CONTRAST BETWEEN THE
1. Israel--the Jews, the surviving representatives of the nation.
2. EICHORN thinks the reference here to be to some celestial portent
which had appeared at that time, causing the Jews' dismay. Probably the
reference is general, namely, to the Chaldeans, famed as astrologers,
through contact with whom the Jews were likely to fall into the same
way--the precepts or ordinances
signs of heaven--The Gentiles did not acknowledge a Great First
Cause: many thought events depended on the power of the stars, which
some, as PLATO, thought to be endued with spirit
and reason. All heavenly phenomena, eclipses, comets, &c., are
one cutteth a tree, &c.--rather, "It (that which they busy
themselves about: a sample of their 'customs') is a tree cut out of the
4. fasten . . . move not--that is, that it may stand upright without
risk of falling, which the god (!) would do, if left to itself
5. upright--or, "They are of turned work, resembling a palm tree"
[MAURER]. The point of comparison between the idol and the palm is in
the pillar-like uprightness of the latter, it having no branches except
at the top.
cannot go--that is, walk
Isa 46:1, 7).
neither . . . do good--
6. none--literally, "no particle of nothing": nothing whatever; the
strongest possible denial
Ps 86:8, 10).
to thee doth it appertain--to Thee it properly belongs, namely, that
Thou shouldest be "feared" (taken out of the previous "fear Thee")
He alone is the becoming object of worship. To worship any
other is unseemly and an infringement of His inalienable prerogative.
8. altogether--rather, "all alike"
[MAURER]. Even the so-called
of the Gentiles are on a level with the brutes and "foolish,"
namely, because they connive at the popular idolatry (compare
Therefore, in Daniel and Revelation, the world power is represented
under a bestial form. Man divests himself of his true humanity, and
sinks to the level of the brute, when he severs his connection
stock is a doctrine of vanities--The stock (put for the worship of
all idols whatever, made out of a stock) speaks for itself that the
whole theory of idolatry is vanity
CASTALIO translates, "the very wood itself
confuting the vanity" (of the idol).
9. Everything connected with idols is the result of human effort.
Silver spread--(See on
Tarshish--Tartessus, in Spain, famed for precious metals.
As the Septuagint in the Syrian Hexapla in the
Margin, THEODOTUS, the Syrian and
Chaldee versions have "Ophir," GESENIUS thinks "Uphaz" a colloquial corruption (one
letter only being changed) for "Ophir." Ophir, in
is mentioned among Arabian countries. Perhaps Malacca is the country
meant, the natives of which still call their gold mines Ophirs. HEEREN thinks Ophir the general name for the rich
countries of the south, on the Arabian, African, and Indian coasts;
just as our term, East Indies.
10. true God--literally, "God Jehovah is truth"; not merely true, that is, veracious, but truth in the reality of His essence, as
opposed to the "vanity" or emptiness which all idols are
(Jer 10:3, 8, 15;
He hath life in Himself which no creature has. All else "live in Him"
In contrast to dead idols.
In contrast to the temporary existence of all other objects of
11. This verse is in Chaldee, Jeremiah supplying his countrymen
with a formula of reply to Chaldee idolaters in the tongue most
intelligible to the latter. There may be also derision intended in
imitating their barbarous dialect.
ROSENMULLER objects to this view,
that not merely the words put in the mouths of the Israelites, but
Jeremiah's own introductory words, "Thus shall ye say to them," are
in Chaldee, and thinks it to be a marginal gloss. But it is
found in all the oldest versions. It was an old Greek saying:
"Whoever thinks himself a god besides the one God, let him make another
these heavens--the speaker pointing to them with his fingers.
12. Continuation of
after the interruption of the thread of the discourse in
(Ps 136:5, 6).
13. Literally, "At the voice of His giving forth," that is, when He
--above the firmament; heavy rains accompany thunder.
vapours . . . ascend--
14. in his knowledge--"is rendered brutish by his skill,"
namely, in idol-making
(Jer 10:8, 9).
Thus the parallel, "confounded by the graven image," corresponds
Others not so well translate, "without knowledge," namely, of
Isa 42:17; 45:16;
15. errors--deceptions; from a Hebrew root, "to stutter"; then
meaning "to mock."
their visitation they--When God shall punish the idol-worshippers
(namely, by Cyrus), the idols themselves shall be destroyed
16. portion--from a Hebrew root, "to divide." God is
the all-sufficient Good of His people
Ps 16:5; 73:26;
not like them--not like the idols, a vain object of trust
former of all things--the Fashioner (as a potter,
of the universe.
rod of his inheritance--The portion marked off as His inheritance by
the measuring rod
As He is their portion, so are they His portion
A reciprocal tie (compare
Margin). Others make "rod" refer to the tribal rod or
17. wares--thine effects or movable goods
Prepare for migrating as captives to Babylon. The address is to
Jerusalem, as representative of the whole people.
inhabitant of the fortress--rather, "inhabitress of the
fortress." Though thou now seemest to inhabit an impregnable
fortress, thou shalt have to remove. "The land" is the champaign
region opposed to the "fortified" cities. The "fortress" being taken,
the whole "land" will share the disaster. HENDERSON translates, "Gather up thy packages from
the ground." ROSENMULLER, for "fortress,"
translates, "siege," that is, the besieged city. The various articles,
in this view, are supposed to be lying about in confusion on the ground
during the siege.
18. sling out--expressing the violence and suddenness of the removal to
Babylon. A similar image occurs in
Isa 22:17, 18.
at this once--at this time, now.
find it so--find it by experience, that is, feel it
MICHAELIS translates, "I will bind them together
(as in a sling) that they may reach the goal" (Babylon). English
Version is best: "that they may find it so as I have said"
19. Judea bewails its calamity.
wound--the stroke I suffer under.
I must bear--not humble submission to God's will
but sullen impenitence. Or, rather, it is prophetical of their ultimate
acknowledgment of their guilt as the cause of their calamity
20. tabernacle is spoiled--metaphor from the tents of nomadic life;
as these are taken down in a few moments, so as not to leave a vestige
of them, so Judea
cords--with which the coverings of the tent are extended.
21. pastors--the rulers, civil and religious. This verse gives the
cause of the impending calamity.
22. bruit--rumor of invasion. The antithesis is between
the voice of God in His prophets to whom they turned a deaf ear, and
the cry of the enemy, a new teacher, whom they must hear
23. Despairing of influencing the people, he turns to God.
way of man not in himself--
(Pr 16:1; 20:24;
Jas 4:13, 14).
I know, O Jehovah, that the march of the Babylonian conqueror against
me (Jeremiah identifying himself with his people) is not at his own
discretion, but is overruled by Thee
that walketh--when he walketh, that is, sets out in any undertaking.
direct . . . steps--to give a prosperous issue to
24, 25. Since I (my nation) must be corrected
(justice requiring it because of the deep guilt of the nation),
I do not deprecate all chastisement, but pray only for moderation in it
Ps 6:1; 38:1);
and that the full tide of Thy fury may be poured out on the heathen
invaders for their cruelty towards Thy people.
Ps 79:6, 7,
a psalm to be referred to the time of the captivity, its composer
probably repeated this from Jeremiah. The imperative, "Pour out," is
used instead of the future, expressing vividly the certainty of
the prediction, and that the word of God itself effects its own
declarations. Accordingly, the Jews were restored after
correction; the Babylonians were utterly extinguished.
know thee . . . call . . . on thy name--Knowledge of God is the
beginning of piety; calling on Him the fruit.
heathen . . . Jacob--He reminds God of the distinction He has made
between His people whom Jacob represents, and the heathen aliens.
Correct us as Thy adopted sons, the seed of Jacob; destroy them as
(Zec 1:14, 15, 21).