|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-11 Jeremiah wept much, yet wished he could weep more, that he might rouse the people to a due sense of the hand of God. But even the desert, without communion with God, through Christ Jesus, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, must be a place for temptation and evil; while, with these blessings, we may live in holiness in crowded cities. The people accustomed their tongues to lies. So false were they, that a brother could not be trusted. In trading and bargaining they said any thing for their own advantage, though they knew it to be false. But God marked their sin. Where no knowledge of God is, what good can be expected? He has many ways of turning a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwell therein.
Verse 3. - And they bend their tongues, etc.; rather, and they bend their tongue as their bow of falsehood, and they use not their valor in (literally, according to) good faith. There is a sad, stern irony in these words, which remind us of Isaiah's (Isaiah 5:22) "valiant men - for drinking wine" and of our own prophet's repetition of himself in Jeremiah 22:10, "Their valor is - untruth." A less pointed form of the same figurative statement is that of the psalmist in Psalm 64:3. Upon the earth; rather, in the land. The Authorized Version pays very little regard to the context in its rendering of the ambiguous word erec.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies,.... Their tongues were like bows, and their lying words like arrows, which they directed against persons to their injury; see Psalm 11:2, or, "like their deceitful bow" (p); to which the Targum agrees,
"they teach their tongues words of falsehood, they are like to a deceitful bow.''
Most agreeably to the accents the words may be rendered, "they bend their tongues, their bow is a lie" (q); either deceitful, or carries a lie in it, and shoots one out of it:
but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; which a man should do everything for, and nothing against; and which he should earnestly contend for, and not part with or give up at any rate; not only for the truth of doctrine, for faith, as the Targum; for the doctrine of faith, the truth of the Gospel, and as it is in Christ; but for truth between man and man, for veracity, rightness, and integrity: for they proceed from evil to evil; from one sin to another, growing worse and worse, as wicked men and deceivers usually do. Kimchi observes, it may be interpreted, as of evil works, so of the evil of punishment, from one evil of the enemy to another; or this year they are smitten with blasting, another with mildew, or with the locust, and yet they turn not from their evil ways:
and they know not me, saith the Lord; the God of truth, and without iniquity, and who will severely punish for it; they did not serve and worship him as the only Lord God. The Targum is,
"the knowledge of my fear they learned not.''
(p) "veluti acum falsum", Munster; "quasi arcum mendacii", V. L. (q) "Et tetenderunt linguam suam, arcus ipsorum mendacium est", De Dieu; "qui tendunt linguam suam, arcus eorum est mendacium", Schmidt. Approved by Reinbeck. De Accent. Heb. p. 437.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. bend … tongues … for lies—that is, with lies as their arrows; they direct lies on their tongue as their bow (Ps 64:3, 4).
not valiant for … truth—(Jer 7:28). Maurer translates, "They do not prevail by truth" or faith (Ps 12:4). Their tongue, not faith, is their weapon.
upon … earth—rather, "in the land."
know not me—(Ho 4:1).
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