« Prev Jeremiah 22:13 Next »

Jeremiah 22:13

13. Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;

13. Ileus qui aedificat domum suam in non justitia, (hoc est, injuste,) et coenacula sua in non judicio (hoc est, sine rectitudine et aequitate;) proximum suum servire facit gratis, et opus ejus non reddit ei (vel, quod ille operatus fuerit non reddit ei; (vel, quod ille operatus fuerit non reddit ei; quidam enim volunt esse verbum, alii nomen, sed idem manebit sensus).

 

The Prophet begins here to shew that it could not be otherwise but that the king’s palace as well as Jerusalem must be destroyed, for their wickedness had arrived to the highest pitch; but he now, as it will appear presently, reprehends the father of Jeconiah.

He then says that the city was full of robberies, and especially the palace of the king. Yet I do not think that the Prophet speaks only of the king, but also of the courtiers and chief men. We must also bear in mind what I said yesterday, that the common people were not absolved while the king was condemned. But as dignity and honor among the people belonged both to the king and the princes, the Prophet exposes them publicly, that, it might be made evident how deplorable the state of things was throughout the whole community. We must at the same time add, that the chief among them were first summoned to judgment, not only because every one had privately offended, but because they had by their bad examples corrupted the whole body of the people; and also, because they had taken more liberty, as they feared nothing. We indeed know that the rich exercise tyranny, because they deem themselves exempt from all laws. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet here denounces, in a special manner, a curse on the king and the chief men.

He says, that they built unjustly; his words are, with no justice and with no judgment, by which he designates cruelty, frauds, and robberies; he, in short, includes under these words all kinds of iniquity. The way in which these things were done is stated; they wronged their neighbors, by demanding and extorting labors without rewarding them. Here, indeed, the Prophet only refers to one kind of injustice; but it may hence be easily concluded, how unjustly and wickedly they ruled who were then in authority; for they employed their neighbors, as though they were slaves, in building houses and palaces, for they denied them their wages. But nothing can be more cruel than to deprive the poor of the fruit of their labor, who from their labor derive their daily support. It is, indeed, commanded in the Law, that the wages of the laborer should not sleep with us, (Leviticus 19:13) for that would be the same as to kill him. 4747     This verse is not correctly rendered by Calvin nor by any of the early versions. The two last clauses are made by them all in a great measure tantological, while they are perfectly distinct in their meaning. I render the verse thus, —
   Wo to him who builds his house by means of injustice, And his chambers by means of wrong judgment: Of his neighbor he makes a slave for no reason, And for his work he gives nothing to him.

   The verb עבר when followed by ב, means to enslave, or to make a slave. See Jeremiah 25:14. We hence see the force of the word, חנס gratuitously, for no reason, because the Jews might under certain circumstances be reduced to a state of slavery; but Jehoiakim did this when there was no cause. This was the “wrong judgment” And then he gave them no support, nothing for their work; this was the “injustice.” He reduced them to slavery, and did not maintain them. The real import of the passage is completely lost in the loose rendering of the Versions; but the Targ. rightly expresses the meaning of the third line, “To slavery he reduces for no cause his neighbor.” — Ed
There is also another indignity; when a robber kills a man, his object is the spoil; but he who extorts labor from a poor man, and sucks, so to speak, his blood, afterwards sends him away naked and needy; this is more atrocious than by violence to kill him. We now perceive the meaning of the Prophet. But as he continues the same subject, I shall defer any further remarks till to-morrow.


« Prev Jeremiah 22:13 Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |