Jeremiah 49:31
Arise, get you up to the wealthy nation, that dwells without care, said the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone.
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(31-33) Arise, get you up . . .—The command of Jehovah goes forth to the invaders. Their work will be an easy one, for they are sent against a people that dwell defenceless in the open country, with no walls or gates, dwelling alone, without allies, their camels and their flocks offering an easy prey. Compare the description of Laish in Judges 18:7. The prophet repeats the characteristic term of scorn which we have found in Jeremiah 9:26; Jeremiah 25:23, “them that dwell in the utmost corners,” or more accurately, those with cropped-hair temples, as descriptive of the wild tribes that are thus doomed to destruction. Their land shall be a dwelling-place for jackals (not “dragons”; see Note on Jeremiah 9:11), desolate for ever.

49:28-33 Nebuchadnezzar would make desolation among the people of Kedar, who dwelt in the deserts of Arabia. He who conquered many strong cities, will not leave those unconquered that dwell in tents. He will do this to gratify his own covetousness and ambition; but God orders it for correcting an unthankful people, and for warning a careless world to expect trouble when they seem most safe. They shall flee, get far off, and dwell deep in the deserts; they shall be dispersed. But privacy and obscurity are not always protection and security.The wealthy nation - Or, a nation at rest, living securely and in confidence.

Which dwell alone - They dwell alone, i. e., have neither alliances with other nations, nor contact by commerce.

31. wealthy—rather, "tranquil" (1Ch 4:40).

neither gates nor bars—The Arabs, lying out of the track of the contending powers of Asia and Africa, took no measures of defense and had neither walled cities nor gates (Eze 38:11). They thought their scanty resources and wilderness position would tempt no foe.

alone—separated from other nations, without allies; and from one another scattered asunder. So as to Israel's isolation (Nu 23:9; De 33:28; Mic 7:14).

The supposed result of Nebuchadnezzar’s counsels, giving charge to his armies to march against the Kedarens, which lived at case and quiet, and took no care; that had no cities, nor gates, nor bars to keep their enemies out, nor were near any neighbours that could assist them, nor very near to one another, living in tents, so might easily be overrun, and conquered, and made a prey to enemies. Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation,.... Or, "to the nation that is at ease" (s); the people that live quietly and in peace; have no wars with their neighbours, nor any among themselves; which seems to be the better sense of the word, for these Kedarenes were not a very wealthy people: these words do not express the counsel and purpose of Nebuchadnezzar; or are an address of his to his army, commanding them to arise, and invade the country of Arabia; for they are the words of the Lord, and are addressed to him and his army to go up in a hostile manner against the Kedarenes, here described:

that dwelleth without care, saith the Lord; not without the care of their flocks, or without providing things necessary for themselves and families; they were not an indolent people, that lived an idle and inactive life; but they dwelt "confidently", or "securely" (t), as it may be rendered; they had no thought nor care to defend themselves from an enemy; they had no fear of any, imagining that no one would think it worth while to give themselves any trouble to invade them; their meanness they supposed was a protection to them:

which have neither gates nor bars; to their cities, or to their houses, being in no fear of an enemy to come and plunder them:

which dwell alone; being in no alliance with other nations; nor dwelling together in cities, towns, and villages, at least the common people; the greater part of them being scattered up and down, a few in one place, and a few in another; they dwelt for the convenience of feeding their flocks.

(s) "ad gentem quietam", V. L. Munster, Schmidt; "tranquillam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "pacificam", so some in Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus. (t) "habitantem confidenter", V. L. Pagninus; "in fiducia", Montanus; "in fiducia magna", Vatablus; "secure", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt.

{f} Arise, go up to the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone.

(f) He shows that they of Hazor will flee to the Arabians for comfort but that will not help them.

31. Arise] addressed to the enemies of these tribes.

Three grounds of encouragement are given to the invading army, (a) the people have felt hitherto secure against attack, (b) they have no walled towns, (c) they have no powerful neighbours, from whom to seek aid.

which dwell alone] considering themselves immune from invasion. For the expression in this sense cp. Deuteronomy 33:28; Psalm 4:8 (R.V. mg.).

31, 32. These vv. are in all probability a later addition, influenced by Ezekiel 38:11.Verse 31. - How easy is the expedition to which the Chaldean army is invited! - it is a mere holiday march. Resistance is impossible, for an enemy has never been dreamed cf. The tribes of Hazer are not, indeed, a wealthy nation, for they have but little wealth to tempt either the conqueror or the merchant; they "live alone;" they are an uncommercial and unwarlike, but a profoundly "tranquil, nation, that dwelleth securely [or, 'confidently']" - a description reminding us of Judges 8:7; Ezekiel 38:11. In their idyllic, patriarchal state they feel no need of walls with their accompanying double gates (the gates of ancient cities were so large that they were divided) and bars. Like Israel in the prophetic vision (Numbers 23:9), "they dwell alone." רפתה דמּשׁק, "Damascus has become slack," i.e., discouraged; she turns to flee, and cannot escape, being seized with trembling and anxiety. החזיקה is not the third pers. fem., prehendit terrorem, but stands for החזיקהּ, with Mappik omitted, because the tone is retracted in consequence of the Athnach; cf. Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 8:21, etc. "Terror has seized Damascus." In the last clause וחבלים is subsumed along with צרה; hence the verb is put in the singular. - Jeremiah 49:25. The question, "How is not," etc., has been differently explained. Eichhorn, Gesenius, Ewald, and Umbreit take the words according to the German usage, in the sense, "How is the city forsaken?" or laid waste. But this Germanism is foreign to the Hebrew; and it is not obviated by C. B. Michaelis taking "how" in the sense of quam inopinato et quam horribiliter non deserta est, so that the words would mean nullus est modus desertionis aut gradus quem Damascus non sit experta, because איך לא does not express the kind and manner, or the degree of an action. In the only other passage where איך לא occurs (2 Samuel 1:14) the negative has its full meaning. Others (Calvin, Schnurrer, J. D. Michaelis, Rosenmller, Maurer) take עזב in the sense of leaving free, untouched: "How has she not been left untouched?" i.e., been spared. But this meaning of the verb is nowhere found. There is no other course left than, with Ngelsbach, to take the verb as referring to the desertion of the city through the flight of the inhabitants, as in Jeremiah 4:29, etc., and to take the words thus: "How is (i.e., how has it happened that) the famous city (is) not forsaken?" According to this view, it is not the desolation of the city that is bewailed, but the fact that the inhabitants have not saved their lives by flight. The way is prepared for this thought by Jeremiah 49:24, where it is said that the inhabitants of Damascus wish to flee, but are seized with convulsive terror; in Jeremiah 49:25 also there is a more specific reason given for it, where it is stated that the youths (the young warriors) and all the men of war shall fall in the streets of the city, and be slain by foes. The suffix in "my delight" refers to the prophet, and expresses his sympathy for the fall of the glorious city (see on Jeremiah 48:31); because not only does its population perish, but the city itself also (Jeremiah 49:27) is to be burned to ashes.
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