Jeremiah 6:7

7. As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.

7. Sicuti scaturire facit puteus aquas suas (hoc est, sicuti scaturiunt aquae ex fonte, vel, puteo,) sic scaturire fecit malitiam suam; violentia et deceptio (aut, vastatio) audita fuit in ea coram facie mea assidue, dolor et percussio (alii vertunt, plagam; sed nomen percussionis melius convenit.)


The Prophet enlarges on what he had said in the last verse; for he had shewn, by mentioning one kind of evil, that Jerusalem was a den of thieves, as oppression dwelt in the midst of it. But he now, by a comparison, amplifies his former statement, and says, that violence, oppression, devastation, grief, and smiting, streamed forth like waters from a fountain. It is possible for many vices to break out from a place, but repentance afterwards follows; but when men cease not, and heap vices on vices, it then appears that they swell with wickedness, and even burst with it, as they cannot repress it: they are like a fountain, which ever bubbles up, and cannot contain its own waters. We hence see the object of the Prophet.

The word rwb, bur, means a fountain, and rab, bar, means also a fountain, or a well, and they are no doubt synonymous: and hence appears the mistake of a very learned man among the Hebrews, who makes a difference between the two, and says that the first is a cistern, which receives waters, but has no streaming. That this is false appears from the words of the Prophet; for a cistern does not cast forth water.

But with regard to what is taught, we sufficiently understand that what the Prophet means is, -- that the Jews had so given up themselves to their vices, that they were ever contriving some new way of doing evil, as waters never cease to stream forth from the fountain; and it is a proof, as I have said, that a nation is wholly irreclaimable, when there is no cessation from evil deeds, when there is no intermission of injuries, when men ever indulge in their vices; and as the Jews could not deny that such was the atrocity of their wickedness, the Prophet again assumes the name of God, and says, Heard have been oppressions, and smitings are before me; as though he had said, "They will gain nothing by evasions, for if they make a hundred excuses before men, it will be wholly useless to them when they shall come before God's tribunal." And he again adds the adverb dymt, tamid, continually, which answers to the perpetual streaming of waters.1 It follows --

1 The verse, literally rendered, is as follows:-

7. As cast forth does a spring its waters, So cast forth is her wickedness: Violence and plunder are heard of in her; Before me continually are wounding and smiting.

The first verb is in Hiphil, the second is in Huphal. "Violence" was the visible act; "plunder" or spoiling was the object or the motive; "wounding" was the effect; "smiting" was the cause. Such is often found to be the way of stating things observed by the Prophets.

Blayney renders the two last words "sickness and smiting, "and adds, that the two words are a Hendiadis, and signify "sickness occasioned by blows." The true reason for the order is what has been stated: it is according to what is commonly done in Scripture; what is found often is not the progressive, but the retrogressive order.

The Septuagint and the Targum have strangely rendered this verse in a manner wholly inconsistent with the context; nor are the other versions much better. The Hebrew is plain enough.-Ed.