Zechariah 7:7

Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?

Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets,.... As Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others; suggesting that it would have been much better for them to have regarded the exhortations and instructions which the Lord sent them by his servants, which would have prevented their captivity; and so would have had no occasion of fasting and mourning: for those prophecies were delivered out

when Jerusalem was inhabited, and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her; when Jerusalem, and the cities about it, were full of people, and enjoyed all the blessings of life in great plenty; and which would have continued, had they attended to the exhortations, cautions, and warnings given them:

when men inhabited the south and the plain? the land of Judea, as the Misnic {x} doctors say, was divided into three parts; the mountainous part, the plain, and the valley. Jerusalem was in the mountainous part, and these are the other two; and not only those parts of the land which were hilly, and those cities that were encompassed with mountains, were in safety and prosperity; but those also that were in the champaign country, and in the low valleys. The "south" was that part of the land of Canaan formerly inhabited by the Amalekites, and which they invaded when David was at Ziklag, Numbers 13:29. Sometimes it was called Negeb, as here; and sometimes Daroma, as frequently in the Jewish writings; in which Judea is often called the south, with respect to Galilee; for they distinguish between the inhabitants of Galilee and the inhabitants of the south country: and say, a disciple might intercalate the year for Galilee, but not for the south, i.e. Judea. It reached from Eleutheropolis to the south of the land, eighteen or twenty miles: it was distinguished by the Jews {y} into upper and nether Daroma, or south country: the upper consisted of the hilly part of it; the nether of the plain; and by Jerom {z} mention is made of interior Daroma, by which there should be an exterior one. The "plain", or "Sephela", was all the champaign country, near to Eleutherepolis, to the north and west; and so the above writer {a} says it was called in his times: now each of these were well inhabited; Daroma, or the southern part; hence it is frequent, in Jewish writings {b}, to read of such a Rabbi of Daroma, or the south, as R. Jacob, R. Simlai, and others; and of the elders of the south {c}; and so Jerom speaks of Eremmon, and Duma, large villages, in his days, in Daroma or the south; the one sixteen, the other seventeen miles from Eleutheropolis; and of Ether, Jether, and Jethan, one of which was eighteen, and another twenty miles from it {d}; and in the Apocrypha:

"Simon also set up Adida in Sephela, and made it strong with gates and bars.'' (1 Maccabees 12:38)

mention is made of Adida in Sephela, fortified, by Simon; and in which also were various other places well stored with inhabitants. This expresses the happy and safe state the Jews were in before their captivity, and in which they would have remained, had they hearkened to the words of the Lord.

{x} Misn. Sheviith, c. 9. sect. 2.
{y} T. Hieros. Maaaser Sheni, fol. 56. 3. & Sanhedrin, fol. 18. 4.
{z} De locis Hebr. fol. 91. C. & 92. I.
{a} Ibid. fol. 94. M.
{b} T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 2. 2. & 11. 4. & Succah, fol. 53. 4.
{c} T. Hieros. Erubin, fol. 23. 3.
{d} Ut supra, fol. 90. K. & 91. C. & 92. I.