and the people shall be gathered against them; the Assyrians, who, at the command of the Lord, would come and invade their land, besiege their city, and take it, and bind them, and carry them captive:
when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows; when, like heifers untamed, and bound in a yoke to plough, do not make and keep in one furrow, but turn out to the right or left, and make cross furrows; so it is intimated that this was the reason why the Lord would correct Israel, and suffer the nations to gather together against them, and carry them captive, because they did not plough in one furrow, or keep in the true and pure worship of God; but made two furrows, worshipping partly God, and partly idols: or, "when they", their enemies, "shall bind them", being gathered against them, and carry them captive, they shall make them plough in "two furrows", the one up, and the other down; and to this hard service they shall keep them continually. There is a double reading of this clause; the "Cetib", or textual writing or reading, is, "to their two eyes", or "fountains": alluding, as Jarchi observes, to the binding of the yoke on oxen on each side of their eyes: or to the fountains in the land of Israel, the abundance of wine, milk, and honey; for the sake of which the people got together, broke in upon them, and bound them, in order to drink of. So Gussetius (b) renders the words, "and they shall bind them to drink of their fountains". The "Keri" or marginal reading is, "their two iniquities"; which the Septuagint follows, rendering it,
"in chastising them, or when they are chastised for their two iniquities;''
so the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; meaning either their worshipping the two calves at Dan and Bethel; or their corporeal and spiritual adultery; or their forsaking the true God, and worshipping idols; see Jeremiah 2:13. Schmidt understands all this, not as a punishment threatened, but as an instance of the love of God to them, in chastising them in a loving and fatherly way; which had a good effect upon them, and brought them to repentance; partly in the times of the judges, but more especially in the days of Samuel, when they behaved well; and particularly in the reigns of David and Solomon; and when the people were gathered, not "against", but "to" them; either became proselytes to them, or tributaries, or coveted their friendship; and when they themselves lived in great concord, in one kingdom, under one king, like oxen ploughing in two contiguous furrows.
(a) "et, vel ut vinciam eos", Junius & Tremellius, Drusius, Grotius; "colligabo eos", Cocceius. (b) Comment. Ebr. p. 591, 892.