Jeremiah 15:2
And it shall come to pass, if they say to you, Where shall we go forth? then you shall tell them, Thus said the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.
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(2) Such as are for death . . .—The difference between the first two forms of punishment is that the first points possibly to being led out to execution as criminals, as in Deuteronomy 19:6, but more probably to death from pestilence, as in Job 27:15; the second, to falling in a vain and hopeless conflict.

Jeremiah 15:2-5. If they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? — If they ask thee what thou meanest by going forth, and whither they shall go: thou shalt tell them, Such as are for death to death, &c. — In general, You shall go forth, saith God, to ruin and destruction; but shall not be all destroyed in one and the same way, but every one shall perish in that way which God hath appointed: some shall be destroyed by the pestilence, (for that is here to be understood by death, Revelation 6:8, it being death without visible means,) others shall be destroyed by famine, others by the sword of the enemy, others shall go into captivity; but one way or other the greatest part of you shall be consumed. And I will appoint over them four kinds — Namely, of destroyers. The sword to slay — And those that are slain by it shall not enjoy the common rites of burial, but their carcasses shall be left a prey to the dogs, the birds, and the wild beasts, which last shall both tear their living bodies and their dead carcasses. And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms, &c. — Though the body of the people were removed into Babylon, yet it is more than probable that many of them became voluntary exiles to avoid the miseries which they saw coming upon their country. And, without doubt, the king of Babylon removed them into several kingdoms belonging to his large empire. These, it must be observed, are the very words of Moses, (Deuteronomy 28:25,) where he threatens the Israelites with a general dispersion over the world, which threatening received its completion, in part, by the Babylonish captivity, but more perfectly after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Because of Manasseh — In idolatry and other abominations he exceeded all the kings that preceded him: see 2 Kings 21:7-11. In his time the public worship of God was wholly suppressed, and idolatry introduced into the very temple; the law of God was likewise quite laid aside, and, in a manner, forgotten, as appears by the surprise Hilkiah was in when he found the original copy of the law in the house of the Lord. So that his sins filled up the measure of the Jews’ iniquities; and therefore, notwithstanding the reformation wrought afterward by Josiah, the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his wrath kindled against Judah: see 2 Kings 23:26 and 2 Kings 24:3-4. It must be observed, however, that it was not merely for his sins, or the sins of his times, that God so dreadfully punished the Jews in the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah; but it was also, and especially because they imitated the wicked example which Manasseh had set them, the reformation effected by Josiah being only partial, and of not long continuance. For who shall, or, who will, have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem — Thy sins render thee unworthy of pity, and all that see the calamities brought upon thee will acknowledge them to be just. Who will go aside, &c. — Who will be so much concerned for thee as to step a little out of his way to inquire after thee; a common instance of respect between persons in any degree acquainted. Rather they that pass by will insult over thy calamities.15:1-9 The Lord declares that even Moses and Samuel must have pleaded in vain. The putting of this as a case, though they should stand before him, shows that they do not, and that saints in heaven do not pray for saints on earth. The Jews were condemned to different kinds of misery by the righteous judgment of God, and the remnant would be driven away, like the chaff, into captivity. Then was the populous city made desolate. Bad examples and misused authority often produce fatal effects, even after men are dead, or have repented of their crimes: this should make all greatly dread being the occasion of sin in others.Cast them out of my sight - Rather, "send them out of My presence, and let them go away." The prophet is to dismiss them, because their mediators, Moses and Samuel, whose intercession had been accepted in old times (marginal references), would intercede now in vain. 2. death—deadly plague (Jer 18:21; 43:11; Eze 5:2, 12; Zec 11:9). If they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? if they ask thee what thou meanest by going forth; which being a term of motion, implieth a term to which the motion should be. Saith God, In the general, it is to ruin and destruction, but they shall not all be destroyed one and the same way; some shall be destroyed by the pestilence, (for that is here to be understood by

death, ) others shall be destroyed by the

famine, others by the sword of enemies, others shall go into

captivity, but one way or other the land shall be quitted of the most of you. And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee,.... As doubtless they will, when this message is brought to them:

whither shall we go forth? in a jeering scornful manner, not believing that this would be their case:

then thou shall tell them, thus saith the Lord, such as are for death, to death; such as were appointed to death, or to die by the pestilence, which is often signified by death; they shall go forth unto it; or it shall meet them, and seize upon them, and take them away:

and such as are for the sword, to the sword; who are appointed to die by the sword of the enemy, into whose hands they should fall by attempting to escape out of the city, shall perish by it:

and such as are for the famine, to the famine; such as are appointed to die by that, shall die of it in the city, where they shall be besieged, and not be able to get out to fetch in any provisions, and where none can be brought, because of the enemy:

and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity; such as are spared from the pestilence, sword, and famine, and are designed to be carried captive into a strange land, shall be taken and carried thither; nor will it be in their power, or in any other's, to hinder any of the above things, to which they are appointed of God. According to the Jews, the latter of these is more grievous than the former; as the sword than death, and famine than the sword, so captivity than them all (w).

(w) T. Bab Bava Bathra, fol. 8. 2.

And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.
2. Whither shall we go forth?] If we are driven unpardoned from the presence of the Lord, to what shall we betake ourselves? The reply is a stern and even ironical one.

death] by pestilence. Cp. Jeremiah 43:11; Ezekiel 14:21; Ezekiel 33:27, and in English “the Black Death.”

2–9. See introd. summary to section.Verse 2. - Such as are for death, etc.; a sternly ironical answer. Death, sword, famine, captivity, lie in wait for them in every possible road. "Death" here means "pestilence" (comp. "the black death" in the Middle Ages), as in Jeremiah 18:21; Job 27:15. Similar combinations of evils occur in Jeremiah 43:11; Ezekiel 14:21; Ezekiel 33:27. The words, "and speak unto them this word," surprise us, because no word from God follows, as in Jeremiah 13:12, but an exposition of the prophet's feelings in regard to the dreadful judgment announced. Hence Dahl. and Ew. propose to join the words in question with what goes before, while at the same time Ew. hints a suspicion that an entire sentence has been dropped after the words. But for this suspicion there is no ground, and the joining of the words with the preceding context is contrary to the unfailing usage of this by no means infrequent formula. The true explanation is found in Kimchi and Calvin. The prophet is led to exhibit to the hardened people the grief and pain he feels in contemplating the coming ruin of Judah, ut pavorem illis incuteret, si forte, cum haec audirent, resipiscerent (Kimchi). If not his words, then surely his tears; for the terrible calamity he has to announce must touch and stagger them, so that they may be persuaded to examine themselves and consider what it is that tends to their peace. To make impression on their hardened consciences, he depicts the appalling ruin, because of which his eyes run with tears day and night. On "run down," etc., cf. Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 13:17; Lamentations 2:18, etc. "Let them not cease" gives emphasis: not be silent, at peace, cf. Lamentations 3:49, i.e., weep incessantly day and night. The appellation of the people: virgin-daughter of my people, i.e., daughter that is my people, cf. Jeremiah 8:11, corresponds to the love revealing itself in tears. The depth of sorrow is further shown in the clause: with a blow that is very dangerous, cf. Jeremiah 10:19. In Jeremiah 14:18 the prophet portrays the condition of things after the fall of Jerusalem: out upon the field are those pierced with the sword; in the city תּחלוּאי , lit., suffering of famine, Deuteronomy 29:21, here abstr. pro concr. of those pining in famine; and those that remain in life depart into exile. Instead of the people Jeremiah mentions only the prophets and priests as being the flower of God's people. סחר, to wander about, in Hebr. usually in the way of commerce, here acc. to Aram. usage, possibly too with the idea of begging subjoined. In the ולא ידעוּ Graf holds the ו to be entirely out of place, while Hitz. pronounces against him. The words are variously taken; e.g., and know nothing, wander about aimless and helpless. But with this the omission of the article with ארץ is incompatible. The omission shows that "and now not" furnishes an attribute to "into a land." We therefore translate: and know it not equals which they know not, since the pronominal suffix is wont to be often omitted where it can without difficulty be supplied from the preceding clause.
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