Jeremiah 8:21
For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment has taken hold on me.
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(21) For the hurt . . .—Now the prophet again speaks in his own person. He is crushed in that crushing of his people. His face is darkened, as one that mourns. (Comp. Psalm 38:6; Joshua 5:11.)

Jeremiah 8:21-22. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt, &c. — These are the words of the prophet, lamenting the miserable condition of his country. The Hebrew is more literally rendered, For the breach of the daughter of my people am I broken, that is, heart-broken: or, as Houbigant renders it, I am wounded with the wound of my people. I am black — I look ghastly, as those who are dying. Astonishment hath taken hold on me — I am so stupified that I know not what to do, or which way to turn. Is there no balm in Gilead — Balm, or balsam, is used with us as a common name for many of those oily, resinous substances, which flow spontaneously, or by incision, from certain trees or plants, and are of considerable use in medicine and surgery, being good, as physicians inform us, to soften, assuage, warm, dissolve, cleanse, dry up, and purge. The Hebrew word here used, צרי, is rendered by the LXX., ρητινη, and interpreted resin by the ancients in general. For this balm, resin, or turpentine, as the word might be rendered, Gilead was famous from very ancient times. See Genesis 37:25, where we find Joseph was sold to Ishmaelite merchants, who came from Gilead, and carried it, with sweet spices, into Egypt. This made many physicians and surgeons to resort to Gilead. The prophet applies this metaphorically to the state of the Jews, which was all over corrupted, (compare Isaiah 1:6,) and represents God as asking whether there have been no methods used to heal these mortal wounds and distempers? or, if there have, how it comes to pass they should have so little success? As if he had said, Whence comes it that the wounds of my people have not been healed and closed? Have means of healing been wanting? Spiritual medicines or physicians? Have I not sent you prophets, who have admonished, warned, and instructed you? Have I not given you time, and furnished you with helps sufficient to enable you to return to your duty? Why then are not your spiritual disorders cured? Doubtless it is your own fault: it is because you would not make use of the remedies provided, nor follow the prescriptions of the physicians. Thus we may apply the words spoken concerning Babylon, Jeremiah 51:9, to the present case: we would have healed Babylon, but she is not, or rather, she would not, be healed. The words may likewise be understood of a temporal deliverance. As if he had said, Is this people so forsaken both of God and men, that there is no remedy left to effect their deliverance? Are there no salutary means within reach, or no persons that know how to apply them, for the relief of my country from those miseries with which it is afflicted? Observe, reader, if sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the physician there: both are sufficient, all-sufficient, to effect a perfect cure; so that they might have been healed, but would not. 8:14-22 At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.For the hurt ... hurt - literally, "Because of the breaking ... broken." These are the words of the prophet, whose heart is crushed by the cry of his countrymen.

I am black - Or, I go mourning.

21. black—sad in visage with grief (Joe 2:6). The prophet here shows how deeply he is affected with the people’s misery, he deeply sympathized with them.

The hurt; it signifies breach, I am broken in my spirit; and so it answers to the breach that is made upon the people.

I am black; I am as those that are clad in deep mourning, Psalm 38:6 Jeremiah 14:2.

Astonishment hath taken hold on me; I am amazed to think that my people should sin themselves beyond help, no remedy for them, as the next verse, that no threatenings or counsels should prevail with them. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt,.... These are the words, not of God, as Jerom; nor of Jerusalem, as the Targum; but of the prophet, as Kimchi observes, expressing his sympathy with the people in their affliction: and they may be rendered, "for the breach of the daughter of my people" (o), which was made when the city was broken up and destroyed, Jeremiah 52:7.

I am broken; in heart and spirit:

I am black; with grief and sorrow. The Targum is,

"my face is covered with blackness, black as a pot.''

Astonishment hath taken hold on me; at the miseries that were come upon his people; and there was no remedy for them, which occasion the following words.

(o) "super contritione", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "super confractione", Schmidt; "ob fractionem", Cocceius.

For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I {q} hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

(q) The prophet speaks this.

21. the hurt] lit. the breach, and so the verb that follows.

black] mg. mourning (as to garb). Cp. on Jeremiah 4:28.Verse 21. - For the hurt, etc.; literally, because of the breaking, etc., I am broken; comp. Jeremiah 23:9, and the phrase "broken in heart" (Isaiah 61:1, etc.). The prophet feels crushed by the sense of the utter ruin of his people. I am black; rather, I go in mourning (so Psalm 38:6; Psalm 42:9). The root means rather "foulness" or "squalor" than "blackness" (comp. Job 6:16, where "blackish," an epithet of streams, should rather be "turbid"). Instead of peace and safety hoped for, there is calamity and terror. The infin. abs. קוּה is used emphatically for the imperf.: We looked for safety, and no good has come to us: for healing, sc. of our injuries, and instead comes terror, by reason of the appearance of the foe in the land. This hope has been awakened and cherished in the people by false prophets (see on Jeremiah 4:10), and now, to their sore suffering, they must feel the contrary of it. The same idea is repeated in Jeremiah 14:19. מרפּה is a mis-spelling of מרפּא, Jeremiah 14:19, etc.
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