Jeremiah 4:1-31. Continuation of address to the ten tribes of Israel. (Jeremiah 4:1, Jeremiah 4:2). The prophet turns again to Judah, to whom he had originally been sent (Jeremiah 4:3-31).
return return — play on words. “If thou wouldest return to thy land (thou must first), return (by conversion and repentance) to Me.”
not remove — no longer be an unsettled wanderer in a strange land. So Cain (Genesis 4:12, Genesis 4:14).
And thou — rather, “And if (carried on from Jeremiah 4:1) thou shalt swear, ‹Jehovah liveth,‘ in truth, etc.“, that is, if thou shalt worship Him (for we swear by the God whom we worship; compare Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:20; Isaiah 19:18; Amos 8:14) in sincerity, etc.
and the nations — Rather, this is apodosis to the “if”; then shall the nations bless themselves in (by) Him” (Isaiah 65:16). The conversion of the nations will be the consequence of Israel‘s conversion (Psalm 102:13, Psalm 102:15; Romans 11:12, Romans 11:15).
Transition to Judah. Supply mentally. All which (the foregoing declaration as to Israel) applies to Judah.
and Jerusalem — that is, and especially the men of Jerusalem, as being the most prominent in Judea.
Break fallow ground — that is, Repent of your idolatry, and so be prepared to serve the Lord in truth (Hosea 10:12; Matthew 13:7). The unhumbled heart is like ground which may be improved, being let out to us for that purpose, but which is as yet fallow, overgrown with weeds, its natural product.
Remove your natural corruption of heart (Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6; Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11).
cry, gather together — rather, “cry fully” that is, loudly. The Jews are warned to take measures against the impending Chaldean invasion (compare Jeremiah 8:14).
Zion — The standard toward Zion intimated that the people of the surrounding country were to fly to it, as being the strongest of their fortresses.
lion — Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 5:6; Daniel 7:14).
his thicket — lair; Babylon.
destroyer of the Gentiles — rather, “the nations” (Jeremiah 25:9).
Nothing is left to the Jews but to bewail their desperate condition.
anger not turned back — (Isaiah 9:12, Isaiah 9:17, Isaiah 9:21).
heart — The wisdom of the most leading men will be utterly at a loss to devise means of relief.
soul — rather, “reacheth to the life.”
dry wind — the simoom, terrific and destructive, blowing from the southeast across the sandy deserts east of Palestine. Image of the invading Babylonian army (Hosea 13:15). Babylon in its turn shall be visited by a similar “destroying wind” (Jeremiah 51:1).
of high places — that is, that sweeps over the high places.
daughter — that is, the children of my people.
not to fan — a very different wind from those ordinary winds employed for fanning the grain in the open air.
unto me — “for Me,” as My instrument for executing My purpose.
sentence — judgments against them (Jeremiah 1:16).
clouds — continuing the metaphor in Jeremiah 4:11, Jeremiah 4:12. Clouds of sand and dust accompany the simoom, and after rapid gyrations ascend like a pillar.
eagles — (Deuteronomy 28:49; Habakkuk 1:8).
Woe unto us — The people are graphically presented before us, without it being formally so stated, bursting out in these exclamations.
Only one means of deliverance is left to the Jews - a thorough repentance.
vain thoughts — namely, projects for deliverance, such as enlisting the Egyptians on their side. Gesenius translates, “How long wilt thou harbor vain thoughts?”
Mount Ephraim — which borders closely on Judah; so that the foe is coming nearer and nearer. Dan and Beth-el in Ephraim were the two places where Jeroboam set up the idolatrous calves (1 Kings 12:29); just retribution.
The neighboring foreign “nations” are summoned to witness Jehovah‘s judgments on His rebel people (Jeremiah 6:18, Jeremiah 6:19).
watchers — that is, besiegers (compare 2 Samuel 11:16); observed or watched, that is, besieged.
their voice — the war shout.
keepers of a field — metaphor from those who watch a field, to frighten away the wild beasts.
(Jeremiah 2:17, Jeremiah 2:19; Psalm 107:17).
this is thy wickedness — that is, the fruit of thy wickedness.
The prophet suddenly assumes the language of the Jewish state personified, lamenting its affliction (Jeremiah 10:19, Jeremiah 10:20; Jeremiah 9:1, Jeremiah 9:10; Isaiah 15:5; compare Luke 19:41).
at my very heart — Hebrew, “at the walls of my heart”; the muscles round the heart. There is a climax, the “bowels,” the pericardium, the “heart” itself.
maketh noise — moaneth [Henderson].
alarm — the battle shout.
Judah in perplexity asks, How long is this state of things to continue?
Jehovah‘s reply; they cannot be otherwise than miserable, since they persevere in sin. The repetition of clauses gives greater force to the sentiment.
wise evil to do good no knowledge — reversing the rule (Romans 16:19) “wise unto good, simple concerning evil.”
Graphic picture of the utter desolation about to visit Palestine. “I beheld, and lo!” four times solemnly repeated, heightens the awful effect of the scene (compare Isaiah 24:19; Isaiah 34:11).
without form and void — reduced to the primeval chaos (Genesis 1:2).
mountains — (Isaiah 5:25).
moved lightly — shook vehemently.
fruitful place — Hebrew, Carmel.
a wilderness — Hebrew, “the wilderness,” in contrast to “the fruitful place”; the great desert, where Carmel was, there is now the desert of Arabia [Maurer].
cities — in contrast to the fruitful place or field.
full end — utter destruction: I will leave some hope of restoration (Jeremiah 5:10, Jeremiah 5:18; Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 46:28; compare Leviticus 26:44).
For this — on account of the desolations just described (Isaiah 5:30; Hosea 4:3).
not repent — (Numbers 23:19).
whole city — Jerusalem: to it the inhabitants of the country had fled for refuge; but when it, too, is likely to fall, they flee out of it to hide in the “thickets.” Henderson translates, “every city.”
noise — The mere noise of the hostile horsemen shall put you to flight.
when thou art spoiled — rather, “thou, O destroyed one” [Maurer].
rentest face with painting — Oriental women paint their eyes with stibium, or antimony, to make them look full and sparkling, the black margin causing the white of the eyes to appear the brighter by contrast (2 Kings 9:30). He uses the term “distendest” in derision of their effort to make their eyes look large [Maurer]; or else, “rentest,” that is, dost lacerate by puncturing the eyelid in order to make the antimony adhere [Rosenmuller]. So the Jews use every artifice to secure the aid of Egypt against Babylon.
face — rather, thy eyes (Ezekiel 23:40).
anguish — namely, occasioned by the attack of the enemy.
daughter of Zion — There is peculiar beauty in suppressing the name of the person in trouble, until that trouble had been fully described [Henderson].
bewaileth herself — rather, “draweth her breath short” [Horsley]; “panteth.”
spreadeth hands — (Lamentations 1:17).
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany