Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus,
&c.] The connection of these words is not with those that immediately precede, but with the whole context; seeing neither promises nor threats, exhortations, good advice, and intimations of grace and mercy, had no effect, at least upon the generality of the people, therefore the Lord declared as follows: wailing [shall be] in all streets;
in all the streets of the towns and cities of Israel, because of the slain and wounded in them: and they shall say in all the highways, alas! alas!
in the several roads throughout the country, as travellers pass on, and persons flee from the enemy; they shall lament the state of the kingdom, and cry Woe, woe, unto it; in what a miserable condition and circumstances it is in: and they shall call the husbandmen to mourning:
who used to be better employed in tilling their land, ploughing, sowing, reaping, and gathering in the fruits of the earth; but now should have no work to do, all being destroyed, either by the hand of God, by blasting, and mildew, and vermin, or by the trampling and forage of the enemy; and so there would be just occasion for mourning: and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing;
that have got the art of mourning, and were expert in making moans, and using plaintive tones, and who assisted at funerals, and other doleful occasions; and who are made use of to this day in some countries, particularly in Ireland; and were the old Romans, by whom they were called "siticines", "praefici", and "praeficae" and these mourning men and women were also employed among the Jews at such times; see ( Matthew 9:23 ) ; in ( Jeremiah 9:17 ) , the mourning women are called "cunning women"; and so Lucian F8 calls: them (sofistav twn yrhnwn) , "sophists at lamentations", artists: at them, well skilled therein, such as those are here directed to be called for. Mr. Lively, our countryman, puts both clauses together, and renders them thus, "the husbandmen shall call to mourning and wailing such as are skilful of lamentation"; to assist them therein, because of the loss of the fruits of the earth; and such a version is confirmed by Jarchi, though he paraphrases it to a different sense;
``companies of husbandmen shall meet those that plough in the fields with the voice of mourners that cry in the streets.''