Jeremiah's Lamentation for the Jews' Sins and
1. This verse is more fitly joined to the last
chapter, as verse 23 in
the Hebrew (compare Isa 22:4; La 2:11; 3:48).
2. lodging-place—a caravanseral for
caravans, or companies travelling in the desert, remote from towns. It
was a square building enclosing an open court. Though a lonely and
often filthy dwelling, Jeremiah would prefer even it to the comforts of
Jerusalem, so as to be removed from the pollutions of the capital
3. bend … tongues … for
lies—that is, with lies as their arrows; they direct lies on
their tongue as their bow (Ps 64:3, 4).
not valiant for … truth—(Jer 7:28). Maurer translates, "They do not prevail by
truth" or faith (Ps 12:4).
Their tongue, not faith, is their weapon.
upon … earth—rather, "in the
know not me—(Ho 4:1).
4. supplant—literally, "trip up by the
walk with slanders—(Jer 6:28).
5. weary themselves—are at laborious
pains to act perversely [Maurer].
Sin is a hard bondage (Hab 2:13).
6. Thine—God addresses Jeremiah, who
dwelt in the midst of deceitful men.
refuse to know me—Their ignorance of
God is wilful (Jer 9:3; 5:4, 5).
7. melt … try them—by sending
calamities on them.
for how shall I do—"What else
can I do for the sake of the daughter of My people?" [Maurer], (Isa 1:25; Mal 3:3).
8. tongue … arrow shot out—rather,
"a murdering arrow" [Maurer]
speaketh peaceably … in heart …
layeth … wait—layeth his ambush [Henderson], (Ps 55:21).
9. (Jer 5:9, 29).
10. Jeremiah breaks in upon Jehovah's threats
of wrath with lamentation for his desolated country.
mountains—once cultivated and
fruitful: the hillsides were cultivated in terraces between the
habitations of …
wilderness—rather, "the pleasant herbage (literally, 'the
choice parts' of any thing) of the pasture plain." The Hebrew
for "wilderness" expresses not a barren desert, but an untilled plain,
fit for pasture.
burned up—because no one waters them,
the inhabitants being all gone.
none can pass through them—much less
11. And—omit "And." Jehovah here resumes
His speech from Jer 9:9.
heaps—(see on Isa
12. Rather, "Who is a wise man? (that is,
Whosoever has inspired wisdom, 2Pe 3:15); let him understand this (weigh well
the evils impending, and the causes of their being sent); and he to
whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken (that is, whosoever is
prophetically inspired), let him declare it to his fellow
countrymen," if haply they may be roused to repentance, the only hope
13. Answer to the "for what the land
perisheth" (Jer 9:12).
14. (Jer 7:24).
Baalim—plural of Baal, to express his
supposed manifold powers.
fathers taught them—(Ga 1:14; 1Pe
1:18). We are not to follow
the errors of the fathers, but the authority of Scripture and of God
15. feed—(Jer 8:14; 23:15; Ps
16. nor their fathers have
known—alluding to Jer 9:14,
"Their fathers taught them" idolatry; therefore the children shall be
scattered to a land which neither their fathers nor they have
send a sword after them—Not even in
flight shall they be safe.
17. mourning women—hired to heighten
lamentation by plaintive cries baring the breast, beating the arms, and
suffering the hair to flow dishevelled (2Ch 35:25; Ec 12:5; Mt
cunning—skilled in wailing.
18. (Jer 14:17).
19. The cry of "the mourning women."
dwellings cast us out—fulfilling Le 18:28;
20:22. Calvin translates, "The enemy have cast down
20. Yet—rather, "Only" [Henderson]. This particle calls attention to what
teach … daughters wailing—The
deaths will be so many that there will be a lack of mourning women to
bewail them. The mothers, therefore, must teach their daughters the
science to supply the want.
21. death … windows—The
death-inflicting soldiery, finding the doors closed, burst in by the
to cut off … children from …
streets—Death cannot be said to enter the windows to
cut off the children in the streets, but to cut them off, so as
no more to play in the streets without (Zec 8:5).
22. saith the Lord—continuing the thread
of discourse from Jer 9:20.
handful … none … gather
them—implying that the handful has been so trodden as to be
not worth even the poor gleaner's effort to gather it. Or the
Eastern custom may be referred to: the reaper cuts the grain and is
followed by another who gathers it. This grain shall not be
worth gathering. How galling to the pride of the Jews to hear that so
shall their carcasses be trodden contemptuously under foot!
23. wisdom—political sagacity; as if
it could rescue from the impending calamities.
24. Nothing but an experimental knowledge of
God will save the nation.
knoweth—practically: so as to
walk in My ways (Jer 22:16; Job 22:21; 1Co 1:31).
loving kindness—God's mercy is put in
the first and highest place, because without it we should flee from God
in fear and despair.
righteousness—loving-kindness towards the godly;
judgment towards the ungodly; righteousness the most
perfect fairness in all cases [Grotius].
Faithfulness to His promises to preserve the godly, as well as
stern execution of judgment on the ungodly, is included in
in the earth—contrary to the dogma of
some philosophers, that God does not interfere in terrestrial concerns
in these … I delight—as well in
doing them as in seeing them done by others (Mic 6:8; 7:18).
25. with the uncircumcised—rather, "all
that are circumcised in uncircumcision" [Henderson]. The Hebrew is an abstract
term, not a concrete, as English Version translates, and
as the pious "circumcised" is. The nations specified, Egypt, Judah,
&c., were outwardly "circumcised," but in heart were
"uncircumcised." The heathen nations were defiled, in spite of their
literal circumcision, by idolatry. The Jews, with all their glorying in
their spiritual privileges, were no better (Jer 4:4; De 10:16; 30:6; Ro 2:28, 29; Col 2:11). However, Eze 31:18;
32:19, may imply that the
Egyptians were uncircumcised; and it is uncertain as to the other
nations specified whether they were at that early time circumcised.
Herodotus says the Egyptians were so;
but others think this applies only to the priests and others having a
sacred character, not to the mass of the nation; so English
Version may be right (Ro 2:28, 29).
26. Egypt—put first to degrade Judah,
who, though in privileges above the Gentiles, by unfaithfulness sank
below them. Egypt, too, was the power in which the Jews were so prone
to trust, and by whose instigation they, as well as the other peoples
specified, revolted from Babylon.
in the utmost corners—rather, "having
the hair shaven (or clipped) in angles," that is, having the
beard on the cheek narrowed or cut: a Canaanitish custom,
forbidden to the Israelites (Le 19:27; 21:5). The Arabs are hereby referred to
(compare Jer 25:23; 49:32), as the words in apposition show, "that
dwell in the wilderness."
uncircumcised … uncircumcised in the
heart—The addition of "in the heart" in Israel's case
marks its greater guilt in proportion to its greater privileges,
as compared with the rest.