Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 10

Verses 1-25

1-16. The folly of idolatry.

This section of the prophecy is of doubtful authorship. For (a) it introduces a break in the sense; (b) there is less smoothness between the parts than we generally find in Jeremiah's writings; (c) its language differs considerably from his use elsewhere, and closely resembles that of Isaiah 40-44; (d) the writer emphasises the fact that false gods are incapable of hurting, while Jeremiah elsewhere speaks rather of them as powerless to aid; (e) Isaiah 44:2, Isaiah 44:4 read as though addressed to men who were contemplating the idolatry around them, rather than guilty of it themselves. For these reasons it is held by some to be a discourse addressed by an unknown author during the captivity to the exiles at Babylon: cp. the spurious letter ascribed to Jeremiah, which forms Jeremiah 6 of the (apocryphal) book of Baruch.

It should, however, be said, on the other hand, that the Septuagint version of this book, though omitting much that is found in the Hebrew (see Intro.), yet contains this chapter.

2. Signs of heaven] portents in the sky, such as comets and meteors.

3. People] nations.

5. Upright as the palm tree] RV 'like a palm tree, of turned work.' These idols are as stiff and lifeless.

7. To thee doth it appertain] Thine is the supreme kingship.

8. The stock, etc.] RV 'the instruction of idols, it is but a stock': an idol is wood, and can never get beyond it.

9. Tarshish] probably Tartessus in Spain, or perhaps Tarsus in Cilicia.

Uphaz] perhaps the same as Ophir, which was probably either in India or on the E. coast of Arabia. Founder] RV 'goldsmith': so in Jeremiah 10:14.

11 This v. is in the later Hebrew or Aramaic. It may therefore have been originally a note on the margin of the manuscript, afterwards copied into the text.

13. The ascent of the vapours in clouds is spoken of poetically, as though it were the consequence of the thunder (his voice), because it is seen to follow it.

14. In his knowledge] RV 'and is without knowledge.'

16. The portion of Jacob] i.e. the true God, upon whom Israel has a claim. Former] Maker, Fashioner. The rod] RV 'tribe.'

17-25. The coming troubles. This section seems to be closely connected with, and should probably be read after, Jeremiah 9:7-22.

17. Gather up, etc.] i.e. collect articles for a hasty flight, O thou who art in a besieged city'; i.e. prepare for exile.

18. Find it so] RV 'feel it'.

19f. The lament of Jerusalem.

20. The spoiling and exile represented in figurative language. Tabernacle] RV 'tent.'

21. The condemnation of the rulers.

22. The bruit] RV 'a rumour.' The north country] see on Jeremiah 1:13. Dragons] see on Jeremiah 9:11.

23. Jeremiah's prayer: the helplessness of man, and his dependence on God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.