Jeremiah 4:6
Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Set up the standard toward Zion.—Still the language of alarm. The words are as a command, “Raise the signal which shall point to Zion as a place of refuge from the foe, by whom the rest of the country is laid waste.”

Retire.—Withdraw, in the transitive sense, “gather, with a view to removing” (as in Exodus 9:19), and this is followed by “stay not,” linger not, be quick. The call to retreat was urgent.

I will bring.—Literally, I am bringing.

From the north.—The Chaldæan, and possibly the Scythian, invasion, as in Jeremiah 1:14.

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.The standard - A flag or signal, to which the people were to rally.Retire, stay not - Rather, gather your goods together: linger not; "for I" (emphatic, Yahweh) am bringing at this very time etc. 6. Zion—The standard toward Zion intimated that the people of the surrounding country were to fly to it, as being the strongest of their fortresses. Set up the standard, i.e. for them to resort to, as is usual in war; and it is therefore said to he towards Zion or Jerusalem, as being a signal to show them whither they should repair; see Jeremiah 1:5; Jerusalem being their principal place of strength, and Zion the strongest part of it, 2 Samuel 5:6,7.

Retire; or, strengthen; fortify or strengthen yourselves for the fight. Or rather, make haste away, as men use to do in a great fight, viz. for your security: such a use there is of the word Isaiah 10:31 Jeremiah 6:1, which sense is confirmed by the next words,

stay not, or, as some, stay not yourselves in sin, where you promise yourselves security.

I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction, i.e. I am about to bring a great destruction upon you from Chaldea, Jeremiah 1:13-15. Some take this and the former verse to be spoken ironically. Set up the standard toward Zion,.... Not on the tower of Zion, as Kimchi interprets it; but on some high place, pointing to Zion, and directing the country people to flee thither for safety; for the setting up of the standard here is not for enlisting of soldiers in order to fight, but as a sign of danger, and a direction where to flee from it:

retire; gather yourselves together in order to flee, as the word (p) is rendered in Isaiah 10:31, though some render it, "be ye strengthened" (q); take heart, and play the man; but this does not seem so agreeable to the context:

stay not; or, "stand not"; stand not in the place ye are in, but move from it in all haste, because of present danger:

for I will bring evil from the north; from Babylon, as Kimchi interprets it; which lay north to the land of Israel; and so designs the captivity Judah should be brought into there:

and a great destruction or, "breach" (r); which the Babylonians should make on the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem.

(p) "congregate vos, sub. ad fugiendum", Vatablus; "confirmate vos ad fugiendum", Piscator. (q) "Confortamini", V. L. "corroboramiui", Castalio; "agite viriliter", Munster. (r) "contritionem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "confractionem", Cocceius.

Set up the standard toward Zion: {e} retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.

(e) He speaks this to admonish them of the great danger when every man will prepare to save himself, but it will be too late, 2Ki 25:4.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Set up a standard] to guide those who were seeking to attain the shelter of the walls of Jerusalem.

flee] rather, make (your households) flee. Cp. mg. in Isaiah 10:31; and Exodus 9:19 (“hasten in”).

from the north] See introd. note to the section.

destruction] For the alarm caused by the Scythians, see Introd. i. § 3.Verse 6. - Set up the standard. The "standard" was a tall pole with a flag, pointing in the direction of Zion, for the guidance of fugitives. Retire, stay not; rather, save your goods by flight; linger not. The former verb occurs again in the same sense in Exodus 9:19; Isaiah 10:31. From the north. The expression suits either the Scythians or the Chaldeans (see on Jeremiah 1:14). The people does not repudiate this shame and disgrace, but is willing to endure it patiently, since by its sin it has fully deserved it. נשׁכּבה, not: we lie, but: we will lay us down in our shame, as a man in pain and grief throws himself on the ground, or on his couch (cf. 2 Samuel 12:16; 2 Samuel 13:31; 1 Kings 21:4), in order wholly to give way to the feelings that crush him down. And let our disgrace cover us, i.e., enwrap us as a mourning robe or cloak; cf. Psalm 35:26; Psalm 109:29; Micah 7:10, Obadiah 1:10.
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