World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2Thus says the Lord:
Idolatry Has Brought Ruin on Israel
Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2Thus says the Lord:
Do not learn the way of the nations,
or be dismayed at the signs of the heavens;
for the nations are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the peoples are false:
a tree from the forest is cut down,
and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan;
people deck it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
nor is it in them to do good.
There is none like you, O Lord;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
For that is your due;
among all the wise ones of the nations
and in all their kingdoms
there is no one like you.
They are both stupid and foolish;
the instruction given by idols
is no better than wood!
Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
and gold from Uphaz.
They are the work of the artisan and of the hands of the goldsmith;
their clothing is blue and purple;
they are all the product of skilled workers.
But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
11 Thus shall you say to them: The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.
It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightnings for the rain,
and he brings out the wind from his storehouses.
Everyone is stupid and without knowledge;
goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols;
for their images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
Not like these is the Lord, the portion of Jacob,
for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
The Coming Exile
Gather up your bundle from the ground,
O you who live under siege!
For thus says the Lord:
I am going to sling out the inhabitants of the land
at this time,
and I will bring distress on them,
so that they shall feel it.
Woe is me because of my hurt!
My wound is severe.
But I said, “Truly this is my punishment,
and I must bear it.”
My tent is destroyed,
and all my cords are broken;
my children have gone from me,
and they are no more;
there is no one to spread my tent again,
and to set up my curtains.
For the shepherds are stupid,
and do not inquire of the Lord;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered.
Hear, a noise! Listen, it is coming—
a great commotion from the land of the north
to make the cities of Judah a desolation,
a lair of jackals.
I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control,
that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.
Correct me, O Lord, but in just measure;
not in your anger, or you will bring me to nothing.
Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you,
and on the peoples that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob;
they have devoured him and consumed him,
and have laid waste his habitation.
Jer 10:1-25. Contrast between the Idols and Jehovah. The Prophet's Lamentation and Prayer.
1. Israel—the Jews, the surviving representatives of the nation.
2. Eichorn thinks the reference here to be to some celestial portent which had appeared at that time, causing the Jews' dismay. Probably the reference is general, namely, to the Chaldeans, famed as astrologers, through contact with whom the Jews were likely to fall into the same superstition.
signs of heaven—The Gentiles did not acknowledge a Great First Cause: many thought events depended on the power of the stars, which some, as Plato, thought to be endued with spirit and reason. All heavenly phenomena, eclipses, comets, &c., are included.
one cutteth a tree, &c.—rather, "It (that which they busy themselves about: a sample of their 'customs') is a tree cut out of the forest" [Maurer].
4. fasten … move not—that is, that it may stand upright without risk of falling, which the god (!) would do, if left to itself (Isa 41:7).
5. upright—or, "They are of turned work, resembling a palm tree" [Maurer]. The point of comparison between the idol and the palm is in the pillar-like uprightness of the latter, it having no branches except at the top.
speak not—(Ps 115:5).
neither … do good—(Isa 41:23).
7. (Re 15:4).
to thee doth it appertain—to Thee it properly belongs, namely, that Thou shouldest be "feared" (taken out of the previous "fear Thee") (compare Eze 21:27). He alone is the becoming object of worship. To worship any other is unseemly and an infringement of His inalienable prerogative.
8. altogether—rather, "all alike" [Maurer]. Even the so-called "wise" men (Jer 10:7) of the Gentiles are on a level with the brutes and "foolish," namely, because they connive at the popular idolatry (compare Ro 1:21-28). Therefore, in Daniel and Revelation, the world power is represented under a bestial form. Man divests himself of his true humanity, and sinks to the level of the brute, when he severs his connection with God (Ps 115:8; Jon 2:8).
stock is a doctrine of vanities—The stock (put for the worship of all idols whatever, made out of a stock) speaks for itself that the whole theory of idolatry is vanity (Isa 44:9-11). Castalio translates, "the very wood itself confuting the vanity" (of the idol).
9. Everything connected with idols is the result of human effort.
Tarshish—Tartessus, in Spain, famed for precious metals.
Uphaz—(Da 10:5). As the Septuagint in the Syrian Hexapla in the Margin, Theodotus, the Syrian and Chaldee versions have "Ophir," Gesenius thinks "Uphaz" a colloquial corruption (one letter only being changed) for "Ophir." Ophir, in Ge 10:29, is mentioned among Arabian countries. Perhaps Malacca is the country meant, the natives of which still call their gold mines Ophirs. Heeren thinks Ophir the general name for the rich countries of the south, on the Arabian, African, and Indian coasts; just as our term, East Indies.
10. true God—literally, "God Jehovah is truth"; not merely true, that is, veracious, but truth in the reality of His essence, as opposed to the "vanity" or emptiness which all idols are (Jer 10:3, 8, 15; 2Ch 15:3; Ps 31:5; 1Jo 5:20).
everlasting—(Ps 10:16). In contrast to the temporary existence of all other objects of worship.
11. This verse is in Chaldee, Jeremiah supplying his countrymen with a formula of reply to Chaldee idolaters in the tongue most intelligible to the latter. There may be also derision intended in imitating their barbarous dialect. Rosenmuller objects to this view, that not merely the words put in the mouths of the Israelites, but Jeremiah's own introductory words, "Thus shall ye say to them," are in Chaldee, and thinks it to be a marginal gloss. But it is found in all the oldest versions. It was an old Greek saying: "Whoever thinks himself a god besides the one God, let him make another world" (Ps 96:5).
these heavens—the speaker pointing to them with his fingers.
waters—(Ge 1:7)—above the firmament; heavy rains accompany thunder.
vapours … ascend—(Ps 135:7).
14. in his knowledge—"is rendered brutish by his skill," namely, in idol-making (Jer 10:8, 9). Thus the parallel, "confounded by the graven image," corresponds (so Jer 51:17). Others not so well translate, "without knowledge," namely, of God (see Isa 42:17; 45:16; Ho 4:6).
15. errors—deceptions; from a Hebrew root, "to stutter"; then meaning "to mock."
their visitation they—When God shall punish the idol-worshippers (namely, by Cyrus), the idols themselves shall be destroyed [Rosenmuller] (Jer 10:11).
not like them—not like the idols, a vain object of trust (De 32:31).
former of all things—the Fashioner (as a potter, Isa 64:8) of the universe.
rod of his inheritance—The portion marked off as His inheritance by the measuring rod (Eze 48:21). As He is their portion, so are they His portion (De 32:9). A reciprocal tie (compare Jer 51:19; Ps 74:2, Margin). Others make "rod" refer to the tribal rod or scepter.
17. wares—thine effects or movable goods (Eze 12:3). Prepare for migrating as captives to Babylon. The address is to Jerusalem, as representative of the whole people.
inhabitant of the fortress—rather, "inhabitress of the fortress." Though thou now seemest to inhabit an impregnable fortress, thou shalt have to remove. "The land" is the champaign region opposed to the "fortified" cities. The "fortress" being taken, the whole "land" will share the disaster. Henderson translates, "Gather up thy packages from the ground." Rosenmuller, for "fortress," translates, "siege," that is, the besieged city. The various articles, in this view, are supposed to be lying about in confusion on the ground during the siege.
at this once—at this time, now.
find it so—find it by experience, that is, feel it (Eze 6:10). Michaelis translates, "I will bind them together (as in a sling) that they may reach the goal" (Babylon). English Version is best: "that they may find it so as I have said" (Nu 23:19; Eze 6:10).
19. Judea bewails its calamity.
wound—the stroke I suffer under.
I must bear—not humble submission to God's will (Mic 7:9), but sullen impenitence. Or, rather, it is prophetical of their ultimate acknowledgment of their guilt as the cause of their calamity (La 3:39).
20. tabernacle is spoiled—metaphor from the tents of nomadic life; as these are taken down in a few moments, so as not to leave a vestige of them, so Judea (Jer 4:20).
cords—with which the coverings of the tent are extended.
21. pastors—the rulers, civil and religious. This verse gives the cause of the impending calamity.
22. bruit—rumor of invasion. The antithesis is between the voice of God in His prophets to whom they turned a deaf ear, and the cry of the enemy, a new teacher, whom they must hear [Calvin].
north country—Babylon (Jer 1:15).
23. Despairing of influencing the people, he turns to God.
way of man not in himself—(Pr 16:1; 20:24; Jas 4:13, 14). I know, O Jehovah, that the march of the Babylonian conqueror against me (Jeremiah identifying himself with his people) is not at his own discretion, but is overruled by Thee (Isa 10:5-7; compare Jer 10:19).
that walketh—when he walketh, that is, sets out in any undertaking.
direct … steps—to give a prosperous issue to (Ps 73:23).
24, 25. Since I (my nation) must be corrected (justice requiring it because of the deep guilt of the nation), I do not deprecate all chastisement, but pray only for moderation in it (Jer 30:11; Ps 6:1; 38:1); and that the full tide of Thy fury may be poured out on the heathen invaders for their cruelty towards Thy people. Ps 79:6, 7, a psalm to be referred to the time of the captivity, its composer probably repeated this from Jeremiah. The imperative, "Pour out," is used instead of the future, expressing vividly the certainty of the prediction, and that the word of God itself effects its own declarations. Accordingly, the Jews were restored after correction; the Babylonians were utterly extinguished.
know thee … call … on thy name—Knowledge of God is the beginning of piety; calling on Him the fruit.
heathen … Jacob—He reminds God of the distinction He has made between His people whom Jacob represents, and the heathen aliens. Correct us as Thy adopted sons, the seed of Jacob; destroy them as outcasts (Zec 1:14, 15, 21).