Jeremiah 1:16
And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) I will utter my judgments against them.—Here, again, we get a literal correspondence in the words of Jeremiah 39:5, “he gave [or uttered] judgment upon him,” of Nebuchadnezzar’s sentence on Zedekiah. And yet the invaders in their sentence are to be but the ministers of a higher judgment than their own. In the words “my judgments” He recognises their work.

Who have forsaken.—The remainder of the verse gives, as it were, the formal enumeration of the crimes for which Judah was condemned: (1) Apostacy from the true God; (2) the transfer of adoration to other Gods, such as Baal, Ashtaroth, and the Queen of Heaven; sins against the First Commandment; (3) the worship of graven images; a sin against the Second. The sins were of long standing, but the words point specially to the proportions they had assumed in the reign of Manasseh (2Chronicles 33:1-7).

1:11-19 God gave Jeremiah a view of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments. God also showed whence the intended ruin should arise. Jeremiah saw a seething-pot boiling, representing Jerusalem and Judah in great commotion. The mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, was toward the north; from whence the fire and fuel were to come. The northern powers shall unite. The cause of these judgments was the sin of Judah. The whole counsel of God must be declared. The fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. Better to have all men our enemies than God our enemy; those who are sure they have God with them, need not, ought not to fear, whoever is against them. Let us pray that we may be willing to give up personal interests, and that nothing may move us from our duty.In accordance with the custom of law courts, the crimes of the guilty city are mentioned in the sentence. The charges brought against her are three: first, the desertion of the true God; next, the offering incense to false gods, and, lastly, the making obeisance to, or bowing down 2 Kings 5:18 before images of human workmanship. 16. utter—pronounce. The judicial sentences, pronounced against the Jews by the invading princes, would be virtually the "judgments of God" (Isa 10:5).

works—idols.

I will utter my judgments; cause sentence to be passed according to my threatening. See Jeremiah 39:5. Or, I will place my bounty and their unworthiness before them. Or, I will upbraid them with their ingratitude, rebellion, and breach of covenant, &c. I will speak with them by thee, Jeremiah, and others of my prophets. Who have forsaken me; either noting the persons against whom, or rather the cause for which, because they have forsaken me; the same particle being so used Jeremiah 13:25, and elsewhere; or their sins whereby, as it is also expressed, Jeremiah 16:11 22:9.

Burnt incense unto other gods, i.e. worshipped strange gods; a synecdoche of the part for the whole.

The works of their own hands, i.e. their idolatrous images, expressed here by a periphrasis, Isaiah 2 8. And I will utter my judgments against them,.... Not against the kingdoms of the north, but against the people of the Jews. The sense is, that God would enter into judgment with this people, and pass sentence upon them, and execute it:

touching all their wickedness; or on account of all their sins and transgressions hereafter mentioned:

who have forsaken me. The Targum is, "who have forsaken my worship"; for to forsake the public worship of God, attendance on his word and ordinances, or to forsake the assembling of themselves together for such a purpose, is to forsake the Lord himself, the fountain of living waters; and this is to forsake their own mercies:

and have burnt incense to other gods; to the idols of the Gentile, as the Targum explains it; to Baal, to the queen of heaven, and to others:

and worshipped the works of their own hands: idols of gold, silver, brass, and wood, which their own hands formed and carved, and which argued great stupidity and ignorance.

And I will utter my {p} judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.

(p) I will give them charge and power to execute my vengeance against the idolaters who have forsaken me for their idols.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. I will utter my judgements against them] lit., I will speak my judgements with them. An almost identical phrase in the Hebrew occurs again in this book, when Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah “gave judgement upon Zedekiah,” mg. “spake judgements with him” (Jeremiah 39:5); cp. Jeremiah 4:12.

touching all their wickedness] This is defined in the three clauses that follow, (i) the forsaking of the true God, (ii) the sacrificing to other gods, (iii) the worshipping of images.

have burned incense] lit. have caused sacrifices to smoke. The Hebrew word does not necessarily involve the use of incense. See further on Jeremiah 7:9.Verse 16. - I will utter my judgments; or, I will hold a court of justice upon them; literally, I will speak judgments with them. The expression is peculiar to Jeremiah (comp. Jeremiah 4:12; Jeremiah 12:1; Jeremiah 39:6; Jeremiah 52:9), and includes both the examination of the accused, and the judicial sentence (see Jeremiah 39:5; Jeremiah 52:9). All their wickedness, etc. Their "wickedness," i.e. their infidelity to Jehovah, showed itself in burning incense to "other gods," and bowing down to their images. "Burned incense" is, however, too narrow a sense. The root-meaning of the verb is to be fragrant, and the causative conjugations will strictly mean only "to make a sweet odor," whether by the offering of incense or by burnt offerings (comp. Jeremiah 11:12; 2 Kings 23:8, where a causative conjugation is used in the same wide sense here postulated; also Psalm 66:15 and Isaiah 1:13, where the word usually rendered "incense" seems rather to mean "a sweet smoke"). The prophet says, "of other gods" (not "of false gods"), out of consideration for the ignorance of his hearers, to whom Baal and Moloch really were as gods; in fact, that expressive word (cf.) which Isaiah uses ten times to express the unreality of the other so-called gods, occurs only once, and then not in quite the same sense (see Jeremiah 14:14) in Jeremiah. But the prophet's own strict monotheism is proved by such passages as Jeremiah 2:27a; Jeremiah 8:19b; Jeremiah 16:20. The Consecration. - Jeremiah 1:9. "And Jahveh stretched forth His hand, and touched my mouth, and Jahveh said to me, Behold, I put my words into thy mouth. Jeremiah 1:10. Behold, I set thee this day over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root up and to ruin, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant." In order to assure him by overt act of His support, the Lord gives him a palpable pledge. He stretches out His hand and causes it to touch his mouth (cf. Isaiah 6:7); while, as explanation of this symbolical act, He adds: I have put my words in thy mouth. The hand is the instrument of making and doing; the touching of Jeremiah's mouth by the hand of God is consequently an emblematical token that God frames in his mouth what he is to speak. It is a tangible pledge of ἔμπνευσις, inspiratio, embodiment of that influence exercised on the human spirit, by means of which the holy men of God speak, being moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Peter 1:21 (Nδgelsb.). The act is a real occurrence, taking place not indeed in the earthly, corporeal sphere, but experienced in spirit, and of the nature of ecstasy. By means of it God has consecrated him to be His prophet, and endowed him for the discharge of his duties; He may now entrust him with His commission to the peoples and kingdoms, and set him over them as His prophet who proclaims to them His word. The contents of this proclaiming are indicated in the following infinitive clauses. With the words of the Lord he is to destroy and to build up peoples and kingdoms. The word of God is a power that carries out His will, and accomplishes that whereto He sends it, Isaiah 55:10. Against this power nothing earthly can stand; it is a hammer that breaks rocks in pieces, Jeremiah 23:29. What is here said of the word of Jahveh to be preached by Jeremiah is said of Jahveh Himself in Jeremiah 31:28. Its power is to show itself in two ways, in destroying and in building up. The destroying is not set down as a mere preliminary, but is expressed by means of four different words, whereas the building is given only in two words, and these standing after the four; in order, doubtless, to indicate that the labours of Jeremiah should consist, in the first place and for the most part, in proclaiming judgment upon the nations. The assonant verbs נתשׁ and נתץ are joined to heighten the sense; for the same reason להרוס is added to להאביד, and in the antithesis לנטוע is joined with לבנות.

(Note: The lxx have omitted להרוסa, and hence Hitz. infers the spuriousness of this word. But in the parallel passage, Jeremiah 31:28, the lxx have rendered all the four words by the one καθαιρεῖν; and Hitz. does not then pronounce the other three spurious.)

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