Jeremiah 4:23
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.

King James Bible
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

American Standard Version
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I beheld the earth, and lo it was void, and nothing: and the heavens, and there was no light in them.

English Revised Version
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Webster's Bible Translation
I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Jeremiah 4:23 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

It is high time to cleanse oneself from sin, periculum in mora est; for already calamity is announced from Dan, even from the Mount Ephraim. קול מגּיד, the voice of him who gives the alarm, sc. נשׁמע, is heard; cf. Jeremiah 3:21; Jeremiah 31:15. That of which the herald gives warning is not given till the next clause. און, mischief, i.e., calamity. משׁמיע is still dependent on קול. "From Dan," i.e., the northern boundary of Palestine; see on Judges 20:1. "From Mount Ephraim," i.e., the northern boundary of the kingdom of Judah, not far distant from Jerusalem. The alarm and the calamity draw ever nearer. "The messenger comes from each successive place towards which the foe approaches" (Hitz.). In Jeremiah 4:16 the substance of the warning message is given, but in so animated a manner, that a charge is given to make the matter known to the peoples and in Jerusalem. Tell to the peoples, behold, cause to be heard. The הנּה in the first clause points forward, calling attention to the message in the second clause. A similar charge is given in Jeremiah 4:5, only "to the peoples" seems strange here. "The meaning would be simple if we could take 'the peoples' to be the Israelites," says Graf. But since גּוים in this connection can mean only the other nations, the question obtrudes itself: to what end the approach of the besiegers of Jerusalem should be proclaimed to the heathen peoples. Jerome remarks on this: Vult omnes in circuitu nationes Dei nosse sententiam, et flagelat Jerusalem cunctos recipere disciplinam. In like manner, Chr. B. Mich., following Schmid: Gentibus, ut his quoque innotescat severitatis divinae in Judaeos exemplum. Hitz. and Gr. object, that in what follows there is no word of the taking and destruction of Jerusalem, but only of the siege; that this could form no such exemplum, and that for this the issue must be awaited. But this objection counts for little. After the description given of the enemies (cf. Jeremiah 4:13), there can be no doubt as to the issue of the siege, that is, as to the taking of Jerusalem. But if this be so, then the warning of the heathen as to the coming catastrophe, by holding the case of Jerusalem before them, is not so far-fetched a thought as that it should be set aside by Hitz.'s remark: "So friendly an anxiety on behalf of the heathen is utterly unnatural to a Jew, especially seeing that the prophet is doubly absorbed by anxiety for his own people." Jeremiah was not the narrow-minded Jew Hitz. takes him for. Besides, there is no absolute necessity for holding "Tell to the peoples" to be a warning of a similar fate addressed to the heathen. The charge is but a rhetorical form, conveying the idea that there is no doubt about the matter to be published, and that it concerned not Jerusalem alone, but the nations too. This objection settled, there is no call to seek other interpretations, especially as all such are less easily justified. By changing the imper. הזכּירוּ and השׁמיעוּ into perfects, Ew. obtains the translation: "they say already to the peoples, behold, they come, already they proclaim in Jerusalem," etc.; but Hitz. and Graf have shown the change to be indefensible. Yet more unsatisfactory is the translation, "declare of the heathen," which Hitz. and Graf have adopted, following the lxx, Kimchi, Vat., and others. This destroys the parallelism, it is out of keeping with the הנּה, and demands the addition (with the lxx) of בּאוּ thereto to complete the sense. Graf and Hitz. have not been able to agree upon the sense of the second member of the verse. If we make לגּויםde gentibus, then 'השׁמיעוּ וגו ought to be: proclaim upon (i.e., concerning) Jerusalem. Hitz., however, translates, in accordance with the use of משׁמיע in vv. 5 and 15: Cry it aloud in Jerusalem (prop. over Jerusalem, Psalm 49:12; Hosea 8:1); but this, though clearly correct, does not correspond to the first part of the verse, according to Hitz.'s translation of it. Graf, on the other hand, gives: Call them (the peoples) out against Jerusalem - a translation which, besides completely destroying the parallelism of the two clauses, violently separates from the proclamation the thing proclaimed: Besiegers come, etc. Nor can השׁמיעוּ be taken in the sense: call together, as in Jeremiah 50:29; Jeremiah 51:27; 1 Kings 15:22; for in that case the object could not be omitted, those who are to be called together would need to be mentioned; and it is too much to assume גּוים from the לגּוים for an object. The warning cry to Jerusalem runs: נצרים, besiegers, (acc. to Isaiah 1:8) come from the far country (cf. Jeremiah 5:15), and give their voice (cf. 1 Kings 2:15); i.e., let the tumult of a besieging army echo throughout the cities of Judah. These besiegers will be like field-keepers round about Jerusalem (עליה refers back to Jerus.), like field-keepers they will pitch their tents round the city (cf. 1 Kings 1:15) to blockade it. For against me (Jahveh) was she refractory (מרה c. acc. pers., elsewhere with ב, Hosea 14:1; Psalm 5:11, or with את־פּי, Numbers 20:24, and often). This is expanded in Jeremiah 4:18. Thy way, i.e., they behaviour and thy doings, have wrought thee this (calamity). This is thy wickedness, i.e., the effect or fruit of thy wickedness, yea, it is bitter, cf. Jeremiah 2:19; yea, it reacheth unto thine heart, i.e., inflicts deadly wounds on thee.

Jeremiah 4:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the earth.

Jeremiah 9:10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation...

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep...

Isaiah 24:19-23 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly...

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away...

the heavens.

Isaiah 5:30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look to the land, behold darkness and sorrow...

Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth...

Ezekiel 32:7,8 And when I shall put you out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud...

Joel 2:10,30,31 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark...

Joel 3:15,16 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining...

Amos 8:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, said the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon...

Matthew 24:29,35 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light...

Mark 13:25,25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken...

Luke 21:25,26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity...

Acts 2:19,20 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke...

Cross References
Genesis 1:2
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Isaiah 5:30
They will growl over it on that day, like the growling of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds.

Isaiah 24:19
The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken.

Jeremiah 2:12
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD,

Lamentations 3:2
he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;

Joel 2:10
The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.

Zechariah 14:6
On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.

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