Jeremiah 30:5
For thus saith 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. Jeremiah 30:5The judgment on the nations for the deliverance of Israel. - Jeremiah 30:4. "And these are the words which Jahveh spake concerning Israel and Judah: Jeremiah 30:5. For thus saith Jahveh: We have heard a cry of terror, fear, and no peace. Jeremiah 30:6. Ask now, and see whether a male bears a child? Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in childbirth, and every face turned to paleness? Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, with none like it, and it is a time of distress for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:8. And it shall come to pass on that day, saith Jahveh of hosts, that I will break his yoke from upon thy neck, and I will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more put servitude on him; Jeremiah 30:9. But they shall serve Jahveh their God, and David their king, whom I shall raise up to them. Jeremiah 30:10. But fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith Jahveh, neither be confounded, O Israel; for, behold, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be at rest, and be secure, and there shall be none making him afraid. Jeremiah 30:11. For I am with thee, saith Jahveh, to save thee; for I will make an end of all the nations whither I have scattered thee, yet of thee will I not make an end, but I will chastise thee properly and will not let thee go quite unpunished."

With Jeremiah 30:4 is introduced the description of Israel's restoration announced in Jeremiah 30:3. This introduction is not absolutely necessary, but neither is it for that reason spurious and to be expunged, as Hitzig seeks to do; it rather corresponds to the breadth of Jeremiah's representation. The כּי in Jeremiah 30:5 is explicative: "Thus, namely, hath Jahveh spoken." With the lively dramatic power of a poet, the prophet at once transports the hearers or readers of his prophecy, in thought, into the great day to come, which is to bring deliverance to all Israel. As a day of judgment, it brings terror and anguish on all those who live to see it. קול חרדה, "A voice (sound) of trembling (or terror) we hear," viz., the people, of whom the prophet is one. פּחד does not depend on שׁמענוּ, but forms with ואין שׁלום an independent clause: "There is fear and not peace" (or safety). Jeremiah 30:6. What is the cause of this great horror, which makes all men, from convulsive pains, hold their hands on their loins, so as to support their bowels, in which they feel the pangs, and which makes every countenance pale? In Jeremiah 30:7 the cause of this horror is declared. It is the great day of judgment that is coming. "That (not hits) day" points to the future, and thus, even apart from other reasons, excludes the supposition that it is the day of the destruction of Jerusalem that is meant. The words "that day is great" refer to Joel 2:11, and "there is none like it" is an imitation of Joel 2:2; in the latter passage the prophet makes use of a judgment which he had seen passed on Judah - its devastation by locusts - and for the first time presents, as the main element in his prophecy, the idea of the great day of judgment to come on all nations, and by which the Lord will perfect His kingdom on this earth. This day is for Jacob also, i.e., for all Israel, a time of distress; for the judgment falls not merely on the heathen nations, but also on the godless members of the covenant people, that they may be destroyed from among the congregation of the Lord. The judgment is therefore for Israel as well as for other nations a critical juncture, from which the Israel of God, the community of the faithful, will be delivered. This deliverance is described more in detail in Jeremiah 30:8. The Lord will break the yoke imposed on Israel, free His people from all bondage to strangers, i.e., the heathen, so that they may serve only Him, the Lord, and David, His king, whom He will raise up. The suffix in עלּו is referred by several expositors (Hitzig, Ngelsbach) to the king of Babylon, "as having been most clearly before the minds of Jeremiah and his contemporaries;" in support of this view we are pointed to Isaiah 10:27, as a passage which may have been before the eyes of Jeremiah. But neither this parallel passage nor צוּארך (with the suffix of the second person), which immediately follows, sufficiently justifies this view. For, in the second half also of the verse, the second person is interchanged with the third, and מוסרותיך, which is parallel with עלּו, requires us to refer the suffix in the latter word to Jacob, so that "his yoke" means "the yoke laid on him," as in 1 Kings 12:4; Isaiah 9:3. It is also to be borne in mind that, throughout the whole prophecy, neither Babylon nor the king of Babylon is once mentioned; and that the judgment described in these verses cannot possibly be restricted to the downfall of the Babylonian monarchy, but is the judgment that is to fall upon all nations (Jeremiah 30:11). And although this judgment begins with the fall of the Babylonian supremacy, it will bring deliverance to the people of God, not merely from the yoke of Babylon, but from every yoke which strangers have laid or will lay on them.

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