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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jeremiah 10

 

 

Verse 1

Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

Ver. 1. Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh.] Exordium simplicissimum, saith Junius. A very plain preface calling for attention; (1.) From the authority of the speaker; (2.) From the duty of the hearers.

O house of Israel.] The ten tribes, long since captivated, and now directed what to do, say some; the Jews, say others: and in this former part of the chapter, those of them that had been carried away to Babylon with Jeconiah.


Verse 2

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

Ver. 2. Learn not the way of the heathen.] Their sinful customs and irregular religions - mere irreligious. (a)

And be not dismayed at the signs of heaven.] Which the blind heathens feared and deified; and none did more than the Syrians, the Jews’ next neighbours. Of the vanity of judicial astrology, see on Isaiah 47:13. He who feareth God needs not fear the stars; for "all things are yours," saith the apostle. [1 Corinthians 3:21] Mulcasses, King of Tunis, a great star gazer, foreseeing by them, as he said, the loss of his kingdom and life together, left Africa that he might shun that mischief; but thereby he hastened it, A.D. 1544. God suffereth sometimes such fond predictions to fall out right upon men for a just punishment of their curiosity.

For the heathen are dismayed at them.] Therefore God’s people should not, if it were for no other reason but that only. See Matthew 6:32. Let Papists observe this.


Verse 3

Jeremiah 10:3 For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

Ver. 3. For the customs of the people (a) are vain.] Their rites confirmed by custom; their imagery, for instance, a very magnum nihil, whether ye look to the efficient matter, form, or end of those idols.

For one cutteth a tree out of the forest.] See Isaiah 40:2; Isaiah 44:12-17, which last place Jeremiah here seemeth to have imitated.


Verse 4

Jeremiah 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Ver. 4. They deck it with silver and with gold.] Gild it over to make it sightly; goodly gods there while. See Isaiah 4:4.

That it move not.] Ut non amittat, saith Tremellius: that it lose not the cost bestowed upon it.


Verse 5

Jeremiah 10:5 They [are] upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also [is it] in them to do good.

Ver. 5. They are upright as the palm tree.] Which is straight, tall, smooth, and in summo profert fructus, and beareth fruits at the very top of it.


Verse 6

Jeremiah 10:6 Forasmuch as [there is] none like unto thee, O LORD thou [art] great, and thy name [is] great in might.

Ver. 6. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee.] None of all these dii minutuli, these dunghill deities, are worthy to be named in the same day with thee.

Thou art great.] God is great; [Psalms 77:13] greater; [Job 33:12] greatest; [Psalms 95:3] greatness itself. [Psalms 145:3] He is a degree above the superlative. Think the same of other his names and attributes, many of which we have here mentioned in this and the following verses; which are therefore highly to be prized, and oft to be perused. Leonard Lessius, a little before his death, finished his book concerning the fifty names of almighty God; often affirming, that in that little book he had found more light and spiritual support under those grievous fits of the stone which he suffered, than in all his voluminous commentaries upon Aquinas’s sums, which he had well nigh fitted for the press. (a)


Verse 7

Jeremiah 10:7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise [men] of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, [there is] none like unto thee.

Ver. 7. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?] Tremble at thy transcendent greatness, thy matchless majesty, power, and prowess? See Malachi 1:14, Revelation 15:4, Psalms 103:19. {See Trapp on "Malachi 1:14"} {See Trapp on "Revelation 15:4"} {See Trapp on "Psalms 103:19"}

Forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations.] Who used to deify their wise men and their kings.


Verse 8

Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [is] a doctrine of vanities.

Ver. 8. But they are altogether brutish and foolish.] The wise men are, for that, when they knew there was but one only true God - as did Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Seneca, &c. - they "detained the truth in unrighteousness," and taught the people to worship stocks and stones. [Romans 1:21-23] The nations are, because they yield to be taught devotion by images under what pretext soever. Considerentur hic subterfugia Papistarum. Let them regard this strategm of Popery. Pope Gregory first taught that images in churches were laymen’s books, a doctrine of devils.


Verse 9

Jeremiah 10:9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple [is] their clothing: they [are] all the work of cunning [men].

Ver. 9. Silver spread into plates.] See Isaiah 40:19.

Is brought from Tarshish.] From Tarsus or Tartessus; [Ezekiel 27:12] from Africa, saith the Chaldee. Idolaters spare for no cost.

And gold from Uphaz.] The same with Phaz; [Job 28:17] or with Ophir, as some; Aurum Obzyrum.

They are all the work of cunning men.] Quaerunt suos Phidias et Praxiteles: but how could those give that deity which themselves had not?


Verse 10

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD [is] the true God, he [is] the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Ver. 10. But the Lord is the true God.] Heb., Jehovah is God in truth, not in conceit only, or counterfeit.

He is the living God, and an everlasting king.] See on Jeremiah 10:6. The words are in the plural number, "he is the living Gods"; not for the sake of honour and glory, as Kimchi observes; but as denoting a trinity of Persons in the unity of the divine essence: for though the words אלהים חיים, "living Gods," that is, living divine Ones, or Persons, are in the plural number, yet הוא, "he," is in the singular; which is worthy of observation. {Hebrew Text Note}

At his wrath the earth shall tremble.] The earth, that greatest of all lifeless creatures.

And the nations shall not be able.] Less able to stand before him than a glass bottle before a cannon shot.


Verse 11

Jeremiah 10:11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, [even] they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.

Ver. 11. Thus shall ye say unto them.] Confession with the mouth is necessary to salvation. This verse (written therefore in the Syriac tongue, which was spoken at Babylon) is a formulary given to God’s people, to be made use of by them in detestation of the idolatries of that city.

The gods that made not the heaven and the earth.] The vanity of idols and heathenish gods is set forth (1.) By their impotence; (2.) Frailty. Quid ad haec respondebunt Papistae? aut qualem contradictoriae reconciliationem afferent?


Verse 12

Jeremiah 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

Ver. 12. He hath made the earth by his power.] Here we have the true philosophy and right origin of things: Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. Almighty God made the earth, the main bulk and body of it. [Genesis 1:1] He alone is the powerful Creator, the provident Disposer, the prudent Preserver of all things both in heaven and in earth; therefore the only true God.


Verse 13

Jeremiah 10:13 When he uttereth his voice, [there is] a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

Ver. 13. When he uttereth his voice.] Again, when he thundereth, [Psalms 29:3] it raineth amain, lightneth in the midst of the rain (which is a great miracle), and bloweth for life, as we say, no man knowing whence or whither. [John 3:8] All which wondrous works of God may well serve for a theological alphabet, and cannot be attributed to any god but our God.

And he causeth the vapours to ascend.] See Psalms 135:7. {See Trapp on "Psalms 135:7"}


Verse 14

Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is brutish in [his] knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image [is] falsehood, and [there is] no breath in them.

Ver. 14. Every man is brutish in his knowledge.] Or, Every man is become more brutish than to know. That was therefore a hyperbolical praise given by Philostratus to Apollonius, Non doctus sed natus sapiens, that he was not taught, but born a wise man. See Job 11:12, Romans 1:22. {See Trapp on "Job 11:12"} {See Trapp on "Romans 1:22"} Every man is become brutish for want of knowledge (so the words may be rendered), the heathen idol makers especially; Brutescit homo prae scientia, so Vatablus. Every man is brutish, in comparison of knowledge, viz., of God’s knowledge, while he goeth about to search into the causes of rain, lightning, wind, &c., which God only understandeth.


Verse 15

Jeremiah 10:15 They [are] vanity, [and] the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

Ver. 15. They are vanity.] Vanity, in its largest extent, is properly predicated of them.

And the work of errors.] Mere mockeries, making men to embrace vanity for verity.

In the time of their visitation.] See on Isaiah 46:1.


Verse 16

Jeremiah 10:16 The portion of Jacob [is] not like them: for he [is] the former of all [things]; and Israel [is] the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts [is] his name.

Ver. 16. The Portion of Jacob is not like them.] God is his people’s "portion"; they are his "possession." Oh their dignity and security! This the cock on the dunghill understands not.


Verse 17

Jeremiah 10:17 Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.

Ver. 17. Gather up thy wares out of the land.] Make up thy pack, and prevent a plundering. Reculas tuas et sarcinas compone.


Verse 18

Jeremiah 10:18 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find [it so].

Ver. 18. BehoId, I will sling out the inhabitants of this land.] I will easily and speedily sling them, and sling them into Babylon; so God will one day hurl into hell all the wicked of the earth. [Psalms 9:17]

And will distress them, that they may find it so.] Just so as they were foretold it would be, but they could never be drawn to believe it.


Verse 19

Jeremiah 10:19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this [is] a grief, and I must bear it.

Ver. 19. Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous.] This is the moan that people make when in distress, and they find it so. But what after a while of paining?

Truly this is my grief, and I must bear it,] i.e., Bear it off, as well as I may, by head and shoulders, or bear up under it, and rub through it, wearing it out as well as I can; when things are at worst, they mend again. Crosses, as they had a time to come in, so they must have a time to go out, &c. This is not patience, but pertinace, the "strength of stones and flesh of brass"; [Job 6:12] it draweth on more weight of plagues and punishments. God liketh not this indolence, this stupidity, this despising of his corrections, as he calleth it; [Hebrews 12:5] such shall be made to cry, when God bindeth them, [Job 36:11] as here.


Verse 20

Jeremiah 10:20 My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they [are] not: [there is] none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.

Ver. 20. My tabernacle is spoiled.] I am irreparably ruined; like as when a camp is quite broken up, not any part of a tent or hut is left standing.


Verse 21

Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

Ver. 21. For the pastors are become brutish.] The corrupt prophets and priests, who seduced the people from the truth, were persons that made no conscience of prayer; hence all went to wrack and ruin.


Verse 22

Jeremiah 10:22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, [and] a den of dragons.

Ver. 22. Behold, the noise of the bruit is come.] This doleful peal he oft rung in their ears, but they little regarded it. See Jeremiah 9:11.


Verse 23

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Ver. 23. O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself.] He is not master of his own way, but is directed and overruled by the powerful providence; even this cruel Chaldean also, that marcheth against us.

It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.] We know not what to do, or which way to turn ourselves, only our eyes are toward thee. Behold, we submit to thy justice, and implore thy mercy. This text doth mainly make against freewill, saith Oecolampadius; and yet the Pelagians would hence gather that man can, by his own strength, walk in the way to heaven; but he must be helped, say they, by God’s grace, that he may be perfect.


Verse 24

Jeremiah 10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

Ver. 24. O Lord, correct me; but with judgment,] (a) i.e., In mercy and in measure. Correction is not simply to be deprecated; the prophet here cries, Correct me; David saith, It was good for me. Job calleth God’s afflicting of us his magnifying of us. [Jeremiah 7:17] Feri Domine, feri clementer; ipse paratus sum, saith Luther, - Smite, Lord, smite me, but gently, and I am ready to bear it patiently. King Alfred prayed God to send him always some sickness, whereby his body might be tamed, and he the better disposed and affectioned to Godward. Ecclesiastical history telleth of one Servulus, who, sick of a palsy, so that his life was a lingering death, said ordinarily, God be thanked.


Verse 25

Jeremiah 10:25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

Ver. 25. Pour out, &c.] This is not more votum, than vaticinium; a prayer, than a prophecy.

And upon the families.] Neglect of family prayer uncovers the roof, as it were, for God’s curse to be rained down upon men’s tables, meals, enterprises, &c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-10.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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