16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
16. Date Jehovae Deo vestro gloriam priusquam obtenebrescere faciat, et priusquam offendant pedes vestri ad montes tenebrarum, speretisque lucem, et ponat in umbram mortis et in caliginem.
Jeremiah pursues the subject, which we began to explain yesterday, for he saw that the Jews were but little moved by what he taught them. He bid them. to regard what he said as coming from God, and told them that they could by no means succeed by their pride. For the same purpose he now adds,
This subject ought to be carefully noticed; for all ought to dread such a sacrilege as this, and yet there is no one who takes sufficient heed in this respect. We then see what instruction this expression conveys; it is as though he had said, that the Jews had hitherto acted contemptuously towards God, for they trembled not before him, as they had no faith in his word: and that it was now time for him to set God before them as their Judge, and also for them to know that they ought to have believed whatever God declared to them by his servants.
Before God, he then says,
He afterwards adds,
But the sum of the whole is this, that they could anticipate God's judgment by admitting him in time as their Judge, and also by receiving his word with more reverence than they had previously done. At the same time he declares that their hope was vain if they promised themselves light. But we must know that light is here to be taken metaphorically, as in many other places, and darkness also, its opposite, is to be so taken. Darkness means adversities, and light, peace and prosperity. The Prophet then says that the Jews deceived themselves, if they thought that their happiness would be perpetual, if they despised God and his prophets; and why? because it would have been the same as to disarm or to deprive him of his power, as though he was not the Judge of the world. He in short shews, that there was nigh at hand a most dreadful vengeance, except the Jews in time anticipated it and submitted themselves to God. It now follows --
1 All the versions and the Targum render the first verb intransitively, "Before it grows dark :" but Montanus, Pagninus, Piscator and Junius and Tremellius, give it a transitive meaning, as Calvin does, and no doubt correctly, for it is in Hiphil, "Before he causes or brings darkness;" or it may be rendered, "Before he makes it dark." Blayney follows the early versions, but Gataker, Lowth, and Venema, the latter versions; and the conclusion of the verse confirms, as Calvin says, this meaning. -- Ed.
2 This is a mistake, the preposition is
Our version of this sentence is in accordance with the early versions: it is indeed literally the Septuagint and the Vulgate. Yet it is not the original. The verb is in Hithpael, and means to strike or smite together, or against one another. The literal rendering is the following, --
Before your feet smite one against the other, On the mountains of gloominess (i.e. gloomy mountains.)
It is true the word for "gloominess" means sometimes the twilight; but here it seems to signify a state somewhat dark or obscure. To wander and to stumble on gloomy mountains betokens the miserable condition of fugitives: and this is what is meant here. See Jeremiah 16:16; Ezekiel 7:16. Then what follows might be thus rendered, --
When ye shall look anxiously for light, Then will he make it the shadow of death, He will turn it to thick darkness.
When two vaus occur in a sentence, they may often be rendered when and then. The change proposed as to the last verb is not at all necessary. Literally it is, "He will set it (to be) for thick darkness." -- Ed.
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.