Jeremiah 20:16
And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;
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(16) The cities which the Lord overthrew.—The verb is the same as that used in Genesis 19:29, and the reference is clearly to the “cities of the plain,” whose destruction is there described. The reference to them in Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:9-10, shows that they had already become familiar to men as the great representative instances both of evil and its punishment.

The cry . . . the shouting.—The former word describes the wail of lamentation, the latter the shout of an invading army.

20:14-18 When grace has the victory, it is good to be ashamed of our folly, to admire the goodness of God, and be warned to guard our spirits another time. See how strong the temptation was, over which the prophet got the victory by Divine assistance! He is angry that his first breath was not his last. While we remember that these wishes are not recorded for us to utter the like, we may learn good lessons from them. See how much those who think they stand, ought to take heed lest they fall, and to pray daily, Lead us not into temptation. How frail, changeable, and sinful is man! How foolish and unnatural are the thoughts and wishes of our hearts, when we yield to discontent! Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners against himself, lest we should be at any time weary and faint in our minds under our lesser trials.The cry - is the sound of the lamentation Jer 20:8; "the shouting" is the alarm of war. 16. the cities—Sodom and Gomorrah.

cry … morning … noontide—that is, Let him be kept in alarm the whole day (not merely at night when terrors ordinarily prevail, but in daytime when it is something extraordinary) with terrifying war shouts, as those in a besieged city (Jer 18:22).


the cities he means those cities mentioned Genesis 19:25, Sodom and Gomorrah; by

the cry in the morning and shouting at noon, he means the shouts and noises that enemies make when they break in upon a place in a hostile manner.

And let that man be as the cities which the Lord overthrew,.... In his fury, as the Targum and Septuagint add. Meaning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were utterly destroyed, and were never recovered:

and repented not; whose sentence God never repented of, nor revoked: this was very severe and uncharitable, to wish for so sore a destruction upon an innocent person;

and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide; as soon as he is up in the morning, the first thing that salutes his ears, let it be the noise of an enemy invading the city he dwells in; and by noon let him hear the shouting of him, having broke in, and gotten the victory, seizing the plunder.

And let that man be as the {i} cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noon;

(i) Alluding to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Ge 19:25.

16. let that man, etc.] Du. and Co. object to so much being made of the messenger, and therefore consider that for “man” we should substitute, or at any rate understand, “day” of the previous v. The meaning then would be, Let that day assuredly bring disaster. But the change is unnecessary. The text only expresses a counterpart of the Eastern custom of rewarding the messenger who brought good tidings.

the cities] Cp. Isaiah 13:19.

cry] Cp. Jeremiah 18:22.

shouting] mg. an alarm, the same Hebrew word as that rendered “alarm” in Jeremiah 4:19.

Verse 16. - As the cities which the Lord overthrow. It is, so to speak, the "technical term" for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah which Jeremiah employs. So deeply imprinted was the tradition on the Hebrew mind, that a special word was appropriated to it, which at once called up thoughts of the awful justice of God (see Genesis 19:25; Isaiah 1:7 (?); 13:19; Amos 4:11; Deuteronomy 29:23 [22]; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 50:40). The cry... the shouting. The cry of the besieged for help; the shouting of the suddenly appearing assailants (comp. Jeremiah 15:8).

Jeremiah 20:16He wishes the fate of Sodom (Genesis 19:25), namely ruin, to befall that man. ולא נחם, and may He (Jahveh) not let it repent Him, is adverbially used: without feeling compunction for the destruction, i.e., without pity. In Jeremiah 20:16 destruction is depicted under the figure of the terrors of a town beleaguered by enemies and suddenly taken. זעקה, the wailing cry of the afflicted townspeople; תּרוּעה, the war-cry of the enemies breaking in; cf. Jeremiah 15:8.
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