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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jeremiah 19

 

 

Verses 1-13

Second Symbol:—The Broken Vessel

Jeremiah 19, 20

1. The symbolic action and its interpretation

Jeremiah 19:1-13

1Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah], Go and get [buy] a potter’s earthen bottle [vessel],[FN1] and take [some] of the ancients [elders][FN2] of the people, and of the ancients2[elders] of the priests; And go forth into the valley of the Son of Hinnom [valley of Ben-Hinnom], which is by the entry of the east [Potters’] gate,[FN3] and 3 proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee, And say, Hear ye the word of the Lord [Jehovah], O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus saith the Lord of hosts [Jehovah Zebaoth] the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring evil upon 4 this place, the which whosoever heareth,[FN4] his ears shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged[FN5] this place, and have burned incense in it to other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and 5 have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons [children] with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.

6Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord [Jehovah], that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The Valley of the Son of Hinnom [valley of 7 Ben-Hinnom] but The Valley of Slaughter. And I will make void [pour out] the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of them that seek their lives; and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the 8 beasts of the earth [land]. And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing [a horror of desolation and a derision]; every one that passes thereby [through] shall be astonished and hiss[deride] because of all the plagues thereof.[FN6] And I will 9 cause them to eat the flesh of their sons, and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.[FN7]

10Then shalt thou break the bottle [pitcher] in the sight of the men that go with thee 11 And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts [Jehovah Zebaoth], Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Tophet, till [because] there be12[is] no place [room] to bury [elsewhere]. Thus will I do unto this place, saith the Lord [Jehovah], and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet: 13and the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be denied as the place of Tophet, [because of][FN8] all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out[FN9] drink-offerings unto other gods.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet receives the command to buy another pitcher from the potter, and in company with the elders of the people and priests to betake himself to the valley of Ben-Hinnom, near a gate, which appears here under the name of the Potter’s gate ( Jeremiah 19:1-2). There he is to proclaim the words which we read in Jeremiah 19:3-13. In these words a severe divine judgment is first proclaimed in general ( Jeremiah 19:3). Then the crimes are narrated in detail, which the people and the kings of Judah have committed in this place. Then the divine punishments are mentioned, of which the witness and theatre will be the valley of Ben-Hinnom or Tophet: 1. This will be called the Valley of Slaughter, ( Jeremiah 19:6), in consequence of the slaughter, which after the failure of the plans determined on by the people (here the prophet must have made the gesture of pouring out of the pitcher), both the enemy will make among the people, and the people among themselves ( Jeremiah 19:8-9). 2. The people and city shall be broken in pieces, which the prophet indicates by the breaking of the pitcher; Tophet for lack of room shall become a place of interment, and the city, with all the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal, shall become a place like the desolate and unclean Tophet ( Jeremiah 19:10-13).

Jeremiah 19:1-2. Thus saith … I shall tell thee. This opening is like that in Jeremiah 17:19bottle, Heb. bakbuk, is an earthen pitcher with a long neck. The sound of the word seems to imitate the noise of water being poured out.—Comp. the Greek βόμβυλος, βομβύλη, and the German Kutterkrug.—Elders of the priests are mentioned besides only in Isaiah 37:2 ( 2 Kings 19:2). Whether they are identical with the princes or chief of the priests ( 2 Chronicles 26:14; Nehemiah 12:7) or only in general the most respectable of the priests is doubtful. Comp. Oehler, in Herzog, R-Enc., XII. S. 183.—Valley of Ben-Hinnom. Comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 7:31 coll. Jeremiah 2:23.—By the entry (פתח), comp. Genesis 18:1; Judges 9:35, etc.Naegelsb. Gr., § 70, c.—Potter’s gate. 1. concerning the form, comp. Textual Notes2. As to the meaning, (a) some of the older Rabbins, cited by Kimchi, who however does not agree with them, are of opinion that the word is to be derived from חֶרֶם sun, and that by the sun-gate is to be understood the eastern gate of the temple, since there was no gate in the city-wall to the South. So also Teemellius, Piscator, J. D. Michaelis and Hitzig, but they would have the southern gate of the outer court (a solis æstu sic dictam) understood to be the nearest way to Tophet. (b) The other commentators agree in deriving חַרִסִית from הֶרֶם, testa. But opinions greatly differ whether the gate was so called because the potsherds were thrown out there [the Chaldee paraphrast renders: the dung-gate], or because the potters lived in its vicinity, or because the clay-pits were just outside the gate. The last is the view of Hofmann (Weiss, u. Erf. II, S. 124, etc. Vid. Comm. on731). Apart from the etymological signification of the word Tophet, which Hofmann gives, it is in favor of this interpretation that this same place is called in Matthew 27:7ἀγρὸς τοῦ κεραμέως (observe the generic article). This name decidedly favors the supposition that the place stood in closer relation to pottery than that of a mere depository of potsherds. White clay, a kind of pipe-clay, is also still dug there. Comp. Herzog, R-Enc, 5. S475; Raumer, Pal. S. 306. Finally the choice of an earthen pitcher for the prophetic symbol must have been occasioned by the inner relation which the pitcher bore to the place of the action. If it was merely intended to indicate that death and destruction would come upon Jerusalem even so as to fill Tophet with corpses, the breaking and throwing away of any other object would have answered as well. But Jeremiah is to take an earthen pitcher because Tophet was the place where such vessels were produced, consequently nothing was more natural than to choose for this place of breaking an object to be broken which originated there, in connection with which it is not to be denied that other reasons, as the comparatively easy frangibility, and the climax in relation to Jeremiah 18. (there transformation, here destruction) may have co-operated. And by all this also it. is not disputed that the potters may have lived in the vicinity of the clay-pits, and that the same place may have served at the same time for the deposit of potsherds and other refuse3. To what gate otherwise known does the pottery-gate correspond? The name occurs here only. The remark on1719 is here confirmed that the names of the gates of Jerusalem have been often changed. Many commentators proceed, as we have remarked, on the hypothesis that the city wall had no gates to the South. That this is an error will now scarcely be doubted by anyone. Comp. Raumer, Pal, S. 291. On the southern side of the city were the well-gate [Zion-gate?—S. R. A.] and the dung-gate. Both opened on the Tyropæum, both therefore conducted to Tophet, the former being nearer to this place. But the latter corresponds better to the character of Tophet as an unclean spot, receiving the impurities of the city. Here also the cloaca Betzo disembogued. “The site of this gate,” says Raumer, S. 352, “is the lowest point of the city, to which all the filth of the city and the ravine of Siloah descends.”—[Comp. Thomson, The Land and the Book, II:497]. A definite conclusion is however not to be reached with respect to things concerning which so much uncertainty still prevails.

Jeremiah 19:3-5. And say … into my mind. Here it is not recorded, as in Jeremiah 18:3, that the prophet performed the command received in Jeremiah 19:1-2, and thereupon in the valley of Hinnom received the revelation contained in Jeremiah 19:3 sqq. For there ( Jeremiah 18.) the revelation to be received was occasioned by the observations made at the potter’s (183, 4). There is no similar occasion here, so that Jeremiah 19:3 proceeds at once to communicate the revelation.—And say, reads as though the previous discourse were continued, which cannot be the case on account of I shall tell. We shall not err if we attribute the mode of expression here chosen to the written representation.—Kings of Judah. Here, as in Jeremiah 19:4 coll1313; 1720 the prophet has in view not only the person of the present, king, but the kingdom of Judah generally.—This place is here, in accordance with what follows. Tophet.—They, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 16:13; Jeremiah 44:3; Jeremiah 44:2—Have filled. On the verbal form comp. Comm. on184.—Blood of innocents. According to the connection and Psalm 106:37-38 we must understand this of the blood of the children offered in sacrifice.

Jeremiah 19:5 is almost verbatim the same as Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 32:35. Comp. the remarks on the first of these passages.

Jeremiah 19:6-9. Therefore behold … shall straiten them. After, in Jeremiah 19:4-5, the abominations practised in Tophet have been enumerated, the announcement is now made of the corresponding punishments. This announcement, which appears to be a specification of the summary denunciation in Jeremiah 19:3 b, is made in two stages, of which the first ( Jeremiah 19:6-9) is accompanied by the gesture of pouring out ( Jeremiah 19:7), and the second by the act of breaking ( Jeremiah 19:10).—The days come, etc., Jeremiah 19:6. Comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 7:32.—Pour out. Isaiah 24:1; Nahum 2:3. What is poured out falls to the ground, which is frequently used as a figurative expression for coming to naught. Comp. 1 Samuel 3:19; 2 Kings 10:10.—In this place. Is this the term, in quo, or in quern? I believe the latter. In Tophet all the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem is to find its tragical end, as this is indeed expressed by the name Valley of Slaughter, and by burying in Tophet ( Jeremiah 19:11) and by becoming like Tophet ( Jeremiah 19:12).—I will give, etc. Comp730; 164.—A hissing, Jeremiah 19:8. Comp1816; 259, 18; 5137.—Every one, etc. Comp. 1 Kings 9:8; Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 49:17; Jeremiah 1:13.

Jeremiah 19:9 is taken entire from Deuteronomy 28:53-55 ( Leviticus 26:29). Comp. Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:10. As historical analogies, comp. 2 Kings 6:28-29. Joseph, Bell. Jud., 43, 3–5.

Jeremiah 19:10-13. Then shalt thou break … unto other gods. The second stage of the symbolic action. The progress consists in this, that by the breaking of the pitcher the total ruin of the city and people (therefore not merely of individuals) and by the casting into Tophet its desolation and defilement, or in other words its becoming itself Tophet, is symbolized.’—As one breaketh ( Jeremiah 19:11). Comp. Comm. on526; 629; 84; 103; 1211; Naegelsb. Gr., § 101, 2, b.—Cannot be made whole again. Though uttered concerning another object, we find the same words verbatim in Deuteronomy 28:27; Deuteronomy 28:35.—And they shall bury, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 7:32. These words being wanting in the LXX, have been suspected. But they stand in a good connection, and correspond to the casting out, by which the pitcher was not merely broken but buried in Tophet. Consequently by this act Tophet is as it were dedicated to the purposes of a cemetery. Jeremiah says interments will be made in Tophet for want of room. This prophecy may have been fulfilled after the destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar (comp. Jeremiah 32:29) though we have no positive statements to this effect. But Tophet. having once become a place of burial, must have accomplished this destination afterwards in a significant manner. It is the ἀγρὸς τοῦ κεραμέως which was bought with the price of blood for the burial-place of pilgrims ( Matthew 27:3 sqq.; Acts 1:18-19). And still at the present day Aceldama is the burial-place of pilgrims dying in Jerusalem; indeed the whole of the valley surrounding Zion on the West and South, on its right side, contains numerous rock sepulchres, a true “Necropolis,” says Raumer. Comp. his Pal, S. 306.

Jeremiah 19:12. Thus will I do, etc. The Lord will do to the city as is indicated by the breaking of the pitcher. Thus will Jerusalem become a heap of ruins, and unclean, for the want of room presupposes that even the city itself will be full of corpses. Therefore we find וְ before לָתֵת = and indeed. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 17:10.—Shall be defiled, (הטמאים). [Henderson renders: which are polluted, shall be as this place; Hitzig, Umbreit, Naegelsbach: shall be as the place of Tophet, the unclean, or unclean.—S. R. A.]. Since the Hebrew in a much higher degree than our modern languages is capable of the constructio ad sensum, since especially an ideal plural is often contained in singular words (comp. 1 Kings 5:17; 2 Samuel 15:23. Naegelsb. Gr., § 105, 2f.) so the connection of the singular Tophet with הטמאים presents in itself no difficulty. Only it is not clear what are the several elements included in the unity of Tophet. Hofmann and others suppose them to be graves, a referred above, on Jeremiah 7:31, to altars. This word is certainly elsewhere used as feminine. But in respect also to gender, the same ideal construction prevails in the Hebrew. (Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 60, 4). It appears to me therefore that the prophet had here the places of worship in view. These he calls unclean both en account of the abominations practised there, and the defilements caused by Josiah, 2 Kings 23:10. The other renderings (defiled as the predicate, or as in apposition to houses or to place or another division of the words: תֹּבְּתֵּה טְמֵאִֹים) are opposed by such strong grammatical objections, that the remaining uncertainty of our explanation is scarce worth consideration in comparison with them. The houses of Jerusalem will however in this sense be like Tophet, that the place where they now stand, will in the future become as desolate and unclean as it.—Upon the roofs. Comp. Zephaniah 1:5; 2 Kings 23:12. J. D. Michaelis quotes Strabo (16. p1131): Ναβαταῖοι (comp. 1 Maccabees 5:25; 1 Maccabees 9:35) ἥλιον τιμῶσιν ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος ίδρυσάμενοι βωμὸν, σπένδοντες ἐν αὐτῷκαθ ἡμέραν καὶ λιβανίζοντες.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 19:1.—בקבק is found as an appellative in 1 Kings 14:3, and as a proper name in Ezra 2:51; Nehemiah 7:53, coll. בַּקְסֻּקְיָה, Nehemiah 11:17; Nehemiah 12:9; Nehemiah 12:25. Gesenius (Thes., I, p232 [Lax. s, v.]) derives it from בקק, evacuavit (comp. Jeremiah 19:7), according to the analogy of חַרְחֻר,בַּרְבֻדִים, etc. So also Olsh. § 190, e. [Hitzig renders: a bottle,—Naegelsb.: a pitcher,—from the maker of earthenware.—S. R. A.]—יוצר חרשׂ. There is also יֹצְרֵי פֶסֶל, Isaiah 44:9 coll. Isaiah 54:16-17. חרשׂ synonymous with חֶרֶם, is that which has become dry and rough by heat. (Comp. חֶרֶם, scabies a scabiendo, as Krätze from kratzen in German), Deuteronomy 28:27, and חֶרֶם, sun, in Judges 8:13; Job 9:7; then especially the burnt earthenware: בְּלִי ח׳, Leviticus 6:21, etc. נִבְלֵי ח׳, Lamentations 4:2.

FN#2 - Jeremiah 19:1.—ומזקני ו׳. LXX, καὶ ἂξεις ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβντέρων, etc. They certainly did not read וְלָקַחְתָּ, but correctly supplied it from וְקָנִיתָ, for the prophet was not merely to buy the pitcher, but to take it with him. It is a species of very bold construction peægnins, the verb to be supplied governing not the preposition present in the sentence, but the preposition of a second sentence, connected by וְ, to which it forms a predicate, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 112, 7.

FN#3 - Jeremiah 19:2.—שַׁעַר חַחַרְסִית. The form חַרְסוּת is not the later, as Hitzig supposes, but חַרְסִית is the only form used by the Rabbins, and from this both the Keri and the Χαρσείθ (LXX.) or Ἁρσίθ (Aqu, Symm, Theod.), of the Greek translators is to be explained. The Syriac text in the London Polyglot strangely has Chadsit.

FN#4 - Jeremiah 19:3—Comp. 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Kings 21:12. As to the construction1. בָּל־שֹׁמְעָה Partic. absolutum to be resolved into a hypothetical sentence. (Comp. Exodus 12:15; Numbers 21:3 : Naegelsb. Gr., § 97, 2 b); 2. אֲשֶׁר is accusative, attracted by שׁמְעָתּ; 3. The apodosis on account of the brevity of the sentence is without the connecting Vau. (Comp. Genesis 4:15; Ruth 1:16-17). תִּצַלְנָה for תְּצִלֶּינָה (so in 1 Samuel 3:11) according to the Aramaic formation. Comp. Ewald, § 197, a; Olsh, § 243, b, d.

FN#5 - Jeremiah 19:4.—וינכרו ו׳ LXX. ἀπηλλοτρίωσαν; Vulg, alienum fecerunt. This rendering accords both with the connection and the etymology of the word. The latter occurs in Piel besides only in Deuteronomy 32:7; 1 Samuel 23:7; Job 21:29; Job 34:19. With the exception of the passages in Job, in which the Piel evidently has the meaning of the Hiphil, the meaning is everywhere appropriate, “to estrange one’s self or another.”

FN#6 - Jeremiah 19:8.—On the suffix form in מַכֹּתֵהָ comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 44, 4 Anm. coll. Olsh, § 131, 1.

FN#7 - Jeremiah 19:9.—אשר יציקו להם wherewith they procure them distress ( Deuteronomy 28:53; Deuteronomy 28:55; Deuteronomy 28:57). אשׁר is the Acc. instrumentalis (comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 70, i.); הֵצִיק, is that Hiphil, which has the substantive idea contained in the verb with respect to the nearer object (comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 69, 1 Anm. 2; Judges 16:16; Isaiah 29:2; Isaiah 29:7).

FN#8 - Jeremiah 19:13.—לְ .לכל is distributive. Comp. Ezekiel 44:9. Naegelsb. Gr., § 112, 5 b.

FN#9 - Jeremiah 19:13.—והסד. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:17 sqq. coll. Jeremiah 32:29. With respect to the construction, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 92, 2 a.


Verse 14

2. THE OPPOSITION AND PUNISHMENT OF PASHUR

Jeremiah 19:14 to Jeremiah 20:6

14Then came Jeremiah [back] from Tophet, whither the Lord [Jehovah] had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] house; and 15 said to all the people, Thus saith the Lord of hosts [Jehovah Zebaoth], the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.

1XX. Now Pashur, the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor[FN10] in the house of the Lord, heard [that] Jeremiah prophesied [prophesy] these things 2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks [prison] that were [was] in the high gate of Benjamin, [the Benjamin-gate, the upper] which was 3 by [in] the house of the Lord [Jehovah]. And it came to pass on the morrow that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks [prison]. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The Lord [Jehovah] hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib, 4[“Terror round about”]. For thus saith the Lord [Jehovah], Behold, I will make thee [give thee up] a [to] terror to [for] thyself and to [for] all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them 5 captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword. Moreover I will deliver all the strength [store][FN11] of this city, and all the labours [gains] thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to 6 Babylon. And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet betakes himself back from Tophet into the temple, and probably repeats there his predictions of calamity ( Jeremiah 19:14-15). For this he is struck by Pashur, the governor of the temple, and committed to prison for the night ( Jeremiah 20:1-2). Released from this confinement in the morning, Jeremiah announces to Pashur that the Lord has changed his name to Magor-missabib, for he will be given up, a prey to the torments of mortal anguish, his friends shall be slain before his eyes, Judah carried away to Babylon, all its treasures plundered; he himself shall survive all this, and die and be buried in Babylon, the prophet of lies in the midst of those whom he has deceived ( Jeremiah 19:4-6).

Jeremiah 19:14-15. Then came Jeremiah … my words. As these words are closely connected with the previous context וַיָבֹא, Jeremiah 19:14, corresponds to יָצָאתָ. In antithesis to יָצָא however בוֹא has always the meaning of return. Comp. Numbers 27:17; Deuteronomy 28:6; 1 Chronicles 11:2; Psalm 121:8; Psalm 126:6.

Jeremiah 19:15. Thus saith, etc. It is incredible that Jeremiah spoke only these few words in the temple. He would then have said nothing new, and have given no motive to the evidently increased anger of the temple-governor. We must therefore refer all that I have pronounced specially to the words spoken in Tophet, and assume a repetition of these words, in order that the reference might be understood.—I will bring. Comp. 2 Samuel 5:2; Micah 1:15, etc. Olsh, § 38, c.; § 208, d.—All her towns. Comp. Joshua 10:37; Joshua 10:39; Joshua 13:17; Jeremiah 34:1; Zechariah 7:7.—Hardened, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 17:23; Jeremiah 7:26.—That they might not hear. Comp. Jeremiah 16:12; Jeremiah 18:10; Jeremiah 42:13.

Jeremiah 20:1-6. Now Pashurheard … prophesied lies. According to Ezra 2:38; Ezra 10:22; Nehemiah 7:41, there was a course of priests of the name Pashur. Not of this, however, but of the course named as that of Immer in these passages (comp. 1 Chronicles 24:14) was the Pashur of the text. He is not mentioned elsewhere. For though the name frequently occurs ( Jeremiah 21:1; Jeremiah 38:1; 1 Chronicles 9:12; Nehemiah 10:3; Nehemiah 11:12), none of the individuals designated by it can be regarded as identical with this Pashur. It is at most possible that the father of Gedaliah mentioned in Jeremiah 38:1 may be the same. Comp. Hitzig. ad loc.Chief governor. The expression involves that there were several overseers (comp. Joseph. Antiqq., X:8, 5). Without doubt the temple-watch (comp. Winer, R-W-B, Art, Tempel at the end) was under the orders of the “governor.” From a comparison of Jeremiah 29:25-26, with Jeremiah 52:24, it seems that the temple-governor took the second rank to the high-priest. As the head of the temple-police, Pashur now puts Jeremiah into the מַהְכֶּכֶת. The expression occurs besides only in Jeremiah 29:26; 2 Chronicles 16:10. It is without doubt a contrivance for shutting up in כ crooked position (στρεβλωτήριον. Symm. ποδοστράβη). Comp. Acts 16:24.—Gate of Benjamin, etc. From Jeremiah 37:13; Jeremiah 38:7, it is evident that there was a city-gate which led into the territory of the tribe of Benjamin, and was therefore called the gate of Benjamin. The one mentioned in the text is expressly distinguished from this as a temple-gate. The same name intimates identity of cause. We must then look for this temple-gate also in the direction of Benjamin, i.e., to the north. The upper gate corresponds to the upper court, forming one of the entrances to it. Whether this upper gate of Benjamin is the same with the new gate, leading to the upper court ( Jeremiah 36:10; Jeremiah 26:10) which, according to 2 Kings 15:35, was built by Jotham, is questionable. Comp. Ezekiel 8:3; Ezekiel 14:5; Ezekiel 9:2.—Not called Pashur, Jeremiah 20:3. The signification of the name Pashur is very obscure. Most commentators derive the word from the Arabic pasaha=amplius fuit, and סְחוֹרcircumcirca. Hence Fuerst: extension—around. Others from בּושׁ, Leviticus 13:5; Leviticus 13:7, and חור, Joshua 29:22, as though “the widely extended authority of the Prayer of Manasseh, making all pale” (comp. Neumann), were indicated. Ewald renders Joy (כַּשׁ or כָּשׁ from כִּשׁ, Malachi 3:20) around (as though חוֹר were pronounced חוֹל). Meier: Spirit of the free (כַּשׁ as in Job 35:15=extension, high spirit, pride;חוֹר=חוּרthe noble, the free). Hitzig and Graf cannot dispute that Jeremiah had the etymology, obscure as it is to us, in view, for how otherwise can we explain the choice of the name which he gave to the priest? It is certainly natural that Pashur should have some meaning opposed to that of the name Magor-missabib. It is noteworthy that the explanation afterwards given in Jeremiah 20:4, sqq, corresponds exactly to this name, in so far as Pashur seems to be always surrounded by terrors, but never himself brought to extremity, for he is to die and be buried in Babylon ( Jeremiah 20:6). In this sense the words thine eyes shall see, are especially important. For by these the position of a man is designated, who is not himself reached by the most terrible calamity, but is compelled continually to behold how this comes upon others, and therefore does not escape the torture of anxiety. I would therefore neither render לִךָthee, after נתֶנְךָ as distributive ( Jeremiah 19:13), nor would I allow it to depend on the latter, but on מָגוֹר, terror:I give thee up to fear for thyself and thy friends. This is to be the specific punishment of Pashur, that he is not visited by death itself, but by the constant fear of death.—To whom thou hast prophesied lies. From these concluding words we learn that Pashur was active, not merely as a priest, but also as prophet. But his prophetic office was assumed and false; and his behaviour toward Jeremiah may, in part at least, be thus accounted for.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 18:2. “What is the prophet of God to learn in the house of the potter? How shall this be his Bible or his school? But God chooses the foolish things to confound human wisdom ( 1 Corinthians 1:27).” Cramer. [“An orator would never choose such an instance for the purpose of making an impression on his audience; still less for the purpose of exhibiting his own skill and liveliness. It must be for business, not for amusement, that such a process is observed.”—“What we want in every occupation is some means of preserving the continuity of our thoughts, some resistance to the influences which are continually distracting and dissipating them. But it is especially the student of the events of his own time, of the laws which regulate them, of the issues which are to proceed from them, who has need to be reminded that he is not studying a number of loose disconnected phenomena, but is tracing a principle under different aspects and through different manifestations. A sensible illustration, if we would condescend to avail ourselves of it, would often save us from much vagueness and unreality, as well as from hasty and unsatisfactory conclusions.” Maurice.—S. R. A.]

2. On Jeremiah 18:6 sqq. Omne simile claudicat. Man is not clay, though he is made of clay ( Genesis 2:7). Consequently in Jeremiah 20:8; Jeremiah 20:10 the moral conditions are mentioned, which by virtue of his personality and freedom must be fulfilled on the part of Prayer of Manasseh, in order that the divine transformation to good or bad may take place. If the clay is spoiled on the wheel, it cannot help it. It is probably only the potter’s fault. Nothing then is here symbolized but the omnipotence of God, by virtue of which He can in any given case suppress whole kingdoms and nations, and transform them with the same ease and rapidity as the potter rolls up the spoiled vessel into a ball of clay, and immediately gives it a new form. It would be well for all to convince themselves, by witnessing the process, of the wonderful ease with which the potter forms the clay on the wheel.

3. On Jeremiah 18:6-10. “Cogitet unusquisque peccata sua, et modo illa emendet, cum tempus est. Sit fructuosus dolor, non sit sterilis pœnitudo. Tanquam hoc dicit Deus, ecce indicavi sententiam, sed nondum protuli. Prœdixi non fixi. Quid times, quia dixi? Si mutaveris, mutatur. Nam scriptum Esther, quod pœniteat Deum. Numquid quomodo hominem sic pœnitet Deum? Nam dictum est: si pœnituerit vos de peccatis vestris, pœnitebit me de omnibus malis, quæ facturus eram vobis. Numquid quasi errantem pœnitet Deum? Sed pœnitentia dicitur in Deo mutatio sententiæ. Non est iniqua, sed justa. Quare justa? Mutatus est reus, mutavit judex sententiam. Noli terreri. Sententia mutata Esther, non justitia. Justitia integra manet, quia mutato debet parcere, quia justus est. Quomodo pertinaci non parcit, sic mutato parcit.” Augustin, Sermo 109. De Tem ad medium.

4. On Jeremiah 18:6-10. “Comminationes Dei non intelligendæ sunt absolute, sed cum exceptione pœnitentiæ et conditione impœnitentiæ. Promissiones itidem non sunt absolute sed circumscriptæ cum conditione obedientiæ, tum exceptione crucis. God stipulates everywhere for the cross.” Comp. Deuteronomy 28. Förster.

5. On Jeremiah 18:6-10. “Præscientia et prædictio Dei non injicit absolutam eventus necessitatem rebus præscitis ac prædictis.” Förster.

6. On Jeremiah 18:8. “O felix pœnitentium humilitas! Quam potens es apud omnipotentem.” Bernard of Clairvaux.

[On Jeremiah 18:8-10. “I apprehend that we shall learn some day that the call to individual repentance, and the promise of individual reformation, has been feeble at one time, productive of turbulent, violent, transitory effects at another, because it has not been part of a call to national repentance, because it has not been connected with a promise of national reformation. We may appeal to men by the terrors of a future state; we may use all the machinery of revivalists to awaken them to a concern for their souls; we may produce in that way a class of religious men who pursue an object which other men do not pursue (scarcely a lass selfish, often not a less outward object):—who leave the world to take its own course;—who, when they mingle in it, as in time they must do for the sake of business and gain, adopt again its own maxims, and become less righteous than other men in common affairs, because they consider religion too fine a thing to be brought from the clouds to the earth, while yet they do not recognise a lower principle as binding on them. But we must speak again the ancient language, that God has made a covenant with the nation, and that all citizens are subjects of an unseen and righteous King, if we would have a hearty, inward repentance, which will really bring us back to God; which will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of the children to the fathers; which will go down to the roots of our life, changing it from a self-seeking life into a life of humility and love and cheerful obedience; which will bear fruit upwards, giving nobleness to our policy and literature and art, to the daily routine of what we shall no more dare to call our secular existence.” Maurice.—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 18:10. “God writes as it were a reflection in our heart of that which we have to furnish to Him. For God is disposed towards us as we are disposed towards Him. If we do well, He does well to us; if we love Him, He loves us in return; if we forsake Him, He for sakes us. Psalm 18:26.” Cramer. [“Sin is the great mischief maker between God and a people; it forfeits the benefits of His promises, and spoils the success of their prayers. It defeats His kind intentions concerning them ( Hosea 7:1), and baffles their pleasing expectations from Him. It ruins their comforts, prolongs their grievances, brings them into straits, and retards their deliverances. Isaiah 49:1-2.” Henry—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 18:12. “Freedom of the Spirit! Who will allow himself to be brought into bondage by the gloomy words of that singular Prayer of Manasseh, Jeremiah? Every one must be able to live according to his own way of thinking.” Diedrich, The prophet Jeremiah and Ezekiel briefly expounded. 1863, S. 59.—This is the watchword of impiety in all times. If in truth everyone bears the divinity within him, then it is justified. But since every man bears within him only a θεϊόντι, a divine germ or spark, a point of connection for the objectively divine, and at the same time a point of connection for the diabolical, it is a hellish deception when one supposes he must follow his ingenium. For the question Isaiah, whether the voice from within is the voice of God or the voice of the devil. Here it is necessary to try ourselves and to open an entrance to the divine sun of life, so that the divine life-germ in us may be strengthened, and enabled to maintain its true authority.

9. On Jeremiah 18:14. On the summits of the high mountains, even in tropical countries, the snow does not entirely melt, and therefore the mighty cool springs at their feet never dry up. With those men only does the pure white snow of divine knowledge and godly fear never melt, whose heads are elevated above the steam and vapor of earthly cares and passions, into the pure clear air of heaven. And they it Isaiah, from whose bodies flow streams of living water ( John 7:38).

10. On Jeremiah 18:18. Consult the treatise of Luther: How a minister should behave when his office is despised?

11. On Jeremiah 18:18. (Come and let us smite him with the tongue, etc.). “It is indeed uncertain whether this is said by the preachers or by the whole people; but this is certain, that such actions are performed daily by those teachers, who know no other way of stopping the mouth of a servant of Jesus. ‘And not give heed to any of his words.’ This is au pis aller. If we can do him no harm, we will stop our ears, and he shall not convince us.” Zinzendorf.

12. On Jeremiah 18:19. (Give heed to me, O Lord). “This takes place in two ways. A teacher is looked at by the eye which is as flames of fire. He is also guided by the same eye, which looks on all lands, to strengthen those whose hearts are towards the Lord. No child can rest more securely in the cradle, while the nurse is looking for any fly that might disturb it, than a servant of the Lord can, to whom God gives heed.” Zinzendorf.

13. On Jeremiah 18:20. “It is a pleasing remembrance, when a teacher considers that he has been able to avert divine judgments from his people. It is also an undeniable duty. The spirit of Job, Moses, Jeremiah,, Ezra,, Nehemiah, Paul in this respect is the true spirit of Jesus Christ. He is a miserable shepherd who can give up his sheep and look on with dry eyes, while the fold is being devastated. Not to mention that teachers are now-a-days, by the salaries which they receive from their congregations, brought into the relation of servitude, and besides the regular obligation of the head are laid under indebtedness, as hospitals and other institutions, to pray for their founders. They give themselves the name of intercessors and thus bind themselves anew to this otherwise universal duty of all teachers.” Zinzendorf. But when the servant of God receives “odium pro labore, persecutio pro intercessione,” this is “the world’s gratitude and gratuity.” Förster.

14. On Jeremiah 18:21-23. With regard to this prayer against his enemies Calvin remarks, “this vehemence, as it was dictated by the Holy Spirit, is not to be condemned, nor ought it to be made an example of, for it was peculiar to the Prophet to know that they were reprobates.” For the prophet, he says, was (1) “endued with the spirit of wisdom and judgment, and (2) zeal also for God’s glory so ruled in his heart, that the feelings of the flesh were wholly subdued, or at least brought under subjection; and farther, he pleaded not a private cause.—As all these things fall not to our lot, we ought not indiscriminately to imitate Jeremiah in this prayer: for that would then apply to us which Christ said to His disciples, ‘Ye know not what spirit governs you ( Luke 9:55).’ ” In general the older Comm. agree in this. Oecolampadius says tersely: “Subscribit sententiæ divinæ.” Förster also says that originally such a prayer is not allowed, but that to the prophet, who by the divine inspiration was certain of the “obstinata et plane insanabilis malitia” of his hearers, it was permitted as “singulare et extraordinarium aliquid.” The Hirschberger Bibel also explains the words as a consignment to the divine judgment, since God Himself has several times refused to hear prayer in their behalf ( Jeremiah 14:13-14), and they themselves could not endure it ( Jeremiah 20:18). Vide Neumann II. S. 15.—Seb. Schmidt says plainly, “Licet hominibus impiis et persecutoribus imprecari malum, modo ejusmodi imprecationes non fiant ex privata vindicta, et conditionatæ sint ad constantem eorum impietatem. Nisi enim ejusmodi imprecationes etiam piis essent licitæ, propheta non imprecatus esset persecutoribus gravissimam pœnam hanc.” I believe that it is above all to be observed that Jeremiah does not announce these words ( Jeremiah 20:18-18) as the word of Jehovah. It is a prayer to the Lord, like Jeremiah 20:7-18. That which was remarked on Jeremiah 20:14-18, on the Old Testament character of the prayer, applies here also and in a higher degree. For here as there we may set a good share of the harshness to the account of the rhetoric. The standard of judgment may be found in Matthew 5:43. Many ancient Comm. ex. gr. Jerome, who regard the suffering prophet as a type of the suffering Saviour, point out the contrast between this prayer of Jeremiah’s against his enemies and the prayer of Christ for His enemies ( Luke 23:34). The only parallel adduced from the New Testament is 2 Timothy 4:4. But there it is ἀποδώσει (according to the correct reading of Tischendorf) not ἀποδώῃ (Text. Rec., Knapp).

15. On Jeremiah 19:1. “If man were only a Platonic αὐτάνθρωπος, and did not dwell in the flesh, but were pure spirit and soul, as the Schwenkfelder dreamed a man might be, he would not need such visible signs.—But because man consists of body and soul, God uses, together with the Holy Ghost, the word and Sacrament and other signs.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 19:6-9. Μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων μεγάλαι εἰσὶ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τὸν θεόν. Herodotus. Vide Förster, S. 106.

17. On Jeremiah 19:10-11. What is more easily broken in pieces than an earthen vessel? Equally easy is it for the hand of the Almighty to break in pieces the kingdoms of men. And if He spared not the kingdom of Judah, whose king was a son of David and the people the chosen nation, shall He spare the kingdoms of the heathen, none of which can point to any prophecy in its behalf, like that which we read in 2 Samuel 7:16? Comp. Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:14; Daniel 4:22; Daniel 4:29; Daniel 5:21; Sirach 10:4; Sirach 10:8; Sirach 10:10; Sirach 10:14.

18. On Jeremiah 19:11-13. This prophecy was not completely fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. For Jerusalem was restored after this destruction. The second destruction, by the Romans, must then be regarded as the definitive fulfillment. Comp. Jerome ad loc.—Tophet was used by the inhabitants of Jerusalem for idolatrous purposes. In consequence, the fires of Tophet set Jerusalem on fire, and again the corpses which filled Jerusalem extended even to Tophet, and by reciprocal calamity Tophet became like Jerusalem and Jerusalem like Tophet.

19. On Jeremiah 20:1-2. “ Ἡρώων τέκνα πήματα. Honores mutant mores.” Förster. “Quod hic fuit tormentum, illic erit ornamentum.” Augustin.

20. On Jeremiah 20:3-6. “ Mark, who is the stronger here: Pashur or Jeremiah? For1. Jeremiah overcomes his sufferings by patience, 2. He is firm in opposition to his enemy and does not allow himself to be terrified by his tyranny, but rebukes him to his face for his sins and lies.” Cramer.

21. On Jeremiah 20:3-6. Pashur’s punishment consists in this, that he will participate in the terrible affliction and be a witness of it, without being able to die.—He is a type of the wandering Jew.

22. On Jeremiah 20:7-12. The prophet could say with a good conscience that he had not pressed into this office. It was his greatest comfort that the Lord had persuaded and overpowered him, when resisting, and that afterwards the fire within kindled by the Lord compelled him to speak. Thus he at last becomes so joyful, that in the midst of his sufferings he sings a hymn on his deliverance.

Lord Jesus, for Thy work divine,

The glory is not ours, but Thine;

Therefore we pray Thee stand by those,

Who calmly on Thy word repose.

23. On Jeremiah 20:14-18. “When the saints stumble this serves to us; 1. for doctrine: we see that no man is justified by his own merits; 2. for ἔλεγχος, i. e. for the refutation of those, who suppose that there are ἀναμάρτητοι; 3. for ἐπανόρθωσις, if we follow Ambrose, who called to the emperor Theodosius: ‘Si Davidem imitatus es peccantem, imitare etiam pœnitentem;’ 4. for παιδεία, that he who stands take heed that he do not fall; 5. for παρηγορία, that he who has fallen may after their pattern rise again.” Förster.

24. On Jeremiah 20:17-18. “The question Isaiah, Does a man do right in wishing himself dead? Answer: He who from impatience wishes himself dead like Job, Elijah, Jonah, Tobias, and here Jeremiah, does wrong, and this is a piece of carnal impatience. But when we think of the wicked world and the dangerous times in which we live and on the other hand of the future joy and glory, and therefore desire with Simeon and Paul to be released, we are not to be blamed.” Cramer.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. The 18 th homily of Origen has for its text Jeremiah 18:1-16 and Jeremiah 20:1-7. The 19 th has Jeremiah 20:7-12.

2. On Jeremiah 18:1-11. Comfort and warning, implied in the fact that the threatenings and promises of the Lord are given only conditionally: 1. The comfort consists in this, that the threatened calamities may be averted by timely repentance2. The warning in this, that the promises may be annulled by apostasy.

3. On Jeremiah 18:7-10. Comp. the Homiletical on Jeremiah 17:5-8.

4. On Jeremiah 18:7-11. “How we should be moved by God’s judgments and goodness: that each, 1. Should turn from his wickedness; 2. should reform his heart and life.” Kapff, Passion, Easter and Revival Sermons. 1866.

5. [On Jeremiah 18:12. “The sin, danger and unreasonableness of despair. The devil’s chief artifices are to produce either false security and presumption or despair. Despair Isaiah 1. sinful, (a) in itself, (b) because it is the parent of other sins, as is seen in the cases of Cain, Saul, and Judges 2. It is dangerous3. It is groundless, because (a) we still enjoy life and the means of grace, (b) of the long-suffering character of God, (c) of the universality of the scheme of redemption, (d) of the person, character and invitations of Christ, (e) of many instances of final salvation.” Payson.—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 18:18-20. Text for a Sermon on the Anniversary of the Reformation. Opposition of the office which has apparent authority to that which has true authority; 1. The basis of the opposition: the assertion of the infallibility of the former office2. The mode of the opposition; (a) in not being willing to hear, (b) in the attempt to destroy the latter by violence3. The result of the opposition is nugatory, for (a) the Lord hears the voice of the opposers to judge them, (b) He gives heed to His servants to protect them.

7. On Jeremiah 20:7-13. The trial and comfort of a true minister of the Word; 1. The trial: (a) scorn and derision; (b) actual persecution2. The comfort: (a) the Lord put him in office and maintains him in it; (b) that the Lord will interpose for His servants and. thus, (1) help His cause to victory, and (2) save their persons.

Footnotes:

FN#10 - Jeremiah 19:1.—והוא־פקיד נניד. The construction is like אֵל נִבּוֹר,דֶשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב, Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., §§ 72,66.

FN#11 - Jeremiah 19:5.—הֹסֶז—copia, store. Comp. Proverbs 15:6; Proverbs 27:24; Isaiah 33:6; Ezekiel 22:25.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 19:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-19.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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