Jeremiah 2:31
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"You of this generation, consider the word of the LORD: "Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, 'We are free to roam; we will come to you no more'?

New Living Translation
"O my people, listen to the words of the LORD! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, 'At last we are free from God! We don't need him anymore!'

English Standard Version
And you, O generation, behold the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘We are free, we will come no more to you’?

New American Standard Bible
"O generation, heed the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of thick darkness? Why do My people say, 'We are free to roam; We will no longer come to You'?

King James Bible
O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Evil generation, pay attention to the word of the LORD! Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why do My people claim, "We will go where we want; we will no longer come to You"?

International Standard Version
"You, generation, pay attention to this message from the LORD! Am I the desert to Israel, or a land of gloom? Why do my people say, 'We're free to roam? We won't come to you anymore.'

NET Bible
You people of this generation, listen to what the LORD says. "Have I been like a wilderness to you, Israel? Have I been like a dark and dangerous land to you? Why then do you say, 'We are free to wander. We will not come to you any more?'

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Consider the word of the LORD, people of this generation. Haven't I been a desert, a land of thick darkness, for Israel? Why do my people say that they are free to wander around and no longer come to me?

Jubilee Bible 2000
O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? Why do my people say, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?

King James 2000 Bible
O generation, see you the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? why say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto you?

American King James Version
O generation, see you the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? a land of darkness? why say my people, We are lords; we will come no more to you?

American Standard Version
O generation, see ye the word of Jehovah. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? or a land of thick darkness? wherefore say my people, We are broken loose; we will come no more unto thee?

Douay-Rheims Bible
See ye the word of the Lord: Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a lateward springing land? why then have my people said: We are revolted, we will come to thee no more.

Darby Bible Translation
O generation, mark ye the word of Jehovah. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Wherefore say my people, We have dominion; we will come no more unto thee?

English Revised Version
O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? or a land of thick darkness? wherefore say my people, We are broken loose; we will come no more unto thee?

Webster's Bible Translation
O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? a land of darkness? why say my people, We are lords; we will come no more to thee?

World English Bible
Generation, consider the word of Yahweh. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? Or a land of thick darkness? Why do my people say, 'We have broken loose. We will come to you no more?'

Young's Literal Translation
O generation, see ye the word of Jehovah: A wilderness have I been to Israel? A land of thick darkness? Wherefore have My people said, 'We mourned, We come not in again unto Thee.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:29-37 The nation had not been wrought upon by the judgements of God, but sought to justify themselves. The world is, to those who make it their home and their portion, a wilderness and a land of darkness; but those who dwell in God, have the lines fallen to them in pleasant places. Here is the language of presumptuous sinners. The Jews had long thrown off serious thoughts of God. How many days of our lives pass without suitable remembrance of him! The Lord was displeased with their confidences, and would not prosper them therein. Men employ all their ingenuity, but cannot find happiness in the way of sin, or excuse for it. They may shift from one sin to another, but none ever hardened himself against God, or turned from him, and prospered.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 31. - O generation, see ye. It is doubtful whether generation here means "contemporaries" (equivalent to "men of this generation"), or, like γενεά sometimes in the New Testament, a class of men united by moral affinity (comp. Psalm 14:5; Psalm 78:8). In the latter case we should rather attach the pronoun in "see ye" to "O generation," and render "O (evil) generation that ye are!" So Hitzig, Keil, and Payne Smith; Ewald and Delitzsch adopt the first rendering. Have I been a wilderness, etc.? "Have I not been the source of light and happiness to my people, and of all temporal blessings?" (comp. Jeremiah 2:6). So the Divine speaker in Isaiah 45:19, "I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain," or more literally, "in chaos" (same word as in Genesis 1:2); "chaos" and "the wilderness" are both images of that which is utterly unremunerative. A land of darkness. This is, of course, not literally accurate as a description of the Arabian desert. "Darkness" is here used as a synonym for "misery." Cloud and rain occupy precisely opposite places in the estimation of nomadic and agricultural peoples respectively. "The Bedouins," says an Arabic scholast, "always follow the rain and the places where raindrops fall;" whereas a townsman of Mecca calls himself "child of the sun." So Indra and Varuna, originally belonging to the cloudy and rainy sky, are in the Vedic hymns endowed with solar traits. It should be added here that it is an old problem, and too difficult a one for us to investigate, whether we should render "the darkness of Jah" (Jehovah) or (as Authorized Version) simply "darkness." The former rendering will mean very great darkness, such as Jehovah sends in judgment (e.g. to the Egyptians, Exodus 10:21-23). On this question, see Dr. Ginsburg on Song of Solomon 8:6 (where a similar doubt exists), Geiger's 'Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel,' p. 276; Ewald, 'Lehrbuch der Hebraischen Sprache,' § 270 e. We are lords; rather, we have broken loose. It is, however, a difficult word, which only occurs elsewhere in Genesis 26:40; Hosea 12:1; Psalm 55:3.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

O generation, see ye the word of the Lord,.... Take notice of it, consider it; or, hear it, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions. Jarchi and Kimchi think (i) the pot of manna was brought out, and shown them, to be looked at by them, for the conviction of them, and confirmation of what follows:

have I been a wilderness unto Israel? no: the Israelites were plentifully supplied by him when in the wilderness, and since they were brought into a land flowing with milk and honey; so that they stood in need of nothing; they had a constant supply of all good things:

or a land of darkness? of misery, distress, and poverty; where no light of joy, comfort, and prosperity, is; a land that never sees the light, or enjoys the benefit of the sun, and so is barren and unfruitful; "a land of thorns", as the Septuagint version; or, "a desert and uncultivated land", as the Targum, and Syriac and Arabic versions. It may be rendered, "a land of the darkness of God" (k); that is, of the greatest darkness, of thick and gross darkness, alluding to that in Egypt; as the flame of God, and mountains of God, Sol 8:6, as Ben Melech and Kimchi observe:

wherefore say my people, we are lords; and can reign without thee; or we have kings and princes, and have no need of thee, so Kimchi; but the word used seems to have another meaning, and to require another sense. The Targum is, "we are removed"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "we have gone back"; to which agrees the Jewish Midrash (l), mentioned by Jarchi, and confirmed with a passage out of the Misna (m), "we are separated from thee"; we have departed from thee, turned our backs on thee, have forsaken thee, and left thy ways and worship; and to do so was very ungrateful, when the Lord had so richly supplied them, that they had not lacked any good thing; and this sense agrees with what follows:

we will come no more unto thee? some render it, "we have determined" (n); as having the same sense with the Arabic word, which signifies to "will" or determine anything; and then the meaning is, we are determined, we are resolved to come no more to thee, to attend thy worship and service any more; and so the Targum,

"we will not return any more to thy worship.''

(i) So Mechilta apud Yalkut in loc. (k) "terra caliginis Dei", Gataker, Gussetius; "caliginis Jah", Montanus. (l) Midrash R. Tanchuma, apud Jarchi in loc. Vid. Yalkut Simeoni, in Ioc. (m) Misn. Trumot, c. 10. sect. 3. & Machshirin, c. 3. sect. 3.((n) "voluimus non veniemus", &c, De Dieu; "decrevimus non veniemus", Cocceius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

31. The Hebrew collocation is, "O, the generation, ye," that is, "O ye who now live." The generation needed only to be named, to call its degeneracy to view, so palpable was it.

wilderness—in which all the necessaries of life are wanting. On the contrary, Jehovah was a never-failing source of supply for all Israel's wants in the wilderness, and afterwards in Canaan.

darkness—literally, "darkness of Jehovah," the strongest Hebrew term for "darkness; the densest darkness"; compare "land of the shadow of death" (Jer 2:6).

We are lords—that is, We are our own masters. We will worship what gods we like (Ps 12:4; 82:6). But it is better to translate from a different Hebrew root: "We ramble at large," without restraint pursuing our idolatrous lusts.

Jeremiah 2:31 Additional Commentaries
Context
Israel's Unfaithfulness
30"In vain I have struck your sons; They accepted no chastening. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion. 31"O generation, heed the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of thick darkness? Why do My people say, 'We are free to roam; We will no longer come to You'? 32"Can a virgin forget her ornaments, Or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me Days without number.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 32:15
Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, they became heavy and sleek. They abandoned the God who made them and rejected the Rock their Savior.

Isaiah 45:19
I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Jeremiah 2:20
"Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.

Jeremiah 2:25
Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, 'It's no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.'
Treasury of Scripture

O generation, see you the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? a land of darkness? why say my people, We are lords; we will come no more to you?

see ye

Amos 1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he …

Micah 6:9 The LORD's voice cries to the city, and the man of wisdom shall see …

have I been

Jeremiah 2:5,6 Thus said the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, …

2 Samuel 12:7-9 And Nathan said to David, You are the man. Thus said the LORD God …

2 Chronicles 31:10 And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said…

Nehemiah 9:21-25 Yes, forty years did you sustain them in the wilderness, so that …

Hosea 2:7,8 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake …

Malachi 3:9-11 You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation…

we are lords. Heb. we have dominion

Deuteronomy 8:12-14 Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, …

Deuteronomy 31:20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore to …

Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown …

Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after …

Psalm 12:4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our …

Proverbs 30:9 Lest I be full, and deny you, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I …

Hosea 13:6 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, …

1 Corinthians 4:8 Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without …

Revelation 3:15-17 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you …

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