Jeremiah 10:23
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

King James Bible
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

American Standard Version
O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I know, O Lord, that the way of a man is not his: neither is it in a man to walk, and to direct his steps.

English Revised Version
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Webster's Bible Translation
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Jeremiah 10:23 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The captivity of the people, their lamentation for the devastation of the land, and entreaty that the punishment may be mitigated. - Jeremiah 10:17. "Gather up thy bundle out of the land, thou that sittest in the siege. Jeremiah 10:18. For thus hath Jahveh spoken: Behold, I hurl forth the inhabitants of the land this time, and press them hard, that they may find them. Jeremiah 10:19. Woe is me for my hurt! grievous is my stroke! yet I:think: This is my suffering, and I will bear it! Jeremiah 10:20. My tent is despoiled, and all my cords are rent asunder. My sons have forsaken me, and are gone: none stretches forth my tent any more, or hangs up my curtains. Jeremiah 10:21. For the shepherds are become brutish, and have not sought Jahveh; therefore they have not dealt wisely, and the whole flock is scattered. - Jeremiah 10:22. Hark! a rumour: behold, it comes, and great commotion from the land of midnight, to make the cities of Judah a desolation, an abode of jackals. - Jeremiah 10:23. I know, Jahveh, that the way of man is not in himself, nor in the man that walketh to fix his step. Jeremiah 10:24. Chasten me, Jahveh, but according to right; not in Thine anger, lest Thou make me little. Jeremiah 10:25. Pour out Thy fury upon the peoples that know Thee not, and upon the races that call not upon Thy name! for they have devoured Jacob, have devoured him and made an end of him, and laid his pastures waste."

Jeremiah 10:17-20

In Jeremiah 10:17 the congregation of the people is addressed, and captivity in a foreign land is announced to them. This announcement stands in connection with Jeremiah 9:25, in so far as captivity is the accomplishment of the visitation of Judah threatened in Jeremiah 9:24. That connection is not, however, quite direct; the announcement is led up to by the warning against idolatry of vv. 1-16, inasmuch as it furnishes confirmation of the threat uttered in Jeremiah 10:15, that the idols shall perish in the day of their visitation, and shows besides how, by its folly in the matter of idolatry, Judah has drawn judgment down on itself. The confession in Jeremiah 10:21 : the shepherds are become brutish, points manifestly back to the description in Jeremiah 10:14 of the folly of the idolaters, and exhibits the connection of Jeremiah 10:17-25 with the preceding warning against idolatry. For "gather up," etc., Hitz. translates: gather thy trumpery from the ground; so that the expression would have a contemptuous tone. But the meaning of rubbish cannot be proved to belong to כּנעה; and the mockery that would lie in the phrase is out of place. כּנעה, from Arab. kǹ, contrahere, constipare, means that which is put together, packed up, one's bundle. The connection of אסף and מארץ is pregnant: put up thy bundle and carry it forth of the land. As N. G. Schroeder suspected, there is about the expression something of the nature of a current popular phrase, like the German Schnr dein Bndel, pack up, i.e., make ready fore the road. She who sits in the siege. The daughter of Zion is meant, but we must not limit the scope to the population of Jerusalem; as is clear from "inhabitants of the land," Jeremiah 10:18, the population of the whole land are comprised in the expression. As to the form יושׁבתי, see at Jeremiah 22:23. אספּי with dag. lene after the sibilant, as in Isaiah 47:2. "I hurl forth" expresses the violent manner of the captivity; cf. Isaiah 22:17. "This time;" hitherto hostile invasions ended with plundering and the imposition of a tribute: 2 Kings 14:14; 2 Kings 16:5; 2 Kings 18:13. - And I press them hard, or close them in, למען ימצאוּ. These words are variously explained, because there is no object expressed, and there may be variety of opinion as to what is the subject. Hitz., Umbr., Ng., take the verb find in the sense of feel, and so the object צרה would easily be supplied from the verb הצרתי: so that they may feel it, i.e., I will press them sensibly. But we cannot make sure of this meaning for מצא either from Jeremiah 17:9 or from Ecclesiastes 8:17, where know (ידע) and מצא are clearly identical conceptions. Still less is Graf entitled to supply as object: that which they seek and are to find, namely, God. His appeal in support of this to passages like Psalm 32:6; Deuteronomy 4:27 and Deuteronomy 4:29, proves nothing; for in such the object is manifestly suggested by the contest, which is not the case here. A just conclusion is obtained when we consider that הצרתי contains a play on בּמּצור in Jeremiah 10:17, and cannot be understood otherwise than as a hemming in by means of a siege. The aim of the siege is to bring those hemmed in under the power of the besiegers, to get at, reach them, or find them. Hence we must take the enemy as subject to "find," while the object is given in להם: so that they (the enemy) may find them (the besieged). Thus too Jerome, who translates the disputed verb passively: et tribulabo eos ut inveniantur; while he explains the meaning thus: sic eos obsideri faciam, sicque tribulabo et coangustabo, ut omnes in urbe reperiantur et effugere nequeant malum. Taken thus, the second clause serves to strengthen the first: I will hurl forth the inhabitants of this land into a foreign land, and none shall avoid this fate, for I will so hem them in that none shall be able to escape.

This harassment will bring the people to their senses, so that they shall humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Such feelings the prophet utters at Jeremiah 10:19., in the name of the congregation, as he did in the like passage Jeremiah 4:19. As from the hearts of those who had been touched by their affliction, he exclaims: Woe is me for my breach! i.e., my crushing overthrow. The breach is that sustained by the state in its destruction, see at Jeremiah 4:6. נחלה, grown sick, i.e., grievous, incurable is the stroke that has fallen upon me. For this word we have in Jeremiah 15:18 אנוּשׁה, which is explained by "refuseth to be healed." ואני introduces an antithesis: but I say, sc. in my heart, i.e., I think. Hitz. gives אך the force of a limitation equals nothing further than this, but wrongly; and, taking the perf. אמרתּי as a preterite, makes out the import to be: "in their state of careless security they had taken the matter lightly, saying as it were, If no further calamity than this menace us, we may be well content;" a thought quite foreign to the context. For "this my suffering" can be nothing else than the "hurt" on account of which the speaker laments, or the stroke which he calls dangerous, incurable. אך has, besides, frequently the force of positive asseveration: yea, certainly (cf. Ew. 354, a), a force readily derived from that of only, nothing else than. And so here: only this, i.e., even this is my suffering. חלי, sickness, here suffering in general, as in Hosea 5:13; Isaiah 53:3., etc. The old translators took the Yod as pronoun (my suffering), whence it would be necessary to point חלי, like גּוי, Zephaniah 2:9; cf. Ew. 293, b, Rem. - The suffering which the congregation must bear consists in the spoliation of the land and the captivity of the people, represented in Jeremiah 10:20 under the figure of a destruction of their tent and the disappearance of their sons. The Chald. has fairly paraphrased the verse thus: my land is laid waste and all my cities are plundered, my people has gone off (into exile) and is no longer here. יצאני construed with the accus. like egredi urbem; cf. Genesis 54:4, etc. - From "my sons have forsaken me" Ng. draws the inference that Jeremiah 10:19 and Jeremiah 10:20 are the words of the country personified, since neither the prophet could so speak, nor the people, the latter being indeed identical with the sons, and so not forsaken, but forsaking. This inference rests on a mistaken view of the figure of the daughter of Zion, in which is involved the conception of the inhabitants of a land as the children of the land when personified as mother. Nor is there any evidence that the land is speaking in the words: I think, This is my suffering, etc. It is besides alleged that the words give no expression to any sense of guilt; they are said, on the contrary, to give utterance to a consolation which only an innocent land draws from the fact that a calamity is laid upon it, a calamity which must straightway be borne. This is neither true in point of fact, nor does it prove the case. The words, This is my suffering, etc., indicate resignation to the inevitable, not innocence or undeserved suffering. Hereon Graf remarks: "The suffering was unmerited, in so far as the prophet and the godly amongst the people were concerned; but it was inevitable that he and they should take it upon their shoulders, along with the rest." Asserted with so great width, this statement cannot be admitted. The present generation bears the punishment not only for the sins of many past generations, but for its own sins; nor were the godly themselves free from sin and guilt, for they acknowledge the justice of God's chastisement, and pray God to chasten them בּמשׁפּט, not in anger (Jeremiah 10:24). Besides, we cannot take the words as spoken by the prophet or by the godly as opposed to the ungodly, since it is the sons of the speaker ("my sons") that are carried captive, who can certainly not be the sons of the godly alone.

Jeremiah 10:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Psalm 17:5 Hold up my goings in your paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way.

Psalm 119:116,117 Uphold me according to your word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope...

Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

Proverbs 20:24 Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

Cross References
Proverbs 3:6
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 16:1
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:9
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Proverbs 20:24
A man's steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

Isaiah 26:7
The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous.

Daniel 5:23
but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

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