Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far
From Babylon, as in ( Jeremiah 4:16 ) : O house of Israel, saith the Lord;
though the house of Israel is generally taken for the ten tribes, especially when distinguished from the house of Judah; yet here it seems to design the Jews, the posterity of Jacob, or Israel in the land of Judea; for Israel, or the ten tribes, were carried captive into Assyria before this time: it is a mighty nation;
strong and powerful; so mighty that they would not be able to oppose them, and stand before them: "it is an ancient nation"; the Babylonish monarchy was the most ancient; it began in the times of Nimrod, ( Genesis 10:10 ) and therefore must be a nation of great power and experience that had so long subsisted, and consequently must be formidable to others: a nation whose language thou knowest not;
which was the Syriac language: this, it is plain, was not known by the common people among the Jews in Hezekiah's time, though some of the chief men understood it; wherefore Rabshakeh, the king of Assyria's general, would not deliver his railing speech in the Syriac language, which only the princes understood; but in the Hebrew language, the language of the common people, ( 2 Kings 18:26 2 Kings 18:28 ) , though, after the captivity, this language was understood by the Jews, and was commonly spoken by them, as it was in our Lord's time: neither understandest what they say;
so would be barbarians to each other; nor could they expect any mercy from them, or that quarters would be given them, when their petitions for favour and life could not be understood.