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. Jeremiah 4:11Description of the impending ruin, from which nothing can save but speedy repentance. - Jeremiah 4:11. "At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A hot wind from the bleak hills in the wilderness cometh on the way toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow and not to cleanse. Jeremiah 4:12. A wind fuller than for this shall come to me; now will I also utter judgments upon them. Jeremiah 4:13. Behold, like clouds it draws near, and like the storm are it chariots, swifter than eagles its horses. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. Jeremiah 4:14. Wash from wickedness thy heart, Jerusalem, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thine iniquitous thoughts lodge within thee? Jeremiah 4:15. For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from the Mount Ephraim. Jeremiah 4:16. Tell it to the peoples; behold, publish it to Jerusalem: Besiegers come from a far country, and let their voice ring out against the cities of Judah. Jeremiah 4:17. As keepers of a field, they are against her round about; for against me hath she rebelled, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 4:18. Thy way and thy doings have wrought thee this. This is thy wickedness; yea, it is bitter, yea, it reaCheth unto thine heart."

A more minute account of the impending judgment is introduced by the phrase: at that time. It shall be said to this people; in other words, it shall be said of this people; substantially, that shall fall upon it which is expressed by the figure following, a hot wind blowing from the naked hills of the wilderness. רוּח is stat. constr., and שׁפים dna its genitive, after which latter the adjective צח should be placed; but it is interpolated between the nomen regens and the n. rectum by reason of its smallness, and partly, too, that it may not be too far separated from its nomen, while בּמּדבּר belongs to שׁפים. The wind blowing from the bleak hills in the wilderness, is the very severe east wind of Palestine. It blows in incessant gusts, and cannot be used for winnowing or cleansing the grain, since it would blow away chaff and seed together; cf. Wetzst. in Del., Job, S. 320. דּרך is universally taken adverbially: is on the way, i.e., comes, moves in the direction of the daughter of Zion. The daughter of Zion is a personification of the inhabitants of Zion or Jerusalem. This hot blast is a figure for the destruction which is drawing near Jerusalem. It is not a chastisement to purify the people, but a judgment which will sweep away the whole people, carry away both wheat and chaff - a most effective figure for the approaching catastrophe of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the carrying away captive of its inhabitants. Hitz. and Graf have, however, taken דּרך as subject of the clause: the path, i.e., the behaviour of my people, is a keen wind of the bare hills in the wilderness. Thus the conduct of the people would be compared with that wind as unprofitable, inasmuch as it was altogether windy, empty, and further as being a hurtful storm. But the comparison of the people's behaviour with a parched violent wind is a wholly unnatural one, for the justification of which it is not sufficient to point to Hosea 8:7 : sow wind and reap storm. Besides, upon this construction of the illustration, the description: not to winnow and not to cleanse, is not only unmeaning, but wholly unsuitable. Who is to be winnowed and cleansed by the windy ways of the people? Jahveh?! Jeremiah 4:14 is indeed so managed by Hitz. and Graf that the tempestuous wind blows against God, "is directed against Jahveh like a blast of defiance and hostility." But this argument is sufficient to overthrow that unnatural view of the figure, which, besides, obtains no support from Jeremiah 4:12. מאלּה cannot refer to בּת־עמּי: a full wind from these, i.e., the sons of my people; and יבוא לי, in spite of the passages, Jeremiah 22:23; Jeremiah 50:26; Jeremiah 51:48; Job 3:25, does not mean: comes towards me, or: blows from them on me; for in all these passages לי is dativ commodi or incommodi. Here, too, לי is dative, used of the originator and efficient cause. The wind comes for me - in plainer English: from me. Properly: it comes to God, i.e., at His signal, to carry out His will. מלא מאלּה is comparative: fuller than these, namely, the winds useful for winnowing and cleansing. Now will I too utter. The intensifying גּם does not point to a contrast in the immediately preceding clause: because the people blows against God like a strong wind, He too will utter judgment against it. The גּם refers back to the preceding לי: the storm comes from me; for now will I on my side hold judgment with them. The contrast implied in גּם lies in the wider context, in the formerly described behaviour of the people, particularly in the sayings of the false prophets mentioned in Jeremiah 4:10, that there will be peace. On דּבּר משׁפּטים, cf. Jeremiah 1:16.

These judgments are already on the way in Jeremiah 4:13. "Like clouds it draws near." The subject is not mentioned, but a hostile army is meant, about to execute God's judgments. "Like clouds," i.e., in such thick dark masses; cf. Ezekiel 38:16. The war-chariots drive with the speed of the tempest; cf. Isaiah 5:28; Isaiah 66:15. The running of the horses resembles the flight of the eagle; cf. Habakkuk 1:8, where the same is said of the horsemen of the hostile people. Both passages are founded on Deuteronomy 28:49; but Jeremiah, while he had the expression קלּוּ מנּמרים סוּסיו, Habakkuk 1:8, in his mind, chose נשׁרים; instead of leopards (נמרים), in this following the original in Deut.; cf. 2 Samuel 1:23 and Lamentations 4:19. Already is heard the cry of woe: we are spoiled, cf. Jeremiah 4:20, Jeremiah 9:18; Jeremiah 48:1.

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