Jeremiah 48:37
For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: on all the hands shall be cuttings, and on the loins sackcloth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
48:14-47. The destruction of Moab is further prophesied, to awaken them by national repentance and reformation to prevent the trouble, or by a personal repentance and reformation to prepare for it. In reading this long roll of threatenings, and mediating on the terror, it will be of more use to us to keep in view the power of God's anger and the terror of his judgments, and to have our hearts possessed with a holy awe of God and of his wrath, than to search into all the figures and expressions here used. Yet it is not perpetual destruction. The chapter ends with a promise of their return out of captivity in the latter days. Even with Moabites God will not contend for ever, nor be always wroth. The Jews refer it to the days of the Messiah; then the captives of the Gentiles, under the yoke of sin and Satan, shall be brought back by Divine grace, which shall make them free indeed.Cuttings - Compare Jeremiah 16:6, and marginal references. 37. (See on [985]Jer 47:5; Isa 15:2, 3).

upon all … hands—that is, arms, in which such cuttings used to be made in token of grief (compare Zec 13:6).

These phrases are expounded in the beginning of the following verse, There shall be lamentation generally upon all the house-tops of Moab. Shaving of the hair, and clipping the beards, and cutting themselves, were rites and ceremonies of mourning used by these heathens. For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped,.... Men, in times of mourning, used to pluck off the hairs of their head till they made them bald, and shaved their beards; which, as Kimchi says, were the glory of their faces; see Isaiah 15:2;

upon all the hands shall be cuttings: it was usual with the Heathens to make incisions in the several parts of their bodies, particularly in their hands and arms, with their nails, or with knives, in token of mourning; which are forbidden the Israelites, Deuteronomy 14:1;

and upon the loins sackcloth; this is a well known custom for mourners, to put off their clothes, and put on sackcloth; all these things are mentioned, to show how great was the mourning of Moab for the calamities of it.

For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
37. All shall have the usual indications of mourning. See on ch. Jeremiah 16:6.

37, 38. Cp. Isaiah 15:2 f. From “for I have broken” (Jeremiah 48:38) to “upon Moab” (Jeremiah 48:44) is either wholly or in a large part the work of a supplementer.Verses 37, 38 (first part). - Based on Isaiah 15:2 (latter part), 3 (first part). On the primitive Arabic, Egyptian, and Hebrew custom of cutting off the hair, see on Jeremiah 16:6, and comp. Herod., 2:36. Clipped. The difference from the word in Isaiah is so slight that it may easily have arisen from a copyist. The meaning is virtually the same. Cuttings. So of Philistia (Jeremiah 47:5); see on Jeremiah 16:6. Jeremiah 48:31-33 are also an imitation of Isaiah 16:7-10. V. 31 is a reproduction of Isaiah 16:7. In Jeremiah 48:7, Isaiah sets forth the lamentation of Moab over the devastation of his country and its precious fruits; and not until v. 9 does the prophet, in deep sympathy, mingle his tears with those of the Moabites. Jeremiah, on the other hand, with his natural softness, at once begins, in the first person, his lament over Moab. על־כּן, "therefore," is not immediately connected with Jeremiah 48:29., but with the leading idea presented in Jeremiah 48:26 and Jeremiah 48:28, that Moab will fall like one intoxicated, and that he must flee out of his cities. If we refer it to Jeremiah 48:30, there we must attach it to the thought implicitly contained in the emphatic statement, "I (Jahveh) know his wrath," viz., "and I will punish him for it." The I who makes lament is the prophet, as in Isaiah 16:9 and Isaiah 15:5. Schnurrer, Hitzig, and Graf, on the contrary, think that it is an indefinite third person who is introduced as representing the Moabites; but there is no analogous case to support this assumption, since the instances in which third persons are introduced are of a different kind. But when Graf further asserts, against referring the I to the prophet, that, according to what precedes, especially what we find in Jeremiah 48:26., such an outburst of sympathy for Moab would involve a contradiction, he makes out the prophet to be a Jew thirsting for revenge, which he was not. Raschi has already well remarked, on the other hand, under Isaiah 15:5, that "the prophets of Israel differ from heathen prophets like Balaam in this, that they lay to heart the distress which they announce to the nations;" cf. Isaiah 21:3. The prophet weeps for all Moab, because the judgment is coming not merely on the northern portion (Jeremiah 48:18-25), but on the whole of the country. In Jeremiah 48:31, Jeremiah has properly changed לאשׁישׁי (cakes of dried grapes) into אל־אנשׁי, the people of Kir-heres, because his sympathy was directed, not to dainties, but to the men in Moab; he has also omitted "surely they are smitten," as being too strong for his sympathy. יהגּה, to groan, taken from the cooing of doves, perhaps after Isaiah 38:15; Isaiah 59:11. The third person indicates a universal indefinite. Kir-heres, as in Isaiah 16:11, or Kir-haresheth in Isaiah 16:7; 2 Kings 3:25, was the chief stronghold of Moab, probably the same as Kir-Moab, the modern Kerek, as we may certainly infer from a comparison of Isaiah 16:7 with Isaiah 15:1 see on 2 Kings 3:25, and Dietrich, S. 324.
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