The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. God's dealings with the Jews, and their reprobation.
 Open thy gates, O Libanus, and let fire devour thy cedars.
 Howl, thou fir tree, for the cedar is fallen, for the mighty are laid waste: howl, ye oaks of Basan, because the fenced forest is cut down.
 The voice of the howling of the shepherds, because their glory is laid waste: the voice of the roaring of the lions, because the pride of the Jordan is spoiled.
 Thus saith the Lord my God: Feed the flock of the slaughter,
 Which they that possessed, slew, and repented not, and they sold them, saying: Blessed be the Lord, we are become rich: and their shepherds spared them not.
 O Libanus: So Jerusalem, and more particularly the temple, is called by the prophets, from its height, and from its being built of the cedars of Libanus.-- Ibid.
 Thy cedars: Thy princes and chief men.
 And I will no more spare the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: behold I will deliver the men, every one into his neighbour' s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall destroy the land, and I will not deliver it out of their hand.
 And I will feed the flock of slaughter for this, O ye poor of the flock. And I took unto me two rods, one I called Beauty, and the other I called a Cord, and I fed the flock.
 And I cut off three shepherds in one month, and my soul was straitened in their regard: for their soul also varied in my regard.
 And I said: I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die: and that which is cut off, let it be cut off: and let the rest devour every one the flesh of his neighbour.
 And I took my rod that was called Beauty, and I cut it asunder to make void my covenant, which I had made with all people.
 Every one into his neighbour's hand: This alludes to the last siege of Jerusalem, in which the different factions of the Jews destroyed one another; and they that remained fell into the hands of their king, that is, of the Roman emperor, of whom they had said, John 19. 15, we have no king but Caesar.
 Two rods: Or shepherd's staves, meaning the different ways of God's dealing with his people; the one, by sweet means, called the rod of Beauty: the other, by bands and punishments, called the Cord. And where both these rods are made of no use or effect by the obstinacy of sinners, the rods are broken, and such sinners are given up to a reprobate sense, as the Jews were.
 Three shepherds in one month: That is, in a very short time. By these three shepherds probably are meant the latter princes and high priests of the Jews, whose reign was short.
 And it was made void in that day: and so the poor of the flock that keep for me, understood that it is the word of the Lord.
 And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
 And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary.
 And I cut off my second rod that was called a Cord, that I might break the brotherhood between Juda and Israel.
 And the Lord said to me: Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.
 The statuary: The Hebrew word signifies also a potter.
 A foolish shepherd: This was to represent the foolish, that is, the wicked princes and priests that should rule the people, before their utter desolation.
 For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs.
 O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.