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A Warning of Destruction of Jerusalem


The oracle concerning the valley of vision.


What do you mean that you have gone up,

all of you, to the housetops,


you that are full of shoutings,

tumultuous city, exultant town?

Your slain are not slain by the sword,

nor are they dead in battle.


Your rulers have all fled together;

they were captured without the use of a bow.

All of you who were found were captured,

though they had fled far away.


Therefore I said:

Look away from me,

let me weep bitter tears;

do not try to comfort me

for the destruction of my beloved people.



For the Lord G od of hosts has a day

of tumult and trampling and confusion

in the valley of vision,

a battering down of walls

and a cry for help to the mountains.


Elam bore the quiver

with chariots and cavalry,

and Kir uncovered the shield.


Your choicest valleys were full of chariots,

and the cavalry took their stand at the gates.


He has taken away the covering of Judah.


On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, 9and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. 10You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago.



In that day the Lord G od of hosts

called to weeping and mourning,

to baldness and putting on sackcloth;


but instead there was joy and festivity,

killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,

eating meat and drinking wine.

“Let us eat and drink,

for tomorrow we die.”


The L ord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:

Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die,

says the Lord G od of hosts.

Denunciation of Self-Seeking Officials

15 Thus says the Lord G od of hosts: Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is master of the household, and say to him: 16What right do you have here? Who are your relatives here, that you have cut out a tomb here for yourself, cutting a tomb on the height, and carving a habitation for yourself in the rock? 17The L ord is about to hurl you away violently, my fellow. He will seize firm hold on you, 18whirl you round and round, and throw you like a ball into a wide land; there you shall die, and there your splendid chariots shall lie, O you disgrace to your master’s house! 19I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your post.

20 On that day I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah, 21and will clothe him with your robe and bind your sash on him. I will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open. 23I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his ancestral house. 24And they will hang on him the whole weight of his ancestral house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25On that day, says the L ord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way; it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will perish, for the L ord has spoken.


4. Therefore I said. Here the Prophet, in order to affect more deeply the hearts of the Jews, assumes the character of a mourner, and not only so, but bitterly bewails the distressed condition of the Church of God. This passage must not be explained in the same manner as some former passages, in which he described the grief and sorrow of foreign nations; but he speaks of the fallen condition of the Church of which he is a member, and therefore he sincerely bewails it, and invites others by his example to join in the lamentation. What has befallen the Church ought to affect us in the same manner as if it had befallen each of us individually; for otherwise what would become of that passage? “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.” (Psalm 69:9.)

I will be bitter in my weeping. 7878    {Bogus footnote} He does not mourn in secret, or without witnesses; first, because he wishes, as I have already said, to excite others by his example to lamentation, and not to lamentation only, but much more to repentance, that they may ward off the dreadful judgment of God against them, which was close at hand, and henceforth may refrain from provoking his displeasure; and secondly, because it was proper that the herald of God’s wrath should actually make evident that what he utters is not mockery.

Because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people. That he expresses the feelings of his own heart may be inferred from what he now declares, that he is bitterly grieved “on account of the daughter of his people.” Being one of the family of Abraham, he thought that this distress affected his own condition, and intimates that he has good grounds for lamentation. By a customary mode of expression he calls the assembly of his people a daughter. Hence it ought to be observed, that whenever the Church is afflicted, the example of the Prophet ought to move us to be touched (συμπαθείᾳ) with compassion, if we are not harder than iron; for we are altogether unworthy of being reckoned in the number of the children of God, and added to the holy Church, if we do not dedicate ourselves, and all that we have, to the Church, in such a manner that we are not separate from it in any respect. Thus, when in the present day the Church is afflicted by so many and so various calamities, and innumerable souls are perishing, which Christ redeemed with his own blood, we must be barbarous and savage if we are not touched with any grief. And especially the ministers of the word ought to be moved by this feeling of grief, because, being appointed to keep watch and to look at a distance, they ought also to groan when they perceive the tokens of approaching ruin.

The circumstance of his weeping publicly tended, as we have said, to soften the hearts of the people; for he had to deal with obstinate men, who could not easily be induced to lament. There is a passage that closely resembles it in Jeremiah, who bewails the miserable and wasted condition of the people, and says, that through grief “his heart fainteth,” 7979    {Bogus footnote} (Jeremiah 4:31;) and in another passage, “O that my head were full of waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might bewail the slain of my people!” (Jeremiah 9:1.) When the prophets saw that they labored in vain to subdue the obstinacy of the people, they could not avoid being altogether overwhelmed by grief and sorrow. They therefore endeavored, by their moving addresses, to soften hard hearts, that they might bend them, if it were at all possible, and bring them back to the right path.

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