Jeremiah 5:17

17. And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.

17. Et vorabit messem tuam et panem tuum; vorabunt filios tuos et filias tuas; vorabunt greges tuos et armenta tua; vorabunt vitem tuam et ficum tuam; ad inopiam redigent urbes munitionum tuarum, in quibus tu confidis, per gladium.


He continues to speak in a similar way of the cruelty of their enemies; as though he said that victory was already in their hand, for they were the scourges of God. He does not then set before the Jews the troubles of war, but speaks of them as conquered; and he only shews that the Chaldeans would be cruel in the use they would make of their victory. He takes it as granted that the Chaldeans would be conquerors, for they would come armed from above: and he makes this addition, -- that they would act cruelly and in an unusual manner towards the vanquished Jews.

Hence he says, They will eat (it will eat, for he changes the number, though the sense remains the same1) thine harvest and thy bread; that is, all that thou gatherest shall become a prey to thine enemies; for by harvest and bread he means every kind of provision. Then he adds, thy sons and thy daughters, which was still worse; it is indeed hard to be deprived of food, but it is still more dreadful for parents to see their children slain before them. The Prophet however says, that such would be the barbarity of their enemies, that they would not spare even boys and girls. He further mentions herds and flocks; and then he adds the vine and the fig-tree; as though he said, nothing would be safe among the Jews, for their enemies would plunder everything, and that being not content with meat and drink, they would kill their very infants. And further, as the Jews had fortified cities, and were on that account insolent towards the prophets, their vain pride is here brought down; for he says, that their fortified cities would be reduced to poverty; and he adds, in which thou trustest. All these, he says, shall fall by the sword; for this last word, brxb, becherab, applies to the whole verse, and to each part of it; as though he had said, "By the right of the sword shall the conquerors lay waste thy whole country, even all thy possessions; yea, and they shall slay thy sons and thy daughters." It follows --

1 According to the Hebrew, the verbs, except the second, are all in the singular number. The Septuagint have pluralized them, but the singular is retained by the Vulgate, the Targum, and the Syriac. It is the "nation" described in the 15th verse. The second verb may be rendered in a passive sense, and the meaning will be more appropriate,-

And it will devour thy harvest and thy food, Devoured shall be thy sons and thy daughters; It will devour thy sheep and thy ox, It will devour thy wine and thy fig-tree; It will wholly desolate thy fortified cities, In which thou trustest, by the sword.

The language used here, and in the 15th verse, is remarkably like that of Moses in Deuteronomy 28:48-52. The second line may be deemed parenthetic. It is better to preserve the poetic singular in sheep, ox, vine, and fig-tree. As it is a reduplicate verb, entire desolation is intended, and that by the "sword" in destroying all the occupants of fortified cities. Venema, and others, as well as Calvin, connect the "sword" with all the preceding clauses; but this is not necessary, nor is it indeed suitable.-Ed.


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