12. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an babitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
12. Sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Adhuc erit in loco hoc destructo, ut non sit homo et jumentum, et in omnibus urbibus ejus, habitaculum pastorum accubare facientium oves:
13. In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.
13. In urbibus montis (hoc est, montanis) et in urbibus planicei (campestribus) et in urbibus Austri (id est, quae vergunt ad meridiem) et in terra Benjamin, et per circuitus Jerusalem, et in urbibus Jehudae, adhuc transibunt oves per manus numerantis, dicit Jehova.
Jeremiah still pursues the same subject; but he speaks here of the settled happiness of the people, as though he had said, that there was no reason for the Israelites to fear, that God would not open for them a way of return to their own country, and preserve and protect them after their return. But in setting forth their quiet and peaceable condition, he speaks of shepherds; for we know that it is a sure sign of peace, when flocks and herds are led into the fields in security. For enemies always gape after prey, and the experience of wars proves this; for whenever incursions are made by enemies, they send spies that they may know whether there are any shepherds or keepers of cattle; and then they know that there is a prey for them. As then shepherds, when an invasion from enemies is dreaded, dare not go forth, and as there is then no liberty, the Prophet, in order to intimate that the Jews would be in a tranquil state, says, There shall again be in this place the habitation of sheepherds, who will make their sheep, or their flock, to lie down
We now perceive the design of the Prophet; for one not sufficiently acquainted with Scripture might raise a question, Is this promise to be confined to shepherds and herdsmen? But, as I have already intimated, the answer is obvious, -- The promise is general, but expressed in this way, -- that God would be the guardian of his people, so that shepherds would drive here and there their flocks, and herdsmen their cattle, in perfect safety, and without any fear of danger.
And in the next verse Jeremiah confirms the same thing, where he mentions, as before, the cities of the mountains, and the cities of the plains, and then the cities of the south, and adds also the land of Benjamin, which was a different part of the country, and he mentions generally the circuits of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah What then? The flocks, he says, shall pass under the hands of a numberer Here, again, is set forth a greater security, because shepherds would not, as it were, by stealth lead forth their sheep, and afterwards gather them in a hurry, as it is usually done, when there is any fear of danger. The sheep, he says, shall pass under the hands of a numberer This could not be the case but in time of perfect peace and quietness; for where there is fear, the shepherds can hardly dare send forth their flocks, and then they dare not number them, but shut them in; and they are also often compelled to drive their flocks into forests and desert places, in order to conceal them. When, therefore, Jeremiah mentions the numbering of them, he intimates that the whole country would be in a state of peace, as in other words, and without a figure, he presently will tell us. But the Prophet in this way exalted the benefits of God, and at the same time strengthened the minds of the weak, for as it has been said, this favor could have hardly been tasted by the Jews while in a state so despairing. The Prophet then made use of a homely and ordinary style when he spoke of flocks and herds. It now follows --