For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For this shall the earth mourn . . .—As with all true poets, the face of nature seems to the prophet to sympathise with human suffering. (Comp. Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29.)Jeremiah 4:28-29. For this shall the earth mourn, &c. — More expressions to set forth the dreadfulness of the judgment: he makes the elements to personate mourners. And the heavens above be black — Under sad calamities every thing looks dismal; even the heavens themselves do not seem to shine with their usual brightness. Because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, &c. — Blaney, following the LXX., changes a little the order of the words, and reads, “I have spoken, and do not repent: I have purposed, and will not recede from it.” God’s purpose of delivering up the Jews into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar was irreversible, because he foresaw that the greatest part of them would continue impenitent, and that it would be expedient and necessary, in order to their being humbled and brought to repentance, that they should be carried into captivity. Otherwise the removal of judgments, either those inflicted or threatened to be inflicted, is promised upon repentance, to which God frequently exhorted these Jews by his prophets. The whole city shall flee — The inhabitants of all ranks and qualities shall seek to escape the fury of the Chaldean army, chap. Jeremiah 39:4. They shall go into thickets — Either upon the report of the coming of their enemies, the prophet hereby, as it were, deriding their confidence, or rather at the approach of their vast armies: for they were closely besieged before they fled, as appears 2 Kings 25:4. Such a consternation there shall be upon them, that they shall run into every hole to hide themselves; thus Manasseh was taken among the thorns, 2 Chronicles 33:11. The Hebrew is, באו בעבים, they shall go into the clouds; meaning, probably, dark places on the tops of hills, reaching, as it were, to the clouds, or among the cloudy shades of trees and groves that usually grew there. The LXX. render it, εισεδυσαν εις τα σπηλαια, they entered into the caves; adding, και εις τα αλση εκρυβησαν, they were hid in the groves. And climbed up upon the rocks — Namely, to save their lives. Every city shall be forsaken — There shall be an utter desolation, their cities being quite deserted, and none left to inhabit them.
I have purposed it - The Septuagint arrangement restores the parallelism:
For I have spoken, and will not repent,
not repent—(Nu 23:19).For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; expressions to set forth the dreadfulness of the judgment; he makes the elements to personate mourners, a sad face of things above and below, a metaphor, and therein to shame the stupidity of his people.
Because I have spoken it: q.d. You would not believe either that my prophets spake, or what they said; now I tell you I speak myself, and what I have resolved upon I will not revoke; see Ezekiel 24:13,14, and Jeremiah 15:6; for I have purposed it; I have not spoken in my heat or fury, but upon mature deliberation; an anthropopathy; or, what the prophets have denounced I will ratify.
and the heavens above be black; with thick clouds, and storms, and tempests; in allusion to mourners, that are clothed with black: these figures, of the earth's mourning, and the heavens being clothed in black, denote the horribleness of that dispensation, when there would be an utter destruction of the Jewish nation, church, and polity, of which Daniel prophesies, Daniel 9:27,
because I have spoken it; in my word, as the Targum; in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, by Moses and the prophets:
I have purposed it; or I have thought of it, in my counsel, as the Targum; it was a thing deliberately devised and determined, and therefore can never be frustrated, or made void:
and will not repent; of what was purposed and predicted:
neither will I turn back from it; revoke, or retract it; it shall surely come to pass: the Jews, upon their return from the Babylonish captivity, and afterwards, might flatter themselves that a full end would not be made of them, because it was not then done; and therefore these several strong expressions are used, to confirm and assure them of it; for the word of God cannot fail, his counsel shall stand; he is not a man, that he should lie or repent; he will do all his pleasure.For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. be black] be in mourning from sympathy. The following clauses should read I have spoken it and have not repented; I have purposed it, and will not turn back from it. So LXX. The verbs in the Hebrew were accidentally disarranged.Verse 28. - For this; i.e. because of the impending judgment. Be black. "To be black" is equivalent to "to put on mourning" (comp. Jeremiah 8:21; Jeremiah 14:2). 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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