|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:17-22 Jeremiah acknowledged his own sins, and those of the people, but pleaded with the Lord to remember his covenant. In their distress none of the idols of the Gentiles could help them, nor could the heavens give rain of themselves. The Lord will always have a people to plead with him at his mercy-seat. He will heal every truly repenting sinner. Should he not see fit to hear our prayers on behalf of our guilty land, he will certainly bless with salvation all who confess their sins and seek his mercy.
Verse 22. - None of the vanities, or false gods (Jeremiah 3:17), of the heathen can deliver us in this our strait (want of rain). "Rainmakers" is still a common name of soothsayers among savage nations. Thou alone art God, and our God; or, in Jeremiah's phrase (not, Art not thou he, etc.? but) Art thou not Jehovah our God? and the ground of the appeal follows, Jehovah is the Maker of all these things; i.e. all the heavenly phenomena, especially the clouds and the rain.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain?.... The blessing wanted; none of the idols of the Gentiles, called vanities, because it was a vain thing to apply to them, or hope for anything from them, none of these could give a shower of rain; though the name of one of their idols was Jupiter Imbrius (u), or Pluvius, the god of rain, yet he could not make nor give a single drop; as Baal, in the times of Ahab, when there was a drought, could not.
Or can the heavens give showers? from whence they descend, and which are the second causes of rain; even these could not of themselves, and much less Heathen deities.
Art not thou he, O Lord our God? the everlasting and unchangeable He, or I AM, our covenant God and Father, thou, and thou only, canst give rain; this is the peculiar of the great God himself; see Acts 14:17.
Therefore we will wait upon thee; for rain, by prayer and supplication, and hope for it, and wait the Lord's own time to give it:
for thou hast made all these things; the rain and its showers, who have no other father than the Lord, Job 38:28, also the heavens from whence it descends, and the earth on which it falls, are made by him, who restrains and gives it at pleasure.
(u) Pausanias makes mention of an image of Jupiter Pluvius, and of altars erected to him in various places; Attica, sive l. 1. p. 60. Corinthiaca, sive l. 2. p. 119. Boeotica, sive l. 9. p. 602. and in India, as Apollonius Tyanaeus relates, in Vit. Philostrat. l. 3. c. 2. in fine, was a tub, which in time of drought they opened; from whence, as they pretended, clouds came forth and watered all the country. Near Rome was a stone called Lapis Manalis, which being brought into the city, was said to cause rain. A like fable is told of water being in the forehead of Jupiter Lycaeus, which being shook by an oaken branch in the hand of a priest, gathered clouds, and produced plentiful showers of rain when wanted; but these, with others, are all fables and lies. See Alex. ab Alex Genial. Dier. l. 4. c. 16.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. vanities—idols (De 32:21).
rain—(Zec 10:1, 2).
heavens—namely, of themselves without God (Mt 5:45; Ac 14:17); they are not the First Cause, and ought not to be deified, as they were by the heathen. The disjunctive "or" favors Calvin's explanation: "Not even the heavens themselves can give rain, much less can the idol vanities."
art not thou he—namely, who canst give rain?
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