Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
CONTINUATION OF THE
SUBJECT AT THE
CLOSE OF THE
He ventures to expostulate with Jehovah as to the prosperity of the
wicked, who had plotted against his life
in reply he is told that he will have worse to endure, and that from
his own relatives
(Jer 12:5, 6).
The heaviest judgments, however, would be inflicted on the faithless
and then on the nations co-operating with the Chaldeans against Judah,
with, however, a promise of mercy on repentance
let me talk, &c.--only let me reason the case with Thee: inquire of
Thee the causes why such wicked men as these plotters against my life
Job 12:6; 21:7;
Ps 37:1, 35; 73:3;
It is right, when hard thoughts of God's providence suggest themselves,
to fortify our minds by justifying God beforehand (as did
Jeremiah), even before we hear the reasons of His dealings.
2. grow--literally, "go on," "progress." Thou givest them sure
dwellings and increasing prosperity.
near in . . . mouth . . . far from . . . reins--
3. knowest me--
tried . . . heart--
toward thee--rather, "with Thee," that is, entirely devoted to Thee;
contrasted with the hypocrites
"near in . . . mouth, and far from . . . reins."
This being so, how is it that I fare so ill, they so well?
pull . . . out--containing the metaphor, from a "rooted tree"
prepare--literally, "separate," or "set apart as devoted."
day of slaughter--
4. land mourn--personification
(Jer 14:2; 23:10).
for the wickedness--
He shall not see our last end--Jehovah knows not what is about
to happen to us
[ROSENMULLER]. So the Septuagint.
Eze 8:12; 9:9).
Rather, "The prophet (Jeremiah, to whom the whole context
refers) shall not see our last end." We need not trouble ourselves
about his boding predictions. We shall not be destroyed as he says
(Jer 5:12, 13).
5. Jehovah's reply to Jeremiah's complaint.
horses--that is, horsemen: the argument a fortiori. A proverbial
phrase. The injuries done thee by the men of Anathoth ("the footmen")
are small compared with those which the men of Jerusalem ("the
horsemen") are about to inflict on thee. If the former weary thee out,
how wilt thou contend with the king, the court, and the priests at
wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee--English Version thus fills up the sentence with the italicized words, to answer to the
parallel clause in the first sentence of the verse. The parallelism is,
however, sufficiently retained with a less ellipsis: "If (it is only) in
a land of peace thou art confident" [MAURER].
swelling of Jordan--In harvest-time and earlier (April and May) it
overflows its banks
and fills the valley called the Ghor. Or, "the pride of
Jordan," namely, its wooded banks abounding in lions and other wild
(Jer 49:19; 50:44;
MAUNDRELL says that between the Sea of Tiberias
and Lake Merom the banks are so wooded that the traveller cannot see
the river at all without first passing through the woods. If in the
champaign country (alone) thou art secure, how wilt thou do when thou
fallest into the wooded haunts of wild beasts?
6. even thy brethren--as in Christ's case
Joh 1:11; 7:5;
Jer 9:4; 11:19, 21;
Godly faithfulness is sure to provoke the ungodly, even of one's own
called a multitude after thee--
JEROME translates, "cry after thee with a loud
(literally, 'full') voice."
believe . . . not . . . though . . . speak fair--
7. I have forsaken--Jehovah will forsake His temple and the people
peculiarly His. The mention of God's close tie to them, as heretofore
His, aggravates their ingratitude, and shows that their past
spiritual privileges will not prevent God from punishing them.
beloved of my soul--image from a wife
8. is unto me--is become unto Me: behaves towards Me as a lion which
roars against a man, so that he withdraws from the place where he hears
it: so I withdrew from My people, once beloved, but now an object of
abhorrence because of their rebellious cries against Me.
9. speckled bird--Many translate, "a ravenous beast, the hyena"; the
corresponding Arabic word means hyena; so the Septuagint. But the Hebrew always elsewhere means "a bird of prey." The
Hebrew for "speckled" is from a root "to color"; answering to the
Jewish blending together with paganism the altogether diverse Mosaic ritual. The neighboring nations, birds of prey like herself
(for she had sinfully assimilated herself to them), were ready to pounce
assemble . . . beasts of . . . field--The Chaldeans are told to
gather the surrounding heathen peoples as allies against Judah
10. pastors--the Babylonian leaders (compare
(Isa 5:1, 5).
trodden my portion--
11. mourneth unto me--that is, before Me. EICHORN translates, "by reason of Me," because I have
given it to desolation
because no man layeth it to heart--because none by repentance and
prayer seek to deprecate God's wrath. Or, "yet none lays it to
heart"; as in
12. high places--Before, He had threatened the plains; now, the
wilderness--not an uninhabited desert, but high lands of pasturage,
lying between Judea and Chaldea
13. Description in detail of the devastation of the land
they shall be ashamed of your--The change of persons, in passing
from indirect to direct address, is frequent in the prophets. Equivalent
to, "Ye shall be put to the shame of disappointment at the smallness of
14-17. Prophecy as to the surrounding nations, the Syrians,
Ammonites, &c., who helped forward Judah's calamity: they shall share
her fall; and, on their conversion, they shall share with her in the
future restoration. This is a brief anticipation of the predictions in
the forty-seventh, forty-eighth, and forty-ninth chapters.
pluck them out . . . pluck out . . .
Judah--(Compare end of
During the thirteen years that the Babylonians besieged Tyre,
Nebuchadnezzar, after subduing Cœlo-Syria, brought Ammon, Moab,
&c., and finally Egypt, into subjection
[JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 10:9.7].
On the restoration of these nations, they were to exchange places with
the Jews. The latter were now in the midst of them, but on their
restoration they were to be "in the midst of the Jews," that is,
as proselytes to the true God (compare
"Pluck them," namely, the Gentile nations: in a bad sense.
"Pluck Judah": in a good sense; used to express the force which was
needed to snatch Judah from the tyranny of those nations by whom they
had been made captives, or to whom they had fled; otherwise they never
would have let Judah go. Previously he had been forbidden to pray for
the mass of the Jewish people. But here he speaks consolation to the
elect remnant among them. Whatever the Jews might be, God keeps
15. A promise, applying to Judah, as well as to the nations specified
As to Moab, compare
as to Ammon,
16. swear by my name--
Isa 19:18; 65:16);
that is, confess solemnly the true God.
built--be made spiritually and temporally prosperous: fixed in
sure habitations (compare
Jer 24:6; 42:10; 45:4;
Ps 87:4, 5;
Eph 2:20, 21;