Jeremiah 5:8

8. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor's wife.

8. Equi saginati (alii vertunt, armati, intelligunt phaleratos) mane surgentes (alii vertunt, trahentes, deducunt a Ksm, sed rectius alii deducunt a Mks, et nomen esse existimant;) quisque ad uxorem proximi sui hinnit (est quidem futurum tempus, sed significat continuum actum.)


Jeremiah comes now, I think, to the second table, and mentions one kind of evil; but his object was to shew that there was no chastity, no faithfulness, no honesty in that people. He therefore compares them to wanton and lustful horses, and thus exposes their infamous conduct. Had he said that every one did lie in wait for the bed of his neighbor, it would have been a heinous crime; but when he calls their lust neighing, and calls them horses, and those well fed, and who rise early after they are filled, he doubtless shews that such was their incontinence, that they were not only wanton and adulterous, but that they were worse and more base, for they differed nothing from lustful horses, and horses well fed. Some read the last word "armed, "deducing it from Nwy izan, which means to be armed; and others derive it from Nwz, zun, which signifies to eat, and hence they take Nzwm, muzan, for food. There is indeed no doubt but that it means here "fed, "or fat; for why should he call them armed horses? What some say, that they rose early after having committed adultery, in order to exhibit their disgrace, and to boast of their vices, is too far-fetched. What is meant is, that they were strong horses, and active, and that they rose up early after having been well fed.1

We now then understand the Prophet's object: the sum of the whole is, -- that there was no chastity among the Jews, for they gave themselves up to wanton lusts, not only like adulterers and whoremongers, but like lascivious horses. Nevertheless, as we have said, he includes here, under incontinency, thefts, frauds, rapines, and all vices of this kind; for he no doubt charges the Jews as guilty of transgressing against the second table of the law. He afterwards adds --

1 The literal rendering of this verse, and countenanced by ancient versions, is as follows,-

Horses well fed! libidinous have they become; They neigh, every one at the wife of his neighbor. Both Venema and Blayney agree in giving this meaning.

It does not seem, when the whole context is viewed, that adultery here is to be taken in its literal sense. It is spiritual adultery, that is, idolatry, that is referred to throughout the chapter. Besides, the comparison in this verse is such, that its application is more suitable to idolatrous acts than to those which are adulterous. The same may be said of what is found in the preceding verse,-that they crowded the house of the harlot. This is not so much the case in adultery as in idolatry, when people fill their idolatrous temples. A simile is sometimes carried beyond what is actually the case, in order to convey a right idea of what it is intended to illustrate. When they are said to be like well-fed stallions, and neighing at the wives of their neighbors, the purpose was to shew with what intense ardor they were devoted to idolatry: and the degrading comparison was no doubt made in order to pour contempt on their mad propensity: it was like the impetuous instinct of an animal, uncontrolled by any reason, persuasion, or remonstrance.-Ed.