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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 4

 

 

Introduction

Jeremiah 4:5 to Jeremiah 6:30. A new paragraph should begin with Jeremiah 4:5, introducing a new section of the prophecies, which deals with the judgment of Judah, its causes and its instrument. This section is probably somewhat later than Jeremiah 2:1 to Jeremiah 4:4; it amplifies the vision of the boiling caldron (Jeremiah 1:13). The "foe from the north", whom Jeremiah expected to invade Judah, would originally be the Scythians, subsequently the Babylonians (see on Jeremiah 1:13 ff.).


Verses 1-4

Jeremiah 3:19 to Jeremiah 4:4. A Dialogue of Yahweh's Grace.—This directly continues Jeremiah 3:5, the "I" of Jeremiah 3:19 being emphatically contrasted with the "thou" of Jeremiah 3:5. Yahweh expresses His desire (Jeremiah 3:19 mg.) to give Judah, though a daughter, a son's portion in the best of lands (mg.2), but Judah (here called Israel in narrower sense, Jeremiah 3:20) has left Him. When, speechless, she weeps in penitence (Jeremiah 3:21) on the bare heights, the place of her former sin, Yahweh will bid her return to Him; she comes making confession that Baal (Jeremiah 3:24 mg.) has not profited her. Yahweh assures Judah (Jeremiah 4:1) that true penitence will be followed by the conversion of the heathen, who will use Yahweh's name in blessings (Isaiah 65:16). Let Judah, then, reform in earnest (Jeremiah 4:3; cf. Hosea 10:12), with an inner consecration, before Yahweh punishes (Jeremiah 4:4).

Jeremiah 3:19. children: "sons"; (cf. Hosea 11:1 ff.)

Jeremiah 3:23. Some word parallel to "tumult" (better "throng" with mg.) has fallen out (RV italics); the cult of Baal is meant by both; cf. 1 Kings 18:26 ff.

Jeremiah 4:1. Read mg.1; for the first "shalt" render "if".—abominations denote such heathen emblems as are named in Jeremiah 2:27, etc.


Verses 5-18

Jeremiah 4:5-18. The Enemy's Approach.—Warning is given by the horn, and guidance, to the refugees fleeing to Jerusalem, by the standard; they are bidden to bring (their families) into safety (not "flee for safety"). The lion-like foe draws near to destroy, and the courage (Hebrew "heart", Jeremiah 4:9) of Judah's leaders fails them. The prophets will say that they have been deceived in prophesying prosperity (cf. Jeremiah 6:14, Jeremiah 14:13, Jeremiah 23:17; Jeremiah's own prophecies were in marked contrast, see on Jeremiah 28). A sirocco blast blows on Judah, too strong (Jeremiah 4:12 mg.) to winnow, and to distinguish the grain from the chaff. The foe approaches, cloud-like in numbers, vulturelike in speed. "Hark! one declareth" (so Jeremiah 4:15), from the extreme north of the land, and then from the mountains a few miles north of Jerusalem (Ephraim), that the "watchers" (i.e. besiegers) are at hand. The bitterness of heart-felt sorrow is the result of Judah's wickedness.

Jeremiah 4:10. said I: read, with Cod. A of LXX and the Arabic Version, "they will say".

Jeremiah 4:13. The eagle of RV is the griffon-vulture

Jeremiah 4:15. Dan: cf. the proverbial phrase, "from Dan unto Beersheba", Judges 20:1.


Verses 19-22

Jeremiah 4:19-22. The Prophet's Grief for his country finds characteristic expression: "My bowels! my bowels! Let me writhe! The walls of my heart! My heart moaneth within me!" (Driver). His soul hears (mg. with LXX) the battle, and identifies itself in sympathy with his people, whose habitation ("tents" and tent- "curtains"; cf. Jeremiah 10:20) is destroyed, because they are so ignorant of Yahweh. This is the first example (after the call) of that revelation of the inner life which especially distinguishes this prophet, and forms his great contribution to spiritual religion.

Jeremiah 4:19. The bowels are the seat of strong emotion according to Hebrew psychology.


Verses 23-31

Jeremiah 4:23-31. The Vision of Desolation (Jeremiah 4:23-26) most impressively describes the Divine visitation of Judah. The earth becomes like the chaos before creation (mg.) under a sky that has lost its lamps; the very mountains have no longer stability; the denizens of earth and air are gone; the garden-land is wilderness; the cities are overthrown (cf. Jeremiah 1:10). Jeremiah has actually seen all this in some ecstatic state, just as George Fox saw its opposite, the paradise of God in which "all things were new and all the creation gave another smell!" (Journal, i. 28). There follows the application of the vision (Jeremiah 4:27-29), viz such an interpretation of its meaning as would subsequently come into the prophet's more normal consciousness. In Jeremiah 4:30 and Jeremiah 4:31 there is an effective contrast between the gaily-decked prostitute and the travailing woman, though both figures are used to express the same fact, i.e. Jerusalem's helplessness before the invader, either to allure or to withstand.

Jeremiah 4:28. Transpose, with LXX, "I have purposed it", and "I have not repented".

Jeremiah 4:29. The first city should be "land", with LXX.

Jeremiah 4:30. paint, i.e. antimony, which was and is used in the East to darken the rims of the eyelids, that the eyes may appear larger; cf. 2 Kings 9:30, Ezekiel 23:40.

 


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

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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