Continuation of Address to the Ten Tribes of
Israel. (Jer 4:1, 2).
The Prophet Turns Again to Judah, to Whom He
Had Originally Been Sent (Jer 4:3-31).
1. return … return—play on words.
"If thou wouldest return to thy land (thou must first),
return (by conversion and repentance) to Me."
not remove—no longer be an unsettled
wanderer in a strange land. So Cain (Ge 4:12, 14).
2. And thou—rather, "And if
(carried on from Jer 4:1) thou
shalt swear, 'Jehovah liveth,' in truth, &c.", that is, if thou
shalt worship Him (for we swear by the God whom we
worship; compare De 6:13; 10:20; Isa 19:18; Am
8:14) in sincerity,
and the nations—Rather, this is
apodosis to the "if"; then shall the nations bless themselves in
(by) Him" (Isa 65:16).
The conversion of the nations will be the consequence of Israel's
conversion (Ps 102:13, 15; Ro 11:12, 15).
3. Transition to Judah. Supply mentally. All
which (the foregoing declaration as to Israel) applies to Judah.
and Jerusalem—that is, and
especially the men of Jerusalem, as being the most prominent in
Break … fallow ground—that is,
Repent of your idolatry, and so be prepared to serve the Lord in truth
10:12; Mt 13:7). The
unhumbled heart is like ground which may be improved, being let out to
us for that purpose, but which is as yet fallow, overgrown with weeds,
its natural product.
4. Remove your natural corruption of heart
(De 10:16; 30:6; Ro 2:29; Col 2:11).
5. cry, gather together—rather, "cry
fully" that is, loudly. The Jews are warned to take measures against
the impending Chaldean invasion (compare Jer 8:14).
6. Zion—The standard toward Zion
intimated that the people of the surrounding country were to fly
to it, as being the strongest of their fortresses.
7. lion—Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans
(Jer 2:15; 5:6; Da 7:14).
his thicket—lair; Babylon.
destroyer of the Gentiles—rather, "the
nations" (Jer 25:9).
8. Nothing is left to the Jews but to bewail
their desperate condition.
anger … not turned back—(Isa 9:12,
9. heart—The wisdom of the most
leading men will be utterly at a loss to devise means of relief.
10. thou hast … deceived—God,
having even the false prophets in His hands, is here said to do that
which for inscrutable purposes He permits them to do (Ex 9:12;
2Th 2:11; compare Jer 8:15; which passage shows that the
dupes of error were self-prepared for it, and that God's
predestination did not destroy their moral freedom as voluntary
agents). The false prophets foretold "peace," and the Jews believed
them; God overruled this to His purposes (Jer
5:12; 14:13; Eze 14:9).
soul—rather, "reacheth to the
11. dry wind—the simoom, terrific
and destructive, blowing from the southeast across the sandy deserts
east of Palestine. Image of the invading Babylonian army (Ho 13:15). Babylon in its turn shall be visited
by a similar "destroying wind" (Jer 51:1).
of … high places—that is, that
sweeps over the high places.
daughter—that is, the children
of my people.
not to fan—a very different wind from
those ordinary winds employed for fanning the grain in the open
12. full … from those
places—rather, "a wind fuller (that is, more
impetuous) than those winds" (which fan the corn) (Jer 4:11) [Rosenmuller].
unto me—"for Me," as My instrument for
executing My purpose.
sentence—judgments against them
13. clouds—continuing the metaphor in
4:11:12. Clouds of sand and
dust accompany the simoom, and after rapid gyrations ascend like a
eagles—(De 28:49; Hab 1:8).
Woe unto us—The people are graphically
presented before us, without it being formally so stated, bursting out
in these exclamations.
14. Only one means of deliverance is left to
the Jews—a thorough repentance.
vain thoughts—namely, projects for
deliverance, such as enlisting the Egyptians on their side. Gesenius translates, "How long wilt thou
harbor vain thoughts?"
15. For … from Dan—The connection
is: There is danger in delay; for the voice of a messenger
announces the approach of the Chaldean enemy from Dan, the northern
frontier of Palestine (Jer 8:16;
compare Jer 4:6; Jer 1:14).
Mount Ephraim—which borders closely on
Judah; so that the foe is coming nearer and nearer. Dan and Beth-el in
Ephraim were the two places where Jeroboam set up the idolatrous
calves (1Ki 12:29);
16. The neighboring foreign "nations" are
summoned to witness Jehovah's judgments on His rebel people (Jer 6:18,
watchers—that is, besiegers (compare
11:16); observed or watched,
that is, besieged.
their voice—the war shout.
17. keepers of a field—metaphor from
those who watch a field, to frighten away the wild beasts.
18. (Jer 2:17, 19; Ps 107:17).
this is thy wickedness—that is, the
fruit of thy wickedness.
19. The prophet suddenly assumes the language
of the Jewish state personified, lamenting its affliction (Jer 10:19, 20; 9:1, 10; Isa 15:5; compare Lu 19:41).
at my very heart—Hebrew, "at
the walls of my heart"; the muscles round the heart. There is a climax,
the "bowels," the pericardium, the "heart" itself.
maketh … noise—moaneth [Henderson].
alarm—the battle shout.
20. Destruction … cried—Breach
upon breach is announced (Ps 42:7; Eze 7:26). The war "trumpet" … the battle
shout … the "destructions" … the havoc throughout "the
whole land" … the spoiling of the shepherds' "tents" (Jer 10:20; or, "tents" means cities,
which should be overthrown as easily as tents [Calvin]), form a gradation.
21. Judah in perplexity asks, How long is this
state of things to continue?
22. Jehovah's reply; they cannot be otherwise
than miserable, since they persevere in sin. The repetition of clauses
gives greater force to the sentiment.
wise … evil … to do good … no
knowledge—reversing the rule (Ro 16:19) "wise unto … good, simple
23. Graphic picture of the utter desolation
about to visit Palestine. "I beheld, and lo!" four times solemnly
repeated, heightens the awful effect of the scene (compare Isa 24:19;
without form and void—reduced to the
primeval chaos (Ge 1:2).
24. mountains—(Isa 5:25).
moved lightly—shook vehemently.
25. no man … birds—No vestige of
the human, or of the feathered creation, is to be seen (Eze 38:20; Zep
26. fruitful place—Hebrew,
"the wilderness," in contrast to "the fruitful place";
the great desert, where Carmel was, there is now the
desert of Arabia [Maurer].
cities—in contrast to the fruitful
place or field.
27. full end—utter destruction: I will
leave some hope of restoration (Jer 5:10, 18; 30:11;
46:28; compare Le 26:44).
28. For this—on account of the
desolations just described (Isa 5:30; Ho 4:3).
not repent—(Nu 23:19).
29. whole city—Jerusalem: to it the
inhabitants of the country had fled for refuge; but when it, too, is
likely to fall, they flee out of it to hide in the "thickets." Henderson translates, "every city."
noise—The mere noise of the hostile
horsemen shall put you to flight.
30. when thou art spoiled—rather, "thou,
O destroyed one" [Maurer].
rentest … face with
painting—Oriental women paint their eyes with stibium, or
antimony, to make them look full and sparkling, the black margin
causing the white of the eyes to appear the brighter by contrast (2Ki 9:30). He uses the term "distendest" in
derision of their effort to make their eyes look large [Maurer]; or else, "rentest," that is, dost lacerate
by puncturing the eyelid in order to make the antimony adhere [Rosenmuller]. So the Jews use every artifice
to secure the aid of Egypt against Babylon.
face—rather, thy eyes (Eze 23:40).
31. anguish—namely, occasioned by the
attack of the enemy.
daughter of Zion—There is peculiar
beauty in suppressing the name of the person in trouble, until that
trouble had been fully described [Henderson].
bewaileth herself—rather, "draweth her
breath short" [Horsley]; "panteth."
spreadeth … hands—(La 1:17).