The Cause of the Judgments to Be Inflicted Is
the Universal Corruption of the People.
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 (Isa 9:16) [Calvin]; the godly, moreover, were forbidden to
intercede for them (Jer 7:16;
compare Ge 18:23, &c.; Ps 12:1; Eze 22:30).
see … know—look …
pardon it—rather, her.
2. (Tit 1:16).
swear falsely—not a judicial oath; but
their profession of the worship of Jehovah is insincere (Jer 5:7; Jer
4:2). The reformation under
Josiah was merely superficial in the case of the majority.
3. eyes upon the truth—(De 32:4; 2Ch
16:9). "Truth" is in contrast
with "swear falsely" (Jer 5:2). The
false-professing Jews could expect nothing but judgments from the God
stricken … not grieved—(Jer
2:30; Isa 1:5; 9:13).
refused … correction—(Jer 7:28;
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
but these—I found the very reverse to
be the case.
burst … bonds—set God's law at
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 prey (Ps
104:20; Hab 1:8; Zep 3:3).
leopard … watch …
cities—(Ho 13:7). It
shall lie in wait about their cities.
7. It would not be consistent with God's
holiness to let such wickedness pass unpunished.
sworn by—(Jer 5:2; Jer
4:2); that is,
no gods—(De 32:21).
fed … to the full—so the
Keri (Hebrew Margin) reads. God's bountifulness is
contrasted with their apostasy (De 32:15). 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
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—(Isa 5:11). "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 (Jer 2:23). But English Version is simpler
(compare Jer 13:27; Eze 22:11).
9. (Jer 5:29; Jer 9:9;
10. Abrupt apostrophe to the Babylonians, to
take Jerusalem, but not to destroy the nation utterly (see on Jer 4:27).
[Maurer]: the state being compared to a
vine (Jer 12:10),
the stem of which was to be spared, while the tendrils (the chief men)
were to be removed.
11. (Jer 3:20).
It is not he—rather, "(Jehovah) is not
He," that is, the true and only God
(Jer 14:22; De 32:39; Isa 43:10, 13). By their idolatry they virtually
denied Him. Or, referring to what follows, and to Jer 5:9, "(Jehovah) is not," namely, about to be
the punisher of our sins (Jer 14:13; Isa 28:15).
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 them" (Ho 1:2) [Rosenmuller].
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 (Jer 5:19).
fire … wood—Thy denunciations of
judgments shall be fulfilled and shall consume them as fire does wood.
23:29 it is the
penetrating energy of fire which is the point of comparison.
15. (Jer 1:15; 6:22). Alluding to De 28:49, &c.
Israel—that is, Judah.
mighty—from an Arabic root,
"enduring." The fourfold repetition of "nation" heightens the
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 (see on Isa 23:13).
language … knowest not—Isa 36:11 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 Ps 5:9). Their quiver is all-devouring, as the
grave opened to receive the dead: as many as are the arrows, so many
are the deaths.
17. (Le 26:16).
18. Not even in those days of
judgments, will God utterly exterminate His people.
I will not make a full end with
you—(Jer 5:10; Jer 4:27).
19. Retribution in kind. As ye have forsaken
2:13), 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 De 29:4; Isa 6:9). 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; Pr 8:29; Re 15:4).
23. (Jer 6:28).
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 (De 11:14; Joe 2:23).
weeks of … harvest—the seven
weeks between passover and pentecost, beginning on the sixteenth of
16:9). By God's special
providence no rain fell in Palestine during the harvest weeks, so that
harvest work went on without interruption (see Ge 8:22).
25. National guilt had caused the suspension
of these national mercies mentioned in Jer 5:24 (compare Jer 3:3).
26. (Pr 1:11, 17, 18; Hab
as he that setteth snares—rather, "as
fowlers crouch" [Maurer].
trap—literally, "destruction": the
instrument of destruction.
catch men—not as Peter, to save (Lu 5:10), but to destroy men.
27. full of deceit—full of treasures got
rich—(Ps 73:12, 18-20).
28. shine—the effect of fatness on the
32:15). They live a life of
overpass … the wicked—exceed
even the Gentiles in wickedness (Jer 2:33; Eze 5:6, 7).
judge not … fatherless—(Isa 1:23).
yet … prosper—(Jer 12:1).
29. (Jer 5:9; Mal 3:5).
30. (Jer 23:14; Ho 6:10).
31. bear rule by their means—literally,
"according to their hands," that is, under their guidance (1Ch 25:3). As a sample of the priests lending
themselves to the deceits of the false prophets, to gain influence over
the people, see Jer 29:24-32.
love to have it so—(Mic 2:11).
end thereof—the fatal issue of this
sinful course when divine judgments shall come.