Jeremiah 4:15
For a voice declares from Dan, and publishes affliction from mount Ephraim.
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(15) Dan . . . Mount Ephraim.—The two places are chosen, not like Dan and Beer-sheba, as extreme limits, but as stages in the march of the invader: first Dan (as in Jeremiah 8:16), the northernmost point (Deuteronomy 34:1; Judges 20:1) of the whole land of Israel, then Mount Ephraim, as the northern boundary of Judaea. The verbs grow in strength with the imagined nearness, first announce, as of a rumour from a distance, then proclaim, as of a danger more imminent.

Affliction.—In the Hebrew the same word (aven) as in the “thoughts of vanity.” Playing on the two aspects of the word, the prophet says that aven comes as the penalty of aven—the “nothingness” of destruction as that of the “nothingness” of the idol.

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.Dan - The border-town of Palestine on the north Deuteronomy 34:1.

Mount Ephraim - The northern boundary of Judaea itself. The invading army presses on so rapidly, that scarcely have the news arrived of its appearance at Dan, before fresh messengers announce that it has traversed the whole length of Galilee, and is now defiling through the mountains of Samaria.

Affliction - The same word, aven, occurs in Jeremiah 4:14, and apparently there is a play upon its double meaning: for from a root signifying worthlessness, it is used both for wickedness and for misery. Thus, the "iniquity" of Judah proves also, to be her "affliction," as being the cause of the ruin inflicted by the enemy.

15. For … from Dan—The connection is: There is danger in delay; for the voice of a messenger announces the approach of the Chaldean enemy from Dan, the northern frontier of Palestine (Jer 8:16; compare Jer 4:6; Jer 1:14).

Mount Ephraim—which borders closely on Judah; so that the foe is coming nearer and nearer. Dan and Beth-el in Ephraim were the two places where Jeroboam set up the idolatrous calves (1Ki 12:29); just retribution.

A voice, i.e. either the voice of the prophets, that is still sounding it in your ears, and declaring it unto you; or rather, the rumour and noise of this army is already come through your land; you have the heavy tidings of this great affliction, Jeremiah 8:16, to note the near approach of it.

Declareth from Dan: this is said to come from Dan and Ephraim, because Dan was the first place these Chaldeans must come to, it being the utmost boundary of Canaan northward, and Ephraim the innermost border of Israel in the north of Judea, intimating the march of the Babylonians through all Israel toward Jerusalem. For a voice declareth from Dan,.... The coming of the enemy, as Kimchi explains it, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans; a messenger was come from Dan, which was on the border of the land of Israel to the north, on which side Babylon lay, and from whence the evil was to come predicted; who declared the enemy was approaching, just entering the land; not that this was now the case in fact, but this is represented in a prophetic manner, as what would be, in order to arouse and awaken the Jews to a sense of their sin and danger; see Jeremiah 8:10.

and publisheth affliction from Mount Ephraim: which lay on the border of the tribe of Benjamin, and nearer to Jerusalem; and this publication represents the enemy as advancing nearer, and being just at hand. The word for "affliction" signifies "iniquity" (a); and it denotes, that the affliction spoken of, which is the destruction of the Jews, and their captivity in Babylon, were occasioned by their sins. Some think that Dan and Ephraim are mentioned, because of the calves that were worshipped in Dan, and in Bethel, which was in the tribe of Ephraim. The Targum favours this, which paraphrases the words thus,

"for the voice of the prophets that prophesied against them that go into captivity, because they worshipped the calf, which is at Dan; and they that bring evil tidings, shall come upon them, because they served the image which Micah set up in the mount of the house of Ephraim;''

and the Vulgate Latin version is,

"the voice of him that declares from Dan, and that makes known the idol from Mount Ephraim.''

(a) "iniquitatem", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus, Schimdt; "vanitatem", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius.

For a voice declareth from {n} Dan, and proclaimeth affliction from mount {o} Ephraim.

(n) Which was a city in the utmost border of Israel north toward Babylon.

(o) Which was in the middle between Dan and Jerusalem.

15. The connexion is, It is high time to amend, for, etc.

a voice] better, Hark! one declareth.

Dan] on the northern border of Palestine. See Deuteronomy 34:1.

the hills of Ephraim] or, Mount Ephraim, the range dividing Ephraim from Judah, eight or ten miles at most from Jerusalem itself. The language thus intimates the rapid approach of the enemy. Cp. Isaiah 10:28 ff.Verse 15. - For a voice declareth, etc. There is no time to lose, for already news of the foe has arrived. He is now at Dan, the northern frontier-town, and is heard of almost as soon in the hill-country of Ephraim. When this wrath bursts over them, the rulers and leaders of the people will be perplexed and helpless. The heart, i.e., the mind, is lot. For this use of לב, cf. Job 12:3; Job 34:10; Proverbs 7:7, etc. נשׁמּוּ, be paralyzed by terror, like the Kal in Jeremiah 2:12. The prophets are mentioned last, because Jeremiah 4:10 cites a word of prophecy whereby they seduced the people into a false security.
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