Go up into Gilead
Still the irony or sarcasm is continued Gilead was a place in the land of Israel famous for balm or balsam, used in curing wounds; see ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) ; hence it follows: and take balm, O virgin, daughter of Egypt;
the kingdom of Egypt, as the Targum; so called because of its glory and excellency; and because as yet it had not been conquered and brought under the power of another: now the inhabitants of it are bid to take balm or balsam, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; but this grew not in Gilead beyond Jordan, but near Jericho on this side Jordan, as Bochart F26 has proved from various authors; particularly Strabo F1 says of Jericho, that there is the paradise of balsam, an aromatic plant, and of great esteem; for there only it is produced: and so Diodorus Siculus F2, speaking of places near Jericho, says, about these places, in a certain valley, grows what is called balsam, from which much profit arises; nor is the plant to be found in any other part of the world: and Justin F3 observes the same; that much riches accrue to the nation from the tax on balsam, which is only produced in this country, in Jericho, and the valley near it; yea, Kimchi himself elsewhere F4 says, that the balsam is not any where in the whole world but in Jericho. The word therefore should be rendered rosin, as also in ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) ; as it is by some F5; and which is used in cleansing, healing, and contracting wounds, and dispersing humours, as Pliny F6 relates; and this here is ordered to be taken, either literally, to cure the vast number of their wounded by the Chaldeans; or rather, figuratively, they are called upon to make use of all means to recover their loss sustained; by recruiting their army, fortifying their cities, and getting fresh allies and auxiliaries; all which would yet be to no purpose: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; [for] thou shall not be cured;
notwithstanding all means made use of to repair its losses; though it should not utterly be destroyed yet should never recover its former glory.
F26 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 51. col. 628, 629.
F1 Geograph. l. 16. p. 525.
F2 Bibliothec. l. 19. p. 734.
F3 E Trogo, l. 36. c. 3.
F4 Comment in 2 Kings xx. 13. So R. Levi Ben Gersom in ib.
F5 (yru yxq) "tolle resinam", Montanus, Munster, Calvin, Grotius.
F6 Nat. Hist. l. 24. c. 6.