Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
CAUSE OF THE
CORRUPTION OF THE
1. a man--As the pious Josiah, Baruch, and Zephaniah lived in
Jerusalem at that time, Jeremiah must here mean the mass of the people,
the king, his counsellors, the false prophets, and the priests, as
distinguished from the faithful few, whom God had openly separated from
the reprobate people; among the latter not even one just person was
to be found
[CALVIN]; the godly, moreover, were forbidden to
intercede for them
&c.; Ps 12:1;
see . . . know--look . . . ascertain.
pardon it--rather, her.
swear falsely--not a judicial oath; but their profession of the worship
of Jehovah is insincere
The reformation under Josiah was merely superficial in the case of the
3. eyes upon the truth--
"Truth" is in contrast with "swear falsely"
The false-professing Jews could expect nothing but judgments from the
God of truth.
stricken . . . not grieved--
Isa 1:5; 9:13).
refused . . . correction--
4. poor--rather, "the poor." He supposes for the moment that
this utter depravity is confined to the uninstructed poor, and that he
would find a different state of things in the higher ranks: but there he
finds unbridled profligacy.
5. they have known--rather, "they must know." The prophet
supposes it as probable, considering their position.
but these--I found the very reverse to be the case.
burst . . . bonds--set God's law at defiance
6. lion . . . wolf . . . leopard--the strongest, the most ravenous,
and the swiftest, respectively, of beasts: illustrating the formidable
character of the Babylonians.
of the evenings--Others not so well translate, of the deserts. The plural means that it goes forth every evening to seek its
leopard . . . watch . . . cities--
It shall lie in wait about their cities.
7. It would not be consistent with God's holiness to let such
wickedness pass unpunished.
that is, worshipped.
fed . . . to the full--so the Keri (Hebrew
Margin) reads. God's bountifulness is contrasted with their
Prosperity, the gift of God, designed to lead men to Him, often
produces the opposite effect. The Hebrew Chetib (text) reads:
"I bound them (to Me) by oath," namely, in the marriage
covenant, sealed at Sinai between God and Israel; in contrast to
which stands their "adultery"; the antithesis favors this.
adultery . . . harlots' houses--spiritually: idolatry in temples of
idols; but literal prostitution is also included, being frequently part
of idol-worship: for example, in the worship of the Babylonian Mylitta.
8. in the morning--
"Rising early in the morning" is a phrase for unceasing eagerness in
any pursuit; such was the Jews' avidity after idol-worship. MAURER translates from a different Hebrew root,
"continually wander to and fro," inflamed with lust
But English Version is simpler (compare
Jer 9:9; 44:22).
10. Abrupt apostrophe to the Babylonians, to take Jerusalem, but
not to destroy the nation utterly
[MAURER]: the state being compared
to a vine
the stem of which was to be spared, while the tendrils (the chief men)
were to be removed.
It is not he--rather, "(Jehovah) is not
HE," that is, the true and only God
Isa 43:10, 13).
By their idolatry they virtually denied Him. Or, referring to what
follows, and to
"(Jehovah) is not," namely, about to be the punisher of our sins
13. Continuation of the unbelieving language of the Jews.
the prophets--who prophesy punishment coming on us.
the word--the Holy Spirit, who speaks through true prophets, is not
in them [MAURER]. Or else, "There is no word (divine communication) in
thus, &c.--Their ill-omened prophecies shall fall on themselves.
14. ye . . . thy . . . this people--He turns away from addressing
the people to the prophet; implying that He puts them to a distance from
Him, and only communicates with them through His prophet
fire . . . wood--Thy denunciations of judgments shall be fulfilled
and shall consume them as fire does wood. In
it is the penetrating energy of fire which is the point of
(Jer 1:15; 6:22).
Israel--that is, Judah.
mighty--from an Arabic root, "enduring." The fourfold repetition
of "nation" heightens the force.
ancient--The Chaldeans came originally from the Carduchian and
Armenian mountains north of Mesopotamia, whence they immigrated into
Babylonia; like all mountaineers, they were brave and hardy
language . . . knowest not--
shows that Aramaic was not understood by the "multitude," but
only by the educated classes [MAURER]. HENDERSON refers it to the original language of
the Babylonians, which, he thinks, they brought with them from their
native hills, akin to the Persic, not to the Aramaic, or any
other Semitic tongue, the parent of the modern Kurd.
16. open sepulchre--(Compare
Their quiver is all-devouring, as the grave opened to receive the dead:
as many as are the arrows, so many are the deaths.
18. Not even in those days of judgments, will God utterly
exterminate His people.
I will not make a full end with you--
19. Retribution in kind. As ye have forsaken Me
so shall ye be forsaken by Me. As ye have served strange (foreign) gods
in your land, so shall ye serve strangers (foreigners) in a land not
yours. Compare the similar retribution in
De 28:47, 48.
21. eyes . . . ears, and--Translate, "and yet" (compare
Having powers of perception, they did not use them: still they were
responsible for the exercise of them.
22. sand--Though made up of particles easily shifting about, I render
it sufficient to curb the violence of the sea. Such is your monstrous
perversity, that the raging, senseless sea sooner obeys Me, than ye do
who profess to be intelligent [CALVIN],
(Job 26:10; 38:10, 11;
24. rain . . . former . . . latter--The "former" falls from the middle
of October to the beginning of December. The "latter," or spring rain
in Palestine, falls before harvest in March and April, and is essential
for ripening the crops
weeks of . . . harvest--the seven weeks between passover and pentecost,
beginning on the sixteenth of Nisan
By God's special providence no rain fell in Palestine during the
harvest weeks, so that harvest work went on without interruption (see
25. National guilt had caused the suspension of these national mercies
(Pr 1:11, 17, 18;
as he that setteth snares--rather, "as fowlers crouch"
trap--literally, "destruction": the instrument of destruction.
catch men--not as Peter, to save
but to destroy men.
27. full of deceit--full of treasures got by deceit.
(Ps 73:12, 18-20).
28. shine--the effect of fatness on the skin
They live a life of self-indulgence.
overpass . . . the wicked--exceed even the Gentiles in wickedness
Eze 5:6, 7).
judge not . . . fatherless--
yet . . . prosper--
31. bear rule by their means--literally, "according to their hands,"
that is, under their guidance
As a sample of the priests lending themselves to the deceits of the
false prophets, to gain influence over the people, see
love to have it so--
end thereof--the fatal issue of this sinful course when divine
judgments shall come.