Jeremiah 2:22
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me," declares the Sovereign LORD.

New Living Translation
No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!

English Standard Version
Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord GOD.

New American Standard Bible
"Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord GOD.

King James Bible
For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Even if you wash with lye and use a great amount of soap, the stain of your sin is still in front of Me. This is the Lord GOD's declaration.

International Standard Version
Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me," declares the Lord GOD.

NET Bible
You can try to wash away your guilt with a strong detergent. You can use as much soap as you want. But the stain of your guilt is still there for me to see," says the Lord GOD.

New Heart English Bible
For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me," says the Lord GOD.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Even if you wash with detergent and use a lot of soap, I would still see the stains from your wickedness," declares the Almighty LORD.

JPS Tanakh 1917
For though thou wash thee with nitre, And take thee much soap, Yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, Saith the Lord GOD.

New American Standard 1977
“Although you wash yourself with lye
            And use much soap,
            The stain of your iniquity is before Me,” declares the Lord GOD.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For though thou wash thee with nitre and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is sealed before me, saith the Lord GOD.

King James 2000 Bible
For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, says the Lord GOD.

American King James Version
For though you wash you with nitre, and take you much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, said the Lord GOD.

American Standard Version
For though thou wash thee with lye, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord Jehovah.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Though thou wash thyself with nitre, and multiply to thyself the herb borith, thou art stained in thy iniquity before me, saith the Lord God.

Darby Bible Translation
For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much potash, thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord Jehovah.

English Revised Version
For though thou wash thee with lye, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

Webster's Bible Translation
For though thou shalt wash thee with niter, and take thee much soap, yet thy iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

World English Bible
For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me," says the Lord Yahweh.

Young's Literal Translation
But though thou dost wash with nitre, And dost multiply to thyself soap, Marked is thine iniquity before Me, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah.
Study Bible
The Results of Israel's Sin
21"Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? 22"Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord GOD. 23"How can you say, 'I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals '? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done! You are a swift young camel entangling her ways,…
Cross References
Job 9:30
"If I should wash myself with snow And cleanse my hands with lye,

Job 14:17
"My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You wrap up my iniquity.

Jeremiah 4:14
Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem, That you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you?

Jeremiah 16:17
"For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.

Jeremiah 17:1
The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus; With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart And on the horns of their altars,

Hosea 13:12
The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; His sin is stored up.
Treasury of Scripture

For though you wash you with nitre, and take you much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, said the Lord GOD.

for though

Job 9:30,31 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean…

yet thine iniquity

Jeremiah 16:17 For my eyes are on all their ways: they are not hid from my face, …

Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point …

Deuteronomy 32:34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?

Job 14:17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and you sew up my iniquity.

Psalm 90:8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light …

Psalm 130:3 If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Hosea 13:12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.

Amos 8:7 The LORD has sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never …

(22) Nitre.--The mineral alkali found in the natron lakes of Egypt that took their name from it. The Hebrew word nether is the origin of the Greek and English words. (Comp. Proverbs 25:20.)

Sope.--Not the compounds of alkali and oil or fat now known by the name, but the potash or alkali, obtained from the ashes of plants, which was used by itself as a powerful detergent. The thought is the same as that of Job 9:30, and, we may add, as that of Macbeth, Acts 2, sc. 2 :--

"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood

Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

Making the green one red."

The guilt was too strongly "marked," too "deep-dyed in grain" to be removed by any outward palliatives.

Verse 22. - Nitre does not mean the substance which now bears that name, but "natron," a mineral alkali, deposited on the shores and on the bed of certain lakes in Egypt, especially those in the Wady Nat-run (the ancient Nitria, whence came so large a store of precious Syriac manuscripts). In ancient times, this natron was collected to make lye from for washing purposes (comp. Proverbs 25:20). Sope; rather, potash; the corresponding vegetable alkali (comp. Isaiah 1:25). Thine iniquity is marked. So Kimchi and Gesenius (through a doubtful etymology); but the Aramaic use of the word favors the rendering stained, i.e. filthy. The word is in the participle, to indicate the permanence of the state (comp. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood," etc.? 'Macbeth'). For though thou wash thee with nitre,.... The word "nitre", is only used in this place and in Proverbs 25:20 and it is hard to say what it is. Kimchi and Ben Melech observe, that some say it is what is called "alum"; and others that it is a dust with which they wash the head, and cleanse everything; and so Jarchi says it is a kind of earth used in cleaning garments; and "nitre" is mentioned by the Misnic doctors (s) among those things which are used for the washing of garments, and taking spots out of them; though about what it is they are not agreed; and it seems the nitre of the ancients is unknown to us (t); and saltpetre is put in the room of it; and some render the word here "saltpetre"; and Pliny (u) observes, that nitre does not much differ from salt, and ascribes to it a virtue of eating out filth, and removing it; so Aristotle (w) reports of the lake Ascania; that its water is of such a nitrous quality, that garments, being put into it, need no other washing. Nitre has its name from "to loose", because it looses the filth, and cleanses from it:

and take thee much soap. The Septuagint render it, "herb"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "the herb borith"; which is the Hebrew word here used; and about the sense of which there is some difficulty. Kimchi and Ben Melech say some take it to be the same with what is called "soap"; so Jarchi; and others, that it is an herb with which they wash, the same that is called fullers' herb; but whether it is soap, or fullers' herb, or fullers' earth, as others, it is certain it is something fullers used in cleaning garments, as appear from Malachi 3:2, where the same word is used, and fullers made mention of as using what is signified by it. It has its name from which signifies to "cleanse" and "purify". The sense is, let this backsliding and degenerate people take what methods they will to cleanse themselves from their sins, as by their ceremonial ablutions and sacrifices, which was the usual method they had recourse to, to purify themselves, and in which they rested:

yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God; or, "will retain its spots" (x) these remain; the filth is not washed away; the iniquity is not hid and covered; it appears very plain and manifest;

yea, shines like gold; or, "is gilded" (y); as the word used signifies. It is of too deep a die to be removed by such external things; nothing but the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin, take away its filth, removes its guilt, and cover it out of the sight of God, so that it can be seen no more. The Targum is,

"for if you think to be cleansed from your sins, as they cleanse with nitre, or make white with "borith", or soap; lo, as the mark of a spot which is not clean, so are your sins multiplied before me, saith the Lord God.''

(s) Misn. Sabbat, c. 9. sect. 5. & Nidda, c. 9. sect. 6. & Maimon & Bartenora in ib. & in Misn. Celim, c. 10. sect. 1.((t) Schroder. Pharmacopoeia, l. 3. c. 23. p. 140. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 31. c. 10. (w) Opera, vol. 1, de Mirabil. p. 705. (x) "Maculas tamen retinebit iniquitas tua", Schmidt. (y) "nitet, vel splendet, instar anri", Piscator; "obducat se auro insigni", Junius & Tremellius; so Gussetius renders the word, "inaurari, auro ebduci"; and who rightly observes, that whatever is glided, or covered with gold, the more it is washed with nitre, or soap, the brighter it will appear; and so, whatever other methods are taken to wash away sin, but seeking for justification by the grace of God in Christ, it will be but the more manifest, Ebr. Comment. p. 410. 22. nitre—not what is now so called, namely, saltpeter; but the natron of Egypt, a mineral alkali, an incrustation at the bottom of the lakes, after the summer heat has evaporated the water: used for washing (compare Job 9:30; Pr 25:20).

soap—potash, the carbonate of which is obtained impure from burning different plants, especially the kali of Egypt and Arabia. Mixed with oil it was used for washing.

marked—deeply ingrained, indelibly marked; the Hebrew, catham, being equivalent to cathab. Others translate, "is treasured up," from the Arabic. Maurer from a Syriac root, "is polluted."2:20-28 Notwithstanding all their advantages, Israel had become like the wild vine that bears poisonous fruit. Men are often as much under the power of their unbridled desires and their sinful lusts, as the brute beasts. But the Lord here warns them not to weary themselves in pursuits which could only bring distress and misery. As we must not despair of the mercy of God, but believe that to be sufficient for the pardon of our sins, so neither must we despair of the grace of God, but believe that it is able to subdue our corruptions, though ever so strong.
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OT Prophets: Jeremiah 2:22 For though you wash yourself with lye (Jer.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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