And a man's uncle shall take him up
That is, his father's brother, as Kimchi; or his near kinsman, as the Targum; to whom the right of inheritance belongs, and also the care of his funeral; he shall take up the dead man himself, in order to inter him, there being none to employ in such service; the mortality being so universal, either through the pestilence raging everywhere, or through the earthquake, men being killed by the fall of houses upon them; which Aben Ezra takes to be the case here; see ( Amos 6:11 ) ( 1:1 ) ( 3:13 ) ; and he that burneth him;
which may be read disjunctively, "or he that burneth him" F5; his mother's brother, according to Judah ben Karis in Aben Ezra; for which there seems to be no foundation. The Targum renders it in connection with the preceding clause,
``shall take him up from burning;''and so Jarchi interprets of a man's being found, and taken up in a house, burnt by the enemy at the taking of the city: but it is best to understand it of one whose business it was to burn the dead; which, though not commonly used among the Jews, sometimes was, ( 1 Samuel 31:12 ) ; and so should be at this time, partly because of the infection, and to stop the contagion; and chiefly because a single man could not well carry whole bodies to the grave, to bury them; and therefore first burnt their flesh, and then buried their bones, as follows: to bring out the bones out of the house;
in order to bury them: and shall say unto him that [is] by the sides of the house;
or "in the corner of it" F6, as the Targum; either the uncle shall say to the burner, that is searching the house for the dead; or the uncle and burner, being one and the same person, shall say to the only surviving one of the ten, that is got into some corner of the house through fear or melancholy, under such a sad calamity, [is there] yet [any] with thee?
any dead corpse to be brought out and burned and buried? and he shall say, no;
there are no more: or "[there is] an end" of them all F7; the last has been brought out: or, as the Targum,
``they are perished;''they are all dead, and carried out: then shall he say, hold thy tongue;
lest the neighbours should hear, and be discouraged at the number of the dead in one house; or say not one word against the providence of God, nor murmur and repine at his hand, since it is just and righteous: for we may not make mention of the name of the Lord;
being forbid by their superiors; or it is not right to do it by way of complaint, since our sins have deserved such judgments to come upon us; or it will be to no purpose to make mention of the name of the Lord, and pray unto him to turn away his hand, since destruction is determined, the decree is gone forth. The Targum is,
``he shall say, remove (that is, the dead), since while they lived they did not pray in the name of the Lord.''And so the Syriac and Arabic versions make this to be the reason of the mortality, "because they remembered not the name of the Lord"; or, "called not upon" it.
F5 (wpromw) "aut vespillo", Tigurine version; "aut ustor ejus", Junius & Tremellius.
F6 (ytkryb) "in penitissimis domus", Cocceius.
F7 (opa) "finis est", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Calvin, Drusius.