremiah 19:10, and the meaning of breaking it in the valley of Benhinnom is shown in Jeremiah 19:11-13. בּקבּק, from בּקק, to pour out, is a jar with a narrow neck, so called from the sound heard when liquid is poured out of it, although the vessel was used for storing honey, 1 Kings 14:3. The appellation יוצר, former of earthen vessels, i.e., potter, is given to denote the jar as one which, on being broken, would shiver into many fragments. Before "of the elders of the people" a verb seems to be awanting, for which cause many supply ולקחתּ (according to Jeremiah 41:12; Jeremiah 43:10, etc.), rightly so far as sense is concerned; but we are hardly entitled to assume a lacuna in the text. That assumption is opposed by the ו before מזּקני; for we cannot straightway presume that this ו was put in after the verb had dropped out of the text. In that case the whole word would have been restored. We have here rather, as Schnur. saw, a bold constructio praegnans, the verb "buy" being also joined in zeugma with "of the elders:" buy a jar and (take) certain of the elders; cf. similar, only less bold, zeugmatic constr. in Job 4:10; Job 10:12; Isaiah 58:5. "Elders of the priests," as in 2 Kings 19:2, probably identical with the "princes (שׂרי) of the priests," 2 Chronicles 36:14, are doubtless virtually the same as the "heads (ראשׁי) of the priests," Nehemiah 12:7, the priests highest in esteem, not merely for their age, but also in virtue of their rank; just as the "elders of the people" were a permanent representation of the people, consisting of the heads of tribes, houses or septs, and families; cf. 1 Kings 8:1-3, and my Bibl. Archol. ii. S. 218. Jeremiah was to take elders of the people and of the priesthood, because it was most readily to be expected of them that the word of God to be proclaimed would find a hearing amongst them. As to the valley of Benhinnom, see on Jeremiah 7:31. שׁער החרסוּת, not Sun-gate (after חרס, Job 9:7; Judges 8:13), but Pottery or Sherd-gate, from חרס equals חרשׂ, in rabbin. חרסית, potter's clay. The Chet. חרסוּת is the ancient form, not the modern (Hitz.), for the Keri is adapted to the rabbinical form. The clause, "which is before the Harsuth-gate," is not meant to describe more particularly the locality, sufficiently well known in Jerusalem, but has reference to the act to be performed there. The name, gate of חרסוּת, which nowhere else occurs, points no doubt to the breaking to shivers of the jar. Hence we are rather to translate Sherd-gate than Pottery-gate, the name having probably arisen amongst the people from the broken fragments which lay about this gate. Comm. are not at one as to which of the known city gates is meant. Hitz. and Kimchi are wrong in thinking of a gate of the court of the temple - the southern one. The context demands one of the city gates, two of which led into the Benhinnom valley: the Spring-or Fountain-gate at the south-east corner, and the Dung-gate on the south-west side of Zion; see on Nehemiah 3:13-15. One of these two must be meant, but which of them it cannot be decided. there Jeremiah is to cry aloud the words which follow, Jeremiah 19:3-8, and which bear on the kings of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. "Kings" in the plural, as in Jeremiah 13:13, because the matter concerned not the reigning king only, but his successors too, who had been guilty of the sins to be punished.

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