Son of man, set thy force toward the south
The land of Judea, which lay south of Babylon, where the prophet now was, as Babylon lay north of that, ( Jeremiah 1:14 ) ( 4:6 ) to set his face was to speak freely and boldly, with courage and constancy, and without fear and dread, to the inhabitants of it; and as a token of the Lord's face being set against them for their sins. The Targum is,
``take a prophecy towards the way of the south.''And drop thy word toward the south;
or prophesy, as the Targum; doctrine or prophecy being compared to rain, and the delivery of it to the dropping or distilling of rain; which falls gently, gradually, successively, and oftentimes with weight, and to good purpose; see ( Deuteronomy 32:2 ) , which metaphorical phrase is explained in the next clause: and prophesy against the forest of the south field;
the city of Jerusalem, in the land of Judea, which was very full of people, as a forest of trees; but these barren and unfruitful, as the trees of the wood generally are; and a rendezvous of wicked persons, comparable to beasts of prey, that haunt in woods and forests.