Jeremiah 31:39
And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.
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(39) The hill Gareb . . .—Neither of the two localities named is mentioned elsewhere, and their position is accordingly simply matter for conjecture. The name of the first, as signifying “the leper’s hill” (the term being one that includes leprosy as well as other skin-diseases, Leviticus 21:20; Leviticus 22:22), indicates probably a position outside the walls assigned as a dwelling to persons suffering from that disease, corresponding, as some think, with the hill on the north side of Jerusalem which Josephus describes as Bezetha (Wars, v. 4, § 2). Others, however, assign its position to the south-west corner of the walls. The name Gareb appears in 2Samuel 23:38 as belonging to one of David’s thirty heroes, but there is nothing to connect him with the locality. Goath is a word of doubtful etymology. Some scholars (Hitzig) interpret it as “high-towering,” and refer it to the height overlooking Kidron, afterwards surmounted by the tower Antonia. The Targum, however, paraphrases it as “the pool of the heifers,” and connects the name with the verb for the lowing of that animal. By some writers it has been identified with Golgotha, but both topography and etymology are against this view.

31:35-40 As surely as the heavenly bodies will continue their settled course, according to the will of their Creator, to the end of time, and as the raging sea obeys him, so surely will the Jews be continued a separate people. Words can scarcely set forth more strongly the restoration of Israel. The rebuilding of Jerusalem, and its enlargement and establishment, shall be an earnest of the great things God will do for the gospel church. The personal happiness of every true believer, as well as the future restoration of Israel, is secured by promise, covenant, and oath. This Divine love passes knowledge; and to those who take hold upon it, every present mercy is an earnest of salvation.Over ... Gareb - Or, straight along the hill Gareb. Probably the hill of lepers, outside the old walls, toward the southwest.

Goath - Goah. Unknown.

39. measuring-line—(Eze 40:8; Zec 2:1).

Gareb—from a Hebrew root, "to scrape"; Syriac, "leprosy"; the locality outside of the city, to which lepers were removed.

Goath—from a root, "to toil," referring to the toilsome ascent there: outside of the city of David, towards the southwest, as Gareb was northwest [Junius].

That is, it shall be built round about upon its old foundations: see Ne 3. We are ignorant of the ancient situation of the city, so are the Jews themselves, therefore it is vain to pretend to an exact skill in these names of places; some say

Gareb signifies a scab, and the hill had its name from leprous persons lying there.

And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it,.... Or, "before it" (p); the gate proceeding right on from it; of the length of the measuring line, or reed; see Ezekiel 40:5; though some render it, "before him" (q); before the Lord, under whose direction and powerful providence the work went on; so the city gates and walls of the New Jerusalem are said to be measured with a reed, Revelation 21:15;

upon the hill Gareb; which signifies a "scab", so called, as is supposed, from scabby and leprous persons sent here to dwell, which was a "lazaretto" for them. Lightfoot, following Lyra, takes it to be the same with Mount Calvary: it was on the north side of the city, bending to the west; and, if the same with Calvary, it was on the west side. The Targum renders it,

"the hill which was near to Gareb:''

and shall compass about to Goath; so called perhaps from the difficulty of its ascent, it being a laborious work to go up to it, enough to make a man breathe. Lyra takes it to be Golgotha, which is not very likely; it seems to be at some distance from the former; since from that there was a round about, a compass fetched to this: it is supposed to lie on the west side of the city, towards the south. The Targum renders it the calves' pool, or the round pool; it is thought by some more likely to be the hill Josephus (r) speaks of, that hung over the valley of Siloam.

(p) "ante ipsam", Tigurine version, Gataker (q) "Coram eo", Pagninus, Montanus; "coram ipso", Calvin. (r) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 12. sect. 2.

And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.
39. This v., continuing the description from the N. W. corner, takes the W. side of Jerusalem and promises an extension in that direction also towards the valley of Hinnom southwards.

Gareb] Nothing further is known of this name or of “Goah.”

Verse 39. - Over against it upon the hill Gareb; rather, straight forward unto the hill Gareb. The hill of Gareb is not mentioned elsewhere; its meaning is probably "Leper's Hill." It must, of course, have been outside the city, and may be identified (after Schleussner and Hitzig) with "the fourth hill, which is called Bezetha" (Josephus, 'De Bell. Jud.,' 5:04, 2). To Goath; rather, to Goah. But the reading of the Peshito, "to Gibeah," should probably be adopted. Jeremiah 31:39Then shall Jerusalem be built up as a holy city of God, and be no more destroyed. After ימים, the Masoretic text wants בּאים, which is supplied in the Qeri. Hengstenberg is of opinion that the expression was abbreviated here, inasmuch as it has already occurred before, several times, in its full form (Jeremiah 31:27 and Jeremiah 31:31); but Jeremiah does not usually abbreviate when he repeats an expression, and באים has perhaps been dropped merely through an error in transcription. "The city shall be built for Jahveh," so that it thenceforth belongs to Him, is consecrated to Him. The extent of the new city is described as being "from the tower of Hananeel to the gate of the corner." The tower of Hananeel, according to Nehemiah 3:1 and Zechariah 4:10, was situated on the north-east corner of the city wall; the gate of the corner was at the north-west corner of the city, to the north or north-west of the present "Jaffa Gate;" see on 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9; cf. Zechariah 14:10. This account thus briefly describes the whole north side. Jeremiah 31:39. The measuring-line (קוה as found here, 1 Kings 7:23 and Zechariah 1:16, is the original form, afterwards shortened into קו, the Qeri) further goes out נגדּו, "before itself," i.e., straight out over the hill Gareb. על does not mean "away towards, or on" (Hitzig); nor is the true reading עד, "as far as, even to," which is met with in several codices: the correct rendering is "away over," so that a part, at least, of the hill was included within the city bounds. "And turns towards Goah." These two places last named are unknown. From the context of the passage only this much is clear, that both of them were situated on the west of the city; for the starting-point of the line spoken of is in the north-west, and the valley of Ben-hinnom joins in at the end of it, in the south, Jeremiah 31:40. גּרב means "itching," for גּרב in Leviticus 21:20; Leviticus 22:22 means "the itch;" in Arabic also "the leprosy." From this, many expositors infer that the hill Gareb was the hill where lepers were obliged to dwell by themselves, outside the city. This supposition is probable; there is no truth, however, in the assumption of Schleussner, Krafft (Topogr. von Jerus. S. 158), Hitzig, and Hengstenberg, that the hill Bezetha, included within the city bounds by the third wall of Agrippa, is the one meant; for the line described in Jeremiah 31:39 is not to be sought for on the north side of the city. With Graf, we look for the hill Gareb on the mount which lies westward from the valley of Ben-hinnom and at the end of the valley of Rephaim, towards the north (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16), so that it is likely we must consider it to be identical with "the top of the mountain" mentioned in these passages. This mountain is the rocky ridge which bounds the valley of Ben-hinnom on the west, and stretches northwards, on the west side of the valley of Gihon and the Lower Pool (Birket es Sultn), to near the high road to Jaffa, where it turns off towards the west on the under (i.e., south) side of the Upper Pool (Birket el Mamilla); see on Joshua 15:8. It is not, as Thenius supposes (Jerusalem before the Exile, an appendix to his commentary on the Books of Kings), the bare rocky hill situated on the north, and overhanging the Upper Pool; on this view, Goah could only be the steep descent from the plateau into the valley of Kidron, opposite this hill, towards the east. Regarding Goah, only this much can be said with certainty, that the supposition, made by Vitringa and Hengstenberg, of a connection between the name and Golgotha, is untenable; lexical considerations and facts are all against it. Golgotha was situated in the north-west: Goah must be sought for south-west from Jerusalem. The translation of the Chaldee, "cattle-pond," is a mere inference from גּעה, "to bellow." But, in spite of the uncertainty experienced in determining the positions of the hill Gareb and Goah, this much is evident from the verse before us, that the city, which is thus to be built anew, will extend to the west beyond the space occupied by old Jerusalem, and include within it districts or spots which lay outside old (i.e., pre-and post-exile) Jerusalem, and which had been divided off from the city, as unclean places.
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