Jeremiah 33:4
For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;
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(4) Concerning the houses of this city . . .—The words point to the incident which was the occasion of the prophecy. The houses referred to had either been destroyed by the invaders, or, more probably, by the besieged, in order to erect a counter-work against the “mounts” which the Chaldæans had set against it. The “swords” (the word is translated by “axes” in Ezekiel 26:9) include tools used for breaking down walls.

Jeremiah 33:4-5. Thus saith the Lord concerning the houses of this city — Not excepting those of the kings of Judah, thrown down by the mounts — Namely, by the battering engines placed upon the mounts, which were raised against the walls of the city; and by the sword — By the violence of war. The Hebrew word generally rendered sword may mean any instrument of iron, and particularly such as were used in demolishing any building. It is rendered a mattock by our translators, 2 Chronicles 24:6, and axes, Ezekiel 26:9. They come to fight with the Chaldeans — Most interpreters understand this as spoken of the Jews sallying forth against the Chaldeans, to beat them off from the siege, which they attempted to do in vain, and to their own destruction, only thus filling the houses of Jerusalem with the dead bodies of their men, who died of the wounds received from the Chaldeans in making those sallies. And the verse is thought to come in by way of parenthesis, between the fourth and sixth, to show that at present God would not prosper any efforts that were made for the defence of the city, though he would restore it hereafter to its former splendour.

33:1-13 Those who expect to receive comforts from God, must call upon him. Promises are given, not to do away, but to quicken and encourage prayer. These promises lead us to the gospel of Christ; and in that God has revealed truth to direct us, and peace to make us easy. All who by sanctifying grace are cleansed from the filth of sin, by pardoning mercy are freed from the guilt. When sinners are thus justified, washed, and sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit, they are enabled to walk before God in peace and purity. Many are led to perceive the real difference between the people of God and the world around them, and to fear the Divine wrath. It is promised that the people who were long in sorrow, shall again be filled with joy. Where the Lord gives righteousness and peace, he will give all needful supplies for temporal wants; and all we have will be comforts, as sanctified by the word and by prayer.By ... by - Rather, against ... against. As the works of the enemy approached the walls, houses were pulled down to build inner fortifications. Swords are mentioned in Ezekiel 26:9 (translated, axes), as used for breaking down the towers in the walls. See Jeremiah 5:17, note. 4. houses … thrown down by the mounts—namely, by the missiles cast from the besiegers' mounds (Jer 32:24); "and by the sword" follows properly, as, after missiles had prepared the way, the foe next advanced to close quarters "with the sword." That is, which in part are thrown dawn, and shall yet further be thrown down, by the engines of war which the Chaldeans use to batter down the city: see before, Jeremiah 32:24. Some read for the mounts, as if they were thrown down by the citizens to make room for the citizens to cast up defensive mounts. The word translated sword may be as well translated hammers or mattocks, as it is 2 Chronicles 34:6. It is translated axes, Ezekiel 26:9.

For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel,.... The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, which was now fulfilling, is here mentioned as a pledge of the accomplishment of spiritual blessings after spoken of; and to assure the prophet, that as he would with his own eyes see the fulfilment of the prophecies he had delivered out in the name of the Lord concerning that, so likewise as certainly would the other be brought to pass:

concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which were thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; by "the mounts", which the Chaldeans raised without the city; or by the engines they placed there, by which they cast out stones into the city, to the demolishing of the houses in it; not in common only, but particularly the houses of the king and nobles, which they especially directed their shot at; and by "the sword", hammers, axes, and mattocks, for which sometimes this word is used, when they entered into the city. Though some render the words, "which are thrown down for mounts, and for the sword" (r); that mounts might be made of them within, on which the Jews might fight and defend themselves against the Chaldeans. So the Targum,

"which they pulled down, and threw up mounts to strengthen the wall, against those that kill with the sword;''

and so Jarchi interprets it.

(r) "ad aggeres et vastitatem", Tigurine version; "in missilia catapultaria, et in gladium", Junius & Tremellius; "ad catapultas, et ad gladium", so some in Calvin.

For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the {c} mounts, and by the sword;

(c) Read Jer 32:24.

4. mounts] See on Jeremiah 6:6.

4, 5. These vv., as they stand, are evidently corrupt; for “they” (seeing that the word cannot, as strict grammar demands, mean “the houses”), as applied to the defenders of the city, would require the verb go out instead of “come.” There is something like an agreement among commentators that “the Chaldeans” were originally the subject, not the object, in Jeremiah 33:5. Thus the general sense is given in Co.’s emendation of the passage, viz. “which are broken down, against which the Chaldaeans come with mounds and swords to fight and to fill them with the dead bodies, etc.”

4–9. See introd. summary to section.

Verses 4-9. - The houses of Jerusalem, destroyed by the engines of the besiegers or filled with dead bodies, shall be restored; the captives shall be brought back; their sins shall be forgiven, and God be glorified. Verse 4. - By the mounts, and by the sword; rather, because of the mounds (see on Jeremiah 32:24) and because of the weapons of war. The latter are the warlike instruments used by the besiegers from their batteries or breastworks. Jeremiah 33:4Repair of the injuries and renewal of the prosperity of Jerusalem and Judah. - Jeremiah 33:4. "For thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down because of the besiegers' mounds and because of the sword, Jeremiah 33:5. While they come to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the corpses of men, whom I have slain in my wrath and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hidden my face from this city: Jeremiah 33:6. Behold, I will apply a bandage to it and a remedy, and will heal them, and will reveal to them abundance of peace and truth. Jeremiah 33:7. And I will turn again the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel, and will build them up as at the first. Jeremiah 33:8. And I will purify them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against me, and will pardon all their iniquities, by which they have sinned and have transgressed against me. Jeremiah 33:9. And it (the city) shall become to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour among all the people of the earth that shall hear all the good which I do them, and shall tremble and quake because of all the good and because of all the prosperity that I show to it. Jeremiah 33:10. Thus saith Jahveh: Again shall there be heard in this place-of which ye say, 'It is desolate, without man and without beast,'-in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, which are laid waste, without men, and without inhabitants, and without beasts, Jeremiah 33:11. The voice of gladness and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, 'Praise Jahveh of hosts, for Jahveh is good, for His mercy is for ever,' who bring thank-offerings into the house of Jahveh. For I will turn again the captivity of the land, as in the beginning, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 33:12. Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: In this place, which is laid waste, without man and beast, and in all its cities, there will yet be pasture-ground for shepherds making their flocks lie down in. Jeremiah 33:13. In the cities of the hill-country, in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the south, in the land of Benjamin, and in the environs of Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flock shall yet pass under the hand of one who counts them, saith Jahveh."

With Jeremiah 33:4 begins the statement concerning the great and incomprehensible things which the Lord will make known to His people; it is introduced by כּי, which marks the ground or reason - so far as the mere statement of these things gives reason for the promise of them. The word of the Lord does not follow till Jeremiah 33:6 and onwards. In Jeremiah 33:4 and Jeremiah 33:5 are mentioned those whom the word concerns - the houses of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:4), and the people that defend the city (Jeremiah 33:5). Corresponding to this order, there comes first the promise to the city (Jeremiah 33:6), and then to the people. Along with the houses of the city are specially named also the houses of the kings of Judah; not, perhaps, as Hitzig thinks, because these, being built of stone, afforded a more suitable material for the declared object - for that these alone were built of stone is an unfounded supposition - but in order to show that no house or palace is spared to defend the city. "Which are broken down" refers to the houses, not only of the kings, but also of the city. They are broken, pulled down, according to Isaiah 22:10, in order to fortify the walls of the city against the attacks of the enemy, partly to strengthen them, partly to repair the damage caused by the battering-rams directed against them. This gives the following meaning to the expression אל־הסּללות ואל־החרב: in order to work against the mounds, i.e., the earthworks erected by the enemy, and against the sword. The sword is named as being the chief weapon, instead of all the instruments of war which the enemy employs for reducing the city; cf. Ezekiel 26:9. It is against the laws of grammar to understand נתשׁים as referring to the destruction of the enemy by the siege material; for, on such a supposition, אל־ would require to designate the efficient cause, i.e., to stand for מפּני (cf. Jeremiah 4:26), but neither אל־ nor על can mean this. - The first half of Jeremiah 33:5 is difficult, especially בּאים, which the lxx have omitted, and which Movers and Hitzig would expunge, with the absurd remark, that it has come here from Jeremiah 31:38; this is an easy and frivolous method of setting aside difficulties. All other ancient translations have read בּאים, and have attempted to point out how its genuineness is ascertained on critical grounds.

(Note: The different attempts to solve the difficulty by conjectures are of such a nature as scarcely to deserve mention. Ewald would change החרב בּאים into החרבים otni , "that are broken down opposite the earthworks and the cannons." But the plural of חרב is חרבות, Ezekiel 26:21, and cannot possibly mean cannons. E. Meier would read החריב בּאים, "and for the destruction of those who are pressing in." Then בּאים must be the enemy who are pressing in; but how does this agree with what follows, "in order to fight with the Chaldeans"? Lastly, Ngelsbach would change את־ הכּשׂדּיםinto על־ירוּשׁלים, to obtain the idea that the earthworks and the sword come for the purpose of contending against Jerusalem (!).)

To connect בּאים closely with what precedes is impossible; and to understand it as referring to the houses, quae dirutae adhibentur ad dimicandum cum Chaldaeis (C. B. Michaelis), is incompatible with the idea contained in בּוא. Still more inadmissible is the view of L. de Dieu, Venema, Schnurrer, Dahler, and Rosenmller: venientibus ad oppugnandum cum Chaldaeis; according to this view, אּת־כּשׂדּים must be the nominative or subject to להלּחם את־הכּשׂדּים בּאים can only signify, "to contend with the Chaldeans" (against them); cf. Jeremiah 32:5. According to this view, only the Jews can be the subject of בּאים. "They come to make war with the Chaldeans, and to fill them (the houses) with the dead bodies of men, whom I((the Lord) slay in my wrath." The subject is not named, since it is evident from the whole scope of the sentence what is meant. We take the verse as a predication regarding the issues of the conflict - but without a copula; or, as a statement added parenthetically, so that the participle may be rendered, "while they come," or, "get ready, to fight." בּוא, used of the approach of an enemy (cf. Daniel 1:1), is here employed with regard to the advance of the Jews to battle against the besiegers of the city. The second infinitival clause, "to fill them," represents the issue of the struggle as contemplated by the Jews, in order to express most strongly its utter fruitlessness; while the relative clauses, "whom I have slain," etc., bring out the reasons for the evil consequences. Substantially, the statement in Jeremiah 33:5 is parallel to that in Jeremiah 33:4, so that we might supply the preposition על (ועל): "and concerning those who come to fight," etc. Through the attachment of this second predication to the first by means of the participle, the expression has become obscured. In the last clause, אשׁר is to be connected with על־רעתם.

In view of the destruction of Jerusalem now beginning, the Lord promises, Jeremiah 33:6, "I will apply to it (the city) a bandage (see Jeremiah 30:17) and a remedy," i.e., a bandage which brings healing, "and heal them" (the inhabitants); for, although the suffix in רפאתים might be referred to the houses, yet the following clause shows that it points to the inhabitants. Hitzig takes גּלּיתי in the meaning of גּלל, "I roll to them like a stream," and appeals to Amos 5:24; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 66:12, where the fulness of prosperity is compared to a stream, and the waves of the sea; but this use of גּלה is as uncertain here as in Jeremiah 11:20. We keep, then, to the well-established sense of revealing, making known (cf. Psalm 98:2, where it is parallel with הודיע), without any reference to the figure of sealed treasure-chambers (Deuteronomy 28:12), but with the accessory notion of the unfolding of the prosperity before all nations (Jeremiah 33:9), as in Psalm 98:2. עתרת is here to be taken as a noun, "fulness, wealth," from עתר, an Aramaizing form for עשׁר, to be rich (Ezekiel 35:13). שׁלום ואמת does not mean "prosperity and stability," but "peace and truth;" but this is not to be toned down to "true peace," i.e., real, enduring happiness (Ngelsbach). אמת is the truth of God, i.e., His faithfulness in His promises and covenants, as in Psalm 85:11-12, where mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, are specified as the gracious benefits with which the Lord blesses His people.

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