Jeremiah 30:5
For thus said the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
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(5, 6) Thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling . . .—There is a strange mingling of the divine and human elements in these words. The prophet speaks with the sense that the words are not his own, and yet what he utters is, at first, the expression of his own horror and astonishment at the vision of woe that is opening before his eyes. He sees, as it were, the famine-stricken people, their faces gathering blackness, the strong men giving way to a woman’s anguish, wailing with their hands on their loins. In horror rather than in scorn, he asks the question, What means all this? Are these men in the pangs of childbirth? (Comp. Jeremiah 4:31; Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 13:21.) In Lamentations 2:19-22 we have a fuller picture of a like scene. By some commentators the three verses (5-7) are referred to the alarm caused in Babylon by the advance of Cyrus, and “that day” is the day of his capture of the city, but there seems no sufficient reason for such an interpretation.

30:1-11 Jeremiah is to write what God had spoken to him. The very words are such as the Holy Ghost teaches. These are the words God ordered to be written; and promises written by his order, are truly his word. He must write a description of the trouble the people were now in, and were likely to be in. A happy end should be put to these calamities. Though the afflictions of the church may last long, they shall not last always. The Jews shall be restored again. They shall obey, or hearken to the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of David, their King. The deliverance of the Jews from Babylon, is pointed out in the prophecy, but the restoration and happy state of Israel and Judah, when converted to Christ their King, are foretold; also the miseries of the nations before the coming of Christ. All men must honour the Son as they honour the Father, and come into the service and worship of God by him. Our gracious Lord pardons the sins of the believer, and breaks off the yoke of sin and Satan, that he may serve God without fear, in righteousness and true holiness before him all the remainder of his days, as the redeemed subject of Christ our King.Better, as in the margin. The prophet places his hearers in the center of Babylon, and describes it as convulsed with terror as the armies of Cyrus draw near. The voice of trembling is the war-cry of the advancing host: while fear and no peace implies that even among the exiles there is only alarm at the prospect of the city, where they had so long dwelt, being destroyed. 5. We have heard … trembling—God introduces the Jews speaking that which they will be reduced to at last in spite of their stubbornness. Threat and promise are combined: the former briefly; namely, the misery of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity down to their "trembling" and "fear" arising from the approach of the Medo-Persian army of Cyrus against Babylon; the promise is more fully dwelt on; namely, their "trembling" will issue in a deliverance as speedy as is the transition from a woman's labor pangs to her joy at giving birth to a child (Jer 30:6). God here speaketh, but whether personating other nations or the Jewish nation is not agreed, nor yet whether this text refers to the times of the Messiah, when the nations should tremble, or the time when Darius invaded Babylon, or the times of Gog and Magog, (of which read Ezekiel 38) or the time when the Chaldeans invaded Judah: this last seemeth most probable, and that God by this intended only to rouse the Jews out of their security, and put them off from expecting peace according to the flatteries of the false prophets, assuring them that the times that were coming next were not times of peace, but such as should make them tremble. For thus saith the Lord,.... Yet what follows are the words of others; wherefore some supply it, "for thus saith the Lord, the nations shall say" (p); so Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it as what the Gentiles will say in the times of the Messiah; but it might be better supplied, "ye shall say"; that is, Israel and Judah; to whom the words of the Lord are spoken in Jeremiah 30:3; or else the Lord here represents his people, saying:

we have heard a voice of trembling, ear, and not of peace; which is to be understood, of the fear and dread injected into them by the Babylonians when they besieged their city, and burned that, and their temple; nor of the fear and dread which came upon the Babylonians at the taking of their city by Cyrus, upon which followed the deliverance of the Jews. Kimchi interprets this of something yet future, the war of Gog and Magog, which he supposes wilt be when their Messiah comes; and Jarchi sans it is so understood in their Midrash Agadah. This distress, I think, refers to the slaying of the witnesses, and to that hour of temptation which shall come upon all the earth to try the inhabitants of it; and which will be followed with the destruction of antichrist; and that will make way for the call and conversion of the Jews.

(p) "Gentes dicturae sunt", Vatablus.

For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a {b} voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.

(b) He shows that before this deliverance will come, the Chaldeans would be extremely afflicted by their enemies, and that they would be in such perplexity and sorrow as a woman in her travail as Isa 13:8.

5. We have heard … of peace] Jehovah is quoting the words of consternation which He hears the people uttering; but more probably the words “Thus saith the Lord” are the insertion of a scribe, and it is really the people who are speaking.

of fear, and not of peace] mg. (better) there is fear, and no peace.

5–22. See introd. note to section. For a parallel in the character of the description in Jeremiah 30:5-11, Dr. compares Isaiah 13:6-15 (the overthrow of Babylon) followed by Isaiah 14:1 f. (the deliverance of Israel); also Isaiah 24:14-15; Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 25:1-5.Verses 5-11. - The great judgment of Israel's deliverance. It is nothing less than the "day of Jehovah" which the prophet sees in spirit - a day which is "great" (ver. 7; comp. Joel 2:11; Zephaniah 1:14) and terrible (vers. 5, 6; comp. Amos 5:18, 20; Isaiah 13:6; Joel 2:1, 11) for Israel, a day of "trouble" (ver. 7), but for his enemies of destruction. Verse 5. - A voice of trembling; rather, a sound of trembling, a sound causing men to tremble; doubtless it is "the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war" (Jeremiah 4:19). Of fear, and not of peace; rather, there is fear, and no peace. "Peace," as usual, means the harmony of a well ordered, secure, and peaceful community. Literally, it is wholeness; its opposite is "breaking," i.e. outward ruin and inward anguish. In consequence of this, Jeremiah received from the Lord the commission to predict to Shemaiah his punishment at the hand of God, and to send the prediction to all that are in Babylon in banishment. With Jeremiah 29:31, cf. Jeremiah 28:15. The punishment is this: Shemaiah shall have no posterity among his people, i.e., of his children none shall be left amongst the people, nor shall he see, i.e., experience, have any share in the blessings which the Lord will yet bestow upon His people. The extinction of his race and his own exclusion from the privilege of seeing the day of Israel's redemption are the punishment that is to fall on him for his rebellion against the commandment of the Lord. With 'כּי סרה cf. Jeremiah 28:16.
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