Jeremiah 4:26
I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) The fruitful place.—The Carmel, or vine-land, became as “the wilderness.” The Hebrew article points probably to the well-known desert of the wanderings.

At the presence of the Lord.—Literally, from before Jehovah, from before the heat of his anger. The original has the emphasis of repeating the preposition.

4:19-31 The prophet had no pleasure in delivering messages of wrath. He is shown in a vision the whole land in confusion. Compared with what it was, every thing is out of order; but the ruin of the Jewish nation would not be final. Every end of our comforts is not a full end. Though the Lord may correct his people very severely, yet he will not cast them off. Ornaments and false colouring would be of no avail. No outward privileges or profession, no contrivances would prevent destruction. How wretched the state of those who are like foolish children in the concerns of their souls! Whatever we are ignorant of, may the Lord make of good understanding in the ways of godliness. As sin will find out the sinner, so sorrow will, sooner or later, find out the secure.The fruitful place - The Carmel Jeremiah 2:7, where the population had been most dense, and the labors of the farmer most richly rewarded, has become the wilderness.

At the presence - i. e., because of, at the command of Yahweh, and because of His anger.

26. fruitful place—Hebrew, Carmel.

a wilderness—Hebrew, "the wilderness," in contrast to "the fruitful place"; the great desert, where Carmel was, there is now the desert of Arabia [Maurer].

cities—in contrast to the fruitful place or field.

The fruitful place, Heb. Carmel, either properly, for that part of the land so called for its fruitfulness; or rather appellatively, for not only their most pleasant, but most fruitful lands, that were kept dressed and occupied for food, both for necessity and delight, Jeremiah 4:27 Isaiah 29:17 33:9.

All the cities thereof were broken down; no place left for men to inhabit, Isaiah 1:7.

By his fierce anger; that which the enemy could not have done with all his fury and fierceness, had it not been for the anger of the Lord, which by their great provocation they had brought upon them. selves, 2 Kings 24:3 Jeremiah 9:12,13.

I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness,.... Or, "I beheld, and, lo, Carmel was a wilderness"; which was a particular part of the land of Israel, and was very fertile, and abounded in pastures and fruit trees, and yet this, as the rest, became desolate as a wilderness; see Isaiah 32:15 though it may be put for the whole land, which was very fruitful; and so the Targum,

"I saw, and, lo, the land of Israel, which was planted as Carmel, was turned to be as a wilderness:''

and all the cities thereof; not of Carmel only, but of the whole land:

were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger; for though this was done by the Chaldeans, yet it was by the will and appointment of God, and as a token of his fierce anger against the people of the Jews, for their sins and transgressions. Jarchi cites a Midrash Agadah, or an allegorical exposition of this place, which interprets the "mountains", the Jewish fathers; the "hills", the mothers, and their merits; "no man", the worthiness of Moses, who was meeker than any man; and "Carmel", Elijah; without any manner of foundation.

I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. the fruitful field] mg. Heb. Carmel (see Jeremiah 2:7), but meaning here the most fruitful portions of the land in general.

Verse 26. - The fruitful place; rather, the garden-land (see on Jeremiah 2:7). Not "the Carmel" (Keil, Payne Smith) for the context refers to the whole of the country, not to any single tract. The article before the two appellatives is the generic. At the presence of; rather, by reason of. Jeremiah 4:26One destruction after another is heralded (on שׁבר, see Jeremiah 4:6). Ew. translates loosely: wound upon wound meet one another. For the word does not mean wound, but the fracture of a limb; and it seems inadmissible to follow the Chald. and Syr. in taking נקרא here in the sense of נקרה , since the sig. "meet" does not suit שׁבר. The thought is this: tidings are brought of one catastrophe after another, for the devastation extends itself over the whole land and comes suddenly upon the tents, i.e., dwellings of those who are lamenting. Covers, curtains of the tent, is used as synonymous with tents; cf. Jeremiah 10:20; Isaiah 54:2. How long shall I see the standard, etc.! is the cry of despair, seeing no prospect of the end to the horrors of the war. The standard and the sound of the trumpet are, as in Jeremiah 4:5, the alarm-signals on the approach of the enemy.

There is no prospect of an end to the horrors, for (Jeremiah 4:22) the people is so foolish that it understands only how to do the evil, but not the good; cf. for this Jeremiah 5:21; Isaiah 1:3; Micah 7:3. Jeremiah 4:21 gives God's answer to the woful query, how long the ravaging of the land by war is to last. The answer is: as long as the people persists in the folly of its rebellion against God, so long will chastising judgments continue. To bring this answer of God home to the people's heart, the prophet, in Jeremiah 4:23-26, tells what he has seen in the spirit. He has seen (ראיתי, perf. proph.) bursting over Judah a visitation which convulses the whole world. The earth seemed waste and void as at the beginning of creation, Genesis 1:2, before the separation of the elements and before the creation of organic and living beings. In heaven no light was to be seen, earth and heaven seemed to have been thrown back into a condition of chaos. The mountains and hills, these firm foundations of the earth, quivered and swayed (התקלקל, be put into a light motion, cf. Nahum 1:5); men had fled and hidden themselves from the wrath of God (cf. Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21), and all the birds had flown out of sight in terror at the dreadful tokens of the beginning catastrophe (Genesis 9:9). The fruitful field was the wilderness - not a wilderness, but "changed into the wilderness with all its attributes" (Hitz.). הכּרמל is not appell. as in Jeremiah 2:7, but nom. prop. of the lower slopes of Carmel, famed for their fruitfulness; these being taken as representatives of all the fruitful districts of the land. The cities of the Carmel, or of the fruitful-field, are manifestly not to be identified with the store cities of 1 Kings 9:19, as Hitz. supposes, but the cities in the most fertile districts of the country, which, by reason of their situation, were in a prosperous condition, but now are destroyed. "Before the heat of His anger," which is kindled against the foolish and godless race; cf. Nahum 1:6; Isaiah 13:13.

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