Water of gall.--The idea implied is that of poison as well as bitterness. It is uncertain what the "gall-plant" was; possibly, from its connection with "grapes" or "clusters," as in Deuteronomy 32:32, belladonna or colocynth is meant. Others have suggested the poppy, and this is in part confirmed by the narcotic properties implied in Matthew 27:34. In Deuteronomy 29:18 it is joined with "wormwood."
Assemble yourselves; this is the gathering together, in order to be consumed, before threatened, which they themselves were made to do:
and let us enter into the defenced cities; such as Jerusalem, where they thought they should be safe from their enemies:
and let us be silent there; either promising themselves rest, quietness, and security; or suggesting that it would be right in them to say nothing by way of complaint; having no reason to murmur at their afflictions, since they were no other than what their own sins had brought upon them:
for the Lord our God hath put us to silence; stopped their mouths that they could not complain, being convicted in their consciences of their sins; and brought them into a state of destruction and death, which makes silent:
and given us water of gall to drink; afflictions bitter and deadly. The Targum is,
"and hath made us drink the cup of an evil curse, as the heads of serpents;''
a poisonous and deadly potion:
because we have sinned against the Lord; which they were obliged to own; though it does not appear that they had true repentance for their sins, or amended their ways; sometimes confession of sin is made without either of these.