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the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 10

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-25

Jeremiah’s Fifth Prophecy (or Group of Prophecies). Address at the Temple Gate (Reign of Josiah or Beginning of that of Jehoiakim)

The prophet takes advantage of a solemn gathering of the people at Jerusalem to stand at one of the Temple gates as they pass in, and warns them against their superstitious confidence that the possession of the Temple was itself a charm against danger from without. As immorality had already brought about the overthrow of an older sanctuary (Shiloh) as well as of the Ten Tribes, so shall it be with them. Punishment for the wickedness of leaders and people can only be averted by a speedy amendment of life.

It is possible that these chapters may be an expanded account of the prophecy closely resembling them, which is recorded in Jeremiah 26 as spoken at the commencement of Jehoiakim’s reign. But it is more likely that the two occasions are distinct.

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] RVand 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.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/jeremiah-10.html. 1909.
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