Jeremiah 5:23

23. But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.

23. Atqui populo huic fuit cor perversum et rebelle; deflexerunt et abierunt


Here the previous verse is completed; for what is said here is connected with the question which we have noticed. But God now proves more clearly why he adduced what he said of the sea. The copulative w, vau, is to be taken here as an adversative, and to be thus rendered, But this people have a perverse heart: for rrwo, surer, means "perverse;" some render it "revolting, "but improperly; for it appears from many other passages that it is something more: besides, the other meaning is more suitable to the context here; for he says first, that the people had a perverse heart;1 and then, that they had a rebellious or an untamable heart. He no doubt compares the obstinacy with the obedience of the sea, or sets one in contrast with the other, and conveys simply this truth, that there was more fury and stupidity in that people than in the raging sea.

And he proves that the people had a perverse heart by the effect; for they had fallen away and departed. Had he said only that they had fallen away, the proof would not have been so complete; but by adding "departed, "he points out their obstinacy; as though he had said, that their corruption was permanent, like settled diseases, which can be healed by no remedies. They have then fallen away and departed; that is, "I could not bring them back." God had indeed often tried by his servants to restore them to a right course; but their perverseness only discovered itself more and more, and shewed itself to be irreclaimable; for they departed, so that there was no prospect of repentance. It follows --

1 It is true that the idea of perverseness is conveyed by this word; but it means one bent on turning away from God. To turn away, or to apostatize, is its primary meaning, as in the latter clause of this verse; but here it is a participle in a reduplicate form, which has ever an expansive meaning. It means here either a heart continually turning away from God, or a heart resolutely determined to turn away from him. The last seems to be the meaning, as it appears to correspond with the next line,-

But in this people has been a heart, Thoroughly revolting and disobedient; They have revolted and gone away.

When they turned away from God or revolted, they were remonstrated with and exhorted to return; but they disobeyed; hence their thorough revolt and their going away.-Ed.