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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 13

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole BibleCommentary Critical




Many of these figurative acts being either not possible, or not probable, or decorous, seem to have existed only in the mind of the prophet as part of his inward vision. [So CALVIN]. The world he moved in was not the sensible, but the spiritual, world. Inward acts were, however, when it was possible and proper, materialized by outward performance, but not always, and necessarily so. The internal act made a naked statement more impressive and presented the subject when extending over long portions of space and time more concentrated. The interruption of Jeremiah's official duty by a journey of more than two hundred miles twice is not likely to have literally taken place.

Verse 1

1. put it upon thy loins, &c.—expressing the close intimacy wherewith Jehovah had joined Israel and Judah to Him ( :-).

linen—implying it was the inner garment next the skin, not the outer one.

put it not in water—signifying the moral filth of His people, like the literal filth of a garment worn constantly next the skin, without being washed (Jeremiah 13:10). GROTIUS understands a garment not bleached, but left in its native roughness, just as Judah had no beauty, but was adopted by the sole grace of God (Jeremiah 13:10- :). "Neither wast thou washed in water," &c.

Verse 4

4. Euphrates—In order to support the view that Jeremiah's act was outward, HENDERSON considers that the Hebrew Phrath here is Ephratha, the original name of Beth-lehem, six miles south of Jerusalem, a journey easy to be made by Jeremiah. The non-addition of the word "river," which usually precedes Phrath, when meaning Euphrates, favors this view. But I prefer English Version. The Euphrates is specified as being near Babylon, the Jews future place of exile.

hole—typical of the prisons in which the Jews were to be confined.

the rock—some well-known rock. A sterile region, such as was that to which the Jews were led away (compare Isaiah 7:19) [GROTIUS].

Verse 6

6. after many days—Time enough was given for the girdle to become unfit for use. So, in course of time, the Jews became corrupted by the heathen idolatries around, so as to cease to be witnesses of Jehovah; they must, therefore, be cast away as a "marred" or spoiled girdle.

Verse 9

9. ( :-).

Verse 10

10. imagination—rather, "obstinacy."

Verse 11

11. (Jeremiah 33:9; Exodus 19:5).

glory—an ornament to glory in.

Verse 12

12. A new image.

Do we not . . . know . . . wine—The "bottles" are those used in the East, made of skins; our word "hogshead," originally "oxhide," alludes to the same custom. As they were used to hold water, milk, and other liquids, what the prophet said (namely, that they should be all filled with wine) was not, as the Jews' taunting reply implied, a truism even literally. The figurative sense which is what Jeremiah chiefly meant, they affected not to understand. As wine intoxicates, so God's wrath and judgments shall reduce them to that state of helpless distraction that they shall rush on to their own ruin (Jeremiah 25:15; Jeremiah 49:12; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:21; Isaiah 51:22; Isaiah 63:6).

Verse 13

13. upon David's throne—literally, who sit for David on his throne; implying the succession of the Davidic family (Jeremiah 22:4).

all—indiscriminately of every rank.

Verse 14

14. dash— ( :-). As a potter's vessel ( :-).

Verse 15

15. be not proud—Pride was the cause of their contumacy, as humility is the first step to obedience (Jeremiah 13:17; Psalms 10:4).

Verse 16

16. Give glory, c.—Show by repentance and obedience to God, that you revere His majesty. So Joshua exhorted Achan to "give glory to God" by confessing his crime, thereby showing he revered the All-knowing God.

stumble—image from travellers stumbling into a fatal abyss when overtaken by nightfall (Isaiah 5:30 Isaiah 59:9; Isaiah 59:10; Amos 8:9).

dark mountains—literally, "mountains of twilight" or "gloom," which cast such a gloomy shadow that the traveller stumbles against an opposing rock before he sees it (John 11:10; John 12:35).

shadow of death—the densest gloom; death shade (John 12:35- :). Light and darkness are images of prosperity and adversity.

Verse 17

17. hear it—my exhortation.

in secret—as one mourning and humbling himself for their sin, not self-righteously condemning them (Philippians 3:18).

pride—(see on Philippians 3:18- :; Job 33:17).

flock— (Job 33:17- :), just as kings and leaders are called pastors.

Verse 18

18. king—Jehoiachin or Jeconiah.

queen—the queen mother who, as the king was not more than eighteen years old, held the chief power. Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, carried away captive with Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar ( :-).

Humble yourselves—that is, Ye shall be humbled, or brought low (Jeremiah 22:26; Jeremiah 28:2).

your principalities—rather, "your head ornament."

Verse 19

19. cities of the south—namely, south of Judea; farthest off from the enemy, who advanced from the north.

shut up—that is, deserted (Isaiah 24:10); so that none shall be left to open the gates to travellers and merchants again [HENDERSON]. Rather, shut up so closely by Nebuchadnezzar's forces, sent on before (2 Kings 24:10; 2 Kings 24:11), that none shall be allowed by the enemy to get out (compare 2 Kings 24:11- :).

wholly—literally, "fully"; completely.

Verse 20

20. from . . . north—Nebuchadnezzar and his hostile army (Jeremiah 1:14; Jeremiah 6:22).

flock . . . given thee—Jeremiah, amazed at the depopulation caused by Nebuchadnezzar's forces, addresses Jerusalem (a noun of multitude, which accounts for the blending of plural and singular, Your eyes . . . thee . . . thy flock), and asks where is the population (Jeremiah 6:22- :, "flock") which God had given her?

Verse 21

21. captains, and as chief—literally, "princes as to headship"; or "over thy head," namely, the Chaldeans. Rather, translate, "What wilt thou say when God will set them (the enemies, :-) above thee, seeing that thou thyself hast accustomed them (to be) with thee as (thy) lovers in the highest place (literally, 'at thy head')? Thou canst not say God does thee wrong, seeing it was thou that gave occasion to His dealing so with thee, by so eagerly courting their intimacy." Compare Jeremiah 2:18; Jeremiah 2:36; 2 Kings 23:29, as to the league of Judah with Babylon, which led Josiah to march against Pharaoh-necho, when the latter was about to attack Babylon [MAURER].

sorrows—pains, throes.

Verse 22

22. if thou say—connecting this verse with "What wilt thou say" ( :-)?

skirts discovered—that is, are thrown up so as to expose the person (Jeremiah 13:26; Isaiah 3:17; Nahum 3:5).

heels made bare—The sandal was fastened by a thong above the heel to the instep. The Hebrew, is, "are violently handled," or "torn off"; that is, thou art exposed to ignominy. Image from an adulteress.

Verse 23

23. Ethiopian—the Cushite of Abyssinia. Habit is second nature; as therefore it is morally impossible that the Jews can alter their inveterate habits of sin, nothing remains but the infliction of the extremest punishment, their expatriation (Jeremiah 13:24).

Verse 24

24. ( :-).

by the windbefore the wind.

of the wilderness—where the wind has full sweep, not being broken by any obstacle.

Verse 25

25. portion of thy measures—the portion which I have measured out to thee (Job 20:29; Psalms 11:6).

falsehood— (Psalms 11:6- :), false gods and alliances with foreign idolaters.

Verse 26

26. discover . . . upon thy face—rather, "throw up thy skirts over thy face," or head; done by way of ignominy to captive women and to prostitutes ( :-). The Jews' punishment should answer to their crime. As their sin had been perpetrated in the most public places, so God would expose them to the contempt of other nations most openly ( :-).

Verse 27

27. neighings— ( :-), image from the lust of horses; the lust after idols degrades to the level of the brute.

hills—where, as being nearer heaven, sacrifices were thought most acceptable to the gods.

wilt thou not . . . ? when—literally, "thou wilt not be made clean after how long a time yet." (So :-). Jeremiah denies the moral possibility of one so long hardened in sin becoming soon cleansed. But see Jeremiah 32:17; Luke 18:27.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfb/jeremiah-13.html. 1871-8.
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