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Jeremiah 14 thru 17
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The Great Drought

Jeremiah 14:1     The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

2     Judah mourns
and her gates languish;
they lie in gloom on the ground,
and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
3     Her nobles send their servants for water;
they come to the cisterns,
they find no water,
they return with their vessels empty.
They are ashamed and dismayed
and cover their heads,
4     because the ground is cracked.
Because there has been no rain on the land
the farmers are dismayed;
they cover their heads.
5     Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
6     The wild asses stand on the bare heights,
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no herbage.
7     Although our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
our apostasies indeed are many,
and we have sinned against you.
8     O hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler turning aside for the night?
9     Why should you be like someone confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not forsake us!

10     Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
Truly they have loved to wander,
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them,
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.

     11 The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Denunciation of Lying Prophets

     13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord God! Here are the prophets saying to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you true peace in this place.’ ” 14 And the Lord said to me: The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name though I did not send them, and who say, “Sword and famine shall not come on this land”: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword. There shall be no one to bury them—themselves, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them.

17     You shall say to them this word:
Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter—my people—is struck down with a crushing blow,
with a very grievous wound.
18     If I go out into the field,
look—those killed by the sword!
And if I enter the city,
look—those sick with famine!
For both prophet and priest ply their trade throughout the land,
and have no knowledge.

The People Plead for Mercy

19     Have you completely rejected Judah?
Does your heart loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We look for peace, but find no good;
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
20     We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
the iniquity of our ancestors,
for we have sinned against you.
21     Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22     Can any idols of the nations bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you,
for it is you who do all this.

Punishment Is Inevitable

Jeremiah 15:1     Then the Lord said to me: Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! 2 And when they say to you, “Where shall we go?” you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord:

Those destined for pestilence, to pestilence,
and those destined for the sword, to the sword;
those destined for famine, to famine,
and those destined for captivity, to captivity.

     3 And I will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, says the Lord: the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air and the wild animals of the earth to devour and destroy. 4 I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what King Manasseh son of Hezekiah of Judah did in Jerusalem.

5     Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,
or who will bemoan you?
Who will turn aside
to ask about your welfare?
6     You have rejected me, says the Lord,
you are going backward;
so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—
I am weary of relenting.
7     I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork
in the gates of the land;
I have bereaved them, I have destroyed my people;
they did not turn from their ways.
8     Their widows became more numerous
than the sand of the seas;
I have brought against the mothers of youths
a destroyer at noonday;
I have made anguish and terror
fall upon her suddenly.
9     She who bore seven has languished;
she has swooned away;
her sun went down while it was yet day;
she has been shamed and disgraced.
And the rest of them I will give to the sword
before their enemies,
says the Lord.

Jeremiah Complains Again and Is Reassured

     10 Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. 11 The Lord said: Surely I have intervened in your life for good, surely I have imposed enemies on you in a time of trouble and in a time of distress. 12 Can iron and bronze break iron from the north?

     13 Your wealth and your treasures I will give as plunder, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory. 14 I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.

15     O Lord, you know;
remember me and visit me,
and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors.
In your forbearance do not take me away;
know that on your account I suffer insult.
16     Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart;
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.
17     I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,
nor did I rejoice;
under the weight of your hand I sat alone,
for you had filled me with indignation.
18     Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail.

19     Therefore thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall serve as my mouth.
It is they who will turn to you,
not you who will turn to them.
20     And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
says the Lord.
21     I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

Jeremiah’s Celibacy and Message

Jeremiah 16:1     The word of the Lord came to me: 2 You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. 3 For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bear them and the fathers who beget them in this land: 4 They shall die of deadly diseases. They shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried; they shall become like dung on the surface of the ground. They shall perish by the sword and by famine, and their dead bodies shall become food for the birds of the air and for the wild animals of the earth.

     5 For thus says the Lord: Do not enter the house of mourning, or go to lament, or bemoan them; for I have taken away my peace from this people, says the Lord, my steadfast love and mercy. 6 Both great and small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them; there shall be no gashing, no shaving of the head for them. 7 No one shall break bread for the mourner, to offer comfort for the dead; nor shall anyone give them the cup of consolation to drink for their fathers or their mothers. 8 You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink. 9 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to banish from this place, in your days and before your eyes, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

     10 And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, “Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” 11 then you shall say to them: It is because your ancestors have forsaken me, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law; 12 and because you have behaved worse than your ancestors, for here you are, every one of you, following your stubborn evil will, refusing to listen to me. 13 Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

God Will Restore Israel (Cp Jer 23.7—8)

     14 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” 15 but “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their ancestors.

     16 I am now sending for many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall catch them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. 17 For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight. 18 And I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.

19     O Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come
from the ends of the earth and say:
Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies,
worthless things in which there is no profit.
20     Can mortals make for themselves gods?
Such are no gods!

     21 “Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.”

Judah’s Sin and Punishment

     17 The sin of Judah is written with an iron pen; with a diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts, and on the horns of their altars, 2 while their children remember their altars and their sacred poles, beside every green tree, and on the high hills, 3 on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your sin throughout all your territory. 4 By your own act you shall lose the heritage that I gave you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.

5     Thus says the Lord:
Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals
and make mere flesh their strength,
whose hearts turn away from the Lord.
6     They shall be like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see when relief comes.
They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
7     Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8     They shall be like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
and it does not cease to bear fruit.
9     The heart is devious above all else;
it is perverse—
who can understand it?
10     I the Lord test the mind
and search the heart,
to give to all according to their ways,
according to the fruit of their doings.
11     Like the partridge hatching what it did not lay,
so are all who amass wealth unjustly;
in mid-life it will leave them,
and at their end they will prove to be fools.
12     O glorious throne, exalted from the beginning,
shrine of our sanctuary!
13     O hope of Israel! O Lord!
All who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be recorded in the underworld,
     for they have forsaken the fountain of living water, the Lord.

Jeremiah Prays for Vindication

14     Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved;
for you are my praise.
15     See how they say to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come!”
16     But I have not run away from being a shepherd in your service,
nor have I desired the fatal day.
You know what came from my lips;
it was before your face.
17     Do not become a terror to me;
you are my refuge in the day of disaster;
18     Let my persecutors be shamed,
but do not let me be shamed;
let them be dismayed,
but do not let me be dismayed;
bring on them the day of disaster;
destroy them with double destruction!

Hallow the Sabbath Day

     19 Thus said the Lord to me: Go and stand in the People’s Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, 20 and say to them: Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord: For the sake of your lives, take care that you do not bear a burden on the sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. 22 And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the sabbath or do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. 23 Yet they did not listen or incline their ear; they stiffened their necks and would not hear or receive instruction.

     24 But if you listen to me, says the Lord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but keep the sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25 then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall be inhabited forever. 26 And people shall come from the towns of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you do not listen to me, to keep the sabbath day holy, and to carry in no burden through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates; it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.

The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]

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Ch. 14–17—The Word Concerning the Droughts

Jer. 14–17. The distress arising from a lengthened drought (Jer. 14:2–6) gives the prophet occasion for urgent prayer on behalf of his people (Jer. 14:7–9 and 19–22); but the Lord rejects all intercession, and gives the people notice, for their apostasy from Him, of their coming destruction by sword, famine, and pestilence (Jer. 14:10–18 and 15:1–9). Next, the prophet complains of the persecution he has to endure, and is corrected by the Lord and comforted (Jer. 15:10–21). Then he has his course of conduct for the future prescribed to him, since Judah is, for its sins, to be cast forth into banishment, but is again to be restored (Jer. 16:1–17:4). And the discourse concludes with general considerations upon the roots of the mischief, together with prayers for the prophet’s safety, and statements as to the way by which judgment may be turned aside.

This prophetic word, though it had its origin in a special period of distress, does not contain any single discourse such as may have been delivered by Jeremiah before the people upon occasion of this calamity, but is, like the former sections, a summary of addresses and utterances concerning the corruption of the people, and the bitter experiences to which his office exposes the prophet. For these matters the special event above mentioned serves as a starting-point, inasmuch as the deep moral degradation of Judah, which must draw after it yet sorer judgments, is displayed in the relation assumed by the people to the judgment sent on them at that time.—The favourite attempts of recent commentators to dissect the passage into single portions, and to assign these to special points of time and to refer them to particular historical occurrences, have proved an entire failure, as Graf himself admits. The whole discourse moves in the same region of thought and adheres to the same aspect of affairs as the preceding ones, without suggesting special historical relations. And there is an advance made in the prophetic declaration, only in so far as here the whole substance of the discourse culminates in the thought that, because of Judah’s being hardened in sin, the judgment of rejection can no in no way be turned aside, not even by the intercession of those whose prayers would have the greatest weight.

Jer. 14:1–15:9. The Uselessness of Prayer on behalf of the People.—The title in v. 1 specifies the occasion for the following discourse: What came a word of Jahveh to Jeremiah concerning the drought.—Besides here, אֲשֶׁר הָיָה is made to precede the דְּבַר יהוה in 46:1; 47:1; 49:34; and so, by a kind of attraction, the prophecy which follows receivers an outward connection with that which precedes. Concerning the matters of the droughts. בַּצָּרֹות, plur. of בַּצָּרָה, Psa. 9:10; 10:1, might mean harassments, troubles in general. But the description of a great drought, with which the prophecy begins, taken along with 17:8, where בַּצֹּרֶת occurs, meaning drought, lit., cutting off, restraint of rain, shows that the plural here is to be referred to the sing. בַּצֹּרֶת (cf. עַשְׁתָּרֹות from עַשְׁתֹּרֶת), and that it means the withholding of rain or drought (as freq. in Chald.). We must note the plur., which is not to be taken as intensive of a great drought, but points to repeated droughts. Withdrawal of rain was threatened as a judgment against the despisers of God’s word (Lev. 26:19f.; Deut. 11:17; 28:23); and this chastisement has at various times been inflicted on the sinful people; cf. 3:3; 12:4; 23:10, Hag. 1:10f. As the occasion of the present prophecy, we have therefore to regard not a single great drought, but a succession of droughts. Hence we cannot fix the time at which the discourse was composed, since we have no historical notices as to the particular times at which God was then punishing His people by withdrawing the rain.

Jer. 14:2–6. Description of the distress arising from the drought.—V. 2. Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish, like mourning on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goeth up. V. 3. Their nobles send their mean ones for water: they come to the wells, find no water, return with empty pitchers, are ashamed and confounded and cover their head. V. 4. For the ground, which is confounded, because no rain is fallen upon the earth, the husbandmen are ashamed, cover their head. V. 5. Yea, the hind also in the field, she beareth and forsaketh it, because there is no grass. V. 6. And the wild asses stand on the bare-topped heights, gasp for air like the jackals; their eyes fail because there is no herb.”

The country and the city, the distinguished and the mean, the field and the husbandmen, are thrown into deep mourning, and the beasts of the field pine away because neither grass nor herb grows. This description gives a touching picture of the distress into which the land and its inhabitants have fallen for lack of rain. Judah is the kingdom or the country with its inhabitants; the gates as used poetically for the cities with the citizens. Not mankind only, but the land itself mourns and pines away, with all the creatures that live on it; cf. v. 4, where the ground is said to be dismayed along with the tillers of it. The gates of the cities are mentioned as being the places where the citizens congregate. אֻמְלַל, fade away, pine, is strengthened by: are black, i.e., mourn, down to the earth; pregnant for: set themselves mourning on the ground. As frequently, Jerusalem is mentioned alongside of Judah as being its capital. Their cry of anguish rises up to heaven. This universal mourning is specialized from v. 3 on. Their nobles, i.e., the distinguished men of Judah and Jerusalem, send their mean ones, i.e., their retainers or servants and maids, for water to the wells (גֵּבִים, pits, 2 Kings 3:16, here cisterns). The Chet. צָעֹור, here and in 48:4, is an unusual form for צָעִיר, Keri. Finding no water, they return, their vessels empty, i.e., with empty pitchers, ashamed of their disappointed hope. בֹּשׁוּ is strengthened by the synonym הָכְלְמוּ. Covering the head is a token of deep grief turned inwards upon itself; cf. 2 Sam. 15:30; 19:5. הָאֲדָמָה is the ground generally. חַתָּה is a relative clause: quae consternata est. “Because no rain,” etc., literally as in 1 Kings 17:7.—Even the beasts droop and perish. כִּי is intensive: yea, even. The hind brings forth and forsakes, sc. the new-born offspring, because for want of grass she cannot sustain herself and her young. עָזֹוב, infin. abs. set with emphasis for the temp. fin., as Gen. 41:43, Ex. 8:11, and often; cf. Gesen. § 131, 4, a, Ew. § 351, c. The hind was regarded by the ancients as tenderly caring for her young, cf. Boch. Hieroz. i. lib. 3, c. 17 (ii. p. 254, ed. Ros.) The wild asses upon the bleak mountain-tops, where these animals choose to dwell, gasp for air, because, by reason of the dreadful drought, it is not possible to get a breath of air even on the hills. Like the תַּנִּים, jackals, cf. 9:10; 10:22, etc. Vulg. has dracones, with the Aram. versions; and Hitz. and Graf are of opinion that the mention of jackals is not here in point, and that, since תַּנִּים does not mean dracones, the word stands here, as in Ex. 29:3; 32:2, for תַּנִּין, the monster inhabiting the water, a crocodile or some kind of whale that stretches its head out of the water to draw breath with gaping jaws. On this Näg. has well remarked: he cannot see why the gaping, panting jaws of the jackal should not serve as a figure in such a case as the present. Their eyes fail away—from exhaustion due to want of wear. עֵשֶׂב, bushes and under-shrubs, as distinguished from דֶּשֶׁא, green grass.

Jer. 14:7–9. The prayer.—V. 7. “If our iniquities testify against us, O Jahveh, deal Thou for Thy name’s sake, for many are our backslidings; against Thee have we sinned. V. 8. Thou hope of Israel, his Saviour in time of need, why wilt Thou be as a stranger in the land, like a wayfarer that hath put up to tarry for a night? V. 9. Why wilt Thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot help, and yet Thou art in the midst of us, Jahveh, and Thy name is named upon us—O leave us not!”

The prophet utters this prayer in the name of his people (cf. v. 11). It begins with confession of sore transgression. Thus the chastisement which has befallen them they have deserved as a just punishment; but the Lord is besought to help for His name’s sake, i.e., not: “for the sake of Thy honour, with which it is not consistent that contempt of Thy will should go unpunished” (Hitz.). This interpretation suits neither the idea of the name of God nor the context. The name of God is the manifestation of God’s being. From Moses’ time on, God, as Jahveh, has revealed Himself as the Redeemer and Saviour of the children of Israel, whom He had adopted to be His people, and as God, who is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and of great goodness and faithfulness (Ex. 34:6). As such He is besought to reveal Himself now that they confess their backsliding and sin, and seek His grace. Not for the sake of His honour in the eyes of the world, lest the heathen believe He has no power to help, as Graf holds, for all reference to the heathen nations is foreign to this connection; but He is entreated to help, not to belie the hope of His people, because Israel sets its hope in Him as Saviour in time of need (v. 9). If by withholding rain He makes His land and people to pine, then He does not reveal Himself as the lord and owner of Judah, not as the God that dwells amidst His people; but He seems a stranger passing through the land, who sets up His tent there only to spend the night, who “feels no share in the weal and woe of the dwellers therein” (Hitz.). This is the meaning of the question in v. 8b. The ancient expositors take נָטָה elliptically, as in Gen. 12:8: that stretches out His tent to pass the night. Hitz., again, objects that the wayfarer does not drag a tent about with him, and, like Ew., takes this verb in the sense of swerve from the direct route, cf. 2 Sam. 2:19, 21, etc. But the reason alleged is not tenable; since travellers did often carry their tents with them, and נָטָה, to turn oneself, is not used absolutely in the sig. to turn aside from the way, without the qualification: to the right or to the left. סוּר is in use for to turn aside to tarry, to turn in, Jer. 15:5. We therefore abide by the old interpretation, since “swerve from the way” has here no suitable meaning.

Jer. 14:9. The pleader makes further appeal to God’s almighty power. It is impossible that Jahveh can let Himself look like a man at his wit’s end or a nerveless warrior, as He would seem to be if He should not give help to His people in their present need. Since the time of A. Schultens the ἁπ. λεγ. נִדְהָם is rendered, after the Arab. dahama, to make an unforeseen attack, by stupefactus, attonitus, one who, by reason of a sudden mischance, has lost his presence of mind and is helpless. This is in keeping with the next comparison, that with a warrior who has no strength to help. The passage closes with an appeal to the relation of grace which Jahveh sustains towards His people. וְאַתָּה comes in adversatively: yet art Thou in our midst, i.e., present to Thy people. Thy name is named upon us, i.e., Thou hast revealed Thyself to us in Thy being as God of salvation; see on 7:10. אַל־תַּנִּחֵנוּ, lit., lay us not down, i.e., let us not sink.

Jer. 14:10–18. The Lord’s answer.—V. 10. “Thus saith Jahveh unto this people: Thus they loved to wander, their feet they kept not back; and Jahveh hath no pleasure in them, now will He remember their iniquities and visit their sins. V. 11. And Jahveh hath said unto me: Pray not for this people for their good. V. 12. When they fast, I hear not their cry; and when they bring burnt-offering and meat-offering, I have no pleasure in them; but by sword, and famine, and pestilence will I consume them. V. 13. Then said I: Ah Lord Jahveh, behold, the prophets say to them, Ye shall see no sword, and famine shall not befall you, but assured peace give I in this place. V. 14. And Jahveh said unto me: Lies do the prophets prophesy in my name: I have not sent them, nor commanded them, nor spoken to them; lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and deceit of their heart they prophesy to you. V. 15. Therefore thus saith Jahveh concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, when I have not sent them, who yet say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land: By sword and famine shall these prophets perish. V. 16. And the people to whom they prophesy shall lie cast out upon the streets of Jerusalem, by reason of the famine and of the sword, and none will bury them, them and their wives, their sons and their daughters; and I pour their wickedness upon them. V. 17. And thou shalt say to them this word: Let mine eyes run down with tears day and night and let them not cease; for with a great breach is broken the virgin-daughter of my people, with a very grievous blow. V. 18. If I go forth into the field, behold the slain with the sword; and if I come into the city, behold them that pine with famine; for prophet and priest pass into a land and know it not.”

To the prophet’s prayer the Lord answers in the first place, v. 10, by pointing to the backsliding of the people, for which He is now punishing them. In the “thus they love,” etc., lies a backward reference to what precedes. The reference is certainly not to the vain going for water (v. 3), as Ch. B. Mich. and R. Salomo Haccohen thought it was; nor is it to the description of the animals afflicted by thirst, vv. 5 and 6, in which Näg. finds a description of the passionate, unbridled lust after idolatry, the real and final cause of the ruin that has befallen Israel. Where could be the likeness between the wild ass’s panting for breath and the wandering of the Jews? That to which the “thus” refers must be sought for in the body of the prayer to which Jahveh makes answer, as Ros. rightly saw. Not by any means in the fact that in v. 9 the Jews prided themselves on being the people of God and yet went after false gods, so that God answered: ita amant vacillare, as good as to say: ita instabiles illos esse, ut nunc ab ipso, nunc ab aliis auxilium quaerant (Ros.); for נוּעַ cannot here mean the waving and swaying of reeds, but only the wandering after other gods, cf. 2:23, 31. This is shown by the addition: they kept not back their feet, cf. with 2:25, where in the same reference the withholding of the feet is enjoined. Graf is right in referring huts to the preceding prayer: “Thus, in the same degree as Jahveh has estranged Himself from His people (cf. vv. 8 and 9), have they estranged themselves from their God.” They loved to wander after strange gods, and so have brought on themselves God’s displeasure. Therefore punishment comes on them. The second clause of the verse is a reminiscence of Hos. 8:13.—After mentioning the reason why He punishes Judah, the Lord in v. 11f. rejects the prayer of the prophet, because He will not hear the people’s cry to Him. Neither by means of fasts nor sacrifice will they secure God’s pleasure. The prophet’s prayer implies that the people will humble themselves and turn to the Lord. Hence God explains His rejection of the prayer by saying that He will give no heed to the people’s fasting and sacrifices. The reason of this appears from the context,—namely, because they turn to Him only in their need, while their heart still cleaves to the idols, so that their prayers are but lip-service, and their sacrifices a soulless formality. The suffix in רֹצָם refers not to the sacrifices, but, like that in רִנָּתָם, to the Jews who, by bringing sacrifices, seek to win God’s love. כִּי, but, introducing the antithesis to “have no pleasure in them.” The sword in battle, famine, and pestilence, at the siege of the cities, are the three means by which God designs to destroy the backsliding people; cf. Lev. 26:25f.

In spite of the rejection of his prayer, the prophet endeavours yet again to entreat God’s favour for the people, laying stress, v. 13, on the fact that they had been deceived and confirmed in their infatuation by the delusive forecastings of the false prophets who promised peace. Peace of truth, i.e., peace that rests on God’s faithfulness, and so: assured peace will I give you. Thus spoke these prophets in the name of Jahveh; cf. on this 4:10; 5:12. Hitz. and Graf propose to change שְׁלֹום אֱמֶת into שָׁלֹום וֶאֱמֶת, acc. to 33:6 and Isa. 39:8, because the LXX have ἀλήθειαν καὶ εἰρήνην. But none of the passages cited furnishes sufficient ground for this. In 33:6 the LXX have rendered εἰρήνην καὶ πίστιν, in Isa. 39:8, εἰρήνη καὶ δικαιοσύνη; giving thereby a clear proof that we cannot draw from their rendering any certain inferences as to the precise words of the original text. Nor do the parallels prove anything, since in them the expression often varies in detail. But there can be no doubt that in the mouth of the pseudo- prophets “assured peace” is more natural than “peace and truth.” But the Lord does not allow this excuse. He has not sent the prophets that so prophesy: they prophesy lying vision, divination, falsehood, and deceit, and shall themselves be destroyed by sword and famine. The cumulation of the words, “lying vision,” etc., shows God’s wrath and indignation at the wicked practices of these men. Graf wants to delete וְ before אֱלִיל, and to couple אליל with קֶסֶם, so as to make one idea: prophecy of nought. For this he can allege none other than the erroneous reason that קֶסֶם, taken by itself, does not sufficiently correspond to “lying vision,” inasmuch as, he says, it has not always a bad sense attached to it; whereas the fact is that it is nowhere used for genuine prophecy. The Chet. אֱלוּל and תַּרְמוּת are unusual formations, for which the usual forms are substituted in the Keri. Deceit of their heart is not self-deceit, but deceit which their heart has devised; cf. 23:26. But the people to whom these prophets prophesied are to perish by sword and famine, and to lie unburied in the streets of Jerusalem; cf. 8:2; 16:4. They are not therefore held excused because false prophets told them lies, for they have given credit to these lies, lies that flattered their sinful passions, and have not been willing to hear or take to heart the word of the true prophets, who preached repentance and return to God. To Hitz. it seems surprising that, in describing the punishment which is to fall on seducers and seduced, there should not be severer judgment, in words at least, levelled against the seducers as being those involved in the deeper guilt; whereas the very contrary is the case in the Hebrew text. Hitz. further proposes to get rid of this discrepancy by conjectures founded on the LXX, yet without clearly informing us how we are to read. But the difficulty solves itself as soon as we pay attention to the connection. The portion of the discourse before us deals with the judgment which is to burst on the godless people, in the course of which those who had seduced the people are only casually mentioned. For the purpose in hand, it was sufficient to say briefly of the seducers that they too should perish by sword and famine who affirmed that these punishments should not befall the people, whereas it was necessary to set before the people the terrors of this judgment in all their horror, in order not to fail of effect. With the reckoning of the various classes of persons: they, their wives, etc., cf. the account of their participation in idolatry, 7:18. Hitz. rightly paraphrases וְשָׁפַכְתִּי: and in this wise will I pour out. רָעָתָם, not: the calamity destined for them, but: their wickedness which falls on them with its consequences, cf. 2:19, Hos. 9:15, for propheta videtur causam reddere, cur Deus horribile illud judicium exequi statuerit contra Judaeos, nempe quoniam digni erant tali mercede (Calv.).

Jer. 14:17. The words, “and speak unto them this word,” surprise us, because no word from God follows, as in 13:12, but an exposition of the prophet’s feelings in regard to the dreadful judgment announced. Hence Dahl. and Ew. propose to join the words in question with what goes before, while at the same time Ew. hints a suspicion that an entire sentence has been dropped after the words. But for this suspicion there is no ground, and the joining of the words with the preceding context is contrary to the unfailing usage of this by no means infrequent formula. The true explanation is found in Kimchi and Calvin. The prophet is led to exhibit to the hardened people the grief and pain he feels in contemplating the coming ruin of Judah, ut pavorem illis incuteret, si forte, cum haec audirent, resipiscerent (Kimchi). If not his words, then surely his tears; for the terrible calamity he has to announce must touch and stagger them, so that they may be persuaded to examine themselves and consider what it is that tends to their peace. To make impression on their hardened consciences, he depicts the appalling ruin, because of which his eyes run with tears day and night. On “run down,” etc., cf. 9:17; 13:17, Lam. 2:18, etc. “Let them not cease” gives emphasis: not be silent, at peace, cf. Lam. 3:49, i.e., weep incessantly day and night. The appellation of the people: virgin-daughter of my people, i.e., daughter that is my people, cf. 8:11, corresponds to the love revealing itself in tears. The depth of sorrow is further shown in the clause: with a blow that is very dangerous, cf. 10:19. In v. 18 the prophet portrays the condition of things after the fall of Jerusalem: out upon the field are those pierced with the sword; in the city תַּחֲלוּאֵי רָעָב, lit., suffering of famine, Deut. 29:21, here abstr. pro concr. of those pining in famine; and those that remain in life depart into exile. Instead of the people Jeremiah mentions only the prophets and priests as being the flower of God’s people. סָחַר, to wander about, in Hebr. usually in the way of commerce, here acc. to Aram. usage, possibly too with the idea of begging subjoined. In the וְלֹא יָדָעוּ Graf holds the וְ to be entirely out of place, while Hitz. pronounces against him. The words are variously taken; e.g., and know nothing, wander about aimless ad helpless. But with this the omission of the article with אֶרֶץ is incompatible. The omission shows that “and now not” furnishes an attribute to “into a land.” We therefore translate: and know it not = which they know not, since the pronominal suffix is wont to be often omitted where it can without difficulty be supplied from the preceding clause.

Jer. 14:19–22 and 15:1–9. Renewed supplication and repeated rejection of the same.—V. 19. “Hast thou then really rejected Judah? or doth thy soul loathe Zion? Why hast Thou smitten us, so that there is no healing for us? We look for peace, and there is no good; for the time of healing, and behold terror! V. 20. We know, Jahveh, our wickedness, the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against Thee. V. 21. Abhor not, for Thy name’s sake; disgrace not the throne of Thy glory; remember, break not Thy covenant with us! V. 22. Are there among the vain gods of the Gentiles givers of rain, or will the heavens give showers? Art not Thou (He), Jahveh our God? and we hope in Thee, for Thou hast made all these.”    Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)

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Jer. 15:1–5. “And Jahveh said unto me: If Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet would not my soul incline to this people. Drive them from my face, that they go forth. V. 2. And if they say to thee: Whither shall we go forth? then say to them: Thus hath Jahveh said—Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity. V. 3. And I appoint over them four kinds, saith Jahveh: the sword to slay and the dogs to tear, the fowls of the heaven and the cattle of the earth, to devour and destroy. V. 4. And I give them up to be abused to all kingdoms of the earth, for Manasseh’s sake, the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem. V. 5. For who shall have pity upon thee, Jerusalem? and who shall bemoan thee? and who shall go aside to ask after thy welfare? V. 6. Thou hast rejected me, saith Jahveh; thou goest backwards, and so I stretch forth mine hand against thee and destroy thee; I am weary of repenting. V. 7. And I fan them with a fain into the gates of the land: bereave, ruin my people; from their ways they turned not. V. 8. More in number are his widows become unto me than the sand of the sea; I bring to them, against the mother of the young man, a spoiler at noon-day; I cause to fall upon her suddenly anguish and terrors. V. 9. She that hath borne seven languisheth, she breatheth out her soul, her sun goeth down while yet it is day, she is put to shame and confounded; and their residue I give to the sword before their enemies, saith Jahveh.”

The Lord had indeed distinctly refused the favour sought for Judah; yet the command to disclose to the people the sorrow of his own soul at their calamity (vv. 17 and 18) gave the prophet courage to renew his supplication, and to ask of the Lord if He had in very truth cast off Judah and Zion (v. 19), and to set forth the reasons which made this seem impossible (vv. 20–22). In the question, v. 19, the emphasis lies on the מָאַסְתָּ, strengthened as it is by the inf. abs.: hast Thou utterly or really rejected? The form of the question is the same as that in 2:14; first the double question, dealing with a state of affairs which the questioner is unable to regard as being actually the case, and then a further question, conveying wonder at what has happened. גָּעַל, loathe, cast from one, is synonymous with מָאַס. The second clause agrees verbally with 8:15. The reasons why the Lord cannot have wholly rejected Judah are: 1. That they acknowledge their wickedness. Confession of sin is the beginning of return to God; and in case of such return, the Lord, by His compassion, has vouchsafed to His people forgiveness and the renewal of covenant blessings; cf. Lev. 26:41ff., Deut. 30:2ff. Along with their own evil doing, the transgression of their fathers is mentioned, cf. 2:5ff., 7:25ff., that full confession may be made of the entire weight of wickedness for which Israel has made itself answerable. So that, on its own account, Judah has no claim upon the help of its God. But the Lord may be moved thereto by regard for His name and the covenant relation. On this is founded the prayer of v. 21: Abhor not, sc. thy people, for Thy name’s sake, lest Thou appear powerless to help in the eyes of the nations; see on v. 7 and on Num. 14:16. נִבֵּל, lit., to treat as fools, see on Deut. 32:15, here: make contemptible. The throne of the glory of God is the temple, where Jahveh sits enthroned over the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies, Ex. 25:22, etc. The destruction of Jerusalem would, by the sack of the temple, dishonour the throne of the Lord. The object to “remember,” viz., “Thy covenant,” comes after “break not.” The remembering or rememberedness of the covenant is shown in the not breaking maintenance of the same; cf. Lev. 26:44f. Lastly, we have in v. 21 the final motive for supplication: that the Lord alone can put an end to trouble. Neither the vain gods of the heathen (הֲבָלִים, see 8:19) can procure rain, nor can the heaven, as one of the powers of nature, without power from God. אַתָּה הוּא, Thou art (הוּא is the copula between subject and predicate). Thou hast made all these. Not: the heaven and the earth, as Hitz. and Gr. would make it, after Isa. 37:16; still less is it, with Calv.: the punishment inflicted on us; but, as אֵלֶּה demands, the things mentioned immediately before: caelum, pluvias et quidquid est in omni rerum natura, Ros. Only when thus taken, does the clause contain any motive for: we wait upon Thee, i.e., expect from Thee help out of our trouble. It further clearly appears from this verse that the supplication was called forth by the calamity depicted in vv. 2–5.

Jer. 15:1–9. Decisive refusal of the petition.—V. 1. Even Moses and Samuel, who stood so far in God’s favour that by their supplications they repeatedly rescued their people from overwhelming ruin (cf. Ex. 17:11; 32:11f., Num. 14:13ff., and 1 Sam. 7:9f., 12:17f., Ps. 99:6), if they were to come now before the Lord, would not incline His love towards this people. אֶל indicates the direction of the soul towards any one; in this connection: the inclination of it towards the people. He has cast off this people and will no longer let them come before His face. In vv. 2–9 this is set forth with terrible earnestness. We must supply the object, “this people,” to “drive” from the preceding clause. “From my face” implies the people’s standing before the Lord in the temple, where they had appeared bringing sacrifices, and by prayer invoking His help (Jer. 14:12). To go forth from the temple = to go forth from God’s face. V. 2. But in case they ask where they are to go to, Jeremiah is to give them the sarcastic direction: Each to the destruction allotted to him. He that is appointed to death, shall go forth to death, etc. The clauses: such as are for death, etc., are to be filled up after the analogy of 2 Sam. 15:20, 2 Kings 8:1, so that before the second “death,” “sword,” etc., we supply the verb “shall go.” There are mentioned four kinds of punishments that are to befall the people. The “death” mentioned over and above the sword is death by disease, for which we have in 14:12 דֶּבֶר, pestilence, disease; cf. 43:11, where death, captivity, and sword are mentioned together, with Ezek. 14:21, sword, famine, wild beasts, and disease (דֶּבֶר), and 33:27, sword, wild beasts, and disease. This doom is made more terrible in v. 3. The Lord will appoint over them (פָּקַד as in 13:21) four kinds, i.e., four different destructive powers which shall prepare a miserable end for them. One is the sword already mentioned in v. 2, which slays them; the three others are to execute judgment on the dead: the dogs which shall tear, mutilate, and partly devour the dead bodies (cf. 2 Kings 9:35, 37), and birds and beasts of prey, vultures, jackals, and others, which shall make an end of such portions as are left by the dogs. In v. 4 the whole is summed up in the threatening of Deut. 28:25, that the people shall be delivered over to be abused to all the kingdoms of the earth, and the cause of this terrible judgment is mentioned. The Chet. זועה is not to be read זְוָעָה, but זֹועָה, and is the contracted form from זַעֲוָה, see on Deut. 28:25, from the rad. זוּעַ, lit., tossing hither and thither, hence for maltreatment. For the sake of King Manasseh, who by his godless courses had filled up the measure of the people’s sins, so that the Lord must cast Judah away from His face, and give it up to the heathen to be chastised; cf. 2 Kings 23:26; 24:3, with the exposition of these passages; and as to what Manasseh did, see 2 Kings 21:1–16.

Jer. 15:5–9. In vv. 5–9 we have a still further account of this appalling judgment and its causes. The grounding כִּי in v. 5 attaches to the central thought of v. 4. The sinful people will be given up to all the kingdoms of the earth to be ill used, for no one will or can have compassion on Jerusalem, since its rejection by God is a just punishment for its rejection of the Lord (v. 6). “Have pity” and “bemoan” denote loving sympathy for the fall of the unfortunate. חָמַל, to feel sympathy; נוּד, to lament and bemoan. סוּר, to swerve from the straight way, and turn aside or enter into any one’s house; cf. Gen. 19:2f., Ex. 3:3, etc. שָׁאַל לְשָׁלֹום לְ, to inquire of one as to his health, cf. Ex. 18:7; then: to salute one, to desire שָׁלֹום לְךָ, Gen. 43:27, Judg. 18:15, and often. Not only will none show sympathy for Jerusalem, none will even ask how it goes with her welfare.

Jer. 15:6. The reason of this treatment: because Jerusalem has dishonoured and rejected its God, therefore He now stretched out His hand to destroy it. To go backwards, instead of following the Lord, cf. 7:24. This determination the Lord will not change, for He is weary of repenting. הִנָּחֵם frequently of the withdrawal, in grace and pity, of a divine decree to punish, cf. 4:28, Gen. 6:6f., Joel 2:14, etc.

Jer. 15:7. וָאֶזְרֵם is a continuation of וָאַט, v. 6, and, like the latter, is to be understood prophetically of what God has irrevocably determined to do. It is not a description of what is past, an allusion to the battle lost at Megiddo, as Hitz., carrying out his à priori system of slighting prophecy, supposes. To take the verbs of this verse as proper preterites, as J. D. Mich. and Ew. also do, is not in keeping with the contents of the clauses. In the first clause Ew. and Gr. translate שַׁעֲרֵי הָאָרֶץ gates, i.e., exits, boundaries of the earth, and thereby understand the remotest lands of the earth, the four corners of extremities of the earth, Isa. 11:12 (Ew.). But “gates” cannot be looked on as corners or extremities, nor are they ends or borders, but the inlets and outlets of cities. For how can a man construe to himself the ends of the earth as the outlets of it? where could one go to from there? Hence it is impossible to take הָאָרֶץ of the earth in this case; it is the land of Judah. The gates of the land are either mentioned by synecdoche for the cities, cf. Mic. 5:5, or are the approaches to the land (cf. Nah. 3:13), its outlets and inlets. Here the context demands the latter sense. זָרָה, to fan, c. בְּ loci, to scatter into a place, cf. Ezek. 12:15; 30:26: fan into the outlets of the land, i.e., cast out of the land. שִׁכֵּל, make the people childless, by the fall in battle of the sons, the young men, cf. Ezek. 5:17. The threat is intensified by אִבַּדְתִּי, added as asyndeton. The last clause: from their ways, etc., subjoins the reason.

Jer. 15:8. By the death of the sons, the women lose their husbands, and become widows. לִי is the dative of sympathetic interest. “Sand of the sea” is the figure for a countless number. יַמִּים is poetic plural; cf. Ps. 78:27, Job 6:3. On these defenceless women come suddenly spoilers, and these mothers who had perhaps borne seven sons give up the ghost and perish without succour, because their sons have fallen in war. Thus proceeds the portrayal as Hitz. has well exhibited it. עַל אֵם בָּחוּר is variously interpreted. We must reject the view taken by Ch. B. Mich. from the Syr. and Arab. versions: upon mother and young man; as also the view of Rashi, Cler., Eichh., Dahl., etc., that אֵם means the mother-city, i.e., Jerusalem. The true rendering is that of Jerome and Kimchi, who have been followed by J. D. Mich., Hitz., Ew., Graf, and Näg.: upon the mother of the youth or young warrior. This view is favoured by the correspondence of the woman mentioned in v. 9 who had borne seven sons. Both are individualized as women of full bodily vigour, to lend vividness to the thought that no age and no sex will escape destruction בַּצָּהֳרַיִם, at clear noontide, when one least looks for an attack. Thus the word corresponds with the “suddenly” of the next clause. עִיר, Aramaic form for צִיר, Isa. 13:8, pangs. The bearer of seven, i.e., the mother of many sons. Seven as the perfect number of children given in blessing by God, cf. 1 Sam. 2:5, Ruth 4:15. “She breathes to her life,” cf. Job 31:39. Graf wrongly: she sighs. The sun of her life sets (בָּאָה) while it is still day, before the evening of her life has been reached, cf. Am. 8:9. “Is put to shame and confounded” is not to be referred to the son, but the mother, who, bereaved of her children, goes covered with shame to the grave. The Keri בָּא for בָּאָה is an unnecessary change, since שֶׁמֶשׁ is also construed as fem., Gen. 15:17. The description closes with a glance cast on those left in life after the overthrow of Jerusalem. These are to be given to the sword when in flight before their enemies, cf. Mic. 6:14.

Jer. 15:10–21. Complaint of the Prophet, and Soothing Answer of the Lord.—His sorrow at the rejection by God of his petition so overcomes the prophet, that he gives utterance to the wish: he had rather not have been born than live on in the calling in which he must ever foretell misery and ruin to his people, thereby provoking hatred and attacks, while his heart is like to break for grief and fellow-feeling; whereupon the Lord reprovingly replies as in vv. 11–14.

Jer. 15:10. “Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast born me, a man of strive and contention to all the earth! I have not lent out, nor have men lent to me; all curse me. V. 11. Jahveh saith, Verily I strengthen thee to thy good; verily I cause the enemy to entreat thee in the time of evil and of trouble. V. 12. Does iron break, iron from the north and brass? V. 13. Thy substance and thy treasures give I for a prey without a price, and that for all thy sins, and in all thy borders, V. 14. And cause thine enemies bring it into a land which thou knowest not; for fire burneth in mine anger, against you it is kindled.”

Woe is me, exclaims Jeremiah in v. 10, that my mother brought me forth! The apostrophe to his mother is significant of the depth of his sorrow, and is not to be understood as if he were casting any reproach on his mother; it is an appeal to his mother to share with him his sorrow at his lot. This lament is consequently very different from Job’s cursing of the day of his birth, Job 3:1. The apposition to the suffix “me,” the man of strife and contention, conveys the meaning of the lament in this wise: me, who must yet be a man, with whom the whole world strives and contends. Ew. wrongly render it: “to be a man of strife,” etc.; for it was not his mother’s fault that he became such an one. The second clause intimates that he has not provoked the strife and contention. נָשָׁה, lend, i.e., give on loan, and with בְּ, to lend to a person, lend out; hence נֹשֶׁה, debtor, and נֹשֶׁה בֹו, creditor, Isa. 24:2. These words are not an individualizing of the thought: all interchange of friendly services between me and human society is broken off (Hitz.). For intercourse with one’s fellow-men does not chiefly, or in the foremost place, consist in lending and borrowing of gold and other articles. Borrowing and lending is rather the frequent occasion of strife and ill-will; and it is in this reference that it is here brought up. Jeremiah says he has neither as bad debtor or disobliging creditor given occasion to hatred and quarrelling, and yet all curse him. This is the meaning of the last words, in which the form מְקַלְלַוְנִי is hard to explain. The rabbinical attempts to clear it up by means of a commingling of the verbs קלל and קלה are now, and reasonably, given up. Ew. (Gram. § 350, c) wants to make it מְקַלְלַנְנִי; but probably the form has arisen merely out of the wrong dividing of a word, and ought to be read כֻּלְּהֶם קִלְלוּנִי. So read most recent scholars, after the example of J. D. Mich.; cf. also Böttcher, Grammat. ii. S. 322, note. It is true that we nowhere else find כֻּלְּהֶם; but we find an analogy in the archaic כֻּלָּהַם. In its favour we have, besides, the circumstance, that the heavy form הֶם is by preference appended to short words; see Böttcher, as above, S. 21.

Jer. 15:11–14. To this complaint the Lord makes answer in vv. 11–14, first giving the prophet the prospect of complete vindication against those that oppose him (v. 11), and then (vv. 12–14) pointing to the circumstances that shall compel the people to this result. The introduction of God’s answer by אָמַר יהוה without כֹּה is found also in 46:25, where Graf erroneously seeks to join the formula with what precedes. In the present 11th verse the want of the כֹּה is the less felt, since the word from the Lord that follows bears in the first place upon the prophet himself, and is not addressed to the people. אִם לֹא is a particle of asseveration, introducing the answer which follows with a solemn assurance. The vowel-points of שֵׁרִותִךָ require שֵׁרִיתִיךָ, 1 pers. perf., from שָׁרָה = the Aram. שְׁרָא, loose, solve (Dan. 5:12): I loose (free) thee to thy good. The Chet. is variously read and rendered. By reason of the preceding אִם לֹא, the view is improbable that we have here an infinitive; either שָׁרֹותְךָ, inf. Pi. of שׁרר in the sig. inflict suffering: “thy affliction becomes welfare” (Hitz.); or שְׁרֹותְךָ, inf. Kal of שָׁרָה, set free: thy release falls out to thy good (Ros., etc.). The context suggests the 1 pers. perf. of שָׁרַר, against which the defective written form is no argument, since this occurs frequently elsewhere, e.g., עִנִּתִךְ, Nah. 1:12. The question remains: whether we are to take שׁרר according to the Hebrew usage: I afflict thee to thy good, harass thee to thine advantage (Gesen. in the thes. p. 1482, and Näg.), or according to the Aramaic (s̆ra) in the sig. firmabo, stabiliam: I strengthen thee or support thee to thy good (Ew., Maur.). We prefer the latter rendering, because the saying: I afflict thee, is not true of God; since the prophet’s troubles came not from God, nor is Jeremiah complaining of affliction at the hand of God, but only that he was treated as an enemy by all the world. לְטֹוב, for good, as in Ps. 119:122, so that it shall fall out well for thee, lead to a happy issue, for which we have elsewhere לְטֹובָה, 14:11, Ps. 86:17, Neh. 5:19.—This happy issue is disclosed in the second clause: I bring it about that the enemy shall in time of trouble turn himself in supplication to thee, because he shall recognise in the prophet’s prayers the only way of safety; cf. the fulfilment of this promise, 21:1f., 37:3; 38:14ff., 42:2. הִפְנִּיעַ, here causative, elsewhere only with the sig. of the Kal, e.g., 36:25, Isa. 53:12. “The enemy,” in unlimited generality: each of thine adversaries.

Jer. 15:12–14. That the case will turn out so is intimated by vv. 12–14, the exposition of which is, however, difficult and much debated. V. 12 is rendered either: can iron (ordinary iron) break northern iron and brass (the first “iron” being taken as subject, the second as object)? or: can one break iron, (namely) iron of the north, and brass (“iron” being taken both times as object, and “break” having its subject indefinite)? or: can iron … break (יָרֹועַ intrans. as in 11:16)? Of these three translations the first has little probability, inasmuch as the simile of one kind of iron breaking another is unnatural. But Hitz.’s view is wholly unnatural: that the first “iron” and “brass” are the object, and that “iron from the north” is subject, standing as it does between the two objects, as in Cant. 5:6, where, however, the construction alleged is still very doubtful. Nor does the sense, which would in this way be expressed, go far to commend this rendering. By iron and brass we would then have to understand, according to 6:28, the stiff-necked Jewish people; and by iron from the north, the calamity that was to come from the north. Thus the sense would be: will this calamity break the sullen obstinacy of the prophet’s enemies? will it make them pliable? The verse would thus contain an objection on the part of the prophet against the concession vouchsafed by God in v. 11. With this idea, however, vv. 11–14 are emphatically not in harmony. The other two translations take each a different view of the sense. The one party understand by iron and brass the prophet; the other, either the Jewish people or the northern might of the Chaldean empire. Holding that the prophet is so symbolized, L. de Dieu and Umbr. give the sense thus: “Let him but bethink him of his immoveable firmness against the onsets of the world; in spite of all, he is iron, northern iron and brass, that cannot be broken.” Thus God would here be speaking to the prophet. Dahl., again, holds the verse to be spoken by the prophet, and gives the sense: Can I, a frail and feeble man, break the determination of a numerous and stiff-necked nation? Against the later view the objection already alleged against Hitz. is decisive, showing as it did that the verse cannot be the prophet’s speech or complaint; against the former, the improbability that God would call the prophet iron, northern iron and brass, when the very complaint he has making showed how little of the firmness of iron he had about him. If by the northern iron we understand the Jewish people, then God would here say to the prophet, that he should always contend in vain against the stiff-neckedness of the people (Eichh.). This would have been but small comfort for him. But the appellation of northern iron does not at all fit the Jewish people. For the observation that the hardest iron, the steel made by the Chalybes in Pontus, was imported from the north, does not serve the turn; since a distinction between ordinary iron and very hard iron nowhere else appears in the Old Testament. The attribute “from the north” points manifestly to the iron sway of the Chaldean empire (Ros., Ew., Maur., and many others); and the meaning of the verse can only be this: As little as a man can break iron, will the Jewish people be able to break the hostile power of the north (Jer. 13:20). Taken thus, the pictorial style of the verse contains a suggestion that the adversaries of the prophet will, by the crushing power of the Chaldeans, be reduced to the condition of turning themselves in supplication to the prophet.

Jer. 15:13, 14. With this vv. 13 and 14 are thus connected: This time of evil and tribulation (v. 10) will not last long. Their enemies will carry off the people’s substance and treasures as their booty into a strange land. These verses are to be taken, with Umbr., as a declaration from the mouth of the Lord to His guilt-burdened people. This appears from the contents of the verses. The immediate transition from the address to the prophet to that to the people is to be explained by the fact, that both the prophet’s complaint, v. 10, and God’s answer, vv. 11–13, have a full bearing on the people; the prophet’s complaint at the attacks on the part of the people serving to force them to a sense of their obstinacy against the Lord, and God’s answer to the complaint, that the prophet’s announcement will come true, and that he will then be justified, serving to crush their sullen doggedness. The connection of thought in vv. 13 and 14 is thus: The people that so assaults thee, by reason of thy threatening judgment, will not break the iron might of the Chaldeans, but will by them be overwhelmed. It will come about as thou hast declared to them in my name; their substance and their treasures will I give as booty to the Chaldeans. לֹא בִמְחִיר = בְּלֹא מְחִיר, Isa. 55:1, not for purchase-money, i.e., freely. As God sells His people for nought, i.e., gives them up to their enemies (cf. Isa. 52:3, Ps. 44:13), so here He threatens to deliver up their treasures to the enemy as a booty, and for nought. When Graf says that this last thought has no sufficient meaning, his reasons therefor do not appear. Nor is there anything “peculiar,” or such as could throw suspicion on the passage, in the juxtaposition of the two qualifying phrases: and that for all thy sins, and in all thy borders. The latter phrase bears unmistakeably on the treasures, not on the sins. “Cause … to bring it,” lit., I cause them (the treasures) to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not, i.e., I cause the enemies to bring them, etc. Hitz. and Graf erroneously: I carry thine enemies away into a land; which affords no suitable sense. The grounding clause: for hire, etc., is taken from Deut. 32:22, to show that the threatening of judgment contained in Moses’ song is about to come upon degenerate Judah. “Against you it is kindled” apply the words to Jeremiah’s contemporaries.

Jer. 15:15–18. Jeremiah continues his complaint.—V. 15. “Thou knowest it, Jahveh; remember me, and visit me, and revenge me on my persecutors! Do not, in Thy long-suffering, take me away; know that for Thy sake I bear reproach. V. 16. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy words were to me a delight and the joy of my heart: for Thy name was named upon me, Jahveh, God of hosts. V. 17. I sat not in the assembly of the laughers, nor was merry; because of Thy hand I sat solitary; for with indignation Thou hast filled me. V. 18. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound malignant? will not heal. Wilt Thou really be to me as a deceiving brook, a water that doth not endure?”

The Lord’s answer, vv. 11–14, has not yet restored tranquillity to the prophet’s mind; since in it his vindication by means of the abasement of his adversaries had been kept at an indefinite distance. And so he now, v. 15, prays the Lord to revenge him on his adversaries, and not to let him perish, since for His sake he bears reproach. The object to “Thou knowest, Lord,” appears from the context,—namely: “the attacks which I endure,” or more generally: Thou knowest my case, my distress. At the same time he clearly means the harassment detailed in v. 10, so that “Thou knowest” is, as to its sense, directly connected with v. 10. But it by no means follows from this that vv. 11–14 are not original; only that Jeremiah did not feel his anxiety put at rest by the divine answer conveyed in these verses. In the climax: Remember me, visit me, i.e., turn Thy care on me, and revenge me, we have the utterance of the importunity of his prayer, and therein, too, the extremity of his distress. According to Thy long-suffering, i.e., the long-suffering Thou showest towards my persecutors, take me not away, i.e., do not deliver me up to final ruin. This prayer he supports by the reminder, that for the Lord’s sake he bears reproach; cf. Ps. 69:8. Further, the imperative: know, recognise, bethink thee of, is the utterance of urgent prayer. In v. 16 he exhibits how he suffers for the Lord’s sake. The words of the Lord which came to him he has received with eagerness, as it had been the choicest dainties. “Thy words were found” intimates that he had come into possession of them as something actual, without particularizing how they were revealed. With the figurative expression: I ate them, cf. the symbolical embodiment of the figure, Ezek. 2:9; 3:3, Apoc. 10:9f. The Keri דְּבָרְיךָ is an uncalled for correction, suggested by the preceding יְהִי, and the Chet. is perfectly correct. Thy words turned out to me a joy and delight, because Thy name was named upon me, i.e., because Thou hast revealed Thyself to me, hast chosen me to be the proclaimer of Thy word.

Jer. 15:17. To this calling he has devoted his whole life: has not sat in the assembly of the laughers, nor made merry with them; but sat alone, i.e., avoided all cheerful company. Because of Thy hand, i.e., because Thy hand had laid hold on me. The hand of Jahveh is the divine power which took possession of the prophets, transported their spirit to the ecstatic domain of inner vision, and impelled to prophesy; cf. 20:7, Isa. 8:11, Ezek. 1:3, etc. Alone I sat, because Thou hast filled me with indignation. זַעַם is the wrath of God against the moral corruptness and infatuation of Judah, with which the Spirit of God has filled Jeremiah in order that he may publish it abroad, cf. 6:11. The sadness of what he had to publish filled his heart with the deepest grief, and constrained him to keep far from all cheery good fellowship.

Jer. 15:18. Why is my pain become perpetual? “My pain” is the pain or grief he feels at the judgment he has to announce to the people; not his pain at the hostility he has on that account to endure. נֶצַח adverbial = לָנֶצַח, as in Am. 1:11, Ps. 13:2, etc. “My wound,” the blow that has fallen on him. אֲנוּשָׁה, malignant, is explained by “(that) will not heal,” cf. 30:12, Mic. 1:9. The clause הָיֹו תִהְיֶה וגו׳ still depends on לָמָּה, and the infin. gives emphasis: Wilt Thou really be? אַכְזָב, lit., lying, deception, means here, and in Mic. 1:16, a deceptive torrent that dries up in the season of drought, and so disappoints the hope of finding water, cf. Job 6:15ff. “A water,” etc., is epexegesis: water that doth not endure. To this the Lord answers—

Jer. 15:19–21. By reprimanding his impatience, and by again assuring him of His protection and of rescue from the power of his oppressors.—V. 19. “Therefore thus saith Jahveh: If thou return, then will I bring thee again to serve me; and if thou separate the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth. They will return to thee, but thou shalt not return unto them. V. 20. And I make thee unto this people a strong wall of brass, so that they fight against thee, but prevail not against thee; for I am with thee, to help thee and to save thee, saith Jahveh. V. 21. And I save thee out of the hand of the wicked, and deliver thee out of the clutch of the violent.”

In the words: if thou return, lies the reproach that in his complaint, in which his indignation had hurried him on to doubt God’s faithfulness, Jeremiah had sinned and must repent. אֱשִׁיבְךָ is by many commentators taken adverbially and joined with the following words: then will I again cause thee to stand before me. But this adverbial use has been proved only for the Kal of שׁוּב, not for the Hiphil, which must here be taken by itself: then will I bring thee again, sc. into proper relations with me—namely, to stand before me, i.e., to be my servant. עָמַד לִפְנֵי, of the standing of the servant before his lord, to receive his commands, and so also of prophets, cf. 1 Kings 17:1; 18:15, 2 Kings 3:14, etc. In the words: if thou make to go forth, i.e., separate the precious from the vile, we have the figure of metal-refining, in course of which the pure metal is by fusion parted from the earthy and other ingredients mixed with it. The meaning of the figure is, however, variously understood. Some think here, unfittingly, of good and bad men; so Chald. and Rashi: if thou cause the good to come forth of the bad, turn the good into bad; or, if out of the evil mass thou cause to come forth at least a few as good, i.e., if thou convert them (Ch. B. Mich., Ros., etc.). For we cannot here have to do with the issue of his labours, as Graf well remarks, since this did not lie in his own power. Just as little is the case one of contrast between God’s word and man’s word, the view adopted by Ven., Eichh., Dahl., Hitz., Ew. The idea that Jeremiah presented man’s word for God’s word, or God’s word mixed with spurious, human additions, is utterly foreign to the context; nay, rather it was just because he declared only what God imposed on him that he was so hard bested. Further, that idea is wholly inconsistent with the nature of true prophecy. Maurer has hit upon the truth: si quae pretiosa in te sunt, admixtis liberaveris sordibus, si virtutes quas habes maculis liberaveris impatientiae et iracundiae; with whom Graf agrees. כְּפִי (with the so-called ך verit.), as my mouth shalt thou be, i.e., as the instrument by which I speak, cf. Ex. 4:16. Then shall his labours be crowned with success. They (the adversaries) will turn themselves to thee, in the manner shown in v. 11, but thou shalt not turn thyself to them, i.e., not yield to their wishes or permit thyself to be moved by them from the right way. V. 20f. After this reprimand, the Lord renews to him the promise of His most active support, such as He had promised him at his call, 1:18f.; “to save thee” being amplified in v. 21.

Jer. 16:1–17:4. The Course to be Pursued by the Prophet in Reference to the Approaching Overthrow of the Kingdom of Judah.—The ruin of Jerusalem and of Judah will inevitably come. This the prophet must proclaim by word and deed. To this end he is shown in 16:1–9 what relation he is to maintain towards the people, now grown ripe for judgment, and next in vv. 10–15 he is told the cause of this terrible judgment; then comes an account of its fulfilment (vv. 16–21); then again, finally, we have the cause of it explained once more (Jer. 17:1–4).    Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)

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Jer. 16:1–9. The course to be pursued by the prophet with reference to the approaching judgment.—V. 1. “And the word of Jahveh cam to me, saying: V. 2. Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place. V. 3. For thus hath Jahveh said concerning the sons and the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bear them, and concerning their fathers that beget them in this land: V. 4. By deadly suffering shall they die, be neither lamented or buried; dung upon the field shall they become; and by sword and by famine shall they be consumed, and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of the heavens and the beasts of the field. V. 5. For thus hath Jahveh said: Come not into the house of mourning, and go not to lament, and bemoan them not; for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith Jahveh, grace and mercies. V. 6. And great and small shall die in this land, not be buried; they shall not lament them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. V. 7. And they shall not break bread for them in their mourning, to comfort one for the dead; nor shall they give to any the cup of comfort for his father and his mother. V. 8. And into the house of feasting go not, to sit by them, to eat and to drink. V. 9. For thus hath spoken Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I cause to cease out of this place before your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.”

What the prophet is here bidden to do and to forbear is closely bound up with the proclamation enjoined on him of judgment to come on sinful Judah. This connection is brought prominently forward in the reasons given for these commands. He is neither to take a wife nor to beget children, because all the inhabitants of the land, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, are to perish by sickness, the sword, and famine (vv. 3 and 4). He is both to abstain from the customary usages of mourning for the dead, and to keep away from mirthful feasts, in order to give the people to understand that, by reason of the multitude of the dead, customary mourning will have to be given up, and that all opportunity for merry-making will disappear (vv. 5–9). Adapting thus his actions to help to convey his message, he will approve himself to be the mouth of the Lord, and then the promised divine protection will not fail. Thus closely is this passage connected with the preceding complaint and reproof of the prophet (Jer. 15:10–21), while it at the same time further continues the threatening of judgment in 15:1–9.—With the prohibition to take a wife, cf. the apostle’s counsel, 1 Cor. 7:26. “This place” alternates with “this land,” and so must not be limited to Jerusalem, but bears on Judah at large. יִלֹּדִים, adject. verbale, as in Ex. 1:18. The form מְמֹותֵי is found, besides here, only in Ezek. 28:8, where it takes the place of מֹותֵי, v. 10. מְמֹותֵי תַחֲלֻאִים, lit., deaths of sicknesses or sufferings, i.e., deaths by all kinds of sufferings, since תחלאים is not to be confined to disease, but in 14:18 is used of pining away by famine. With “they shall not be lamented,” cf. 25:33; 8:2; 14:16; 7:33.

Jer. 16:5ff. The command not to go into a house of mourning (מַרְזֵחַ, loud crying, cry of lament for one dead, see on Am. 6:7), not to show sympathy with the survivors, is explained by the Lord in the fearfully solemn saying: I withdraw from this people my peace, grace, and mercy. שָׁלֹום is not “the inviolateness of the relation between me and my people” (Graf), but the pace of God which rested on Judah, the source of its well-being, of its life and prosperity, and which showed itself to the sinful race in the extension to them of grace and mercy. The consequence of the withdrawal of this peace is the death of great and small in such multitudes that they can neither be buried nor mourned for (v. 6). הִתְגֹּדֵד, but one’s self, is used in Deut. 14:1 for נָתַן שֶׂרֶט, to make cuts in the body, Lev. 19:28; and קָרַח, Niph., to crop one’s self bald, acc. to Deut. 14:1, to shave a bare place on the front part of the head above the eyes. These are two modes of expressing passionate mourning for the dead which were forbidden to the Israelites in the law, yet which remained in use among the people, see on Lev. 19:28 and Deut. 14:1. לָהֶם, for them, in honour of the dead.

Jer. 16:7. פָּרַס, as in Isa. 58:7, for פָּרַשׂ, Lam. 4:4, break, sc. the bread (cf. Isa. l.c.) for mourning, and to give to drink the cup of comfort, does not refer to the meals which were held in the house of mourning upon occasion of a death after the interment, for this custom cannot be proved of the Israelites in Old Testament times, and is not strictly demanded by the words of the verse. To break bread to any one does not mean to hold a feast with him, but to bestow a gift of bread upon him; cf. Isa. 58:7. Correspondingly, to give to drink, does not here mean to drink to one’s health at a feast, but only to present with wine to drink. The words refer to the custom of sending bread and wine for refreshment into the house of the surviving relatives of one dead, to comfort them in their sorrow; cf. 2 Sam. 3:35; 12:16ff., and the remarks on Ezek. 24:17. The singular suffixes on לְנַחֲמֹו, אָבִיו, and אִמֹּו, alongside of the plurals לָהֶם and אֹותָם, are to be taken distributively of every one who is to be comforted upon occasion of a death in his house; and לָהֶם is not to be changed, as by J. D. Mich. and Hitz., into לֶחֶם.

Jer. 16:8f. The prophet is to withdraw from all participation in mirthful meals and feasts, in token that God will take away all joy from the people. בֵּית־מִשְׁתֶּה, house in which a feast is given. אֹותָם, for אִתָּם, refers, taken ad sensum, to the others who take part in the feast. On v. 9, cf. 7:34.

Jer. 16:10–15. “And when thou showest this people all these things, and they say unto thee, Wherefore hath Jahveh pronounced all this great evil against us, and what is our transgression, and what our sin that we have committed against Jahveh our God? V. 11. Then say thou to them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith Jahveh, and have walked after other gods, and served them, and worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and not kept my law; V. 12. And ye did yet worse than your fathers; and behold, ye walk each after the stubbornness of his evil heart, hearkening not unto me. V. 13. Therefore I cast you out of this land into the land which he know not, neither ye nor your fathers, and there may ye serve other gods day and night, because I will show you no favour. V. 14. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith Jahveh, that it shall no more be said, By the life of Jahveh, that brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, V. 15. But, By the life of Jahveh, that brought the sons of Israel out of the land of the north, and out of all the lands whither I had driven them, and I bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.”

The turn of the discourse in vv. 10 and 11 is like that in 5:19. With v. 11 cf. 11:8, 10; 7:24; with “ye did yet worse,” etc., cf. 1 Kings 14:9; and on “after the stubbornness,” cf. on 3; 17. The apodosis begins with “therefore I cast you out.” On this head cf. 7:15; 9:15, and 22:26. The article in עַל־הָאָרֶץ, Graf quite unnecessarily insists on having cancelled, as out of place. It is explained sufficiently by the fact, that the land, of which mention has so often been made, is looked on as a specific one, and is characterized by the following relative clause, as one unknown to the people. Besides, the “ye know not” is not meant of geographical ignorance, but, as is often the case with יָדַע, the knowledge is that obtained by direct experience. They know not the land, because they have never been there. “There ye may serve them,” Ros. justly characterizes as concessio cum ironia: there ye may serve, as long as ye will, the gods whom ye have so longed after. The irony is especially marked in the “day and night.” Here Jeremiah has in mind Deut. 4:28; 28:36, 63. אֲשֶׁר is causal, giving the grounds of the threat, “I cast you out.” The form חֲנִינָה is ἁπ. λεγ.—In vv. 14 and 15 the prophet opens to the people a view of ultimate redemption from the affliction amidst the heathen, into which, for their sin, they will be cast. By and by men will swear no more by Jahveh who redeemed them out of Egypt, but by Jahveh who has brought them again from the land of the north and the other lands into which they have been thrust forth. In this is implied that this second deliverance will be a blessing which shall outshine the former blessing of redemption from Egypt. But just as this deliverance will excel the earlier one, so much the greater will the affliction of Israel in the northern land be than the Egyptian bondage had been. On this point Ros. throws especial weight, remarking that the aim of these verses is not so much to give promise of coming salvation, as to announce instare illis atrocius malum, quam illud Aegyptiacum, eamque quam mox sint subituri servitutem multo fore duriorem, quam olim Aegyptiaca fuerit. But though this idea does lie implicite in the words, yet we must not fail to be sure that the prospect held out of a future deliverance of Israel from the lands into which it is soon to be scattered, and of its restoration again to the land of its fathers, has, in the first and foremost place, a comforting import, and that it is intended to preserve the godly from despair under the catastrophe which is now awaiting them. לָכֵן is not nevertheless, but, as universally, therefore; and the train of thought is as follows: Because the Lord will, for their idolatry, cast forth His people into the lands of the heathen, just for that very reason will their redemption from exile not fail to follow, and this deliverance surpass in gloriousness the greatest of all former deeds of blessing, the rescue of Israel from Egypt. The prospect of future redemption given amidst announcements of judgment cannot be surprising in Jeremiah, who elsewhere also interweaves the like happy forecastings with his most solemn threatenings; cf. 4:27; 5:10, 18, with 3:14f., 23:3ff., etc. “This ray of light, falling suddenly into the darkness, does not take us more by surprise than ‘I will not make a full end,’ 4:27. There is therefore no reason for regarding these two verses as interpolations from 23:7, 8” (Graf).

Jer. 16:16–21. Further account of the punishment foretold, with the reasons for the same.—V. 16. “Behold, I send for many fishers, saith Jahve, who shall fish them, and after will I send fore many hunters, who shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rock. V. 17. For mine eyes are upon all their ways, they are not hidden from me, neither is their iniquity concealed from mine eyes. V. 18. And first, I requite double their iniquity and their sin, because they defiled my land with the carcases of their detestables, and with their abominations they have filled mine inheritance. V. 19. Jahveh, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of trouble! Unto Thee shall the peoples come from the ends of the earth and say: But lies have our fathers inherited, vanity, and amidst them none profiteth at all. V. 20. Shall a man make gods to himself, which are yet no gods? V. 21. Therefore, behold, I make them to know this once, I make them to know my hand and my might, and they shall know that my name is Jahveh.”

Jer. 16:16–18. Vv. 16–18 are a continuation of the threatening in v. 13, that Judah is to be cast out, but are directly connected with v. 15b, and elucidate the expulsion into many lands there foretold. The figures of the fishers and hunters do not bespeak the gathering again and restoration of the scattered people, as Ven. would make out, but the carrying of Judah captive out of his land. This is clear from the second of the figures, for the hunter does not gather the animals together, but kills them; and the reference of the verses is put beyond a doubt by vv. 17 and 18, and is consequently admitted by all other comm. The two figures signify various kinds of treatment at the hands of enemies. The fishers represent the enemies that gather the inhabitants of the land as in a net, and carry them wholesale into captivity (cf. Am. 4:2, Hab. 1:15). The hunters, again, are those who drive out from their hiding-places, and slay or carry captive such as have escaped from the cities, and have taken refuge in the mountains and ravines; cf. 4:29, Judg. 6:2 1 Sam. 13:6. In this the idea is visibly set forth that none shall escape the enemy. שָׁלַח c. לְ pers., send for one, cause him to come, as in 14:3 (send for water), so that there is no call to take לְ according to the Aram. usage as sign of the accusative, for which we can cite in Jeremiah only the case in 40:2. The form דַּוּגִים (Chet.) agrees with Ezek. 47:10, while the Keri, דַּיָּגִים, is a formation similar to צַיָּדִים. In the second clause רַבִּים is, like the numerals, made to precede the noun; cf. Prov. 31:29, Ps. 89:51.—For the Lord knows their doings and dealings, and their transgressions are not hid from Him; cf. 23:24; 32:19. עַל for אֶל, indicating the direction. Their ways are not the ways of flight, but their course of action.

Jer. 16:18. The punishment foretold is but retribution for their sins. Because they have defiled the land by idolatry, they shall be driven out of it. רִאשֹׁונָה, first, is by Jerome, Hitz., Ew., Umbr. made to refer to the salvation promised in v. 15: first, i.e., before the restoration of my favour spoken of in v. 15, I requite double. Against this Graf has objected, that on this view “first” would appear somewhat superfluous; and Näg., that the manifestly intended antithesis to מִשְׁנֶה is left out of account. There is little force in either objection. Even Näg.’s paraphrase does not do full justice to the presumed antithesis; for if we render: “For the first time the double shall be requited, in the event of repetition a severer standard shall be used,” then the antithesis to “first” would not be “double,” but the supplied repetition of the offence. There is not the slightest hint in the context to lead us to supply this idea; nor is there any antithesis between “first” and “double.” It is a mere assumption of the comm., which Rashi, Kimchi, Ros., Maur., etc., have brought into the text by the interpolation of a ו cop. before משׁנה: I requite the first of their transgressions and the repetition of them, i.e., their earlier and their repeated sins, or the sins committed by their fathers and by themselves, on a greater scale. We therefore hold the reference to v. 15 to be the only true one, and regard it as corresponding both to the words before us and the context. “The double of their iniquity,” i.e., ample measure for their sins (cf. Isa. 40:2, Job 11:6) by way of the horrors of war and the sufferings of the exile. The sins are more exactly defined by: because they defiled my land by the carcases of their detestables, i.e., their dead detestable idols. נִבְלַת שִׁקּוּצִים is formed according to פִּגְרֵי גִלּוּלִים, Lev. 26:30, and it belongs to “they defiled,” not to “they filled,” as the Masoretic accentuation puts it; for מָלֵא is construed, not with בְּ of the thing, but with double accus.; cf. Ezek. 8:17; 30:11, etc. So it is construed in the last clause: With their abominations they have filled the inheritance of Jahveh, i.e., the land of the Lord (cf. 2:7). The infin. חַלְּלָם is continued by מָלְאוּ in verbo fin., as usual.

In vv. 19–21 we have more as to the necessity of the threatened punishment. The prophet turns to the Lord as his defence and fortress in time of need, and utters the hope that even the heathen may some time turn to the Lord and confess the vanity of idolatry, since the gods which men make are no gods. To this the Lord answers in v. 21, that just therefore He must punish His idolatrous people, so that they shall feel His power and learn to know His name.

Jer. 16:19. In his cry to the Lord: My strength … in the day of trouble, which agrees closely with Ps. 28:8; 59:17; 18:3, Jeremiah utters not merely his own feelings, but those which would animate every member of his people. In the time of need the powerlessness of the idols to help, and so their vanity, becomes apparent. Trouble therefore drives to God, the Almighty Lord and Ruler of the world, and forces to bend under His power. The coming tribulation is to have this fruit not only in the case of the Israelites, but also in that of the heathen nations, so that they shall see the vanity of the idolatry they have inherited from their fathers, and be converted to the Lord, the only true God. How this knowledge is to be awakened in the heathen, Jeremiah does not disclose; but it may be gathered from v. 15, from the deliverance of Israel, there announced, out of the heathen lands into which they had been cast forth. By this deliverance the heathen will be made aware both of the almighty power of the God of Israel and of the nothingness of their own gods. On הֶבֶל cf. 2:5; and with “none that profiteth,” cf. 2:8; 14:22. In v. 20 the prophet confirms what the heathen have been saying. The question has a negative force, as is clear from the second clause. In v. 21 we have the Lord’s answer to the prophets’ confession in v. 19. Since the Jews are so blinded that they prefer vain idols to the living God, He will this time so show them His hand and His strength in that foretold chastisement, that they shall know His name, i.e., know that He alone is God in deed and in truth. Cf. Ezek. 12:15, Ex. 3:14.    Commentary on the Old Testament: Jeremiah, Lamentations(Vol. VIII)

  • Pergamum 2:12–17
  • Jesus 2 John 15:12–17
  • Thyatira 2:18–29

     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Respect, don’t reject
     (Oct 25)    Bob Gass

     ‘I try to find common ground with everyone.’

(1 Co 9:22) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. ESV

     For any relationship to work, we must accept each other’s differences. Within our family we must respect each other’s unique perspectives. We don’t need to agree on every issue, but we must always honour where the other person is coming from. Paul did that: ‘I try to find common ground with everyone.’ Some of us who claim to follow Christ have a hard time with views and values that differ from our own. We think ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. Some of us have turned from the most immoral lives to faith in Christ, yet after our conversion we won’t associate with anyone who doesn’t agree with us and adopt our newfound values. Sometimes our families fall apart because we try to force our opinions on the people we love, and set boundaries to keep nonconformists out. What a terrible misuse of Christianity! Jesus didn’t condemn the people who crucified Him; He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34 NKJV). He didn’t view them as morally bad, but spiritually blind. He told His disciples, ‘No one can come to Me unless the Father…draws him’ (John 6:44 NKJV). It’s your job to love people, and it’s God’s job to change them! So, stop trying to do what only God can do! If you invest patiently in your relationships, respect other people’s perspectives, and sow good seed, you’ll reap a pleasant harvest in the long term. Your love, not the force of your argument, can give hope to the most severely damaged among us that there’s healing for the broken places of the human soul.

Jer 46-47
Titus 3

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     On October 25, 1887, President Grover Cleveland issued a Proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer: “The goodness and the mercy of God, which have followed the American people during all the days of the past year, claim their grateful recognition…. I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby designate… a day of thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by all the people of the land…. Let all secular work and employment be suspended, and let our people assemble in… worship and with prayer and songs of praise give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that He has done.”

American Minute

The Soul of Prayer
     by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)

II.     Does God not will the existence of things for us to resist, to grapple with? Do we ourselves not appoint problems and make difficulties for those we teach, for the very purpose of their overcoming them? We set questions to children of which we know the answer quite well. The real answer to our will and purpose is not the solution but the grappling, the wrestling. And we may properly give a reward not for the correct answer, but for the hard and honest effort. That work is the prayer; and it has its reward apart from the solution.

     That is a principle of education with us. So it may be with God. But I mean a good deal more by this than what is called the reflex action of prayer. It that were all it would introduce an unreality into prayer. We should be praying for exercise, not for action. It would be prayer with a theological form, which yet expects no more than a psychological effect. It would be a prayer which is not sure that God is really more interested in us than we are in Him. But I mean that God’s education has a lower stage for us and a higher. He has a lower will and a higher, a prior and a posterior. And the purpose of the lower will is that it be resisted and struggled through to the higher. By God’s will (let us say) you are born in a home where your father’s earnings are a few shillings a week, like many an English labourer. Is it God’s will that you acquiesce in that and never strive out of it? It is God’s will that you are there. Is it God’s will that you should not resist being there? Nay, it may be His will that you should wisely resist it, and surmount His lower, His initial, will, which is there for the purpose. That is to say, it is His will that you resist, antagonize, His will. And so it is with the state of childhood altogether.

     Again: Is disease God’s will? We all believe it often is—even if man is to blame for it. It may be, by God’s will, the penalty on human ignorance, negligence, or sin. But let us suppose there were only a few cases where disease is God’s will. It was so in the lower creatures, before man lived, blundered, or sinned. Take only one such case. Is it God’s will that we should lie down and let the disease have its way? Why, a whole profession exists to say no. Medicine exists as an antagonism to disease, even when you can say that disease is God’s will and His punishment of sin. A doctor will tell you that resignation is one of his foes. He begins to grow hopeless if the patient is so resigned from the outset as to make no effort, if there be no will to live. Resistance to this ordinance of God’s is the doctor’s business and the doctor’s ally. And why? Because God ordained disease for the purpose of being resisted; He ordained the resistance, that from the conflict man might come out the stronger, and more full of resource and dominion over nature.

     Again, take death. It is God’s will. It is in the very structure of man, in the divine economy. It is not the result of sin; it was there before sin. Is it to be accepted without demur? Are doctors impious who resist it? Are we sinning when we shrink from it? Does not the life of most people consist in the effort to escape it, in the struggle for a living? So also when we pray and wrestle for another’s life, for our dear one’s life. “Sir, come down ere my child die.” The man was impatient. How familiar we are with his kind! “Do, please, leave your religious talk, which I don’t understand; get doing something; cure my child.” But was that an impious prayer? It was ignorant, practical, British, but not quite faithless. And it was answered, as many a similar prayer has been. But, then, if death be God’s will, to resist it is to resist God’s will. Well, it is His will that we should. Christ, who always did God’s will, resisted His own death, slipped away from it often, till the hour came; and even then He prayed with all his might against it when it seemed inevitable. “If it be possible, release Me.” He was ready to accept it, but only in the last resort, only if there was no other way, only after every other means had been exhausted. To the end He cherished the fading hope that there might be some other way. He went to death voluntarily, freely, but—shall we say reluctantly?—resisting the most blessed act of God’s will that ever was performed in heaven or on earth; resisting, yet sure to acquiesce when that was God’s clear will.

--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

When all is said and done,
the life of faith is nothing
if not an unending struggle of the spirit
with every available weapon against the flesh.
--- Dietrich Bonhoeffer  The Cost of Discipleship

You and I, each and every one of us without exception, can be defined as an aching need for the infinite. Some people realize this; some do not. But even the latter illustrate this inner ache when, not having God deeply, they incessantly spill themselves out into excitements and experiences, licit or illicit. They are trying to fill their inner emptiness, but they never succeed, which is why the search is incessant. Though worldly pleasure seeking never fulfills and satisfies in a continuing way, it may tend momentarily to distract and to dull the profound pain of the inner void. If these people allow themselves a moment of reflective silence (which they seldom do), they notice a still, small voice whispering, ‘Is this all there is?’ They begin to sense a thirst to love with abandon, without limit, without end, without lingering aftertastes of bitterness. In other words, their inner spirit is clamoring, even if confusedly, for unending beauty. How they and we respond to this inner outreach rooted in our deep spiritual soul is the most basic set of decisions we can make: they have eternal consequences.
--- Thomas Dubay

After brokenness, our lives can be more fruitful, more purposeful, and more joyful. A genuine blessing can come in the wake of being broken.
--- Charles Stanley

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 10.

     That Whereas The City Of Jerusalem Had Been Five Times Taken Formerly, This Was The Second Time Of Its Desolation. A Brief Account Of Its History.

     1. And thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, on the eighth day of the month Gorpeius [Elul]. It had been taken five 34 times before, though this was the second time of its desolation; for Shishak, the king of Egypt, and after him Antiochus, and after him Pompey, and after them Sosius and Herod, took the city, but still preserved it; but before all these, the king of Babylon conquered it, and made it desolate, one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight years and six months after it was built. But he who first built it was a potent man among the Canaanites, and is in our own tongue called [Melchisedek], the Righteous King, for such he really was; on which account he was [there] the first priest of God, and first built a temple [there], 35 and called the city Jerusalem, which was formerly called Salem. However, David, the king of the Jews, ejected the Canaanites, and settled his own people therein. It was demolished entirely by the Babylonians, four hundred and seventy-seven years and six months after him. And from king David, who was the first of the Jews who reigned therein, to this destruction under Titus, were one thousand one hundred and seventy-nine years; but from its first building, till this last destruction, were two thousand one hundred and seventy-seven years; yet hath not its great antiquity, nor its vast riches, nor the diffusion of its nation over all the habitable earth, nor the greatness of the veneration paid to it on a religious account, been sufficient to preserve it from being destroyed. And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem.

     The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)

Proverbs 27:17
     by D.H. Stern

17     Just as iron sharpens iron,
a person sharpens the character of his friend.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                The external crush of things

     I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. --- 1 Cor. 9:22.

     A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s noble man or woman amid a crowd of ignoble things. Never make this plea—‘If only I were somewhere else!’ All God’s men are ordinary men made extraordinary by the matter He has given them. Unless we have the right matter in our minds intellectually and in our hearts affectionately, we will be hustled out of usefulness to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no matter in them of God’s almighty grace, no matter of His mighty word. Paul’s whole heart and mind and soul were taken up with the great matter of what Jesus Christ came to do, he never lost sight of that one thing. We have to face ourselves with the one central fact—Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

     “I have chosen you.” Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God, but that He has got you. Here, in this College, God is at work, bending, breaking, moulding, doing just as He chooses. Why He is doing it, we do not know; He is doing it for one purpose only—that He may be able to say, ‘This is My man, My woman.’ We have to be in God’s hand so that He can plant men on the Rock as He has planted us.

     Never choose to be a worker, but when God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. He will do with you what He never did with you before the call came; He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas


I travelled, learned new ways
  to deceive, smiling not
  frowning; kept my lips supple
  with lies; learned to digest
  malice, knowing it tribute
  to my success. Is the world
  large? Are there areas uncharted
  by the imagination? Never betray
  your knowledge of them. Came here,
  followed the river upward
  to its beginning in the Welsh
  moorland, prepared to analyse
  its contents; stared at the smooth pupil
  of water that stared at me
  back as absent-mindedly as a god
  in contemplation of his own
  navel; felt the coldness
  of unplumbed depths I should have
  stayed here to fathom; watched the running
  away of the resources
  of water to form those far
  seas that men must endeavour
  to navigate on their voyage home.


     Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

     The previous chapters attempt to show, in opposition to Husik’s approach, how Maimonides exposed the reader of his legal works to philosophy. He is not articulating a tradition which has no use for philosophy, but instead is portraying a halakhic way to God which must be united with philosophy.

     There is yet another aspect of his works which supports this idea. A proper understanding of Maimonides’ attitude toward authority is crucial for substantiating this orientation to his philosophy. A religious tradition which insists on uncritical subservience to its norms of behavior and beliefs tends to generate a specific human type which, in many ways, is incompatible with an intellectual love of God. Obedience to authority is not the basis for love—especially the love awakened by the perfection of the Beloved.

     The individual guided by reason would find himself isolated within the community which demanded an uncritical acceptance of its beliefs. If such a person is to remain rooted in the community, it is crucial that the communal forms of spirituality, i.e., Halakhah, do not exclusively stress an obedience-orientation running counter to the independent spirit cultivated by reason. Political considerations may keep such an individual within the framework of community. Yet if the claim is made that such an individual can remain within his community for reasons which are essentially related to his personal spiritual outlook, we must show how the way of reason can flourish within halakhic Judaism. The individual within Halakhah must have room to cultivate his independent reason; he cannot be asked to submit uncritically to the claims of authority.

     To fulfill a norm or to assent to a statement solely on the basis of authority is to cultivate a relationship nurtured by obedience. Imperatives can obligate an individual either on the basis of their content or on the authority of their author. Similarly, an individual can assent to statements of belief either because the statements appeal to rational criteria or because the individual possesses an unconditional regard for the authority-figure. In the latter case, one need not examine the content of belief before assenting. All that is necessary is to establish that the statement emanates from an accepted authority; the examination of what is said, for the most part, is irrelevant. Critical reasoning and evaluation, in fact, are dangerous and undesirable; they may introduce doubt and wavering when what is sought is unconditional compliance with authority.

     We realize that this either/or dichotomy tends to oversimplify a problem that is more subtle than it is clear-cut. Authority can take place within a context of shared values. It is these common values which both confer legitimacy on the person claiming authority and limit the scope of what he can do or say. As Peter Winch points out, the Pope, although often seen as an absolute authority—infallible in his decisions—could hardly maintain the allegiance of his church were he to claim that God does not exist or that cohabitation outside of marriage is a divine command.

     Despite this fact (which should caution one from emphasizing exclusively the notion of uncritical obedience in relationships based upon authority), one can still distinguish between the type of person developed by authoritarian systems and the type developed by systems whose appeal is to reason. The former system is most compatible with the obedient personality, whereas the latter encourages the development of an independent person whose commitment is nurtured primarily by his own understanding. A relationship which allows for rational examination encourages an individual to appreciate the wisdom of the author of the norms and beliefs. When God’s activities and dictates can be independently evaluated so that His wisdom becomes manifest to man, the groundwork is set for a relationship which is not based exclusively on obedience.

     The Halakhah is a system of norms tracing its ultimate authoritative appeal to God; the revelation at Sinai is the ground of the normative structure of halakhic legislation. Specific laws dictate the behavior of Jews in virtually all aspects of their lives. It is reasonable to expect, that since Halakhah is based on unconditional acceptance of divine authority, it would develop the obedient personality whose primary concern is to fulfill the laws of his tradition. Yet, according to Maimonides, the telos of Halakhah is to create ideal conditions for the realization of intellectual love of God. Maimonides must therefore develop an approach to halakhic authority which will make it compatible with a spiritual life dedicated to philosophic knowledge of God. He must show that obedience to authority is not the sole virtue of Halakhah. If Halakhah encourages the development of a critical mind capable of independent reflection and evaluation, it cannot be exclusively characterized by appeals to authority which demand unconditional obedience.

     Our analysis of the Maimonidean theory of halakhic authority will focus on how he restricted the use of appeals to authority within the Halakhah, and revealed instead areas of halakhic law which were independent of those appeals. Further analysis of Maimonides’ epistemology in the Guide will also reveal that he sought to teach his reader to differentiate between norms and beliefs which must be accepted on the basis of the authority of tradition and those which appeal to reasoning, whether through demonstrative inference or through legal argumentation. In doing so he showed that there are common principles operating within Halakhah and Aggadah which determine the legitimate scope of authority. His understanding of the relationship between authority and reason provides a frame within which the halakhic Jew can legitimately engage in those philosophic disciplines which nurture love for God.

     Maimonides’ treatment of authority, in his introduction to The Commentary to the Mishnah, begins with a discussion of the scope of prophetic authority. The prophet characteristically calls upon the authority of God to justify his claims. The limits of prophetic authority established within Judaism must be clarified if reason is to possess any legitimacy within the religious life of the tradition.

     Maimonides states that the prophet has full authority to decide political questions involving war and peace, economic policy and, if he deems it necessary, to temporarily suspend the laws of the Torah. However, no prophet can suspend—even temporarily—the prohibitions against idolatry. Regarding a “prophet” commanding participation in idolatrous worship, Maimonides writes:

     … for the testimony of reason which denies his prophecy is stronger than the testimony of the eye which sees his miracles, for it has already been made clear to men of reason that it is not proper to honor nor to worship other than the One who caused all beings to exist and is unique in [His] ultimate perfection.

     Prophetic authority cannot demand obedience to that which is contrary to the testimony of reason. Such demands would immediately prove the prophet to be false, regardless of miracles which might confirm his authority. Miracles do not convince rational men of the validity of such claims.

     To Maimonides, such miracles are tests God sets before men. The tests may well be whether authority can be revered without such reverence leading to unconditional and indiscriminate submission, i.e., whether the Jew will abandon the testimony of reason when confronted with the claims of miracle workers. True loyalty to God is manifest by one who trusts his reason and refuses to follow authority indiscriminately.

     A second limitation on prophetic authority prevents the prophet from permanently abrogating any part of Mosaic law. Maimonides appeals to the authority of Moses and Torah to explain the limitations set on the prophet’s right to abrogate matters of Halakhah. He does not use the phrase “the testimony of reason” here as he does with regard to idolatry. Rather he appeals to the testimony of the community of Israel who participated with Moses in the theophany at Sinai. This event implanted a permanent conviction by which the community could withstand the seductions of miracle-working prophets who claim to supersede and negate the law of Sinai. In the Guide Maimonides speaks of this conviction as the “certainty of sight.” The entire community “saw” God addressing Moses. Their participation in this revelation led them to accept Mosaic legislative authority, not on the basis of miracles, but on the firmer basis of their direct participation in God’s revelation to Moses. The commitment to the Torah of Moses, which resulted from the “certainty of sight,” imposes limits upon the authoritative pronouncements of post-Mosaic prophets.

     In the Mishneh Torah Maimonides supports this limitation on prophetic authority by an analysis of the legal status of the prophet. He bases his position on the fact that miracles are not conclusive evidence of one’s being a prophet:

     Hence one may conclude with regard to every Prophet after Moses, that we do not believe in such a Prophet because of the signs he shows, as much as to say that only if he shows a sign, we shall pay heed to him in all that he says, but we believe in him because of the charge laid down by Moses in the Torah that if the Prophet gives a sign “you shall listen to him”; just as the Lawgiver directed that a cause is to be decided on the evidence of two witnesses even if we have no certainty as to whether they are testifying to the truth or to a falsehood. Similarly, it is our duty to listen to the Prophet though we do not know if the sign he shows is genuine or has been performed with the aid of sorcery and by secret arts.

Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest

Take Heart
     October 25

     None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. --- 1 Corinthians 2:8

     Who brought this infamy about?  ISBN-13: 978-1447442752  To begin with, there were the Pharisees. They disliked Christ, and they said so. They resented the intrusion of this layperson—and an ill-educated man at that—into their domain. His teaching, or much of it, seemed to them sheer blasphemy. His habits they thought disgusting. You can always tell people by the company they keep, they sneered, and glanced scornfully at the rabble with whom Christ was not ashamed to mingle. Yet they were zealously religious people, keen churchgoing folk, as we would say, more keen and zealous by far than we are. They prayed, they fasted, they disciplined themselves along lines that might well make us much ashamed. They were good people in their way, devout and desperately in earnest, so far as they saw.

     But they made two mistakes. They were apt, as Jesus told them bluntly, to keep their lives and their religion in separate compartments. To pray and fast and keep their multitudinous rules was hard but, after all, a good deal easier than to be kind and unselfish when that clashed with their desires. They hoped and felt that it might do instead. They prayed long and ardently, but it had small effect on their characters. Their temper remained uncurbed, their animosities hardly checked, nor did that seem to vex them or to make them feel that something was wrong somewhere. That that was the goal of religion had not struck them. And so, while praying and thronging to the temple day by day, they planned Calvary and worked it out into a fact of history.

     This is a warning for us all. For Jesus tells us that his experience has taught him this—people can be eagerly, even fussily religious, and yet nothing may come of it in their characters. He pursues us in this matter with blunt, pertinacious questions, difficult to face. These prayers of yours, he asks, what are they doing in you? Do they end with themselves? Are they really making you more like God, or do you run them up as a cheap substitute for worthy living? [Regarding] your knowledge of the Father and of the human community—is the [former] forcing you to live your life in God’s way? Is the [latter] making your conscience more acute to things about you, so that you can’t pass by, now, on the other side, happy in your own comforts, until these wrongs are righted?
--- Arthur John Gossip

Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day   October 25
     Council of Ephesus

     Orthodox Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is one person, having both a human and a divine nature. Nestorius, powerful fifth-century preacher, disagreed. Two separate persons indwelled the incarnate Christ, he taught, one divine and the other human. “I separate the natures, but I unite the worship. Consider what this must mean,” he said. “He who was formed in the womb of Mary was not himself God, but God assumed him.”

     A violent controversy ensued. Nestorius, a popular orator, had been named patriarch of Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius II. Preachers, monks, and bishops exploded in their pulpits against him. The pope condemned him in a set of 12 anathemas (the word anathema means “cursed”) and demanded he recant within 12 days.

     Emperor Theodosius, stunned by the theological war fragmenting his empire, called a general church council in Ephesus in 431. From the beginning it proved to be animated and stomach-wrenching. Nestorius arrived with 16 bishops, an armed escort, and the backing of the emperor. But he was badly outnumbered, and the verdict went against him: “Whosoever does not anathematize Nestorius, let him be anathema; the true faith anathematizes him; the holy council anathematizes him. Whoever holds fellowship with Nestorius, let him be anathema. We all anathematize the letter and doctrines of Nestorius. We all anathematize Nestorius and his followers and his ungodly doctrine.”

     But Emperor Theodosius declared the decree invalid because not all the bishops had yet arrived in Ephesus. More politics, intrigue, and anxiety followed; but in the end the result was the same. Nestorius was deposed as patriarch of Constantinople, and on October 25, 431 his successor was nominated. Nestorius was banished to Egypt where he died after writing his autobiography and titling it Tragedy.

     The Council of Ephesus was one of the bitterest councils in church history, but it preserved the orthodox doctrine of Christ. A small group of eastern bishops, however, refusing to accept its decisions, constituted themselves into a separate church, centered in Persia. Remnants of the Nestorian Church survive to this day in western and central Asia.

     This good news is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! As a human, he was from the family of David. But the Holy Spirit proved that Jesus is the powerful Son of God, because he was raised from death.
--- Romans 1:3-4.

On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 25

     “For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.” --- 2 John 2.

     Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house—this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the Gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as he opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the Gospel of their salvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapped up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms.

     Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

          Evening - October 25

     “She gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.” --- Ruth 2:3.

     Her hap was. Yes, it seemed nothing but an accident, but how divinely was it overruled! Ruth had gone forth with her mother’s blessing, under the care of her mother’s God, to humble but honourable toil, and the providence of God was guiding her every step. Little did she know that amid the sheaves she would find a husband, that he should make her the joint owner of all those broad acres, and that she a poor foreigner should become one of the progenitors of the great Messiah. God is very good to those who trust in him, and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings. Little do we know what may happen to us to-morrow, but this sweet fact may cheer us, that no good thing shall be withheld. Chance is banished from the faith of Christians, for they see the hand of God in everything. The trivial events of to-day or to-morrow may involve consequences of the highest importance. O Lord, deal as graciously with thy servants as thou didst with Ruth.

     How blessed would it be, if, in wandering in the field of meditation to-night, our hap should be to light upon the place where our next Kinsman will reveal himself to us! O Spirit of God, guide us to him. We would sooner glean in his field than bear away the whole harvest from any other. O for the footsteps of his flock, which may conduct us to the green pastures where he dwells! This is a weary world when Jesus is away—we could better do without sun and moon than without him—but how divinely fair all things become in the glory of his presence! Our souls know the virtue which dwells in Jesus, and can never be content without him. We will wait in prayer this night until our hap shall be to light on a part of the field belonging to Jesus wherein he will manifest himself to us.

Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Amazing Grace
     October 25


     John H. Yates, 1837–1900

     … this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)

     Saving faith must always be reflected in a working faith. Our response of faith to the redemptive work of Christ transforms us; but then we need a daily motivating faith if we want to live overcoming lives. To live by faith is to believe with conviction that God’s purposes for us will ultimately prevail. In fact, prevailing faith anticipates victory and celebrates in advance. For example, read the Old Testament account of how singers preceded the warriors into battle and the defeat of the enemy was accomplished (2 Chronicles 20:20–22).

     Our faith does not develop merely through intellectual assent to biblical dogma or through wishful thinking. Rather, it is a lifetime commitment to the person of Christ with a response of obedience to His Word (Romans 10:17).

     This hymn of faith and victory was first published in 1891 in the Christian Endeavor Hymnal. The author, John Henry Yates, was a licensed Methodist preacher who was later ordained by the Baptists. Ira Sankey, the composer, is often called the “father of the Gospel song.”

     Encamped along the hills of light, ye Christian soldiers rise, and press the battle ere the night shall veil the glowing skies. Against the foe in vales below let all our strength be hurled; faith is the victory, we know, that overcomes the world.
     His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God; we tread the road the saints above with shouts of triumph trod. By faith they like a whirl-wind’s breath swept on o’er ev’ry field; the faith by which they conquered death is still our shining shield.
     On ev’ry hand the foe we find drawn up in dread array; let tents of ease be left behind, and onward to the fray! Salvation’s helmet on each head, with truth all girt about: The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread and echo with our shout.
     To him that overcomes the foe white raiment shall be giv’n; before the angels he shall know his name confessed in heav’n. Then onward from the hills of light, our hearts with love aflame; we’ll vanquish all the hosts of night in Jesus’ conq’ring name.
     Chorus: Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory! O glorious victory that overcomes the world.

     For Today: Galatians 2:20; James 2:18; 1 John 5:1–12; Jude 3

     Ask God to make you a vivid demonstration to your associates and friends of a triumphant faith in Christ—an exclamation of faith, not a question mark. Sing this musical truth as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | After Pentecost

Proper 24, Wednesday
Year 1

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 38
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 119:25–48
Old Testament     Lamentations 2:8–15
New Testament     1 Corinthians 15:51–58
Gospel     Matthew 12:1–14

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 38

Psalm 38
A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 For your arrows have sunk into me,
and your hand has come down on me.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh
because of your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;
they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

5 My wounds grow foul and fester
because of my foolishness;
6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
all day long I go around mourning.
7 For my loins are filled with burning,
and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am utterly spent and crushed;
I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

9 O Lord, all my longing is known to you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,
and my neighbors stand far off.

12 Those who seek my life lay their snares;
those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,
and meditate treachery all day long.

13 But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;
like the mute, who cannot speak.
14 Truly, I am like one who does not hear,
and in whose mouth is no retort.

15 But it is for you, O LORD, that I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
16 For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me,
those who boast against me when my foot slips.”

17 For I am ready to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin.
19 Those who are my foes without cause are mighty,
and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
20 Those who render me evil for good
are my adversaries because I follow after good.
21 Do not forsake me, O LORD;
O my God, do not be far from me;
22 make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 119:25–48

25 My soul clings to the dust;
revive me according to your word.
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes.
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Put false ways far from me;
and graciously teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your ordinances before me.
31 I cling to your decrees, O LORD;
let me not be put to shame.
32 I run the way of your commandments,
for you enlarge my understanding.

33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36 Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
40 See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
42 Then I shall have an answer for those who taunt me,
for I trust in your word.
43 Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your ordinances.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever.
45 I shall walk at liberty,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your decrees before kings,
and shall not be put to shame;
47 I find my delight in your commandments,
because I love them.
48 I revere your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Old Testament
Lamentations 2:8–15

8 The LORD determined to lay in ruins
the wall of daughter Zion;
he stretched the line;
he did not withhold his hand from destroying;
he caused rampart and wall to lament;
they languish together.

9 Her gates have sunk into the ground;
he has ruined and broken her bars;
her king and princes are among the nations;
guidance is no more,
and her prophets obtain
no vision from the LORD.

10 The elders of daughter Zion
sit on the ground in silence;
they have thrown dust on their heads
and put on sackcloth;
the young girls of Jerusalem
have bowed their heads to the ground.

11 My eyes are spent with weeping;
my stomach churns;
my bile is poured out on the ground
because of the destruction of my people,
because infants and babes faint
in the streets of the city.

12 They cry to their mothers,
“Where is bread and wine?”
as they faint like the wounded
in the streets of the city,
as their life is poured out
on their mothers’ bosom.

13 What can I say for you, to what compare you,
O daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter Zion?
For vast as the sea is your ruin;
who can heal you?

14 Your prophets have seen for you
false and deceptive visions;
they have not exposed your iniquity
to restore your fortunes,
but have seen oracles for you
that are false and misleading.

15 All who pass along the way
clap their hands at you;
they hiss and wag their heads
at daughter Jerusalem;
“Is this the city that was called
the perfection of beauty,
the joy of all the earth?”

New Testament
1 Corinthians 15:51–58

51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

     “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55     “Where, O death, is your victory?
     Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Matthew 12:1–14

12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. 5 Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

9 He left that place and entered their synagogue; 10 a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church

Powerful Promises John 14:7–14
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Promise of the Holy Spirit 1 John 14:15–19
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The First False Convert Acts 8:9–24
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Promise of the Holy Spirit 2 John 14:15–24
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Saving Power of Scripture Acts 8:25–40
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Illuminating Role of the Holy Spirit John 14:24–26
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Astounding Conversion of Paul Acts 9:1–9
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Supernatural Peace John 14:27
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What the Cross Meant to Christ John 14:28–31
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Paul’s Transformation 1 Acts 9:10–17
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Paul’s Transformation 2 Acts 9:10–31
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Hope for a Doomed Nation
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We Will Not Bow
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I Am the True Vine John 15:1–6
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Benefits of Abiding in Christ 1 John 15:4–11
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The Lord’s Work in His Church Rev 1:9–20
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Benefits of Abiding in Christ 2 John 15:4–11
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The Lord’s Word to His Church: Ephesus Rev 2:1–7
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Benefits of Abiding in Christ 3 John 15:4–11
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The Lord’s Word to His Church: Smyrna Rev 2:8–11
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Slaves and Friends of Jesus 1 John 15:12–17
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