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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 15:8

8. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.

8. Multiplicatae sunt mihi viduae ejus supra arenam maris, (prae arena maris;) immisi illis (venire feci illis) super matrem juvenis (id est, super turmam, vel, multitudinem juvenum) vastatorem in meridie; et projeci (cadere feci, ad verbum) super ipsam repente tumultum et terrores, (quanquam de his vocibus postea erit aliquid dicendum.)

He says first, Multiplied have been his widows; because the men had been almost all kined, in battle. If the Prophet is the speaker, the particle ly li, is redundant, but if the words be referred to God, we know that the people were in such a way under the government of God that he calls the widows his, as he calls the children his who were born Israelites. But in this there is no great importance, only that if we consider God to be speaker the sense will be this, |Behold, it is by no means unknown to me how numerous his widows are: as then I am merciful I have not heedlessly and without reason suffered such slaughters among the people.| The Prophet intended to shew that so great was the obstinacy of the Jews that they struggled against all the judgments of God; and it is a proof of dreadful impiety when men rush on heedlessly and pay no attention to any punishments. And this is what the Prophet means when he says that the widows were multiplied. And he adds, More than the sand of the sea This was surely a strange thing; so many slaughters were presented to their view that their great perverseness might become more evident, and yet he says that they were not moved.

What follows must be applied to God, I have made to come to them, on the troop of youths, a waster This is an explanation of the former clause, as though he had said, |The reason why there are so many widows is, because God has destroyed all the men.| As the Jews might have ascribed this to their enemies, God declares that he was the author of all the slaughters which they had suffered. He then shews that these slaughters were not fortuitous as men suppose who think that fortune prevails mostly in war, for they do not ascribe so much to the wisdom and valor of men as to fortune, being ignorant of the Providence of God. Here then God shews that the whole of the flower of the people had been indeed cut off by the swords of enemies, but that the Chaldeans or the Assyrians had not come of their own accord, or by an impulse of their own, but by a hidden impulse, and that of God, who had resolved to punish that irreclaimable people. This then is the reason why God not only speaks of a waster, but also intimates that the enemies were impelled by his influence, and carried on the war as it were under his banner, authority, and guidance.

He says, at mid-day, even when the Jews might have exercised greater watchfulness. But he shews that he was against them, for they were not taken by the craft of their enemies, as had often been the case, nor were they surprised by secret designs, but their enemies attacked them openly and boldly, even at the time when many of their cities were fortified, and the people thought that they had sufficient defences. As the enemies then dared to assail them in the middle of the day, (for such is the meaning of the Hebrew word) and during the clearest light, it was certainly a fuller proof of God's vengeance; for under such a circumstance the contrivance and counsel of men were not so evident, but the hand of God, which he stretched forth from heaven as it were in an open and visible manner.

He afterwards adds, And I have cast, or caused to fall, upon them suddenly; some say, the city; others, the enemy; and yr oir, means a city, and sometimes an enemy; but another explanation seems more probable, that God had sent on them a tumult and terrors, for the word yr, oir, conms from the verb vr, our, which signifies to excite. It may therefore be taken for tumult, and this sense I prefer, for they who render the word city, are constrained to adopt a forced and far-fetched explanation, |To fall have I made suddenly the city,| that is, cities, |upon them.| There is first a change of number, and then, to fall have I made cities, that is, the ruins of cities, upon them, seems an unnatural phrase; but the sense would be most suitable were we to render the word tumult, for what immediately follows is, and terrors Some however render the word vhlvt, belut, adverbially suddenly, and consider that the same thing is said twice. He had said just before, |I have cast upon her suddenly;| but now he says, |hastenings.| Such is the version, but not suitable, for the two words yr oir, and vhlvt, belut, are joined together. I therefore give this simple explanation -- that the Jews were suddenly smitten with despair because they thought that their enemies were afar off, and that they had to apprehend no danger. Then it is, suddenly have I sent upon them a tumult and terrors He then adds --

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