Jeremiah 6:2
I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
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(2) To a comely and delicate woman.—“Woman” is not in the Hebrew, and the word translated “comely” is elsewhere (Isaiah 65:10; Jeremiah 23:3; Exodus 15:13) rendered “fold” or “habitation;” and the passage should probably stand thus, I have likened the daughter of Zion to a fair pasturage, thus suggesting the imagery which is developed in the next verse. The clause is, however, rendered by some scholars as the fair and delicate one (or, the fair pasturage), the daughter of Zion, I have destroyed.

Jeremiah 6:2-3. I have likened, &c. — There being nothing for woman in the Hebrew text, and the word נוה, here rendered comely, frequently signifying a pasture, a sheep-fold, and a habitation, the verse is translated different ways by learned men. Houbigant and several others read it and the next verse thus: “I have likened the daughter of Sion to a pleasant pasture, whither the shepherds, with their flocks, come to feed: they have pitched their tents near it, and they feed round it, every one in his place.”

According to this reading, in which Sion is likened to a rich pasture, the shepherds and their flocks that come together to take possession of it, and eat it up, mean the Chaldean generals and their armies, who should possess themselves of Judea and Jerusalem, with as much ease as shepherds lead their flocks into a fresh and open pasture, and should enrich themselves with the spoil thereof. This is certainly a very easy and probable sense of the passage. Blaney, however, prefers rendering the word נוהhabitation; and, taking the verb דמיתיto signify here, not, I have likened, but, I have destroyed, (a sense which it sometimes bears,) he reads the passage, “The habitation, even the delightful one, have I doomed to destruction, the daughter of Sion. The shepherds, with their flocks, shall come to her. And they shall pitch their tents against her round about.” “Jerusalem,” he observes, “is in like manner called simply נוה, the habitation, Isaiah 27:10. And it seems entitled to the name by way of eminence, as the chief residence both of Israel and the God of Israel. Accordingly, speaking of the very desolation here intended, the psalmist says, They have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling-place, נוהו, Psalm 79:7. It is also called God’s habitation, Exodus 15:13; 2 Samuel 15:25, &c. And, with respect to the epithet annexed, the delightful one, Jerusalem is frequently spoken of in terms that show it to have been, in a very eminent degree, the object of delight both with God and man.”6:1-8 Whatever methods are used, it is vain to contend with God's judgments. The more we indulge in the pleasures of this life, the more we unfit ourselves for the troubles of this life. The Chaldean army shall break in upon the land of Judah, and in a little time devour all. The day is coming, when those careless and secure in sinful ways will be visited. It is folly to trifle when we have eternal salvation to work out, and the enemies of that salvation to fight against. But they were thus eager, not that they might fulfil God's counsels, but that they might fill their own treasures; yet God thereby served his own purposes. The corrupt heart of man, in its natural state, casts out evil thoughts, just as a fountain casts out her waters. It is always flowing, yet always full. The God of mercy is loth to depart even from a provoking people, and is earnest with them, that by repentance and reformation, they may prevent things from coming to extremity.The whole verse is difficult, but should probably be translated; "to a pasturage, yea a luxuriant pasturage, have I likened (or, have reduced to silence, i. e., destroyed) the daughter of Zion." 2. likened—rather, "I lay waste." Literally, "O comely and delicate one, I lay waste the daughter of Zion," that is, "thee." So Zec 3:9, "before Joshua," that is, "before thee" [Maurer]. Woman: this supplement is not in the text; they that approve it render the epithet comely variously, for one dwelling at home, as the Hebrew nays doth also signify, Habakkuk 2:5; and so the word delicate serves to explain it, as showing the reason of her tarrying at home; not as a good housewife, discreetly guiding and governing her affairs at home, as she is described, Proverbs 31:10, &c.; Titus 2:5; but through her delicacy exposing herself to all wantonness and voluptuousness, tarrying at home to give entertainment to her paramours: or she, through her state and pride, is so delicate and nice that she will not set her foot out of door, Deu 28:56; possibly occasioned by the great wealth and riches that God had blessed Jerusalem with. This may also point at Judah’s effeminacy, that will be so dispirited as not to have courage to oppose the adversary, but easily taken in her dwelling and habitation. Others, as a beautiful shepherdess. Some there are that rather choose to supply the defect by the word land or pasture, as being that which is greatly desirable by shepherds, as if she were some comely shepherdess, solacing herself in her delightful pastures: see Ezekiel 34:14; and so it may not be without some allusion to the next verse, where her enemies are. called by the names of shepherds, as being enticed by the pleasantness of her land. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. That dwells at home and lives in pleasure, and deliciously, in great peace and quietness, in entire ease and security, in no fear of enemies, or apprehension of danger; and so it describes the secure state of the Jews. Kimchi and Ben Melech supply the word "woman" as we do; but others supply "land" or "pasture"; and think that the Jewish nation is compared to pleasant and delightful lands and pastures, which are inviting to shepherds to come and pitch their tents about them; as follows. The words are by some rendered, "O beautiful and delicate one, I have cut off, or destroyed the daughter of Zion" (o); in which sense the word is used in Isaiah 6:5 and to this purpose is the Targum,

"O beautiful and delicate one, how hast thou corrupted thy ways? therefore the congregation of Zion is confounded;''

but the former senses seem to be best; in which the word used is understood as having the signification of likening or comparing; for which see Sol 1:9.

(o) So Jarchi and Joseph Kimchi. Vid. Gataker in loc.

I have likened the daughter of Zion to {d} a comely and delicate woman.

(d) I have intreated her gently, and given her abundance of all things.

2. The comely … cut off] So the MT., but it is open to suspicion, and the Versions differ much from it. With some emendation the sense may be that Zion is compared to a pasturage, upon which shepherds bring their flocks to feed, the latter denoting the enemy carrying with them devastation.

The comely and delicate one] better, the pasturage, yea, the luxuriant one.

Verse 2. - I have likened... a comely and delicate woman. This passage is one of the most difficult in the book, and if there is corruption of the text anywhere, it is here. The most generally adopted rendering is, "The comely and delicate one will I destroy, even the daughter of Zion," giving the verb the same sense as in Hosea 4:5 (literally it is, I have brought to silence, or perfect of prophetic certitude). The context, however, seems to favor the rendering "pasturage" (including the idea of a nomad settlement), instead of "comely;" but how to make this fit in with the remainder of the existing text is far from clear. The true and original reading probably only survives in fragments. Ver. 3 - The shepherds with their flocks, etc.; rather, To her came shepherds with their flocks; they have pitched their tents round about her; they have pastured each at his side. The best commentary on the last clause is furnished by Numbers 22:4, "Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field." The people has by its sins brought about the withdrawal of these blessings (the withholding of rain, etc.). הטּוּ, turned away, as in Amos 5:12; Malachi 3:5. "These," i.e., the blessings mentioned in Jeremiah 5:24. The second clause repeats the same thing. The good, i.e., which God in His goodness bestowed on them.

This is established in Jeremiah 5:26. by bringing home to the people their besetting sins. In (amidst) the people are found notorious sinners. ישׁוּר in indefinite generality: they spy about, lie in wait; cf. Hosea 13:7. The singular is chosen because the act described is not undertaken in company, but by individuals. שׁך from שׁכך, bend down, stoop, as bird-catchers hide behind the extended nets till the birds have gone in, so as then to draw them tight. "They set;" not the fowlers, but the wicked ones. משׁחית, destroyer (Exodus 12:23, and often), or destruction (Ezekiel 21:36); here, by virtue of the context, a trap which brings destruction. The men they catch are the poor, the needy, and the just; cf. Jeremiah 5:28 and Isaiah 29:21. The figure of bird-catching leads to a cognate one, by which are set forth the gains of the wicked or the produce of their labours. As a cage is filled with captured birds, so the houses of the wicked are filled with deceit, i.e., possessions obtained by deceit, through which they attain to credit, power, and wealth. Graf has overthrown Hitz.'s note, that we must understand by מרמה, not riches obtained by deceit, but he means and instruments of deceit; and this on account of the following: therefore they enrich themselves. But, as Graf shows, it is not the possession of these appliances, but of the goods acquired by deceit, that has made these people great and rich, "as the birds that fill the cage are not a means for capture, but property got by cunning." כּלוּב, cage, is not strictly a bird-cage, but a bird-trap woven of willows (Amos 8:1), with a lid to shut down, by means of which birds were caught.

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