Jeremiah 2:29

29. Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord.

29. Cur litigatis mecum omnes impie agentes in me (vel, perfide)? dicit Jehova.


Jeremiah concludes here his previous subject: he says that the Jews gained nothing by alleging against God that they were innocent, and by thinking that they could by mere words escape his judgment, and not only by doing so, but also by hurrying on to such a degree of presumption as to challenge God himself, and to seek to prove him guilty. But God answers them in one word, and says, that they were perfidious. The meaning then is, that the Jews ill consulted their own interest in hardening themselves in their obduracy; for God would hold them fully convicted of impiety, so that they in vain alleged this or that as an excuse.1

Now this passage deserves especial notice: for we know how prone we are by nature to hypocrisy; and when God summons us to his tribunal, hardly one in a hundred will acknowledge his guilt and humbly pray for forgiveness; but the greater part complains, nay almost all murmur against God, and still more, they gather boldness, and proudly dare to challenge and defy God. Since, then, hypocrisy thus prevails in us and is deeply fixed in the hearts of almost all, and since hypocrisy generates insolence and pride against God, let us remember what the Prophet says here, -- that all who dispute against God gain nothing by their excuses, because he will at length detect their defection and perfidy. It then follows --

1 The verb rendered "plead" in our version, is followed by la, against or in opposition to. There are two other instances, Judges 21:22; Job 33:13. Our version in Job is, "Why dost thou strive against him?" The most suitable rendering of this passage is,

Why should ye contend against (or, with) me?

Then follows a fact sufficient to put an end to all contention,-

All of you have rebelled against me, Saith Jehovah.

The primary idea of esp is, to go, to pass, to march on. See Isaiah 28:4. Its meaning depends on the preposition which follows it. Followed by le, over, it means to transgress, it being a going or passing over the limits set by the law, Hosea 8:1,-by m, to go from, to revolt, to apostatize, 2 Kings 8:22,-and by b, to go against, to rebel, as in this passage. Hence the noun has attained various meanings-transgression, apostasy, and rebellion. Its precise meaning in any case is to be determined by the context. Gataker and Blayhey render the verb here the same,-

All of you have rebelled against me, saith Jehovah.

The early versions vary. The Septuagint have "hjsebh>sate-ye have acted impiously," the Syriac, "ye have denied me,"-the Arabic, "ye have sinned against me,"-and the Vulgate, "ye have forsaken me." The general idea is the same, but the specific one is that of rebelling against God.-Ed.