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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Jeremiah 8

 

 

Verse 1

At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:

At that time, saith the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah ... The victorious Babylonians were about to violate the sanctuaries of the dead in search of plunder; for ornaments, treasures, and insignia of royalty were usually buried with kings. Or rather, their purpose was to do the greatest dishonour to the dead (Isaiah 14:19).


Verse 2

And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

They shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven - retribution in kind. The very objects which received their idolatries shall unconcernedly witness their dishonour.

Whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped. Words are accumulated, as if enough could not be said fully to express the mad fervour of their idolatry to the heavenly host (2 Kings 23:5).

They shall not be gathered, nor be buried - (Jeremiah 22:19, "(Jehoiakim) shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem)."

Dung - (Jeremiah 9:22; Psalms 83:10).


Verse 3

And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.

Death shall be chosen rather than life - the survivors shall be still worse off than the dead (Job 3:21-22; Revelation 9:6, "In those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them").

Which remain in all the places - `in all places of them that remain, where I,' etc. - i:e., in all places where I have driven them that remain (Maurer).


Verse 4

Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?

Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? - `Is it not a natural instinct, that if one falls, he rises again; if one turns away (i:e., wander from the way), he will return to the point from which he wandered. Why then does not Jerusalem do so?' He plays on the double sense of return, literal and metaphorical (Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 4:1, remarks).


Verse 5

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.

Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? - rather, as the Hebrew [ showb


Verse 6

I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.

Spake not aright - i:e., not so as penitently to confess that they acted wrong. Compare what follows.

Every one turned to his own course - the Qeri' reads course, but the Kethibh courses. 'They persevere in the courses whatever they have once entered on.' Their wicked ways were diversified.

Horse rusheth - literally, pours himself forth [ showTeep (Hebrew #7857)], as water that has burst its embankment. The mad rapidity of the war-horse is the point of comparison (Job 39:19-25).


Verse 7

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed time - the instinct of the migratory birds leads them with unfailing regularity to return every spring from their winter abodes in summer climes (Song of Solomon 2:12). But God's people will not return to Him even when "the winter" of His wrath is past, and He invites them back to "the spring" of His favour.

In the heaven - emphatic. The birds whose very element is the air, in which they are never at rest, yet show a steady sagacity which God's people do not.

The crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming - namely, of migrating and of returning.

My people - this honourable title aggravates the unnatural perversity of the Jews toward their God. Know not ... - (Jeremiah 5:4-5; Isaiah 1:3, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the donkey his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider").


Verse 8

How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain.

The law of the Lord is with us - (Romans 2:17, "Behold, thou art called a Jew and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God"). Possessing the law, on which they prided themselves, the Jews might have become the wisest of nations; but by their neglecting its precepts the law became given "in vain," as far as they were concerned.

In vain made he it - "He means God." Through the Jews' perversity God's gift of the law was made unavailing to them.

The pen of the scribes is in vain - "in vain" copies were multiplied by transcribers. Maurer translates, 'The false pen of the scribes hath converted it (the law) into a lie,' namely, by false interpretations of it. He understands "scribes" in the sense which the term latterly bore, persons skilled in EXPOUNDING the law. See margin, which agrees with Vulgate.


Verse 9

The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD and what wisdom is in them?

The wise men are ... dismayed - confounded.

They have rejected the word of the Lord; and - and as the inevitable, necessary consequence, "what wisdom is in them?"

What wisdom - literally, the wisdom of what? i:e., wisdom in what respect? The Word of the Lord being the only true source of wisdom (Psalms 119:98-100; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"). 10-12. Repeated from Jeremiah 6:12-15. (See a similar repetition, Jeremiah 8:15; Jeremiah 14:19).

Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them - succeed to the possession of them.


Verse 10

Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 11

For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

(Ezekiel 13:10).


Verse 12

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 13

I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.

I will surely consume - literally, gathering I will gather, or, consuming I will consume. I will surely consume - literally, gathering I will gather, or, consuming I will consume.

There shall be no grapes on the vine nor figs on the fig tree - (Joel 1:7; Matthew 21:19, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever." Jesus' sentence on the fruitless fig tree).

And the things that I have given ... shall pass away from them - rather, 'I will appoint to them those who shall overwhelm (pass over) them' - i:e., I will send the enemy upon them (Maurer). [ Waa'eteen (Hebrew #5414) laahem (H3807a) ya`abruwm (Hebrew #5674)] The English version accords well with the context: Though their grapes and figs ripen, they shall not be allowed to enjoy them.


Verse 14

Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.

Assemble - for defense.

Let us be silent - not assault the enemy, but merely defend ourselves in quiet, until the storm blow over.

Put us to silence - brought us to that state that we can no longer resist the foe; implying silent despair.

Water of gall - literally, water of the poisonous plant [ ro'sh (Hebrew #7219)], perhaps the poppy (Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15).


Verse 15

We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble!

Repeated, Jeremiah 14:19.

We looked for peace - owing to the expectations held out by the false prophets.

Health - healing; i:e., restoration from adversity.


Verse 16

The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein.

His horses - the Chaldean's.

Was heard - the prophetic past for the future.

From Dan - bordering on Phenicia. This was to be Nebuchadnezzar's route in invading Israel: the cavalry in advance of the infantry would scour the country.

Strong ones - a poetical phrase for steeds, special to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 47:3, "The stamping of the hoofs of his strong (horses);" cf. Jeremiah 4:13; Jeremiah 4:29; Jeremiah 6:23).


Verse 17

For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.

I - Yahweh.

Cockatrices - basilisks (Isaiah 11:8), i:e., enemies whose destructive power no means, by persuasion or otherwise, can counteract. Serpent charmers in the East entice serpents by music, and by a particular pressure on the neck render them incapable of darting (Psalms 58:4-5).


Verse 18

When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.

When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me - (Isaiah 22:4). The lamentation of the prophet for the impending calamity of his country.

Against sorrow - or, with respect to sorrow. Maurer translates, 'O my exhilaration as to sorrow' - i:e., 'O that exhilaration (comfort [ mabliygiytiy (Hebrew #4010), from baalag (Hebrew #1082), to comfort], akin to an Arabic root, to shine as the rising sun) would shine upon me as to my sorrow!'

In me - within me.


Verse 19

Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?

Behold the voice of the cry ... of my people - the prophet in vision hears the cry of the exiled Jews, wondering that God should have delivered them up to the enemy, seeing that He is Zion's king, dwelling in her (Micah 3:11, "Is not the Lord among us"). In the latter half of the verse God replies that their own idolatry, not want of faithfulness on His part, is the cause.

Because of them that dwell in a far country - rather, 'from a land of distances,' i:e., a distant land (Isaiah 39:3, "They are come from a far country ... even from Babylon"). The English version understands the cry to be that of the Jews in their own land, because of the enemy coming from their far off country. It is rather the cry of the exiled Jews, emanating from Babylon, the far off land of their exile.

Strange vanities - foreign gods.


Verse 20

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved - proverbial. Meaning, One season of hope after another has passed, but the looked for deliverance never came, and now all hope is gone.


Verse 21

For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

I am black - sad in visage with grief (Joel 2:6, "All faces shall gather blackness").


Verse 22

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Is there no balm - balsam; to be applied to the wounds of my people. Brought into Judea first from Arabia Felix, by the Queen of Sheba, in Solomon's time (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' 8: 2). The opobalsamum of Pliny; or else (Bochart) the resin drawn from the terebinth. It abounded in Gilead, east of Jordan, where, in consequence, many 'physicians' established themselves (Jeremiah 46:11; Jeremiah 51:8; Genesis 37:25; Genesis 43:11).

Why ... is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? - The Hebrew is literally, Why is not the lengthening out of, etc., gone up? hence, it comes to mean, Why is not the long bandage applied to bind up a wound? So the Arabic also (Gesenius). As the same Hebrew [ '

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 8:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-8.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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