Thus saith the Lord, a voice was heard in Ramah
Which signifies a high place; hence the Targum paraphrases it,
``in the high place of the world;''and so the Vulgate Latin version,
``in a high place;''but it is here the proper name of a place, of a city in the tribe of Benjamin, ( Joshua 18:25 ) ; and this voice heard was not a voice of joy and gladness as before, but of lamentation [and] bitter weeping;
signifying great sorrow and distress upon some very extraordinary occasion; and is as follows: Rachel weeping for her children;
not really and in person, but by a figurative way of speaking. Rachel is introduced as representing the Jewish women in those parts mourning for their slaughtered infants, even those that were slaughtered some time after the birth of Christ; for to this barbarous fact are the words applied by the Evangelist Matthew, as a fulfilment of them, ( Matthew 2:16-18 ) ; and with great propriety and pertinence is Rachel brought in as the chief, yea, sole mourner, representing all the sorrowful mothers; since Ramah was in the tribe of Benjamin, a child of hers, as far as which, it seems, the bloody massacre referred to reached, from Bethlehem, where it began; and since Rachel's grave was between these two places, ( Genesis 35:18 Genesis 35:19 ) ; she is represented as rising out of her grave to act this part; or it signifies, that could she have been sensible of this inhuman affair, and could have come out of her grave, she would have done what she is here represented to do; and the rather is she mentioned, since she was so affectionately fond and desirous of children, ( Genesis 30:1 ) ; refused to be comforted for her children;
by any of her friends, the loss was so great, the affliction so heavy: because they [were] not;
or, "because he was not" F17; the Messiah was not, but was slain among the rest of the children, as the Jewish mothers, whom Rachel represented, imagined; and this heightened their distress, and filled them with more grief and trouble than the loss of their own children: but as Matthew has the plural number, the Targum, and all the Oriental versions, it is best to understand it of the children who "were not"; that is, they were dead; they were not in the land of the living, as this phrase is used in ( Genesis 37:30 ) ( Genesis 42:13 Genesis 42:36 ) ; which shows that this is not to be understood of the Babylonish captivity, and of the mourning of the Jewish women on that account; since the cause of this was death, and not captivity; besides, mourning for so general a calamity as captivity would not have been confined to mothers, and to some only, and to one particular place; though so the Jewish writers interpret it; and the Targum, which is,
``a voice was heard in the high place of the world, the house of Israel weeping and mourning after Jeremiah the prophet, whom Nabuzaradan the chief of those that slew, sent from Ramah; lamentation and weeping with bitterness, Jerusalem weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were gone into captivity.''
F17 (wnnya yk) "quia non ipse", Vatablus; "vel non ille" i.e. "non sit ullus", Schmidt.