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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 10

 

 

Introduction

Jeremiah 7-10. A new section begins here, containing prophecies presumably uttered in the earlier years of Jehoiakim (608-604), except Jeremiah 10:1-16*.


Verses 1-16

Jeremiah 10:1-16. The Folly of Idolatry,—This passage (like Jeremiah 9:23-26) interrupts the connexion of Jeremiah 9:22 and Jeremiah 10:17; its denunciation of the idols of the heathen as utterly futile for good or evil relates it to the times of Deutero-Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 44:11 ff.), and sharply distinguishes it from the denunciation of Israel's syncretistic worship, and the declaration of its penalty, found in Jeremiah 7-9. Israel is urged to hold aloof from the heathen religion of its environment. The idol is but a human product (Jeremiah 10:3 mg.), as lifeless as a scarecrow in a cucumber garden, needing to be carried in a procession (Isaiah 46:7). Fear is not necessary before these things, which can do nothing; it is fitting towards Yahweh alone (Jeremiah 10:7 mg.). The worshippers of idols are one and all senseless, and "the instruction of idols is wood," i.e. without moral or spiritual force (so Driver, but the rendering is doubtful, and the sentence obscure). The idol is plated with costly metals, and dressed in fine clothes by human hands, but it is Yahweh who is truly God (Jeremiah 10:10 mg.). There follows (Jeremiah 10:11) a gloss in Aramaic, which breaks the connexion of Jeremiah 10:10 and Jeremiah 10:12, and is doubtless some marginal watchword of Jewish faith against heathenism, which has crept into the text. The remaining verses (Jeremiah 10"12-16, repeated Jeremiah 51:15-19) describe the manifestation of Yahweh's power in creation and in tempest (with Jeremiah 10:13 cf. Psalms 135:7). The result of the Divine visitation is that the idolater is struck dumb (Jeremiah 10:14 a), and the idolmaker put to shame by the utter inability of the image to do such things. The idol is a lifeless mockery, doomed in the Day of Yahweh, when the power of Israel's God shall be revealed.

Jeremiah 10:2. the signs of heaven: i.e. eclipses, comets, etc., pointing to the astrology of Babylon, amid which this passage was probably written.

Jeremiah 10:5. Read as mg., where the reference suggests that the "pillar" serves the purpose of a scarecrow.

Jeremiah 10:9. Tarshish: Tartessus in Spain, Psalms 48:7*, Isaiah 2:16*; for Uphaz, not known, read as mg.; Ophir was perhaps in S.E. Arabia (Isaiah 13:12*).


Verses 17-25

Jeremiah 10:17-25. The Departure into Exile.—The personified community is told to pick up its bundle (mg.), and prepare for the inevitable exile. She bewails her hurt and her spoilt dwelling. These troubles, says the prophet, come from her unwise rulers ("shepherds"), and already are upon her. Identifying himself with the people, he pleads with Yahweh for mercy in judgment, on the ground of man's weakness. (Jeremiah 10:23 should be repointed and rendered, "Not for man is it to walk and direct his steps.") Jeremiah 10:25 can hardly be Jeremiah's; its cry for vengeance on the heathen contradicts his attitude towards the nations as the Divinely commissioned instruments of Yahweh's wrath against His people's sin. (Omit "yea, they have devoured him," with LXX, and with the parallel cited in mg.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-10.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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