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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Jeremiah 6

 

 

Verses 1-30

Jeremiah 6:1. Oh ye children of Benjamin—flee out of the midst of Jerusalem. Many of this tribe lived in the city. Blow the trumpet [of alarm] in Tekoa, a village twelve miles from Jerusalem, according to Jerome. Kindle the beacon on Beth-haccerem; that is, the house of the vine; but tower is understood. It was a village, situate on one of the most conspicuous hills between Tekoa and Jerusalem. The prophet openly declared his ever- speaking vision; he would not have the blood of the city on his conscience.

Jeremiah 6:2. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely woman, with meretricious ornaments. A similar comparison is made of Babylon by Isaiah, Isaiah 47:1; and helpless is her condition when the day of visitation comes, being equally unprepared for hardships or for war.

Jeremiah 6:3. The shepherds with their flocks shall come upon her. The Assyrian kings with their armies shall prepare war against her, and surround the city with the lines of a siege. Isaiah 44:28.

Le premier des rois etait un heureux soldat.

Jeremiah 6:4. Let us go up at noon. In hot climates this is a time of military repose; hence the expression marks the enemy’s eagerness to take the city. And the next verse, Let us go by night, the usual time of storming, is of like import.

Jeremiah 6:6. Cast a mount. The original word signifies, a warlike engine used in sieges for casting stones or missiles, and which was placed upon a mount or eminence.

Jeremiah 6:8. Be thou instructed, oh Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee. God speaks here by his prophet, with the sword of the Chaldeans in one hand, and the olive branch of peace in the other. Even to the last they might have been saved, if king Zedekiah would have obeyed Jeremiah, speaking from the mouth of the Lord, and gone out to the king of Babylon, and submitted to mercy. On the other hand, if God should depart, the sword of the invader would fall on their heads. Then their fields, their houses, and their wives should be given to others.

Jeremiah 6:13. Every one is given to covetousness. The trumpet of jubilee had sounded indeed, but there was no land to be restored. The landed interest, taking advantage of poverty, and of all political changes, had wrested the lands of the poor into a perpetual possession. Woe to him that covets with an evil covetousness.

Jeremiah 6:14. They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly. They have closed the wound by promises of peace, before it had suppurated. Ostervald reproaches Drelincourt for having, in his consolations against the fears of death, consoled before he sanctified. Isaiah 48:8.

Jeremiah 6:16. Stand ye in the ways and see. Men who seek the truth must subdue evil propensities, and use the means of grace. They must ask of God in prayer, and of good men who have long walked in the ways of the Lord. They are encouraged to do so with the promises of peace of conscience, and repose in their country. Solomon, in his Ecclesiastes, after giving us the systems of the epicure, the stoick, the disgusted courtier, and the fool, concludes by saying, “fear God and keep his commandments.” The enquirer after truth should ask how the holy patriarchs walked, before and after the flood; and next how the apostates lived, after the pride of Babel. What was their character when they radiated from Asia as from a common centre; when they built strong cities for fear of their neighbours, as in Sodom, in Canaan, and in other places. We have their portrait drawn by St. Paul. Romans 1:20-32. Their passions made them like a troubled sea, in all the restless movements of strife and war.

Jeremiah 6:17. I have set watchmen over you, as in Isaiah 58. l; and a succession of prophets who have sounded the alarm against the reigning vices of their age. Ezekiel 3:17. The blame lay at their own door. Hosea 9:13.

Jeremiah 6:20. To what purpose cometh—incense from Sheba? Sheba formed part of Arabia Felix, and was celebrated for its incense and perfumes. See on Isaiah 1:13. The incense of worshippers in their sins is an abomination to the Lord. The sweet cane, the calamus aromaticus, is an ingredient often used in perfumes. Exodus 30:23.

Jeremiah 6:28. They are brass and iron. Their impudence resembles brass, and their obstinacy iron. GROTIUS.

Jeremiah 6:29. The bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire. Not so indeed; the lead subsides by its superior gravity. Blaney relieves us a little here: “the lead is entirely spent.” If the ancients used lead in refining silver, the resources might be exhausted, as all arguments had failed in reforming Jerusalem. The difficulty yet remains. As the Hebrews had no word for quicksilver, but use עפרת ipereth both for lead and quicksilver, which their merchants brought from Spain, Ezekiel 27:12, there can be no doubt but quicksilver is understood. It is contained in the ores of cinnabar, which abound in Spain, and is largely exported to refine the silver in Mexico. And as quicksilver readily combines with silver, and is evaporated in the fire, Jeremiah is correct in saying that the lead, that is, the quicksilver, is consumed in the fire. In our chemical laboratories, the fumes of quicksilver can be collected by a retort submerged in water.

REFLECTIONS.

This chapter associates with the preseding. Under the terrors of invasion, and of being treated not as a vanquished nation, but as rebels, the Lord calls them anew to repentance. Here we have, first, the base and degenerate state of the people. The daughter of Zion is compared to a fine but effeminate woman. The rulers had no resources in counsel, the priests had no influence with heaven, and the army had no courage to meet the enemy. So it is with bad men, and abandoned nations, when their day is come.

We have also the commission of the Chaldees to destroy the city. The Lord said, Prepare ye war against her: glean her as a vine. This shows that a nation cannot fall till it is first so determined in the court of heaven. The Jews had abused all their favours; therefore God would give their lands, their houses, and their wives to others.

They had attained to a pitch of depravity which extinguished modesty. They blushed not for their immodesty, but gloried in their shame; and no kind of wickedness is more provoking to God. They talked of their insults to religion, and of their daring immoralities, as subjects of adroitness and honour. Sad signs that the inhabitants of Zion resembled the inhabitants of hell; and we should be the more alarmed at it, if we had not in every town, circles of ungodly men in a similar situation.

We are more astonished at grace than at sin. Though Judah was thus most deeply depraved; yet God called them to repentance, and to accept of mercy. Be thou instructed, oh Jerusalem. Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths. It is not the broad way that we are to seek, but the paths of a private humble walk with God, and with good men. Hence a national reform begins by sanctifying fear, by serious reflection, and by enquiring after the good way and worship of God.

We have next the contempt which Israel showed to the solemn charge of Almighty God. They said, we will not hearken; and again, we will not walk in the good and ancient way. Hence the Lord rejected the sweet incense of their sacrifice, and they were to him as base metal and as reprobate silver; for their apostasy was not the effect of error and ignorance, it was deliberate wickedness, and obstinate revolt. Hence refusing the cup of divine comfort, he resolved to drench them with the dregs and bitterness of their own crimes.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 6:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/jeremiah-6.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter
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