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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jeremiah 9

 

 

Verse 1

Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

Ver. 1. Oh that mine head were waters.] Mira sermonis transfiguratione utitur propheta, A wonderful wish of this weeping prophet, and to be taken up by God’s faithful ministers, considering the woeful condition of their perishing people, posting to perdition. Pia est illa tristitia, et si dici potest, beata miseria, Appease this sadness and if able to be said, bless this woe, saith Augustine; (a) this is a sweet sorrow, a blessed misery. Such waters will be turned into wine, at the wedding day of the Lamb; for which purpose also they are kept safe in God’s bottle. [Psalms 56:8]

And mine eyes a fountain of tears.] That there might be a perennity of them. The same word in Hebrew signifieth both an eye and a fountain; both because the eye is of a watery constitution, and for that our eye should trickle down and not cease for our own and other men’s sins and miseries. [Lamentations 3:49] Athanasius by his tears, as by the bleeding of a chaste vine, is said to have cured the leprosy of that tainted age. (b)


Verse 2

Jeremiah 9:2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they [be] all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

Ver. 2. Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place.] Some sorry shed, such as those worthies had who dwelt in dens and caves of the earth, [Hebrews 11:38] such as Athanasius had, who lived, say some, six years in a well without the light of the sun, forsaken of friends, and everywhere hunted by enemies; such as the ancient hermits and monks had, who, because they lived in caves and subterranean holes, they were named Mandrites (a) and Troglodites. A godly man desireth to converse as much as may be with God, and as little as may be with men, unless they were better. Lot had little joy of Sodom; [2 Peter 2:7-8] Aaron of the Israelites: "Thou knowest," saith he to Moses, "that this people is wholly set upon wickedness"; [Exodus 32:22] and indeed so is the whole world. [Job 5:19; Job 2:10] Hence good men are oft put upon David’s wish, "Oh that I had the wings of a dove." [Psalms 55:6] Or if that "Oh" will not set them at liberty, they take up that "Woe" of his to express their misery, "Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech." [Psalms 120:5] Who will give me a traveller’s lodge in the wilderness, that I might leave my people, whose wicked courses are a continual eyesore and heartbreak unto me?

For they are all adulterers.] Both corporal and spiritual.

An assembly of treacherous.] A pack of perfidious wretches; a rabble of rebels conspiring against heaven. [Isaiah 1:4]


Verse 3

Jeremiah 9:3 And they bend their tongues [like] their bow [for] lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.

Ver. 3. And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies.] To the impeaching of others in their name, state, and life. I read that in Italy, at this day, they have a pocketstone bow, which, held under a cloak, shoots needles with violence to pierce a man’s body, yet leaveth a wound scarce discernible. (a) Lo, such is an evil tongue, and such mischief it may do a man.

But they are not valiant for the truth.] Truth is no part of their profession; and courage in a good cause they have none. Of the most we may say, as of harts and stags, they have great horns, but to little purpose; or as Themistocles said of the Eretrians, (b) that they were like the swordfish, which hath a sword indeed, but not a heart to make use of it.

And they know not me, saith the Lord.] The low apprehensions men have of God, make their hearts work so poorly after him. [Psalms 9:10]


Verse 4

Jeremiah 9:4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

Ver. 4. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour.] Since there is scarce any to be trusted. The poets tell us, that when Pallas had taught people to build a house, Momus found this fault with it, that it was fixed to a place and not set upon wheels; to the end that if men liked not their neighbourhood, they might remove at pleasure. A good neighbour is a rare bird. (a)

And trust ye not in any brother.] See Micah 7:5-6, with the notes.

For every brother will utterly supplant.] (b) Singula verba hic habent pondus et pathos ingens. Here each word hath its weight, each syllable its substance.


Verse 5

Jeremiah 9:5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, [and] weary themselves to commit iniquity.

Ver. 5. They have taught their tongues to speak lies.] They are artists at it, and can tack one lie to another very handsomely. [Psalms 119:69] {See Trapp on "Psalms 119:69"}


Verse 6

Jeremiah 9:6 Thine habitation [is] in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.

Ver. 6. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit,] i.e., Of deceitful persons, who have honey in their tongues, but gall in their hearts; Aliud in labris, aliud in fibris. Another in the vat, another in the glass.

They refuse to know me.] Ut liberius peccent, libenter ignorant; they are wilfully ignorant, [2 Peter 3:3; 2 Peter 3:5] so wedded and wedged they are to their fraudulent practices.


Verse 7

Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?

Ver. 7. Behold, I will melt them and try them.] I will cast them into the fiery crucible of sharp affliction. A metaphor from metallaries. See Jeremiah 6:29.

For how should I do for the daughter of my people?] i.e., How should I do otherwise? What can I do less to them though they are my people, since they are so shamelessly, so lawlessly wicked? An unruly patient maketh a cruel physician; a desperate disease must have a desperate remedy.


Verse 8

Jeremiah 9:8 Their tongue [is as] an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: [one] speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

Ver. 8. Their tongue is as an arrow shot out.] It is both a bow [Jeremiah 9:3] and a shaft, and that a slaughtering shaft, as some copies have it here; Culter iugulans, a murdering knife, some render it. (a) So Psalms 42:10. As with a murdering weapon in my bones, mine enemies reproach me. Reckon thou, saith one, Sennacherib and Rabshakeh among the first and chiefest kill Christs, because ever an honest mind is more afflicted with words than with blows.

It speaketh deceit.] See Psalms 52:2. {See Trapp on "Psalms 52:5"}

He speaketh peaceably, but in his heart he layeth his wait.] Such a one was the tyrant Tiberius and our Richard III, who would use most compliments and show greatest signs of love and courtesy, to him in the morning, whose throat he had taken order to be cut that evening. (b)


Verse 9

Jeremiah 9:9 Shall I not visit them for these [things]? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

Ver. 9. Shall I not visit them?] See on Jeremiah 5:9.


Verse 10

Jeremiah 9:10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through [them]; neither can [men] hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.

Ver. 10. For the mountains will I take up a weeping.] Accingit se Tropheta ad luctum. Jeremiah was better at weeping than Heraclitus, and from a better principle. Lachrymas angustiae exprimit Crux: lachrymas poenitentiae peccatum: lachrymas sympathiae, affectus humanitatis, vel Christianitatis: lachrymas nequitiae, vel hypocrisis vel vindictae cupiditas. Jeremiah’s tears were of the best sort.

Because they are burnt up.] The Rabbis tell us, that after the people were carried captive to Babylon, the land of Jewry was burnt up with sulphur and salt. But this may well pass for a Jewish fable.

Both the fowl of the heaven.] See Jeremiah 4:25.


Verse 11

Jeremiah 9:11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, [and] a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.

Ver. 11. And I will make Jerusalem heaps.] So small a distance is there, saith Seneca, between a great city and none. The world is as full of mutation as of motion.

And a den of dragons.] Because she made mine house a den of thieves. [Jeremiah 7:11]


Verse 12

Jeremiah 9:12 Who [is] the wise man, that may understand this? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?

Ver. 12. Who is the wise man, that he may understand this?] This who and who, denoteth a great paucity of such wise ones, as consider common calamities in the true causes of them, propter quid pereat haec terra, for what the land perisheth, and that great sins produce grievous judgments. The most are apt to say, with those Philistines, It is a chance; to attribute their sufferings to fate or fortune, to accuse God of injustice, rather than to accept of the punishment of their iniquity.

And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken?] q.d., Is there never a one of your prophets that will set you right herein? but the dust of covetousness hath put out their eyes, and they can better sing Placentia than Lachrymae, &c.


Verse 13

Jeremiah 9:13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;

Ver. 13. And the Lord saith.] Or, Therefore the Lord saith, q.d., Because neither yourselves know, nor have any else to tell you, the true cause of your calamities; hear it from God’s own mouth.


Verse 14

Jeremiah 9:14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:

Ver. 14. But have walked after the imagination of their own heart.] Than the which they could not have chosen a worse guide, since it is evil, "only evil," and "continually" so. [Genesis 6:5] {See Trapp on "Genesis 6:5"}

Which their fathers taught them.] See Jeremiah 7:18.


Verse 15

Jeremiah 9:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, [even] this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Ver. 15. Behold, I will feed them with wormwood,] i.e., With bitter afflictions. Et haec poena inobedientiae fidei respondet. And this penalty answers to disobiedent faith. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways; [Proverbs 14:14] he shall have his belly full of them, as we use to say. See Jeremiah 8:14.


Verse 16

Jeremiah 9:16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.

Ver. 16. And I will scatter them also among the heathen.] As had been forethreatened. [Deuteronomy 28:15-68 Leviticus 26:14-39] But men will not believe till they feel. They read the threats of God’s law, as they do the old stories of foreign wars, and as if they lived out of the reach of God’s rod.


Verse 17

Jeremiah 9:17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning [women], that they may come:

Ver. 17. Consider ye.] Intelligentes estote. Is not your hard heartedness such as that ye need such a help to do that wherein you should be forward and free hearted? The Hollanders and French fast, saith one, (a) but, without exprobration be it spoken, they had need to send for mourning women, that by their cunning they may be taught to mourn.

And call for the mourning women.] In planetum et omne pathos faciles, (b) such as could make exquisite lamentation, and cunningly act the part of mourners at funerals, so as to wring tears from the beholders. These the Latins called Praeficas, quia luctui praeficiebantur, because they had the chief hand in funeral mournings; for the better carrying on whereof they both sang doleful ditties, {see 2 Chronicles 35:25} and played on certain heavily sounding instruments, [Matthew 9:23] whence the poet -

Cantabit maestis tibia funeribus. ” - Ovid.

“He will play with the pipe by a gloomy funeral.”


Verse 18

Jeremiah 9:18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.

Ver. 18. And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us.] Of this vanity or affectation God approveth not, as neither he did of the Olympic games, of usury, of that custom at Corinth, [1 Corinthians 15:29] which yet he maketh his use of.


Verse 19

Jeremiah 9:19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast [us] out.

Ver. 19. For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled!] (a) Quis tragoediam aptius et magis graphice depingeret? What tragedy was ever set forth, and in more lively expressions?


Verse 20

Jeremiah 9:20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation.

Ver. 20. Yet hear the word of the Lord, O ye women.] For souls have no sexes, and ye are likely to have your share as deep as any in the common calamity. You also are mostly more apt to weep than men, and may sooner work your men to godly sorrow than those lamentations.


Verse 21

Jeremiah 9:21 For death is come up into our windows, [and] is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, [and] the young men from the streets.

Ver. 21. For death is come up into our windows,] i.e., The killing Chaldees break in upon us at any place of entrance, doors or windows. [Joel 2:9 John 10:1] The ancients give us warning here to see to our senses - those windows of wickedness - that sin get not into the soul thereby, and death by sin.


Verse 22

Jeremiah 9:22 Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather [them].

Ver. 22. Speak, Thus saith the Lord.] Heb., Speak, it is the Lord’s saying; and therefore thou mayest be bold to speak it. So 1 Thessalonians 4:15, "For I say unto you in (or, by) the word of the Lord."

And as the handful after the harvestman.] Death shall cut them up by handfuls, and lay them heaps upon heaps.


Verse 23

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches:

Ver. 23. Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,] q.d., You bear yourselves bold upon your wisdom, wealth, strength, and other such seeming supports and deceitful foundations, as if these could save you from the evils threatened. But all these will prove like a shadow that declineth - delightful, but deceitful; as will well appear at the hour of death. Charles V, whom, of all men, the world judged most happy, cursed his honours, a little before his death, his victories, trophies, and riches, saying, Abite hinc, abite longe; get you far enough, for any good ye can now do me. Abi, perdita bestia, quae me totum perdidisti; begone, thou wretched creature, that hast utterly undone me, said Cornelius Agrippa, the magician, to his familiar spirit, when he lay dying. So may many say of their worldly wisdom, wealth, &c.

Let not the wise man glory.] Let not those of great parts be headstrong, or top heavy; let them not think to wind out by their wiles and shifts.

Let not the mighty man glory.] Fortitudo nostra est infirmitatis in veritate cognitio, et in humilitate confessio. (a)

Nor the rich man glory in his riches.] Since they avail not in the day of wrath. [Zephaniah 1:18] {See Trapp on "Zephaniah 1:18"}


Verse 24

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD.

Ver. 24. But let him that glorieth, glory in this.] And yet not in this either, unless he can do it with self-denial and lowly mindedness. "Let him glory only in the Lord," saith Paul. The pride of virginity is as foul a sin as impurity, saith Augustine; so here.


Verse 25

Jeremiah 9:25 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all [them which are] circumcised with the uncircumcised;

Ver. 25. That I will punish all them, &c.] Promiscuously and impartially.

That are circumcised.] Some read it, The circumcised in uncircumcision. Unregenerate Israel, notwithstanding their circumcision, are to God as Ethiopians. [Amos 9:7]


Verse 26

Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all [that are] in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all [these] nations [are] uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel [are] uncircumcised in the heart.

Ver. 26. That are in the utmost corners.] Heb., Praecisos in lateribus, polled by the corner; (a) which was the Arabian fashion, saith Herodotus. See Jeremiah 49:32.

For all these nations are uncircumcised,] scil., In heart, though circumcised in the flesh, as now also the Turks are.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-9.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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