Jeremiah 48:40
For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.
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(40) He shall fly as an eagle . . .—The image, as in Deuteronomy 28:49; Isaiah 46:11; Ezekiel 17:3, was the natural symbol of a fierce invader, probably, in this case, of Nebuchadnezzar. Here it receives a fresh vividness from the previous comparison of Moab to the dove that had its nest in the clefts of the rock. The verse is reproduced in Jeremiah 49:22, in reference to Edom.

Jeremiah 48:40-44. Behold, he shall fly as an eagle — Conquerors are often compared to eagles and other birds of prey; and the encamping of their armies is represented by the spreading of the wings of such fowls. The mighty men’s hearts shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs — They shall be dismayed at the apprehension of the evils that are coming upon them, and shall lose their wonted courage and resolution. Moab shall be destroyed from being a people — From being a nation or government, as it was before. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, &c. — These words, and those of the next verse, are taken from Isaiah 24:17-18, where see the notes.

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.The rapid and irresistible attack of Nebuchadnezzar is compared to the impetuous dash of the eagle on its prey Deuteronomy 28:49. 40. he—Nebuzara-dan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar.

as … eagle—not to bear them "on eagles' wings" (Ex 19:4; De 32:11, 12), as God does His people, but to pounce on them as a prey (Jer 49:22; De 28:49; Hab 1:8).

Nebuchadnezzar shall come upon Moab swiftly; and as an eagle covereth the prey which he hath taken with his wings, so Nebuchadnezzar shall spread himself over Moab.

For thus saith the Lord, behold, he shall fly as an eagle,.... The enemy, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, with his army; who is compared to an eagle for his strength, swiftness, and greediness after the prey:

and shall spread his wings over Moab; as an eagle spreads its wings, which are very large, over the little birds it seizes upon as its prey; so the king of Babylon would bring a numerous army against Moab, and spread it over his country. The Targum is,

"behold, as all eagle which flies, so a king shall come up with his army, and encamp against Moab.''

For thus saith the LORD; Behold, {x} he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.

(x) That is, Nebuchadnezzar, as in Jer 49:22.

40. he shall fly as an eagle] Cp. on Jeremiah 4:13. The simile seems taken from Deuteronomy 28:49, but is used elsewhere (see Isaiah 46:11; Ezekiel 17:3). It well represented the Babylonian empire, which “seemed to those who witnessed it like the rising of a mighty eagle, spreading out his vast wings, feathered with the innumerable colours of the variegated masses which composed the Chaldean host, sweeping over the different countries, and striking fear in his rapid flight:” Stanley, J. Ch. II. 451.

40, 41. The LXX omit “Behold … Moab” (Jeremiah 48:40) and “and the heart … pangs” (Jeremiah 48:41). Both are probably glosses in MT. supplied from Jeremiah 49:22, with change of names.

Verses 40, 41. - The Septuagint has a shorter form (see introduction to chapter). Verse 40. - He shall fly as an eagle; rather, he shall swoop (same word and figure in Deuteronomy 28:49). The subject is not named, but (as in ch. 46:18) is Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah 48:40No escape from destruction. - Jeremiah 48:39. "How it is broken! they howl. How hath Moab turned the back, for shame! And Moab becomes a laughing-stock and a terror to all his neighbours. Jeremiah 48:40. For thus saith Jahveh: Behold, he shall fly like the eagle, and spread his wings over Moab. Jeremiah 48:41. Kerioth is taken, and the strongholds are seized, and the heart of the heroes of Moab on that day become like the heart of a travailing woman. Jeremiah 48:42. And Moab is destroyed from being a people, because he hath boasted against Jahveh. Jeremiah 48:43. Fear, and a pit, and a snare, are against thee, O inhabitants of Moab, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 48:44. He who flees from the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who goes up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare; for I will bring against it, against Moab, the year of their recompense, saith Jahveh."

The subject of חתּה in Jeremiah 48:39 is Moab viewed as a nation. הילילוּ might be imperative, but in this case we would be obliged to take בּושׁ also as an imperative (as Hitzig and Graf do). It is simpler to take both forms as perfects: "they howl...Moab turns the back, is ashamed" ( equals for shame). On היה לשׂחק, cf. Jeremiah 48:26. מחתּה, object of terror, as in Jeremiah 17:17. "All who are round about him," as in Jeremiah 48:17. "For (Jeremiah 48:40) the enemy rushes down upon Moab like an eagle, and seizes Kerioth and all his strongholds." The subject is left unnamed, as in Jeremiah 46:18, but it is Nebuchadnezzar. The figure of the eagle, darting down in flight on its prey, is founded on Deuteronomy 28:49 (on אל- for על, cf. Jeremiah 49:22). Kerioth, the capital, is taken (see on Jeremiah 48:24); so are the other strongholds or fastnesses of the country. The mere fact that קריּות has the article does not justify any one in taking it as an appellative, "the cities;" this appears from a comparison of Amos 2:2 with this verse. No plural of קריה occurs anywhere. Then the fear of death falls on the heroes of Moab like a woman in labour. מצרה, partic. Hiphil from צרר, uterum comprimens, is found only here and in Jeremiah 49:22, where the figure is repeated. Moab is annihilated, so that it is no longer a nation (cf. Jeremiah 48:2), because it has risen up in pride against the God of Israel; cf. Jeremiah 48:26. He who flees from one danger falls into the other. The play on the words פּחד, fear, horror, פּחת, pit, and פּח, spring-trap, as well as the mode in which it is carried out, is taken from Isaiah 24:17., - a prophecy of the judgment on the world; see a similar idea presented in Amos 5:19, but somewhat differently expressed. The Kethib הניס, perfect Hiphil, "he flees," is less suitable than the Qeri הנּס (after Isaiah). The last clause, "for I will bring," etc., is quite in Jeremiah's peculiar style; cf. Jeremiah 4:23; Jeremiah 23:12. אליה belongs to אל־מואב: the noun is anticipated by the pronoun, as frequently occurs; cf. Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 41:3; Jeremiah 43:11.

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