Jeremiah 14:18

If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.

If I go forth into the field,.... Without the city, where was the camp of the enemy besieging it

then behold the slain with the sword! the sword of the enemy; who by sallying out of the city upon them, or by endeavouring to make their escape into the country, fell into their hands, and were slain by them.

and if I enter into the city; the city of Jerusalem:

then behold them that are sick with the famine! just ready to die, being starved for want of provisions; and multitudes dead, and their carcasses lying in the streets unburied; the prophet does not make mention of the dead indeed, only of the sick with famine; the reason of which, Kimchi says, is because the sick were more than the dead.

yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they knew not; into the land of Chaldea, a strange and foreign country, whither they were carried captive, both in the times of Jehoiakim and of Zedekiah, and whither they might go in ways far about: and this seems to be understood of false prophets and wicked priests, that had led the people about, and had caused them to wander from the ways of God and his worship; and therefore, in righteous retaliation, they are led in round about ways to a land unknown to them: though some think that the true prophets and priests of the Lord may be meant, as Ezekiel and Daniel, who were carried captive into Babylon: others interpret them of such going about in the land of Judea seeking for bread and water, or food in the time of the famine;

but they know not {q}, as the last clause may be literally rendered, that is, men know them not, take no notice of them, show no regard to them, and give them no relief; the famine being so sore, that everyone was for himself, and could afford no help to others, even to the prophets and priests. Some render the words, "yea, the priest and the prophet make merchandise against the land"; or, "through the lands" {r}; by deceiving the people with their false prophecies: or rather, go about the land making merchandise {s}; of the souls of men; see 2 Peter 2:3, making a gain of their visions and prophecies:

and they know not; the people are not aware of their deception and falsehood. The Targum is,

"for even the scribe and the priest are turned to their own negotiations or merchandises, to that which is in the land, neither do they inquire;''

they minded their own affairs, and inquired not for, nor sought after, the people's good.

{q} wedy alw "et non agnoverunt, Supple, ulli eos", De Dieu.
{r} Ura la zrxo "nundinantur contra terram", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "mercaturam exercuerunt per terram", Cocceius.
{s} Ura la rho "est circuire terram negotiandi causa", Grotius.