Jeremiah 4:13
Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.
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(13) He shall come up as clouds.—He, the destroyer of nations, with armies that sweep like storm-clouds over the land they are going to destroy. (Comp. Ezekiel 38:16.)

Swifter than eagles.—A possible quotation from David’s lament over Saul and Jonathan (2Samuel 1:23). The fact that another phrase is quoted in Jeremiah 4:30 (“clothest thyself with crimson,” where the Hebrew is the same as the “scarlet” of 2Samuel 1:24), makes the possibility something like a certainty. It was natural that one who himself wrote two sets of lamentations, one early (2Chronicles 35:25), the other late, in life, should have been a student of earlier elegies. For the flight of the eagle as representing the swift march of the invader, comp. Lamentations 4:19; Hos. viii 1; Habakkuk 1:8.

Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.—Probably the cry of the terrified crowds of Jerusalem, with which the prophet, with dramatic vividness, as in Jeremiah 9:18-19, interrupts his description.

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.His troops move on in large masses like dark threatening clouds Joel 2:2.

Woe unto us! for we are spoiled - Jeremiah's own cry of grief.

13. clouds—continuing the metaphor in Jer 4:11:12. Clouds of sand and dust accompany the simoom, and after rapid gyrations ascend like a pillar.

eagles—(De 28:49; Hab 1:8).

Woe unto us—The people are graphically presented before us, without it being formally so stated, bursting out in these exclamations.

He shall come up as clouds; either noting the vast number of them, Isaiah 60:8 Hebrews 12:1; or the suddenness of them, when not expected, clouds often rising on a sudden, and overspreading the whole face of the heavens; or rather, the great speed and swiftness with which Nebuchadnezzar shall march against them, Isaiah 19:1, hyperbolically described by the swiftness of eagles in this verse, Jeremiah 48:8.

His chariots shall be as a whirlwind; which beside the swiftness, notes also the confusion and amazement that they will cause, Isaiah 66:15.

Woe unto us! for we are spoiled: the dreadful apprehensions that the people have of their woeful condition, or possibly the words of the prophet lamenting their misery.

Behold, he shall come up as clouds,.... Meaning the lion, Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah 4:7,

"the king with his army (as the Targum paraphrases it); he shall come up against them as a cloud that ascendeth and covers the earth.''

"come up against them as a cloud that ascendeth and covers the earth.''

The metaphor denotes the swiftness of his coming, and the multitudes he should come with, and that darkness and distress he should bring with him upon the people of the Jews:

and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind; for swiftness, power, and violence: chariots for war are intended; see Isaiah 5:28,

his horses are swifter than eagles: the swiftest of birds. The same thing is designed as by the other metaphors; the swiftness and suddenness of the Jews' destruction:

woe unto us, for we are spoiled; their destruction was inevitable, there was no escaping it; and therefore their case was woeful and miserable.

Behold, he shall come up as {l} clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. {m} Woe to us! for we are laid waste.

(l) Meaning that Nebuchadnezzar would come as suddenly as a cloud that is carried with the wind.

(m) This is spoken in the person of all the people, who in their affliction would cry thus.

13. as clouds] a further simile for the invader. Cp. Ezekiel 38:16, and Joel 2:2.

his chariots shall be as the whirlwind] Cp. Isaiah 5:28; Isaiah 66:15.

eagles] rather, griffons (gypsi fulvus), a species of vulture. Cp. ch. Jeremiah 48:40, Jeremiah 49:22; 2 Samuel 1:23; Lamentations 4:19; Habakkuk 1:8.

Verse 13. - He shall come up as clouds, etc. It is needless to name the subject; who can it be but the host of Jehovah's warlike instruments? (For the first figure, comp. Ezekiel 38:16; for the second, Isaiah 5:28; Isaiah 66:15; and for the third, Habakkuk 1:8; Deuteronomy 28:49.) Woe unto us! etc. The cry of lamentation of the Jews (comp. ver. 20; Jeremiah 9:18). Jeremiah 4:13Description 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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