Jeremiah 25:38
He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(38) He hath forsaken his covert . . .—The image of Jeremiah 25:30 is reproduced. The thunder of Jehovah’s wrath is as the roaring of the lion (Amos 3:8). He is as the lion leaving its hiding-place in the forest, and going forth to do its work of vengeance.

Because of the fierceness of the oppressor.—A slight alteration, adopted by many commentators, gives “because of the sword of oppression,” as in Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16. The word for “oppressor” or “oppression” also means “dove,” and is so taken by the Vulg., a facie iræ columbæ, and it has been stated that this bird was blazoned on the standards of the Babylonians (Diod. Sic. ii. 4), and so had become a symbol of their power. In Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16 the LXX., which here gives “the great sword,” reads “the Greek sword,” as though the Hebrew word (Iona) meant Javan or Ionia. That meaning is, of course, out of the question here. On the whole there seems no reason for altering the English version, though the precise combination of words is an unusual one.

25:30-38 The Lord has just ground of controversy with every nation and every person; and he will execute judgment on all the wicked. Who can avoid trembling when God speaks in displeasure? The days are fully come; the time fixed in the Divine counsels, which will make the nations wholly desolate. The tender and delicate shall share the common calamity. Even those who used to live in peace, and did nothing to provoke, shall not escape. Blessed be God, there is a peaceable habitation above, for all the sons of peace. The Lord will preserve his church and all believers in all changes; for nothing can separate them from his love.Yahweh has risen up, like a lion that leaves its covert, eager for prey, that He may execute judgment upon the wicked. 38. his covert—the temple, where heretofore, like a lion, as its defender, by the mere terror of His voice He warded off the foe; but now He leaves it a prey to the Gentiles [Calvin].

fierceness of … oppressor—rather, as the Hebrew, for "oppressor" is an adjective feminine, the word "sword" is understood, which, in Jer 46:16; 50:16, is expressed (indeed, some manuscripts and the Septuagint read "sword" instead of "fierceness" here; probably interpolated from Jer 46:16), "the oppressing sword." The Hebrew for "oppressing" means also a "dove": there may be, therefore, a covert allusion to the Chaldean standard bearing a dove on it, in honor of Semiramis, the first queen, said in popular superstition to have been nourished by doves when exposed at birth, and at death to have been transformed into a dove. Her name may come from a root referring to the cooing of a dove. That bird was held sacred to the goddess Venus. Vulgate so translates "the anger of the dove."

his … anger—If the anger of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be evaded, how much less that of God (compare Jer 25:37)!

God had before compared himself to a lion, Jeremiah 25:30; here he declares himself to be about to move like a lion, who when he goeth out to seek his prey, leaveth his covert: see Jeremiah 50:44. The effects of this rising up of God out of his covert is the desolation of the land through the fierceness of the enemy, caused from the fierce anger of God now ready to be poured out upon this people.

He hath forsaken his covert as a lion,.... Which some understand of God leaving Jerusalem, or the temple, where he dwelt; who, while he made it his residence, protected it; but when he forsook it, it became exposed to the enemy. Kimchi says it may be understood of the destruction of the first temple by Nebuchadnezzar; but he thinks it is most correct to interpret it of the destruction of the second temple; that is, by the Romans, when it was left desolate by Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. But it may be understood of Nebuchadnezzar leaving Babylon, his den, and ranging about like a lion for his prey; see Jeremiah 4:7. So the Targum,

"and a king has removed from his tower or fortress;''

and the land is desolate; the land of Judea, or whatsoever country he comes into with his army; that, or Egypt, or any other:

because of the fierceness of the oppressor; the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar; or "oppressing sword" (w), as some supply it, it being feminine; and so the Targum,

"from before the sword of the enemy.''

Some render it, "because of the fierceness of the dove"; so the Vulgate Latin; and understand it of the Babylonians or Chaldeans; who, as the Romans had an eagle, they had the dove on their standards or ensigns; which they received from the Assyrians, when they succeeded them in their monarchy; and those from Semiramis their first queen, who had it, it is said, on her standard (x); and was retained in honour of her, and in memory of her being nourished by a dove, and turned into one after her death, as commonly believed (y); and who had her name, as is affirmed (z), from the word "semira", signifying, in the Chaldee language, the song or cooing of the dove; but fierceness ill agrees with the dove, which is a meek and harmless creature;

and because of his fierce anger; either of God, or of the king of Babylon his instrument, in destroying nations; not Judea only, but many others.

(w) "gladii opprimentis", Junius & Tremellius; "gladii abripientis", Piscator. So Gataker and Ben Melech. (x) R. David Gantz, Tzemach David, par. 2. fol. 4. 1. Vid. Lydium, de Re Militare, l. 3. c. 7. p. 83, 84. (y) Vid. Diodor. Sicul l. 2. p. 92, 107. Ed. Rhodoman. (z) R. Azarias, Meor, Enayim, c. 21. fol. 89. 2. Vid Selden, De Dieu, Syris, l. 2. c. 3. p. 275.

He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
38. He hath forsaken his covert] a repetition of the figure with which the section opened. As the lion seeks other shelter, when that which he has dwelt in hitherto is destroyed, so Jehovah forsakes his land now that it has become desolate. But perhaps we should omit “as,” and read “the lion leaves his covert,” i.e. the very jungle is cleared away in devastation. The future fate of Judah is spoken of as already accomplished.

the fierceness of the oppressing sword] Observe the italics in text. Owing to the word rendered “oppressing” being scarcely found elsewhere except as an adjective in the expression “oppressing sword” (Jeremiah 46:16 and Jeremiah 50:16), a reading which by a slight alteration of the Hebrew for “fierceness” (supported by LXX) we obtain here, we may safely adopt it, discarding “the fierceness of.” The Vulg. renders the Hebrew word above referred to in its more ordinary sense of a dove, i.e. Nebuchadnezzar, in reference to the Jewish belief that his standards bore that device.

and because of his fierce anger] This clause is not found in LXX, but is wanted for parallelism, and so very possibly to be retained.

Verse 38. - Close of the prophecy with a fuller enunciation of the thought with which the paragraph was introduced. He hath forsaken; comp. ver. 30, and notice the impressive non-mention of the subject (as Jeremiah 4:13, etc.). Their land; i.e. that of the shepherds. The fierceness of the oppressor. A various reading, supported by some manuscripts, the Septuagint and the Targum, and accepted by Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf, and is the oppressing sword (so Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16). The text reading is very difficult to defend, and the punctuation itself is really more in favor of the variant than of the received text.



Jeremiah 25:38The prophet is already hearing in spirit the lamentation to which in Jeremiah 25:34 he has called them, because Jahveh has laid waste the pastures of the shepherds and their flocks, and destroyed the peaceful meadows by the heat of His anger. - In Jeremiah 25:38, finally, the discourse is rounded off by a repetition and expansion of the thought with which the description of the judgment was begun in Jeremiah 25:30. As a young lion forsakes his covert to seek for prey, so Jahveh has gone forth out of His heavenly habitation to hold judgment on the people; for their (the shepherds') land becomes a desert. The perff. are prophetic. כּי has grounding force. The desolation of the land gives proof that the Lord has arisen to do judgment. חרון היּונה seems strange, since the adjective היּונה never occurs independently, but only in connection with חרב (Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16, and with עיר, Zechariah 3:1). חרון, again, is regularly joined with 'אף י, and only three times besides with a suffix referring to Jahveh (Exodus 15:7; Psalm 2:5; Ezekiel 7:14). In this we find justification for the conjecture of Hitz., Ew., Gr., etc., that we should read with the lxx and Chald. חרב . The article with the adj. after the subst. without one, here and in Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16, is to be explained by the looseness of connection between the participle and its noun; cf. Ew. ֗335, a.
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