Idolatry Has Brought Ruin on IsraelJeremiah 10:1 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord:
Do not learn the way of the nations,
or be dismayed at the signs of the heavens;
for the nations are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are false:
a tree from the forest is cut down,
and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan;
4 people deck it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
5 Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
nor is it in them to do good.
6 There is none like you, O Lord;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
For that is your due;
among all the wise ones of the nations
and in all their kingdoms
there is no one like you.
8 They are both stupid and foolish;
the instruction given by idols
is no better than wood!
9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
and gold from Uphaz.
They are the work of the artisan and of the hands of the goldsmith;
their clothing is blue and purple;
they are all the product of skilled workers.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
12 It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightnings for the rain,
and he brings out the wind from his storehouses.
14 Everyone is stupid and without knowledge;
goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols;
for their images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
16 Not like these is the Lord, the portion of Jacob,
for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
The Coming Exile
17 Gather up your bundle from the ground,
O you who live under siege!
18 For thus says the Lord:
I am going to sling out the inhabitants of the land
at this time,
and I will bring distress on them,
so that they shall feel it.
19 Woe is me because of my hurt!
My wound is severe.
But I said, “Truly this is my punishment,
and I must bear it.”
20 My tent is destroyed,
and all my cords are broken;
my children have gone from me,
and they are no more;
there is no one to spread my tent again,
and to set up my curtains.
21 For the shepherds are stupid,
and do not inquire of the Lord;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered.
22 Hear, a noise! Listen, it is coming—
a great commotion from the land of the north
to make the cities of Judah a desolation,
a lair of jackals.
23 I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control,
that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.
24 Correct me, O Lord, but in just measure;
not in your anger, or you will bring me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you,
and on the peoples that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob;
they have devoured him and consumed him,
and have laid waste his habitation.
Israel and Judah Have Broken the Covenant
6 And the Lord said to me: Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. 7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of an evil will. So I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.
9 And the Lord said to me: Conspiracy exists among the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their ancestors of old, who refused to heed my words; they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, assuredly I am going to bring disaster upon them that they cannot escape; though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they will never save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your towns, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars to shame you have set up, altars to make offerings to Baal.
14 As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. 15 What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done vile deeds? Can vows and sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? 16 The Lord once called you, “A green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit”; but with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. 17 The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.
Jeremiah’s Life Threatened
18 It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
19 But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20 But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
Jeremiah Complains to God
Jeremiah 12:1 You will be in the right, O Lord,
when I lay charges against you;
but let me put my case to you.
Why does the way of the guilty prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
2 You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and bring forth fruit;
you are near in their mouths
yet far from their hearts.
3 But you, O Lord, know me;
You see me and test me—my heart is with you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
4 How long will the land mourn,
and the grass of every field wither?
For the wickedness of those who live in it
the animals and the birds are swept away,
and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.”
God Replies to Jeremiah
5 If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you fall down,
how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?
6 For even your kinsfolk and your own family,
even they have dealt treacherously with you;
they are in full cry after you;
do not believe them,
though they speak friendly words to you.
7 I have forsaken my house,
I have abandoned my heritage;
I have given the beloved of my heart
into the hands of her enemies.
8 My heritage has become to me
like a lion in the forest;
she has lifted up her voice against me—
therefore I hate her.
9 Is the hyena greedy for my heritage at my command?
Are the birds of prey all around her?
Go, assemble all the wild animals;
bring them to devour her.
10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard,
they have trampled down my portion,
they have made my pleasant portion
a desolate wilderness.
11 They have made it a desolation;
desolate, it mourns to me.
The whole land is made desolate,
but no one lays it to heart.
12 Upon all the bare heights in the desert
spoilers have come;
for the sword of the Lord devours
from one end of the land to the other;
no one shall be safe.
13 They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns,
they have tired themselves out but profit nothing.
They shall be ashamed of their harvests
because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
The Linen LoinclothJeremiah 13:1 Thus said the Lord to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen loincloth, and put it on your loins, but do not dip it in water.” 2 So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord, and put it on my loins. 3 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 “Take the loincloth that you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock.” 5 So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me. 6 And after many days the Lord said to me, “Go now to the Euphrates, and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. But now the loincloth was ruined; it was good for nothing.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 Thus says the Lord: Just so I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own will and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the loincloth clings to one’s loins, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord, in order that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. But they would not listen.
Symbol of the Wine-Jars12 You shall speak to them this word: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Every wine-jar should be filled with wine. And they will say to you, “Do you think we do not know that every wine-jar should be filled with wine?” 13 Then you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness. 14 And I will dash them one against another, parents and children together, says the Lord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion when I destroy them.
15 Hear and give ear; do not be haughty,
for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings darkness,
and before your feet stumble
on the mountains at twilight;
while you look for light,
he turns it into gloom
and makes it deep darkness.
17 But if you will not listen,
my soul will weep in secret for your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,
because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.
18 Say to the king and the queen mother:
“Take a lowly seat,
for your beautiful crown
has come down from your head.”
19 The towns of the Negeb are shut up
with no one to open them;
all Judah is taken into exile,
wholly taken into exile.
20 Lift up your eyes and see
those who come from the north.
Where is the flock that was given you,
your beautiful flock?
21 What will you say when they set as head over you
those whom you have trained
to be your allies?
Will not pangs take hold of you,
like those of a woman in labor?
22 And if you say in your heart,
“Why have these things come upon me?”
it is for the greatness of your iniquity
that your skirts are lifted up,
and you are violated.
23 Can Ethiopians change their skin
or leopards their spots?
Then also you can do good
who are accustomed to do evil.
24 I will scatter you like chaff
driven by the wind from the desert.
25 This is your lot,
the portion I have measured out to you, says the Lord,
because you have forgotten me
and trusted in lies.
26 I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,
and your shame will be seen.
27 I have seen your abominations,
your adulteries and neighings, your shameless prostitutions
on the hills of the countryside.
Woe to you, O Jerusalem!
How long will it be
before you are made clean?
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
Regarding today's reading
Jer. 10:1–16. Warning against idolatry by means of a view of the nothingness of the false gods (vv. 1–5), and a counter-view of the almighty and everlasting God (vv. 6–11) and of His governing care in the natural world. This warning is but a further continuation of the idea of 9:23, that Israel’s glory should consist in Jahveh who doth grace, right, and justice upon earth. In order thoroughly to impress this truth on the backsliding and idolatrous people, Jeremiah sets forth the nullity of the gods feared by the heathen, and, by showing how these gods are made of wood, plated with silver and gold, proves that these dead idols, which have neither life nor motion, cannot be objects of fear; whereas Jahveh is God in truth, a living and everlasting God, before whose anger the earth trembles, who has created the earth, and rules it, who in the day of visitation will also annihilate the false gods.
Jer. 10:1–5. The nothingness of the false gods.—V. 1. “Hear the word which Jahveh speaketh unto you, house of Israel! V. 2. Thus saith Jahveh: To the ways of the heathen use yourselves not, and at the signs of the heaven be not dismayed, because the heathen are dismayed at them. V. 3. For the ordinances of the peoples are vain. For it is wood, which one hath cut out of the forest, a work of the craftsman’s hands with the axe. V. 4. With silver and with gold he decks it, with nails and hammers they fasten it, that it move not. V. 5. As a lathe-wrought pillar are they, and speak not; they are borne, because they cannot walk. Be not afraid of them; for they do not hurt, neither is it in them to do good.”
This is addressed to the house of Israel, i.e., to the whole covenant people; and “house of Israel” points back to “all the house of Israel” in 9:25. עֲלֵיכֶם for אֲלֵיכֶם, as frequently in Jeremiah. The way of the heathen is their mode of life, especially their way of worshipping their gods; cf. ἡ ὁδὸς, Acts 9:2; 19:9. לָמַד c. אֶל, accustom oneself to a thing, used in 13:21 with the synonymous עַל, and in Ps. 18:35 (Piel) with לְ. The signs of heaven are unwonted phenomena in the heavens, eclipses of the sun and moon, comets, and unusual conjunctions of the stars, which were regarded as the precursors of extraordinary and disastrous events. We cannot admit Hitz.’s objection, that these signs in heaven were sent by Jahveh (Joel 3:3, 4), and that before these, as heralds of judgment, not only the heathen, but the Jews themselves, had good cause to be dismayed. For the signs that marked the dawning of the day of the Lord are not merely such things as eclipses of sun and moon, and the like. There is still less ground for Näg.’s idea, that the signs of heaven are such as, being permanently there, call forth religious adoration from year to year, the primitive constellations (Job 9:9), the twelve signs of the zodiac; for נִחַת (תֵּחַתּוּ), to be in fear, consternari, never means, even in Mal. 2:5, regular or permanent adoration. “For the heathen,” etc., gives the cause of the fear: the heathen are dismayed before these, because in the stars they adored supernatural powers.
Jer. 10:3. The reason of the warning counsel: The ordinances of the peoples, i.e., the religious ideas and customs of the heathen, are vanity. הוּא refers to and is in agreement with the predicate; cf. Ew. § 319, c. The vanity of the religious ordinances of the heathen is proved by the vanity of their gods. “For wood, which one has hewn out of the forest,” sc. it is, viz., the god. The predicate is omitted, and must be supplied from הֶבֶל, a word which is in the plural used directly for the false gods; cf. 8:19, Deut. 32:21, etc. With the axe, sc. wrought. מַעֲצָד Rashi explains as axe, and suitably; for here it means in any case a carpenter’s tool, whereas this is doubtful in Isa. 44:12. The images were made of wood, which was covered with silver plating and gold; cf. Isa. 30:22; 40:19. This Jeremiah calls adorning them, making them fair with silver and gold. When the images were finished, they were fastened in their places with hammer and nails, that they might not tumble over; cf. Isa. 41:7; 40:20. When thus complete, they are like a lathe-wrought pillar. In Judg. 4:5, where alone this word elsewhere occurs. תֹּמֶר means palm-tree (= תָּמָר); here, by a later, derivative usage, = pillar, in support of which we can appeal to the Talmudic תַּמֵּר, columnam facere, and to the O.T. תִּימְרָה, pillar of smoke. מִקְשָׁה is the work of the turning-lathe, Ex. 25:18, 31, etc. Lifeless and motionless as a turned pillar. Not to be able to speak is to be without life; not to walk, to take not a single step, i.e., to be without all power of motion; cf. Isa. 46:7. The Chald. paraphrases correctly: quia non est in iis spiritus vitalis ad ambulandum. The incorrect form יִנָּשׂוּא for יִנָּשְׂאוּ is doubtless only a copyist’s error, induced by the preceding נָשׂוֹא. They can do neither good nor evil, neither hurt nor help; cf. Isa. 41:23. אֹותָם for אִתָּם, as frequently; see on 1:16.
Jer. 10:6–11. The almighty power of Jahveh, the living God.—V. 6. “None at all is like Thee, Jahveh; great art Thou, and Thy name is great in might. V. 7. Who would not fear Thee, Thou King of the peoples? To Thee doth it appertain; for among all the wise men of the peoples, and in all their kingdoms, there is none at all like unto Thee. V. 8. But they are all together brutish and foolish; the teaching of the vanities is wood. V. 9. Beaten silver, from Tarshish it is brought, and gold from Uphaz, work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; blue and red purple is their clothing; the work of cunning workmen are they all. V. 10. But Jahveh is God in truth, He is living God and everlasting King; at His wrath the earth trembles, and the peoples abide not His indignation. V. 11. Thus shall ye say unto them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
In this second strophe Jahveh is contrasted, as the only true God and Lord of the world, with the lifeless gods. These there is no need to fear, but it behoves all to fear the almighty God, since in His wrath He can destroy nations. When compared with Ps. 86:8, the מִן in מֵאֵין seems redundant,—so much so, that Ven. pronounces it a copyist’s error, and Hitz. sets it aside by changing the vowels. The word as it stands contains a double negation, and is usually found only in dependent clauses with a strong negative force: so that there is none. Here it has the same force, but at the beginning of the sentence: none at all is as Thou; cf. Ew. § 323, a. Great is Thy name, i.e., the manifestation of Thee in the world, in Thy government of the earth. “In (or with) might” belongs to “great:” great with might, displaying itself in acts of might; cf. 16:21. Who would not fear Thee? a negative setting of the thought: every one must fear Thee. King of the nations; cf. Ps. 22:29; 47:8; 96:10. יָאָתָה from יָאָה, ἁπ. λεγ. equivalent to נָאָה (whence נַאֲוָה), to be seemly, suitable. Among the wise men of the peoples none is like Thee, so as that any should be able to make head against Thee by any clever stroke; cf. Isa. 19:12; 29:14. Nor is there in any kingdom of the peoples any one like Jahveh, i.e., in might. It is not merely earthly kings that are meant, but the gods of the heathen as well. In no heathen kingdom is there any power to be compared with Jahveh. We are led here to think also of the pagan gods by v. 8, where the wisdom and almighty power of the living God are contrasted with foolishness and vanity of the false gods. בְּאַחַת is not: in uno = in una re, sc. idololatria (Rabb.); nor is it, as Hitz. in most strained fashion makes it: by means of one thing, i.e., by (or at) a single word, the word which comes immediately after: it is wood. אַחַת is unquestionably neuter, and the force of it here is collective, = all together, like the Chald. כַחֲדָא. The nominative to “are brutish” is “the peoples.” The verb בָּעַר is denom. from בְּעִיר, to be brutish, occurring elsewhere in the Kal only in Ps. 94:8, Ezek. 21:36; in the Niph. vv. 14, 21, 51:17, Isa. 19:11. כָּסַל as verb is found only here; elsewhere we have כְּסִיל, foolish, and כֶּסֶל, folly (Cant. 7:2–5), and, as a verb, the transposed form סָכַל. The remaining words of the verse make up one clause; the construction is the same as in v. 3a, but the sense is not: “a mere vain doctrine is the wood,” i.e., the idol is itself but a doctrine of vanities. In this way Ew. takes it, making “wood” the subject of the clause and מוּסַר the predicate. מוּסַר הֲבָלִים is the antithesis to מוּסַר יהוה, Deut. 11:2, Prov. 3:11, Job 5:17. As the latter is the παιδεία of the Lord, so the former is the παιδεία of the false gods (הֲבָלִים, cf. 8:19). The παιδεία of Jahveh displayed itself, acc. to Deut. 11:2, in deeds of might by means of which Jahveh set His people Israel free from the power of Egypt. Consequently it is the education of Israel by means of acts of love and chastenings, or, taken more generally, the divine leading and guidance of the people. Such a παιδεία the null and void gods could not give to their worshippers. Their παιδεία is wood, i.e., not: wooden, but nothing else than that which the gods themselves are—wood, which, however it be decked up (v. 9), remains a mere lifeless block. So that the thought of v. 8 is this: The heathen, with all their wise men, are brutish; since their gods, from which they should receive wisdom and instruction, are wood. Starting from this, v. 9 continues to this effect: However much this wood be decked out with silver, gold, and purple raiment, it remains but the product of men’s hands; by no such process does the wood become a god. The description of the polishing off of the wood into a god is loosely attached to the predicate עֵץ, by way of an enumeration of the various things made use of therefore. The specification served to make the picture the more graphic; what idols were made of was familiar to everybody. מְרֻקָּע, beat out into thin plates for coating over the wooden image; cf. Ex. 39:3, Num. 17:3f. As to תַּרְשִׁישׁ, Tartessus in Spain, the source of the silver, see on Ezek. 27:12. Gold from Ophir; אוּפָז here and Dan. 10:5 is only a dialectical variety of אֹופִיר, see on 1 Kings 9:27. As the blue and red purple, see on Ex. 25:4. חֲכָמִים, skilful artisans, cf. Isa. 40:20. They all, i.e., all the idols.
Jer. 10:10. Whereas Jahveh is really and truly God. אֱלֹהִים אֱמֶת (standing in apposition), God in truth, “truth” being strongly contrasted with “vanity,” and “living God” (cf. Deut. 5:23) with the dead gods (vv. 5, 8); and everlasting King of the whole world (cf. Ps. 10:16; 29:10, Ex. 15:18), before whose wrath the earth trembles and the peoples quake with terror; cf. Nah. 1:5, Joel 2:11, Ps. 97:5. לֹא יָכִלוּ (written as in 2:13), they hold not, do not hold out, do not endure.
Jer. 10:11. V. 11 is Chaldee. But it must not be regarded as a gloss that has found its way into the text, on the grounds on which Houb., Ven., Ros., Ew., Hitz., Gr., etc., so regard it, namely, because it is Chaldee, and because there is an immediate connection between vv. 10 and 12. Both the language in which the verse is written, and the subject-matter of it, are unfavourable to this view. The latter does not bear the character of a gloss; and no copyist would have interpolated a Chaldee verse into the Hebrew text. Besides, the verse is found in the Alexandrian version; and in point of sense it connects very suitably with v. 10: Jahveh is everlasting King, whereas the gods which have not made heaven and earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens. This the Israelites are to say to the idolaters. אַרְקָא is the harder form for אַרְעָא. The last word, אֵלֶּה, is Hebrew; it does not belong to שְׁמַיָּא, but serves to emphasize the subject: the gods—these shall perish. Jeremiah wrote the verse in Chaldee, ut Judaeis suggerat, quomodo Chaldaeis (ad quos non nisi Chaldaice loqui poterant) paucis verbis respondendum sit, as Seb. Schm. has remarked. The thought of this verse is a fitting conclusion to the exhortation not to fear the gods of the heathen; it corresponds to the 5th verse, with which the first strophe concludes the warning against idolatry The Israelites are not only not to fear the null and void gods of the heathen, but they are to tell the heathen that their gods will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.
Jer. 10:12–16. The third strophe.—In it the almighty power of the living God is shown from His providential government of nature, the overthrow of the false gods in the time of judgment is declared, and, finally, the Creator of the universe is set forth as the God of Israel.—V. 12. “That made the earth by His power, that founded the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. V. 13. When He thundering makes the roar of waters in the heavens, He causes clouds to rise from the ends of the earth, makes lightnings for the rain, and brings the wind forth out of His treasuries. V. 14. Brutish becomes every man without knowledge; ashamed is every goldsmith by reason of the image, for falsehood is his molten image, and there is no spirit in them. V. 15. Vanity are they, a work of mockery; in the time of their visitation they perish. V. 16. Not like these is the portion of Jacob: the framer of (the) all is He, and Israel is the stock of His inheritance: Jahveh of hosts is His name.”
In point of form, “that made the earth,” etc., connects with “Jahveh God,” v. 10; but in respect of its matter, the description of God as Creator of heaven and earth is led up to by the contrast: The gods which have not made the heaven and the earth shall perish. The subject to עֹשֵׂה and the following verbs is not expressed, but may be supplied from the contrasted statement of v. 11, or from the substance of the several statements in v. 12. The connection may be taken thus: The true God is the one making the earth by His power = is He that made, etc. As the creation of the earth is a work of God’s almighty power, so the establishing, the founding of it upon the waters (Ps. 24:2) is an act of divine wisdom, and the stretching out of the heavens over the earth like a tent (Isa. 40:22; Ps. 104:2) is a work of intelligent design. On this cf. Isa. 42:5; 44:24; 45:18; 51:13. Every thunder-storm bears witness to the wise and almighty government of God, v. 13. The words לְקֹול תִּתֹּו are difficult. Acc. to Ew. § 307, b, they stand for לְתִתֹּו קֹול: when He gives His voice, i.e., when He thunders. In support of this it may be said, that the mention of lightnings, rain, and wind suggests such an interpretation. But the transposition of the words cannot be justified. Hitz. has justly remarked: The putting of the accusative first, taken by itself, might do; but not when it must at the same time be stat. constr., and when its genitive thus separated from it would assume the appearance of being an accusative to תִּתֹּו. Besides, we would expect לָתֵת קֹולֹו rather than לְתִתֹּו קֹול. קֹול תִּתֹּו cannot grammatically be rendered: the voice which He gives, a Näg. would have it, but: the voice of His giving; and “roar of waters” must be the accusative of the object, governed by תִּתֹּו. Hence we must protest against the explanation of L. de Dieu: ad vocem dationis ejus multitudo aquarum est in caelo, at least if ad vocem dationis is tantamount to simul ac dat. Just as little can לְקֹול taken by itself mean thunder, so that ad vocem should, with Schnur., be interpreted by tonitru est dare ejus multitudinem aquae. The only grammatically feasible explanation is the second of those proposed by L. de Dieu: ad vocem dandi ipsum, i.e., qua dat vel ponit multitudinem aquarum. So Hitz.: at the roar of His giving wealth of waters. Accordingly we expound: at the noise, when He gives the roar of waters in heaven, He raises up clouds from the ends of the earth; taking, as we do, the וַיַּעֲלֶה to be a ו consec. introducing the supplementary clause. The voice or noise with which God gives the roar or the fulness of waters in the heaven, is the sound of the thunder. With this the gathering of the dark thunder-clouds is put into causal connection, as it appears to be to the eye; for during the thunder we see the thunder-clouds gather thicker and darker on the horizon. נָשִׂיא, the ascended, poetic word for cloud. Lightnings for the rain; i.e., since the rain comes as a consequence of the lightning, for the lightning seems to rend the clouds and let them pour their water out on the earth. Thunder-storms are always accompanied by a strong wind. God causes the wind to go forth from His store-chambers, where He has it also under custody, and blow over the earth. See a like simile of the store-chambers of the snow and hail, Job 38:22f. From וַיַּעֲלֶה onwards, this verse is repeated in Ps. 135:7.
Jer. 10:14f. In presence of such marvels of divine power and wisdom, all men seem brutish and ignorant (away from knowledge = without knowledge), and all makers of idols are put to shame “because of the image” which they make for a god, and which is but a deception, has no breath of life. נֶסֶךְ, prop. drink-offering, libamen, cf. 7:15; here molten image = מַסֵּכָה, as in Isa. 41:29; 48:5, Dan. 11:8. Vanity they are, these idols made by the goldsmith. A work of mockings, i.e., that is exposed to ridicule when the nullity of the things taken to be gods is clearly brought to light. Others: A work which makes mockery of its worshippers, befools and deludes them (Hitz., Näg.). In the time of their visitation, cf. 6:15. Jer. 10:16. Quite other is the portion of Jacob, i.e., the God who has fallen to the lot of Jacob (the people of Israel) as inheritance. The expression is formed after Deut. 4:19, 20, where it is said of sun, moon, and stars that Jahveh has apportioned (חָלַק) them to the heathen as gods, but has taken Israel that it may be to Him לְעַם נַחֲלָה; accordingly Israel is in Deut. 32:9 called חֵלֶק יהוה, while in Ps. 16:5 David praises Jahveh as מְנָת־חֶלְקֹו. For He is the framer הַכֹּל, i.e., of the universe. Israel is the stock of His inheritance, i.e., the race which belongs to Him as a peculiar possession. שֵׁבֶט נַחֲלָתֹו is like חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתֹו, Deut. 32:9; in Ps. 74:2 it is said of Mount Zion, and in Isa. 63:17 it is sued in the plural, שִׁבְטֵי ן׳, of the godly servants of the Lord. The name of this God, the framer of the universe, is Jahveh of hosts—the God whom the hosts of heaven, angels and stars, serve, the Lord and Ruler of the whole world; cf. Isa. 54:5, Amos 4:13.
Jer. 10:17–25. The captivity of the people, their lamentation for the devastation of the land, and entreaty that the punishment may be mitigated.—V. 17. “Gather up thy bundle out of the land, thou that sittest in the siege. V. 18. For thus hath Jahveh spoken: Behold, I hurl forth the inhabitants of the land this time, and press them hard, that they may find them. V. 19. Woe is me for my hurt! grievous is my stroke! yet I think: This is my suffering, and I will bear it! V. 20. My tent is despoiled, and all my cords are rent asunder. My sons have forsaken me, and are gone: none stretches forth my tent any more, or hangs up my curtains. V. 21. For the shepherds are become brutish, and have not sought Jahveh; therefore they have not dealt wisely, and the whole flock is scattered.—V. 22. Hark! a rumour: behold, it comes, and great commotion from the land of midnight, to make the cities of Judah a desolation, an abode of jackals.—V. 23. I know, Jahveh, that the way of man is not in himself, nor in the man that walketh to fix his step. V. 24. Chasten me, Jahveh, but according to right; not in Thine anger, lest Thou make me little. V. 25. Pour out Thy fury upon the peoples that know Thee not, and upon the races that call not upon Thy name! for they have devoured Jacob, have devoured him and made an end of him, and laid his pastures waste.”
Jer. 10:17. In v. 17 the congregation of the people is addressed, and captivity in a foreign land is announced to them. This announcement stands in connection with 9:25, in so far as captivity is the accomplishment of the visitation of Judah threatened in 9:24. That connection is not, however, quite direct; the announcement is led up to by the warning against idolatry of vv. 1–16, inasmuch as it furnishes confirmation of the threat uttered in v. 15, that the idols shall perish in the day of their visitation, and shows besides how, by its folly in the matter of idolatry, Judah has drawn judgment down on itself. The confession in v. 21: the shepherds are become brutish, points manifestly back to the description in v. 14 of the folly of the idolaters, and exhibits the connection of vv. 17–25 with the preceding warning against idolatry. For “gather up,” etc., Hitz. translates: gather thy trumpery from the ground; so that the expression would have a contemptuous tone. But the meaning of rubbish cannot be proved to belong to כִּנְעָה; and the mockery that would lie in the phrase is out of place. כִּנְעָה, from Arab. kn’, contrahere, constipare, means that which is put together, packed up, one’s bundle. The connection of אָסַף and מֵאֶרֶץ is pregnant: put up thy bundle and carry it forth of the land. As N. G. Schroeder suspected, there is about the expression something of the nature of a current popular phrase, like the German Schnür dein Bündel, pack up, i.e., make ready fore the road. She who sits in the siege. The daughter of Zion is meant, but we must not limit the scope to the population of Jerusalem; as is clear from “inhabitants of the land,” v. 18, the population of the whole land are comprised in the expression. As to the form יֹושֶׁבֶתי, see at 22:23. אִסְפִּי with dag. lene after the sibilant, as in Isa. 47:2. “I hurl forth” expresses the violent manner of the captivity; cf. Isa. 22:17f. “This time;” hitherto hostile invasions ended with plundering and the imposition of a tribute: 2 Kings 14:14; 16:5; 18:13f.—And I press them hard, or close them in, לְמַעַן יִמְצָאוּ. These words are variously explained, because there is no object expressed, and there may be variety of opinion as to what is the subject. Hitz., Umbr., Näg., take the verb find in the sense of feel, and so the object צָרָה would easily be supplied from the verb הֲצֵרֹתִי: so that they may feel it, i.e., I will press them sensibly. But we cannot make sure of this meaning for מָצָא either from 17:9 or from Eccles. 8:17, where know (יָדַע) and מָצָא are clearly identical conceptions. Still less is Graf entitled to supply as object: that which they seek and are to find, namely, God. His appeal in support of this to passages like Ps. 32:6, Deut. 4:27 and 29, proves nothing; for in such the object is manifestly suggested by the contest, which is not the case here. A just conclusion is obtained when we consider that הֲצֵרֹתִי contains a play on בַּמָּצֹור in v. 17, and cannot be understood otherwise than as a hemming in by means of a siege. The aim of the siege is to bring those hemmed in under the power of the besiegers, to get at, reach them, or find them. Hence we must take the enemy as subject to “find,” while the object is given in לָהֶם: so that they (the enemy) may find them (the besieged). Thus too Jerome, who translates the disputed verb passively: et tribulabo eos ut inveniantur; while he explains the meaning thus: sic eos obsideri faciam, sicque tribulabo et coangustabo, ut omnes in urbe reperiantur et effugere nequeant malum. Taken thus, the second clause serves to strengthen the first: I will hurl forth the inhabitants of this land into a foreign land, and none shall avoid this fate, for I will so hem them in that none shall be able to escape.
This harassment will bring the people to their senses, so that they shall humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Such feelings the prophet utters at v. 19ff., in the name of the congregation, as he did in the like passage 4:19f. As from the hearts of those who had been touched by their affliction, he exclaims: Woe is me for my breach! i.e., my crushing overthrow. The breach is that sustained by the state in its destruction, see at 4:6. נַחְלָה, grown sick, i.e., grievous, incurable is the stroke that has fallen upon me. For this word we have in 15:18 אֲנוּשָׁה, which is explained by “refuseth to be healed.” וַאֲנִי introduces an antithesis: but I say, sc. in my heart, i.e., I think. Hitz. gives אַךְ the force of a limitation = nothing further than this, but wrongly; and, taking the perf. אָמַרְתִּי as a preterite, makes out the import to be: “in their state of careless security they had taken the matter lightly, saying as it were, If no further calamity than this menace us, we may be well content;” a thought quite foreign to the context. For “this my suffering” can be nothing else than the “hurt” on account of which the speaker laments, or the stroke which he calls dangerous, incurable. אַךְ has, besides, frequently the force of positive asseveration: yea, certainly (cf. Ew. § 354, a), a force readily derived from that of only, nothing else than. And so here: only this, i.e., even this is my suffering. חֳלִי, sickness, here suffering in general, as in Hos. 5:13, Isa. 53:3f., etc. The old translators took the Yod as pronoun (my suffering), whence it would be necessary to point חָלְיִ, like גֹּויִ, Zeph. 2:9; cf. Ew. § 293, b, Rem.—The suffering which the congregation must bear consists in the spoliation of the land and the captivity of the people, represented in v. 20 under the figure of a destruction of their tent and the disappearance of their sons. The Chald. has fairly paraphrased the verse thus: my land is laid waste and all my cities are plundered, my people has gone off (into exile) and is no longer here. יְצָאֻנִי construed with the accus. like egredi urbem; cf. Ge. 50:4, etc.—From “my sons have forsaken me” Näg. draws the inference that vv. 19 and 20 are the words of the country personified, since neither the prophet could so speak, nor the people, the latter being indeed identical with the sons, and so not forsaken, but forsaking. This inference rests on a mistaken view of the figure of the daughter of Zion, in which is involved the conception of the inhabitants of a land as the children of the land when personified as mother. Nor is there any evidence that the land is speaking in the words: I think, This is my suffering, etc. It is besides alleged that the words give no expression to any sense of guilt; they are said, on the contrary, to give utterance to a consolation which only an innocent land draws from the fact that a calamity is laid upon it, a calamity which must straightway be borne. This is neither true in point of fact, nor does it prove the case. The words, This is my suffering, etc., indicate resignation to the inevitable, not innocence or undeserved suffering. Hereon Graf remarks: “The suffering was unmerited, in so far as the prophet and the godly amongst the people were concerned; but it was inevitable that he and they should take it upon their shoulders, along with the rest.” Asserted with so great width, this statement cannot be admitted. The present generation bears the punishment not only for the sins of many past generations, but for its own sins; nor were the godly themselves free from sin and guilt, for they acknowledge the justice of God’s chastisement, and pray God to chasten them בְּמִשְׁפָּט, not in anger (v. 24). Besides, we cannot take the words as spoken by the prophet or by the godly as opposed to the ungodly, since it is the sons of the speaker (“my sons”) that are carried captive, who can certainly not be the sons of the godly alone.
Jer. 10:21. The cause of this calamity is that the shepherds, i.e., the princes and leaders of the people (see on 2:8; 3:15), are become brutish, have not sought Jahveh, i.e., have not sought wisdom and guidance from the Lord. And so they could not deal wisely, i.e., rule the people with wisdom. הִשְׂכִּיל is here not merely: have prosperity, but: show wisdom, deal wisely, securing thus the blessed results of wisdom. This is shown both by the contrasted “become brutish” and by the parallel passage, 3:15. מַרְעִיתָם, their pasturing, equivalent to “flock of their pasturing,” their flock, 23:1.
The calamity over which the people mourns is drawing near, v. 22. Already is heard the tremendous din of a mighty host which approaches from the north to make the cities of Judah a wilderness. קֹול שְׁמוּעָה is an exclamation: listen to the rumour, it is coming near. From a grammatical point of view the subject to “comes” is “rumour,” but in point of sense it is that of which the rumour gives notice. Graf weakens the sense by gathering the words into one assertory clause: “They hear a rumour come.” The “great commotion” is that of an army on the march, the clattering of the weapons, the stamping and neighing of the war-horses; cf. 6:23; 8:16. From the land of midnight, the north, cf. 1:14; 4:6, etc. “To make the cities,” etc., cf. 4:7; 9:10.—The rumour of the enemy’s approach drives the people to prayer, vv. 23–25. The prayer of these verses is uttered in the name of the congregation. It begins with the confession: Not with man is his way, i.e., it is not within man’s power to arrange the course of his life, nor in the power of the man who walks to fix his step (וְ before הָכִין merely marking the connection of the thought: cf. Ew. § 348, a). The antithesis to לָאָדָם and לְאִישׁ is ליהוה, with God; cf. Ps. 37:23, Prov. 16:9: Man’s heart deviseth his way, but Jahveh establisheth the steps. The thought is not: it is not in man’s option to walk in straight or crooked, good or evil ways, but: the directing of man, the way by which he must go, lies not in his own but in God’s power. Hitz. justly finds here the wisdom that admits: “Mit unserer Macht ist nichts getan,”—man’s destiny is ordained not by himself, but by God. Upon this acquiescence in God’s dispensation of events follows the petition: Chasten me, for I have deserved punishment, but chasten בְּמִשְׁפָּט, acc. to right, not in Thine anger; cf. Ps. 6:2; 38:2. A chastening in anger is the judgment of wrath that shall fall on obstinate sinners and destroy them. A chastening acc. to right is one such as is demanded by right (judgment), as the issue of God’s justice, in order to the reclamation and conversion of the repentant sinner. “Lest Thou make me little,” insignificant, puny; not merely, diminish me, make me smaller than I now am. For such a decrease of the people would result even from a gentle chastisement. There is no comparative force in the words. To make small, in other words, reduce to a small, insignificant people. This would be at variance with “right,” with God’s ordained plan in regard to His people. The expression is not equivalent to: not to make an utter end, 30:11, etc. The people had no call to pray that they might escape being made an utter end of; thus much had been promised by God, 4:27; 5:10.—God is asked to pour forth His fury upon the heathen who know not the Lord nor call upon His name, because they seek to extirpate Jacob (the people of Israel) as the people of God, at this time found in Judah alone. The several words in v. 25b suggest the fury with which the heathen proceed to the destruction of Israel. The present verse is reproduced in Ps. 79:6, 7, a psalm written during the exile, or at least after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; but in the reproduction the energetic expansion of the “devoured” is omitted. Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)
Ch. 11–13—Judah’s Faithlessness to Covenant Obligations, and the Consequences Thereof
Jer. 11–13. In the first part of this compilation of discourses (Jer. 11:1–17) Judah is upbraided for disloyalty to the covenant, on account of which people and kingdom are threatened with sore disaster. In the second part (Jer. 11:18–12:17), the murderous attempt of the people of Anathoth against the prophet’s life (Jer. 11:18–23) gives occasion for a description of Judah’s irreclaimable perverseness; while Jeremiah’s expostulation with God as to the prosperity of godless men, and the reproof therefor received by him from God (Jer. 12:1–6), call forth an announcement that, in spite of God’s long-suffering, judgment on Judah and all nations will not be for ever deferred (Jer. 12:7–17). Finally, in the third part, Jer. 13, we have first a further account, by means of a symbolical action to be performed by the prophet, of the abasement of Judah’s pride in banishment to Euphrates (vv. 1–11); and next, an account of the judgment about to fall on Judah in the destruction of Jerusalem, and this both in figurative and in direct language (vv. 12–27).
From the contents of the discourses it appears unquestionable that we have here, gathered into the unity of a written record, various oral addresses of Jeremiah, together with some of the experiences that befell him in the exercise of his calling. There is no foundation for the assertion, that 12:7–17 is a self-complete prophetic discourse (Hitz.), or a supplement to the rest, written in the last years of Jehoiakim (Graf); nor for the assumption of several commentators, that the composition of c. 13 falls into the time of Jehoiachin,—as will be shown when we come to expound the passages referred to. The discourse throughout contains nothing that might not have been spoken or have happened in the time of Josiah; nor have we here any data for determining precisely the dates of the several portions of the whole discourse.
Jer. 11:1–17. Judah’s Disloyalty to the Covenant, with the Consequences Thereof—In vv. 2–8 is a short summary of the covenant made with the fathers; in vv. 9–13 is an account of the breaking of this covenant by Judah, and of the calamity which results therefrom; and in vv. 14–17 further description of this calamity.
Jer. 11:1–8. “The word which came to Jeremiah from Jahveh, saying: V. 2. Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, V. 3. And say thou to them: Thus hath Jahve, the God of Israel, said: Cursed is the man that heareth not the words of this covenant, V. 4. Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron furnace, saying: Hearken to my voice, and do them according to all which I command you; so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God; V. 5. That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. And I answered and said: So be it, Jahveh. V. 6. Then said Jahveh to me: Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying: Hear ye the words of this covenant and do them. V. 7. For I have testified to your fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt unto this day, testifying from early morning on: Hearken to my voice! V. 8. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked each in the stubbornness of their evil heart; and so I brought on them all the words of this covenant which I have commanded them to do, and they have not done them.”
The form of address, v. 2: hear ye (שִׁמְעוּ), and speak ye (דִּבַּרְתֶּם), is noteworthy since we are not told who are to hear and speak; while at v. 3, in וְאָמַרְתָּ Jeremiah receives the commission to declare the words of the covenant to the people, and to make known in the cities of Judah, etc. (v. 6). The difficulty is not removed by the plan adopted by Hitz. and Graf from the LXX, of changing וְדִבַּרְתֶּם into וְדִבַּרְתָּם, “and speak them;” for the שִׁמְעוּ remains to be dealt with. To whom then, is it addressed? Schleussner proposed to change it into שִׁמְעָה—a purely arbitrary change. In v. 4 “hearing” is used in the sense of giving ear to, obeying. And in no other sense can it be taken in v. 1. “The words of this covenant” are, as is clear from the succeeding context, the words of the covenant recorded in the Pentateuch, known from the reading of the Torah. The call to hear the words thereof can only have the meaning of: to give ear to them, take them to heart. Hence Chr. B. Mich. and Schnur. have referred the words to the Jews: Listen, ye Jews and ye citizens of Jerusalem, to the words of the covenant, and make them know to one another, and exhort one another to observe them. But this paraphrase is hardly consistent with the wording of the verse. Others fancied that the priests and elders were addressed; but if so, these must necessarily have been named. Clearly it is to the prophets in general that the words are spoken, as Kimchi observed; and we must not take “hear ye” as if the covenant was unknown to the prophets, but as intended to remind the prophets of them, that they might enforce them upon the people. Taken thus, this introductory verse serves to exalt the importance of the truths mentioned, to mark them out as truths which God had commanded all the prophets to proclaim. If it be the prophets in general who are addressed in v. 2, the transition to “and say thou” is easily explained. Jeremiah, too, must himself do that which was the bounden duty of all the prophets, must make the men of Judah and Jerusalem call to mind the curse overhanging transgressors of the covenant. The words: Cursed is the man, etc., are taken from Deut. 27:26, from the directions for the engagement to keep the covenant, which the people were to solemnise upon their entry into Canaan, and which, acc. to Josh. 8:30ff., they did solemnise. The quotation is made freely from memory. Instead of “that heareth not the words of this covenant,” we find in Deut. l.c.: “the confirmeth not (יָקִים) the words of this law to do them.” The choice there of the word יָקִים is suggested by its connection with the act of solemnisation enjoined. The recitation and promulgation of the law upon Mount Gerizim and Ebal (Deut. 27) had no other aim than that of solemnly binding the people to keep or follow the law; and this is what Jeremiah means by “hearing.” The law to be established is the law of the covenant, i.e., the covenant made by Jahveh with Israel, and spoken of in Deut. 28:69 and 29:8 as the “words of this covenant.” This covenant, which Moses had made with the sons of Israel in the land of Moab (Deut. 28:69), was but a renewal of that solemnly concluded at Sinai (Ex. 24). And so Jeremiah speaks of this covenant as the one which Jahveh commanded the fathers in the day, i.e., at the time, of their leaving Egypt. “In the day that,” etc., as in 7:22. “Out of the iron furnace:” this metaphor for the affliction endured by Israel in Egypt is taken from Deut. 4:20. The words: hearken unto my voice and do them (the words of the covenant), suggest Deut. 27:1, 2; and the words: so shall ye be my people, suggest Deut. 29:12, a passage which itself points back to ex. 6:7 (Jer. 19:5f.), Lev. 27:12, Deut. 7:6, etc. That I may establish, i.e., perform, the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, i.e., the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 7:8, etc.), promising to give them a land flowing, etc. The frequently repeated description of the promised land; cf. Ex. 3:8, 17, Deut. 6:3, etc. כַּיֹּום הַזֶּה, as in Deut. 2:30; 4:20, etc., is not: at this time, now (Graf), but: as this day, meaning: as is even now the case, sc. that ye still possess this precious land. The assenting reply of the prophet: אָמֵן יהוה, yea, or so be it (γένοιτο, LXX), Lord, corresponds to the אָמֵן with which the people, acc. to Deut. 27:15ff., were to take on themselves the curses attached to the breaking of the law, curses which they did take on themselves when the law was promulgated in Canaan. As the whole congregation did on that occasion, so here the prophet, by his “yea,” expresses his adherence to the covenant, and admits that the engagement is yet in full force for the congregation of God; and at the same time indicates that he, on his part, is ready to labour for the fulfilment of the covenant, so that the people may not become liable to the curse of the law.
Jer. 11:6–8. Having set forth the curse to which transgressors of the law are exposed, God commands the prophet to proclaim the words of the covenant to the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, and to call upon them to do these. “All these words” are those subsequently specified, i.e., the commandments of the law (cf. v. 2). Jeremiah is to proclaim these, because, in spite of unremitting exhortation to hear and give heed to the voice of the Lord, the fathers had paid no regard thereto. קָרָא, not: read aloud (Hitz., Graf), but: proclaim, make known, as in 2:2; 3:12, etc. הֵעִיד with בְּ, to testify against any one, equivalent to: solemnly to enforce on one with importunate counsel and warning; cf. Deut. 30:19, Ps. 50:7, etc. On הַשְׁכֵּם וְהָעֵד, see at 7:13.—But they have not hearkened, v. 8a, running almost literally in the words of 7:24. “And I brought upon them,” etc., i.e., inflicted upon them the punishments with which transgressors of the law were threatened, which curses had been, in the case of the greater part of the people, the ten tribes, carried to the extreme length, i.e., to the length of their banishment from their own land into the midst of the heathen; cf. 2 Kings 17:13ff.
Jer. 11:9–13. The people’s breach of the covenant, and the consequences of this.—V. 9. “And Jahveh said unto me: Conspiracy is found among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. V. 10. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to give ear to my words, and they are gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. V. 11. Behold, I bring evil upon them, from which they cannot escape; and though they cry to me, I will not hear them. V. 12. And the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall go and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense, but they shall not help them in the time of their trouble. V. 13. For as many as are thy cities, so many are thy gods become, O Judah; and as many as are the streets of Jerusalem, so many altars have ye set up to Shame, altars to offer odours to Baal.”
Jeremiah is once more to enforce the words of the covenant upon the people, because they have broken the covenant, returned to the idolatry of the fathers. Conspiracy is found, is to be seen. The people’s defection from Jahveh, their breach of faith towards the covenant God, is called conspiracy, because it had become as universal as if it had been initiated by a formal preconcertment. “The former fathers,” forefathers of the people, are the Israelites under Moses, who broke the covenant by idolatry while still at Sinai, and those of the time of the Judges. With וְהֵמָּה the subject is changed; “they” are not the forefathers, but the prophet’s contemporaries. In the last clause of v. 10 is comprehended the apostasy of the whole people: Like Israel, Judah too has broken the covenant. Israel has been punished for this by being cast out among the heathen, the like doom awaits Judah.
Jer. 11:11. Because of the covenant broken, the Lord will bring on Judah and Jerusalem evil out of which they shall not come forth, i.e., not merely, from which they shall not escape safely, but: in which they shall find no way of rescue; for it in this calamity they cry to the Lord, He will not hear them. Nor will the gods whom they serve, i.e., the false gods, help them then. As to “as many as are,” etc., see on 2:28. “(The) Shame,” i.e., Baal, as at 3:24.
Jer. 11:14–17. Neither entreaty on their behalf nor their hypocritical worship will avert judgment.—V. 14. “But thou, pray not for this people, neither lift up for them cry or prayer; for I hear them not in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. V. 15. What would my beloved in my house? they who practise guile? Shall vows and holy flesh remove they calamity from thee? then mayest thou exult. V. 16. A green olive, fair for its goodly fruit, Jahveh called thy name; with the noise of great tumult He set fire to it, and its branches brake. V. 17. And Jahveh of hosts, that planted thee, hath decreed evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah which they themselves have done, to provoke me, in that they have offered odours to Baal.”
We have already, in Jer. 7:16, met with the declaration that the Lord will not accept any intercession for the covenant-breaking people (v. 14); the termination of this verse differs slightly in the turn to takes.—בְּעַד רָעָתָם the ancient commentators have almost unanimously rendered: tempore mali eorum, as if they had read בְּעֵת (this is, in fact, the reading of some codd.); but hardly on sufficient grounds. בְּעַד gives a suitable sense, with the force of the Greek ἀμφί, which, like the German um, passes into the sense of wegen, as the English about passes into that of concerning.—In vv. 15–17 we have the reason why the Lord will hear neither the prophet’s supplication nor the people’s cry in their time of need. V. 15 is very obscure; and from the Masoretic text it is hardly possible to obtain a suitable sense. “The beloved” of Jahveh is Judah, the covenant people; cf. Deut. 33:12, where Benjamin is so called, and Jer. 12:7, where the Lord calls His people יְדִידוּת נַפְשִׁי. “What is to my beloved in my house?” i.e., what has my people to do in my house—what does it want there? “My house” is the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, as appears from the mention of holy flesh in the second clause. The main difficulty lies in the words עֲשׂוֹתָהּ הַמְזִמָּתָה הָרַבִּים. Hitz. takes עֲשׂוֹתָהּ to be the subject of the clause, and makes the suffix point back to יְדִידִי, which, as collective, is to be construed generis faem.: what should the accomplishment of his plans be to my beloved in my house? But as adverse to this we must note, a. the improbability of יָדִיד as used of the people being feminine; b. the fact that even if we adopt Hitz.’s change of הַמְזִמָּתָה into הַמְזִמֹּות, yet the latter word does not mean plans or designs to bring offerings. The phrase is clearly to be taken by itself as a continuation of the question; and the suffix to be regarded, with Ew., Umbr., etc., as pointing, in the Aramaic fashion, to the object following: they who practise guile. מְזִמָּה, a thinking out, devising, usually of hurtful schemes, here guile, as in Ps. 139:20, Job 21:27. What is meant is the hypocrisy of cloaking their apostasy from God by offering sacrifices in the temple, of concealing their idolatry and passing themselves off as worshippers of Jahve. On the form מְזִמָּתָה, see Ew. § 173, g, Gesen. § 80, Rem. 2, f. הָרַבִּים makes no sense. It belongs manifestly to the words which follow; for it can neither be subject to עֲשׂוֹתָהּ, nor can it be joined to הַמְזִמָּתָה as its genitive. The LXX render: μὴ εὐχαὶ καὶ κρέα ἅγια ἀφελοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ τὰς κακίας σου; and following this, Dathe, Dahl., Ew., Hitz. hold הַנְדָרִים to be the original reading. On the other hand, Maur., Graf, and Näg. think we should read הֲרָנִּים (after Ps. 32:7) or הֲרִנִּים, crying, loud supplication; on the ground of Buxtorf’s hint, Anticrit. p. 661, that probably the Alexandrians had הָרַבִּים in their text, but, changing the ב for ן, read הרנים. We must make our choice between these two conjectures; for even if הָרַבִּים did not stand in the codex used by the Alexandrians, it cannot have been the original word. The form רָנִּים is, indeed, sufficiently attested by רָנֵּי פֶלֶט, Ps. 32:7; but the meaning of exultation which it has there is here wholly out of place. And we find no case of a plural to רִנָּה, which means both exultation and piteous, beseeching cry (e.g., 7:16). So that, although רִנָּה is in the LXX occasionally rendered by δέησις (Jer. 11:14; 14:12, etc.) or προσευχή (1 Kings 8:28), we prefer the conjecture הַנְדָרִים; for “vow” is in better keeping with “holy flesh,” i.e., flesh of sacrifice, Hag. 2:12, since the vow was generally carried out by offering sacrifice.—Nor do the following words, יַעַבְרוּ מֵעָלַיִךְ וגו׳, convey any meaning, without some alteration. As quoted above, they may be translated: shall pass away from thee. But this can mean neither: they shall be torn from thee, nor: they shall disappoint thee. And even if this force did lie in the words, no statement can begin with the following כִּי רָעָתֵכִי. If this be a protasis, the verb is wanting. We shall have to change it, after the manner of the LXX, to יַעֲבִרוּ מֵעָלַיִכִי רָעָתֵכִי: shall vows and holy flesh (sacrifice) avert thine evil from thee? For the form יַעֲבִרוּ as Hiph. cf. יַדְרִכוּ, 9:2. “Thine evil” with the double force: thy sin and shame, and the disaster impending, i.e., sin and (judicial) suffering. There is no occasion for any further changes. אָז, rendered ἢ by the LXX, and so read אֹו by them, may be completely vindicated: then, i.e., if this were the case, if thou couldst avert calamity by sacrifice, then mightest thou exult. Thus we obtain the following as the sense of the whole verse: What mean my people in my temple with their hypocritical sacrifices? Can vows and offerings, presented by you there, avert calamity from you? If it could be so, well might you shout for joy.
Jer. 11:16, 17. This idea is carried on in vv. 16, 17. Judah (Israel) was truly a noble planting of God’s, but by defection from the Lord, its God and Creator, it has drawn down on itself this ruin. Jahveh called Judah a green olive with splendid fruit. For a comparison of Israel to an olive, cf. Hos. 14:7, Ps. 52:10; 128:3. The fruit of the tree is the nation in its individual members. The naming of the name is the representation of the state of the case, and so here: the growth and prosperity of the people. The contrasted state is introduced by לְקֹול ה׳ without adversative particle, and is thus made to seem the more abrupt and violent (Hitz.). Noise of tumult (הֲמֻלָּה, occurring besides here only in Ezek. 1:24 as equivalent to הָמֹון), i.e., of the tumult of war, cf. Isa. 13:4; not: roar of the thunderstorm or crash of thunder (Näg., Graf). עָלֶיהָ for בָּהּ, cf. 17:27; 21:14, etc. The suffix is regulated by the thing represented by the olive, i.e., Judah as a kingdom. Its branches brake; רָעַע, elsewhere only transitive, here intransitive, analogously to רָצַץ in Isa. 42:4. Hitz. renders less suitably: its branches look bad, as being charred, robbed of their gay adornment. On this head cf. Ezek. 31:12. The setting of fire to the olive tree Israel came about through its enemies, who broke up one part of the kingdom after the other, who had already destroyed the kingdom of the ten tribes, and were now about to destroy Judah next. That the words apply not to Judah only, but to Israel as well, appears from v. 17, where the Lord, who has planted Israel, is said to have spoken, i.e., decreed evil for the sin of the two houses, Israel and Judah. דִּבֶּר is not directly = decree, but intimates also the utterance of the decree by the prophet. לָהֶם after עָשׂוּ is dat. incomm.: the evil which they have done to their hurt; cf. 44:3, where the dative is wanting. Hitz. finds in לָהֶם an intimation of voluntary action, as throwing back the deed upon the subject as an act of free choice; cf. Ew. § 315, a.
Jer. 11:18–12:17. Evidence that Judah is Unreclaimable, and that the Sore Judgments Threatened cannot be Averted.—As a practical proof of the people’s determination not to reform, we have in Jer. 11:18–23. Vv. 18–23 an account of the designs of the inhabitants of Anathoth against the prophet’s life, inasmuch as it was their ill-will towards his prophecies that led them to this crime. They are determined not to hear the word of God, chiding and punishing them for their sins, and so to put the preacher of this word out of the way.—V. 18. “And Jahveh gave me knowledge of it, and I knew it; then showedst Thou me their doings. V. 19. And I was as a tame lamb that is led to the slaughter, and knew not that they plotted designs against me: Let us destroy the three with the fruit thereof, and cut him off out of the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered. V. 20. But Jahveh of hosts, that judgeth justly, trieth reins and heart—I shall see Thy vengeance on them, for to Thee have I confided my case. V. 21. Therefore thus hath Jahveh spoken against the men of Anathoth, that seek after thy life, saying, Thou shalt not prophesy in the name of Jahveh, that thou die not by our hand. V. 22. Therefore thus hath Jahveh of hosts spoken: Behold, I will punish them; the young men shall die by the sword, their sons and daughters shall die by famine. V. 23. And a remnant shall not remain to them; for I bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, the year of their visitation.”
Jeremiah had not himself observed the designs of the people of Anathoth against his life, because the thing was carried on in secret; but the Lord made it known to him. אָז, then, sc. when I knew nought of their murderous intent; cf. v. 19. “Their doings,” i.e., those done in secret. V. 19. כֶּבֶשׂ אַלּוּף, agnus mansuetus, a tame pet-lamb, such as the Arabs used to keep, such as the Hebrews too, 2 Sam. 12:3, kept; familiar with the household, reared by them in the house, that does not suspect when it is being taken to be killed. In like manner Jeremiah had no suspicion that his countrymen were harbouring evil designs against him. These designs are quoted directly without לֵאמֹר. The saying is a figurative or proverbial one: we will destroy the tree בְּלַחְמֹו. This word is variously taken. The ordinary meaning, food for men and beasts, usually bread, seems not to be suitable. And so Hitz. wishes to read בְּלַחֹו, in its sap (cf. Deut. 34:7, Ezek. 21:3), because לֶחֶם may mean grain, but it does not mean fruit. Näg. justly remarks against this view: What is here essential is simply the produce of the tree, furnished for the use of man. The word of the prophet was a food which they abhorred (cf. v. 21b). As לֶחֶם originally meant food, we here understand by it the edible product of the tree, that is, its fruit, in opposition to sap, wood, leaves. This interpretation is confirmed by the Arabic; the Arabs use both laḥûmun and ukulu of the fruit of a tree, see ill. in Rosenm. Schol. ad h. l. The proverbial saying is given in plain words in the next clause. We will cut him (i.e., the prophet) off, etc.
Jer. 11:20. Therefore Jeremiah calls upon the Lord, as the righteous judge and omniscient searcher of hearts, to punish his enemies. This verse is repeated almost verbally in 20:12, and in substance in 17:10. Who trieth reins and heart, and therefore knows that Jeremiah has done no evil. אֶרְאֶה is future as expressing certainty that God will interfere to punish; for to Him he has wholly committed his cause. גִּלִּיתִי, Pi. of גָּלָה, is taken by Hitz., Ew., etc. in the sense of גָּלַל: on Thee have I rolled over my cause; in support of this they adduce Ps. 22:9; 37:5, Prov. 16:3, as parallel passages. It is true that this interpretation can be vindicated grammatically, for גלל might have assumed the form of גלה (Ew. § 121, a). But the passages quoted are not at all decisive, since Jeremiah very frequently gives a new sense to quotations by making slight alterations on them; and in the passage cited we read גָּלַל אֵת רִיב. We therefore adhere, with Grot. and Ros., to the usual meaning of גָּלָה; understanding that in making known there is included the idea of entrusting, a force suggested by the construction with אֶל instead of לְ. רִיב, controversy, cause.—The prophet declares God’s vengeance to the instigators of the plots against his life, vv. 21–23. The introductory formula in v. 21 is repeated in v. 22, on account of the long intervening parenthesis. “That thou diest not” is introduced by the וְ of consecution. The punishment is to fall upon the entire population of Anathoth; on the young men of military age (בַּחוּרִים), a violent death in war; on the children, death by famine consequent on the siege. Even though all had not had a share in the complot, yet were they at heart just as much alienated from God and ill-disposed towards His word. “Year of their visitation” is still dependent on “bring.” This construction is simpler than taking שְׁנַת for accus. adverb., both here and in 23:12 Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)
Jer. 12:1–6. The prophet’s displeasure at the prosperity of the wicked.—The enmity experienced by Jeremiah at the hands of his countrymen at Anathoth excites his displeasure at the prosperity of the wicked, who thrive and live with immunity. He therefore beings to expostulate with God, and demands from God’s righteousness that they be cut off out of the land (vv. 1–4); whereupon the Lord reproves him for this outburst of ill-nature and impatience by telling him that he must patiently endure still worse.—This section, the connection of which with the preceding is unmistakeable, shows by a concrete instance the utter corruptness of the people; and it has been included in the prophecies because it sets before us the greatness of God’s long-suffering towards a people ripe for destruction.
Jer. 12:1. “Righteous art Thou, Jahveh, if I contend with Thee; yet will I plead with Thee in words. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper, are all secure that deal faithlessly? V. 2. Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root; grow, yea, bring forth fruit. Near art Thou in their mouth, yet far from their reins. V. 3. But Thou, Jahveh, knowest me, seest me, and triest mine heart toward Thee. Tear them away like sheep to the slaughter, and devote them for a day of slaughter. V. 4. How long is the earth to mourn and the herb of the field to wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein, gone are cattle and fowl; for they say: He sees not our end. V. 5. If with the footmen thou didst run and they wearied thee, how couldst thou contend with the horses? and if thou trustest in the land of peace, how wilt thou do in the glory of Jordan? V. 6. For even thy brethren and they father’s house, even they are faithless towards thee, yea, they call after thee with full voice. Believe them not, though they speak friendly to thee.”
The prophet’s complaint begins by acknowledging: Thou art righteous, Lord, if I would dispute with Thee, i.e., would accuse Thee of injustice. I could convict Thee of no wrong; Thou wouldst appear righteous and prove Thyself in the right. Ps. 51:6; Job 9:2ff. With אַךְ comes in a limitation: only he will speak pleas of right, maintain a suit with Jahveh, will set before Him something that seems incompatible with God’s justice, namely the question: Why the way of the wicked prospers, why they that act faithlessly are in ease and comfort? On this cf. Job 21:7ff., where Job sets forth at length the contradiction between the prosperity of the wicked and the justice of God’s providence. The way of the wicked is the course of their life, their conduct. God has planted them, i.e., has placed them in their circumstances of life; like a tree they have struck root into the ground; they go on, i.e., grow, and bear fruit, i.e., their undertakings succeed, although they have God in their mouth only, not in their heart.
Jer. 12:3. To show that he has cause for his question, Jeremiah appeals to the omniscience of the Searcher of hearts. God knows him, tries his heart, and therefore knows how it is disposed towards Himself (אִתָּךְ belongs to לִבִּי, and אֵת indicating the relation—here, viz., fidelity—in which the heart stands to God; cf. 2 Sam. 16:17). Thus God knows that in his heart there is no unfaithfulness, and that he maintains to God an attitude altogether other than that of those hypocrites who have God on their lips only; and knows too the enmity which, without having provoked it, he experiences. How then comes it about that with the prophet it goes ill, while with those faithless ones it goes well? God, as the righteous God, must remove this contradiction. And so his request concludes: Tear them out (נָתַק of the tearing out of roots, Ezek. 17:9); here Hiph. with the same force (pointing back to the metaphor of their being rooted, v. 2), implying total destruction. Hence also the illustration: as sheep, that are dragged away out of the flock to be slaughtered. Devote them for the day of slaughter, like animals devoted to sacrifice.
Jer. 12:4. Ver. 4 gives the motive of his prayer: How long shall the earth suffer from the wickedness of these hypocrites? be visited with drought and dearth for their sins? This question is not to be taken as a complaint that God is punishing without end; Hitz. so takes it, and then proposes to delete it as being out of all connection in sense with v. 3 or v. 5. It is a complaint because of the continuance of God’s chastisement, drawn down by the wickedness of the apostates, which are bringing the land to utter ruin. The mourning of the land and the withering of the herb is a consequence of great drought; and the drought is a divine chastisement: cf. 3:3; 5:24ff., 14:2ff., etc. But this falls not only on the unfaithful, but upon the godly too, and even the beasts, cattle, and birds suffer from it; and so the innocent along with the guilty. There seems to be injustice in this. To put an end to this injustice, to rescue the innocent from the curse brought by the wickedness of the ungodly, the prophet seeks the destruction of the wicked. סָפָה, to be swept away. The 3rd pers. fem. sing. with the plural וֹת, as in Joel 1:20 and often; cf. Ew. § 317, a, Gesen. § 146, 3. “They that dwell therein” are inhabitants of the land at large, the ungodly multitude of the people, of whom it is said in the last clause: they say, He will not see our end. The sense of these words is determined by the subject. Many follow the LXX (οὐκ ὄψεται ὁ Θεὸς ὁδοὺς ἡμῶν) and refer the seeing to God. God will not see their end, i.e., will not trouble Himself about it (Schnur., Ros., and others), or will not pay any heed to their future fate, so that they may do all they choose unpunished (Ew.). But to this Graf has justly objected, that רָאָה, in all the passages that can be cited for this sense of the word, is used only of that which God sees, regards as already present, never of that which is future. “He sees” is to be referred to the prophet. Of him the ungodly say, he shall not see their end, because they intend to put him out of the way (Hitz.); or better, in a less special sense, they ridicule the idea that his prophecies will be fulfilled, and say: He shall not see our end, because his threatenings will not come to pass.
Jer. 12:5, 6. In vv. 5 and 6 the Lord so answers the prophet’s complaint as to reprove his impatience, by intimating that he will have to endure still worse. Both parts of v. 5 are of the nature of proverbs. If even the race with footmen made him weary, how will he be able to compete with horses? תֶּחֱרָה here and 22:15, a Tiph., Aramaic form for Hiph., arising by the hardening of the ה into ת—cf. Hos. 11:3, and Ew. § 122, a—rival, vie with. The proverb exhibits the contrast between tasks of smaller and greater difficulty, applied to the prophet’s relation to his enemies. What Jeremiah had to suffer from his countrymen at Anathoth was but a trifle compared with the malign assaults that yet awaited him in the discharge of his office. The second comparison conveys the same thought, but with a clearer intimation of the dangers the prophet will undergo. If thou puttest thy trust in a peaceful land, there alone countest on living in peace and safety, how wilt thou bear thyself in the glory of Jordan? The latter phrase does not mean the swelling of Jordan, its high flood, so as that we should with Umbr. and Ew., have here to think of the danger arising from a great and sudden inundation. It is the strip of land along the bank of the Jordan, thickly overgrown with shrubs, trees, and tall reeds, the lower valley, flooded when the river was swollen, where lions had their haunt, as in the reedy thickets of the Euphrates. Cf. v. Schubert, Resie, iii. S. 82; Robins. Bibl. Researches in Palestine, i. 535, and Phys. Geogr. of the Holy Land, p. 147. The “pride of the Jordan” is therefore mentioned in 49:19; 50:44, Zech. 11:3, as the haunt of lions, and comes before us here as a region where men’s lives were in danger. The point of the comparison is accordingly this: Thy case up till this time is, in spite of the onsets thou hast borne, to be compared to a sojourn in a peaceful land; but thou shalt come into much sorer case, where thou shalt never for a moment be sure of thy life. To illustrate this, he is told in v. 6 that his nearest of kin, and those dwelling under the same roof, will behave unfaithfully towards him. they will cry behind him מָלֵא, plena voce (Jerome; cf. קִרְאוּ מַלְאוּ, 4:5). They will cry after him, “as one cries when pursuing a thief or murderer” (Gr.). Perfectly apposite is therefore Luther’s translation: They set up a hue and cry after thee. These words are not meant to be literally taken, but convey the thought, that even his nearest friends will persecute him as a malefactor. It is therefore a perverse design that seeks to find the distinction between the inhabitants of Anathoth and the brethren and housemates, in a contrast between the priests and the blood-relations. Although Anathoth was a city of the priests, the men of Anathoth need not have been all priests, since these cities were not exclusively occupied by priests.—In this reproof of the prophet there lies not merely the truth that much sorer suffering yet awaits him, but the truth besides, that the people’s faithlessness and wickedness towards God and men will yet grow greater, ere the judgment of destruction fall upon Judah; for the divine long-suffering is not yet exhausted, nor has ungodliness yet fairly reached its highest point, so that the final destruction must straightway be carried out. But judgment will not tarry long. This thought is carried on in what follows.
Jer. 12:7–17. The execution of the judgment on Judah and its enemies.—As to this passage, which falls into two strophes, vv. 7–13 and vv. 14–17, Hitz., Graf, and others pronounce that it stands in no kind of connection with what immediately precedes. The connection of the two strophes with one another is, however, allowed by these commentators; while Eichh. and Dahler hold vv. 14–17 to be a distinct oracle, belonging to the time of Zedekiah, or to the seventh or eighth year of Jehoiakim. These views are bound up with an incorrect conception of the contents of the passage,—to which in the first place we must accordingly direct our attention.
Jer. 12:7. “I have forsaken mine house, cast out mine heritage, given the beloved of my soul into the hand of its enemies. V. 8. Mine heritage is become unto me as a lion in the forest, it hath lifted up its voice against me; therefore have I hated it. V. 9. Is mine heritage to me a speckled vulture, that vultures are round about it? Come, gather all the beasts of the field, bring them to devour! V. 10. Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, have trodden down my ground, have made the plot of my pleasure a desolate wilderness. V. 11. They have made it a desolation; it mourneth around me desolate; desolated is the whole land, because none laid it to heart. V. 12. On all the bare-peaked heights in the wilderness are spoilers come; for a sword of Jahveh’s devours from one end of the land unto the other: no peace to all flesh. V. 13. They have sown wheat and reaped thorns; they have worn themselves weary and accomplished nothing. So then ye shall be put to shame for your produce, because of the hot anger of Jahve.”
V. 14. “Thus saith Jahveh against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the heritage which I have given unto my people Israel: Behold, I pluck them out of their land, and the house of Judah will I pluck out of their midst. V. 15. But after I have plucked them out, I will pity them again, and bring them back, each to his heritage, and each into his land. V. 16. And it shall be, if they will learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name: As Jahveh liveth, as they have taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built in the midst of my people. V. 17. But if they hearken not, I will pluck up such a nation, utterly destroying it, saith Jahve.”
Hitz. and Graf, in opposition to other commentators, will have the strophe, vv. 7–13, to be taken not as prophecy, but as a lament on the devastation which Judah, after Jehoiakim’s defection from Nebuchadnezzar in the eighth year of his reign, had suffered through the war of spoliation undertaken against insurgent Judah by those neighbouring nations that had maintained their allegiance to Chaldean supremacy, 2 Kings 24:2f. In support of this, Gr. appeals to the use throughout of unconnected perfects, and to the prophecy, v. 14ff., joined with this description; which, he says, shows that it is something complete, existing, which is described, a state of affairs on which the prophecy is based. For although the prophet, viewing the future with the eyes of a seer as a thing present, often describes it as if it had already taken place, yet, he says, the context easily enables us in such a case to recognise the description as prophetic, which, acc. to Graf, is not the case here. This argument is void of all force. To show that the use of unconnected perfects proves nothing, it is sufficient to note that such perfects are used in v. 6, where Hitz. and Gr. take בָּגְדוּ and קָרְאוּ as prophetic. So with the perfects in v. 7. The context demands this. For though no particle attaches v. 7 to what precedes, yet, as Graf himself alleges against Hitz., it is shown by the lack of any heading that the fragment (vv. 7–13) is “not a special, originally independent oracle;” and just as clearly, that it can by no means be (as Gr. supposes) an appendix, stuck on to the preceding in a purely external and accidental fashion. These assumptions are disproved by the contents of the fragment, which are simply an expansion of the threat of expulsion from their inheritance conveyed to the people already in 11:14–17; an expansion which not merely points back to 11:14–17, but which most aptly attaches itself to the reproof given to the prophet for his complaint that judgment on the ungodly was delayed (Jer. 12:1–6); since it discloses to the prophet God’s designs in regard to His people, and teaches that the judgment, though it may be delayed, will not be withheld.
Jer. 12:7ff. contain sayings of God, not of the prophet, who had left his house in Anathoth, as Zwingli and Bugenhagen thought. The perfects are prophetic, i.e., intimate the divine decree already determined on, whose accomplishment is irrevocably fixed, and will certainly by and by take place. “My house” is neither the temple nor the land inhabited by Israel, in support whereof appeal is unjustly made to passages like Hos. 8; 1, 9:15, Ezek. 8:12; 9:9; but, as is clearly shown by the parallel “mine heritage,” taken in connection with what is said of the heritage in v. 8, and by “the beloved of my soul,” v. 7, means the people of Israel, or Judah as the existing representative of the people of God (house = family); see on Hos. 8:1. נַחֲלָתִי = עַם נַחֲלָה, Deut. 4:20, cf. Isa. 47:6; 19:25. יְדִדוּת, object of my soul’s love, cf. 11:15. This appellation, too, cannot apply to the land, but to the people of Israel,—V. 8 contains the reason why Jahveh gives up His people for a prey. It has behaved to God like a lion, i.e., has opposed Him fiercely like a furious beast. Therefore He must withdraw His love. To give with the voice = to lift up the voice, as in Ps. 46:7; 68:34. “Hate” is a stronger expression for the withdrawal of love, shown by delivering Israel into the hand of its enemies, as in Mal. 1:3. There is no reason for taking שָׂנֵאתִי as inchoative. The “hating” is explained fully in the following verses. In v. 9 the meaning of הַעַיִט צָבוּעַ is disputed. In all other places where it occurs עַיִט means a bird of prey, cf. Isa. 46:11, or collective, birds of prey, Gen. 15:11, Isa. 18:6. צָבוּעַ, in the Rabbinical Heb. the hyaena, like the Arabic ṣabu’un or ṣab’un. So the LXX have rendered it; and so, too, many recent comm., e.g., Gesen. in thes. But with this the asyndeton by way of connection with עַיִט does not well consist: is a bird of prey, a hyaena, mine heritage? On this ground Boch. (Hieroz. ii. p. 176, ed. Ros.) sought to make good the claim of עַיִט to mean “beast of prey,” but without proving his case. Nor is there in biblical Heb. any sure case for צָבוּעַ in the meaning of hyaena; and the Rabbinical usage would appear to be founded on this interpretation of the word in the passage before us. צָבַע, Arab. ṣaba’a, means dip, hence dye; and so צֶבַע, Judg. 5:30, is dyed materials, in plur. parti-coloured clothes. To this meaning Jerome, Syr., and Targ. have adhered in the present case; Jerome gives avis discolor, whence Luther’s der sprincklight Vogel; Chr. B. Mich., avis colorata. So, and rightly, Hitz., Ew., Graf, Näg. The prophet alludes to the well-known fact of natural history, that “whenever a strange-looking bird is seen amongst the others, whether it be an owl of the night amidst the birds of day, or a bird of gay, variegated plumage amidst those of duskier hue, the others pursue the unfamiliar intruder with loud cries and unite in attacking it.” Hitz., with reference to Tacit. Ann. vi. 28, Sueton. Caes. 81, and Plin. Hist. N. x. 19. The question is the expression of amazement, and is assertory. לִי is dat. ethic., intimating sympathetic participation (Näg.), and not to be changed, with Gr., into כִּי. The next clause is also a question: are birds of prey round about it (mine heritage), sc. to plunder it? This, too, is meant to convey affirmation. With it is connected the summons to the beasts of prey to gather round Judah to devour it. The words here come from Isa. 56:9. The beasts are emblem for enemies. הֵתָיוּ is not first mode or perfect (Hitz.), but imperat., contracted from הֶאֱתָיוּ, as in Isa. 21:14. The same thought is, in v. 10, carried on under a figure that is more directly expressive of the matter in hand. The perfects in vv. 10–12 are once more prophetic. The shepherds who (along with their flocks, of course) destroy the vineyard of the Lord are the kings of the heathen, Nebuchadnezzar and the kings subject to him, with their warriors. The “destroying” is expanded in a manner consistent with the figure; and here we must not fail to note the cumulation of the words and the climax thus produced. They tread down the plot of ground, turn the precious plot into a howling wilderness. With “plot of my pleasure” cf. אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה וגו׳, 3:19.
In v. 11 the emblematical shepherds are brought forward in the more direct form of enemy. שָׂמָהּ, he (the enemy, “they” impersonal) has changed it (the plot of ground) into desolation. It mourneth עָלַי, round about me, desolated. Spoilers are come on all the bare-topped hills of the desert. מִדְבָּר is the name for such parts of the country as were suited only for rearing and pasturing cattle, like the so-called wilderness of Judah to the west of the Dead Sea. A sword of the Lord’s (i.e., the war sent by Jahveh, cf. 25:29; 6:25) devours the whole land from end to end; cf. 25:33. “All flesh” is limited by the context to all flesh in the land of Judah. בָּשָׂר in the sense of Gen. 6:12, sinful mankind; here: the whole sinful population of Judah. For them there is no שָׁלֹום, welfare or peace.
Jer. 12:13. They reap the contrary of what they have sowed. The words: wheat they have sown, thorns they reap, are manifestly of the nature of a saw or proverb; certainly not merely with the force of meliora exspectaverant et venerunt pessima (Jerome); for sowing corresponds not to hoping or expecting, but to doing and undertaking. Their labour brings them the reverse of what they aimed at or sought to attain. To understand the words directly of the failure of the crop, as Ven., Ros., Hitz., Graf, Näg. prefer to do, is fair neither to text nor context. To reap thorns is not = to have a bad harvest by reason of drought, blight, or the ravaging of enemies. The seed: wheat, the noblest grain, produces thorns, the very opposite of available fruit. And the context, too, excludes the thought of agriculture and “literal harvesting.” The thought that the crop turned out a failure would be a very lame termination to a description of how the whole land was ravaged from end to end by the sword of the Lord. The verse forms a conclusion which sums up the threatening of vv. 7–12, to the effect that the people’s sinful ongoings will bring them sore suffering, instead of the good fortune they hoped for. נֶחְלוּ, they have worn themselves out, exhausted their strength, and secured no profit. Thus shall ye be put to shame for your produce, ignominiously disappointed in your hopes for the issue of your labour.
Jer. 12:14–17. The spoilers of the Lord’s heritage are also to be carried off out of their land; but after they, like Judah, have been punished, the Lord will have pity on them, and will bring them back one and all into their own land. And if the heathen, who now seduce the people of God to idolatry, learn the ways of God’s people and be converted to the Lord, they shall receive citizenship amongst God’s people and be built up amongst them; but if they will not do so, they shall be extirpated. Thus will the Lord manifest Himself before the whole earth as righteous judge, and through judgment secure the weal not only of Israel, but of the heathen peoples too. By this discovery of His world-plan the Lord makes so complete a reply to the prophet’s murmuring concerning the prosperity of the ungodly (vv. 1–6), that from it may clearly be seen the justice of God’s government on earth. Viewed thus, both strophes of the passage before us (vv. 7–17) connect themselves singularly well with vv. 1–6.
Jer. 12:14. The evil neighbours that lay hands on Jahve’s heritage are the neighbouring heathen nations, the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, and Syrians. It does not, however, follow that this threatening has special reference to the event related in 2 Kings 24:2, and that it belongs to the time of Jehoiakim. These nations were always endeavouring to assault Israel, and made use of every opportunity that seemed favourable for waging war against them and subjugating them; and not for the first time during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, at which time it was indeed that they suffered the punishment here pronounced, of being carried away into exile. The neighbours are brought up here simply as representatives of the heathen nations, and what is said of them is true for all the heathen. The transition to the first person in שְׁכֵנַי is like that in 14:15. Jahveh is possessor of the land of Israel, and so the adjoining peoples are His neighbours. נָגַע בְ, to touch as an enemy, to attack, cf. Zech. 2:12. I pluck the house of Judah out of their midst, i.e., the midst of the evil neighbours. This is understood by most commentators of the carrying of Judah into captivity, since נָתַשׁ cannot be taken in two different senses in the two corresponding clauses. For this word used of deportation, cf. 1 Kings 14:15. “Them,” v. 15, refers to the heathen peoples. After they have been carried forth of their land and have received their punishment, the Lord will again have compassion upon them, and will bring back each to its inheritance, its land. Here the restoration of Judah, the people of God, is assumed as a thing of course (cf. v. 16 and 32:37, 44; 33:26).
Jer. 12:16. If then the heathen learn the ways of the people of God. What we are to understand by this is clear from the following infinitive clause: to swear in the name of Jahveh, viz., if they adopt the worship of Jahveh (for swearing is mentioned as one of the principal utterances of a religious confession). If they do so, then shall they be built in the midst of God’s people, i.e., incorporated with it, and along with it favoured and blessed.
Jer. 12:17. But they who hearken not, namely, to the invitation to take Jahveh as the true God, these shall be utterly destroyed. נָתֹושׁ וְאַבֵּד, so to pluck them out that they may perish. The promise is Messianic, cf. 16:19, Isa. 56:6f., Mic. 4:1–4, etc., inasmuch as it points to the end of God’s way with all nations. Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)
Jer. 13. The Humiliation of Judah’s Pride.—The first section of this chapter contains a symbolical action which sets forth the corruptness of Judah (vv. 1–11), and shows in figurative language how the Lord will bring Judah’s haughtiness to nothing (vv. 12–14). Upon the back of this comes the warning to repent, and the threatening addressed to the king and queen, that the crown shall fall from their head, that Judah shall be carried captive, and Jerusalem dishonoured, because of their disgraceful idolatry (vv. 15–27).
Jer. 13:1–11. The spoilt girdle.—V. 1. “Thus spake Jahveh unto me: Go and buy thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, but into the water thou shalt not bring it. V. 2. So I bought the girdle, according to the word of Jahveh, and put it upon my loins, V. 3. Then came the word of Jahveh to me the second time, saying: V. 4. Take the girdle which thou hast bought, which is upon thy loins, and arise, and go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock. V. 5. So I went and hid it, as Jahveh had commanded me. V. 6. And it came to pass after many days, that Jahveh said unto me: Arise, go to the Euphrates, and bring thence the girdle which I commanded thee to hide there. V. 7. And I went to the Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it; and, behold, the girdle was marred, was good for nothing. V. 8. And the word of Jahveh came to me, saying: V. 9. Thus hath Jahveh said, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. V. 10. This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them and to worship them, it shall be as this girdle which is good for nothing. V. 11. For as the girdle cleaves to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith Jahveh; that it might be to me for a people and for a name, for a praise and for an ornament; but they hearkened not.”
With regard to the symbolical action imposed on the prophet and performed by him, the question arises, whether the thing took place in outward reality, or was only an occurrence in the spirit, in the inward vision. The first view seems to be supported by the wording of the passage, namely, the twice repeated account of the prophet’s journey to the Phrat on the strength of a twice repeated divine command. But on the other hand, it has been found very improbable that “Jeremiah should twice have made a journey to the Euphrates, merely to prove that a linen girdle, if it lie long in the damp, becomes spoilt, a thing he could have done much nearer home, and which besides everybody knew without experiment” (Graf.). On this ground Ros., Graf, etc., hold the matter for a parable or an allegorical tale, But this view depends for support on the erroneous assumption that the specification of the Euphrates is of no kind of importance for the matter in hand; whereas the contrary may be gathered from the four times repeated mention of the place. Nor is anything proved against the real performance of God’s command by the remark, that the journey thither and back on both occasions is spoken of as if it were a mere matter of crossing a field. The Bible writers are wont to set forth such external matters in no very circumstantial way. And the great distance of the Euphrates—about 250 miles—gives us no sufficient reason for departing from the narrative as we have it before us, pointing as it does to a literal and real carrying out of God’s command, and to relegate the matter to the inward region of spiritual vision, or to take the narrative for an allegorical tale.—Still less reason is to be found in arbitrary interpretations of the name, such as, after Bochart’s example, have been attempted by Ven., Hitz., and Ew. The assertion that the Euphrates is called נְהַר פְּרָת everywhere else, including Jer. 46:2, 6, 10, loses its claim to conclusiveness from the fact that the prefaced נהר is omitted in Gen. 2:14, Jer. 51:63. And even Ew. observes, that “fifty years later a prophet understood the word of the Euphrates at 51:63.” Now even if 51:63 had been written by another prophet, and fifty years later (which is not the case, see on Jer. 50ff.), the authority of this prophet would suffice to prove every other interpretation erroneous; even although the other attempts at interpretation had been more than the merest fancies. Ew. remarks, “It is most amazing that recent scholars (Hitz. with Ven. and Dahl.) could seriously come to adopt the conceit that פְּרָת is one and the same with אֶפְרָת (Gen. 48:7), and so with Bethlehem;” and what he says is doubly relevant to his own rendering. פְּרָת, he says, is either to be understood like Arab. frt, of fresh water in general, or like frḍt, a place near the water, a crevice opening from the water into the land,—interpretations so far fetched as to require no serious refutation.
More important than the question as to the formal nature of the emblematical action is that regarding its meaning; on which the views of commentators are as much divided. from the interpretation in vv. 9–11 thus much is clear, that the girdle is the emblem of Israel, and that the prophet, in putting on and wearing this girdle, illustrates the relation of God to the folk of His covenant (Israel and Judah). The further significance of the emblem is suggested by the several moments of the action. The girdle does not merely belong to a man’s adornment, but is that part of his clothing which he must put on when about to undertake any laborious piece of work. The prophet is to buy and put on a linen girdle. פִּשְׁתִּים, linen, was the material of the priests’ raiment, Ezek. 44:17f., which in Ex. 28:40; 39:27ff. is called שֵׁשׁ, white byssus, or בַּד, linen. The priest’s girdle was not, however, white, but woven parti-coloured, after the four colours of the curtains of the sanctuary, Ex. 28:40; 39:29. Wool (צֶמֶר) is in Ezek. 44:18 expressly excluded, because it causes the body to sweat. The linen girdle points, therefore, to the priestly character of Israel, called to be a holy people, a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6). “The purchased white girdle of linen, a man’s pride and adornment, is the people bought out of Egypt, yet in its innocence as it was when the Lord bound it to Himself with the bands of love” (Umbr.). The prohibition that follows, “into water thou shalt not bring it,” is variously interpreted. Chr. B. Mich. says: forte ne madefiat et facilius dein computrescat; to the same effect Dahl., Ew., Umbr., Graf: to keep it safe from the hurtful effects of damp. A view which refutes itself; since washing does no kind of harm to the linen girdle, but rather makes it again as good as new. Thus to the point writes Näg., remarking justly at the same time, that the command not to bring the girdle into the water plainly implies that the prophet would have washed it when it had become soiled. This was not to be. The girdle was to remain dirty, and as such to be carried to the Euphrates, in order that, as Ros. and Maur. observed, it might symbolize sordes quas contraxerit populus in dies majores, mores populi magis magisque lapsi, and that the carrying of the soiled girdle to the Euphrates might set forth before the eyes of the people what awaited it, after it had long been borne by God covered with the filth of its sins.—The just appreciation of this prohibition leads us easily to the true meaning of the command in v. 4, to bring the girdle that was on his loins to the Euphrates, and there to conceal it in a cleft in the rock, where it decays. But it is signifies, as Chr. B. Mich., following Jerome, observes, populi Judaici apud Chaldaeos citra Euphratem captivitas et exilium. Graf has objected: “The corruptness of Israel was not a consequence of the Babylonish captivity; the latter, indeed, came about in consequence of the existing corruptness.” But this objection stands and falls with the amphibolia of the word corruptness, decay. Israel was, indeed, morally decayed before the exile; but the mouldering of the girdle in the earth by the Euphrates signifies not the moral but the physical decay of the covenant people, which, again, was a result of the moral decay of the period during which God had, in His long-suffering, borne the people notwithstanding their sins. Wholly erroneous is the view adopted by Gr. from Umbr.: the girdle decayed by the water is the sin-stained people which, intriguing with the foreign gods, had in its pride cast itself loose from its God, and had for long imagined itself secure under the protection of the gods of Chaldea. The hiding of the girdle in the crevice of a rock by the banks of the Euphrates would have been the most unsuitable emblem conceivable for representing the moral corruption of the people. Had the girdle, which God makes to decay by the Euphrates, loosed itself from him and imagined it could conceal itself in a foreign land? as Umbr. puts the case. According to the declaration, v. 9, God will mar the great pride of Judah and Jerusalem, even as the girdle had been marred, which had at His command been carried to the Euphrates and hid there. The carrying of the girdle to the Euphrates is an act proceeding from God, by which Israel is marred; the intriguing of Israel with strange gods in the land of Canaan was an act of Israel’s own, against the will of God.
Jer. 13:6. After the course of many days—these are the seventy years of the captivity—the prophet is to fetch the girdle again. He went, digged (חָפַר, whence we see that the hiding in the cleft of the rock was a burying in the rocky soil of the Euphrates bank), and found the girdle marred, fit for nothing. These words correspond to the effect which the exile was designed to have, which it has had, on the wicked, idolatrous race. The ungodly should as Moses’ law, Lev. 26:36, 39, declared, perish in the land of their enemies; the land of their enemies will devour them, and they that remain shall pine or moulder away in their iniquities and in the iniquities of their fathers. This mouldering (יִמַּקּוּ) is well reproduced in the marring (נִשְׁחַת) of the girdle. It is no contradiction to this, that a part of the people will be rescued from the captivity and brought back to the land of their fathers. For although the girdle which the prophet had put on his loins symbolized the people at large, yet the decay of the same at the Euphrates sets forth only the physical decay of the ungodly part of the people, as v. 10 intimates in clear words: “This evil people that refuses to hear the word of the Lord, etc., shall be as this girdle.” The Lord will mar the גָּאֹון of Judah and Jerusalem. The word means highness in both a good and in an evil sense, glory and self-glory. Here it is used with the latter force. This is shown both by the context, and by a comparison of the passage Lev. 26:19, that God will break the גְּאֹון עֹז of the people by sore judgments, which is the foundation of the present v. 9.—In v. 11 the meaning of the girdle is given, in order to explain the threatening in vv. 9 and 10. As the girdle lies on the loins of a man, so the Lord hath laid Israel on Himself, that it may be to Him for a people and for a praise, for a glory and an adornment, inasmuch as He designed to set it above all other nations and to make it very glorious; cf. Deut. 26:19, whither these words point back.
Jer. 13:12–17. How the Lord will destroy His degenerate people, and how they may yet escape the impending ruin.—V. 12. “And speak unto them this word: Thus hath Jahveh the God of Israel said, Every jar is filled with wine. And when they say to thee, Know we not that every jar is filled with wine? V. 13. Then say to them: Thus hath Jahve said: Behold, I fill all inhabitants of this land—the kings that sit for David upon his throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness, V. 14. And dash them one against another, the fathers and the sons together, saith Jahve; I will not spare, nor pity, nor have mercy, not to destroy them.— V. 15. Hear ye and give ear! Be not proud, for Jahveh speaketh. V. 16. Give to Jahveh, your God, honour, ere He bring darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of dusk, and ye look for light, but He turn it into the shadow of death and make it darkness. V. 17. But if ye hear it not, then in concealment shall my soul weep for the pride, and weep and run down shall mine eye with tears, because the flock of Jahve is carried away captive.”
To give emphasis to the threatening conveyed in the symbolical action, the kind and manner of the destruction awaiting them is forcibly set before the various ranks in Judah and Jerusalem by the interpretation, in vv. 12–14, of a proverbial saying and the application of it to them. The circumstantial way in which the figurative saying is brought in in v. 12, is designed to call attention to its import. נֵבֶל, an earthenware vessel, especially the wine jar (cf. Isa. 30:24, Lam. 4:2), is here the emblem of man; cf. 18:6, Isa. 29:16. We must not, as Näg. does, suppose the similar to be used because such jars are an excellent emblem of that carnal aristocratic pride which lacked all substantial merit, by reason of their being of bulging shape, hollow within and without solidity, and of fragile material besides. No stress is laid on the bulging form and hollowness of the jars, but only on their fulness with wine and their brittleness. Nor can aristocratic haughtiness be predicated of all the inhabitants of the land. The saying: Every jar is filled with wine, seemed so plain and natural, that those addressed answer: Of that we are well aware. “The answer is that of the psychical man, who dreams of no deeper sense” (Hitz.). Just this very answer gives the prophet occasion to expound the deeper meaning of this word of God’s. As one fills all wine jars, so must all inhabitants of the land be filled by God with wine of intoxication. Drunkenness is the effect of the intoxicating wine of God’s wrath, Ps. 60:5. This wine Jahveh will give them (cf. 25:15, Isa. 51:17, etc.), so that, filled with drunken frenzy, they shall helplessly destroy one another. This spirit will seize upon all ranks: upon the kings who sit upon the throne of David, not merely him who was reigning at the time; upon the priests and prophets as leaders of the people; and upon all inhabitants of Jerusalem, the metropolis, the spirit and temper of which exercises an unlimited influence upon the temper and destiny of the kingdom at large. I dash them one against the other, as jars are shivered when knocked together. Here Hitz. finds a foreshadowing of civil war, by which they should exterminate one another. Jeremiah was indeed thinking of the staggering against one another of drunken men, but in “dash them,” etc., adhered simply to the figure of jars or pots. But what can be meant by the shivering of pots knocked together, other than mutual destruction? The kingdom of Judah did not indeed fall by civil war; but who can deny that the fury of the various factions in Judah and Jerusalem did really contribute to the fall of the realm? The shattering of the pots does not mean directly civil war; it is given as the result of the drunkenness of the inhabitants, under which they, no longer capable of self-control, dash against and so destroy one another. But besides, the breaking of jars reminds us of the stratagem of Gideon and his 300 warriors, who, by the sound of trumpets and the smashing of jars, threw the whole Midianite camp into such panic, that these foes turned their swords against one another and fled in wild confusion: Judg. 7:19ff., cf. too 1 Sam. 14:20. Thus shall Judah be broken without mercy or pity. To increase the emphasis, there is a cumulation of expressions, as in 21:7; 15:5, cf. Ezek. 5:11; 7:4, 9, etc.
Jer. 13:15ff. With this threatening the prophet couples a solemn exhortation not to leave the word of the Lord unheeded in their pride, but to give God the glory, ere judgment fall on them. To give God the glory is, in this connection, to acknowledge His glory by confession of apostasy from Him and by returning to Him in sincere repentance; cf. Josh. 7:19, Mal. 2:2. “Your God,” who has attested Himself to you as God. The Hiph. יַחְשִׁךְ is not used intransitively, either here or in Ps. 139:12, but transitively: before He brings or makes darkness; cf. Amos 8:9. Mountains of dusk, i.e., mountains shrouded in dusk, are the emblem of unseen stumbling-blocks, on which one stumbles and falls. Light and darkness are well-known emblems of prosperity and adversity, welfare and misery. The suffix in שָׂמָהּ goes with אֹור, which is construed feminine here as in Job 36:32. Shadow of death = deep darkness; עֲרָפֶל, cloudy night, i.e., dark night. The Chet. ישׁית is imperf., and to be read יָשִׁית; the Keri וְשִׁית is uncalled for and incorrect.
Jer. 13:17. Knowing their obstinacy, the prophet adds: if ye hear it (what I have declared to you) not, my soul shall weep. In the concealment, quo secedere lugentes amant, ut impensius flere possint (Chr. B. Mich.). For the pride, sc. in which ye persist. With tears mine eye shall run down because the flock of Jahveh, i.e., the people of God (cf. Zech. 10:3), is carried away into captivity (perfect. proph).
Jer. 13:18–27. The fall of the kingdom, the captivity of Judah, with upbraidings against Jerusalem for her grievous guilt in the matter of idolatry.—V. 18. “Say unto the king and to the sovereign lady: Sit you low down, for from your heads falls the crown of your glory. V. 19. The cities of the south are shut and no man openeth; Judah is carried away captive all of it, wholly carried away captive. V. 20. Lift up your eyes and behold them that come from midnight! Where is the flock that was given thee, thy glorious flock? V. 21. What wilt thou say, if He set over thee those whom thou hast accustomed to thee as familiar friends, for a head? Shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail? V. 22. And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore cometh this upon me? for the plenty of thine iniquity are thy skirts uncovered, thy heels abused. V. 23. Can an Ethiopian change his skin, and a leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to doing evil. V. 24. Therefore will I scatter them like chaff that flies before the wind of the wilderness. V. 25. This is thy lot, thine apportioned inheritance from me, because thou hast forgotten me and trustedst in falsehood. V. 26. Therefore will I turn thy skirts over thy face, that thy shame be seen. V. 27. Thine adultery and thy neighing, the crime of thy whoredom upon the ills, in the fields, I have seen thine abominations. Woe unto thee, Jerusalem! thou shalt not be made clean after how long a time yet!”
From v. 18 on the prophet’s discourse is addressed to the king and the queen-mother. The latter as such exercised great influence on the government, and is in the Books of Kings mentioned alongside of almost all the reigning kings (cf. 1 Kings 15:13, 2 Kings 10:13, etc.); so that we are not necessarily led to think of Jechoniah and his mother in especial. To them he proclaims the loss of the crown and the captivity of Judah. Set yourselves low down (cf. Gesen. § 142, 3, b), i.e., descend from the throne; not in order to turn aside the threatening danger by humiliation, but, as the reason that follows show, because the kingdom is passing from you. For fallen is מַרְאֲשֹׁתֵיכֶם, your head-gear, lit., what is about or on your head (elsewhere pointed מְרַאֲשֹׁות, 1 Sam. 19:13; 26:7), namely, your splendid crown. The perf. here is prophetic. The crown falls when the king loses country and kingship. This is put expressly in v. 19. The meaning of the first half of the verse, which is variously taken, may be gathered from the second. In the latter the complete deportation of Judah is spoken of as an accomplished fact, because it is as sure to happen as if it had taken place already. Accordingly the first clause cannot bespeak expectation merely, or be understood, as it is by Grotius, as meaning that Judah need hope for no help from Egypt. This interpretation is irreconcilable with “the cities of the south.” “The south” is the south country of Judah, cf. Josh. 10:40, Gen. 13:1, etc., and is not to be taken according to the prophetic use of “king of the south,” Dan. 11:5, 9. The shutting of the cities is not to be taken, with Jerome, as siege by the enemy, as in Josh. 6:1. There the closedness is otherwise illustrated: No man was going out or in; here, on the other hand, it is: No man openeth. “Shut” is to be explained according to Isa. 24:10: the cities are shut up by reason of ruins which block up the entrances to them; and in them is none that can open, because all Judah is utterly carried away. The cities of the south are mentioned, not because the enemy, avoiding the capital, had first brought the southern part of the land under his power, as Sennacherib had once advanced against Jerusalem from the south, 2 Kings 18:13f., 19:8 (Graf, Näg., etc.), but because they were the part of the kingdom most remote for an enemy approaching from the north; so that when they were taken, the land was reduced and the captivity of all Judah accomplished. For the form הָגְלָת see Ew. § 194, a, Ges. § 75, Rem. 1. שְׁלֹומִים is adverbial accusative: in entirety, like מֵישָׁרִים, Ps. 58:2, etc. For this cf. גָּלוּת שְׁלֵמָה, Amos 1:6, 9.
The announcement of captivity is carried on in v. 20, where we have first an account of the impression which the carrying away captive will produce upon Jerusalem (vv. 20 and 21), and next a statement of the cause of that judgment (vv. 22–27). In שְׂאִי and רְאִי a feminine is addressed, and, as appears from the suffix in עֵינֵיכֶם, one which is collective. The same holds good of the following verses on to v. 27, where Jerusalem is named, doubtless the inhabitants of it, personified as the daughter of Zion—a frequent case. Näg. is wrong in supposing that the feminines in v. 20 are called for by the previously mentioned queen-mother, that vv. 20–22 are still addressed to her, and that not till v. 23 is there a transition from her in the address to the nation taken collectively and regarded as the mother of the country. The contents of v. 20 do not tally with Näg.’s view; for the queen-mother was not the reigning sovereign, so that the inhabitants of the land could have been called her flock, however great was the influence she might exercise upon the king. The mention of foes coming from the north, and the question coupled therewith: Where is the flock? convey the thought that the flock is carried off by those enemies. The flock is the flock of Jahveh (v. 17), and, in virtue of God’s choice of it, a herd of gloriousness. The relative clause: “that was given thee,” implies that the person addressed is to be regarded as the shepherd or owner of the flock. This will not apply to the capital and its citizens; for the influence exerted by the capital in the country is not so great as to make it appear the shepherd or lord of the people. But the relative clause is in good keeping with the idea of the idea of the daughter of Zion, with which is readily associated that of ruler of land and people. It intimates the suffering that will be endured by the daughter of Zion when those who have been hitherto her paramours are set up as head over her. The verse is variously explained. The old transll. and comm. take פָּקַד עַל in the sense of visit, chastise; so too Chr. B. Mich. and Ros.; and Ew. besides, who alters the text acc. to the LXX, changing יִפְקֹד into the plural יִפְקְדוּ. For this change there is no sufficient reason; and without such change, the signif. visit, punish, gives us no suitable sense. The phrase means also: to appoint or set over anybody; cf. e.g., 15:3. The subject can only be Jahveh. The words from וְאַתְּ onwards form an adversative circumstantial clause: and yet thou hast accustomed them עָלַיִךְ, for אֵלַיִךְ, to thee (cf. for לִמֵּד c. אֶל, 10:2). The connection of the words אַלֻּפִים לְרֹאשׁ depends upon the sig. assigned to אַלֻּפִים. Gesen. (thes.) and Ros. still adhere to the meaning taken by Luther, Vat., and many others, viz., principes, princes, taking for the sense of the whole: whom thou hast accustomed (trained) to be princes over thee. This word is indeed the technical term for the old Edomitish chieftains of clans, Gen. 36:15ff., and is applied as an archaic term by Zech. 9:7 to the tribal princes of Judah; but it does not, as a general rule, mean prince, but familiar, friend, Ps. 55:14, Prov. 16:28, Mic. 7:5; cf. Jer. 11:19. This being the well-attested signification, it is, in the first place, not competent to render עָלַיִךְ over or against thee (adversus te, Jerome); and Hitz.’s exposition: thou hast instructed them to thy hurt, hast taught them a disposition hostile to thee, cannot be justified by usage. In the second place, אלפים cannot be attached to the principal clause, “set over thee,” and joined with “for a head:” if He set over thee—as princes for a head; but it belongs to “hast accustomed,” while only “for a head” goes with “if He set” (as de Wet., Umbr., Näg., etc., construe). The prophet means the heathen kings, for whose favour Judah had hitherto been intriguing, the Babylonians and Egyptians. There is no cogent reason for referring the words, as many comm. do, to the Babylonians alone. For the statement is quite general throughout; and, on the one hand, Judah had, from the days of Ahaz on, courted the alliance not of the Babylonians alone, but of the Egyptians too (cf. 2:18); and, on the other hand, after the death of Josiah, Judah had become subject to Egypt, and had had to endure the grievous domination of the Pharaohs, as Jeremiah had threatened, 2:16. If God deliver the daughter of Zion into the power of these her paramours, i.e., if she be subjected to their rule, then will grief and pain seize on her as on a woman in childbirth; cf. 6:24; 22:23, etc. אֵשֶׁת לֵדָה, woman of bearing; so here, only, elsewhere יֹולֵדָה (cf. the passages cited); לֵדָה is infin., as in Isa. 37:3, 2 Kings 19:3, Hos. 9:11.
Jer. 13:22. This will befall the daughter of Zion for her sore transgressions. Therefore will she be covered with scorn and shame. The manner of her dishonour, discovery of the skirts (here and esp. in v. 26), recalls Nah. 3:5, cf. Isa. 47:3, Hos. 2:5. Chr. B. Mich. and others understand the violent treatment of the heels to be the loading of the feet with chains; but the mention of heels is not in keeping with this. Still less can the exposure of the heels by the upturning of the skirts be called maltreatment of the heels; nor can it be that, as Hitz. holds, the affront is simply specialized by the mention of the heels instead of the person. The thing can only mean, that the person will be driven forth into exile barefoot and with violence, perhaps under the rod; cf. Ps. 89:52.
Jer. 13:23. Judah will not escape this ignominious lot, since wickedness has so grown to be its nature, that it can as little cease therefrom and do good, as an Ethiopian can wash out the blackness of his skin, or a panther change it spots. The consequential clause introduced by גַּם אַתֶּם connects with the possibility suggested in, but denied by, the preceding question: if that could happen, then might even ye do good. The one thing is as impossible as the other. And so the Lord must scatter Judah among the heathen, like stubble swept away by the desert wind, lit., passing by with the desert wind. The desert wind is the strong east wind that blows from the Arabian Desert; see on 4:11.
Jer. 13:25. In v. 25 the discourse draws to a conclusion in such a way that, after a repetition of the manner in which Jerusalem prepares for herself the doom announced, we have again, in brief and condensed shape, the disgrace that is to befall her. This shall be thy lot. Hitz. renders מְנַת מִדַּיִךְ: portion of thy garment, that is allotted for the swelling folds of thy garment (cf. Ruth 3:15, 2 Kings 4:39), on the ground that מַד never means mensura, but garment only. This is, however, no conclusive argument; since so many words admit of two plural forms, so that מִדִּים might be formed from מִדָּה; and since so many are found in the singular in the forms of both genders, so that, alongside of מִדָּה, מַד might also be used in the sense of mensura; especially as both the signiff. measure and garment are derived from the same root meaning of מָדַד. We therefore adhere to the usual rendering, portio mensurae tuae, the share portioned out to thee. אֲשֶׁר, causal, because. Trusted in falsehood, i.e., both in delusive promises (Jer. 7:4, 8) and in the help of beingless gods (Jer. 16:19).—In the וְגַם־אֲנִי lies the force of reciprocation: because thou hast forgotten me, etc., I too have taken means to make retribution on your unthankfulness (Calv.). The threatening of this verse is word for word from Nah. 3:5.—For her lewd idolatry Jerusalem shall be carried off like a harlot amid mockery and disgrace. In v. 27 the language is cumulative, to lay as great stress as possible on Jerusalem’s idolatrous ongoings. Thy lewd neighing, i.e., thy ardent longing for and running after strange gods; cf. 5:8; 2:24f. זִמָּה, as in Ezek. 16:27; 22:9, etc., of the crime of uncleanness, see on Lev. 18:17. The three words are accusatives dependent on רָאִיתִי, though separated from it by the specification of place, and therefore summed up again in “thine abominations.” The addition: in the field, after “upon the hills,” is meant to make more prominent the publicity of the idolatrous work. The concluding sentence: thou shalt not become clean for how long a time yet, is not to be regarded as contradictory of v. 23, which affirms that the people is beyond the reach of reformation; v. 23 is not a hyperbolical statement, reduced within its true limits here. What is said in v. 23 is true of the present generation, which cleaves immoveably to wickedness. It does not exclude the possibility of a future reform on the part of the people, a purification of it from idolatry. Only this cannot be attained for a long time, until after sore and long-lasting, purifying judgments. Cf. 12:14f., 3:18ff. Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Learning to lead (3)
(Oct 23) Bob Gass
‘Correct, rebuke and encourage’
(2 Ti 4:2) 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. ESV
When you crave acceptance and approval, you end up being controlled by those you’re supposed to lead. Paul recognised this. That’s why he instructed Titus: ‘Teach…and encourage your people…correcting them when necessary as one who has every right to do so. Don’t let anyone think that what you say is not important’ (Titus 2:15 TLB). Afraid of causing upheaval in the ranks, insecure leaders agonise over decisions and assume responsibility for other people’s emotional reactions. They don’t realise that when you’re doing what you should be doing and others don’t agree, that’s their problem, unless you make it yours. A mature leader deals with disappointment and keeps a good attitude; they’re willing to face the music even when they don’t like the tune. Think: when you warn your children about putting their hand on a hot stove, it’s not your responsibility to make them enjoy hearing it, right? Hopefully, as they mature they’ll understand. But the truth is, some people won’t like hearing the word ‘no’ regardless of how old they get! But we all need to hear it from time to time; otherwise, we’ll never be happy with anything other than getting our own way - and that means getting nowhere, or getting into trouble. Paul, who was training Timothy for leadership, told him, ‘Correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction.’ Correct people when they’re wrong, rebuke them when they’re stubborn, encourage them when they struggle, be patient as they learn and grow, and make sure your instructions are clear and understandable. That’s what good leaders do - and the only way you learn it is by doing it.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
On October 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson issued a Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer. He wrote: “The season is at hand… to turn in praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for His manifold… blessings to us as a nation. The year that has just passed has been marked… by… His gracious and beneficent providence…. We have seen the practical completion of a great work at the Isthmus of Panama…. ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation’ and ‘peace on earth, good will towards men’ furnish the only foundation upon which can be built the lasting achievements of the human spirit.”
by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)
God’s object with us is not to give just so many things and withhold so many; it is to place us in the tissue of His kingdom. His best answer to us is to raise us to the power of answering Him. The reason why He does not answer our prayer is because we do not answer Him and His prayer. And His prayer was, as though Christ did beseech us, “Be ye reconciled.” He would lift us to confident business with Him, to commerce of loving wills. The painter wrestles with the sitter till he gives him back himself, and there is a speaking likeness. So man with God, till God surrender His secret. He gives or refuses things, therefore, with a view to that communion alone, and on the whole. It is that spiritual personal end, and not an iron necessity, that rules His course. Is there not a constant spiritual interaction between God and man as free spiritual beings? How that can be is one of the great philosophic problems. But the fact that it is is of the essence of faith. It is the unity of our universe. Many systems try to explain how human freedom and human action are consistent with God’s omnipotence and omniscience. None succeed. How secondary causes like man are compatible with God as the Universal and Ultimate Cause is not rationally plain. But there is no practical doubt that they are compatable. And so it is with the action of man on God in prayer. We may perhaps, for the present, put it thus, that we cannot change the will of God, which is grace, and which even Christ never changed but only revealed or effected; but we can change the intention of God, which is a manner of treatment, in the interest of grace, according to the situation of the hour.
If we are guided by the Bible we have much ground for this view of prayer. Does not Christ set more value upon importunity than on submission? “Knock, and it shall be opened.” I would refer also not only to the parable of the unjust judge, but to the incident of the Syrophenician woman, where her wit, faith, and importunity together did actually change our Lord’s intention and break His custom. There there is Paul beseeching the Lord thrice for a boon; and urging us to be instant, insistent, continual in prayer. We have Jacob wrestling. We have Abraham pleading, yea, haggling, with God for Sodom. We have Moses interceding for Israel and asking God to blot his name out of the book of life, if that were needful to save Israel. We have Job facing God, withstanding Him, almost bearding Him, and extracting revelation. And we have Christ’s own struggle with the Father in Gethsemane.
It is a wrestle on the greatest scale—all manhood taxed as in some great war, or some great negotiation of State. And the effect is exhaustion often. No, the result of true, prayer is not always peace.
--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).
The Soul of Prayer
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
He who wept beside the grave of Lazarus
could never be the antagonist of tears.
--- George H. Morrison
Human life includes some necessary suffering.
--- Carl Young
I just did what I did and I still am. It makes you unpopular, maybe for a lifetime, but I'd rather do that than be popular and doubt what I am.
--- Robert Barnes
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
How Caesar Raised Banks Round About The Upper City [Mount Zion] And When They Were Completed, Gave Orders That The Machines Should Be Brought. He Then Possessed Himself Of The Whole City.
1. Now when Caesar perceived that the upper city was so steep that it could not possibly be taken without raising banks against it, he distributed the several parts of that work among his army, and this on the twentieth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Now the carriage of the materials was a difficult task, since all the trees, as I have already told you, that were about the city, within the distance of a hundred furlongs, had their branches cut off already, in order to make the former banks. The works that belonged to the four legions were erected on the west side of the city, over against the royal palace; but the whole body of the auxiliary troops, with the rest of the multitude that were with them, [erected their banks] at the Xystus, whence they reached to the bridge, and that tower of Simon which he had built as a citadel for himself against John, when they were at war one with another.
2. It was at this time that the commanders of the Idumeans got together privately, and took counsel about surrendering up themselves to the Romans. Accordingly, they sent five men to Titus, and entreated him to give them his right hand for their security. So Titus thinking that the tyrants would yield, if the Idumeans, upon whom a great part of the war depended, were once withdrawn from them, after some reluctancy and delay, complied with them, and gave them security for their lives, and sent the five men back. But as these Idumeans were preparing to march out, Simon perceived it, and immediately slew the five men that had gone to Titus, and took their commanders, and put them in prison, of whom the most eminent was Jacob, the son of Sosas; but as for the multitude of the Idumeans, who did not at all know what to do, now their commanders were taken from them, he had them watched, and secured the walls by a more numerous garrison, Yet could not that garrison resist those that were deserting; for although a great number of them were slain, yet were the deserters many more in number. They were all received by the Romans, because Titus himself grew negligent as to his former orders for killing them, and because the very soldiers grew weary of killing them, and because they hoped to get some money by sparing them; for they left only the populace, and sold the rest of the multitude, 28with their wives and children, and every one of them at a very low price, and that because such as were sold were very many, and the buyers were few: and although Titus had made proclamation beforehand, that no deserter should come alone by himself, that so they might bring out their families with them, yet did he receive such as these also. However, he set over them such as were to distinguish some from others, in order to see if any of them deserved to be punished. And indeed the number of those that were sold was immense; but of the populace above forty thousand were saved, whom Caesar let go whither every one of them pleased.
3. But now at this time it was that one of the priests, the son of Thebuthus, whose name was Jesus, upon his having security given him, by the oath of Caesar, that he should be preserved, upon condition that he should deliver to him certain of the precious things that had been reposited in the temple 29 came out of it, and delivered him from the wall of the holy house two candlesticks, like to those that lay in the holy house, with tables, and cisterns, and vials, all made of solid gold, and very heavy. He also delivered to him the veils and the garments, with the precious stones, and a great number of other precious vessels that belonged to their sacred worship. The treasurer of the temple also, whose name was Phineas, was seized on, and showed Titus the coats and girdles of the priests, with a great quantity of purple and scarlet, which were there reposited for the uses of the veil, as also a great deal of cinnamon and cassia, with a large quantity of other sweet spices, 30 which used to be mixed together, and offered as incense to God every day. A great many other treasures were also delivered to him, with sacred ornaments of the temple not a few; which things thus delivered to Titus obtained of him for this man the same pardon that he had allowed to such as deserted of their own accord.
4. And now were the banks finished on the seventh day of the month Gorpieus, [Elul,] in eighteen days' time, when the Romans brought their machines against the wall. But for the seditious, some of them, as despairing of saving the city, retired from the wall to the citadel; others of them went down into the subterranean vaults, though still a great many of them defended themselves against those that brought the engines for the battery; yet did the Romans overcome them by their number and by their strength; and, what was the principal thing of all, by going cheerfully about their work, while the Jews were quite dejected, and become weak. Now as soon as a part of the wall was battered down, and certain of the towers yielded to the impression of the battering rams, those that opposed themselves fled away, and such a terror fell upon the tyrants, as was much greater than the occasion required; for before the enemy got over the breach they were quite stunned, and were immediately for flying away. And now one might see these men, who had hitherto been so insolent and arrogant in their wicked practices, to be cast down and to tremble, insomuch that it would pity one's heart to observe the change that was made in those vile persons. Accordingly, they ran with great violence upon the Roman wall that encompassed them, in order to force away those that guarded it, and to break through it, and get away. But when they saw that those who had formerly been faithful to them had gone away, [as indeed they were fled whithersoever the great distress they were in persuaded them to flee,] as also when those that came running before the rest told them that the western wall was entirely overthrown, while others said the Romans were gotten in, and others that they were near, and looking out for them, which were only the dictates of their fear, which imposed upon their sight, they fell upon their face, and greatly lamented their own mad conduct; and their nerves were so terribly loosed, that they could not flee away. And here one may chiefly reflect on the power of God exercised upon these wicked wretches, and on the good fortune of the Romans; for these tyrants did now wholly deprive themselves of the security they had in their own power, and came down from those very towers of their own accord, wherein they could have never been taken by force, nor indeed by any other way than by famine. And thus did the Romans, when they had taken such great pains about weaker walls, get by good fortune what they could never have gotten by their engines; for three of these towers were too strong for all mechanical engines whatsoever, concerning which we have treated above.
5. So they now left these towers of themselves, or rather they were ejected out of them by God himself, and fled immediately to that valley which was under Siloam, where they again recovered themselves out of the dread they were in for a while, and ran violently against that part of the Roman wall which lay on that side; but as their courage was too much depressed to make their attacks with sufficient force, and their power was now broken with fear and affliction, they were repulsed by the guards, and dispersing themselves at distances from each other, went down into the subterranean caverns. So the Romans being now become masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had gained, as having found the end of this war much lighter than its beginning; for when they had gotten upon the last wall, without any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be true; but seeing nobody to oppose them, they stood in doubt what such an unusual solitude could mean. But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching any thing. But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men's blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the Evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that, had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasions of this its overthrow.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
might just as well have cursed him.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Not a bit of it!
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away. --- 2 Cor. 5:17.
Our Lord never nurses our prejudices, He mortifies them, runs clean athwart them. We imagine that God has a special interest in our particular prejudices; we are quite sure that God will never deal with us as we know He has to deal with other people. ‘God must deal with other people in a very stern way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right.’ We have to learn—‘Not a bit of it!’ Instead of God being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately wiping them out. It is part of our moral education to have our prejudices run straight across by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him; there is only one thing He wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is not a bit of the old order left; the old solemnity goes, the old attitude to things goes, and “all things are of God.” How are we going to get the life that has no lust, no self-interest, no sensitiveness to pokes, the love that is not provoked, that thinketh no evil, that is always kind? The only way is by allowing not a bit of the old life to be left, but only simple perfect trust in God, such trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want Himself. Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him? When once we see God at work, we will never bother our heads about things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in Heaven Whom the world cannot see.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
I think he sits at that strange table
of Eddington's, that is not a table
at all, but nodes and molecules
pushing against molecules
and nodes; and he writes there
in invisible handwriting the instructions
the genes follow. I imagine his
face that is more the face
of a clock, and the time told by it
is now, though Greece is referred
to and Egypt and empires
not yet begun.
And I would have
things to say to this God
at the judgement, storming at him,
as Job stormed, with the eloquence
of the abused heart. But there will be
no judgement other than the verdict
of his calculations, that abstruse
geometry that proceeds eternally
in the silence beyond right and wrong.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
In Maimonides’ description of the law of the heathen slave, there is a marked difference between action based on the legislative authority of God (din), and action stemming from the imitation of the God of creation. If an individual were to conduct himself on the basis of the strict requirements of the law, he would only refrain from treating the Hebrew slave harshly. The ethical responsibility toward the non-Jewish slave results from understanding how God is related to all of creation. The legal category of din channels one’s perception of God within the particular juridical relationship of God to Israel. The boundaries of one’s obligations are circumscribed by God’s legal revelation to the community of Israel. When the boundaries of man’s perception of God are expanded, he discovers that the very existence of all men reflects an ethical attribute of God. The boundaries of his ethical obligations, therefore, also change; he then finds himself unable to restrict his ethical responsibilities only to individuals who participate in the juridical relationship with God.
The shift in man’s understanding of God which we have discussed in connection with the law of the non-Hebrew slave should serve as an explanatory model for the lifnim mi-shurat ha-din practice of the ḥasid. Knowledge of God as the Creator of all life affects halakhic practice both in terms of the scope of obligation (lifnim mi-shurat ha-din) and the motives for observance of the commandments (ahavah).
He who lacks this knowledge of God is motivated to fulfill the commandments on the basis of the expectation of rewards and to follow only the strict requirements of din.
The halakhic category of din can be understood as reflecting the behavior of one who cannot transcend the motivating principle of self-interest (yirah). Reciprocal responsibility defines the boundaries of one’s understanding of obligation. Within this structure, the individual understands the meaning of responsibility to God and to other human beings to the extent that he can be shown that his own welfare is enhanced by such behavior. The am ha-areẓ knows that by conforming to the din, he is entitled to claim similar behavior from others. The am ha-areẓ, both in his theology and his halakhic practice, reflects the principle of reciprocity. Disinterested morality and disinterested love of God are beyond his comprehension. His God and his fellowmen must be bound to reciprocate to him for, otherwise, he cannot comprehend why he should be obligated to fulfill the law.
The halakhic category of lifnim mi-shurat ha-din reflects the behavior of one who has transcended the motivating principles of self-interest and legal obligations based upon reciprocity. Philosophical knowledge of God can—in a number of ways—help one to transcend the principle of reciprocity, which is an important feature of din. By transforming the individual into a person whose highest joy consists in knowing God—and not in material self-interest—the ground for requiring reciprocity as a ground for motivation becomes meaningless. The entire world view of the theocentric world of philosophic reason draws the individual to serve God not only because of His juridical authority, but also because of His perfection.
An understanding of the God of being would reveal that the principle of ḥesed (“overflow”) is the organizing principle of reality. The entire chain of being, beginning with God and descending to lesser beings, is founded on the notion of overflow. This image—overflow—captures the idea of action yielding benefits to others, not on the basis of legal claims or reciprocal actions, but as a result of the benefits which spill over due to an excess of perfection. Maimonides, in the Guide, writes:
We have already explained in the commentary on Avot that the meaning of ḥesed is excess in whatever manner excess is practiced. In most cases, however, it is applied to excess in beneficence. Now it is known that beneficence includes two notions, one of them consisting in the exercise of beneficence toward one who has no right at all to claim this from you, and the other consisting in the exercise of beneficence toward one who deserves it, but in a greater measure than he deserves it. In most cases the prophetic books use the word ḥesed in the sense of practicing beneficence toward one who has no right at all to claim this from you. Therefore every benefit that comes from Him, may He be exalted, is called ḥesed. Thus it says: “I will make mention of the lovingkindnesses [ḥasdei] of the Lord.” Hence this reality as a whole—I mean that He, may He be exalted, has brought it into being—is ḥesed. Thus it says: “The world is built up in lovingkindness [ḥesed]”; the meaning of which is “The building up of the world is lovingkindness.” And He, may He be exalted, says in an enumeration of His attributes: And abundant in lovingkindness.
In the Guide Maimonides adopts the principle of overflow as the most adequate model for understanding God’s relationship to nature.60 The ḥasid’s understanding of nature—as reflecting God’s ḥesed—directs him to bestow benefits on others who have no legal claim on him.
Observing the commandments for their own sake and acting for the benefit of those from whom one does not expect a similar response derives from a commitment to the law influenced by the ḥasid’s understanding of God’s revelation in nature. One who acts beyond the strict line of the law cannot know if others will act in the same manner toward him. The ḥasid has no way of knowing whether others will treat his lost property with the same degree of concern as he treats theirs. Only law within the rubric of din can give this security, since all norms constituted by din are capable of being enforced by the courts. (ISBN-13: 978-9652233196) The ḥasid is not bothered by a lack of certainty because his actions toward others spring from his commitment to imitate the God of ḥesed.
Maimonides’ characterization of how a ḥasid responds to the way others treat him, is also the paradigm of a person who has completely transcended the idea of reciprocity. To Maimonides, lifnim mi-shurat ha-din is not only a description of types of legal behavior, but is also used to describe the nature of one’s moral disposition and character structure. The ḥasid’s self-understanding is based on his philosophic knowledge of God. The way others within the community respond to him, therefore, is not as crucial for his self-respect as is his growth of knowledge and his ability to enter into the theocentric world of reason. Since he does not define himself in the manner by which others respond to him, his self-respect does not suffer when others treat him with disdain. Maimonides, in Avot, presents a graphic picture of the extent to which an individual can sustain his dignity irrespective of the behavior of others toward him:
The difference between the unique individual and his community is not only reflected in his ability to develop a comprehensive understanding of Halakhah. Even within the circumscribed world of halakhic norms, one can discern both communal and individual orientation. The two halakhic categories reflecting this are 1) din—law which defines the line of legal requirement, and 2) lifnim mi-shurat ha-din—law which is beyond the line of legal requirement. The following examples from the Mishneh Torah indicate how the Halakhah distinguished between action obligatory for every member of the community (din) and action practiced by individuals who were not content simply to fulfill the requirements of the strict rules of law (lifnim mi-shurat ha-din):
I have seen in a certain book from among the books on ethics where it was asked of one of the esteemed saintly men—it was said to him, “Of all your days, in which day did you most rejoice?” He said; “On the day that I was traveling on a ship, and my place was in the lowliest of the places on the ship, [that is] among the bundles of clothes. On the ship were merchants and wealthy men. I was lying in my place and one of the men on the ship arose to urinate. I was insignificant and contemptible in his sight because in his sight I was very low, until he uncovered his nakedness and urinated on me. I was astonished at the firmness of the disposition of brazenness in his soul. As the Lord lives, my soul was not pained at his deed at all, nor was my power [to react in anger] aroused within me. Instead, I rejoiced greatly when I attained the limit where the contempt of that deficient man did not pain me and that my soul was not stirred up toward him.” There is no doubt that this is the ultimate of humbleness of spirit—in order that one may remove from pride.
The ḥasid has no need to seek revenge or to retaliate, for his dignity does not have its source in the response of others: “The practice of the righteous is to suffer contumely and not inflict it; to hear themselves reproached, not retort; to be impelled in what they do by love, and to rejoice in suffering.”64 He is beyond community in the sense that he is unaffected by the fears and threats which accompany the ordinary man’s feelings of self-worth.
The law entitles a sage to safeguard his honor:
To safeguard his honor, the ḥakham may himself excommunicate a boor who treated him disrespectfully. For this, neither witnesses nor previous warning are necessary. The ban is not removed until the offender has appeased the ḥakham.
Maimonides, however, qualifies this legal right when he writes:
Although a ḥakham has the right to pronounce the ban to safeguard his honor, it is not creditable for a scholar to accustom himself to this procedure. He should rather close his ears to the remarks of the illiterate and take no notice of them, as Solomon in his wisdom, said, “Also pay no heed to all the words that are spoken.” Such too was the way of the ancient saints. They heard themselves reviled and made no reply. Yet more, they forgave the reviler and pardoned him. Great sages, glorying in their commendable practices, said that they never, for the sake of personal honor, imposed on anyone the lighter or severer ban. This is the way of scholars, which it is right to follow.
The excessive humility of the ḥasid has its source not in self-debasement and weakness, but in the dignity and strength derived from one’s knowledge of God. Moses, to Maimonides, is the model of one who achieved both the highest degree of philosophic knowledge and the highest degree of humility. The ḥasid’s method of response to others and to the law represents the development of a renewed man who has liberated himself from the tyranny of self-interest. He who has never left the orbit of community has no dignity or identity independent of the modes of response of others to him. The eyes of the am ha-areẓ are always focused on that which is external to him in order for him to know who he is and how he ought to act. Only from God’s promises of reward and punishment is he able to discern the difference between right and wrong. He feels obligated to perform norms to the degree that he can observe that all members of the society are required equally to obey the same norms. He symbolizes political man who has not yet discovered the meaning of action based on individual excellence.
Maimonides was able, therefore, to find traditional support for a philosophical understanding of God both in the Aggadah of Talmud and in the behavior of the ḥasid. Maimonides recognized, that for a religious Jew, changing patterns of action must result from changes in his understanding of God. The conception of God as legislator is not adequate by itself to explain the ḥasid’s approach to Halakhah. The unification of the legislative model of Sinai with the model of God as the creator and the sustainer of life explains, for Maimonides, the movement from an approach to Halakhah by one who follows the strict requirements of the law to an approach to Halakhah by one who goes beyond the strict rule of law.
From our analyses of the talmudic categories of love and fear, and of the halakhic categories of din and lifnim mi-shurat ha-din, we have shown that Maimonides believed that the talmudic tradition was fully aware of the differences between the capacities of the community and of the unique individual. The distinction made in the Talmud between messianism and olam ha-ba enabled Maimonides to maintain that Jewish spirituality was not indifferent to the non-historical quest for God. The distinction between love and fear enabled him to recognize that the tradition did not address itself to one audience. Spiritual ideals in the tradition were understood in a way that would enable Judaism to contain and to give support to different people with different spiritual capacities. There were those who were encouraged by the sages to perform commandments even if their motivation for action was based upon self-interest. Serving God from fear, and not from pure motives, was but the first rung in the ladder of spiritual growth.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. --- Psalm 139:23–24.
Saints who ask to be searched must be willing to submit to anything that God sees fit to lay on them. Charles G. Finney: Sermons From The Penny Pulpit
Saints should be prepared to receive answers to prayer in their own persons. Perhaps God lets them fall ill just when they had some very great object in view. Well, it is intended for their good, therefore they ought not to brood or murmur but receive with thankfulness the good that is intended for them.
It is necessary that these trials should be awarded us, for it will not do that God should always feed his children on sweets. We need severe discipline; it makes us good soldiers. A mere silken religion that passes through no trials has little productiveness in it. These providential trials take away the dross and tin and make us strong in the Lord. How lovely is the character of the Christian who has patiently endured the trials through which she or he has had to pass. These individuals quiet themselves under all the dispensations of providence; they receive everything as bestowed on them from their Father. The more holy Christians become, the more necessary they find it to lay their whole hearts before him and ask him that he may search them and purify them, until he is satisfied with his own work. Christians, are you in the habit of asking the Lord to satisfy himself, to do that which will bring you into a condition that will please him? Don’t you long for the pruning knife to be applied, to be purged of all your selfishness and everything that is offensive to God, so that you may stand before him in meekness and love, while he looks on you and says, this is my handiwork, and it is very good. Ask God to search you, then, and do not be afraid to have it done. Look on all the trials of life as coming from your heavenly Father, in order that if you are really self-deceived you may know it, and if you are not, that you may grow up into the likeness of the Son of God.
--- Charles G. Finney
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
A Priceless Bible
Among Christianity’s greatest treasures is the Codex Alexandrinus, a manuscript of the Greek Bible written in the early 400s. It contains virtually the entire Bible, along with the Apocrypha, some hymns, and letters written by Clement of Rome.
It was housed in Alexandria until 1627, when Cyril Lucar, the patriarch of Alexandria, presented it to England’s King Charles I, who placed it in his Royal Library at St. James Place. But when the Puritan Revolution occurred, Charles was beheaded, and troops were quartered at St. James’s. The books in his library lay on the floor in heaps, subject to rain and dust and rats.
The monarchy was restored in 1660 under Charles II, but conditions at the Royal Library didn’t improve. In 1693 Richard Bentley, a brilliant classical scholar, temporarily took the Alexandrian Manuscript to his own lodgings for safekeeping.
In the early 1700s the Royal Library was moved to Cotton House, and the priceless Bible was kept in a narrow, damp room with only a small window at each end. Christopher Wren considered the building so ruinous that most of it “should be demolished,” and the library “purged of much useless trash.” In 1730 the Royal Library was moved into Ashburnham House which, on Saturday Morning, October 23, 1731, caught fire. The alarm was given, and Arthur Onslow, Speaker of the House of Commons, came across from his nearby residence to direct the rescue. Many precious volumes were thrown from the windows in an effort to save them, but the invaluable Codex Alexandrinus was treated with better care. An eyewitness told of the learned Dr. Bentley “in nightgown and great wig” fleeing the building with the Codex Alexandrinus under his arm.
The disastrous fire drew public attention to the plight of the Royal Library, and a generation later it found a home in the newly founded British Museum, where today the Codex Alexandrinus is securely displayed.
Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place. …
--- Luke 1:1-3a.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - October 23
“Will ye also go away?” --- John 6:67.
Many have forsaken Christ, and have walked no more with him; but what reason have YOU to make a change? Has there been any reason for it in the past? Has not Jesus proved himself all-sufficient? He appeals to you this Morning—“Have I been a wilderness unto you?” When your soul has simply trusted Jesus, have you ever been confounded? Have you not up till now found your Lord to be a compassionate and generous friend to you, and has not simple faith in him given you all the peace your spirit could desire? Can you so much as dream of a better friend than he has been to you? Then change not the old and tried for new and false. As for the present, can that compel you to leave Christ? When we are hard beset with this world, or with the severer trials within the Church, we find it a most blessed thing to pillow our head upon the bosom of our Saviour. This is the joy we have to-day that we are saved in him; and if this joy be satisfying, wherefore should we think of changing? Who barters gold for dross? We will not forswear the sun till we find a better light, nor leave our Lord until a brighter lover shall appear; and, since this can never be, we will hold him with a grasp immortal, and bind his name as a seal upon our arm. As for the future, can you suggest anything which can arise that shall render it necessary for you to mutiny, or desert the old flag to serve under another captain? We think not. If life be long—he changes not. If we are poor, what better than to have Christ who can make us rich? When we are sick, what more do we want than Jesus to make our bed in our sickness? When we die, is it not written that “neither death, nor life, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” We say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
Evening - October 23
“Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” --- Luke 22:46.
When is the Christian most liable to sleep? Is it not when his temporal circumstances are prosperous? Have you not found it so? When you had daily troubles to take to the throne of grace, were you not more wakeful than you are now? Easy roads make sleepy travellers. Another dangerous time is when all goes pleasantly in spiritual matters. Christian went not to sleep when lions were in the way, or when he was wading through the river, or when fighting with Apollyon, but when he had climbed half way up the Hill Difficulty, and came to a delightful arbour, he sat down, and forthwith fell asleep, to his great sorrow and loss. The enchanted ground is a place of balmy breezes, laden with fragrant odours and soft influences, all tending to lull pilgrims to sleep. Remember Bunyan’s description: “Then they came to an arbour, warm, and promising much refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely wrought above head, beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settles. It had also in it a soft couch, where the weary might lean.” “The arbour was called the Slothful’s Friend, and was made on purpose to allure, if it might be, some of the pilgrims to take up their rest there when weary.” Depend upon it, it is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land of forgetfulness. Old Erskine wisely remarked, “I like a roaring devil better than a sleeping devil.” There is no temptation half so dangerous as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we enter into peaceful confidence and full assurance that we are in danger of slumbering. The disciples fell asleep after they had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountain top. Take heed, joyous Christian, good frames are near neighbours to temptations: be as happy as you will, only be watchful.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
GOD OF OUR FATHERS
Daniel C. Roberts, 1841–1907
If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
After what I owe to God, nothing should be more dear or more sacred to me than the love and respect I owe my country.
----- Jacques Auguste de Thou
We need to be reminded that a nation can receive God’s blessing only when He is recognized as ruler and Lord. Christian people in every land have an awesome responsibility—to be models of God’s righteousness—“salt” and “light” for a sinful and hurting society. The moral strength of a nation rests upon the knees of God’s people.
“God of Our Fathers” also reminds us that concerned citizens of the heavenly kingdom should also be involved citizens of their earthly kingdom. The hymn text was written in 1876, the year that America was preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel Crane Roberts, a 35-year-old rector of a small Episcopal church in Brandon, Vermont, felt that the country should have a new national hymn for the occasion. His new song was sung for the first time by the parishioners of the Brandon village church for their worship service on July 4th, 1876.
Later, at the time of the actual National Centennial Observance commemorating the adoption of the Constitution, Roberts’ hymn text was chosen as the official hymn for that event. These words remind us well that the God who has so richly blessed our land in the past is the One still needed to be “our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay.”
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band; of shining worlds in splendor thru the skies, our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past, in this free land by Thee our lot is cast; be thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay, Thy word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense; Thy true religion in our hearts increase; Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way. Lead us from night to never ending day; fill all our lives with love and grace divine, and glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
For Today: Exodus 3:15; Psalm 33:12; Proverbs 14:34
Breathe a prayer of thanks for the heritage of Christianity and for God’s continued guidance of our land.
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Monday, October 23, 2017 | After Pentecost
St. James Of Jerusalem
Years 1 & 2
Psalms Psalm 119:145–168
Old Testament Jeremiah 11:18–23
New Testament Matthew 10:16–22
Index of Readings
145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD.
I will keep your statutes.
146 I cry to you; save me,
that I may observe your decrees.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before each watch of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 In your steadfast love hear my voice;
O LORD, in your justice preserve my life.
150 Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near;
they are far from your law.
151 Yet you are near, O LORD,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long ago I learned from your decrees
that you have established them forever.
153 Look on my misery and rescue me,
for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O LORD;
give me life according to your justice.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
yet I do not swerve from your decrees.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts;
preserve my life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth;
and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.
161 Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous ordinances.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O LORD,
and I fulfill your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your decrees;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and decrees,
for all my ways are before you.
18 It was the LORD who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
19 But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20 But you, O LORD of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
21 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the people of Anathoth, who seek your life, and say, “You shall not prophesy in the name of the LORD, or you will die by our hand”— 22 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: I am going to punish them; the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and not even a remnant shall be left of them. For I will bring disaster upon the people of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.
16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Psalms Psalm 122, 125
Old Testament Isaiah 65:17–25
New Testament Hebrews 12:12–24
Index of Readings
Psalm 122, 125
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.
A Song of Ascents.
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people,
from this time on and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous might not stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways
the LORD will lead away with evildoers.
Peace be upon Israel!
17 For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD—
and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the LORD.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
14 Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. 16 See to it that no one becomes like Esau, an immoral and godless person, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 You know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears.
18 You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20 (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church
On The Same Date | Holy Day
St. James Of Jerusalem
YEARS 1 & 2
On the same date: St. James of Jerusalem, Morning Prayer
Psalms Psalm 122, 125
Old Testament Isaiah 65:17–25
New Testament Hebrews 12:12–24
Index of Readings
Psalm 122, 125
122 A Song Of Ascents. Of David.
1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.
125 A Song Of Ascents.
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the LORD will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel!
17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church