Jeremiah 4:18

18. Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.

18. Via tua et actiones tuae fecerunt hoc tibi; haec malitia tua, quoniam amarum, quoniam pertigit ad cor tuum (vel, quamvis amarum sit, et quamvis pertigerit ad cor tuum.)


As I have just said, the Prophet confirms what he had declared, -- that the Jews would not have to suffer, according to what is commonly said, an adverse fortune, but would be summoned by God to judgment, in order that being touched with the fear of God, they might repent, or at least, though destroyed as to the flesh, they might yet, being humbled, obtain pardon and be saved as to the Spirit.

He therefore says, that their deeds had done this for them; as though he had said, "There is no reason for you to blame God, or your adverse fortune, as ye are wont to do, and as all the heathens also do; for your own deeds have procured for you these calamities. Thus God will perform his office of a judge; and whatever may happen to you is to be ascribed to your own wickedness." And to the same purpose is what he adds, This is thy wickedness. In short, the Prophet shews, that the Jews in vain transferred their calamities to this or that cause, for the whole blame was in themselves; they procured for themselves their own ruin by their impiety and evil deeds.

In the second clause of the verse, egn yk rm yk, ki mer, ki nego, etc., the Prophet intimates, that however bitter might be to them what they were to endure, and however it might penetrate into the inmost heart, it was yet to be ascribed to themselves. For hypocrites are wont in their lamentations to cast the blame on God, or at least to complain of fortune. The Prophet anticipates these evasions, by shewing that however bitter might be what the Jews had to endure, and that though God should pierce them through and penetrate to their very bowels and hearts, yet they themselves were the authors of all their calamities.1 He then adds --

1 Blayney, contrary to all the early versions, renders hla, "a curse, "instead of "these, "but there is no sufficient reason for the change. It is difficult to see what is the precise idea intended in our version as to the latter part of the verse. The meaning given by Calvin seems to be this,-that though the visitation was bitter and reached to the heart, it was yet to be ascribed to their wickedness. Blayney's version is this,-

Such is thy calamity; for it is bitterness;
for it is a plague even unto thy heart.

The latter words are taken as explanatory of the calamity. The word her does indeed mean sometimes a calamity; but all the early versions, as well as the Targum, render it here "wickedness." Hence the most suitable rendering would be,-

Such is thy wickedness!
Though bitter, though reaching to thy heart.

That yk may be rendered "though" is evident from Joshua 17:18; and it ought to be so rendered in Exodus 34:9; and in other places. But we may take the first yk in its primary sense, surely, certainly, truly, and the second as a causative, for, because; an instance of a similar kind we meet in Exodus 13:17: the first yk precedes an adjective, and is rendered "Although;" and the second yk, a verb, and is rendered "for." Then our version would be,-

Such is thy wickedness (that is, its effect)! Surely, bitter; for it reaches to thy heart.-Ed.