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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 21:13

 

 

"Behold, I am against you, O valley dweller, O rocky plain," declares the LORD, "You men who say, `Who will come down against us? Or who will enter into our habitations?'

Adam Clarke Commentary

O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain - Dr. Blayney translates: "O thou inhabitant of the levelled hollow of a rock." With all his explanation I cannot see the good sense of this translation. Jerusalem itself, though partly on two hills, was also extended in the valley; and Zion, the city of David, was properly a rock, strongly fortified both by nature and art; and by its ancient possessors, the Jebusites, was deemed impregnable.

Who shall come down against us? - Probably the words of those courtiers who had persuaded Zedekiah to rebel against the king of Babylon.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-21.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Inhabitant - is feminine, the population of Jerusalem being always personified as a woman, the daughter of Zion. Omit and. Jerusalem is at once a valley and a rock Jeremiah 17:3. The people are described as priding themselves on the impregnability of their city.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-21.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold, I am against thee,.... Or, "behold, I unto thee"F19הנני אליך "ecce ego ad te", Munster, Montanus. ; to be supplied either thus, "behold, I say unto thee"F20"Ecce tibi dico", Strigelius; so Luther. ; what follows; and therefore take notice of it, attend unto it: or, "behold, I come unto thee"F21"Ecce ad te venio", Pagninus; so Kimchi. ; who bid defiance to all their enemies to come near them, as in the latter part of the verse. The Targum is,

"lo, I send my fury against thee;'

and the phrase denotes the Lord's opposition to them; his setting himself against them, and coming out unto them in his great wrath:

O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the Lord; a description of Jerusalem; between the lower and higher part of which lay a valley, called Tyropaeon, which divided the two hills, on which the city was builtF23Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 1. ; yea, the whole city was on high, on a rock, and around it a valley or plain; and because it was built upon a rock, and fortified with hills and mountains, the inhabitants of it thought themselves safe and secure, and even impregnable; hence it follows:

which say, who shall come down against us? who shall enter into our habitations? who of our neighbours dare to make a descent upon us? or are so weak and foolish as to attempt to break through our fortifications, natural and artificial, and enter into our houses, and take away our persons, and spoil us of our goods? we defy them.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-21.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Behold, I [am] against thee, g O inhabitant of the valley, [and] rock of the plain, saith the LORD; who say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?

(g) Meaning, Jerusalem which was built part on the hill and part in the valley and was compassed about with mountains.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-21.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain — Jerusalem personified; situated for the most part on hills, with valleys at the bottom of them, as the valley of Hinnom, etc.; and beyond the valleys and mountains again, a position most fortified by nature, whence the inhabitants fancied themselves beyond the reach of enemies; but since God is “against” them, their position will avail nothing for them. The “valley” between Mount Zion and Moriah is called Tyropoeon. Robinson takes, “rock of the plain” as Mount Zion, on which is a level tract of some extent. It is appropriately here referred to, being the site of the royal residence of the “house of David,” addressed (Jeremiah 21:12).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-21.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?

Of the valley — The inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem are here intended. Jerusalem itself was built in part upon the rocky mountain of Zion, but a great part was in the valley, and the higher mountains, about mount Zion, made that mountain itself, in comparison with them, as a valley.

The plain — Though also a rock of the plain, that is, near to the plain. Which situation of this place, made the Jews think it to be impregnable.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/jeremiah-21.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Though the whole nation was corrupt in the time of the Prophet, yet Jerusalem was the head and seat of all evils, especially as there was there more licentiousness; and then they thought that the Prophets had no liberty there, as though the citizens were, by a peculiar privilege, exempt from all reproof; and, lastly, the very situation of the city gave them courage, for when they regarded the height of their walls, their towers, and fortresses, they thought themselves beyond the reach of danger. Hence was the security which the Prophet now condemns; and, therefore, he calls it the inhabitant of the valley

Jerusalem, we know, was situated on small hills: the Mount Sion had two tops; and then there were hills contiguous, especially towards Lebanon; there was, however, a plain on every side. And then if we except Mount Sion, Jerusalem was in a valley; for it was surrounded, we know, by mountains. There were mountains around it, as it is said in Psalms 125:2. Now, its very situation gave confidence to the citizens, as access to it was difficult. They, therefore, thought that enemies could not come into that valley, which kept them inclosed, as in a fortified place. This is the reason why the Prophet called not the city by its own name, but said that it dwelt in the valley; and afterwards he called it a rock in the plain; for ישר, isher, is straight, and hence מישור, mishur, means a level ground. The whole region was then a continued plain as far as the mountains. Jerusalem itself had also, as we have said, its small hills; it was therefore, as it were, a rock in a Plain (29)

We now see for what purpose the Prophet used this circumlocution, even because the Jews gloried in the position of their city, as though it was impregnable; and also, because the vicinity of the mountains, as well as the plain, gave them great advantages. And we know how disposed men are to take to a false security when there is apparently no danger; but on the contrary, they think of various defences and aids from which they expect to derive help. It is, therefore, this false boasting that the Prophet condemns, when he calls Jerusalem the inhabitant of the valley, and then says, that it was a rock in the plain

What follows makes this more clear, Who say, Who shall come down against us? and, Who shall enter into our habitations? The verb יחת, ichet, some take in the sense of tearing, “Who shall make a breach on us?” They derive the word from חתת, chetat; but it is rather from נחת,nechat, to descend; for the first meaning would be too strained. The Prophet speaks according to the opinion of the people, who thought themselves sufficiently fortified against all the attacks of their enemies. It may have been, indeed, that they did not speak thus openly; but the Prophet had regard to the hidden thoughts of their hearts, when he ascribed to them this boasting, — that they dwelt in an impregnable place, as the access to it was formidable; for they spoke boldly, “Who shall descend to us? (30) who will enter our houses?” as though they had their nest in the clouds. They intimated that their state would be safe, because their enemies would not dare to come nigh them, or would be disgracefully repelled if they dared, as it would be enough for them to close their gates.

The Versions vary; that of Sept. is, “who inhabitest the valley of Sor, the plain;” the Vulg., “the inhabitress of the solid valley and of the plain;” the Syr., “who dwellest in valleys, who hast a large plain;” and the Targ., “who dwellest in strength, in fortified cities.” The nearest to the original is the Sept. version; which has been followed by Venema, who thought that there was a valley called Sor in Jerusalem, which, from its situation, was the most secure part of the city: hence the word “descend,” in the following sentence.

Blayney’s version is, “O thou inhabitant of the levelled hollow of a rock.” He considered that Mount Sion is meant, the residence of the house of David, and so called, because the top was levelled. Then he rendered the following sentence, “Who shall make a breach on us?” But the difficulty is to understand “the levelled hollow,” and how to make the original to bear such a rendering. Doubtless, the version of Calvin or that of Venema, which is not very different, is the best. — Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-21.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 21:13 Behold, I [am] against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, [and] rock of the plain, saith the LORD which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?

Ver. 13. Behold, I am against thee.] I, who alone am a whole army of men, van and rear both, [Isaiah 52:12] and may better say than any other, how many reckon you me at?

O inhabitant of the valley,] i.e., Of Jerusalem, called elsewhere the valley of vision. It stood high, but yet was compassed about with mountains that were higher. [Psalms 125:2]

And rock of the plain.] The bulwark and beauty of the whole adjacent country. Pliny saith that it was the most famous of all the cities of the east; he might have said of the whole world, if he had known all.

Which say, Who shall come down against us? or who, &c.] This they said out of carnal confidence in the natural strength of the place, increased by their fortifications. The Jebusites had done so, [2 Samuel 5:6] and were unroosted. Security ushereth in destruction.

Who shall enter into our habitations?] Which we hold impregnable. Such like vaunts precede and presage ruin. See Jeremiah 49:16, Obadiah 1:3.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-21.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 21:13. Behold, I am against thee Behold, I am against thee, who sittest in the valley of Segor, in the midst of the plain: Houbigant; who thinks that Jerusalem is here meant, which, like another Segor, was to be utterly destroyed. See his note. Bishop Newton remarks, that the Jews confided in the strength and situation of Jerusalem, as the Jebusites had done before them: yet how many times, says he, was Jerusalem taken, though it was a very strong place, and wonderfully fortified both by nature and art! It was taken by Shishak king of Egypt, by Nebuchadnezzar, by Antiochus Epiphanes, by Pompey, by Socius, and Herod, before its final destruction by Titus. See Prophesies, vol. 2: p. 120.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, When the danger is distant, many affect to despise it who tremble at its approach, and instantly fly to those ministers in their distress, whose warnings in their prosperity they disregarded.

1. Zedekiah is no sooner besieged by the Chaldeans, than he sends to consult with Jeremiah, under whose predictions he had refused to humble himself, 2 Chronicles 36:12 and by the most honourable messengers intreats him to inquire of the Lord for them, to rid them of their enemies, and raise the siege; thus magnifying his mercy, and adding to his former wondrous works, manifested to Hezekiah in the like distress, 2 Chronicles 32:20-21. Note; (1.) Many in trouble are willing enough to cry to God to ease them of their sufferings, who express little concern about their sins. (2.) They who have scorned the prayers of good men, will be glad of an interest in them in the day of evil. (3.) The gracious interpositions of God in behalf of the penitent and pious, are no precedents to embolden the hope of the unhumbled.

2. A tremendous answer is given to the inquiry from Israel's God, who, though he disclaimed not the relation, and still had mercy in store for the nation, had decreed to give up the men of that wicked generation to deserved punishment. Therefore he informs them, that all their efforts against their enemies would prove unsuccessful, and their city be taken by the Chaldeans: that resistance was vain, since God was their enemy, whose wrath burned like fire against them, and whose outstretched arm would destroy them with a terrible destruction. The famine, pestilence, and sword should consume them; and when at last the case proved desperate, and the few that remained with their king attempted to save themselves, they should be seized and massacred without remorse and pity, by their cruel enemies who sought their life, and, having taken the city by storm, would glut their bloody revenge for their resistance. Note; They who fight against God, rush on their own ruin; and there is no escape when the decree is gone forth; flight is then as fruitless as resistance.

2nd, The messengers being dismissed with this rough reply, the prophet is sent to the people,

1. To admonish them of the only way that remained of saving their lives, by surrendering themselves up to the Chaldeans, as inevitable ruin would be the consequence of persisting to defend themselves; God's wrath being upon the city, the devouring fire ready to seize its palaces, and whoever abode in it being doomed to perish by the sword, the famine, or the pestilence. A dreadful alternative! either an ignominious slavery, or a miserable death.

2. To warn their king and princes, and call them to repentance at the peril of their souls. In vain they boasted their descent from the house of David, who were so degenerate from the piety of their fathers: they should, as his successors, discharge the duties of their high station; execute judgment in the morning, speedily, not spending their days in sloth and luxury; and deliver the spoiled from the hand of the oppressor, against whom he cried for justice: this they had grievously neglected, and therefore God was about to visit them; nor should their greatness be any protection from the fire of his wrath. One moment's respite is yet afforded them, one warning more given them, in the hope that by an immediate return they may suspend, if not avert, the descending blow. Note; (1.) They who are entrusted with the administration of justice should be speedy as well as impartial in their decisions: the delays of justice are almost as intolerable as oppression. (2.) Faithful prophets will not fear great men's faces, but plainly rebuke their sins. (3.) The sins of rulers will be most severely brought to account, as their influence and example are most pernicious.

3. To confound the folly of the hopes which they entertained. They thought their city by situation, as well as art, impregnable; fortified by surrounding hills and craggy rocks, which rendered the approach of an enemy difficult; and therefore with confidence of safety they defied all invaders; Who shall come down against us, or who shall enter into our habitations? but what defence is available when God saith, Behold, I am against thee, since his vengeance awoke to punish them according to the fruit of their doings, their munition of rocks is levelled to the ground. In righteous judgment, the fire is kindled; and Jerusalem with all her palaces, like a forest, perishes in the flames. Woe to the sinner against whom this devouring fire of wrath is stirred up! who can dwell in everlasting burnings?


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-21.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Inhabitant of the valley; the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem are those here intended, Psalms 125:2. The mountains were round about Jerusalem, yea, Jerusalem itself was builded in part upon the rocky mountain of Zion; but a great part was in the valley, and the higher mountains about Mount Zion made that mountain itself, in comparison with them, as a valley.

And rock of the plain; though also a rock of the plain, that is, near to the plain. Which situation of this place made the Jews think it to be impregnable, and to mock at dangers, or threats of enemies, saying,

Who shall, that is, Who can or who will, dare to come against us? or, Who will be able to enter into our city? Saith the Lord, I am against you; I will come down against you, and I, by such as I shall employ, will enter into your habitations. No natural position or situation of places, no artificial fortifications, are sufficient against an almighty God.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-21.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13. O inhabitant of the valley — Jerusalem, which is literally a rock in a “valley.” The ravines of Hinnom and Kidron, and the high mountains round about, especially Olivet and Mizpah, justify this description, while at the same time it is still the rock of the plain, Zion being the bold and abrupt southern termination of the tableland which stretches far northward. The two expressions mark the strength of the position — a rocky fortress surrounded on three sides by ravines.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-21.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Yahweh was against the people who lived in Jerusalem. Jerusalem stood enthroned on a hilltop, with valleys on three of its sides (cf. Psalm 125:2; Isaiah 22:1). It stood on a rocky plateau of sorts. Jerusalem"s physical location had led its inhabitants to feel secure.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-21.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Valley. He speaks to Jerusalem, confiding in the strength of her situation, upon rocks, surrounded with a deep valley. (Challoner) --- Literally, "valley, solid and in a plain." (Haydock) --- Isaias (xxii. 1.) styles it ironically, "the valley of vision." (Calmet) --- Jerusalem was situated on many rocks. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 6.)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-21.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

inhabitant = inhabitress: i.e. Zion.

rock of the plain. Figure of speech Periphrasis, for Zion.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-21.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?

O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain - Jerusalem personified: situated for the most part on hills, with valleys at the bottom of them, as the valley of Hinnom, etc.; and, beyond the valleys, mountains again-a position most fortified by nature, whence the inhabitants fancied themselves beyond the reach of enemies; but since God is "against" them, their position will avail nothing for them. The "valley" between mount Zion and Moriah is called Tyropoeon, 'the valley of the cheese-makers.' Robinson takes "rock of the plain" as mount Zion, on which is a level tract of some extent. It is appropriately here referred to, being the site of the royal residence of the "house of David," addressed Jeremiah 21:12.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-21.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) O inhabitant of the valley . . .—The noun, as the marginal “inhabitress” shows, is feminine; and, as in “the daughter of Zion” for Zion itself, describes the lower city of Jerusalem, Isaiah’s “valley of vision” (Isaiah 22:1; Isaiah 22:5), the Tyropœon of Josephus. The “rock of the plain” (comp. Notes on Jeremiah 17:3; Jeremiah 18:14) is, in like manner, the higher city built on the hill of Zion. The king and his people trusted, as the Jebusites had done of old (2 Samuel 5:8), in what seemed to them the impregnable strength of their natural position. There seems no adequate reason for taking the words as symbolising the kingly house of Judah, but it is probable enough that local associations, palaces on the hill or in the valley, may have given the words a specially pointed application.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-21.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?
I am
5; 23:30-32; 50:31; 51:25; Exodus 13:8,20
inhabitant
Heb. inhabitress. of the valley.
Psalms 125:2; Isaiah 22:1
Who
7:4; 49:4,5,16; 2 Samuel 5:6,7; Lamentations 4:12; Obadiah 1:3,4; Micah 3:11

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 21:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-21.html.

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