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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 15:3

3. And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.

3. Et praeliciam super eos quatuor familias, dicit Jehova, gladium ad occidendum, et canes ad trahendum, et avem coelorum et bestiam terrae, ad comedendum et perdendum.

Jeremiah proceeds with the same subject. He said yesterday that the people were no longer cared for by God, and so that nothing remained for them but in various ways to perish, and that the last punishment would be exile. He now confirms the same thing, and says, that God would prepare against them ravenous birds as well as wild beasts, the sword and dogs as though he had said, that all animals would be hostile to them, and be the executioners of God's vengeance.

Some render the verb phqd, pekod, to visit, but improperly, as I think; for they must give this version, |I will visit four families upon them;| but there is no sense in this, nor can any sense be elicited from it. The meaning most suitable here is to set over, |I will set over them four kinds;| which he calls |four families.| And there is to be understood here a contrast: as they thought it hard to obey God, they were now to have over them dogs and wild beasts, and the birds of the air, and the sword. The meaning is, that there would be no end to God's vengeance, and to various punishments, until the Jews were wholly destroyed. He further intimates, that he would have in readiness many to execute his wrath, as he had all creatures under his control. As then he would employ in his service dogs, and birds, and animals, as well as men, it behoved the Jews to feel assured that they in vain had recourse to this or that refuge. We indeed know that men impiously confine the power of God, both with regard to their salvation and the punishment of their sins, for when he passes by any evil they think that they have escaped, and promise themselves impunity, as though God indeed were not able every moment to inflict many and various scourges. This then is the reason why the Prophet speaks here of four kinds of judgments. It follows --

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