Jeremiah 21:6
And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) They shall die of a great pestilence.—This was doubtless, as in other instances (Thuc. ii. 52), the natural consequence of the siege, but it came before the people as another proof that Jehovah had stretched out his arm against them, that they were fighting against that arm as well as against the host of the invaders. The “outstretched hand” may be noted as another Deuteronomic phrase (Deuteronomy 4:34; Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 26:8).

21:1-10 When the siege had begun, Zedekiah sent to ask of Jeremiah respecting the event. In times of distress and danger, men often seek those to counsel and pray for them, whom, at other times, they despise and oppose; but they only seek deliverance from punishment. When professors continue in disobedience, presuming upon outward privileges, let them be told that the Lord will prosper his open enemies against them. As the king and his princes would not surrender, the people are exhorted to do so. No sinner on earth is left without a Refuge, who really desires one; but the way of life is humbling, it requires self-denial, and exposes to difficulties.A great pestilence - As the result of the excessive crowding of men and animals in a confined space with all sanitary regulations utterly neglected. 5. The Jews shall have not merely the Chaldees, but Jehovah Himself in wrath at their provocations, fighting against them. Every word enhances the formidable character of God's opposition, "I myself … outstretched hand … strong arm (no longer as in Ex 6:6, and in the case of Sennacherib, in your behalf, but) in anger … fury … great wrath." Still God proclaimeth himself this people’s enemy. Pestilences are but the usual consequents of long sieges, through the scantness and unwholesomeness of food; but God is the first cause of such sore judgments, though there be other second causes. The murrain of beasts bears proportion to the pestilence amongst men, and the beasts are threatened as well as men, not because of any sin in them, but because men are punished in them, they being part of their substance; and this is a part of that bondage of corruption from which the creature groaneth to be delivered, of that vanity to which they are subject, which maketh the irrational part of the creation to be brought in by the apostle, Romans 8:20-22, like as a woman travailing in pain, and desiring the day of judgment.

And I will smite the inhabitants of this city,.... With one or other of his arrows after mentioned: or, "them that abide in this city" (o); that do not go out of it, and surrender themselves to the king of Babylon; see Jeremiah 21:9;

both man and beast; the latter for the sin of the former; particularly such beasts as were fit for food are meant, whereby the famine would be increased, and so the greater destruction of men:

they shall die of a great pestilence; both man and beast; a disease which comes immediately from the hand of God; hence Hippocrates used to call it , "the divine disease": here it denotes a very uncommon one, which should sweep away large numbers; called great, both for quality, or the nature of it, and for the quantity of persons that died of it.

(o) "manentes in hac urbe", Gataker.

And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jeremiah 21:6The Lord's reply through Jeremiah consists of three parts: a. The answer to the king's hope that the Lord will save Jerusalem from the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 21:4-7); b. The counsel given to the people and the royal family as to how they may avert ruin (Jeremiah 21:8-12); c. The prediction that Jerusalem will be punished for her sins (Jeremiah 21:13 and Jeremiah 21:14).

Jeremiah 21:3-6

The answer. - Jeremiah 21:3. "And Jeremiah said to them: Thus shall ye say to Zedekiah: Jeremiah 21:4. Thus hath Jahveh the God of Israel said: Behold, I turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans, which besiege you without the walls, and gather them together into the midst of this city. Jeremiah 21:5. And I fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm, and with anger and fury and great wrath, Jeremiah 21:6. And smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; of a great plague they shall die. Jeremiah 21:7. And afterward, saith Jahveh, I will give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his servants, and the people - namely, such as in this city are left of the plague, of the sword, and of the famine - into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek after their life, that he may smite them according to the sharpness of the sword, not spare them, neither have pity nor mercy." This answer is intended to disabuse the king and his servants of all hope of help from God. So far from saving them from the Chaldeans, God will fight against them, will drive back into the city its defenders that are still holding out without the walls against the enemy; consume the inhabitants by sword, pestilence, famine; deliver the king, with his servants and all that survive inside the lines of the besiegers, into the hand of the latter, and unsparingly cause them to be put to death. "I make the weapons of war turn back" is carried on and explained by "I gather them into the city." The sense is: I will bring it about that ye, who still fight without the walls against the beleaguerers, must turn back with your weapons and retreat into the city. "Without the walls" is not to be joined to מסב, because this is too remote, and מחוּץ is by usage locative, not ablative. It should go with "wherewith ye fight," etc.: wherewith ye fight without the walls against the beleaguering enemies. The siege had but just begun, so that the Jews were still trying to hinder the enemy from taking possession of stronger positions and from a closer blockade of the city. In this they will not succeed, but their weapons will be thrust back into the city.

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