1 O all you sons of Benjamin (fig. put for the whole of Judah, on account of their close connection with the Gibeathites [Judg. 19:16. Hos.9:9]), gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem (in 4:6 it was "flee to". Now Jerusalem itself is to be taken), and blow the trumpet in Tekoa (= a stockade. 5 miles south of Bethlehem, or 10 from Jerusalem), and set up a sign of fire-signal in Beth-haccerem (= house of the vineyards.) for evil appears out of the north (because the armies from Assyria entered the land from the north. See 3:12), and great fracture (or, damage, as in v.14).
2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. (fig. put for the helpless inhabitants. See Deut. 28:56)
3 The shepherds (i.e. the Chaldean armies. See 3:15) with their flocks shall come to her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.
4 Prepare you all war against her (= Prosecute a holy war); arise, and let us go up at noon (in the heat of the day, when most are resting. Cp. 15:8. Song 1:7. Isa.32:2. See 2 Sam.4:5.). Woe to us! for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. (see 15:8)
5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.
6 For thus has the the Lord of hosts (Yahaveh Sabaioth) said, “Hew you all down trees, and pour out (i.e. the earth from baskets to make a mount) against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.
7 As a well casts out her waters (bored, or hewn out. Cp. 2 Sam. 23:15,16. 1 Chron. 11:17. See Gen.21:19), so she casts out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before Me continually is grief and wounds.
8 Be you instructed, O Jerusalem, lest I Myself depart from you; lest I make you desolate, a land not inhabited.”
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts, “They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine (here, and in 18:13, one Codex reads, "on the vine"): turn back your hand as a grape-gatherer into the baskets.
V˛ q 10. Sin. (Part.) Insensibility. r 11,12. Threatening. Captivity. s 13-15-. General corruption. t -15. Threatening. Fall. q 16,16. Sin. (Part.) Disobedience. r 18,19. Threatening. Retribution. s 20. General corruption. t 21. Threatening. Fall.
10 To whom shall I speak, and testify, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised (see Ex. 6:12,30. Lev.26:41. An ear not brought into the covenant), and they cannot listen: behold, the word of the Lord is to them a reproach (note the fate of Yehovah's word in the down-grade of Jeremiah's days. In 6:10 a reproach; in 8:9, rejected; in 17:15, scoffed at; in 23:36, perverted); and they have no delight in it.
11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon a young child abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.
12 And their houses shall be turned to others (see Deut. 28:30), with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, [is] Jehovah's oracle.
13 For from the least of them even to the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness (see Ex.18:21); and from the prophet even to the priest every one deals falsely.
14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My People slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace;’ (see Isa.26:3) when there is no peace.
15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? no, they were not at all ashamed, neither knew they how to blush:
therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down,” says the Lord.
16 Thus says the Lord, “Stand you all in the ways, and see (a gracious appeal to avoid the threatened calamity, as in 2:2), and ask for the old paths (cp. 18:15), where is the right way, and walk therein, and you all shall find rest for yourselves (cp. Matt. 11:29,30; where a like invitation and promise is given to those who will "learn". Following likewise on a preceding threatening of judgment. Cp. Deut. 28:65). But they said, ‘We will not walk therein.’
17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Give you all heed to the sound of the trumpet.’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
18 Therefore hear, all you nations, and know, O assembly (in its civil aspect. A technical Pentateucal word. First occ. is Ex. 12:3,6,19,47. Used technically of Israel), what is among them.
19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring calamity upon this People, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to My words, nor to My law, but rejected it. (note that "words" and "law" are put alternately)
20 To what purpose comes there to Me frankincense (fig., put for the whole incense of which it was an ingredient) from Sheba (in the south of Arabia) , and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet to Me. (cp. Isa. 1:11-15)
21 Therefore thus says the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this People, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish.
22 Thus says the Lord, Behold, a people comes from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth. (idiom put for a great distance)
23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice will roar like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against you, O daughter of Zion.” (see v.2)
24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish has taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and terror is round about (cp. 20:3,10; 46:5; 49:29. Lam.2:22).
26 O daughter of My People, gird yourself with sackcloth, and wallow yourself in ashes: make yourself mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
27 I have set you for a watchtower (or, an assayer) and a fortress among My People, that you may know and assay their way. (some codices read "heart" [i.e. mind])
28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron (not silver and gold. Cp. Ezek. 22:18); they are all corrupters.
29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the refiner refines in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.
30 Rejected silver shall men call them, because the Lord rejected them. (cp. Isa. 1:2. Ezek. 22:18)