And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A den of dragons.—Better, here and in Jeremiah 10:22; Isaiah 13:22, jackals. The word means, literally, a howler. The English version follows the LXX. and Vulgate versions; but even taking “dragons” in its non-mythical sense as applied to some species of serpent, there is nothing in the word to lead us to assign this meaning. The mistake has probably arisen from the likeness of the word to those translated “serpent” in Exodus 7:9-10; Exodus 7:12, “whale” in Genesis 1:21 and Job 7:12, and “dragons” in Psalm 74:13; Psalm 91:13.
heaps—(see on Isa 25:2).
dragons—jackals.Heaps, viz. of stones and rubbish.
A den of dragons; noting a desolate place, not any longer fit for fine habitation of mankind, as the next words do speak; but for hideous beasts; as they had made use of the temple for a den of thieves, Jeremiah 7:11. The same also he afterwards threatens on Babylon herself, Jeremiah 51:37.
and a den of dragons; only inhabited by wild beasts:
and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without inhabitant; so that the calamity would be universal; not only Jerusalem, but all the cities of the land, would be destroyed, forsaken, and uninhabited.And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. jackals] mentioned again chs. Jeremiah 10:22 [Jeremiah 14:6], Jeremiah 49:33 [Jeremiah 51:37].Verse 11. - I will make, etc. Notice how the utterances of the prophets stand side by side with those of Jehovah. A true prophet has no personal views; so that whether his revelations are expressed in the one form or the other makes no difference. Dragons; rather, jackals. Jeremiah 9:4 these sinful ways are exposed in yet stronger words. יהתל, uncontracted form of the imperf. Hiph. of תּלל, trip up, deceive. On the infin. העוה, cf. Ew. 238, e, and Gesen. 75, Rem. 17. They weary themselves out, put themselves to great labour, in order to deal corruptly; נלאה as in Jeremiah 20:9; Isaiah 16:12, elsewhere to be weary of a thing; cf. Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 15:6. - In Jeremiah 9:5 the statement returns to the point at which it commenced: thy sitting (dwelling) is in the midst of deceit. In deceit, i.e., in the state of their mind, directed as it is by deceit and cheating, they refuse to know me, i.e., they are resolved to have nothing to do with the knowledge of God, because in that case they must give up their godless ways.
(Note: The lxx have not understood שׁכתּך dootsr. They have split it up into שׁב תּך, joined שׁב to נלאוּ, and translated, after adding ולא: καὶ ου ̓ διέλιπον τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι τόκος ἐπὶ τόκῳ (i.e., usury upon usury) καὶ δόλος ἐπὶ δόλω οὐκ ἤθελον εἰδέναι με. Ew. has adopted this construction, and so translates: "have accustomed their tongue to speak lies, to do perversity, are weary of turning again; wrong upon wrong, deceit upon deceit, they are not willing to know me." But this text is not better, but worse, than the Masoretic: for, 1st, the perverse dealing or action is attributed to the tongue; 2nd, the thought, they are weary of turning again, does not suit the context, since the persons described here have never sought to return or repent, and so cannot have become weary of it. For these reasons, neither Hitz. nor Graf has given countenance to the lxx text.)
By reason of this depravity, the Lord must purge His people by sore judgments. He will melt it in the fire of affliction (Isaiah 48:10), to separate the wicked: cf. Isaiah 1:25; Zechariah 13:9; and on בּחן, Jeremiah 6:27. For how should I do, deal? Not: what dreadful judgments shall I inflict (Hitz., Gr.), in which case the grounding כּי would not have its proper force; but: I can do none otherwise than purge. Before the face of, i.e., by reason of, the daughter, because the daughter of my people behaves herself as has been described in Jeremiah 9:2-4, and as is yet to be briefly repeated in Jeremiah 9:7. The lxx have paraphrased מפּני: ἀπὸ προσώπου πονηρίας. This is true to the sense, but it is unfair to argue from it, as Ew., Hitz., Gr. do, that רעת has been dropped out of the Hebrew text and should be restored. - In Jeremiah 9:7 what has been said is recapitulated shortly, and then in Jeremiah 9:8 the necessity of the judgment is shown. חץ שׁוחט, a slaying, slaughtering, i.e., murderous arrow. Instead of this Chet., which gives a good sense, the Keri gives שׁחוּט, which, judging from the Chald. translation, is probably to be translated sharpened. But there is no evidence for this sig., since שׁחוּט occurs only in connection with זהב, 1 Kings 10:16, and means beaten, lit., spread gold. At מרמה דבּר the plural passes into the singular: he (one of them) speaks; cf. Psalm 55:22. ארב for insidious scheming, as in Hosea 7:6. With Jeremiah 9:8 cf. Jeremiah 5:9, Jeremiah 5:29.
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