2. Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.
2. Luxit Jehudab et portae ejus debilitatae sunt, (vel, dissipatae sunt;) obtenebrati sunt in terra (refernut quidam ad portas, sed malo ad homines referre;) et clamor Jerusalem ascendit.
3. And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.
3. Et proceres coturn (hoc est, qui pollent dignitate) miserunt minores (hoc est, homines plebeios et mercenarios) ad aquas; venerunt ad cisternas, non invenerunt aquas; reversi sunt cum vasis inanibus (vel, reversa sunt vasa eorum vacua;) confusi sunt, et erubuerunt, et operuerunt caput suum.
The Prophet intimates in these words, that so great would be the scarcity as to appear to be a manifest and remarkable evidence of God's vengeance; for when God punishes us in a common way, we for the most part refer the event to some fortuitous circumstances, and the devil also ever retains our minds in the consideration of secondary causes. Hence the Prophet declares here that an event so unusual could not be ascribed to natural causes, as that the earth should become so sterile, but thai; it was the extraordinary judgment of God. This is the reason wily he employs so many figurative expressions. He might indeed have said, in one sentence, that there would be in the land a most grievous famine; but hardly one in a hundred would have been moved by words so simply expressed. Therefore the Prophet, in order to arouse their stupor, uses terms the most forcible.
Hence he says,
He afterwards adds,
It is then added,
We now perceive what I have said, -- that the Prophet here reproves the Jews for their stupidity in not understanding that God was angry with them when the order of nature, which ought ever to continue the same, thus failed. Droughts indeed often happen when there are no waters in most places; but when no well supplies any water, when there is not a drop of water to be found in the most favorable places, then indeed it ought to be concluded that God's curse is on the people, who find nothing to drink; for in nothing does God deal more bountifully with the world than in the supply of water. We do not speak now of wine; but we see fountains everywhere pouring forth waters, and rivers also flow through countries: moreover, pits are dug through the labors of men; there are also cisterns in which the rain is preserved in places that are commonly dry: but when in cisterns no water remains, and when the fountains themselves refuse any supply, we may hence surely know that it is the special judgment of God; and this is what Jeremiah intended here to shew; and therefore he says that they were
1 The versions connect the two verbs with gates: and if we take "gates" metonymically for those who attended them, the meaning will be evident. We may then render the verse thus, --
Mourned hath Judah, And her gates, they have languished; Grieved have they for the land; And the cry of Jerusalem hath ascended.
In the gates was the court of justice; there the chief men or governors assembled. The languishing belonged, not to the gates, but to those who attended them, and so the grief or lamentation. The first meaning of the verb is to be dark, to be black, but it is used to signify extreme grief or lamentation. See Psalms 35:14; 38:6; Jeremiah 8:21. As light denotes joy, so darkness is a symbol of grief or mourning. We use a similar kind of metonymy, when we say, "The court is in mourning." The Septuagint render the verse thus, --
Mourned hath Judah, And her gates have been emptied, And have become dark for the land; And the shout of Jerusalem hath ascended.
Blayney's version of the third line is as follows, --
They are in deep mourning for the land.
The Targum paraphrases the verb thus, -- "Their faces are covered with blackness." -- Ed.
2 The persons here mentioned are called by the Septuagint "chieftains -
3 would render the verse thus, --
3.When their nobles sent their menials for water, They came to the reservoirs, they found no water; They brought back their vessels empty: They were ashamed and confounded, And they covered their heads.
The word I render "reservoirs" means literally arches or vaults. They were places arched over to preserve water. Parkhurst thinks that the reservoirs made by King Hezekiah are intended, 2 Chronicles 32:30. That the verb
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