Jeremiah 2:37

37. Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.

37. Et jam ab hoc (ab hac re, hoc est, propter hoc scelus) egredieris, et manus tuae super caput tuum, quia detestatur Jehova confidentias tuas, et in illis non prospere tibi succedet.


He expresses more clearly what he had said of the shameful character of his own nation, -- that the Jews, who thought that their safety would be secured by the Egyptians, were seeking their own entire ruin. This seemed to them indeed incredible; for as the Egyptians were neighbors, and as the Jews then only feared the Assyrians and Chaldeans, who were afar off, they thought that they had the best prospect: "What! our enemies are distant from us twenty or thirty days' journey; and those who are prepared to help us will be soon with us at the shortest warning." Hence the Jews thought, as we have said, that they were quite safe. But the Prophet here declares, that they were greatly mistaken; for on account of this wickedness, that is, because they trusted in their unlawful and accursed treaty, and promised themselves peace from their enemies, or thought that they could easily overcome them; on this account, he says, thou shalt go forth: but nothing could have been less credible to the Jews than what the Prophet said; for as the Egyptians opposed themselves as a wall against the Chaldeans, and were deemed unassailable, who could have otherwise thought but that the Jews would be preserved quiet in their own country? But he says, Go forth shalt thou, and thine hands on thy head.1

By this gesture he means extreme despair; for women did either strike or extend their arms when any great calamity happened, as we see it done often in the present day; for when a woman, not able to keep within due bounds, either loses a husband, or expects some very great calamity, she beats her breast, or raises up her hands, according to what is said here. Jeremiah then mentions this gesture as an evidence of extreme despair; as though he had said, "The treaty which fills the Jews with so much confidence shall be so far from being advantageous to them, that it will, on the contrary, bring on them utter ruin and disgrace.2 But the reason which follows ought especially to be observed, because abhor does Jehovah thy confidences. The Prophet here shews why he had spoken so severely. It might have appeared that he spoke hyperbolically when he said, that the people were like an abandoned harlot, who rambled here and there in all directions: but the reason here given ought to have been sufficient to take away all evasions, and that is, that they foolishly trusted in those fallacious helps which they knew were condemned by God. Had this been permitted by God, they would not have been so severely reprimanded; but as God had forbidden them to flee to the Egyptians, it was in the first place a disallowed confidence; and in the second place, they thus despised the aid of God, and cast aside, as it were, all his promises: for as their hearts were fixed on the Egyptians, and as they thought that their safety would be secured by them; so their prayer to God became not only cold, but almost wholly extinguished.

We hence see that the Prophet did not exceed due limits when he spoke against the Jews with so much displeasure, and condemned them in such reproachful terms; for they had transferred the glory due to God to the Egyptians, when they considered them to be the authors of their safety; and they had thus despised the promises of God, so that there was no attention given to prayer: Abhor, then, does Jehovah thy confidences.3

He then adds, Thou shalt not prosper in them. It ought to be carefully observed, that whatever we resolve to do that is not approved by God, cannot possibly succeed; for God will subvert all our hopes. Let us then know that here is set before us the punishment of all unbelievers, who, being not content with God's protection, wander after vain and false objects of trust, and prefer to have men propitious to them rather than God himself. Now follows --

1 There are three other expositions of the words rendered by Calvin, "on this account." One is that of our version, "from him;" the second is, "from hence," i.e., from Egypt, adopted by Piscator, Grotius, and Blayney; and the third is, "from here," i.e., from this place, their own land; which, as Gataker says, is probably "the genuine sense:" it is a threatening, that they were to be led into captivity. The rendering of the Septuagint is, "ejnteu~qen-from hence," or from this place; of the Vulgate, "ab ista-from that," meaning, evidently Egypt; of the Syriac and Targum, "ex hoc-from this;" and of Arabic, "illinc-from thence." The particle hz is "this," and not "that."-Ed.

2 "The gesture" mentioned here, a striking example of, we find in 2 Samuel 13:19. Many consider the w here as having the meaning of "with," and render the line as Blayney does,-

With thy hands upon thy head.

But more consistent with the genius of the language is to regard the auxiliary verb to be understood,-

And thy hands shall be on thy head.

There is a similar phrase in Isaiah 35:10, which ought to be rendered thus,-

And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.-Ed.

3 The verb for "abhor" is Mam, which means to reject, that is, with disdain and contempt; and the same when followed by b, though often rendered "despise" in our version. It is rendered "reject, "without the b, in 1 Samuel 15:23; Jeremiah 7:29; and "despise" being followed by b in Judges 9:38; Jeremiah 4:30. The early versions and the Targum mostly differ, and none of them give the specific meaning of the verb, except that the Septuagint give its meaning when not followed by b, "ajpw>sato-has rejected." The whole verse may be thus rendered,-

37.Also from this place shalt thou go forth, And thy hands shall be on thy head: For rejected has Jehovah those in whom thou trustest, And thou shalt not prosper by them.

It is not correct to render Kyxjbm, "thy confidences;" for the word means "thy confided ones, "it being a Huphal participle. The Syriac renders it, "those who afford thee confidence-fiduciam tibi praebentibus." Blayney's version is, "the objects of thy trust;" and he translates the verb, "reprobated." That this is its meaning when followed by b is evident from Jeremiah 6:30.-Ed.