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Friday, September 22nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 10

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole BibleCommentary Critical




Verse 1

1. Israel—the Jews, the surviving representatives of the nation.

Verse 2

2. EICHORN thinks the reference here to be to some celestial portent which had appeared at that time, causing the Jews' dismay. Probably the reference is general, namely, to the Chaldeans, famed as astrologers, through contact with whom the Jews were likely to fall into the same superstition.

way—the precepts or ordinances (Leviticus 18:3; Acts 9:2).

signs of heaven—The Gentiles did not acknowledge a Great First Cause: many thought events depended on the power of the stars, which some, as PLATO, thought to be endued with spirit and reason. All heavenly phenomena, eclipses, comets, &c., are included.

one cutteth a tree, &c.—rather, "It (that which they busy themselves about: a sample of their 'customs') is a tree cut out of the forest" [MAURER].

Verse 4

4. fasten . . . move not—that is, that it may stand upright without risk of falling, which the god (!) would do, if left to itself ( :-).

Verse 5

5. upright—or, "They are of turned work, resembling a palm tree" [MAURER]. The point of comparison between the idol and the palm is in the pillar-like uprightness of the latter, it having no branches except at the top.

speak not— ( :-).

cannot go—that is, walk (Psalms 115:7; Isaiah 46:1; Isaiah 46:7).

neither . . . do good— (Isaiah 41:23).

Verse 6

6. none—literally, "no particle of nothing": nothing whatever; the strongest possible denial (Exodus 15:11; Psalms 86:8; Psalms 86:10).

Verse 7

7. ( :-).

to thee doth it appertain—to Thee it properly belongs, namely, that Thou shouldest be "feared" (taken out of the previous "fear Thee") (compare :-). He alone is the becoming object of worship. To worship any other is unseemly and an infringement of His inalienable prerogative.

none—nothing whatever (see on Jeremiah 10:1; Jeremiah 10:1- :).

Verse 8

8. altogether—rather, "all alike" [MAURER]. Even the so-called "wise" men ( :-) of the Gentiles are on a level with the brutes and "foolish," namely, because they connive at the popular idolatry (compare :-). Therefore, in Daniel and Revelation, the world power is represented under a bestial form. Man divests himself of his true humanity, and sinks to the level of the brute, when he severs his connection with God (Psalms 115:8; Jonah 2:8).

stock is a doctrine of vanities—The stock (put for the worship of all idols whatever, made out of a stock) speaks for itself that the whole theory of idolatry is vanity (Jonah 2:8- :). CASTALIO translates, "the very wood itself confuting the vanity" (of the idol).

Verse 9

9. Everything connected with idols is the result of human effort.

Silver spread—(See on :-; :-).

Tarshish—Tartessus, in Spain, famed for precious metals.

Uphaz— ( :-). As the Septuagint in the Syrian Hexapla in the Margin, THEODOTUS, the Syrian and Chaldee versions have "Ophir," GESENIUS thinks "Uphaz" a colloquial corruption (one letter only being changed) for "Ophir." Ophir, in Genesis 10:29, is mentioned among Arabian countries. Perhaps Malacca is the country meant, the natives of which still call their gold mines Ophirs. HEEREN thinks Ophir the general name for the rich countries of the south, on the Arabian, African, and Indian coasts; just as our term, East Indies.


Verse 10

10. true God—literally, "God Jehovah is truth"; not merely true, that is, veracious, but truth in the reality of His essence, as opposed to the "vanity" or emptiness which all idols are (Jeremiah 10:3; Jeremiah 10:8; Jeremiah 10:15; 2 Chronicles 15:3; Psalms 31:5; 1 John 5:20).

living God— (John 5:26; 1 Timothy 6:17). He hath life in Himself which no creature has. All else "live in Him" (Acts 17:28). In contrast to dead idols.

everlasting— (Acts 17:28- :). In contrast to the temporary existence of all other objects of worship.

Verse 11

11. This verse is in Chaldee, Jeremiah supplying his countrymen with a formula of reply to Chaldee idolaters in the tongue most intelligible to the latter. There may be also derision intended in imitating their barbarous dialect. ROSENMULLER objects to this view, that not merely the words put in the mouths of the Israelites, but Jeremiah's own introductory words, "Thus shall ye say to them," are in Chaldee, and thinks it to be a marginal gloss. But it is found in all the oldest versions. It was an old Greek saying: "Whoever thinks himself a god besides the one God, let him make another world" (Psalms 96:5).

shall perish— (Isaiah 2:18; Zechariah 13:2).

these heavens—the speaker pointing to them with his fingers.

Verse 12

12. Continuation of :-, after the interruption of the thread of the discourse in Jeremiah 10:11 (Psalms 136:5; Psalms 136:6).

Verse 13

13. Literally, "At the voice of His giving forth," that is, when He thunders. (Job 38:34; Psalms 29:3-5).

waters— (Psalms 29:3-19.29.5- :) —above the firmament; heavy rains accompany thunder.

vapours . . . ascend— (Psalms 135:7).

treasures—His stores.

Verse 14

14. in his knowledge—"is rendered brutish by his skill," namely, in idol-making (Jeremiah 10:8; Jeremiah 10:9). Thus the parallel, "confounded by the graven image," corresponds (so Jeremiah 51:17). Others not so well translate, "without knowledge," namely, of God (see Isaiah 42:17; Isaiah 45:16; Hosea 4:6).

Verse 15

15. errors—deceptions; from a Hebrew root, "to stutter"; then meaning "to mock."

their visitation they—When God shall punish the idol-worshippers (namely, by Cyrus), the idols themselves shall be destroyed [ROSENMULLER] (Jeremiah 10:11).

Verse 16

16. portion—from a Hebrew root, "to divide." God is the all-sufficient Good of His people (Numbers 18:20; Psalms 16:5; Psalms 73:26; Lamentations 3:24).

not like them—not like the idols, a vain object of trust (Lamentations 3:24- :).

former of all things—the Fashioner (as a potter, Isaiah 64:8) of the universe.

rod of his inheritance—The portion marked off as His inheritance by the measuring rod (Ezekiel 48:21). As He is their portion, so are they His portion (Ezekiel 48:21- :). A reciprocal tie (compare Jeremiah 51:19; Psalms 74:2, Margin). Others make "rod" refer to the tribal rod or scepter.

Verse 17

17. wares—thine effects or movable goods (Ezekiel 12:3). Prepare for migrating as captives to Babylon. The address is to Jerusalem, as representative of the whole people.

inhabitant of the fortress—rather, "inhabitress of the fortress." Though thou now seemest to inhabit an impregnable fortress, thou shalt have to remove. "The land" is the champaign region opposed to the "fortified" cities. The "fortress" being taken, the whole "land" will share the disaster. HENDERSON translates, "Gather up thy packages from the ground." ROSENMULLER, for "fortress," translates, "siege," that is, the besieged city. The various articles, in this view, are supposed to be lying about in confusion on the ground during the siege.

Verse 18

18. sling out—expressing the violence and suddenness of the removal to Babylon. A similar image occurs in Jeremiah 16:13; 1 Samuel 25:29; Isaiah 22:17; Isaiah 22:18.

at this once—at this time, now.

find it so—find it by experience, that is, feel it (Isaiah 22:18- :). MICHAELIS translates, "I will bind them together (as in a sling) that they may reach the goal" (Babylon). English Version is best: "that they may find it so as I have said" (Numbers 23:19; Ezekiel 6:10).

Verse 19

19. Judea bewails its calamity.

wound—the stroke I suffer under.

I must bear—not humble submission to God's will (Micah 7:9), but sullen impenitence. Or, rather, it is prophetical of their ultimate acknowledgment of their guilt as the cause of their calamity (Lamentations 3:39).

Verse 20

20. tabernacle is spoiled—metaphor from the tents of nomadic life; as these are taken down in a few moments, so as not to leave a vestige of them, so Judea ( :-).

cords—with which the coverings of the tent are extended.


Verse 21

21. pastors—the rulers, civil and religious. This verse gives the cause of the impending calamity.

Verse 22

22. bruit—rumor of invasion. The antithesis is between the voice of God in His prophets to whom they turned a deaf ear, and the cry of the enemy, a new teacher, whom they must hear [CALVIN].

north country—Babylon (Jeremiah 1:15).

Verse 23

23. Despairing of influencing the people, he turns to God.

way of man not in himself— (Proverbs 16:1; Proverbs 20:24; James 4:13; James 4:14). I know, O Jehovah, that the march of the Babylonian conqueror against me (Jeremiah identifying himself with his people) is not at his own discretion, but is overruled by Thee (James 4:14- :; compare Jeremiah 10:19).

that walketh—when he walketh, that is, sets out in any undertaking.

direct . . . steps—to give a prosperous issue to (Jeremiah 10:19- :).

Verse 24

24, 25. Since I (my nation) must be corrected (justice requiring it because of the deep guilt of the nation), I do not deprecate all chastisement, but pray only for moderation in it (Jeremiah 30:11; Psalms 6:1; Psalms 38:1); and that the full tide of Thy fury may be poured out on the heathen invaders for their cruelty towards Thy people. Psalms 79:6; Psalms 79:7, a psalm to be referred to the time of the captivity, its composer probably repeated this from Jeremiah. The imperative, "Pour out," is used instead of the future, expressing vividly the certainty of the prediction, and that the word of God itself effects its own declarations. Accordingly, the Jews were restored after correction; the Babylonians were utterly extinguished.

know thee . . . call . . . on thy nameKnowledge of God is the beginning of piety; calling on Him the fruit.

heathen . . . Jacob—He reminds God of the distinction He has made between His people whom Jacob represents, and the heathen aliens. Correct us as Thy adopted sons, the seed of Jacob; destroy them as outcasts (Zechariah 1:14; Zechariah 1:15; Zechariah 1:21).

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfb/jeremiah-10.html. 1871-8.
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