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Jeremiah 44:9-10

9. Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem?

9. An obliti estis malorum patrum vestrorum, et malorum regum Jehudah, et malorum uxorum ejus, et malorum vestrorum, et malorum uxorum vestrarum, quae fecerunt in terra Jehudah et in cornpitis Jerusalem?

10. They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.

10. Et non humiliati sunt (vel, attriti) usque ad hunc diem, et non timuerunt, et non ambulaverunt in lege mea et in statutis meis, quae posueram coram facie vestra, et coram facie patrum vestrorum.


The Prophet now sets forth how extremely shameful was the insensibility of the Jews, in not acknowledging that God had most severely and grievously punished the superstitions to which they had previously been addicted. At the same time, if we regard the word used, he seems not to understand punishments by evils, but raffler the wicked deeds by which they had provoked God. And this ought to be observed, for some interpreters give this rendering, “Have you forgotten your evils and those of your fathers;that is, how severely God had afflicted you? But there is no doubt but that the Prophet means by רעות, rout, their sins, by which they had exposed themselves to God’s judgment; for it immediately follows, which they did, or committed, in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem But though he means by this word the sins of the people, there is yet no doubt but that he includes also the punishments by which they ought to have known that the impiety in which they continued most obstinately had displeased God.

When therefore the Prophet says, Have ye forgotten your evils and those of your fathers? he takes it for granted that it was sufficiently known that God had taken vengeance on them for their sins; for he does not address the Jews in their prosperity, but when they were fugitives from their own land and under the curse of heaven. As, then, they were evidently condemned by God, the Prophet justly asks them, “Have ye forgotten that you have been condemned for the sins of your fathers and those of your kings, even for those which they had committed?” This he asked, because it was a horrid stupidity, that though the city had been overthrown and the temple burnt, they did not yet leave off their superstitions, especially when so singular a vengeance of God ought to have retained their posterity in fear and obedience even for ten ages. Thus we see that punishment is linked with sins.

He says, of the kings of Judah and of their wives The relative is singular, “his wives;but no doubt it refers to the people. Some read, “of every one of them;but there is no need, it being a singular number, referring to a collective noun, Judah. he afterwards adds, which they did This ought not to be confined to the women, (nor is it suitable,) but it refers to all the Jews as well as to kings of Judah, and also to the women, — which then they did in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem

When he mentions the streets of Jerusalem, he exaggerates their wickedness. For we know that city to have been as it were the earthly sanctuary of God. It, was then a most disgraceful impiety to pollute that place which God had consecrated for himself. The whole land of Judah was indeed under his authority and power, but he had favored the city, and especially Mount Sion, with singular privileges. Then the Prophet amplifies the greatness of their sin, when he says that Jerusalem had been polluted by their superstitions.

He afterwards mentions how great had been the perverseness of that people, They are not humbled, he says, to this day, though they had been most severely smitten by the rods of God. Even fools, when smitten, become wise, as the old proverb says. As the Jews then had been so grievously chastised by God’s hand, and had experienced extreme rigor, ought they not to have considered what they had deserved? But the Prophet shews that their wickedness was past remedy, for though broken down they were not yet humbled, like those who are of a perverse disposition, who could not be reformed were they broken down a hundred times. Then the Prophet upbraids the Jews with their obstinacy, for not even the greatest calamity had brought them to obedience.

They were not then humbled to that day, nor did they fear Fear ought also to be referred here to the calamities which they had experienced, for God had sufficiently shewn that he had been grievously offended with their impiety. As then God’s dreadful judgment had been made conspicuous to all, the Prophet here condemns their dullness, because they had not been brought back to a sound mind so as to fear God. He now adds another instance of obstinacy, that they had not walked in the Law of God and in his commandments. Then he shows that their obstinacy was twofold, that they had profited nothing by his teaching, and that they had disregarded his punishments. The Law itself was to them a rule according to which they were to worship God, nor ought they to have sought elsewhere what they were to do. As, then, they had in the Law a revelation as to true religion, it was an intolerable contempt to depart from it of their own accord, and to abandon themselves to all kinds of errors. But the Prophet shews that they had been extremely unteachable, because they had not only cast aside every regard for the Law, but they had also despised God’s hand, and refused to be corrected by any punishments.

That he might shew still further that they had sinned through sheer wickedness, he says, They have not walked in my Law nor in my statutes This second clause seems to be superfluous; but the Prophet here commends the clear teaching of the Law, as though God had said that he had not only shewn in a brief manner what was true and right, but that he had also by many statutes taught the Jews, so that they had no pretext for their ignorance. And he confirms the same thing in other words, when he says that he had put these statutes before their face; for by these words he intimates that there is nothing obscure in the Law, and that the Jews therefore had not gone astray through want of knowledge; for men always extenuate by evasions their sins, when their impiety is condemned. The Prophet then says that the Jews were inexcusable, because the rule of true religion had been set before their eyes.

Now this passage testifies that the teaching of the Law is not doubtful, as some profane men say, who hold that Scripture may be turned anyhow like a nose of wax. But God declares that he had not spoken ambiguously. Since, then, the Prophet affirms that the Law had been set before the eyes of the Jews, that they might surely know the will of God, we ought to maintain at this day, that in the Gospel, clearly discovered to us by the coming of Christ, there is nothing obscure, but that the treasures of all knowledge have been made known to us, as far as it is necessary, so that they who now go astray in vain pretend that they do so because the will of God is hid from them; for in no other way can they err than by dissembling and willfully closing their eyes, lest the brightness of the sun should reach them. Let us yet know that the more plainly God is made known to us, the more grievously we sin when we turn aside from his true worship and service; for he has omitted nothing in his word which is necessary in order to worship him acceptably. Since, then, we have before our eyes the rule of a godly life, except we follow it this reproof belongs to us, that God has set before our eyes his statutes. It now follows, —

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