“Then the people will say, ‘Why should we wait here to die? Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there. For the Lord our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the Lord. We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.” Jeremiah 8:14-15
Let us enter the fortified cities, and let us be silent there: The prophet imagined the people of God fleeing to the fortified cities as the Babylonian invaders entered the land. They could only do so in silence, because they knew they had ignored God’s warnings and invitations to repent. For the Lord our God has put us to silence and given us water of poison to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord: When the invading army came, they would understand the greatness of their sin, but by then it would be too late. The miserable Jews are pictured as first sitting still helplessly, and then rousing themselves to enter the fenced cities, only to find that death awaits them there as surely as in the open plain. People are too ready to believe that something will turn up, and so hold on, in confidence and indifference, till their eyes are suddenly opened, and they see room for nothing but despair. The Jews are to see that their God has put them to silence. Philistines, Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, might all be resisted; but who shall resist God? Men can only fight against God with confidence until they perceive him fighting against them. Then hope is madness. “Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies. Let those who hate God run for their lives.” (Psalms 68:1) We see the enemies of God scattering.