Jeremiah 5:10
Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD'S.
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(10) Walls.—Better, her palm-trees. The Hebrew word is found in Ezekiel 27:25, though not in the English Version, in the sense of “mast,” and here, apparently, means the tall, stately trunk of the palmtree. So, for “battlements” it is better to read branches (as in Isaiah 18:5), as carrying on the same imagery, and indicating the limits of the destruction, that is not to make a “full end.” The rendering “walls,” still adopted by some commentators, may refer to the “walls” of a vineyard, but the second word would in that case be the tendrils of the vine. Both the palm-tree and the vine appear on Maccabean coins as symbols of Judah, and the latter had been treated as such in Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-16.

Jeremiah 5:10-13. Go ye up upon her walls, &c. — Ye Babylonians, go, execute my vengeance on them; and destroy — I commission you not only to take the city, but to make havoc of its inhabitants. But make not a full end — Leave a remnant. Thus he sets bounds to the destroying sword, beyond which it must not go. Take away her battlements — Lay her fortifications level with the ground. For they are not the Lord’s — I disown them, and take away my protection from them. For the house of Israel and the house of Judah — The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, as well as the ten; have dealt very treacherously — Have acted perfidiously beyond measure. They have belied the Lord — Given the lie to his threatenings in the mouth of his prophets: or have disbelieved and denied his providence, justice, and power, and his government of human affairs, ascribing his judgments to chance or fortune, or mere second causes. And have said, It is not he — Hebrew, לא הוא, “not he:” that is, he hath not spoken, or he wilt not do as the prophets have threatened in his name; or, he hath no hand in these affairs. Thus the wicked are represented as speaking, Psalm 94:7, “The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.” Neither shall we see sword or famine — The dreadful judgments which the prophet speaks of shall not befall us. And the prophets shall become wind — A proverbial expression, implying that the prophecies of the prophets were vain, and to no purpose; and that all their threats should come to nothing. And the word is not in them — That is, the word of true prophecy; the prophets’ words are not from God. Thus shall it be done unto them — Nay, the very evils which they denounce upon others shall happen to themselves. So said the infidels.

5:10-18 Multitudes are ruined by believing that God will not be so strict as his word says he will; by this artifice Satan undid mankind. Sinners are not willing to own any thing to be God's word, that tends to part them from, or to disquiet them in, their sins. Mocking and misusing the Lord's messengers, filled the measure of their iniquity. God can bring trouble upon us from places and causes very remote. He has mercy in store for his people, therefore will set bounds to this desolating judgment. Let us not overlook the nevertheless, ver. 18. This is the Lord's covenant with Israel. He thereby proclaims his holiness, and his utter displeasure against sin while sparing the sinner, Ps 89:30-35.Her walls - It is Possible that not the city walls, but those of a vineyard are meant. Judaea is God's vineyard Isaiah 5:1-7, and God permits the enemy to enter the vineyard to destroy her.

Battlements - tendrils. The tendrils and branches of Judah's vine are given up to ruin, but not the stock. See Isaiah 6:13 note.

10. Abrupt apostrophe to the Babylonians, to take Jerusalem, but not to destroy the nation utterly (see on [897]Jer 4:27).

battlements—rather, tendrils [Maurer]: the state being compared to a vine (Jer 12:10), the stem of which was to be spared, while the tendrils (the chief men) were to be removed.

Go ye up upon her walls; ye Babylonians, go now execute my vengeance on them. I give them into your hands; behold, I give you a commission.

And destroy; I permit and order you not only to take the city, but make havoc of her inhabitants, Isaiah 10:6.

But make not a full end: though God give them a large commission to destroy, yet he puts in a limitation, that he will reserve a remnant from destruction; he sets bounds to the most raging adversary, beyond which he must not pass. See on Jeremiah 4:27.

Take away her battlements; lay her and all her fortifications level with the ground; take away her counterscarp, or high towers, or whatsoever may tend to the defence of a city; to let Jerusalem know that she did but in vain trust to her high walls and strong towers; and battlements may as well be taken for the foundation of her walls, which spread wider than the wall itself. The word the prophet useth signifies things that spread; and thus it agrees with the scope, that is describing the utter overthrow and eradicating of it: so LXX., take away her supports. For they are not the Lord’s; I undertake their defence no longer; I disown them, lake my protection from them, and give them up into your hands, O ye Chaldeans, though they make their boast that they are sheltered under my wing and protection, because there was the temple and altar; but they will find themselves deceived, for I disown them.

Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy,.... These are the words of the prophet, or of the Lord by the prophet, to the Chaldeans, ordering them to ascend the walls of Jerusalem, and break them down, as they did, even all the walls of it round about, Jeremiah 52:7, there can be nothing done without the Lord's will; and there is no evil in a city but what is done, or ordered, or suffered to be done by him, Amos 3:6,

but make not a full end; meaning not of the walls, for a full end was made of them, they were broken down all around; but of the people; there were a remnant to be preserved from the sword, and to be carried captive, and to be returned into their own land again, after a term of years:

take away her battlements; which must mean not the battlements of their houses, or of the temple; but of their walls, the fortifications that run out like branches without the wall (w). Kimchi interprets them the teeth of the wall; the Septuagint version renders the word, "the under props"; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, "the foundations of it". The word properly signifies the branches of a vine; wherefore Jarchi takes the word for walls, in the preceding clause, to signify the rows of a vineyard; and the Jews are sometimes compared to a vineyard; and here the Chaldeans are called upon to enter into it, to come upon the rows of the vines in it, and take away its branches:

for they are not the Lord's; either the walls and the battlements are not the Lord's, he disowns them, and will not guard them, and protect them, any more; or rather the people are not the Lord's, he has written a "loammi" upon them; they are not the people of God, nor the branches of Christ the true Vine. The Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic versions, read the words without the negative, "leave her under props", or "her foundations, because they are the Lord's". The Targum is,

"go upon her cities, and destroy, and make not a full end; destroy her palaces, for the Lord has no pleasure in them.''

(w) "propaginos; rami libere luxuriantes----item pinnae, vel potius munimenta et propugnacula extra muri ambitum libere excurrentia", Stockius, p. 675.

{h} Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: {i} take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD'S.

(h) He commands the Babylonians and enemies to destroy them.

(i) Read Jer 4:27.

10. Judah is likened to a vineyard. So in Jeremiah 12:10; Isaiah 5:1 ff.

her walls] This sense for the MT. as here vocalised is very questionable. It is best, changing one vowel, to take the meaning to be vinerows (as probably in Job 24:11). So Du., though Co. makes it to denote the walls protecting the vineyards, and Gi. (in spite of the metaphor of the context) the walls of Jerusalem.

make not a full end] See on Jeremiah 4:27.

branches] tendrils, so as to keep up the figure of the vine. Cp. Isaiah 18:5.

10–19. See summary at beginning of section.

Verses 10-18. - Provoked by the open unbelief of the men of Judah, Jehovah repeats his warning of a sore judgment. Verse 10. - Her walls. There is a doubt about "walls," which should, as some think, rather be vine-rows (a change of points is involved; also of shin into sin - the slightest of all changes), or shoots, or branches (comparing the Syriac). The figure would thus gain somewhat in symmetry. However, all the ancient interpreters (whose authority, overrated by some, still counts for something) explain the word as in the Authorized Version, and, as Graf remarks, in order to destroy the vines, it' would be necessary to climb up upon the walls of the vineyard. (For the figure of the vine or the vineyard, scrap, on Jeremiah 2:21.) Take away... not the Lord's. The Septuagint and Peshito read differently, translating "leave her foundations, for they are the Lord's" (supposing the figure be taken from a building). As the text stands, it is better to change battlements into tendrils. Judah's degenerate members are to be removed, but the vine-stock, i.e., the behooving kernel of the nation, is to be left. It is the key-note of the "remnant" which Jeremiah again strikes (see Jeremiah 4:27). Jeremiah 5:10In spite of the feeling of security fostered by the false prophets, the Lord will make good His word, and cause the land and kingdom to be laid waste by a barbarous people. - Jeremiah 5:10. "Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy, but make not a full end: tear away her tendrils; for they are not Jahveh's. Jeremiah 5:11. For faithless to me is the house of Israel become and the house of Judah, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 5:12. They deny Jahveh, and say, He is not; and evil shall not come upon us, and sword and famine we shall not see. Jeremiah 5:13. And the prophets shall become wind, and he that speaketh is not in them: so may it happen unto them. Jeremiah 5:14. Therefore thus saith Jahveh the God of hosts: Because ye speak this word, behold, I make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Jeremiah 5:15. Behold, I bring upon you a nation from far, house of Israel, saith Jahveh, a people that is strong, a people that is from of old, a people whose speech thou knowest not, and understandest not what it saith. Jeremiah 5:16. Its quiver is as an open grave, they are all mighty men. Jeremiah 5:17. It shall eat up thy harvest and thy bread; they shall eat up thy sons and thy daughters; it shall eat up thy flocks and thy cattle, eat up thy vine and thy fig-tree; it shall break down thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustest, with the sword. Jeremiah 5:18. But yet in those days, saith Jahveh, I will not make a full end with you."

To give emphasis to the threat, that the Lord will avenge Himself on such a people, we have immediately following, in Jeremiah 5:10, the summons given to the enemy to subdue the land.עלוּ בשׁרותיה is variously explained. The old translators took שׁרות to mean walls; but the second clause, tear away the tendrils, seems not to suit this well. And then this word occurs but once again, and with the meaning "caravan," while walls are שׁוּרות in Job 24:11. But this reason is not strong enough to throw any doubt on the rendering: walls, supported as it is by the old versions. The form שׁרות from שׁוּר is contracted from a form שׁורים, constructed analogously to שׁורות. The second clause would be unsuitable to the first only in the case that walls were to mean exclusively town walls or fortifications. But this is not the case. Even if the suffix here referred to Jerusalem, mentioned in Jeremiah 5:1, which is very doubtful, still then the city would be looked on not in the light of a stronghold, but only as representative of the kingdom or of the theocracy. Probably, however, the suffix refers to the daughter of Zion as seat of the kingdom of God, and the idea of a vineyard was in the prophet's mind (cf. Jeremiah 2:21), under which figure Isaiah (Isaiah 5:1-7) set forth the kingdom of God founded on Mount Zion; so that under walls, the walls of the vineyard are to be thought of. Elsewhere, indeed, these are called גּדרות (also in Jeremiah 49:3), but only where the figure of a vineyard is further developed, or at least is brought more plainly and prominently forward. Here, again, where the enemy is summoned to go upon the walls, this figure is mixed up with that of a city; and so the word שׂרות, as indicating walls of any kind, seems most fitting. Graf has overthrown, as being unfounded, Hitz.'s assertion, that עלה signified only, to go up against a thing; and that accuracy and elegance required that the destruction should be of the walls, not of the vineyard itself. עלה c. בּ means also: to go up upon a thing, e.g., Psalm 24:3; Deuteronomy 5:5; and the verb שׁחתוּ stands quite absolutely, so that it cannot be restricted to the walls. "And destruction can only take place when, by scaling the walls, entrance has been obtained into that which is to be destroyed, be it city or vineyard." We therefore adhere to the sig. walls, especially since the other translations attempted by Ew. and Hitz. are wholly without foundation. Hitz. will have us read שׂרותיה, and take this as plural of שׁורה; next he supposes a row of vines to be intended, but he obtains this sense only by arbitrarily appending the idea of vines. Ew. endeavours, from the Aram. and Arab., to vindicate for the word the meaning: clusters of blossom, and so to obtain for the whole the translation: push in amidst the blossom-spikes. A singular figure truly, which in no way harmonizes with עלוּ ב. "Destroy" is restricted by the following "but make not," etc.; see on Jeremiah 4:27. On "tear away her tendrils," cf. Isaiah 18:5. The spoilers are not to root up the vine itself, but to remove the tendrils, which do not belong to Jahveh. Spurious members of the nation are meant, those who have degenerated out of their kind.

The reasons of this command are given in Jeremiah 5:11., by a renewed exposure of the people's apostasy. The house of Israel and the house of Judah are become faithless. On this cf. Jeremiah 3:6. The mention of Israel along with Judah gives point to the threatening, since judgment has already been executed upon Israel. Judah has equalled Israel in faithlessness, and so a like fate will be its lot. Judah shows its faithlessness by denying the Lord, by saying לא הוּא. This Ew. translates: not so, after the οὐκ ἔστι ταῦτα of the lxx; but he is certainly wrong in this. Even though הוּא may be used in place of the neuter, yet it cannot be so used in this connection, after the preceding כּחשׁוּ ביהוה. Better to take it: He is not, as the fools speak in Psalm 14:1 : there is no God, i.e., go on in their lives as if God were not. "Jahveh is not" is therefore in other words: there exists not a God such as Jahveh is preached to us, who is to visit His people with sore punishments. This view is not open to the objection, quod pro lubitu supplent, which Ros. raises against the interpretation: non est is, qualem prophetae describunt. For we take הוּא not as is qualem, but as est sc. Jahveh; and we explain the meaning of Jahveh only in that reference in which He is disowned by these men, namely, as God who visits His people with punishments. In this character He was preached by the prophets. This appears from what is further said by these disowners of God: evil or mischief will not come on us. To a saying of this kind they could have been provoked only by threatenings of punishments. The prophets were not indeed the first to announce judgments; Moses in the law threatened transgressors with the sorest punishments. But the context, the threatening against the false prophets in Jeremiah 5:13, suggests that here we are to think of announcements by the prophets. Doubtless the false prophets assured the people: evil shall not come upon you, in opposition to the true prophets, who threatened the sinful race with the judgments of God. Such prophets are to become wind, sc. with their utterances. הדּבּר is not a noun: the word, but a verb, with the article instead of the relative pronoun, as in Joshua 1:24; 1 Chronicles 26:28, and often: He who speaks is not in them, i.e., in them there is none other speaker than themselves; the Spirit of God is not in them. אין, "there is none," is stronger than לא, meaning: they speak out of their own hearts. The threat, so be it unto them, may be most simply referred to the first clause: they become wind. Let the emptiness of their prophecies fall on their own heads, so that they themselves may come to nought.

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