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At that time, says the L ord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; 2and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. 3Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the L ord of hosts.


The Blind Perversity of the Whole Nation


You shall say to them, Thus says the L ord:

When people fall, do they not get up again?

If they go astray, do they not turn back?


Why then has this people turned away

in perpetual backsliding?

They have held fast to deceit,

they have refused to return.


I have given heed and listened,

but they do not speak honestly;

no one repents of wickedness,

saying, “What have I done!”

All of them turn to their own course,

like a horse plunging headlong into battle.


Even the stork in the heavens

knows its times;

and the turtledove, swallow, and crane

observe the time of their coming;

but my people do not know

the ordinance of the L ord.



How can you say, “We are wise,

and the law of the L ord is with us,”

when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes

has made it into a lie?


The wise shall be put to shame,

they shall be dismayed and taken;

since they have rejected the word of the L ord,

what wisdom is in them?


Therefore I will give their wives to others

and their fields to conquerors,

because from the least to the greatest

everyone is greedy for unjust gain;

from prophet to priest

everyone deals falsely.


They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,

saying, “Peace, peace,”

when there is no peace.


They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;

yet they were not at all ashamed,

they did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;

at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,

says the L ord.


When I wanted to gather them, says the L ord,

there are no grapes on the vine,

nor figs on the fig tree;

even the leaves are withered,

and what I gave them has passed away from them.



Why do we sit still?

Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities

and perish there;

for the L ord our God has doomed us to perish,

and has given us poisoned water to drink,

because we have sinned against the L ord.


We look for peace, but find no good,

for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.



The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan;

at the sound of the neighing of their stallions

the whole land quakes.

They come and devour the land and all that fills it,

the city and those who live in it.


See, I am letting snakes loose among you,

adders that cannot be charmed,

and they shall bite you,

says the L ord.


The Prophet Mourns for the People


My joy is gone, grief is upon me,

my heart is sick.


Hark, the cry of my poor people

from far and wide in the land:

“Is the L ord not in Zion?

Is her King not in her?”

(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,

with their foreign idols?”)


“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,

and we are not saved.”


For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,

I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.



Is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of my poor people

not been restored?

THE Prophet repeats what we have noticed in the sixth chapter: but it was necessary to reiterate often, to the deaf and the slothful, what had already been forgotten, or what had not touched their hearts. As these things have been already explained, I shall now only refer briefly to the main points.

He no doubt condemns here the priests and the prophets. He spoke before generally of the whole people, “from the least,” he said, “to the greatest.” But as for the sake of amplifying, he had expressly mentioned the prophets and the priests as given to fraudulent dealings, he now in an especial manner condemns them, not only for grievously offending God, but also for deceiving others by their flatteries, as though they were allowed to sin with impunity. It is, indeed, an inexcusable crime in those, who ought to lead others, to be no less wicked than the common people; for they not only by their example, but also by their doctrine, corrupt the whole community, and thus they increase the evil twofold. It was therefore an intolerable impiety, when they were so presumptuous as to spread those falsehoods, by which they led the people to despise God and his law. Hence he says, that they healed the wound of the people, while God was yet shewing tokens of his wrath. And he speaks, as it has been said elsewhere, by way of concession, as though he had said, that they were very foolish physicians in applying plaisters to cover the wrath of God. 225225     See note on Jeremiah 6:14.

Behold, he says, they have healed the wound of my people, saying, Peace, peace By mentioning the word twice the Prophet shews more clearly how supine was their security; for they deceived the people not only once, but proceeded obstinately in the work of deceiving the wretched people by their false promises. He adds, When there was no peace This may be taken in two ways, — that God by the event exposed their madness, — or, that when there was no prosperity, they still fallaciously promised peace. As God elsewhere complains that the prophets flattered the people, so he does here: such sentences we have already often explained. He then adds —

The Prophet in these words shews still more clearly that they were wholly irreclaimable; for they had divested themselves of every shame. It is no doubt a proof of a wickedness past all remedy, when no shame remains. This verse has been also explained in the sixth chapter; it forms the fifteenth verse. But we must bear in mind the design of the Prophet. It is then briefly this, — to shew that the wickedness of the people was unhealable, and for this reason, because they had an iron front.

Hence he asks, Have they been ashamed, because they have committed abomination? as though he had said, “They have been proved guilty of wickedness, can they be made to feel any shame?” To this he answers, Even in their shame they are not ashamed The particle גם, gam, even, is emphatic, Then the meaning may be thus given, — that when God brought against them their shameful conduct, and proved them guilty, so that they could not escape by any evasion — that when they were thus convicted, they yet had no feeling of shame. At the same time, this passage may be explained as referring to what is commonly called actual conviction; for they were well — nigh consumed with miseries, through their untamable perverseness, while contending with God’s judgment. Even then in shame itself they had no feeling of shame

Added is the reason, They know not how to blush By this want of shame, then, Jeremiah proves that they were men past remedy. And on this account he adds, Fall therefore shall they among those who fall, and in the time of their visitation they shall perish, or stumble. By these words he intimates that they were no longer to be reasoned with, and that God’s vengeance would be just in wholly destroying them, for he had in vain spoken to them, he had in vain contended with them, he had in vain tried to bring them to the right way. The import of the whole then is, — that the only thing that remained for them was destruction; for they had without shame rejected all instruction and every warning.

And he says, among the fallen, because every one, as it is commonly the case, encouraged others in their contempt of God, and in their perverseness. When therefore they saw others to be like themselves, they entertained hope of impunity; and hence they were allured to sin by this deception. On this account the Prophet says, that ruin was nigh them all. They shall fall, he says, among the fallen, 226226     This may be differently understood. There are here throughout the passage two parties spoken of, — the people, and the priests together with the prophets. The “wise” men, in Jeremiah 8:9, made ashamed were the people deluded by the priests and prophets. Those who felt no shame, mentioned in this verse, though their words proved false, were the priests and prophets: and hence we see the import of this expression here, that they were appointed to fall with the fallen, that punishment would reach them as well as the people.
   This verse is somewhat different from the fifteenth of the sixth chapter, and may be thus rendered, —

   12. Have they been ashamed, Because they have done abomination? Even with shame they are not ashamed, And how to blush they know not: Therefore fall shall they with the fallen; At the time of their visitation They shall perish, saith Jehovah.

   The “abomination” was the perversion of the law so as to justify idolatry and all kinds of wickedness. — Ed.
and stumble in the time of their visitation. He shews that God had fixed a day in which they were to be destroyed. But if he deferred the time, there was no reason for them to think that it would be to their advantage; for they would by their obstinacy procure for themselves a heavier judgment. In short, though God might spare them for a time, yet the Prophet warns them, that this would avail them nothing, as God’s time of visitation was fixed. Then follows a confirmation —

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