Jeremiah 48:5
For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
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(5) In the going up of Luhith.—Here again we have an echo from Isaiah 15:5. Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Luith) describes it as between Zoar and Areopolis (= Rabbath-Moab). The ascent was probably to a local sanctuary. A various reading, Laboth, followed by the LXX., gives the meaning “the ascent of planks,” as though it were a wooden staircase. Alike in that and in the descent from Horonaim (possibly the fugitives who came down from the heights of the one city are represented as going up with wailing to the other) the enemies of Moab would hear the cry that proclaimed its downfall.

48:1-13. The Chaldeans are to destroy the Moabites. We should be thankful that we are required to seek the salvation of men's lives, and the salvation of their souls, not to shed their blood; but we shall be the more without excuse if we do this pleasant work deceitfully. The cities shall be laid in ruins, and the country shall be wasted. There will be great sorrow. There will be great hurry. If any could give wings to sinners, still they could not fly out of the reach of Divine indignation. There are many who persist in unrepented iniquity, yet long enjoy outward prosperity. They had been long corrupt and unreformed, secure and sensual in prosperity. They have no changes of their peace and prosperity, therefore their hearts and lives are unchanged, Ps 55:19.Luhith was situated upon an eminence, and Jeremiah describes one set of weeping fugitives as pressing close upon another.

In the going down of Horonaim ... - Rather, in the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distresses of the cry of breaking, i. e., the cry of distress occasioned by the ruin inflicted by the enemy. It was situated in a hollow, probably near the Dead Sea.

5. going up of Luhith … going down of Horonaim—Horonaim lay in a plain, Luhith on a height. To the latter, therefore, the Moabites would flee with "continual weeping," as a place of safety from the Chaldeans. Literally, "Weeping shall go up upon weeping." Of

Luhith we read only in this place, and Isaiah 15:5; it was a city of Moab, and situated upon a hill, as appears both here and where it is mentioned in Isaiah. Some think that to this city the Moabites fled for sanctuary from the Chaldeans, and fleeing made so great an outcry that their enemies who pursued them heard their cry.

For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up,.... This is another city, which was built on a high hill, which had a considerable ascent to it, whither those that escaped from Horonaim might flee for safety; but as they went up the hill would weep bitterly, and all the way they went, because of the loss of friends and sustenance, and the danger they themselves were still in. Of this place See Gill on Isaiah 15:5;

for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction; a place before mentioned, which lay low, in the descent of which, the enemies, the Chaldeans, heard the cries of those that fled from Horonaim, and went up from thence to Luhith, which cry was as follows:

For in the ascent of {d} Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the descent of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.

(d) Horonaim and Luhith were two places by which the Moabites would flee, Isa 15:5.

5. See preceding note.

Verse 5. - For in the going up of Luhith, etc. The verse is substantially taken from Isaiah (Isaiah 15:5), but with variations peculiar to this chapter. The most peculiar of these is that in the first verse half, which is literally, weeping goeth up (not, shall go up) with weeping, which is explained by Dr. Payne Smith to mean "one set of weeping fugitives pressing close upon another." To the present commentator (as also to Delitzsch - see his note on Isaiah 15:5) there seems no reasonable doubt that b'ki, the word rendered "weeping," should rather be bo, "upon it," so that the passage will run, as in Isaiah, "for the going up of Luhith with weeping doth one go up if," Hitzig (whom for once we find agreeing with Delitzsch) remarks that the miswriting b'ki for bo may be easily accounted for by the fact that ki, "for," is the word which follows next. We have no right to ascribe to Jeremiah such an artificial and un-Hebraic an expression as that of the received text. Small as the matter may be in itself, it is not unimportant as suggesting to the Old Testament student a caution against the too unreserved adoption of the canon Lectioni faciliori praestat ardua. In the going down of Horonaim. An interesting variation from Isaiah. The older poet, less attentive to minutiae, had said vaguely, "in the road to Horonaim;" by a slight change of expression, the younger and more reflective writer produces a striking antithesis between the ascent to the hill-town, and the descent to the hollow in which Horonaim ("double cavern") appears to have been situated. It is possible, however, that Jeremiah has preserved the original reading, and that "the road" in Isaiah, l.c., is due to the carelessness of a scribe. The enemies have heard a cry of destruction. But why this reference to the enemies? The rendering, however, is ungrammatical. The text is, literally, the enemies of the cry of destruction have they heard. The prophecy in Isaiah omits "the enemies of," and has a different verb for "have they heard." Can the inserted words be an intrusion from the margin? The later scribes were accustomed to insert glosses in the margin on occasions where we should have thought them entirely unnecessary for the purpose of explanation. But then why "the enemies of"? It is an insoluble enigma. Jeremiah 48:5In Jeremiah 48:5 this idea is further elucidated. The inhabitants flee, weeping as they go, towards the south, before the conquering enemy advancing from the north, up the ascent of Luhith, and down the descent of Horonaim. The idea is taken from Isaiah 15:5, but applied by Jeremiah in his own peculiar manner; יעלה בּו is changed into יעלה בּכי, and the notion of weeping is thereby intensified. We take בּכי as an adverbial accusative, but in fact it is to be rendered like the preceding בּבכי; and יעלה stands with an indefinite nominative: "one ascends equals they ascend," not "weeping rises over weeping," as Hitzig, Graf, and others take it. For, in the latter case, בּבכי could not be separated from בּכי, nor stand first; cf. the instances adduced by Graf, שׁנה בּשׁנה and עין בּעין. The form חלּחות for חלּחית is either an error of transcription or an optional form, and there is no ground for taking the word as appellative, as Hitzig does, "the ascent of boards, i.e., as boards tower one above another, so does weeping rise," - an unnatural figure, and one devoid of all taste. The last words of the second member of the verse present some difficulty, chiefly on account of צרי, which the lxx have omitted, and which Ewald and Umbreit set down as spurious, although (as Graf rightly remarks) they do not thereby explain how it came into the text. To suppose, with the Rabbinical writers, that the construct state צרי stands for the absolute, is not only inadmissible, as being against the principles of grammar, but also contrary to the whole scope of the passage. The context shows that the clamour cannot proceed from the enemy, but only from the fugitive Moabites. Only two explanations are possible: either צרי must be taken in the sense of angustiae, and in connection with צעקת, "straits, distress of crying," a cry of distress, as De Wette does; or, "oppressors of the cry of distress," as Ngelsbach takes it. We prefer the former, in spite of the objection of Graf, that the expression "distress of crying," for "a cry of distress," would be a strange one: for this objection may be made against his own explanation, that צרי means the bursting open of the mouth in making a loud cry; and צרי זעקה is a loud outcry for help.
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