Jeremiah 22:7
And I will prepare destroyers against you, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down your choice cedars, and cast them into the fire.
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(7) I will prepare destroyers.—The verb, as in Jeremiah 6:4, implies the idea of a solemn appointment or consecration.

They shall cut down thy choice cedars.—The metaphor of the preceding verse is carried further, and the “choice cedars” are the princes of the royal house of Judah, and the chief counsellors and generals, as well as the actual columns of cedar-wood.

22:1-9 The king of Judah is spoken to, as sitting upon the throne of David, the man after God's own heart. Let him follow his example, that he may have the benefit of the promises made to him. The way to preserve a government, is to do the duty of it. But sin will be the ruin of the houses of princes, as well as of meaner men. And who can contend with destroyers of God's preparing? God destroys neither persons, cities, nor nations, except for sin; even in this world he often makes it plain for what crimes he sends punishment; and it will be clear at the day of judgement.Prepare - i. e., consecrate, see Jeremiah 6:4 note.

Thy choice cedars - The chief members of the royal lineage and the leading officers of state.

7. prepare—literally, "sanctify," or solemnly set apart for a particular work (compare Isa 13:3).

thy choice cedars—(Isa 37:24). Thy palaces built of choice cedars (So 1:17).

They shall not only be edged with their own lusts and malice; but commissioned and influenced by me, and shall come sufficiently prepared for their work. And they shall cut down and burn thy buildings, which are made of goodly cedars. And I will prepare destroyers against thee,.... The Chaldeans, men of savage dispositions, bent upon the destruction of their neighbours; and who had already destroyed many nations, and so fit instruments for such service, as after mentioned; and who yet did not come merely of themselves, but were moved and directed to it by the powerful and all wise providence of God, in consequence of a previous preparation and appointment of them by the Lord in his counsels and purposes. It is, in the original text, "I will sanctify destroyers" (c); and not only intends a purpose and design; but suggests, that what they should do by his will and order would be consistent with his holiness and justice; and also that being prepared and ready, they might quickly expect a visit from them:

everyone with his weapons; of war, or slaughter weapons, as in Ezekiel 9:2; or, "a man and his weapons" (d); not a single man only, as Nebuchadnezzar, but him and his army; everyone of the destroyers prepared with proper instruments to do execution: and

they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire; the sons of the king, the princes of the blood, the nobles of the land, and other persons of rank and distinction, comparable to the tall cedars of Lebanon; so the Targum,

"and they shall slay the beauty of thy mighty ones, as the trees of a forest are cut down, and cast into the fire;''

or else the stately palaces of the king and his nobles, and other beautiful buildings, which were lined and ceiled with cedar, are here meant; and which the Chaldeans burnt with fire, Jeremiah 52:13.

(c) "sanctificabo", V. L. Montanus, Cocceius. (d) "virum et arma ejus", Vulg. Lat. Vatablus; "virum et instrumenta ejus", Montanus, Cocceius.

And I will {d} prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down thy choice {e} cedars, and cast them into the fire.

(d) The Hebrew word signifies to sanctify because the Lord dedicates to his use and purpose such as he prepares to execute his work, Isa 13:3, Jer 6:4,12:3.

(e) Your buildings made from cedar trees.

7. prepare] lit. as mg. sanctify. See on Jeremiah 6:4, and cp. Isaiah 13:3.

thy choice cedars] the chief men of the State.Verse 7. - I will prepare; literally, I will consecrate; the Babylonians being instruments of the Divine vengeance (see on Jeremiah 6:4). The king is warned against injustice, and the violent oppression of the poor and defenceless. - Jeremiah 22:1. "Thus said Jahveh: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, Jeremiah 22:2. And say: Hear the word of Jahveh, thou king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people, that go in by these gates. Jeremiah 22:3. Thus hath Jahveh said: Do ye right and justice, and save the despoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; to stranger, orphan, and widow do no wrong, no violence; and innocent blood shed not in this place. Jeremiah 22:4. For if ye will do this word indeed, then by the gates of this place there shall come in kings that sit upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. Jeremiah 22:5. But if ye hearken not to these words, by myself have I sworn, saith Jahve, that this house shall become a desolation. Jeremiah 22:6. For thus hath Jahveh said concerning the house of the king of Judah: A Gilead art thou to me, a head of Lebanon; surely I will make thee a wilderness, cities uninhabited; Jeremiah 22:7. And will consecrate against thee destroyers, each with his tools, who shall hew down the choice of thy cedars and cast them into the fire. Jeremiah 22:8. And there shall pass may peoples by this city, and one shall say to the other: Wherefore hath Jahveh done thus unto this great city? Jeremiah 22:9. And they will say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of Jahveh their God, and worshipped other gods and served them."

Go down into the house of the king. The prophet could go down only from the temple; cf. Jeremiah 36:12 and Jeremiah 26:10. Not only the king is to hear the word of the Lord, but his servants too, and the people, who go in by these gates, the gates of the royal castle. The exhortation: to do right and justice, etc., is only an expansion of the brief counsel at Jeremiah 21:12, and that brought home to the heart of the whole people in Jeremiah 7:6, cf. Ezekiel 22:6. The form עשׁוק for עושׁק, Jeremiah 21:12, occurs only here, but is formed analogously to גּדול, and cannot be objected to. אל־תּנוּ is strengthened by "do no violence." On "kings riding," etc., cf. Jeremiah 17:25. - With Jeremiah 22:5 cf. Jeremiah 17:27, where, however, the threatening is otherwise worded. בּי , cf. Genesis 22:16. כּי introduces the contents of the oath. "This house" is the royal palace. לחרבּה as in Jeremiah 7:34, cf. Jeremiah 27:17. The threatening is illustrated in Jeremiah 22:6 by further description of the destruction of the palace. The royal castle is addressed, and, in respect of its lofty situation and magnificence, is called a Gilead and a head of Lebanon. It lay on the north-eastern eminence of Mount Zion (see on 1 Kings 7:12, note 1), and contained the so-called forest-house of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2-5) and various other buildings built of cedar, or, at least, faced with cedar planks (cf. Jeremiah 22:14, Jeremiah 22:23); so that the entire building might be compared to a forest of cedars on the summit of Lebanon. In the comparison to Gilead, Gilead can hardly be adduced in respect of its great fertility as a pasturing land (Numbers 32:1; Micah 7:14), but in virtue of the thickly wooded covering of the hill-country of Gilead on both sides of the Jabbok. This is still in great measure clothed with oak thickets and, according to Buckingham, the most beautiful forest tracts that can be imagined; cf. C. v. Raumer, Pal. S. 82.

(Note: In 1834 Eli Smith travelled through it, and thus writes: "Jebel 'Ajlun presents the most charming rural scenery that I have seen in Syria. A continued forest of noble trees, chiefly the evergreen oak, covers a large part of it, while the ground beneath is clothed with luxuriant grass and decked with a rich variety of wild flowers. As we went from el-Husn to 'Ajlun our path lay along the summit of the mountain; and we often overlooked a large part of Palestine on one side and the whole of Haurn." - Rob. Phys. Geog. p. 54.)

אם לא is a particle of asseveration. This glorious forest of cedar buildings is to become a מדבּר, a treeless steppe, cities uninhabited. "Cities" refers to the thing compared, not to the emblem; and the plural, as being the form for indefinite generality, presents no difficulty. And the attachment thereto of a singular predicate has many analogies in its support, cf. Ew. 317, a. The Keri נושׁבוּ is an uncalled for emendation of the Chet. נושׁבה, cf. Jeremiah 6:5. - "I consecrate," in respect that the destroyers are warriors whom God sends as the executors of His will, see on Jeremiah 6:4. With "a man and his weapons," cf. Ezekiel 9:2. In keeping with the figure of a forest, the destruction is represented as the hewing down of the choicest cedars; cf. Isaiah 10:34. - Thus is to be accomplished in Jerusalem what Moses threatened, Deuteronomy 29:23; the destroyed city will become a monument of God's wrath against the transgressors of His covenant. Jeremiah 22:8 is modelled upon Deuteronomy 29:23., cf. 1 Kings 9:8., and made to bear upon Jerusalem, since, along with the palace, the city too is destroyed by the enemy.

From Jeremiah 22:10 onwards the exhortation to the evil shepherds becomes a prophecy concerning the kings of that time, who by their godless courses hurried on the threatened destruction. The prophecy begins with King Jehoahaz, who, after a reign of three months, had bee discrowned by Pharaoh Necho and carried captive to Egypt; 2 Kings 23:30-35; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4.

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