XXI An explication of the prophecy in the close of the last chapter, with directions to the prophet upon it, ver. 1-7. A prediction of the sword that was coming on the land, ver. 8-17. A prospect given of the king of Babylon's coming to Jerusalem, to which he was determined by divination, ver. 18-24. Sentence passed on Zedekiah, ver. 25-27. The destruction of the Ammonites, ver. 28-32.
Verse 2. The holy places - The temple and all parts of it.
Verse 3. The righteous - It is no unusual thing, that in publick calamities, those who are indeed righteous should be involved with others.
Verse 4. All flesh - All the Jews that dwell in the land.
Verse 5. Shall not return - It shall not return into the scabbard 'till it hath done full execution.
Verse 6. Sigh therefore - Thereby express deep sorrow. Breaking of thy loins - Like a woman in travail.
Verse 7. Because - The saddest news you ever heard is coming.
Verse 9. Furbished - Made clean and bright.
Verse 10. Of my son - To whom God saith, Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Psalm ii, 9. This sword is that rod of iron, which despiseth every tree, and will bear it down.
Verse 12. It - The devouring sword. Upon thy thigh - In token of thy sense of what they must suffer.
Verse 13. If - But if the king and kingdom of Judah despise this trial, both shall be destroyed and be no more.
Verse 14. And smite - In token of amazement and sorrow. Of the slain - Wherewith many shall be slain. Privy chambers - Where they were hidden in hope to escape.
Verse 15. All their gates - Both of cities, of palaces, and of private houses. Wrapt up - And hath been carefully kept in the scabbard, that it might not be blunted.
Verse 16. Go - O sword, take thy own course.
Verse 17. Smite my hands - In token of my approbation.
Verse 19. Appoint - Paint, or describe them on a tile. One land - That is, Babylon. Chuse - Pitch on some convenient place, where thou mayest place Nebuchadnezzar's army, consulting where this one way divides into two, which was on the edge of the desert of Arabia. At the head - Where each way runs, toward either Rabbath, or Jerusalem; for there Nebuchadnezzar will cast lots.
Verse 20. To Judah - The Jews.
Verse 21. Stood - The prophet speaks of what shall be, as if it were already. To use - To consult with his gods, and to cast lots. Arrows - Writing on them the names of the cities, then putting them into a quiver, and thence drawing them out and concluding, according to the name which was drawn. He consulted - Perhaps by a divine permission, the devil gave them answers from those images. In the liver - They judged of future events, by the entrails, and more especially by the liver. 22. The divination - The divination which concerned Jerusalem, was managed on his right hand.
Verse 23. Them - The Jews. That have sworn - Zedekiah, his princes, and nobles, who swore allegiance to the king of Babylon, these perjured persons will contemn all predictions of the prophet. He - Nebuchadnezzar. The iniquity - The wickedness of their perjury and rebellion. They - Zedekiah, and the Jews with him
Verse 24. Your transgressions - Against God, and against the king of Babylon. Discovered - To all in court, city, and country. With the hand - As birds, or beasts in the net, are taken with the hands, so shall you, and be carried into Babylon.
Verse 25. And thou - Zedekiah. Whose day - The day of sorrows, and sufferings, and punishment is at hand. Shall have an end - Shall bring the ruin of king and kingdom, and with the overthrow of your state, the means of sinning shall end too.
Verse 26. The diadem - The royal attire of the head, which the king daily wore. Shall not be the same - The kingdom shall never be what it hath been. Him that is low - Jeconiah. The advance of this captive king, came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of his captivity.
Verse 27. Shall be no more - Never recover its former glory, 'till the scepter be quite taken away from Judah, and way be made for the Messiah. He hath an incontestable right to the dominion both in the church and in the world. And in due time he shall have the possession of it, all adverse power being overturned.
Verse 28. Their reproach - Wherewith they reproached Israel in the day of Israel's afflictions.
Verse 29. While - While thy astrologers, and soothsayers, deceive thee with fair, but false divinations. To bring thee - To bring thee under the sword of the Chaldeans, and destroy thee as the Jews; to make thee stumble and fall on their necks, as men that fall among a multitude of slain.
Verse 30. Shall I cause it - God will by no means suffer the sword to be sheathed. Judge thee - Condemn, and execute.
Verse 31. I will blow - As those who melt down metals blow upon the metal in the fire, that the fire may burn the fiercer.