Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
That. Hebrew, "the scissors of clippers." The same term is used for clipping sheep as for cutting hair. Shaving was not probably then in use. --- Beard, as in mourning or for ignominy, 2 Kings x. 4., and Jeremias xlvii. 5. --- Balance, to shew that God does nothing unjustly. (Calmet) --- The hair. Literally, "them." (Haydock) --- This was to be done before he lay down. Hew was to burn, cut, and divide the hair as the siege represented on the tile advanced, to denote that some should perish in the city by famine, others by the sword, while a few should be scattered among the nations: yet of these a small number should be gathered round Godolias, and perish with him, or in Egypt, &c., and the rest be thence led captive to Babylon.
Third. Septuagint and Theodotion read "a fourth," as also [in] ver. 12., (Calmet) thus assigning half to be burnt by death (pestilence) and famine. The other half of the people falls a prey to the sword and to captivity. The pestilence, famine, and the sword, were the three usual scourges left to David's choice, (2 Kings xxiv.) which here destroy each a fourth part, while the rest become captives. Yet even of this third or fourth part, many engage in civil broils, and perish. St. Jerome hints that the Septuagint is interpolated from Theodotion, ver. 12, and that their version only comprised the pentateuch. But the other books went at least under the same title; and there must be some mistake in the words asterisked, since they occur in the Hebrew, Vulgate, &c., third being only substituted for fourth: "And a fourth part of thee shall fall by the sword." The Hebrew is rather less degrading to the Jews, as there would be thus at most one-third preserved, instead of a part only of one-fourth. See Deuteronomy xxvii. 4., and Jeremias lii. 28. --- Take. Septuagint add here, "a fourth part; and shalt burn it in the midst of it; and a fourth thou shalt cut," &c. (Haydock) --- He was thus to deal with a part of the hair during 390 days, (Menochius) or at the end of them. (R. Salom.) --- Round, in the cities near Jerusalem, (Worthington) or round the picture of it, chap. iv. 1.
Out of it. Some rose up against Godolias, Jeremias xl., &c. (Calmet) --- The divisions of the Jews brought on the persecution of Epiphanes, (Sanctius) and introduced Pompey. (St. Jerome) (Haydock)
Midst, distinguished above the rest. Many have supposed that the city was in the exact middle of Palestine, or of the world, Psalm lxxiii. 12. (Calmet)
Surpassed. in numbers, (Symmachus) or rather in wickedness. (Chaldean) (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "because you have been incited by the," &c. (Haydock) --- Judgments. You have been less attached to my service than the Gentiles have been to their idols. Some think that not is here superfluous, as it is omitted [in] chap. xi. 12. But it is wrong to imitate the Gentiles, and worse to surpass them in crimes.
Like. The ruin of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was terrible, (Calmet) but that by the Romans was more so. (St. Jerome) --- The reasons were different.
Fathers. This is not specified in history. Famine prevailed, 4 Kings xxv. 3.; and we find something similar, Lamentations iv. 10., (Calmet) and Baruch ii. (Worthington) --- It is probable, therefore, that these threats were realized. (Theodoret) (Deuteronomy xxviii. 53.) --- Scatter. Literally, "winnow." (Haydock) --- The Jewish nation was never again all together in the promised land.
Pestilence. Septuagint, "death;" so they usually denote pestilence. They add, "and a fourth part of thee shall be," &c., ver. 2. (Haydock)
Comforted, or revenged, chap. xxiv. 14., and Isaias i. 24.
And a. Septuagint, "and thy daughters (dependances. Calmet) round," &c. (Haydock)
Scoff. Literally, "blasphemy;" which is here used improperly, to denote derision. (Worthington)
Arrows; inclemency of the seasons, &c., which bring on famine. (Menochius)
Beasts. They usually take possession of abandoned countries. (St. Jerome) --- The Chaldeans may also be meant, chap. xvii. 3.