Jeremiah 10:12
He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) He hath made . . . he hath established.—The words are participial in form, making . . . establishing, and complete the list of divine attributes in Jeremiah 10:10, contrasting the creative might of Jehovah with the impotence of the gods of the heathen.

The world.—As contrasted with the material earth, the inhabited world, the world considered in its relation to man, as in Proverbs 8:31.

Discretion.—Better, skill.

Jeremiah 10:12-13. He hath made the earth, &c. — Here follows a noble and lofty description of God’s power and providence, whereby he sets forth his infinite pre-eminence above all the dead and senseless idols of the world. When he uttereth his voice, &c. — When he gives the word of command, and signifies his will and pleasure: see Job 38:34. Or, when he sends forth his thunder, called in Scripture the voice of God, the clouds immediately precipitate in torrents of rain, which, coming upon the ground that was scorched with heat before, not only cools and refreshes it, but renders it fruitful in all kinds of vegetable productions. He maketh lightnings with rain — And as he causes the vapours to ascend up in clouds from every quarter of the earth, so he joins two contrary things together, ordaining great flashes of lightning to break forth with the rain; the latter, by its moisture, preventing the ill effects that might otherwise proceed from the heat of the former. And bringeth forth the winds out of his treasures — As there is occasion for them, directing them all in such measures, and for such uses, as he thinks fit. In other words, “He makes great and mighty winds to come from unknown places and causes, as if he brought them out of a hidden treasure, or repository, where they had been laid up till he had occasion for them.” — Lowth.10:1-16 The prophet shows the glory of Israel's God, and exposes the folly of idolaters. Charms and other attempts to obtain supernatural help, or to pry into futurity, are copied from the wicked customs of the heathen. Let us stand in awe, and not dare provoke God, by giving that glory to another which is due to him alone. He is ready to forgive, and save all who repent and believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Faith learns these blessed truths from the word of God; but all knowledge not from that source, leads to doctrines of vanity.Discretion - Or, understanding. The three attributes ascribed to the Creator are very remarkable. The creation of the earth, the material world, is an act of "power;" the "establishing," i. e., the ordering and arranging it as a place fit for man's abode, is the work of his "wisdom;" while the spreading out the heavens over it like a tent is an act of "understanding," or skill. Naturally, the consideration of these attributes has led many to see here an allusion to the Holy Trinity. 12. Continuation of Jer 10:10, after the interruption of the thread of the discourse in Jer 10:11 (Ps 136:5, 6). In this and the next verse the prophet enumerates some particulars wherein he is transcendently above all creatures which he hath made, much more above idols, which are the works of man’s hands.

The earth, Acts 14:15, i.e. the whole globe, consisting of waters as well as earth.

By his power: it must needs speak an almighty power to make such a vast body; where would the idols have found materials of which to have composed such a body and bulk? the true God was not at a loss, he drew them out of nothing, and commanded them into a being by the word of his power, Genesis 1:1.

He hath established the world by his wisdom; either he hath made it firm, solid, and unmovable, i.e. off from its basis, or rather centre; (for it is out of our sphere and province here to meddle either with the fixation or the motion of it, that is left to the old and new philosophers to dispute among themselves;) or else by establishing we understand he hath appointed it its use, or hath prepared it to be every way subservient to the inhabitants thereof, both as to delight in prospect, and varieties of recreation, by its ornamental parts in mountains, little hills, woods, meadows, fields, &c., and necessity to accommodate man and beast with all things useful, both for habitation and provision, to sustain the natural life, and to praise and magnify the founder of it, Genesis 1:11,12; all which cannot choose but greatly manifest the unsearchable wisdom of God. And hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion: these are

stretched out, i.e. expanded and spread over our head, through the whole circumference of the earth, with all their glorious furniture, and varieties of motions, moving regularly in their several orbs, i.e. not varying the least degree, either in time or space, from the order and law that God hath set them, even in those which are more eccentric and erratic; which must needs argue an unparalleled skill and understanding in God, which the word discretion doth here properly signify, Exodus 36:1 Job 12:13; all which are his handiwork, and do declare his glory, Psalm 19:1. He hath made the earth by his power,.... The Targum considers these words as a continuation of the answer of the Jews to the Chaldeans, paraphrasing them thus,

"and so shall ye say unto them, `we worship him who hath made the earth by his power':''

who stands opposed to the gods that made not the heavens and the earth, that had no title to deity, nor right to worship; but the true God has both; and his making the earth out of nothing, and hanging it upon nothing, and preserving it firm and stable, are proofs of his almighty power, and so of his deity; and consequently that he ought to be worshipped, and he only.

He hath established the world by his wisdom; upon the rivers and floods; or he hath poised it in the air; or he hath disposed it in an orderly, regular, and beautiful manner, as the word (u) used signifies; by making it terraqueous, partly land, and partly water; by opening in it fountains and rivers; by diversifying it with hills and vales, with wood and arable land, &c.; all which show the wisdom as well as the power of God.

And hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion; as a canopy over the earth, as a tent to dwell in; and which is beautifully bespangled with the luminaries in it; hence it has the name of expanse, or the firmament of heaven.

(u) "aptavit", Cocceius; "preparans", Schmidt; a "aptavit, disposuit", Gussetius.

He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12, 13. The creation of all things, and in particular the phenomena of the tempest, are appealed to as signs of Jehovah’s supremacy.

12–16. Repeated Jeremiah 51:15-19.Verses 12-16. - Repeated with a slight variation in Jeremiah 51:15-19. Verse 12. - He hath made the earth, etc. (comp. the frequent references to the Divine creatorship in the latter part of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 45:12, 18; Isaiah 51:13). By his discretion; rather, by his understanding. The almighty power of Jahveh, the living God. - Jeremiah 10:6. "None at all is like Thee, Jahveh; great art Thou, and Thy name is great in might. Jeremiah 10:7. Who would not fear Thee, Thou King of the peoples? To Thee doth it appertain; for among all the wise men of the peoples, and in all their kingdoms, there is none at all like unto Thee. Jeremiah 10:8. But they are all together brutish and foolish; the teaching of the vanities is wood. Jeremiah 10:9. Beaten silver, from Tarshish it is brought, and gold from Uphaz, work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; blue and red purple is their clothing; the work of cunning workmen are they all. Jeremiah 10:10. But Jahveh is God in truth, He is living God and everlasting King; at His wrath the earth trembles, and the peoples abide not His indignation. Jeremiah 10:11. Thus shall ye say unto them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens."

In this second strophe Jahveh is contrasted, as the only true God and Lord of the world, with the lifeless gods. These there is no need to fear, but it behoves all to fear the almighty God, since in His wrath He can destroy nations. When compared with Psalm 86:8, the מן in מאין seems redundant - so much so, that Ven. pronounces it a copyist's error, and Hitz. sets it aside by changing the vowels. The word as it stands contains a double negation, and is usually found only in dependent clauses with a strong negative force: so that there is none. Here it has the same force, but at the beginning of the sentence: none at all is as Thou; cf. Ew. 323, a. Great is Thy name, i.e., the manifestation of Thee in the world, in Thy government of the earth. "In (or with) might" belongs to "great:" great with might, displaying itself in acts of might; cf. Jeremiah 16:21. Who would not fear Thee? a negative setting of the thought: every one must fear Thee. King of the nations; cf. Psalm 22:29; Psalm 47:8; Psalm 96:10. יאתה from יאה, ἁπ. λεγ.. equivalent to נאה (whence נאוה), to be seemly, suitable. Among the wise men of the peoples none is like Thee, so as that any should be able to make head against Thee by any clever stroke; cf. Isaiah 19:12; Isaiah 29:14. Nor is there in any kingdom of the peoples any one like Jahveh, i.e., in might. It is not merely earthly kings that are meant, but the gods of the heathen as well. In no heathen kingdom is there any power to be compared with Jahveh. We are led here to think also of the pagan gods by Jeremiah 10:8, where the wisdom and almighty power of the living God are contrasted with foolishness and vanity of the false gods. בּאחת is not: in uno equals in una re, sc. idololatria (Rabb.); nor is it, as Hitz. in most strained fashion makes it: by means of one thing, i.e., by (or at) a single word, the word which comes immediately after: it is wood. אחת is unquestionably neuter, and the force of it here is collective, equals all together, like the Chald. כחדא. The nominative to "are brutish" is "the peoples." The verb בּער is denom. from בּעיר, to be brutish, occurring elsewhere in the Kal only in Psalm 94:8, Ezekiel 21:36; in the Niph. Jeremiah 10:14, Jeremiah 10:21, Jeremiah 51:17; Isaiah 19:11. כּסל as verb is found only here; elsewhere we have כּסיל, foolish, and כּסל, folly (Sol 7:1-13 :25), and, as a verb, the transposed form סכל. The remaining words of the verse make up one clause; the construction is the same as in Jeremiah 10:3, but the sense is not: "a mere vain doctrine is the wood," i.e., the idol is itself but a doctrine of vanities. In this way Ew. takes it, making "wood" the subject of the clause and מוּסר the predicate. מוּסר הבלים is the antithesis to מוּסר יהוה, Deuteronomy 11:2; Proverbs 3:11; Job 5:17. As the latter is the παιδεία of the Lord, so the former is the παιδεία of the false gods (הבלים, cf. Jeremiah 8:19). The παιδεία of Jahveh displayed itself, acc. to Deuteronomy 11:2, in deeds of might by means of which Jahveh set His people Israel free from the power of Egypt. Consequently it is the education of Israel by means of acts of love and chastenings, or, taken more generally, the divine leading and guidance of the people. Such a παιδεία the null and void gods could not give to their worshippers. Their παιδεία is wood, i.e., not: wooden, but nothing else than that which the gods themselves are - wood, which, however it be decked up (Jeremiah 10:9), remains a mere lifeless block. So that the thought of Jeremiah 10:8 is this: The heathen, with all their wise men, are brutish; since their gods, from which they should receive wisdom and instruction, are wood. Starting from this, Jeremiah 10:9 continues to this effect: However much this wood be decked out with silver, gold, and purple raiment, it remains but the product of men's hands; by no such process does the wood become a god. The description of the polishing off of the wood into a god is loosely attached to the predicate עץ, by way of an enumeration of the various things made use of therefore. The specification served to make the picture the more graphic; what idols were made of was familiar to everybody. מרקּע, beat out into thin plates for coating over the wooden image; cf. Exodus 39:3; Numbers 17:3. As to תּרשׁישׁ, Tartessus in Spain, the source of the silver, see on Ezekiel 27:12. Gold from Ophir; אוּפז here and Daniel 10:5 is only a dialectical variety of אופיר, see on 1 Kings 9:27. As the blue and red purple, see on Exodus 25:4. חכמים, skilful artisans, cf. Isaiah 40:20. They all, i.e., all the idols.

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