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Jer 17:1-27. THE JEWS' INVETERATE LOVE OF IDOLATRY.
The the Septuagint omits the first four verses, but other Greek versions have them.
1. The first of the four clauses relates to the third, the second to
the fourth, by alternate parallelism. The sense is: They are as keen
after idols as if their propensity was "graven with an iron pen
on their hearts," or as if it were sanctioned by a law "inscribed with
a diamond point" on their altars. The names of their gods used to be
written on "the horns of the altars"
As the clause "on their hearts" refers to their inward
propensity, so "on . . . altars," the outward
exhibition of it. Others refer "on the horns of . . . altars"
to their staining them with the blood of victims, in imitation of the
Le 4:7, 18),
but "written . . . graven," would thus be inappropriate.
2. children remember--Instead of forsaking the idolatries of their
fathers, they keep them up
This is given as proof that their sin is "graven upon . . .
that is, is not merely temporary. They corrupt their posterity after
them. CASTALIO less probably translates, "They
remember their altars as (fondly as) they do their children."
3. mountain--Jerusalem, and especially Zion and the temple.
4. even thyself--rather, "owing to thyself," that is, by thy own
5. Referring to the Jews' proneness to rely on Egypt, in its fear of
Assyria and Babylon
(Isa 31:1, 3).
the Hebrew is translated, "bare," "naked," "destitute"; but as
the parallel in
is "tree," some plant must be meant of which this is the characteristic
Margin), "a naked tree." ROBINSON
translates, "the juniper tree," found in the Arabah or Great Valley,
here called "the desert," south of the Dead Sea. The "heath" was one of
the plants, according to PLINY (13.21; 16.26),
excluded from religious uses, because it has neither fruit nor seed,
and is neither sown nor planted.
7. (Ps 34:8; Pr 16:20; Isa 30:18). Jeremiah first removed the weeds (false trusts), so that there might be room for the good grain [CALVIN].
9. deceitful--from a root, "supplanting," "tripping up insidiously
by the heel," from which Jacob
took his name. In speaking of the Jews' deceit of heart, he
appropriately uses a term alluding to their forefather, whose deceit,
but not whose faith, they followed. His "supplanting" was in
order to obtain Jehovah's blessing. They plant Jehovah for "trust in
and then think to deceive God, as if it could escape His notice,
that it is in man, not in Him, they trust.
10. Lest any should infer from
"who can know it?" that even the Lord does not know, and
therefore cannot punish, the hidden treachery of the heart, He says, "I
the Lord search the heart," &c.
Hebrew, korea, from a root, "to call," alluding to its cry; a
name still applied to a bustard by the Arabs. Its nest is liable, being
on the ground, to be trodden under foot, or robbed by carnivorous
animals, notwithstanding all the beautiful manoeuvres of the parent
birds to save the brood. The translation, "sitteth on eggs which it
has not laid," alludes to the ancient notion that she stole the
eggs of other birds and hatched them as her own; and that the young
birds when grown left her for the true mother. It is not needful to
make Scripture allude to an exploded notion, as if it were true.
MAURER thinks the reference is to Jehoiakim's
Probably the sense is more general; as previously He condemned trust in
He now condemns another object of the deceitful hearts' trust,
unjustly gotten riches
(Ps 39:6; 49:16, 17; 55:23).
12. throne--the temple of Jerusalem, the throne of Jehovah. Having condemned false objects of trust, "high places for sin" (Jer 17:3), and an "arm of flesh," he next sets forth Jehovah, and His temple, which was ever open to the Jews, as the true object of confidence, and sanctuary to flee to. HENDERSON makes Jehovah, in Jer 17:13, the subject, and this verse predicate, "A throne of glory, high from the beginning, the place of our sanctuary, the hope of Israel is Jehovah." "Throne" is thus used for Him who sits on it; compare thrones (Col 1:16). He is called a "sanctuary" to His people (Isa 8:14; Eze 11:16). So Syriac and Arabic.
13. me--"Jehovah." Though "Thee" precedes. This sudden transition is
usual in the prophetic style, owing to the prophet's continual
realization of Jehovah's presence.
14-18. Prayer of the prophet for deliverance from the enemies whom
he excited by his faithful denunciations.
16. I have not refused Thy call of me to be a prophet
however painful to me it was to utter what would be sure to irritate the
&c.).; therefore Thou shouldest not forsake me
19-27. Delivered in the reign of Jehoiakim, who undid the good
effected by Josiah's reformation, especially as to the observance of the