20. My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.
20. Tabernaculum meum vastatum est (vel, dirutum) et omnes funes mei rupti sunt; filii mei egressi sunt a me (particula
This metaphor may have been taken from shepherds, and it seems suitable here; yet the prophets often compare the Church to a tent. Though indeed it is said elsewhere that the Church is built on the holy mountains, (Psalm 87:1) and great firmness is ascribed to it, yet, as to its external condition, it may justly be said to be like a tent, for there is no fixed residence for God's children on earth, for they are often constrained to ehange their place; and hence Paul speaks of the faithful as unsettled. (1 Corinthians 4:11.) But as, in the next verse, mention is made of shepherds, the Prophet seems here to refer to the tents of shepherds. Though indeed he takes hereafter the similitude more generally, or in a wider sense, yet there is no reason why he should not allude to the shepherds of whom he afterwards speaks, and yet retain the metaphor which so often occurs in all the prophets.
He then says that his
No one then thought that such a thing would take place, and Jeremiah was held in contempt, and some raged against him, and yet He shewed what would be. And that what he said might be more forcible, and produce a stronger effect, he speaks in their name, like a poet in a play, who describes a miser, and mentions things suitable to his character, making use of such words and actions, so that he cannot but see, as it were in a mirror, his own disposition and conduct. So also the Prophet does here; for when He saw that the stupid people could not be moved by the simple truth, he told them what they all ought to have felt in their liearts, and to have testified by their mouths, -- that they were solitary, deserted by all who belonged to them, and that there was no one to bring them any help.1 But he pursues, as we have said, the same metaphor. It follows --
1 I should render the verse as follows --
My tent, it is laid waste, And all my curtains, they are broken; My sons, they have left me, and there are none of them; No one extends any more my tent, and sets up my curtains.
When the noun precedes its verb in Hebrew, I consider that it ought commonly to be rendered as above. "There are none of them," that is, with me; not that they "were not," that is, that they were dead. -- Ed.
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