The Jew's Coming Punishment; Their Universal
and Incurable Impenitence.
1. The victorious Babylonians were about to
violate the sanctuaries of the dead in search of plunder; for
ornaments, treasures, and insignia of royalty were usually buried with
kings. Or rather, their purpose was to do the greatest dishonor
to the dead (Isa 14:19).
2. spread … before the sun,
&c.—retribution in kind. The very objects which received
their idolatries shall unconcernedly witness their dishonor.
loved … served … after …
walked … sought … worshipped—Words are
accumulated, as if enough could not be said fully to express the mad
fervor of their idolatry to the heavenly host (2Ki 23:5).
nor … buried—(Jer 22:19).
dung—(Jer 9:22; Ps 83:10).
3. The survivors shall be still worse off than
the dead (Job 3:21, 22; Re 9:6).
which remain in all the places—"in all
places of them that remain, whither I … that is, in all places
whither I have driven them that remain [Maurer].
4. "Is it not a natural instinct, that if one
falls, he rises again; if one turns away (that is, wanders from
the way), he will return to the point from which he wandered?
Why then does not Jerusalem do so?" He plays on the double sense of
return; literal and metaphorical (Jer 3:12; 4:1).
5. slidden … backsliding—rather,
as the Hebrew is the same as in Jer 8:4, to which this verse refers, "turned
away with a perpetual turning away."
perpetual—in contrast to the "arise"
("rise again," Jer 8:4).
refuse to return—in contrast to,
"shall he … not return" (Jer 8:4; Jer 5:3).
6. spake not aright—that is, not so as
penitently to confess that they acted wrong. Compare what
every one … his course—The
Keri reads "course," but the Chetib, "courses." "They
persevere in the courses whatever they have once entered on."
Their wicked ways were diversified.
horse rusheth—literally, "pours
himself forth," as water that has burst its embankment. The mad
rapidity of the war horse is the point of comparison (Job 39:19-25).
7. The instinct of the migratory birds leads
them with unfailing regularity to return every spring from their winter
abodes in summer climes (So 2:12); but
God's people will not return to Him even when the winter of His wrath
is past, and He invites them back to the spring of His favor.
in the heaven—emphatical. The birds
whose very element is the air, in which they are never at rest,
yet show a steady sagacity, which God's people do not.
times—namely, of migrating, and of
my people—This honorable title
aggravates the unnatural perversity of the Jews towards their
know not, &c.—(Jer 5:4, 5;
8. law … with us—(Ro 2:17). Possessing the law, on which they
prided themselves, the Jews might have become the wisest of nations;
but by their neglecting its precepts, the law became given "in vain,"
as far as they were concerned.
scribes—copyists. "In vain" copies
were multiplied. Maurer translates, "The
false pen of the scribes hath converted it [the law] into a lie." See
Margin, which agrees with Vulgate.
what wisdom—literally, "the wisdom of
what?" that is, "wisdom in what respect?" the Word of the Lord being
the only true source of wisdom (Ps 119:98-100; Pr 1:7;
10-12. Repeated from Jer 6:12-15. See a similar repetition, Jer
8:15; Jer 14:19.
inherit—succeed to the
possession of them.
11. (Eze 13:10).
13. surely consume—literally, "gathering
I will gather," or "consuming I will consume."
no grapes … nor figs—(Joe 1:7;
things that I have given … shall pass
away—rather, "I will appoint to them those who shall
overwhelm (pass over) them," that is, I will send the enemy upon them
[Maurer]. English Version accords
well with the context; Though their grapes and figs ripen, they shall
not be allowed to enjoy them.
14. assemble—for defense.
let us be silent—not assault the
enemy, but merely defend ourselves in quiet, until the storm blow
put us to silence—brought us to that
state that we can no longer resist the foe; implying silent
water of gall—literally, "water of the
poisonous plant," perhaps the poppy (Jer 9:15; 23:15).
15. Repeated (Jer 14:19).
We looked for—owing to the
expectations held out by the false prophets.
health—healing; that is, restoration
16. his horses—the Chaldean's.
was heard—the prophetical past for the
from Dan—bordering on Phœnicia.
This was to be Nebuchadnezzar's route in invading Israel; the
cavalry in advance of the infantry would scour the country.
strong ones—a poetical phrase for
steeds, peculiar to Jeremiah (Jer 47:3; compare Jer 4:13, 29; 6:23).
cockatrices—basilisks (Isa 11:8), that is, enemies whose destructive
power no means, by persuasion or otherwise, can counteract.
Serpent-charmers in the East entice serpents by music, and by a
particular pressure on the neck render them incapable of darting (Ps 58:4, 5).
18. (Isa 22:4). The lamentation of the prophet for the
impending calamity of his country.
against sorrow—or, with respect
to sorrow. Maurer translates, "Oh,
my exhilaration as to sorrow!" that is, "Oh, that exhilaration
('comfort', from an Arabic root, to shine as the rising
sun) would shine upon me as to my sorrow!"
in me—within me.
19. The prophet in vision hears the cry of the
exiled Jews, wondering that God should have delivered them up to the
enemy, seeing that He is Zion's king, dwelling in her (Mic 3:11). In the latter half of the verse God
replies that their own idolatry, not want of faithfulness on His part,
is the cause.
because of them that dwell in a far
country—rather, "from a land of distances," that is, a
distant land (Isa 39:3).
English Version understands the cry to be of the Jews in
their own land, because of the enemy coming from their far-off
strange vanities—foreign gods.
20. Proverbial. Meaning: One season of hope
after another has passed, but the looked-for deliverance never came,
and now all hope is gone.
21. black—sad in visage with grief
22. balm—balsam; to be applied to
the wounds of my people. Brought into Judea first from Arabia Felix, by
the queen of Sheba, in Solomon's time [Josephus, Antiquities, 8.2]. The
opobalsamum of Pliny; or else
[Bochart] the resin drawn from the
terebinth. It abounded in Gilead, east of Jordan, where, in
consequence, many "physicians" established themselves (Jer 46:11; 51:8; Ge 37:25; 43:11).
health … recovered—The
Hebrew is literally, "lengthening out … gone up"; hence,
the long bandage applied to bind up a wound. So the
Arabic also [Gesenius].