And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone
for all people
The Targum renders it "a stone of offence"; at which they shall stumble and fall; but it seems to design the immovableness of the state and condition of Jerusalem, that those who attempt to remove her out of her place, or to make any alteration in her happy circumstances, will not be able to do it, ( Psalms 125:1 ) . Jerom makes mention of a custom in the cities of Palestine, and which continued to his times throughout all Judea, that large, huge, round stones, used to be placed in the towns and villages, which the youths exercised themselves with, by trying to lift them up as high as they could, by which they showed their strength; and the same ancient writer observes that a like custom obtained in Greece; for he says he himself saw in the tower at Athens, by the image of Minerva, a globe of brass, of at very great weight, which he, through the weakness of his body, could not move; and asking the meaning of it, he was told that the strength of wrestlers was tried by it; and no man might be admitted a combatant, until it was known, by the lifting up of that weight, with whom he should be matched; and the throwing of the "discus" was an ancient military exercise, as old as the times of Homer, who speaks F26 of it; and is mentioned by Latin writers, as appears from some lines of Martial F1; see the Apocrypha:
``In like manner also Judas gathered together all those things that were lost by reason of the war we had, and they remain with us,'' (2 Maccabees 2:14)and this, as it tried the strength of men, so it was sometimes dangerous to themselves, or to bystanders, lest it should fall upon their heads: and as it was usual to defend themselves and oppress enemies by casting stones at them, so young men used to exercise themselves by lifting up and casting large stones; to which Virgil F2 sometimes refers; and it is well known that Abimelech was killed even by a woman casting a piece of a millstone upon his head, ( Judges 9:53 ) and such heavy stones, and the lifting of them up, in order to cast them, may he alluded to here: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces;
all that attempt to unsettle and remove it shall be pressed down with the weight of it, and be utterly destroyed: or, "shall be torn to pieces" F3; as men's hands are cut and torn with rough and heavy stones, The Targum is,
``all that injure her shall be consumed;''which gives the sense of the passage: though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it;
so safe and secure will the people of God be; he being a wall of fire round about them, and the glory in the midst of them.
F26 Iliad. 2. & 23.
F1 "Splendida cum volitent Spartani pondera disci Este procul pueri; sit se nel ille nocens." ---Epigr. l. 14. Ep. 157.
F2 "Certabant Troes contra defendere saxis." ---Aeneid. l. 9. "Mijaculis, illi certent defendere saxis." --Aeneid. l. 10. --Vid. Lydium de Re Militari, l. 5. c. 2. p. 178, 179. & Menochium de Republica Hebr. l. 6. col. 555, 556.
F3 (wjrvy jwrv) "incidendo incidentur", Montanus, Burkius; "lacerando lacerabuntur", Pagninus, Cocceius.