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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 15

 

 

Verses 1-9

Jeremiah 14:1 to Jeremiah 15:9. The Drought in Judah, and Jeremiah's consequent Intercession.—The date of this disaster is unknown, but some year in the latter half of Jehoiakim's reign is most probable. The effects of the drought are graphically described in Jeremiah 14:2-6. The personified "gates" represent the people who gather at them in mourning attire and attitude ("sit in black upon the ground"; cf. Jeremiah 8:21, Jeremiah 13:18). The empty pits are dried-up storage cisterns (cf. Jeremiah 2:13). Men cover their heads because of grief (2 Samuel 15:30). The first clause of Jeremiah 14:4 (to "chapt") is best emended, with Duhm, after LXX, "The tillers of the ground are dismayed" (cf. mg.). The eyes of the wild asses fail through fruitless search for herbage (cf. Lamentations 4:17). In Jeremiah 14:7-9, the prophet confesses the people's sin, but appeals to Yahweh's honour (Jeremiah 14:7), and His ownership of Israel (Jeremiah 14:9; cf. Jeremiah 7:10), as a reason for His permanent presence and effective help. In Jeremiah 14:10-18, Yahweh replies that His aloofness corresponds ("even so") to the people's abandonment of Him (Jeremiah 14:10 b as Hosea 8:13), and announces evil as the only answer to their sacrifice; to which Jeremiah objects (Jeremiah 14:13) that the people have been misled by the prophets (Jeremiah 23:9 ff.) who promised peace. Yahweh, disowning these prophets (Jeremiah 14:14), announces their doom as well as that of the people, and Jeremiah is bidden to lament the horrors that are coming on Judah through invasion and its consequences. In Jeremiah 14:19-22, Jeremiah continues the dialogue with a further confession on behalf of the people, and with an appeal to the ties that bind Yahweh to Israel (Jeremiah 14:21 mg.); Yahweh alone can remove the terrors of this drought. In Jeremiah 15:1-9, Yahweh replies that even such pleaders as Moses (Numbers 14:13-20) and Samuel (1 Samuel 7:9) would not turn Him from His purpose; let the people go forth to pestilence ("death", Jeremiah 15:2), sword, famine, and captivity; let them be "an object of consternation" (for "tossed to and fro", Jeremiah 15:4) to all, because of the heathenism of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:11 ff.). It is Jerusalem that has rejected Yahweh (thou, Jeremiah 15:6, emphatic), and therefore is winnowed with a fork. The coming destruction is described (Jeremiah 15:8) as widespread and unexpected ("at noonday", as in Jeremiah 6:4); even the (happy) mother of seven (1 Samuel 2:5) utterly collapses.

Jeremiah 14:3. Read both mgg.

Jeremiah 14:14. divination, and a thing of nought: read, with Driver, "a worthless divination" by omission of one letter.

Jeremiah 14:18 b is difficult and obscure; for "go about" we should perhaps render "go begging", or, with second mg. alternative, simply "journey"

Jeremiah 14:21. the throne of thy glory: Jerusalem, as containing the Temple; cf. Jeremiah 17:12.

Jeremiah 14:22. vanities: i.e. "gods."

Jeremiah 15:7. fanned with a fan: i.e. winnowed; cf. Jeremiah 4:11, Isaiah 30:24, Matthew 3:12. The Eastern threshing-floor is described in Thomson, The Land and the Book, pp. 538ff.


Verses 10-21

Jeremiah 15:10-21. The Sorrow and Strength of Prophetic Service.—The experience of the prophet, as described in the following section, may be the result of his unpopularity at the time of the drought, and therefore be rightly placed after Jeremiah 14:1 to Jeremiah 15:9; but it would suit many other occasions of his life. On the great importance of this and similar passages, both for a true conception of Jeremiah's personality, and for his special contribution to religion, see Introduction, § 3. The present passage is interrupted by the irrelevant verses, Jeremiah 15:13 f., which occur again, more correctly and in their proper place, in Jeremiah 17:3 f.; they relate to the people, not to Jeremiah (Heb. of Jeremiah 15:14 is as mg.). More over, Jeremiah 15:11 f. is obscure and possibly corrupt. Jeremiah laments his birth to so unpopular a role as that of a prophet of disaster, as unpopular as that of the creditor or debtor ("usury" is simply "interest", as in Deuteronomy 23:20). Yahweh had promised to strengthen him and to humiliate his opponents, but they are too strong for him (Jeremiah 15:12 as in mg., the "northern iron and bronze" denoting the greater strength of Jeremiah's Jewish opponents as compared with himself; but this is not very satisfactory). Jeremiah begs Yahweh not to destroy him through excessive patience ("long-suffering") towards his persecutors. His joy has been to take to heart Yahweh's messages (for the figure of eating, cf. Ezekiel 2:8 to Ezekiel 3:3), and he belongs to Yahweh (Jeremiah 15:16; cf. Jeremiah 7:10 mg.). The compulsion of the Divine Hand in prophetic rapture (Isaiah 8:11, Ezekiel 1:3*, Ezekiel 3:14; cf. 2 Kings 3:15) has separated him from the ordinary joyous fellowship of men, and has urged him to a message of indignant protest against men's ways. Obedience seems to have brought unending pain, and Yahweh is "a lying stream", the waters of which are dried up in the hour of need (Jeremiah 15:18; cf. Job 6:15). To this cry of distrust and despair Yahweh's answer is to bid Jeremiah turn from such a spirit, and resume his service ("stand before me", 1 Kings 10:8; 1 Kings 18:15); let him utter the precious, and leave out the worthless elements of his thinking, that he may be Yahweh's "mouth" (Exodus 4:16; cf. Exodus 7:1); then, at length, the nation will come to see with him (Jeremiah 15:19). Meanwhile, Yahweh renews the promises with which his ministry began (Jeremiah 1:18 f.).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-15.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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