Jeremiah 49:8

8. Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will visit him.

8. Fugite, conversi sunt, profundaverunt habitationem incolae Dedan, quia interitum Esau adduxi super ipsum tempore visitationis ejus.


The Prophet shews here how great was the pride of that nation, and sets it as it were before their eyes. Flee, he says; the language is abrupt, yet the meaning is not ambiguous. The meaning is, that when any one warned the Idumeans to flee, none of them would move; nay, they would remain fixed in their own country, for they thought that they would have there a perpetual quietness. The citizens of Dedan have made deep their habitation. He names another city not far from Teman. He then adds, in God's name, But I will bring destruction on Esau in the time of his visitation.1

We now understand the design of the Prophet, -- that he wished to set before our eyes how proudly the Idumeans trusted in their defences, as they never could be persuaded to flee. The Prophet then, as God's herald, declares that they would have to flee. But what did they do? They made deep their habitation, that is, they would remain quiet in their own country, as though they were fixed in the center of the earth, and therefore unassailable. By saying then that they made deep, he sets forth their obstinacy, so that no one could terrify them, though he announced extreme dangers. But it was his purpose thus to strengthen confidence in his prophecy, because the greatest part of the faithful could form no judgment but according to the present aspect of things; and the Idumeans proudly laughed at all threatenings. That the faithful then might not think that the Idumeans would be safe, he afterwards adds, in God's name, "Behold, I will bring ruin on Esau." He mentions their father, and the Idumeans, we know, descended from Esau the first-born of Isaac; and hence they were of the same blood with the Israelites. But the Prophet, by bringing forward the name of a reprobate man, intended, no doubt, to renew the memory of a curse, for Esau had been rejected, and his younger brother Jacob succeeded in his place. Hence the Prophet, that he might gain more credit to his words, brought before the people what was well known to them, that Esau had been rejected by God; for on the rejection of Esau depended their gratuitous election and adoption.

And he says that God would be the avenger of that nation at the time of visitation; for as I have before reminded you, what we have read was not immediately fulfilled. When, therefore, the Israelites suffered extreme calamities, their hope might a hundred times have failed them, on seeing the Idumeans remaining still as it were asleep in their pleasures, and these judgments of God as it were buried; for it might have come to their minds that all which Jeremiah had declared had passed away like smoke. Hence, to sustain their hope and patience, he sets before them here the time of visitation; as though he had said, that the Idumeans also would have their turn, after God had patiently borne with their impiety and spared them for a long time. But of this we shall hereafter see. Now, as I have shown elsewhere, the words which remind us of the time of God's visitations, ought to be noticed, that we may not by hastening fall headlong, as it is usually the case; for they who are in a hurry, fall at the first step. That we may then learn to wait for the ripened time, let this remain fixed in our minds, that God has his settled seasons of visitations. It now follows --

1 The versions, (except the Syr. and the Targ.) have the verbs here in the imperative mood; and they are so regarded by most critics, "Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep," etc.. This is necessary on account of yk, for, which follows. -- Ed.


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