Jeremiah 13:21

21 What will you say when the LORD sets over you those you cultivated as your special allies? Will not pain grip you like that of a woman in labor?

Read Jeremiah 13:21 Using Other Translations

What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail?
What will you say when they set as head over you those whom you yourself have taught to be friends to you? Will not pangs take hold of you like those of a woman in labor?
What will you say when the LORD takes the allies you have cultivated and appoints them as your rulers? Pangs of anguish will grip you, like those of a woman in labor!

What does Jeremiah 13:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Jeremiah 13:21

What will thou say when he shall punish thee?
&c.] Or, "visit upon thee" F6; that is, either when God shall punish thee for thy sins, thou canst bring no charge of injustice against him, or murmur and repine at the punishment inflicted on thee; so Jarchi; to which agrees the Targum,

``when he shall visit on thee thy sin;''
or else, to which the following words seem to incline, when the enemy shall visit upon thee; so Kimchi and Abarbinel, when the Chaldeans shall come upon thee, and pay thee a visit, an unwelcome one; yet who wilt thou have to blame but thyself? so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "when they shall visit thee"; these words are directed, not to the king, nor to the queen neither; but to the body of the people, the Jewish state, represented as a woman; who, upon consideration of things past, would have a great deal of reason to reflect upon themselves for what they had done in former times, which had led on to their ruin and destruction: (for thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee;)
the Jews showed the Assyrians the way into their country, used them to come thither, and taught them how to conquer them, and be masters over them; or, "hast taught them against thee" F7; to thy hurt and detriment, to be captains or governors; for an head,
to have the rule over them: this was done by Ahaz, when he sent to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria to come and save him out of the hands of the kings of Syria and Israel, ( 2 Kings 16:7 ) and by Hezekiah, when he showed the messengers of the king of Babylon all his treasures; these were invitations and temptations to come and plunder them: shall not sorrows take thee as a woman in travail?
denoting the suddenness of their calamities; the sharpness and severity of them; and that they would be inevitable, and could not be prevented.
FOOTNOTES:

F6 (Kyle dqpy yk) "quando visitabit super te"; Cocceius; "quum visitaverit super te", Schmidt.
F7 (Kyle Mta tdml taw) "docuisti istos contra te", Piscator.
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