8. Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was in taken in their pit.
8. Et posuerunt super eum gentes in circuitu, et regionibus, et expanderunt super ipsum rete suum: in fovea ipsarum captus est.
Since the word ntn, nethen, is often taken for |to utter a voice,| some explain this passage, that the nations came with great clamor against King Jehoiakim, as when an attack is made against a wild beast, the assailants mutually excite and encourage each other. They understand it, that such a clamor was raised on all sides that they rushed with one consent against King Jehoiakim. But since the same word means |to put,| it may, in my opinion, be properly applied to counsel, since they took counsel, that is, determined among themselves to take him captive. The passive sense does not suit at all. Now, then, we understand the Prophet's meaning when he says, that the Gentiles had resolved against him, that is, had conspired to take him. No doubt the Chaldaeans were assisted by all their neighbors. First, we know that the Jews were hated by other nations; then the audacity and rashness of this king provoked many to send for the Babylonians, and eagerly to assist them; and because they scarcely dared to engage in the war by themselves, they conspired against King Jehoiakim under the protection of others. Thus far concerning other nations, for this cannot, be meant of the Chaldaeans alone; because, although they had other tribes under their sway, yet that monarchy had devoured the Assyrians, whose people made a portion of the Chaldaean army. Then the Prophet speaks of a circuit, and says, that King Jehoiakim was shut in on all sides: hence this must be ascribed to the neighboring nations, who not only favored the Babylonians, but assisted them with troops and wealth, as is sufficiently gathered from other passages.
At length he says, they expanded their net, by which metaphor he means plans, desires, and efforts. For before the neighboring nations openly declared war against the Jews, there is no doubt that they took secret counsel as to the best way of attracting the Chaldaeans to their side, and of insinuating themselves by various arts, as if they were laying snares; although by the word net we may also understand whatsoever apparatus they used for destroying King Jehoiakim. In fine, he says that he was taken in the pit of the nations, that is, was oppressed as well by snares as by open violence. He uses the word pitfall, in accordance with the resemblance of the king to a lion; but there is nothing absurd in extending the phrase to any hostile violence by which Jehoiakim was oppressed. It follows --