Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Moses . . . Samuel--eminent in intercessions
(Ex 32:11, 12;
be toward--could not be favorably inclined toward them.
out of my sight--God speaks as if the people were present before
Him, along with Jeremiah.
2. death--deadly plague
(Jer 18:21; 43:11;
Eze 5:2, 12;
4. cause . . . to be removed--
Rather, "I will give them up to vexation," I will cause them to wander
so as nowhere to have repose [CALVIN];
"trouble;" Margin, "commotion").
because of Manasseh--He was now dead, but the effects of his sins
still remained. How much evil one bad man can cause! The evil fruits
remain even after he himself has received repentance and forgiveness.
The people had followed his wicked example ever since; and it is implied
that it was only through the long-suffering of God that the penal
consequences had been suspended up to the present time (compare
2Ki 21:11; 23:26; 24:3, 4).
5. go aside . . . how thou doest--Who will turn aside
(in passing by) to salute thee
(to wish thee "peace")?
6. weary with repenting--
(Ho 13:14; 11:8).
I have so often repented of the evil that I threatened
and have spared them, without My forbearance moving them to repentance,
that I will not again change My purpose (God speaking in condescension
to human modes of thought), but will take vengeance on them now.
7. fan--tribulation--from tribulum, a threshing instrument,
which separates the chaff from the wheat
gates of the land--that is, the extreme bounds of the land through
which the entrance to and exit from it lie.
MAURER translates, "I will
fan," that is, cast them forth "to the gates of the land"
"In the gates"; English Version draws the image from a man
cleaning corn with a fan; he stands at the gate of the threshing-floor
in the open air, to remove the wheat from the chaff by means of the
wind; so God threatens to remove Israel out of the bounds of the land
8. Their widows--My people's
have brought--prophetical past: I will bring.
mother of the young men--"mother" is collective; after the "widows,"
He naturally mentions bereavement of their sons ("young men"), brought
on the "mothers" by "the spoiler"; it was owing to the number of men
slain that the "widows" were so many
[CALVIN]. Others take "mother," as
of Jerusalem, the metropolis; "I have brought on them, against the
'mother,' a young spoiler," namely, Nebuchadnezzar, sent by his father,
Nabopolassar, to repulse the Egyptian invaders
(2Ki 23:29; 24:1),
and occupy Judea. But
shows the future, not the past, is referred to; and "widows" being
literal, "mother" is probably so, too.
at noonday--the hottest part of the day, when military operations
were usually suspended; thus it means unexpectedly, answering to the
parallel, "suddenly"; openly, as others explain it, will not suit
the parallelism (compare
it--English Version seems to understand by "it" the mother city,
and by "him" the "spoiler"; thus "it" will be parallel to "city."
Rather, "I will cause to fall upon them (the 'mothers' about to be
bereft of their sons) suddenly anguish and terrors."
the city--rather, from a root "heat," anguish, or consternation.
So the Septuagint.
9. borne seven--
Seven being the perfect number indicates full fruitfulness.
languisheth--because not even one is left of all her sons
sun is gone down while . . . yet day--Fortune deserts her at the
very height of her prosperity
she . . . ashamed--The mothers (she being collective) are put to
the shame of disappointed hopes through the loss of all their children.
&c.). Jeremiah seems to have been of a peculiarly sensitive
temperament; yet the Holy Spirit enabled him to deliver his message at
the certain cost of having his sensitiveness wounded by the enmities of
those whom his words offended.
man of strife--exposed to strifes on the part of "the whole earth"
I have neither lent, &c.--proverbial for, "I have given no cause for
strife against me."
11. Verily--literally, "Shall it not be?" that is, "Surely it shall
thy remnant--the final issue of thy life; thy life, which now
seems to thee so sad, shall eventuate in prosperity
[CALVIN]. They who
think that they shall be the surviving remnant, whereas thou shalt
perish, shall themselves fall, whereas thou shalt remain and be
favored by the conquerors
(Jer 40:4, 5; 39:11, 12).
The Keri reads, "I will set thee free (or as
MAURER, 'I will establish thee') for good"
to entreat thee well--literally, "to meet thee"; so "to be placable,
nay, of their own accord to anticipate in meeting thee with
kindness" [CALVIN]. I prefer this translation as according with the
(Jer 39:11, 12; 40:4, 5).
Jer 7:16; 27:18;
translates (not only will I relieve thee from the enemy's vexations,
but) "I will make thine enemy (that now vexeth thee) apply to thee
(Jer 38:14; 42:2-6).
12. steel--rather, brass or copper, which mixed
with "iron" (by the Chalybes near the Euxine Pontus, far north of
Palestine), formed the hardest metal, like our steel. Can the
Jews, hardy like common iron though they be, break the still
hardier Chaldees of the north
who resemble the Chalybian iron hardened with copper? Certainly not
translates. "Can one break iron, (even) the northern iron, and
brass," on the ground that English Version makes ordinary
iron not so hard as brass. But it is not brass, but a particular
mixture of iron and brass, which is represented as harder than
common iron, which was probably then of inferior texture, owing
to ignorance of modern modes of preparation.
13. Thy substance . . . sins--Judea's, not Jeremiah's.
without price--God casts His people away as a thing worth naught
So, on the contrary, Jehovah, when about to restore His people, says,
He will give Egypt, &c., for their "ransom"
even in all thy borders--joined with "Thy substance . . . treasures,
as also with "all thy sins," their sin and punishment being commensurate
14. thee--MAURER supplies "them," namely, "thy treasures."
needlessly, from Syriac and the Septuagint, reads, "I will
make thee to serve thine enemies"; a reading doubtless interpolated
15. thou knowest--namely, my case; what wrongs my adversaries have
revenge me--(See on
The prophet in this had regard to, not his own personal feelings of
revenge, but the cause of God; he speaks by inspiration God's will
against the ungodly. Contrast in this the law with the gospel
take me not away in thy long-suffering--By Thy long-suffering towards
them, suffer them not meanwhile to take away my life.
for thy sake I have suffered rebuke--the very words of the antitype,
(Ps 69:7, 22-28),
which last compare with Jeremiah's prayer in the beginning of this
(Eze 2:8; 3:1, 3;
Re 10:9, 10).
As soon as Thy words were found by me, I eagerly laid hold of and
appropriated them. The Keri reads, "Thy word."
thy word . . . joy--
Ps 119:72, 111;
called by thy name--I am Thine, Thy minister. So the antitype, Jesus
17. My "rejoicing"
was not that of the profane mockers
(Ps 1:1; 26:4, 5)
at feasts. So far from having fellowship with these, he was expelled
from society, and made to sit "alone," because of his faithful
because of thy hand--that is, Thine inspiration
Eze 1:3; 3:14).
filled me with indignation--So
"full of the fury of the Lord"; so full was he of the subject (God's
"indignation" against the ungodly) with which God had inspired him, as
not to be able to contain himself from expressing it. The same
comparison by contrast between the effect of inspiration, and
that of wine, both taking a man out of himself, occurs
(Ac 2:13, 15, 18).
"Pain," namely, the perpetual persecution to which he was exposed, and
his being left by God without consolation and "alone." Contrast his
feeling here with that in
when he enjoyed the full presence of God, and was inspired by His
words. Therefore he utters words of his natural "infirmity" (so David,
here; as before he spoke under the higher spiritual nature given him.
as a liar, and as--rather, "as a deceiving (river)
. . . waters that are not sure (lasting)"; opposed to "living
Streams that the thirsty traveller had calculated on being full in
winter, but which disappoint him in his sorest need, having run dry in
the heat of summer. Jehovah had promised Jeremiah protection from his
(Jer 1:18, 19);
his infirmity suggests that God had failed to do so.
19. God's reply to Jeremiah.
return . . . bring . . . again--Jeremiah, by
his impatient language, had left his proper posture towards God; God
saith, "If thou wilt return (to thy former patient discharge of
thy prophetic function) I will bring thee back" to thy former position:
in the Hebrew there is a play of words, "return
. . . turn again"
(Jer 8:4; 4:1).
stand before me--minister acceptably to Me
1Ki 17:1; 18:15).
take . . . precious from . . . vile--image from metals: "If thou
wilt separate what is precious in thee (the divine graces imparted)
from what is vile (thy natural corruptions, impatience, and hasty words),
thou shall be as My mouth": my mouthpiece
return not thou unto them--Let not them lead you into their profane
ways (as Jeremiah had spoken irreverently,
but lead thou them to the ways of godliness
(Jer 15:16, 17).
accords with the other interpretation, which, however, does not so well
suit the context, "If thou wilt separate from the promiscuous mass the
better ones, and lead them to conversion by faithful warnings," &c.
20, 21. The promise of
Jer 1:18, 19,
in almost the same words, but with the addition, adapted to the present
attacks of Jeremiah's formidable enemies, "I will deliver thee out of
. . . wicked . . . redeem . . .
terrible"; the repetition is in order to assure Jeremiah that God is
the same now as when He first made the promise, in opposition to
the prophet's irreverent accusation of unfaithfulness