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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 47:5

5. Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?

5. Venit calvitium super Gazam, destructa est Asealon, reliquiae vailis ipsorum (vel, profunditatis, potius, ut mihi videtur,) quousque laniabis te?

The Prophet returns again to what is figurative, that he might more fully illustrate his prophecy, and more powerfully move the Jews. Now by baldness he points out a sign of mourning; for they were wont even to tear their faces with their nails, and to pluck off their hair. He then says that baldness, or the loss of hair, had come upon Gaza; because the inhabitants of the valley and of the whole land, according to what was usually done in despair, would pluck off their own hair. It is added, Destroyed is Ashkelon This city, we know, had a great name in the land of the Philistines, and was nigh Gaza, as it appears from many parts of Scripture. he mentions the remnants of their valley, or depth, for the word is mq, omek: and though it means a valley, yet the Prophet, no doubt, alludes to the situation of that part, because they were hid, as it were, in a safe place, and they thought themselves secure as those who are hid in caverns, to which an access is not easy; and then Tyre and Sidon, as well as Gaza, were cities on the sea side. As then they dwelt in these deep and hidden places, they thought, themselves far away from every danger and trouble. The Prophet derides this confidence, and says that the remnants of their valley should perish; as though he had said, that there would be no place so deep and hidden where God's vengeance would not penetrate.

He at length addresses the whole country, How long wilt thou tear thyself? By tearing he means, no doubt, mourning or lamentation; for they would tear their faces, as it has been said, with their nails, as in the greatest grief. The meaning is, that there would be no end to their calamities, because the Palestines would mourn perpetually: for otherwise they who are even most grievously afflicted do not perpetually mourn, for time alleviates grief and sorrow. The Prophet then shews that so dreadful would be God's vengeance, that evils would be heaped on evils, and thus renewed daily to the Palestines would be the cause of mourning. He afterwards adds, --

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