Jeremiah 2:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there,

New Living Translation
"You say, 'That's not true! I haven't worshiped the images of Baal!' But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate.

English Standard Version
How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done— a restless young camel running here and there,

New American Standard Bible
"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,

King James Bible
How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
How can you protest, "I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals"? Look at your behavior in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. You are a swift young camel twisting and turning on her way,

International Standard Version
"How can you say, 'I'm not defiled. I haven't gone after the Baals.'? Look at what you've done in the valley. Know what you have done. You are a swift young camel galloping aimlessly;

NET Bible
"How can you say, 'I have not made myself unclean. I have not paid allegiance to the gods called Baal.' Just look at the way you have behaved in the Valley of Hinnom! Think about the things you have done there! You are like a flighty, young female camel that rushes here and there, crisscrossing its path.

New Heart English Bible
"How can you say, 'I am not defiled. I have not gone after the Baals'? See your way in the valley. Know what you have done. You are a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"How can you say that you haven't dishonored yourselves and haven't followed other gods-the Baals? Look how you've behaved in the valley. Acknowledge what you've done. You are like a young camel that swiftly runs here and there.

JPS Tanakh 1917
How canst thou say: 'I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baalim'? See thy way in the Valley, Know what thou hast done; Thou art a swift young camel traversing her ways;

New American Standard 1977
“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,

Jubilee Bible 2000
How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? See thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

King James 2000 Bible
How can you say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see your way in the valley, know what you have done: you are a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

American King James Version
How can you say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see your way in the valley, know what you have done: you are a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

American Standard Version
How canst thou say, I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

Douay-Rheims Bible
How canst thou say: I am not polluted, and I have not walked after Baalim? see thy ways in the valley, know what thou hast done: as a swift runner pursuing his course.

Darby Bible Translation
How sayest thou, I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals? See thy way in the valley, acknowledge what thou hast done -- a swift dromedary traversing her ways!

English Revised Version
How canst thou say, I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

Webster's Bible Translation
How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

World English Bible
"How can you say, 'I am not defiled. I have not gone after the Baals'? See your way in the valley. Know what you have done. [You are] a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

Young's Literal Translation
How sayest thou, 'I have not been defiled, After the Baalim I have not gone?' See thy way in a valley, know what thou hast done, A swift dromedary winding her ways,
Study Bible
Israel's Unfaithfulness
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, 24A wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness, That sniffs the wind in her passion. In the time of her heat who can turn her away? All who seek her will not become weary; In her month they will find her.…
Cross References
Proverbs 30:12
There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness.

Jeremiah 2:33
"How well you prepare your way To seek love! Therefore even the wicked women You have taught your ways.

Jeremiah 2:36
"Why do you go around so much Changing your way? Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt As you were put to shame by Assyria.

Jeremiah 7:31
"They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.

Jeremiah 9:14
but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,"

Jeremiah 31:22
"How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth-- A woman will encompass a man."
Treasury of Scripture

How can you say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see your way in the valley, know what you have done: you are a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

how canst

Jeremiah 2:34,35 Also in your skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: …

Genesis 3:12,13 And the man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave …

1 Samuel 15:13,14 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said to him, Blessed be you of …

Psalm 36:2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found …

Proverbs 28:13 He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses …

Proverbs 30:12,20 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is …

Luke 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them …

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth …

Revelation 3:17,18 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need …

see

Jeremiah 3:2 Lift up your eyes to the high places, and see where you have not …

Psalm 50:21 These things have you done, and I kept silence; you thought that …

Ezekiel 16:1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Ezekiel 23:1 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,

valley

Jeremiah 7:31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley …

Isaiah 57:5,6 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the …

thou art a swift. or, O swift

Esther 8:16 The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor.

(23) How canst thou say . . .?--The prophet hears, as it were, the voice of the accused criminal, with its plea of "not guilty." Had not the worship of Jehovah been restored by Josiah? Had he not, acting on Hilkiah's counsels, suppressed Baal-worship (2Kings 23:4-5; 2Chronicles 34:4)? The answer to such pleas is to point to the rites that were still practised openly or in secret. In the "valley" of Ben-Hinnom, which Josiah had defiled (2Kings 23:10), the horrid ritual of Molech (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2) was still in use (Jeremiah 7:31), reviving, we may believe, on the death of Josiah; and this, though not actually the worship of Baal, was at least as evil, and probably, in the confluence of many forms of worship which marked the last days of the monarchy of Judah, was closely associated and practically identified with it, both by the prophet and the people (Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35).

A swift dromedary.--Better, she-camel, the Hebrew word not pointing to any specific difference. The words paint with an almost terrible vividness the eager, restless state of the daughter of Zion in its harlot-like lust for the false gods of the heathen. The female camel, in the uncontrollable violence of its brute passion, moving to and fro with panting eagerness--that was now the fit image for her who had once been the betrothed of Jehovah.

Verse 23. - How canst thou say, etc.? This is not a mere rhetorical fiction equivalent to "or if thou shouldst perhaps say," but probably represents an objection really made by the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah. Their fault was not in neglecting the public worship of Jehovah in his appointed temple, but in superadding to this, idolatrous rites inconsistent with the spiritual religion taught by Jeremiah. The people did not, it seems, regard this as tantamount to "following Baalim," just as some converts to Christianity in our own foreign missions might exclaim against being accused of apostasy, because they secretly carry on certain heathen practices. The prophet, however, applies a more rigorous test to their conduct. Baalim; the plural of Baal, used for "other gods" (Jeremiah 1:16; comp. on ver. 8). Thy way in the valley. The valley in this context can only be that of Hinnom (see on Jeremiah 7:31), which from the time of Ahaz had been defiled with the rites of "Moloch, horrid king" (see ' Paradise Lost,' 1:392-396). Thou art a swift dromedary. Ewald would attach this half of the verse to ver. 24; and there is something to be said for this plan. Swift dromedary is, properly speaking, in the vocative. The ardor of the people for idolatry is expressed by the comparison of it to the uncontrollable instinct of brute beasts. The word rendered "dromedary" is in the feminine gender; it means strictly the young she-camel which has not yet had a foal. Traversing her ways; rather, interlacing her ways; i.e. running backwards and forwards at the impulse of passion. How canst thou say, I am not polluted,.... No man can say this; for all are defiled with sin; but this was the cast and complexion of these people in all ages; they were a generation of men that were pure in their own eyes, but were not cleansed from their filthiness; they fancied that their ceremonial washings and sacrifices cleansed them from moral impurities, when those only sanctified to the purifying of the flesh; still their iniquity remained marked before the Lord; they acted the part of the adulterous woman in Proverbs 30:20 to whom they are compared in the context; and, therefore, as wondering at their impudence, they having a whore's forehead, this question is put, how and with what face they could affirm this, and what follows:

I have not gone after Baalim? or, "the Baalim"; the idols of the people, as the Targum interprets it; for there were many Baals, as Baalzephon, Baalpeor, Baalzebub, and others:

see thy way in the valley; where idols were set up and worshipped; or through which the way lay, as Kimchi observes, to the hills and mountains where idolatry was frequently committed; perhaps no particular valley is meant, but any in which idols were worshipped, or which they passed through to the worshipping of them; though the Targum interprets it of the valley in which they dwelt, over against Baalpeor, so Jarchi and Abarbinel, when they worshipped that idol; and seems to design the valley of Shittim, Numbers 25:1, but rather, if any particular valley is intended, the valley of Hinnom seems to bid fair for it; and to this it may be the Septuagint version has respect, rendering it , "in the sepulchre of the multitude"; multitudes being burnt and buried here:

know what thou hast done; in the valley, especially in the valley of Hinnom, where they caused their children to pass through the fire to Molech:

thou art a swift dromedary. The Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret it a young camel; and so the word in the Arabic language signifies; and the epithet "swift" better agrees with that than with the dromedary. Curtius (z) makes mention of dromedary camels of great swiftness; but it may be this is to be understood, not of its swiftness in running, but of its impetuous lust, as Calvin observes; and, indeed, each of these creatures are very libidinous; and therefore these people are compared to them; See Gill on Micah 1:13, it follows:

traversing her ways; running about here and there after the male, burning with lust, sometimes one way, and sometimes another; and so these people sometimes run after one idol, and sometimes another, and followed a multitude of them. The Targum renders it, "which corrupts or depraves her ways". De Dieu observes, that the word in the Ethiopic language, signifies "the evening"; and so may intend walking in the evening, in the dark, rather than in the light; which, as it is the way of dromedaries, and almost of all beasts, so of harlots, to whom these people are likened; and he further observes, that, in the Arabic language, it signifies to make common, which agrees with adulterous persons, as these were in a spiritual sense. The word is only used in this place, and is deduced from, or has some relation to, the word which signifies a "shoelatchet", Genesis 14:23 as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; and may denote, as the shoe is bound and fastened with the latchet, the binding of her ways to her heart, as the former suggests, the strengthening and confirming of her in her evil ways, and her constant persisting therein; but the first sense of running here and there through lust is best; and is approved by Bynaeus (a) and by Buxtorf (b).

(z) (Curtius) L. 5. c. 2.((a) De Calceis Heb. l. 1. c. 7. sect. 4. (b) Lex. Heb. rad. 23. (Pr 30:12).

Baalim—plural, to express manifold excellency: compare Elohim.

see—consider.

the valley—namely, of Hinnom, or Tophet, south and east of Jerusalem: rendered infamous by the human sacrifices to Moloch in it (compare Jer 19:2, 6, 13, 14; 32:35; see on [894]Isa 30:33).

thou art—omit. The substantive that follows in this verse (and also that in Jer 2:24) is in apposition with the preceding "thou."

dromedary—rather, a "young she-camel."

traversing—literally, "enfolding"; making its ways complicated by wandering hither and thither, lusting after the male. Compare as to the Jews' spiritual lust, Ho 2:6, 7.2:20-28 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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