Jeremiah 6:23
They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.
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(23) Bow and spear.—As before (Jeremiah 5:16), the special weapons of the Chaldæans. The “spear” was a javelin, shot or hurled against the enemy.

Cruel.—The ferocity of the Chaldæans seems to have been exceptional. Prisoners impaled, or flayed alive, or burnt in the furnace (Jeremiah 29:22; Daniel 3:11), were among the common incidents of their wars and sieges.

They ride upon horses.—This appears to have been a novelty to the Israelites, accustomed to the war-chariots of Egypt and their own kings rather than to actual cavalry. (Comp. Jeremiah 8:16; Job 39:21-25; Habakkuk 1:8; Isaiah 30:16.) Both archers and horsemen appear as prominent in the armies of Gog and Magog, i.e., of the Scythians, in Ezekiel 38:4; Ezekiel 39:3.

Set in array . . .—The Hebrew is singular, and implies a new clause. It (the army of bowmen and riders) is set in array as a warrior, for war against thee.

6:18-30 God rejects their outward services, as worthless to atone for their sins. Sacrifice and incense were to direct them to a Mediator; but when offered to purchase a license to go on in sin, they provoke God. The sins of God's professing people make them an easy prey to their enemies. They dare not show themselves. Saints may rejoice in hope of God's mercies, though they see them only in the promise: sinners must mourn for fear of God's judgments, though they see them only in the threatenings. They are the worst of revolters, and are all corrupters. Sinners soon become tempters. They are compared to ore supposed to have good metal in it, but which proves all dross. Nothing will prevail to part between them and their sins. Reprobate silver shall they be called, useless and worthless. When warnings, corrections, rebukes, and all means of grace, leave men unrenewed, they will be left, as rejected of God, to everlasting misery. Let us pray, then, that we may be refined by the Lord, as silver is refined.Spear - Properly, a javelin for hurling at the enemy (see 1 Samuel 17:6 note): an ordinary weapon of the Babylonians.

Cruel - ruthless, inhuman. In the Assyrian monuments warriors put the vanquished to death; rows of impaled victims hang round the walls of the besieged towns; and men collect in heaps hands cut from the vanquished.

Horses, set in array - A full stop should be put after horses. It - the whole army, and not the cavalry only - is "set in array."

As men for war against thee - Rather, as a warrior for battle "against thee."

23. like the sea—(Isa 5:30).

as men for war—not that they were like warriors, for they were warriors; but "arrayed most perfectly as warriors" [Maurer].

They shall lay hold on bow and spear; or, They shall carry; they shall not want military ammunition of all sorts for the despatch of this great work; synecdochically expressed for all sorts of weapons. So Psalm 35:2,3.

Have no mercy; see Jeremiah 50:42; not be entreated, or have any pity to sex or age, poor or rich, Jeremiah 21:7. See the like Isaiah 13:17,18. And this was as duly executed as here prophesied, 2 Chronicles 36:17.

Their voice roareth like the sea; which, as it is very violent, so it causeth great consternation by its noise, compared to the roaring of the devils, Jam 2:19. Possibly it may intimate, they would not hearken to the voice of his prophets, now they shall hear the terrifying noise of armies, like the roaring of the sea.

They ride upon horses; which is a creature in especial manner adapted by God for war, as he is described. Job 9:19,20, &c.; implying their speed, strength, and fierceness, Jeremiah 50:42.

Set in array; the whole nation set as it were in battalia against them, that they may perceive they have to do with soldiers. The LXX. reading va esh, fire, for vya ish, man, render it, as fire to the war.

O daughter of Zion, or Jerusalem; for these two titles are promiscuously used for the same place; and the term daughter is often given to cities and countries, as Psalm 45:12 137:8 Isaiah 23:12 47:1.

They shall lay hold on bow and spear,.... That is, everyone of them should be furnished with both these pieces of armour, that they might be able to fight near and afar off; they had bows to shoot arrows at a distance, and spears to strike with when near. The Targum renders it bows and shields. "They are cruel, and have no mercy"; this is said, to strike terror into the hearts of the hardened Jews:

their voice roareth like the sea; the waves of it, which is terrible, Luke 21:25,

and they ride upon horses; which still made them more formidable, as well as suggests that their march would be quick and speedy, and they would soon be with them:

set in array as men for war; prepared with all sorts of armour for battle: or, "as a man" (a); as one man, denoting their conjunction, ardour, and unanimity; being not only well armed without, but inwardly, resolutely bent, as one man, to engage in battle, and conquer or die; see Judges 20:8,

against thee, O daughter of Zion; the design being against her, and all the preparation made on her account; which had a very dreadful appearance, and threatened with ruin, and therefore filled her with terror and distress, as follows.

(a) "tanquam vir", Pagninus; "ut vir", Schmidt; "quam unus vir", Grotius.

They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.
23. set in array, as a man to the battle] equipped as a man for war.

23, 24. A large part of ch. 50 reads as an expansion of these vv.

Verse 23. - Spear; rather, javelin (or, lance). They are cruel. The cruelty of the Assyrians and Babylonians seems to have spread general dismay. Nahum calls Nineveh "the city of bloodshed" (Nahum 3:1); Habakkuk styles the Chaldeans "bitter and vehement, terrible and dreadful" (Habakkuk 1:6, 7). The customs brought out into view m the monuments justify this most amply, though Professor Rawlinson thinks we cannot call the Assyrians (with whom the Babylonians may of course be coupled) naturally hard. hearted. "The Assyrian listens to the enemy who asks for quarter; he prefers making prisoners go slaying.; he is very terrible in the battle and the assault, but afterwards he forgives and spares" ('Ancient Monarchies,' 1:243). Their voice roareth. The horrid roar of the advancing hosts seems to have greatly struck the Jews (comp. Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 17:12, 13). Jeremiah 6:23A distant, cruel people will execute the judgment, since Judah, under the trial, has proved to be worthless metal. - Jeremiah 6:22. "Thus hath Jahveh said: Behold, a people cometh from the land of the north, and a great nation raises itself from the furthermost sides of the earth. Jeremiah 6:23. Bows and javelins they bear; cruel it is, and they have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and on horses they ride, equipped as a man for the war against thee, daughter of Zion. Jeremiah 6:24. We heard the rumour thereof: weak are our hands: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Jeremiah 6:25. Go not forth into the field, and in the way walk not; for a sword hath the enemy, fear is all around. Jeremiah 6:26. O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and besprinkle thee with ashes; make mourning for an only son, butter lamentation: for suddenly shall the spoiler come upon us. Jeremiah 6:27. For a trier have I set thee among my people as a strong tower, that thou mightest know and try their way. Jeremiah 6:28. They are all revolters of revolters; go about as slanderers; brass and iron; they are all dealing corruptingly. Jeremiah 6:29. Burned are the bellows by the fire, at an end is the lead; in vain they melt and melt; and wicked ones are not separated. Jeremiah 6:30. Rejected silver they call them, for Jahveh hath rejected them."

In Jeremiah 6:22 the stumbling-blocks of Jeremiah 6:21 are explained. At the end of this discourse yet again the invasion of the enemy from the far north is announced, cf. Jeremiah 4:13 and Jeremiah 5:15, and its terribleness is portrayed with new colours. The farther the land is from which the enemy comes, the more strange and terrible he appears to the imagination. The farthest (hindmost) sides of the earth (cf. Jeremiah 25:32) is only a heightening of the idea: land of the north, or of the far distance (Jeremiah 5:15); in other words, the far uttermost north (cf. Isaiah 14:13). In this notice of their home, Hitz. finds a proof that the enemies were the Scythians, not the Chaldeans; since, acc. to Ezekiel 38:6, Ezekiel 38:15, and Ezekiel 39:2, Gog, i.e., The Scythians, come "from the sides of the north." But "sides of the earth" is not a geographical term for any particular northern country, but only for very remote lands; and that the Chaldeans were reckoned as falling within this term, is shown by the passage Jeremiah 31:8, according to which Israel is to be gathered again from the land of the north and from the sides of the earth. Here any connection with Scythia in "sides of the earth" is not to be thought of, since prophecy knows nothing of a captivity of Israel in Scythia, but regards Assur and Babylon alone as the lands of the exile of Israelites and Jews. As weapons of the enemy then are mentioned bows (cf. Jeremiah 4:29; Jeremiah 5:16), and the javelin or lance (כּידון, not shield; see on 1 Samuel 17:6). It is cruel, knows no pity, and is so numerous and powerful, that its voice, i.e., the tumult of its approach, is like the roaring of the sea; cf. Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 17:12. On horses they ride; cf. Jeremiah 4:13; Jeremiah 8:16; Habakkuk 1:8. ערוּך in the singular, answering to "cruel it is," points back to גּוי or כּאישׁ . is not for כּאישׁ אחד (Ros.), but for כּאישׁ מלחמה, cf. 1 Samuel 17:33; Isaiah 42:13; and the genitive is omitted only because of the למלחמה coming immediately after (Graf). "Against thee" is dependent on ערוּך: equipped as a warrior is equipped for the war, against the daughter of Zion. In Jeremiah 6:24-26 are set forth the terrors and the suspense which the appearance of the foe will spread abroad. In Jeremiah 6:24 the prophet, as a member of the people, gives utterance to its feelings. As to the sense, the clauses are to be connected thus: As soon as we hear the rumour of the people, i.e., of its approach, our hands become feeble through dread, all power to resist vanishes: cf. Isaiah 13:7; and for the metaphor of travail, Isaiah 13:8; Micah 4:9, etc. In v. 28 the inhabitants of Jerusalem, personified as the daughter of Zion, are warned not to go forth of the city into the field or about the country, lest they fall into the enemies' hands and be put to death. מגור מסּביב, often used by Jeremiah, cf. Jeremiah 20:3, Jeremiah 20:10; Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:29, and, as Jeremiah 20:10 shows, taken from Psalm 31:14. Fear or terrors around, i.e., on all sides danger and destruction threaten.

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