Jeremiah 6:8
Be you instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from you; lest I make you desolate, a land not inhabited.
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(8) Be thou instructed.—Better, Be thou corrected, or, chastened. Comp. Psalm 2:10; Leviticus 26:23 (where we have “reformed”); and Proverbs 29:19.

Lest my soul.—As in Jeremiah 4:19, the Hebrew formula for emphasised personality. The word for “depart” may be better rendered tear itself away.

Jeremiah 6:8. Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, &c. — Take warning by the many threatenings and judgments I have denounced against thee; amend thy ways and doings, lest, if thou persist in thy wickedness, I be utterly alienated from thee; and I cast off all bowels of compassion toward thee, and give thee up to ruin and desolation. This threatening God fulfilled afterward, when he suffered the city and nation to be utterly ruined and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar: but it still received a further completion, in that final desolation brought upon them by the Romans, under Titus Vespasian. 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.Be thou instructed - Be thou chastised: learn the lesson which chastisement is intended to teach thee.

Lest my soul - Lest I Myself - not "depart from thee," God does not willingly leave His people, but - "be torn from thee."

8. Tender appeal in the midst of threats.

depart—Hebrew, "be torn away"; Jehovah's affection making Him unwilling to depart; His attachment to Jerusalem was such that an effort was needed to tear Himself from it (Eze 23:18; Ho 9:12; 11:8).

Be thou instructed, Heb. corrected: q.d. By the correction thou hast felt, and what is threatened, be persuaded to repentance before it be too late, Proverbs 29:15. God doth here

in the midst of judgment remember mercy, as it were suddenly putting a stop to his fury, seeking if by any means it may yet be prevented by their repentance: q.d. I would yet willingly spare them, if it might be.

Lest my soul depart from thee, Heb. be disjointed; a most emphatical metaphor, whereby God would express how great grief it is to him to withdraw himself from them, could it possibly be avoided, (his great affection to them being here expressed by soul, which is the seat of it, Psalm 42:1,2) even like the separating one limb from another: hereby is intimated the near communion that God hath with the faithful, and how ready he is to return, if they will return.

Lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited; lest he make them not a people. And be thou instructed, O Jerusalem,.... Or "corrected" (s); receive discipline or instructions by chastisements and corrections, return by repentance, that the evils threatened may not come: this shows the affection of the Lord to his people, notwithstanding all their sins; that their amendment, and not their destruction, were pleasing to him; that it was with reluctance he was about to visit them in the manner threatened; and that even now it was not too late, provided they were instructed and reformed; but, if not, they must expect what follows:

lest my soul depart from thee; his Shechinah, or divine Presence, and all the tokens of his love, favour, and good will. The Targum interprets it of the Word of the Lord,

"lest my Word cast thee off;''

see Romans 11:1, or, "lest my soul pluck itself from thee"; or "be plucked" (t), and separated from thee: the phrase denotes an utter separation, a forcible one, joined with the utmost abhorrence and detestation. In Ezekiel 23:18, it is rendered, "my mind was alienated"; it denotes disunion and disaffection.

Lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited; the Targum adds, by way of illustration,

"as the land of Sodom;''

so that not a man should dwell in it; see Jeremiah 4:25.

(s) "cape disciplinam", Vatablus; "admitte disciplinam", Cocceius; "castigationem", Schmidt. (t) "ut non luxetur, vel avellatur anima mea a te", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt.

Be thou instructed, O {h} Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.

(h) He warns them to amend by his correction, and turn to him by repentance.

8. instructed] rather, disciplined, corrected. Cp. Jeremiah 2:30, Jeremiah 5:3.

lest my soul be alienated] The verb in the original is much stronger, be wrenched. In Genesis 32:25 (Heb. 26) the same verb is rendered “was strained.”Verse 8. - Be thou instructed; rather, Let thyself be corrected (Authorized Version misses the sense, a very important one, of the conjugation, which is Nifal tolerativum (comp. Psalm 2:10; Isaiah 53:12). The phrase equivalent to "receive correction" (Jeremiah 2:30; Jeremiah 5:3), and means to accept the warning conveyed in the Divine chastisement. Lest my soul, etc.; rather, lest my soul be rent from thee (Authorized Version renders the same verb in Ezekiel 23:17, "be alienated"). The judgment breaking over Jerusalem. - Jeremiah 6:1. "Flee, ye sons of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem, and in Tekoa blow the trumpet, and over Beth-haccerem set up a sign; for evil approaCheth from the north, and great destruction. Jeremiah 6:2. The comely and the delicate - I lay waste the daughter of Zion. Jeremiah 6:3. To her come shepherds with their flocks, pitch their tents about her round about, and devour each his portion. Jeremiah 6:4. Sanctify war against her; arise, let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day declineth; for the shadows of evening lengthen. Jeremiah 6:5. Arise, let us go up by night, and destroy her palaces. Jeremiah 6:6. For thus hath Jahveh of hosts spoken, Hew down wood, and pile up against Jerusalem a rampart; she is the city that is (to be) punished, she is all full of oppression in her midst. Jeremiah 6:7. As a fountain pours forth its water, so pours she forth her wickedness: violence and spoiling is heard in her; before my face continually, wounds and smiting. Jeremiah 6:8. Be warned, Jerusalem, lest my soul tear herself from thee, lest I make thee a waste, a land uninhabited."

In graphic delineation of the enemy's approach against Jerusalem, the prophet calls on the people to flee. As regarded its situation, Jerusalem belonged to the tribe of Benjamin; the boundary between the tribal domain of Judah and Benjamin passed through the valley of Ben-hinnom on the south side of Jerusalem, and then ran northwards to the west of the city (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16.). The city was inhabited by Judeans and Benjamites, 1 Chronicles 9:2. The summons is addressed to the Benjamites as the prophet's fellow-countrymen. Tekoa lay about two hours' journey southwards from Bethlehem, according to Jerome, on a hill twelve Roman miles south of Jerusalem; see on Joshua 15:59. This town is mentioned because its name admits of a play on the word תּקעוּ. The alarm is given in the country south of Jerusalem, because the enemy is coming from the north, so that the flight will be directed southwards. Beth-haccerem, acc. to Jerome, was a hamlet (vicus) between Jerusalem and Tekoa, qui lingua Syra et Hebraic Bethacharma nominatur, et ipse in monte positus, apparently on what is now called the Frank's Hill, Jebel Fureidis; see on Nehemiah 3:14. משׂאת, the lifting up, that which raises itself up, or is raised; here a lofty beacon or signal, the nature of which is not further made known. The meaning, fire-signal, or ascending column of smoke, cannot be made good from Judges 20:38, Judges 20:40, since there עשׁן is appended; nor from the statements of classical authors (in Ros.), that in time of war bodies of troops stationed in different places made their positions known to one another by masses of rising flame during the night, and by columns of smoke in the day time. As to the last clause, cf. Jeremiah 1:14. "Great destruction," as in Jeremiah 4:6. - In Jeremiah 6:2 the impending judgment is further described. It falls on the daughter of Zion, the capital and its inhabitants, personified as a beautiful and delicately reared woman. נוה, defectively written for נאוה, contracted from נאוה, lovely, beautiful. The words are not vocatives, O fair and delicate, but accusatives made to precede their governing verb absolutely, and are explained by "the daughter of Zion," dependent on "I destroy:" the fair and the delicate, namely, the daughter of Zion, I destroy. דּמה as in Hosea 4:5. The other meaning of this verb, to be like, to resemble, is wholly unsuitable here; and, besides, in this signification it is construed with אל or ל. Ew.'s translation, I mean the daughter of Zion, is not justifiable by the usage of the word, the Piel only, and not the Kal, being capable of this interpretation.

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