O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift
Horses, camels, dromedaries, or mules. Some F21 render the word swift horse or horses, post horses; others dromedaries F23; and some mules F24 the two latter seem more especially to be meant, either dromedaries, as the word is translated in ( 1 Kings 4:28 ) ; which is a very swift creature: Isidore says F25 the dromedary is one sort of camels, of a lesser stature, yet swifter, from whence it has its name, and is used to go more than a hundred miles a day; this is thought to be what the Jews F26 call a flying camel; which the gloss says is a sort of camels that are as swift in running as a bird that flies; they are lighter made than a camel, and go at a much greater rate; whereas a camel goes at the rate of thirty miles a day, the dromedary will perform a journey of one hundred and twenty miles in a day; they make use of them in the Indies for going post, and expresses frequently perform a journey of eight hundred miles upon them in the space of a week F1: this may serve the better to illustrate ( Jeremiah 2:23 ) ; and improve the note there: but whether these were used in chariots I do not find; only Bochart F2 takes notice of a kind of camel, that has, like the dromedary, two humps on its back, which the Arabians call "bochet", and put to chariots: or else mules are meant, for by comparing the above text in ( 1 Kings 4:28 ) with ( 2 Chronicles 9:24 ) , it looks as if "mules" were there intended; and so the word here used is rendered in ( Esther 8:10 Esther 8:14 ) ; and by their being there said to be used for posts to ride on expresses, it up pears to be a swift creature. Aelianus F3 makes mention of mules in India of a red colour, very famous for running; and mules were used in the Olympic games, and many riders of them got the victory; and that these were used in chariots, there is no doubt to be made of it: Homer
F4 speaks of mules drawing a four wheeled chariot; so Pausanias F5 of mules yoked together, and drawing a chariot, instead of horses; and the Septuagint version of ( Isaiah 66:20 ) ; instead of "in litters and on mules", renders it, "in litters" or carriages "of mules": but, be they one or the other that are here meant, they were creatures well known, and being swift were used in chariots, to which they were bound and fastened in order to draw them, and which we call "putting to"; this the inhabitants of Lachish F6 are bid to do, in order to make their escape, and flee as fast as they could from the enemy, advancing to besiege them; as they were besieged by the army of Sennacherib, before he came to Jerusalem, ( 2 Chronicles 32:1 2 Chronicles 32:9 ) . Or these words may be spoken in an ironical and sarcastic way, that whereas they had abounded in horses and chariots, and frequently rode about their streets in them, now let them make use of them, and get away if they could; and may suggest, that, instead of riding in these, they should be obliged to walk on foot into captivity. Lachish was a city in the tribe of Judah, in the times of Jerom F7; it was a village seven miles from Eleutheropolis, as you go to Daroma or the south; she [is] the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion;
lying upon the borders of the ten tribes, as Lachish did, it was the first of the cities of Judah that gave into the idolatry of Jeroboam, the worshipping of the calves; and from thence it spread itself to Zion and Jerusalem; and, being a ringleader in this sin, should be punished for it: though some think this refers to their conspiracy with the citizens of Jerusalem against King Amaziah, and the murder of him in this place, now punished for it, ( 2 Kings 14:18 2 Kings 14:19 ) ; for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee;
not only their idolatry, but all other sins, with which it abounded; it was a very wicked place, and therefore no wonder it was given up to destruction. The Targum is,
``for the transgressors of Israel were found in thee.''
F21 (vkrl) "ad equos velocissimos", Pagninus; "equo veloci", Montanus; "angariis sc. equis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F23 "Dromadibus", Vatablus. So Elias.
F24 "Mulis", so some in Piscator; "ad mulum celerem", Burkius.
F25 Origin. l. 12. c. 1. p. 102.
F26 T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 5. 1.
F1 See Harris's Voyages and Travels, vol. 1. p. 469.
F2 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 4. col. 87.
F3 De Animal. l. 16. c. 9.
F4 Iliad. 24. l. 324.
F5 Eliac. prior, sive l. 5. p. 302. So Suetonius in Vit. Jul. Caesar. c. 31. "mulis ad vehiculum junctis".
F6 There is a likeness in sound between (vykl) and (vkr) .
F7 De locis Hebr. fol. 92. M.