And behold joy and gladness
As if it was a time of rejoicing, rather than of weeping and mourning; and as if they were at a festival, and in the greatest prosperity and liberty, and not besieged by a powerful army: slaying oxen, and killing sheep:
not for sacrifice, to make atonement for sin, as typical of the great sacrifice; but to eat, and that not as at ordinary meals, or merely for the support of life, but as at feasts, where, as there was great plenty, so luxury and intemperance were indulged; just as Belshazzar did, at the same time that Babylon was beset by the army of the Medes and Persians, ( Daniel 5:1 Daniel 5:30 ) so the Jews here, having taken the armour out of the treasury, and furnished the soldiers with them, and took care of provisions of bread and water, and having repaired and fortified the walls of the city, thought themselves secure, and gave up themselves to feasting, mirth, and pleasure: saying, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die;
which they said, not as believing their case to be desperate; that the next day, or in a few days, their city would be taken by the Assyrians, and they should be put to the sword, and therefore, since they had but a short life to live, they would live a merry one; but rather as not believing it, but scoffing at the prophet, and at the word of the Lord by him; as if they should say, the prophet says we shall die tomorrow, or we are in great danger of being suddenly destroyed; but let us not be dismayed at such words, and to show that we do not believe them, or if this is our case, let us take our fill of pleasure, while we may have it. This is the language of epicures, and of such that disbelieve the resurrection of the dead, and a future state, to whom the apostle applies the words in ( 1 Corinthians 15:32 ) .