EXPOSTULATION WITH THE
FAVOR, AND A
Probably in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah
"also . . . in . . . days of Josiah"). The
warning not to rely as they did on Egypt
was in accordance with Josiah's policy, who took part with Assyria and
Babylon against Egypt
Jeremiah, doubtless, supported the reformation begun by Josiah, in the
previous year (the twelfth of his reign), and fully carried out in the
Jerusalem--the headquarters and center of their idolatry; therefore
thee--rather, "I remember in regard to thee"
kindness of thy youth--not so much Israel's kindness towards God, as
the kindness which Israel experienced from God in their early
Eze 16:8, 22, 60; 23:3, 8, 19;
For Israel from the first showed perversity rather than kindness
towards God (compare
Ex 14:11, 12; 15:24; 32:1-7,
&c.). The greater were God's favors to them from the first, the fouler
was their ingratitude in forsaking Him
(Jer 2:3, 5,
espousals--the intervals between Israel's betrothal to God at the
exodus from Egypt, and the formal execution of the marriage contract at
takes the "kindness" and "love" to be Israel's towards God
(Ex 19:8; 24:3; 35:20-29; 36:5;
De 32:16, 17;
Eze 16:5, 6, 15, 22
("days of thy youth") implies that the love here meant
was on God's side, not Israel's.
thou wentest after me in . . . wilderness--the next act of God's love,
His leading them in the desert without needing any strange god, such as
they since worshipped, to help Him
(De 2:7; 32:12).
shows it is God's "leading" of them, not their following
after God in the wilderness, which is implied.
3. holiness unto the Lord--that is, was consecrated to
the service of Jehovah
(Ex 19:5, 6).
They thus answered to the motto on their high priest's breastplate,
"Holiness to the Lord"
(De 7:6; 14:2, 21).
first-fruits of his increase--that is, of Jehovah's produce. As the
first-fruits of the whole produce of the land were devoted to
Nu 18:12, 13),
so Israel was devoted to Him as the first-fruit and representative
nation among all nations. So the spiritual Israel
devour--carrying on the image of first-fruits which were eaten before the Lord by the priests as the Lord's representatives; all who
ate (injured) Jehovah's first-fruits (Israel), contracted guilt: for
example, Amalek, the Amorites, &c., were extirpated for their guilt
shall come--rather, "came."
4. Jacob . . . Israel--the whole nation.
Hear God's word not only collectively, but individually
5. iniquity--wrong done to them
walked after vanity--contrasted with "walkest after me in the
then I was their guide in the barren desert; now they take
idols as their guides.
vanity . . . vain--An idol is not only vain (impotent and empty),
but vanity itself. Its worshippers acquire its character, becoming
vain as it is
A people's character never rises above that of its gods, which are its
"better nature" [BACON]
6. Neither said they, Where, &c.--The very words which God uses
(Isa 63:9, 11, 13),
when, as it were, reminding Himself of His former acts of love to
Israel as a ground for interposing in their behalf again. When
they would not say, Where is Jehovah, &c., God Himself at
last said it for them (compare see on
deserts . . . pits--The desert between Mount Sinai and Palestine
abounds in chasms and pits, in which beasts of burden often sink down to
the knees. "Shadow of death" refers to the darkness of the caverns
amidst the rocky precipices
(De 8:15; 32:10).
7. plentiful--literally, "a land of Carmel," or "well-cultivated land":
a garden land, in contrast to the "land of deserts"
Ps 78:58, 59; 106:38).
you . . . ye--change to the second person from the third, "they"
in order to bring home the guilt to the living generation.
8. The three leading classes, whose very office under the theocracy
was to lead the people to God, disowned Him in the same language as the
nation at large, "Where is the Lord?" (See
priests--whose office it was to expound the law
(Mal 2:6, 7).
handle--are occupied with the law as the subject of their profession.
pastors--civil, not religious: princes
whose duty it was to tend their people.
prophets--who should have reclaimed the people from their
apostasy, encouraged them in it by pretended oracles from Baal, the
Phœnician false god.
by Baal--in his name and by his authority (compare
walked after things . . . not profit--answering to, "walked after
vanity," that is, idols
9. yet plead--namely, by inflicting still further judgments on you.
children's children--Three manuscripts and
JEROME omit "children's";
they seem to have thought it unsuitable to read "children's children,"
when "children" had not preceded. But it is designedly so written, to
intimate that the final judgment on the nation would be suspended
for many generations
Eze 20:35, 36;
10. pass over the isles--rather, "cross over to the isles."
Chittim . . . Kedar--that is, the heathen nations, west and
east. Go where you will, you cannot find an instance of any heathen
nation forsaking their own for other gods. Israel alone does this. Yet
the heathen gods are false gods; whereas Israel, in forsaking Me for
other gods, forsake their "glory" for unprofitable idols.
Chittim--Cyprus, colonized by Phœnicians, who built in it
the city of Citium, the modern Chitti. Then the term came to be
applied to all maritime coasts of the Mediterranean, especially Greece
Kedar--descended from Ishmael; the Bedouins and Arabs, east of
11. glory--Jehovah, the glory of Israel
The Shekinah, or cloud resting on the sanctuary, was the symbol of "the
glory of the Lord"
The golden calf was intended as an image of the true God (compare
Ex 32:4, 5),
yet it is called an "idol"
It (like Roman Catholic images) was a violation of the second
commandment, as the heathen multiplying of gods is a violation of the
12. Impassioned personification
horribly afraid--rather, be horrified."
be . . . very desolate--rather, "be exceedingly aghast" at the
monstrous spectacle. Literally, "to be dried up," or "devastated,"
(places devastated have such an unsightly look)
13. two evils--not merely one evil, like the idolaters who know
no better; besides simple idolatry, My people add the sin of
forsaking the true God whom they have known; the heathen, though having
the sin of idolatry, are free from the further sin of changing the true
God for idols
forsaken me--The Hebrew collocation brings out the only living God
into more prominent contrast with idol nonentities. "Me they have
forsaken, the Fountain," &c.
broken cisterns--tanks for rain water, common in the East, where
wells are scarce. The tanks not only cannot give forth an ever-flowing
fresh supply as fountains can, but cannot even retain the water poured
into them; the stonework within being broken, the earth drinks up the
collected water. So, in general, all earthly, compared with heavenly,
means of satisfying man's highest wants
(Isa 55:1, 2;
14. is he a homeborn slave--No. "Israel is Jehovah's son, even
Jer 2:16, 18, 36,
and the absence of any express contrast of the two parts of the
nation are against EICHORN'S view, that the
prophet proposes to Judah, as yet spared, the case of Israel (the ten
tribes) which had been carried away by Assyria as a warning of what
they might expect if they should still put their trust in Egypt. "Were
Israel's ten tribes of meaner birth than Judah? Certainly not. If,
then, the former fell before Assyria, what can Judah hope from Egypt
against Assyria? . . . Israel" is rather here the whole of
the remnant still left in their own land, that is, Judah. "How comes it
to pass that the nation which once was under God's special protection
is now left at the mercy of the foe as a worthless slave?" The prophet
sees this event as if present, though it was still future
15. lions--the Babylonian princes
The disaster from the Babylonians in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's
reign, and again three years later when, relying on Egypt, he revolted
from Nebuchadnezzar, is here referred to
2Ki 24:1, 2).
16. Noph . . . Tahapanes--Memphis, capital of Lower Egypt, on
the west bank of the Nile, near the pyramids of Gizeh, opposite the site
of modern Cairo. Daphne, on the Tanitic branch of the Nile, near
Pelusium, on the frontier of Egypt towards Palestine.
contracts it, Hanes. These two cities, one the capital, the other
that with which the Jews came most in contact, stand for the whole of
Egypt. Tahapanes takes its name from a goddess, Tphnet
Memphis is from Man-nofri, "the abode of good men"; written in
or Noph. The reference is to the coming invasion of Judah by
Pharaoh-necho of Egypt, on his return from the Euphrates, when he
deposed Jehoahaz and levied a heavy tribute on the land
Josiah's death in battle with the same Pharaoh is probably included
(2Ki 23:29, 30).
have broken--rather, shall feed down the crown, &c., that is,
affect with the greatest ignominy, such as baldness was regarded in
Instead of "also," translate, "even" the Egyptians, in whom thou dost
trust, shall miserably disappoint thy expectation [MAURER]. Jehoiakim was twice leagued with them
(2Ki 23:34, 35):
when he received the crown from them, and when he revolted from
(2Ki 24:1, 2, 7).
The Chaldeans, having become masters of Asia, thre