Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
JUDGMENT ON THE
Repetition of the charges in the twentieth chapter; only that there they
were stated in an historical review of the past and present; here
the present sins of the nation exclusively are brought forward.
that is, "Wilt thou not judge?" &c. (compare
the bloody city--literally, "the city of bloods"; so called on account
of murders perpetrated in her, and sacrifices of children to Molech
(Eze 22:3, 4, 6, 9; 24:6, 9).
3. sheddeth blood . . . that her time may come--Instead of deriving
advantage from her bloody sacrifices to idols, she only thereby brought
on herself "the time" of her punishment.
4. thy days--the shorter period, namely, that of the siege.
thy years--the longer period of the captivity. The "days" and
"years" express that she is ripe for punishment.
5. infamous--They mockingly call thee, "Thou polluted one in name
(Margin), and full of confusion"
[FAIRBAIRN], (referring to the
tumultuous violence prevalent in it). Thus the nations "far and near"
mocked her as at once sullied in character and in actual fact lawless.
What a sad contrast to the Jerusalem once designated "the holy city!"
6. Rather, "The princes . . . each according to his
power, were in thee, to shed blood" (as if this was the only object of
their existence). "Power," literally, "arm"; they, who ought to have
been patterns of justice, made their own arm of might their only
7. set light by--Children have made light of, disrespected,
father . . .
are enumerated the sins committed in violation of Moses' law.
9. men that carry tales--informers, who by
misrepresentations cause innocent blood to be shed
Literally, "one who goes to and fro as a merchant."
10. set apart for pollution--that is, set apart
12. forgotten me--
Jer 2:32; 3:21).
13. smitten mine hand--in token of the indignant vengeance which I will
execute on thee (see on
15. consume thy filthiness out of thee--the object of God in scattering
16. take thine inheritance in thyself--Formerly thou wast Mine
inheritance; but now, full of guilt, thou art no longer Mine, but
thine own inheritance to thyself; "in the sight of the heathen,"
that is, even they shall see that, now that thou hast become a captive,
thou art no longer owned as Mine
FAIRBAIRN and others
needlessly take the Hebrew from a different root, "thou shalt be
polluted by ('in,'
[HENDERSON]) thyself," &c.; the heathen
shall regard thee as a polluted thing, who hast brought thine own
reproach on thyself.
18. dross . . . brass--Israel has become a worthless
compound of the dross of silver (implying not merely corruption, but
degeneracy from good to bad,
especially offensive) and of the baser metals. Hence the people must
be thrown into the furnace of judgment, that the bad may be consumed,
and the good separated
(Jer 6:29, 30).
23. From this verse to the end he shows the general corruption of all
24. land . . . not cleansed--not cleared or cultivated; all a scene
of desolation; a fit emblem of the moral wilderness state of the people.
nor rained upon--a mark of divine "indignation"; as the early and
latter rain, on which the productiveness of the land depended, was one
of the great covenant blessings. Joel
promises the return of the former and latter rain, with the restoration
of God's favor.
25. conspiracy--The false prophets have conspired both to propagate
error and to oppose the messages of God's servants. They are mentioned
first, as their bad influence extended the widest.
prey--Their aim was greed of gain, "treasure, and precious things"
Zep 3:3, 4;
made . . . many widows--by occasioning, through false prophecies, the
war with the Chaldeans in which the husbands fell.
26. Her priests--whose "lips should have kept knowledge"
violated--not simply transgressed; but, have done violence to the law, by wresting it to wrong ends, and putting wrong constructions
put no difference between the holy and profane, &c.--made no
distinction between the clean and unclean
the Sabbath and other days, sanctioning violations of that holy day.
"Holy" means, what is dedicated to God; "profane," what is in
common use; "unclean," what is forbidden to be eaten;
"clean," what is lawful to be eaten.
I am profaned among them--They abuse My name to false or unjust
27. princes--who should have employed the influence of their position
for the people's welfare, made "gain" their sole aim.
wolves--notorious for fierce and ravening cruelty
(Mic 3:2, 3, 9-11;
28. Referring to the false assurances of peace with which the prophets
flattered the people, that they should not submit to the king of Babylon
Jer 6:14; 23:16, 17; 27:9, 10).
29. The people--put last, after the mention of those in office.
Corruption had spread downwards through the whole community.
wrongfully--that is, "without cause," gratuitously, without the
stranger proselyte giving any just provocation; nay, he of all others
being one who ought to have been won to the worship of Jehovah by
kindness, instead of being alienated by oppression; especially as the
Israelites were commanded to remember that they themselves had been
"strangers in Egypt"
(Ex 22:21; 23:9).
30. the hedge--the wall
image for leading the people to repentance.
the gap--the breach
image for interceding between the people and God
I found none--
--not that literally there was not a righteous man in the city. For
Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., were still there; but Jeremiah had been
forbidden to pray for the people
as being doomed to wrath. None now, of the godly, knowing the desperate
state of the people, and God's purpose as to them, was willing
longer to interpose between God's wrath and them. And none "among
them," that is, among those just enumerated as guilty of such sins
was morally able for such an office.
31. their own way . . . recompensed upon their
(Eze 9:10; 11:21; 16:43;