Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard
The prophet was sent, not to different nations, of different languages; but to one nation of the same language; indeed several of his prophecies concern other nations, as the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Tyrians, Philistines, Egyptians, and Assyrians; but then these had a relation to the, people of Israel, and were chiefly on their account; and therefore he was not sent to those nations to deliver his prophecies unto them, but to the people of Israel only; and so had no difficulty on his part concerning their language, which he would have had, had he been sent to the barbarous nations; whose words, thou canst not understand:
the prophet being, only used to the language of the Jews and not having the gift of speaking with and understanding divers tongues; as the apostles of Christ had, when they were sent to many people of different languages, and which is here tacitly intimates: surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee;
which is an aggravation of the obstinacy and disobedience of the people of Israel; that had the barbarous nations been favoured with the same means of instruction they were they would have been obedient; see ( Matthew 11:21 Matthew 11:23 ) ; for though they could not understand the prophet's language, nor he theirs; yet, as Kimchi observes, they would have sought for an interpreter to have explained the prophecy to them. The thing is very strongly affirmed, "surely", verily, (tmab) , "of a truth"; as the same Jewish writer interprets (al Ma) ; and both he and Jarchi take it to be the form of an oath. Some render the words, "if I had not sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee" F9; and the sense is, either that if the Lord had not sent him to the Israelites, but to the peopled a strange speech, they, the people, would have hearkened to him: or, if the Lord had not sent the prophet, but he had gone of himself, as the false prophets in their own name, the Israelites would have hearkened to him; such was their perverseness and rebellion: others render the words, "if not", or had it not been for their strange speech and hard language, "I would have sent thee to them" F11, the barbarous nation, and "they would have hearkened unto thee"; but the first sense seems best; which is confirmed by the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and the Oriental versions.