Jeremiah 10:17
Gather up your wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.
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(17) Gather up thy wares.—The section from Jeremiah 10:1-16 inclusive had been as a long parenthesis, reproving Israel for the sin which placed it among the “uncircumcised in the heart” (Jeremiah 9:26). Now the prophet returns to his main theme, the devastation of the land of Israel as the penalty of that sin. He begins with a vivid touch in the picture of utter misery. The daughter of Israel (the word “inhabitant” is feminine), sitting as in a besieged fortress, is to gather up her goods and chattels into one small bundle (the English “wares” suggests the idea of trade, which is foreign to the context), and with that as the sole remnant of her possessions, to go forth into exile. Probably, indeed, the word may mean simply the travelling carpet or mantle which the exile was to take with him. The whole phrase has something of a proverbial type, like our “bag and baggage” or the collige sarcinulas et exi (“take up your packages and begone”) of Juven. Sat. vi. 146.

Jeremiah 10:17-18. Gather up thy wares, &c. — That is, as some explain it, “Collect to Jerusalem all that you have valuable in the country; flee thither for refuge with your best effects; for the enemy will soon extend himself over all your land, and render it desolate.” Or, rather, the prophet, returning to his former denunciations against Jerusalem, warns her to move her effects, and prepare for going into captivity; for, though she thought herself secure, as dwelling in a place of great strength and well fortified, yet her enemies should prevail and take it: compare Ezekiel 12:3. Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants at this once — I will, at one stroke, remove the whole body of this people out of their native country: see 1 Samuel 25:29. And I will distress them that they may find it so — Or, that they may find my threatenings to be true. This implies, that though they had been often saved by God’s providence from hostile attacks, they would, however, on this occasion, find it otherwise.10:17-25 The Jews who continued in their own land, felt secure. But, sooner or later, sinners will find all things as the word of God has declared, and that its threatenings are not empty terrors. Submission will support the believer under every grief allotted to him; but what can render the load of Divine vengeance easy to be borne by those who fall under it in sullen despair? Those cannot expect to prosper, who do not, by faith and prayer, take God with them in all their ways. The report of the enemy's approach was very dreadful. Yet the designs which men lay deep, and think well formed, are dashed to pieces in a moment. Events are often overruled, so as to be quite contrary to what we intended and expected. If the Lord has directed our steps into the ways of peace and righteousness, let us entreat him to enable us to walk therein. Say not, Lord, do not correct me; but, Lord, do not correct me in anger. We may bear the smart of God's rod, but we cannot bear the weight of his wrath. Those who restrain prayer, prove that they know not God; for those who know him will seek him, and seek his favour. If even severe corrections lead sinners to be convinced of wholesome truths, they will have abundant cause for gratitude. And they will then humble themselves before the Lord.The prophet now returns to the main subject of his sermon, the conquest of Judaea.

Thy wares - Rather, thy bundle, which could contain a few articles for necessary use, and be carried in the hand. They are going into exile.

O inhabitant of the fortress - i. e., thou that art besieged, that inhabitest a besieged town.

17. wares—thine effects or movable goods (Eze 12:3). Prepare for migrating as captives to Babylon. The address is to Jerusalem, as representative of the whole people.

inhabitant of the fortress—rather, "inhabitress of the fortress." Though thou now seemest to inhabit an impregnable fortress, thou shalt have to remove. "The land" is the champaign region opposed to the "fortified" cities. The "fortress" being taken, the whole "land" will share the disaster. Henderson translates, "Gather up thy packages from the ground." Rosenmuller, for "fortress," translates, "siege," that is, the besieged city. The various articles, in this view, are supposed to be lying about in confusion on the ground during the siege.

The prophet now enters upon another subject, and probably begins another sermon.

Gather up thy wares, i.e. every thing thou hast any advantage by, not only thy domestic concerns, but all thy traffic and merchandise, wherever thou hast any concerns in the land, as men use to do in case of invasion by an enemy, to secure them. It seems to be a sarcasm, or kind of military derision.

O inhabitant of the fortress: this is understood by some as spoken to the Babylonians, that they should make provision for their escape, their idols being not able to save them; but this seems to be remote from the prophet’s meaning. It is rather therefore directed to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that being the chief place of security in Judea, and by a synecdoche to all other places that they promised themselves security in; the approaching destruction being to pass through the whole country. Gather up thy wares out of the land,.... Or thy merchandise, as the Targum; or thy substance, as the Septuagint; all valuable effects and goods that are movable, which might be carried from place to place. The meaning is, that the Jews would gather up their riches from the several parts of the land of Judea, and bring them to Jerusalem, a fortified place; or they would be in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy. Kimchi interprets the words as if spoken of Babylon, and directed to the Chaldeans, not to be elated with the captivity of Israel; and because the word signifies "to humble and subdue" he takes the sense to be,

"gather in or contract thine humiliation or subjection;''

that is, of other nations; refrain thyself, or cease from subduing kingdoms; that is now at an end, it shall be no more so; but the words manifestly respect the people of the Jews, as is clear from the next verse.

O inhabitant of the fortress; of the fortress of Zion, or the fortified city, Jerusalem. The Targum is,

"O thou that dwellest in the strong place, in the fortified cities.''

It may be rendered, "that dwellest in the siege" (y); in the besieged city, Jerusalem.

(y) "quae habitas in obsidione", V. L. Cocceius, Schmidt.

{k} Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.

(k) The prophet wills the Jews to prepare themselves for this captivity, showing that it was now at hand that they would feel the things of which he had told them.

17. thy wares out of the land] the Hebrew word occurs here only, and is of doubtful meaning. This rendering connects it with the Hebrew root of Canaanite; the Canaanites being the merchants best known to the Hebrews. It seems to mean a few articles gathered together, rather than any considerable amount or burden. Hence it suggests hasty flight. The mg. thy bundle from the ground, derives it from a root found in Arabic and meaning, to be contracted or folded in; hence to be done up tightly. See Dr. pp. 354 f.

O thou, etc.] fem. and so collective. See on Jeremiah 4:11, Jeremiah 7:29.

O thou that abidest in the siege] i.e. thou who art in a besieged city. This is to be preferred to the reading in mg.

17, 18. Du. and Co. omit these vv., Du. rejecting 20, 21 also, while Gi. omits Jeremiah 10:18. See note on it.

17–25. Exile is at hand. Appeal to Jehovah in His wrath to remember mercy

The utterances, interrupted by Jeremiah 9:23-26, and Jeremiah 10:1-16, are now continued. The passage has apparently suffered both by corruption of MT. and by marginal glosses, afterwards incorporated with the text. It may be summarized thus.

(i) 17–22. The city is bidden hastily to prepare to be cast forth into exile as the result of impending siege. The country laments, as it lies waste. The inhabitants are carried captive, because of the folly of their rulers. The report of the invasion of the northern foe presages desolation.

(ii) 23–25. The prophet, pleading the weakness of man’s nature, prays that there may be a mitigation of Judah’s punishment, and that God’s wrath may be poured instead upon heathen nations.Verses 17-22. - This passage connects itself immediately with Jeremiah 9, where the invasion of Judah and the dispersion of its inhabitants have been foretold. Here, after describing dramatically the departure of the latter into exile, the prophet reports a distinct revelation of the same fact, so that this can no longer be assumed to be mere imaginative rhetoric. The Jewish people is then introduced, lamenting her sad fate, but expressing resignation. Verse 17. - Gather up thy wares. "Wares" should rather be bundle. There is no allusion to trafficking. O inhabitant of the fortress; rather, thou that dwellest besieged. Jeremiah 10:11 is Chaldee. But it must not be regarded as a gloss that has found its way into the text, on the grounds on which Houb., Ven., Ros., Ew., Hitz., Gr., etc., so regard it, namely, because it is Chaldee, and because there is an immediate connection between Jeremiah 10:10 and Jeremiah 10:12. Both the language in which the verse is written, and the subject-matter of it, are unfavourable to this view. The latter does not bear the character of a gloss; and no copyist would have interpolated a Chaldee verse into the Hebrew text. Besides, the verse is found in the Alexandrian version; and in point of sense it connects very suitably with Jeremiah 10:10 : Jahveh is everlasting King, whereas the gods which have not made heaven and earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens. This the Israelites are to say to the idolaters. ארקא is the harder form for ארעא. The last word, אלּה, is Hebrew; it does not belong to שׁמיּא, but serves to emphasize the subject: the gods - these shall perish. Jeremiah wrote the verse in Chaldee, ut Judaeis suggerat, quomodo Chaldaeis (ad quos non nisi Chaldaice loqui poterant) paucis verbis respondendum sit, as Seb. Schm has remarked. The thought of this verse is a fitting conclusion to the exhortation not to fear the gods of the heathen; it corresponds to the 5th verse, with which the first strophe concludes the warning against idolatry The Israelites are not only not to fear the null and void gods of the heathen, but they are to tell the heathen that their gods will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.
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