Jeremiah 6:4
Prepare you war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.
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(4) Prepare ye war.—Literally, Sanctify. The opening of the battle was accompanied by sacrifices, divinations, and prayers. Compare Deuteronomy 20:1-3 for the practice of the Israelites, and Ezekiel 21:20-22 for that of the Chaldæans, which was, of course, present to Jeremiah’s mind. The cry thus given with dramatic force comes from the soldiers of the invading army impatient for the fight. They are so eager that, instead of resting at noon, as usual, for their mid-day meal, they would fain press on for the assault. Their orders are against this, and, as the shadows lengthen, they raise their cry of complaint, “Alas for us, the day declines . . .” Then, impatient still, unwilling to wait, as their commanders bid them, for an attack at day-break, they shout, “Let us go by night.”

Jeremiah 6:4-5. Prepare ye war against her — The prophet now drops the metaphor, and tells them in plain terms whom he means by the shepherds namely, warriors. These seem to be the words of God giving a commission to the Chaldeans, by his prophet, to make war upon Jerusalem. Arise, and let us go up at noon, &c. — “The alacrity and eagerness with which the Chaldeans should undertake and execute the commission with which they were charged, are described in these and the following words in a beautiful vein of poetry. Though it was late in the day before they received their orders, they are for beginning their march immediately and though it was night before they got to the place, they are unwilling to put off the assault till morning.” — Blaney. Let us destroy her palaces — And make ourselves masters of the wealth contained in them. This was the motive that influenced them, and produced such eagerness. The end they had in view was not that they might fulfil God’s counsels; but that they might enjoy the spoils of all the stately palaces and rich houses of the nobles and great ones: hereby, however, God served his own purposes.6:1-8 Whatever methods are used, it is vain to contend with God's judgments. The more we indulge in the pleasures of this life, the more we unfit ourselves for the troubles of this life. The Chaldean army shall break in upon the land of Judah, and in a little time devour all. The day is coming, when those careless and secure in sinful ways will be visited. It is folly to trifle when we have eternal salvation to work out, and the enemies of that salvation to fight against. But they were thus eager, not that they might fulfil God's counsels, but that they might fill their own treasures; yet God thereby served his own purposes. The corrupt heart of man, in its natural state, casts out evil thoughts, just as a fountain casts out her waters. It is always flowing, yet always full. The God of mercy is loth to depart even from a provoking people, and is earnest with them, that by repentance and reformation, they may prevent things from coming to extremity.Prepare ye war - Rather, Sanctify ye war against her. War in ancient times was never undertaken without religions solemnities (see Deuteronomy 20:2 note). For some of these compare Ezekiel 21:21-23.

At noon - The mid-day heat is so great in the East as to be usually passed under shelter 2 Samuel 4:5; Sol 1:7. The morning-march of an army was made fasting, and was usually over by eight or nine. But so great is the impatience of the Chaldeans for the assault that they cry, "we will make the assault at noon!"

Woe unto us! - Or,

Alas for us! "for the day" has turned

For the evening shadows are lengthening!

4, 5. The invading soldiers encourage one another to the attack on Jerusalem.

Prepare—literally, "Sanctify" war, that is, Proclaim it formally with solemn rites; the invasion was solemnly ordered by God (compare Isa 13:3).

at noon—the hottest part of the day when attacks were rarely made (Jer 15:8; 20:16). Even at this time they wished to attack, such is their eagerness.

Woe unto us—The words of the invaders, mourning the approach of night which would suspend their hostile operations; still, even in spite of the darkness, at night they renew the attack (Jer 6:5).

Prepare ye war against her: the prophet now passeth from his metaphor to tell them plainly what he means by the shepherds, viz. warriors: some make these the words of the Chaldeans, making preparations for their invasion, and it may be by some of their accustomed rites that they used before war; but they seem more probably to be the words of God inviting them, and calling them into this work, therefore in the Hebrew it is, Sanctify war against her, Jeremiah 22:7; he speaks unto such as he had sanctified or set apart for this work, his sanctified ones, Isaiah 13:3.

Arise, and let us go up at noon: this shows how ready they will be to obey God’s call; the like we read Isaiah 21:5; and therefore they are said to go or march up at noon, not only to note their daringness, as needing no stratagems, or strength, or needing to stay for help, but rather to show their forwardness to march on without stop or stay; they would not burn daylight, but be speedy in their work, and they would take the first opportunity, whether morning or noon, day or night, as the next verse. The next words seem to strengthen this sense; Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, &c.: q.d. We delay, and tarry too long, and the day spends apace, we lose time, let us make haste about our work; expressing their greediness after their prey, as soldiers use to do: or this

Woe unto us may be some form of imprecation, either against God or men, which kind of speeches are usual with soldiers when they are chafed, and going upon some sudden onset or exploit; though not a few make it the complaint of the prophet in the name of the people, foreseeing how their night of affliction hasted on, their joyful days being as it were gone, Amos 8:9,10. But the former seems best to agree with the scope.

The shadows of the evening are stretched out; they were so eagerly set upon it, that they watched the very lengthening of the shadow, which shows the approach of the evening, Psalm 109:23. See Habakkuk 1:8. Prepare ye war against her,.... Not only proclaim it, but prepare themselves for it; get everything ready for the siege, and begin it. These are either the words of the Lord, calling upon the Chaldeans in his providence to act such a part against Jerusalem; or of the Chaldeans themselves, stirring up one another to it; which latter seems to be the sense; since it follows:

arise, and let us go up at noon; scale the walls, and take the city; which, though in the heat of the day, and not so proper a time, yet such was the eagerness of the army, and their confidence of carrying the place at once; and concluding there was no need of waiting till the evening, or of taking any secret measures for the siege; they propose to go up at noon, in the heat of the day, and in the sight of their enemies, and storm the city:

woe unto us, for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out; which some take to be the words of the besiegers, lamenting they had lost time, had not proceeded according to their first purpose, had neglected going up at noontime, and now the evening was coming upon them; or as being angry, and out of humour, that the city was not taken by them so soon as they expected: though, according to Kimchi, they are the words of the prophet; and he may represent the besieged, mourning over their unhappy case and circumstances; the day of prosperity declining, and nothing but darkness and distress coming upon them.

{f} Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us! for the day departeth, for the shadows of the evening are lengthened.

(f) He speaks this in the person of the Babylonians, who complain that the time fails them before they have brought their enterprises to pass.

4. Prepare] lit. as mg. Sanctify. Cp. Jeremiah 51:27 f.; so Isaiah 13:3, “my consecrated ones,” said of the armies summoned to destroy Babylon. The entering upon war was looked upon as a solemn religious act, and was accompanied by corresponding ceremonies. See Deuteronomy 20:2 ff., and cp. Ezekiel 21:21 ff.

at noon] Cp. Jeremiah 15:8, Jeremiah 20:16; Zephaniah 2:4. The enemy in their eagerness are prepared to brave the full power of the sun’s rays. But the time has slipped by. The shadows lengthen.Verse 4. - Prepare ye war; literally, sanctify (or, consecrate) war. The foes are dramatically described as urging each other on at the different stages of the campaign. The war is to be opened with sacrifices (comp. Isaiah 13:3 with 1 Samuel 13:9); next there is a forced march, so as to take the city by storm, when the vigilance of its defenders is relaxed in the fierce noontide heat (comp. Jeremiah 15:8); evening surprises the foe still on the way, but they press steadily on, to do their work of destruction by night. The rapidity of the marches of the Chaldeans impressed another prophet of the reign of Josiah - Habakkuk (see Habakkuk 1:6, 8). Woe unto us! for the day goeth away; rather, Alas for us! for the day hath turned. Jeremiah 5:29 is a refrain-like repetition of Jeremiah 5:9. - The Jeremiah 5:30 and Jeremiah 5:31 are, as Hitz. rightly says, "a sort of epimetrum added after the conclusion in Jeremiah 5:29," in which the already described moral depravity is briefly characterized, and is asserted of all ranks of the people. Appalling and horrible things happen in the land; cf. Jeremiah 2:12; Jeremiah 23:14; Jeremiah 18:13; Hosea 6:10. The prophets prophesy with falsehood, בּשּׁקר, as in Jeremiah 20:6; Jeremiah 29:9; more fully בּשׁמי לשׁקר, Jeremiah 23:25; Jeremiah 27:15. The priests rule על, at their (the prophets') hands, i.e., under their guidance or direction; cf. 1 Chronicles 25:2., 2 Chronicles 23:18; not: go by their side (Ges., Dietr.), for רדה is not: go, march on, but: trample down. My people loves it so, yields willingly to such a lead; cf. Amos 4:5. What will ye do לאחריתהּ, as to the end of this conduct? The suff. faem. with neuter force. The end thereof will be the judgment; will ye be able to turn it away?
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