Go up into Gilead
Still the irony or sarcasm is continued Gilead was a place in the land of Israel famous for balm or balsam, used in curing wounds; see ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) ; hence it follows: and take balm, O virgin, daughter of Egypt;
the kingdom of Egypt, as the Targum; so called because of its glory and excellency; and because as yet it had not been conquered and brought under the power of another: now the inhabitants of it are bid to take balm or balsam, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; but this grew not in Gilead beyond Jordan, but near Jericho on this side Jordan, as Bochart F26 has proved from various authors; particularly Strabo F1 says of Jericho, that there is the paradise of balsam, an aromatic plant, and of great esteem; for there only it is produced: and so Diodorus Siculus F2, speaking of places near Jericho, says, about these places, in a certain valley, grows what is called balsam, from which much profit arises; nor is the plant to be found in any other part of the world: and Justin F3 observes the same; that much riches accrue to the nation from the tax on balsam, which is only produced in this country, in Jericho, and the valley near it; yea, Kimchi himself elsewhere F4 says, that the balsam is not any where in the whole world but in Jericho. The word therefore should be rendered rosin, as also in ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) ; as it is by some F5; and which is used in cleansing, healing, and contracting wounds, and dispersing humours, as Pliny F6 relates; and this here is ordered to be taken, either literally, to cure the vast number of their wounded by the Chaldeans; or rather, figuratively, they are called upon to make use of all means to recover their loss sustained; by recruiting their army, fortifying their cities, and getting fresh allies and auxiliaries; all which would yet be to no purpose: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; [for] thou shall not be cured;
notwithstanding all means made use of to repair its losses; though it should not utterly be destroyed yet should never recover its former glory.