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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 9

 

 

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*.


Verse 1

Jeremiah 8:18 to Jeremiah 9:1. Jeremiah's Sorrow over Judah's Suffering.—The prophet, in sorrowful sympathy with his people, hears in anticipation the cry of the exiles and Yahweh's answer. They reproach Him with His abandonment of Zion; He points to their idolatry, and introduction of foreign ("strange") deities. The people lament (apparently in proverbial form) the disappointment of their hope of deliverance; it is as when the hope of harvest (April-June) has been destroyed, and the failure of the autumn ingathering (Jeremiah 8:20 mg.) has removed the remaining expectation; they (emph.) have not been rescued from their distress (the reference in "saved" is to material prosperity, not to a spiritual change). The prophet himself goes arrayed as a mourner ("I am black", mg.), appalled because of his people's wound; is there no cure? He cannot sorrow enough for the tragedy of Judah.

Jeremiah 8:22. balm: not the balsam, but mastic, a medicinally used resin, abundant in Gilead (Genesis 37:25, mg.), and exported to other countries.—health: Heb. "new flesh", which "comes up", i.e. forms over a wound.


Verses 2-22

Jeremiah 9:2-22. Faithlessness and its Retribution: the Dirge of Death.—The humblest caravanserai would be preferable to life among these evil men, with their calumnies and the unfaithful use of power by those in authority, their mutual deceit, and their untruthfulness (Jeremiah 9:2-6). Yahweh will prove them in His furnace (Jeremiah 6:29), "because of the wickedness of" His people (so read in Jeremiah 9:7, with LXX, which continues preferably, after "arrow", in Jeremiah 9:8, "the words of their mouth are deceit", and omits "with his mouth"). Jeremiah 9:9 occurs in Jeremiah 5:9, Jeremiah 2:9 (Jeremiah 9:7-9). The prophet raises (Jeremiah 9:10-12) the mourner's dirge for the devastated country and ruined towns; it is by Yahweh's hand that they have been laid waste (rather than "burnt up"), as the discerning recognise (Hosea 14:9). Disobedience to the (Deuteronomic) law, seen in the worship of the local deities, brings the bitter result of exile and death (Jeremiah 9:13-16). Let Zion's sorrows be bewailed by the singers of dirges. Yahweh Himself supplies the dirge to be learnt and sung, i.e. Jeremiah 9:21 f. (which are in the appropriate metre of the dirge), of which Cornill well remarks that more cannot be said in eight short lines—the dirge of the Reaper Death (Jeremiah 9:17-22).

Jeremiah 9:4. supplant: with a suggestion of the story of the "supplanter" (Genesis 27:36).

Jeremiah 9:10. wilderness: properly a place to which cattle are driven for pasturage, not a desert.

Jeremiah 9:11. jackals often haunt the ruins of Syrian towns; cf. Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13.

Jeremiah 9:15. wormwood: cf. Jeremiah 23:15, Proverbs 5:4*; some bitter herb, always named figuratively.

Jeremiah 9:17. Professional singers of dirges, as still employed at Syrian funerals; cunning is an archaism for "skilful"; cf. Amos 5:16.

Jeremiah 9:21. without should be streets", and streets should be "broad places".

Jeremiah 9:22. The words "Speak, Thus saith the Lord", which interrupt the metre of the dirge, should be omitted, with LXX. This prophecy is continued in Jeremiah 10:17-25, the intervening sections being a later insertion; possibly Jeremiah 9:13-16 also is not by Jeremiah.


Verses 23-26

Jeremiah 9:23-26. The Knowledge of Yahweh: Uncircumcised Israel.—This paragraph contains two originally distinct prophecies, unrelated to their present context, though quite possibly Jeremianic. They teach the glory of Israel's religion (Jeremiah 9:23 f.), and the futility of physical without spiritual circumcision (Jeremiah 9:25 f.). In the second, Israel is degraded to the level of other, uncircumcised nations.

Jeremiah 9:26. The "corner-clipt" (Jeremiah 25:23, Jeremiah 49:32) are those shaved around the brow, according to the practice of some Arab tribes (cf. Herod. iii. 8, and contrast Leviticus 19:27*).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-9.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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