Jeremiah 4:10

10. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.

10. Et dixi, Ha, ha, Domine Jehova, certe decipiendo decepisti populum hunc et Jerosolymam, dicendo, Pax erit vobis; et pertigit gladius usque ad animam (tamen pertigit, nam hic copula vice adversativae ponitur).


Some so understand this passage as though the Prophet brought forward what was said by the people; for all the most wicked, when oppressed by God's hand, usually cast the blame on him, and in their complaints contend and dispute with him. Hence they think that the Prophet here, not in his own person, but in that of the whole people, speaks thus: "O Lord, what can this be? thou surely hast deceived us." Others give somewhat a looser explanation, that the Prophet here indirectly expostulates with God, because he had suffered the false prophets to flatter the people so as to stupefy the minds of all. But a different meaning is what I approve of: the Prophet, I think, tauntingly exposes those false adulations, by which the prophets had caused the ruin of the miserable Jews, by promising them God's forgiveness, and by ever announcing favorable predictions.

God no doubt rendered the Jews their just reward, when he suffered them to be deceived by impostors: we, indeed, know that the world is ever afflicted with this disease, -- that they seek flatteries, as God upbraids them by Micah:

"Ye seek prophets who promise to you an abundant harvest, an abundant vintage." (Micah 2:11)

Since, then, the Jews wished their vices to be spared, and not only disliked their faithful and severe reprovers, but also hated them, they had deserved to be thus dealt with: it was God's will that many impostors should assume the prophetic name. Thus it happened, that the Jews thought that their peaceable condition would be perpetual; and this, as I have said, is usual with hypocrites. Now the Prophet, in a biting strain, exposes here these deceptions, and says, Ah, ah, Jehovah! surely thou hast deceived this people: for the Prophet does not speak in the person of the people, nor does he complain, that God permitted so much liberty to false prophets; but he derides these impostors as well as the people. And further, as they were all deaf, he turns to God, as though he had said, "Behold, Lord, worthy of this reward are they, who have sought flatteries, and have not attended to the holy warnings of thy servants: as, then, no kind of correction was what they could endure, let them now begin to learn that they have been deceived by others rather than by thee."1

We then see that the Prophet ridicules that stupidity in which the Jews had been so long asleep; and the simple meaning is, that he turned to God: I have said, O Lord Jehovah, surely thou hast deceived this people. "Surely" is to be taken in an ironical sense; that is, "It now really appears that they have been deceived; but by whom? They wish, indeed, to throw the blame on thee; but they are justly chargeable with foolish credulity, so that they, whom the false prophets have deceived, have been rightly dealt with." What they said was, Peace shall be to you.

This never came from the mouth of God; for Jeremiah daily thundered and threatened approaching ruin; for he was like a celestial herald, who filled every place with terror; but he was not heard: and at the same time the Jews praised the false prophets, who soothed them with various promises. We hence perceive, that God had not spoken peace to them; but that the Jews, not only willingly, but with avidity, laid hold on those things by which the false prophets sought to gratify them.

He afterwards adds, And reached has the sword unto the soul; that is, "Yet we are now destroyed by fatal evils." The Prophet here indirectly sets before them those delusive flatteries with which the Jews pleased themselves, and shews that they would at length really find how falsely they pretended the name of God. It follows --

1 There are various expositions of this verse: but the simpler and the plainer mode would be to take rma as a noun, word, speech, saying, with an auxiliary verb, which is commonly omitted in Hebrew. The connection with the foregoing would be obvious and natural,-

And the saying will be, "Alas! Lord Jehovah, Surely, deceiving thou hast deceived This people and Jerusalem, By saying, 'Peace shall be to you;' And reach does the sword even to the soul."

This would be the language of such as believed the false prophets, and considered them as sent by God.

But Lowth, Henry, Venema, Scott, and others, take this view,-that God had permitted or suffered the people to be deceived by the false prophets. It is said that this verb in Hiphil, as the case is here, has sometimes this meaning, and Lowth refers, as instances, to Isaiah 63:17, and also to Psalm 119:10; Proverbs 10:3. But the sentiment of the passage in this case would not be very suitable: for, according to this view, the cause of the Prophet's grief is, that God had suffered the people to be deceived.

"It shall be said," in the next verse, seems to be put in contrast with this "saying." Instead of what would be commonly said of the people, God reminds them of what he would cause to be said and effected.-Ed.