A wild ass used to the wilderness
That is, one that has been brought up in the wilderness, and has been accustomed to live, and run, and range about there; as men in general are compared to this creature for its ignorance, stupidity, folly, stubbornness, and unteachableness, ( Job 11:12 ) , so the Jewish people are represented as like unto it, for its wantonness and lust: that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure;
draws it in at her nostrils, and snuffs it up; or opens her mouth, and takes it in with her breath; drinks it in, and swallows it up at her pleasure: or, "with the desire of her soul" F3; it being grateful and delightful to her. Some read this clause in connection with (htnat) , rendered "in her occasion"; and differently translate it. The Targum takes it to have the signification of (Mynt) , "dragons"; or whales; and renders it,
``drinking the wind as a dragon;''
and so Jarchi, who compares it with ( Jeremiah 14:6
) "they snuffed up the wind like dragons"; and so the Syriac version, "thou hast drawn up the wind like a wild dog"; others render it, "gathering the wind of her occasion"; or, "of her meeting" F4
; taking it in, and snuffing it up, as she occasionally met with it in running. The Vulgate Latin version is, "she drew the wind of her love"; it is reported of the wild ass, that it can smell its mate afar off, and, by the wind it snuffs, knows where it is; for which purpose it runs up the hills and mountains to get the scent, which, when it has, its lust is so violent that there is no stopping of it till it comes to the place where its mate is: wherefore it follows, in her occasion who can turn her away
when this violent fit is upon her, there is no turning her away from pursuing the enjoyment of it; which is expressive of the eager desire of the Jews after the worshipping of idols, how bent upon it, and not to be reclaimed from it: all they that seek her will not weary themselves
knowing that they can not overtake her, or stop her in her career, or hinder her gratification of her lust. This may be understood either of those who sought to commit spiritual adultery or idolatry with the Jews, they need not weary themselves, being easy to be found by them; or of the prophets that sought to reclaim them, who, perceiving how stubborn, and untractable, and irreclaimable they were, would not weary themselves with their admonitions and reproofs, seeing they were in vain: in her month they shall find her
not that this creature sleeps one whole month in a year, as Jarchi dreams, when it may be easily taken; but the sense is, that when it is with young, and in the last month, and so is heavy with its burden, it may easily be found and taken; so when the people of Israel should have filled up the measure of their iniquity, and the judgment of God was fallen and lay heavy upon them; then those that sought to return them from their evil ways might find them, and hope to succeed in reclaiming them, and bringing them to repentance; agreeably the Septuagint render it, "in her humiliation"; when chastised and humbled by the Lord for her sins. This is not to be understood of the month of Ab, in which Jerusalem was destroyed, both by Nebuchadnezzar and Titus; in which month the Jews are sure to be found confessing their sins, and humbling themselves, as Kimchi, Abarbinel, and Ben Melech interpret it; nor of the new moon, as others; at everyone of which, those who sought to join with them in idolatrous practices might be sure to find them at them.
F3 (wvpn twab) "in, [vel] pro desiderio animae suae", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Vatablus, Schmidt.
F4 (htnat xwr) "ventum occasionis suae", Pagninus Montanus; "veatum occursus sui", Calvin.