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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 14

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.De rebus retentionum - that is, concerning the drought or dearth by restraint of necessary rain and moisture - unde frugum raritas, annonae caritas, fames, from which the shortage of grain made the year’s produce expensive, resulting in famine; whereupon followed a famine, as there doth also a "famine of the Word," where the divine influences are restrained. Junius rendereth it, Super verbis cohibitionum, concerning the words of cohibitions; that is, saith he, concerning the prayers made by the prophet and other good people for the diverting of God’s judgments, publicly denounced.

Verse 2

Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

Judah mourneth. — The prophet’s pitiful complaint, bitterly bewailing the common calamity, and labouring thereby to bring them to a sense of the true cause of it, their sins. See 2 Samuel 21:1 . See Trapp on " 2 Samuel 21:1 "

And the cry of Jerusalem is gone up,sc., To heaven, for removal of this judgment. Compare Jeremiah 36:9 ; Jeremiah 14:12 .

Verse 3

And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, [and] found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.

And their nobles. — Who would be sure to have it if it were to be had.

Sent their little ones. — Their boys, as they used to call their menial servants of the younger sort. See Matthew 14:2 . See Trapp on " Matthew 14:2 "

To the waters. — Such as were the waters of Siloe, which only fountain, saith Jerome, Jerusalem maketh use of so long as it lasteth.

To the pits, — Or, Cisterns. Jeremiah 2:13

They covered their heads. — As close mourners do still.

Verse 4

Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

Because the ground is chapt. — As our hearts also are and will be, when the heaven doth not hear the earth. as Hosea 2:21 It hath been before observed, that in the use of the ordinances, if we open our shells (our souls), the heaven will drop the fruitful dew of grace to the making of pearls of good works and solid virtue.

Verse 5

Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook [it], because there was no grass.

Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it. — The loving hind; Proverbs 5:19 Alioqui studiosa sui partus, Plin., lib. viii. cap. 32. that is otherwise so exceeding chary and careful of her young.

Verse 6

And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because [there was] no grass.

And the wild asses.Secretes alias vagae libidinis in silvis, that usually course up and down the woods, and can bear hunger and thirst a long while together. Plin., lib. x. cap. 72.

Snuffed up the wind like dragons.Quorum est vehementissima spiratio ac sorbitio; who, in defect of water, can continue long by drawing in the air, as Aristotle Lib. De mirab auscult. likewise testifieth of the goats in Cephalonia, that they drink not for various days together, but instead thereof gape and suck in the fresh air.

Verse 7

O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou [it] for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us. — Though our guilty consciences bring in large rolls of indictment written against us within and without, and spread before thee.

Do it for thy name’s sake. — Heb., Do. A short but pithy petition. So Jeremiah 14:9 , "Leave us not."

Verse 8

O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man [that] turneth aside to tarry for a night?

O the Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof. — In prayer, to pitch upon such of God’s attributes as wherein we may see an answer, is a high point of heavenly wisdom.

Why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land? — As a stranger at home, and as one that is loath to be too busy in aliena republica, in a foreign land where he hath least to do.

That turneth aside. — Into some diversorium - inn.

Verse 9

Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man [that] cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, [art] in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.

Why shouldest thou be as a man astonished? — That knows not which way to take: first he goes one way, and by and by he returns again. Tremellius rendereth it ut vir fatiscens, as one that fainteth, hath done his utmost, and can do no more.

Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us; leave us not.Extingui lucem nec patiare tuam. This was to "stir up himself to take hold of God."

Verse 10

Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

They have loved to wander. — Therefore now they shall have enough of it; yet not wander so wide as to miss hell; Psalms 95:10-11 what wonder that God seemed a stranger to them who had so far estranged themselves from him?

Verse 11

Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for [their] good.

Pray not for this people. — See on Jeremiah 7:16 .

Verse 12

When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

When they fast I will not hear their cry. — At their fasts they were wont to pray earnestly, and to make their voices to be heard on high. Sed defuit aliquid intas; their hearts cried not.

Verse 13

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.

Ah, Lord God! — The Vulgate Latin hath it, Ah, ah, ah. Vide diligentissimam intercessionem. He seeketh somewhat to excuse the people by laying the blame upon their false prophets. Like whereunto were those Popish priests in Gerson’s time, who preached publicly to the people, that whosoever would come to hear a mass, he should not be struck blind on that day, neither should he die a sudden death, nor want sufficient sustenance, …

But I will give you assured peace. — Heb., Peace of truth. Thus these deluders had learned to speak the language of God’s true prophets. Of the high soaring, pretended spiritual language of Familists and some other sectarians one saith well, That it is a great deal too high for this world, and a great deal too low for the world to come.

Verse 14

Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

The prophets prophesy falsely in my name, … — These are certain signs of impostors in the Church in all ages, against whom, now, if ever, the temple doors had need be well guarded, and the pulpit doors have written on them, Oυδεις εισιτω αναξιος , Let no unworthy creature presume to come here.

Verse 15

Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

Yet they say. — Heb., They are saying. This is all their song, though the present famine doth in part confute them; but the people were willing enough to be deceived, and were therefore worthily punished. Being infatuated, they were seduced; and being so seduced, they were justly judged, as Augustine somewhere. The blind led the blind, and both fell into the ditch, though it befell the blind guides to lie nethermost.

Verse 16

And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out. — They shall be no more excused by their having been deluded, than he that in his drink committeth adultery or murder is excused by his drunkenness. A drunkard, saith Aristotle, deserveth double punishment: τοις μεθυουσι διπλα τα επιτιμια . - Ethic., lib. iii. cap. 5. first for his drunkenness, and then for the sin committed in and by his drunkenness; so here. See on Jeremiah 14:15 .

Verse 17

Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.

Let mine eyes run down. — This the prophet did doubtless in good earnest; like as Samuel mourned for the rejection of Saul, and our Saviour wept over Jerusalem.

And let them not cease. — Heb., Be silent; for tears also have a voice, Psalms 39:12 and do oft prove very effectual orators.

Verse 18

If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.

If I go forth into the field. — The prophet here sets forth the siege as present, though it was many years after, the more to affect the people.

Yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not. — Or, Go about the land - sc., begging their bread, or fleeing their miseries - and men know them not, though men of such rank and quality.

Verse 19

Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and [there is] no healing for us? we looked for peace, and [there is] no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!

Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? — So as that I may not put up one prayer more for them. I cannot hold, whatever come of it; let not my Lord be angry if I shoot this arrow also after the former.

Verse 20

We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, [and] the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.

We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness. — We, the better sort of us, do so. And so the saints have ever done in their interdealings with God, falling low at his footstool for pardoning and prevailing mercy.

Verse 21

Do not abhor [us], for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake. — This was to "continue instant in prayer." Romans 12:12 This was to pray on, and not to faint. Luke 18:1 If thy suit be not honest, never begin it; and if it be, never leave it.

Do not disgrace the throne of thy glory. — The temple, and the ark in it. The Romans held the extinction of the Vestal fire a sign of the destruction of their city, be the cause thereof what it will. εφ ης ποτε αν αιτιας γενηται . - Dion. Halicar., lib. ii. We may well think the same of the loss of God’s ordinances, which therefore we must deprecate, as here, with all our might; for as Bodin said well of obtaining, so likewise for retaining, religion, Non disputationibus sed rogationibus, …, the business will be the better ejected by requests than disputes. Pray therefore for the peace of Jerusalem, yea, take no nay. Deus ipse qui nullis contra se viribus superari potest, precibus vincitur. Jerome. The invincible God is overcome by the power of prayer. There is a kind of omnipotence in it, saith Luther.

Remember, break not thy covenant with us. — Lo, this is to be God’s faithful remembrancer, Isaiah 62:6-7 suggesting unto him seasonable items.

Verse 22

Are there [any] among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? [art] not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these [things].

Are there among the vanities of the Gentiles,i.e., The heathen idols wickedly worshipped by the Jews.

That can cause rain?Pluit, ningit: supple Deus. These impersonals imply that the ancient Romans looked upon rain, snow, …, as God’s work. Sure it is that they come by a divine decree. Job 28:26 Not Jupiter, ομβριος - whatever the poets fable - nor the heavens themselves, without the divine concurrence, can give rain; but it is God Almighty who both prepareth it Psalms 147:8 and withholdeth it at his pleasure. Amos 4:7 The second causes do but serve the divine providence in these common occurrences.

Therefore we will wait upon thee. — For seasonable showers in this our great necessity. We will wait, or, if thou see fit, want of our will, so that thy will may be done; for that is best.

For thou hast made all these things. — Both the constellations, and rain or drought caused thereby.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 14". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/jeremiah-14.html. 1865-1868.
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