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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jeremiah 6

 

 

Verse 1

Jeremiah 6:1 O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.

Ver. 1. O ye children of Benjamin.] These were the prophet’s countrymen, for Anathoth was in that tribe; so was also part of Jerusalem itself. He forwarneth them of the enemy’s approach, and bids them begone. The Benjamites were noted for valiant, but vicious. [ 19:16; 19:22-25 Hosea 9:9; Hosea 10:9]

And blow the trumpet in Tekoah.] A place that had its name from trumpeting; so there is an elegance in the original. See the like, Micah 1:10; Micah 1:14. It was twelve miles from Jerusalem, and six from Bethhaccerem. Here dwelt that wise woman brided by Joab. [2 Samuel 14:2]

Set up a sign of fire.] A beacon, or such as the cross of fire is in Scotland, where (for a signal to the people when the enemy is at hand) two firebrands set across, and pitched upon a spear, are carried about the country. (a)


Verse 2

Jeremiah 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate [woman].

Ver. 2. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.] Certatim amatae bucolicae puellae; some fair shepherdess, to whom the kings with their armies make love (but for no love), that they may destroy and spoil her.


Verse 3

Jeremiah 6:3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch [their] tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

Ver. 3. The shepherds.] See on Jeremiah 6:2.


Verse 4

Jeremiah 6:4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.

Ver. 4. Prepare ye war against her.] Say those Chaldean sweethearts. This is their wooing language, like that of the English at Musselburgh.

Let us go up at noon.] Let us lose no time; why burn we daylight by needless delays?


Verse 5

Jeremiah 6:5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.

Ver. 5. Let us destroy her palaces.] Where we shall find all precious substance; we shall fill our hands with spoil. {as Proverbs 1:13}


Verse 6

Jeremiah 6:6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her.

Ver. 6. For thus hath the Lord of hosts said,] q.d., It is he who setteth these Chaldean warriors to work, and giveth them these words of command. So Totilas, Gensericus, and others, were the scourge in God’s hand, as now also the Turks are.

She is wholly oppression.] She was full of judgment, righteousness lodged in her; but now nothing less.

Nomen Alexandri ne te fortasse moretur,

Hospes, abi: iacet hic et scelus et vitium. ”{a}


Verse 7

Jeremiah 6:7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually [is] grief and wounds.

Ver. 7. As a fountain casteth out her waters.] Incessantly and abundantly. In Ieremia est continua quasi declamatio contra peccatum, &c.

Before me continually.] This showeth their impudence.


Verse 8

Jeremiah 6:8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.

Ver. 8. Be thou instructed.] Affliction is a schoolmaster, (a) or rather an usher to the law, which the apostle calleth a schoolmaster to Christ. Affliction bringeth men to the law, and the law to Christ. Affliction is a preacher, saith one; "Blow the trumpet in Tekoah"; what saith the trumpet? "Be instructed, O Jerusalem."

Lest my soul depart from thee.] Heb., Be loosed or disjointed; lest I loathe thee more than ever I loved thee, and so thy ruin come rushing in, as by a sluice.


Verse 9

Jeremiah 6:9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.

Ver. 9. They shall thoroughly glean the remnant.] They shall make clean work of them. {as 20:45}


Verse 10

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear [is] uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Ver. 10. To whom shall I speak and give warning?] Heb., Protest - q.d., I know not where to meet with one teachable hearer in all Jerusalem.

Behold, their ear is uncircumcised.] Obstructed and stopped with the "superfluity of naughtiness," worse than any ear wax, or thick film overgrowing the organ of hearing. Tanquam monstra marina, surda aure Dei verba praetereunt.

The word of the Lord is unto them a reproach.] They take reproofs for reproaches. {as Luke 11:45}


Verse 11

Jeremiah 6:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with [him that is] full of days.

Ver. 11. Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord,] i.e., Of curses and menaces against this obstinate people. {as Jeremiah 4:19}

I am weary with holding in.] As hitherto I have done, and could still in compassion, but that of necessity I must obey God’s will, and be the messenger of his wrath. It is a folly to think that God’s ministers delight to fling daggers at men’s breasts, or handfuls of hell fire in their faces. Non nisi coactus, said he.

I will pour it forth.] I will denounce it, and then God will soon effect it. See on Jeremiah 1:10.


Verse 12

Jeremiah 6:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, [with their] fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD.

Ver. 12. With their fields and wives together.] These are mentioned as most dear to them; who could haply say as he did -

Haec alii capiant; liceat mihi paupere cultu

Secure chara coniuge posse frui. ”


Verse 13

Jeremiah 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one [is] given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

Ver. 13. Every one is given to covetousness.] Avet avaritia, eager for greed, is coveting covetise or excessively; crieth still, Give, give, with the horse leech; of which creature Pliny (a) observeth, and experience showeth, that it hath no through passage, but taketh much in, and letting nothing out, breaks and kills itself with sucking. So doth the covetous man.

Every one dealeth falsely.] Heb., Each one is doing falsehood, as if that were their common trade.


Verse 14

Jeremiah 6:14 They have healed also the hurt [of the daughter] of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace.

Ver. 14. They have healed also the hurt of … slightly.] Heb., Upon a slight or slighted thing. Secundum curationem mali leviculi; { a} as men use to cure the slight hurts of their children by blowing on them only, or stroking them over. Thus these deceitful workers dealt by God’s people, dallying with their deep and dangerous wounds, which they search not, neither cauterise, according to necessary severity.

Saying, Peace, peace.] Making all fair weather before them, whenas the storm of God’s wrath was even breaking out upon them, such a storm as should never blow over.


Verse 15

Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time [that] I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

Ver. 15. Were they at all ashamed] Their shamelessness was no small aggravation of their sin. Ita licet multas abominationes commiserunt Papistae sine verecundia, verecundari tamen non possunt, saith Dr John Raynolds. (a) Papists are frontless and shameless. Dr Story, for instance: - I see nothing, said he, before the parliament in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth, to be ashamed of, so less I see to be sorry for; but rather because I have done no more, &c.; wherein he said there was no default in him, but in the higher powers, who much against his mind had laboured only about the young and little sprigs and twigs, whiles they should have struck at the root and rooted it out, meaning thereby the Lady Elizabeth, whom also he afterwards daily cursed in his grace before his meal. And concerning his persecuting and burning the Protestants, he denied not but that he was once at the burning of an earwig (for so he termed it) at Uxbridge (Mr Denley, martyr), where he tossed a faggot at his face as he was singing psalms, and set a spiny evergreen bush of thorns under his feet, a little to prick him, &c. (b)


Verse 16

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein].

Ver. 16. Stand ye in the ways and see.] Duly deliberate and take time to consider whether you are in the right or not.

Ask for the old paths.] Chalked out in the Word, and walked in by the patriarchs. Think not, as some do today, by running through all religions to find out the right; for this is viam per aria quaerere, as Junius phraseth it; to seek a way where none is to be found. How many religions are there now among us! So many men, so many minds. Non est sciens hodie qui novitates non invenit, as one complained of old. He is nobody that cannot invent a new way; but as old wine is better, so is the old way; hold to it therefore. Quod primum verum, (a) That which was first is true; but beware of new truths that cannot be proven to be old. {as 1 John 2:7}

Qui veteres linquit, calles sequiturque novatos

Saepius in fraudes incidet ille suns. ”

But they said, We will not walk therein.] So Jeremiah 6:17, "But they said, We will not hearken." See the like resolute answers, Jeremiah 22:21; Jeremiah 44:16, savouring of a self-willed obstinace. It is easier to deal with twenty men’s reasons than with one man’s will. A wilful man stands as a stake in the midst of a stream, lets all pass by him, but he stands where he was. Luther saith of some of his Wittembergians, that so great was their obstinace, so headstrong and headlong they were, that the four elements could not bear it. Jeremiah seems here to say as much of his Jerusalemites. See Jeremiah 6:18-19.

{a} Alnar. Pelagius.


Verse 17

Jeremiah 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, [saying], Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

Ver. 17. Also I set watchmen over you,] i.e., Priests and prophets to watch for your welfare.

Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.] See on Jeremiah 6:8.

We will not hearken.] See on Jeremiah 6:16.


Verse 18

Jeremiah 6:18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what [is] among them.

Ver. 18. Therefore hear, O ye nations.] For this people will not hear me, though I speak never so good reason. Scaliger (a) telleth us that the nature of some kind of amber is such that it will draw to itself all kind of stalks of any herb, except basilisk, a herb called capitalis, because it makes men heady, filling their brains with black exhalations. Thus those who by the fumes of their own corrupt wills are grown headstrong, will not be drawn by that which draweth others who are not so prejudicated.

What is among them?] What their sins are; or, Quid in eos - sc., constituerim; what I have resolved to bring upon them; (b) or, Quae in eis, know, O congregation (of the saints) which art among them.


Verse 19

Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, [even] the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

Ver. 19. Hear, O earth.] In case none else will hear.

Even the fruit of their thoughts.] Why, then, should any man think that "thought is free?" Free they are from men’s courts and consistories, but not from God’s eye, law, or hand.


Verse 20

Jeremiah 6:20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings [are] not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.

Ver. 20. To what purpose cometh there to me incense?] Cui bono, so long as it smelleth of the foul hand that offereth it, so long as you think to bribe me with it? See Isaiah 1:14.

From Sheba.] Whence the Greeks seem to have their word σεβειν, to worship; and the Arabians call God - the adequate object of divine worship - Sabim, and a mystery, Saba.

And the sweet cane.] Heb., Cane the good. The Septuagint render it cinnamon; and the Vulgate, calamus; of which see Pliny, lib. xii. cap. 22.

From a far country.] From India, saith Jerome. Haec omnia bene in nostros Papistas quadrabunt.


Verse 21

Jeremiah 6:21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.

Ver. 21. Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks.] (a) Heb., Stumblements - i.e., occasions, preparations, and means to work their ruth and ruin; what these are, see Jeremiah 6:22.


Verse 22

Jeremiah 6:22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.

Ver. 22. Thus saith the Lord.] It is not in vain that this is so oft prefaced to the ensuing prophecies. Dictum Iehovae The word the Lord is very emphatic and authoritative.

Behold, a people cometh from the north.] This the prophet had oft foretold for forty years together; sed surdis fabulam, but he could not be believed.


Verse 23

Jeremiah 6:23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they [are] cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.

Ver. 23. They shall lay hold on bow and spear.] To destroy et eminus et comminus, both afar off and at hand.

Their voice roareth like the sea.] Which is so dreadful, that the horrible shriekings of the devils are set out by it [James 2:19). {a} They who would not hear the prophet’s sweet words, shall hear the enemies roaring in the midst of their congregations. {Psalms 74:4]


Verse 24

Jeremiah 6:24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, [and] pain, as of a woman in travail.

Ver. 24. Our hands wax feeble.] He modestly reckoneth himself among the rest, though the "arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob," [Genesis 49:24] and his "heart was fixed, trusting in the Lord." [Psalms 112:7]


Verse 25

Jeremiah 6:25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy [and] fear [is] on every side.

Ver. 25. Go not out into the field.] Since there is "no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in"; [2 Chronicles 15:5] but

Luctus ubique, pavor, et plurima mortis imago.

“Everywhere grief, panic and the images of the most dead.”


Verse 26

Jeremiah 6:26 O daughter of my people, gird [thee] with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, [as for] an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.

Ver. 26. Gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes.] The very heathens do so when in danger of a merciless enemy: Veniam irarum coelestium poscentes, saith Livy, (a) seeking the pardon of their sins and the favour of their gods.


Verse 27

Jeremiah 6:27 I have set thee [for] a tower [and] a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.

Ver. 27. I have set thee for a tower and a fortress.] Or, A fortified watch tower have I made thee among my people - i.e., to spy out and discover their dispositions and affections.


Verse 28

Jeremiah 6:28 They [are] all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: [they are] brass and iron; they [are] all corrupters.

Ver. 28. They are all grievous revolters.] Heb., Revolters of revolters. Chald., Princes of revolters, archrebels. Jeremiah, God’s champion, such as was wont to be set forth completely armed at the coronation of a king in this nation, findeth and reporteth them such here, and proveth it.

Walking with slanders.] Trotting up and down as pedlars, dropping a tale here and another there, contrary to Leviticus 19:16.

They are brass and iron.] Base and drossy, false and feculent metals. Silver and gold they would seem to be, a sincere and holy people; but they are malae monetae, base coinage, a degenerate and hypocritical generation. Adulterini sunt, nihil habentes probi, as Theodoret hath it here; naught, and good for nought; not unlike those stones brought home in great quantity by Captain Frobisher in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He thought them to be minerals and of good worth; but when there could be drawn from them neither gold nor silver, nor any other metal, they were cast forth to repair the highways. (a)

They are all corrupters.] Of themselves and of others.


Verse 29

Jeremiah 6:29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.

Ver. 29. The bellows are burnt.] The prophet’s lungs are spent; all their pains spilt upon a perverse people. See Ezekiel 24:6; Ezekiel 24:12-13. Jeremiah had blowed hard, as a smith or metallary doth with his bellows; he had suffered, as it were, by the heat of a most ardent fire in trying and melting his ore; he had used his best art also by casting in lead, as today they do quicksilver, to melt it the more easily, and with less loss and waste; but all to no purpose at all. Let us, to the wearing of our tongues to the stumps, preach never so much, men will on in sin, said Bradford. (a)

The lead is consumed.] All the melting judgments which, as lead is cast into the furnace to make it the hotter, God added to the ministry of the prophets to make the Word more operative, they will do no good.

The founder melteth in vain.] Whether God, the master founder, or the prophets, God’s co-founders or fellow workmen, as the apostle calleth them. [1 Corinthians 6:1]

The wicked are not plucked away.] Or, Their wickednesses; they will not part with their dross, or be divorced from their dilecta delicta, beloved sins. The vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord. [Isaiah 32:6]


Verse 30

Jeremiah 6:30 Reprobate silver shall [men] call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

Ver. 30. Reprobate (a) silver shall men call them.] Dross and refuse, rather than pure metal; "silver" they would seem to be, but their hypocrisy shall be made known to all men, who shall count them and call them "reprobate," because impurgabiles and inexpiabiles, uncounsellable and incorrigible; (b) a sure sign of reprobation, as Aquinas noteth from Hebrews 6:7-8.

For the Lord hath rejected them.] As refuse and counterfeit, such as will not pass in payment. (c) Hence they are to be cast into Babylon’s iron furnace ( quasi antro Aetnaeo et Cyclopico adhuc decoquendi), a type of that eternal fire of hell prepared of old for the devil and reprobates.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 6:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-6.html. 1865-1868.

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Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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