19. For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out.
19. Quia vox luctus audita est ex Sion, Quomodo perditi (aut, vastati) sumus? pudefacti valde? quia dereliquimus terram, quia projecerunt habitacula nostra (quidam subaudirent, projecerunt nos.)
We have said before, that when Jeremiah addressed the people in these words, they were still in a tolerably good condition, so that the king had confidence in his own resources; and his counsellors also thought that some aid would come to them from Egypt, and the people were likewise deceived. But the Prophet speaks of future events and points out as by the finger the evils which were as yet concealed from the view; for he could not otherwise teach with any authority, as he had to do with men of iron hearts. As then he saw that his teaching had no effect, and was wholly disregarded by men so slothful, he felt it necessary to form his style so as to touch their feelings.
On this account he says, that a voice was heard, a voice of wailing from Sion; where yet all exulted with joy. Then he adds, How have we been destroyed! and made greatly ashamed! The Jews thought this a fable, until they found by experience that they had been extremely hard and obstinate: but this really happened. Though they were then indulging in their pleasures, he yet proclaims lamentations to them, as though they were already destroyed: A voice, he says, has been heard, as though the Jews were bewailing the calamity, respecting which they thought the Prophet was fabling, for no danger was yet apparent.
But in order, as I have said, to condemn the hardness of their hearts, he represents them in another character, as bewailing their ruinous condition, and saying, We have left the land; in which however they thought their dwelling would be perpetual; for they boasted that they could never be excluded, as it had been declared,
|This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have chosen it.| (Psalm 132:14.)
As then God had testified that it would be a quiet habitation to his people, they thought that they were fortified by a triple wall and rampart, and that the city was altogether unassailable. But Jeremiah represents them as saying, that they had left their own land, that is, that they had been drawn and driven into exile. Then he adds, because they have cast us out This seems to refer to their enemies who had cast them out, that is, pulled down their dwellings. Some take dwellings to be the nominative case to the verb, |Our dwellings have cast us out.| But the first meaning reads better: I therefore consider the sense to be simply this, -- that they were cast out and that their houses were destroyed by their enemies. It follows --