Jeremiah 4:11
At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse,
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(11) At that time.—i.e., when the lion and destroyer of Jeremiah 4:7 should begin his work of destruction.

A dry wind.—Literally, a clear wind, the simoom, the scorching blast from the desert, coming clear and without clouds. Other winds might be utilised for the threshing-floor, but this made all such work impossible, and was simply devastating, and was therefore a fit symbol of the terrible invader.

Jeremiah 4:11. At that time — When that calamity commences; shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem — There shall be tidings brought both to the country and city; A dry wind of the high places — “The prophet here describes the Chaldean army coming up for the destruction of Judea, under the metaphor of a hot, pestilential wind, which sweeps away multitudes in a moment, blasts the fruits of the earth, and spreads desolation everywhere around. The passage, like that in the preceding verses, is spirited and sublime; but it loses a good deal of its elegance in our version. Houbigant renders it thus: ‘Behold, a wind hangs over the mountains of the deserts; behold, it shall come upon the daughter of my people, but not to fan or to cleanse, Jeremiah 4:12. A mighty wind shall come from thence upon her, and then at length will I declare my judgment concerning them, or her, Jeremiah 4:13. Behold, as clouds it shall hang over; its chariots shall be as a whirlwind; its horses swifter than eagles,’“ &c. See Lowth and Dodd.4:5-18 The fierce conqueror of the neighbouring nations was to make Judah desolate. The prophet was afflicted to see the people lulled into security by false prophets. The approach of the enemy is described. Some attention was paid in Jerusalem to outward reformation; but it was necessary that their hearts should be washed, in the exercise of true repentance and faith, from the love and pollution of sin. When lesser calamities do not rouse sinners and reform nations, sentence will be given against them. The Lord's voice declares that misery is approaching, especially against wicked professors of the gospel; when it overtakes them, it will be plainly seen that the fruit of wickedness is bitter, and the end is fatal.At that time - See Jeremiah 4:7. Though the revelation of the certainty of Judah's ruin wrings from Jeremiah a cry of despair, yet it is but for a moment; he immediately returns to the delivery of God's message.

A dry wind - literally, A clear wind. The Samum is probably meant, a dry parching east wind blowing from the Arabian desert, before which vegetation withers, and human life becomes intolerable.

Not to fan ... - The Syrian farmers make great use of the wind for separating the chaff from the grain: but when the Samum blows labor becomes impossible. It is not for use, but for destruction.

11. dry wind—the simoom, terrific and destructive, blowing from the southeast across the sandy deserts east of Palestine. Image of the invading Babylonian army (Ho 13:15). Babylon in its turn shall be visited by a similar "destroying wind" (Jer 51:1).

of … high places—that is, that sweeps over the high places.

daughter—that is, the children of my people.

not to fan—a very different wind from those ordinary winds employed for fanning the grain in the open air.

At that time, viz. when Nebuchadnezzar is upon this expedition, Jeremiah 4:7, shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem; there shall be tidings brought both to the country and city, Jeremiah 4:5.

A dry wind: the meaning is, a drying wind, such as shall blast and scorch where it comes, without any rain or moisture, or any other way for use or refreshment, as the last word in the verse intimates; and it may also allude unto the coast from whence this wind comes, viz. from Babylon, or the north, which drives away rain, Proverbs 25:23; for it points at the stormy and furious irruption of the Babylonian army, destroying all before them, a metaphorical allegory, Jeremiah 23:19 30:23,24.

In the wilderness; or, in the plain, where there is no stop or obstacle in the way to hinder the wind, or to break its fury, Isaiah 21:1 Jeremiah 13:24. See Poole "Isaiah 63:13".

Toward, i.e. directly and designedly, coming along in the way leading to my people; for so we are to understand this expression,

the daughter of my people, as the daughter of Zion, Isaiah 1:8, or rather, the daughter Zion, which is as comely and beautiful in my eyes and tender to me as a daughter, Jeremiah 9:1.

Not to fan, nor to cleanse; not such a gentle wind which is made choice of to separate the chaff from the wheat, the bad from the good; but so boisterous and violent, that it shall depopulate, sweep away, and lay waste all together, Jeremiah 51:1 Ezekiel 21:3. At that time shall it be said to this people, and to Jerusalem,.... The inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem, the people of the Jews; or "concerning" (x) them, as Jarchi interprets it:

a dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people. The Targum is,

"as the south wind upon the heads of floods of water in the wilderness, so is the way of the congregation of my people;''

but rather the north wind is designed, since that is a dry one, and the south wind a moist one; and the rather, since this wind intends Nebuchadnezzar and his army, which should come from Babylon, from the north. Some render it, "a neat clean wind" (y); which strips the trees, lays bare rocks and mountains, carries away the earth and dust before it, and makes the stones look white and clean: it denotes a very strong, rushing, stormy, and boisterous wind. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "a burning one"; and it represents the force and power with which the enemy should come, without any opposition or resistance to him; for a wind on high places, hills, and mountains, and which comes through deserts and wildernesses, has nothing to hinder it, as Kimchi observes; whereas, when it blows in habitable places, there are houses, walls, hedges, and fences, which resist it; and it is observed, that in the way from Babylon to Judea, which the prophet calls "the daughter of my people", were many desert places. The Septuagint version is, "the spirit of error in the desert, the way of the daughter of my people"; which the Syriac and Arabic versions seem to follow; the former rendering it, "as the wind that wanders through the paths of the desert, so is the way of the daughter of my people"; and the latter thus, "there is a spirit of error in the desert, in the way of the daughter of my people";

not to purity, nor to holiness, as it with the Septuagint renders the next clause: "not to fan, nor to cleanse"; of which use a more moderate wind is in winnowing and cleansing the corn from chaff, and light and useless grain.

(x) "de hoc populo", Calvin, Vatablus. (y) "ventus nitidus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry {i} wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not {k} to fan, nor to cleanse,

(i) The north wind by which he means Nebuchadnezzar.

(k) But to carry away both corn and chaff.

11. A hot wind] The foe comes not as a gentle wind, such as that used (see on Jeremiah 15:7) to separate wheat from chaff, but one that shall whirl away both together. Thomson (op. cit. p. 295) describes the sirocco thus: “The air becomes loaded with fine dust, which it whirls in rainless clouds hither and thither at its own wild will.… The eyes inflame, the lips blister, and the moisture of the body evaporates, under the ceaseless application of this persecuting wind”; and again (p. 536), “We have two kinds of sirocco, one accompanied with vehement wind, which fills the air with dust and fine sand.” Cp. Joel 2:30 f.

bare heights] omitted by LXX. Cp. on Jeremiah 3:2.

toward] we may understand cometh from Jeremiah 4:12.

daughter] fem. sing. in a collective sense. Cp. Jeremiah 4:30, Jeremiah 6:14, Jeremiah 8:11, etc.

11–18. As the burning sirocco, the dense clouds accompanied by the whirlwind, or the savage creatures of the air, so shall the enemy prove to be, as they descend on Judah in doom. Let her even now seek to avert it by repentance.

11–18. See summary at commencement of section.Verse 11. - Shall it be said to this people; i.e. words like these may be used with reference to this people. A dry wind, etc.; literally, a clear wind (but the notions of dryness and heat are closely connected with that of heat; comp. Isaiah 18:4). The prophet doubtless means the east wind, which is very violent in Palestine, and, of course, quite unsuitable for the winnowing process. High places should rather be bare hills. Toward; or (is) the way cf. So Hitzig, supposing the conduct of the Jews to be likened to a wind which brings no blessing, but only drought and desolation. From the north destruction approaches. - Jeremiah 4:5. "Proclaim in Judah, and in Jerusalem let it be heard, and say, Blow the trumpet in the land; cry with a loud voice, and say, Assemble, and let us go into the defenced cities. Jeremiah 4:6. Raise a standard toward Zion: save yourselves by flight, linger not; for from the north I bring evil and great destruction. Jeremiah 4:7. A lion comes up from his thicket, and a destroyer of the nations is on his way, comes forth from his place, to make they land a waste, that thy cities be destroyed, without an inhabitant. Jeremiah 4:8. For this gird you in sackcloth, lament and howl, for the heat of Jahveh's anger hath not turned itself from us. Jeremiah 4:9. And it cometh to pass on that day, saith Jahveh, the heart of the king and the heart of the princes shall perish, and the priests shall be confounded and the prophets amazed." The invasion of a formidable foe is here represented with poetic animation; the inhabitants being called upon to publish the enemy's approach throughout the land, so that every one may hide himself in the fortified cities.

(Note: By this dreaded foe the older commentators understand the Chaldeans; but some of the moderns will have it that the Scythians are meant. Among the latter are Dahler, Hitz., Ew., Bertheau (z. Gesch. der Isr.), Movers, and others; and they have been preceded by Eichhorn (Hebr. Proph. ii. 96 f), Cramer (in the Comm. on Zephaniah, under the title Scythische Denkmler in Palstina, 1777). On the basis of their hypothesis, M. Duncker (Gesch. des Alterth. S. 751ff.) has sketched out a minute picture of the inundation of Palestine by hordes of Scythian horsemen in the year 626, according to the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zephaniah. For this there is absolutely no historical support, although Roesch in his archaeological investigations on Nabopolassar (Deutsch-morgld. Ztschr. xv. S. 502ff.), who, according to him, was a Scythian king, alleges that "pretty nearly all (?) exegetical authorities" understand these prophecies of the Scythians (S. 536). For this view can be neither justified exegetically nor made good historically, as has been admitted and proved by A. Kueper (Jerem. libr. ss. int. p. 13f.), and Ad. Strauss (Vaticin. Zeph. p. 18f.), and then by Tholuck (die Propheten u. ihre Weiss, S. 94ff.), Graf (Jer. S. 16ff.), Ng., and others. On exegetical grounds the theory is untenable; for in the descriptions of the northern foe, whose invasion of Judah Zephaniah and Jeremiah threaten, there is not the faintest hint that can be taken to point to the Scythian squadrons, and, on the contrary, there is much that cannot be suitable to these wandering hordes. The enemies approaching like clouds, their chariots like the whirlwind, with horses swifter than eagles (Jeremiah 4:13), every city fleeing from the noise of the horsemen and of the bowmen (Jeremiah 4:29), and the like, go to form a description obviously founded on Deuteronomy 28:49., and on the account of the Chaldeans ( כּשׂדּים) in Habakkuk 1:7-11 - a fact which leads Roesch to suppose Habakkuk meant Scythian by כּשׂדּים. All the Asiatic world-powers had horsemen, war-chariots, and archers, and we do not know that the Scythians fought on chariots. Nor was it at all according to the plan of Scythian hordes to besiege cities and carry the vanquished people into exile, as Jeremiah prophesies of these enemies. Again, in Jeremiah 25, where he expressly names Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babel as the fulfiller of judgment foretold, Jeremiah mentions the enemy in the same words as in Jeremiah 1:15, ּכל־משׁפּחות צפון (Jeremiah 25:9), and represents the accomplishment of judgment by Nebuchadnezzar as the fulfilment of all the words he had been prophesying since the 13th year of Josiah. This makes it as clear as possible that Jeremiah regarded the Chaldeans as the families of the peoples of the north who were to lay Judah waste, conquer Jerusalem, and scatter its inhabitants amongst the heathen. In a historical reference, also, the Scythian theory is quite unfounded. The account in Herod. i.-103-105 of the incursion of the Scythians into Media and of dominion exercised over Asia for 28 years by them, does say that they came to Syrian Palestine and advanced on Egypt, but by means of presents were induced by King Psammetichus to withdraw, that they marched back again without committing any violence, and that only ὀλίγοι τινὲς αὐτῶν plundered the temple of Venus Urania at Ascalon on the way back. But these accounts, taken at their strict historical value, tell us nothing more than that one swarm of the Scythian hordes, which overspread Media and Asia Minor, entered Palestine and penetrated to the borders of Egypt, passing by the ancient track of armies across the Jordan at Bethshan, and through the plain of Jezreel along the Philistine coast; that here they were bought off by Psammetichus and retired without even so much as touching on the kingdom of Judah on their way. The historical books of the Old Testament have no knowledge whatever of any incursion into Judah of Scythians or other northern nations during the reign of Josiah. On the other hand, we give no weight to the argument that the march of the Scythians through Syria against Egypt had taken place in the 7th or 8th year of Josiah, a few years before Jeremiah's public appearance, and so could be no subject for his prophecies (Thol., Graf, Ng.). For the chronological data of the ancients as to the Scythian invasion are not so definite that we can draw confident conclusions from them; cf. M. v. Niebuhr, Ges. Assurs u. Babels, S. 67ff.

All historical evidence for a Scythian inroad into Judah being thus entirely wanting, the supporters of this hypothesis can make nothing of any point save the Greek name Scythopolis for Bethshan, which Dunck. calls "a memorial for Judah of the Scythian raid." We find the name in Judges 1:27 of the lxx, Βαιθσάν ἥ ἐστι Σκυθῶν πόλις, and from this come the Σκυθόπολις of Judith 3:10, 2 Macc. 12:29, and in Joseph. Antt. v. 1. 22, xii. 8. 5, etc. Even if we do not hold, as Reland, Pal. ill. p. 992, does, that the gloss, ἥ ἐστι Σκυθῶν πόλις, Judges 1:27, has been interpolated late into the lxx; even if we admit that it originated with the translator, the fact that the author of the lxx, who lived 300 years after Josiah, interpreted Σκυθόπολις by Σκυθῶν πόλις, does by no means prove that the city had received this Greek name from a Scythian invasion of Palestine, or from a colony of those Scythians who had settled down there. The Greek derivation of the name shows that it could not have originated before the extension of Greek supremacy in Palestine - not before Alexander the Great. But there is no historical proof that Scythians dwelt in Bethshan. Duncker e.g., makes the inference simply from the name Σκυθῶν πόλις and Σκυθοπολίται, 2 Macc. 12:29f. His statement: "Josephus (Antt. xii. 5. 8) and Pliny (Hist. n. v. 16) affirm that Scythians had settled down there," is wholly unfounded. In Joseph. l.c. there is no word of it; nor will a critical historian accept as sufficient historical evidence of an ancient Scythian settlement in Bethshan, Pliny's l.c. aphoristic notice: Scythopolin (antea Nysam a Libero Patre, spulta nutrice ibi) Scythis deducts. The late Byzantine author, George Syncellus, is the first to derive the name Scythopolis from the incursion of the Scythians into Palestine; cf. Reland, p. 993. The origin of the name is obscure, but is not likely to be found, as by Reland, Gesen., etc., in the neighbouring Succoth. More probably it comes from a Jewish interpretation of the prophecy of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 39:11, regarding the overthrow of Gog in the valley of the wanderers eastwards from the sea. This is Hvernick's view, suggested by Bochart.

Taking all into consideration, we see that the reference of our prophecy to the Scythians is founded neither on exegetical results nor on historical evidence, but wholly on the rationalistic prejudice that the prophecies of the biblical prophets are nothing more than either disguised descriptions of historical events or threatenings of results that lay immediately before the prophet's eyes, which is the view of Hitz., Ew., and others.)

The ו before תּקעוּ in the Chet. has evidently got into the text through an error in transcription, and the Keri, according to which all the old versions translate, is the only correct reading. "Blow the trumpet in the land," is that which is to be proclaimed or published, and the blast into the far-sounding שׁופר is the signal of alarm by which the people was made aware of the danger that threatened it; cf. Joel 2:1; Hosea 5:8. The second clause expresses the same matter in an intensified form and with plainer words. Cry, make full (the crying), i.e., cry with a full clear voice; gather, and let us go into the fortified cities; cf. Jeremiah 8:14. This was the meaning of the trumpet blast. Raise a banner pointing towards Zion, i.e., showing the fugitives the way to Zion as the safest stronghold in the kingdom. נס, a lofty pole with a waving flag (Isaiah 33:23; Ezekiel 27:7), erected upon mountains, spread the alarm farther than even the sound of the pealing trumpet; see in Isaiah 5:26. העיזוּ, secure your possessions by flight; cf. Isaiah 10:31. The evil which Jahveh is bringing on the land is specified by שׁבר גּדול, after Zephaniah 1:10, but very frequently used by Jeremiah; cf. Jeremiah 6:1; Jeremiah 48:3; Jeremiah 50:22; Jeremiah 51:54. שׁבר, breaking (of a limb), Leviticus 21:19, then the upbreaking of what exists, ruin, destruction. In Jeremiah 4:7 the evil is yet more fully described. A lion is come up from his thicket (סבּכו with dag. forte dirim., from שׂובך[ סבך, 2 Samuel 18:9], or from סבך, Psalm 74:5; cf. Ew. 255, d, and Olsh. 155, b), going forth for prey. This lion is a destroyer of the nations (not merely of individual persons as the ordinary lion); he has started (נסע, or striking tents for the march), and is come out to waste the land and to destroy the cities. The infin. is continued by the temp. fin. תּצּינה, and the Kal of נצה is here used in a passive sense: to be destroyed by war.

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