Jer 19:1-15. The Desolation
of the Jews for Their Sins Foretold in the Valley of Hinnom; the Symbol
of Breaking a Bottle.
Referred by Maurer,
&c., to the beginning of Zedekiah's reign.
1. bottle—Hebrew, bakuk, so
called from the gurgling sound which it makes when being emptied.
ancients—elders. As witnesses of the
symbolic action (Jer 19:10; Isa 8:1, 2), that the Jews might not afterwards
plead ignorance of the prophecy. The seventy-two elders, composing the
Sanhedrim, or Great Council, were taken partly from "the priests,"
partly from the other tribes, that is, "the people," the former
presiding over spiritual matters, the latter over civil; the
seventy-two represented the whole people.
2. valley of the son of Hinnom—or
Tophet, south of Jerusalem, where human victims were offered, and
children made to pass through the fire, in honor of Molech.
east gate—Margin, "sun gate,"
sunrise being in the east. Maurer
translates, the "potter's gate." Through it lay the road to the valley
of Hinnom (Jos 15:8).
The potters there formed vessels for the use of the temple, which was
close by (compare Jer 19:10, 14; Jer 18:2; Zec
11:13). The same as "the
water gate toward the east" (Ne 3:26; 12:37); so called from the brook Kedron. Calvin translates, as English Version
and Margin. "It was monstrous perversity to tread the law under
foot in so conspicuous a place, over which the sun daily rising
reminded them of the light of God's law."
3. The scene of their guilt is chosen as the
scene of the denunciation against them.
kings—the king and queen (Jer 13:18); or including the king's counsellors
and governors under him.
tingle—as if struck by a thunder peal
(1Sa 3:11; 2Ki 21:12).
4. (Isa 65:11).
estranged this place—devoted it to the
worship of strange gods: alienating a portion of the sacred city from
God, the rightful Lord of the temple, city, and whole land.
nor their fathers—namely, the
godly among them; their ungodly fathers God makes no
blood of innocents—slain in honor of
Molech (Jer 7:31; Ps 106:37).
5. commanded not—nay, more, I commanded
the opposite (Le 18:21;
6. no more … Tophet—from
Hebrew, toph, "drum"; for in sacrificing children to Molech
drums were beaten to drown their cries. Thus the name indicated the
joy of the people at the fancied propitiation of the god by this
sacrifice; in antithesis to its joyless name subsequently.
valley of slaughter—It should be the
scene of slaughter, no longer of children, but of men; not of
"innocents" (Jer 19:4),
but of those who richly deserved their fate. The city could not be
assailed without first occupying the valley of Hinnom, in which was the
only fountain: hence arose the violent battle there.
7. make void the counsel—defeat their
plans for repelling the enemy (2Ch 32:1-4; Isa 19:3;
22:9, 11). Or their schemes
of getting help by having recourse to idols [Calvin].
in this place—The valley of Hinnom was
to be the place of the Chaldean encampment; the very place where they
looked for help from idols was to be the scene of their own
8. (See on Jer
9. (De 28:53; La 4:10).
10. break … bottle—a symbolical
action, explained in Jer 19:11.
the men—the elders of the people and
of the priests (Jer 19:1;
compare Jer 51:63, 64).
11. as one breaketh a potter's
vessel—expressing God's absolute sovereignty (Jer
18:6; Ps 2:9; Isa 30:14,
Margin; La 4:2; Ro 9:20, 21).
cannot be made whole again—A broken
potter's vessel cannot be restored, but a new one may be made of the
same material. So God raised a new Jewish seed, not identical with the
destroyed rebels, but by substituting another generation in their stead
no place to bury—(Jer 7:32).
12. make this city as Tophet—that is, as
defiled with dead bodies as Tophet.
13. shall be defiled—with dead bodies
(Jer 19:12; 2Ki 23:10).
because of all the houses—Rather,
(explanatory of the previous "the houses … and … houses"),
"even all the houses," &c. [Calvin].
roofs—being flat, they were used as
high places for sacrifices to the sun and planets (Jer 32:29; 2Ki 23:11, 12; Zep 1:5). The Nabateans, south and east of the
Dead Sea, a nation most friendly to the Jews, according to Strabo, had the same usage.
14. court of the Lord's house—near
Tophet; the largest court, under the open air, where was the greatest
15. her towns—the suburban villages and
towns near Jerusalem, such as Bethany.