Howl, O gate
Or gates of the cities of Palestine; the magistrates that sat there to execute judgment, or the people that passed through there; or because now obliged to open to their enemies; wherefore, instead of rejoicing, they are called to howling: cry, O city;
or cities, the several cities of the land, as well as their chief, because of the destruction coming upon them. The Targum is,
``howl over thy gates, and cry over thy cities;''or concerning them: thou, whole Palestina, [art] dissolved;
or "melted"; through fear of enemies coming upon them; or it may design the entire overthrow and dissolution of their state; for there shall come from the north a smoke;
a numerous army, raising a dust like smoke as they move along, and coming with great "swiftness", and very annoying. Some understand this of the Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar coming from Babylon, which lay north of Judea; so Aben Ezra; to which agrees ( Jeremiah 47:1 Jeremiah 47:2 ) but most interpret it of Hezekiah's army, which came from Judea: which, Kimchi says, lay north to the land of the Philistines. Cocceius is of opinion that the Roman army is here meant, which came from the north against Judea, called whole Palestine; which country came into the hands of the Jews after the taking of Tyre and Gaza by the Greeks, and therefore the sanhedrim, which sat in the gate, and the city of Jerusalem, are called upon to howl and cry. But the first of these senses seems best, since the utter destruction of Palestine was by the Chaldean army under Nebuchadnezzar; and so the prophecy from the time of Hezekiah, with which it begins, is carried on unto the entire dissolution of this country by the Babylonians. And none [shall be] alone in his appointed times;
when the times appointed are come, for the gathering, mustering, and marching of the army, whether Hezekiah's or the Chaldean, none shall stay at home; all will voluntarily and cheerfully flock unto it, and enlist themselves; nor will they separate or stray from it, but march on unanimously, and courageously engage the enemy, till the victory is obtained. Aben Ezra understands this of the Philistines, that they should not be able to abide alone in their palaces and houses, because of the smoke that should come in unto them.