Jeremiah 10:13
When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightning with rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasures.
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(13) A multitude of waters.—Better, a rush of waters, following on the thunder, which is thought of as the voice of God (comp. Psalm 29:3). The prophet finds the tokens of Almighty Power alike in the fixed order of the Cosmos and its most catastrophic perturbations. The strict construction of the Hebrew gives, At the voice of His giving the roar of waters.

He maketh lightnings.—The last half of the verse agrees verbally with Psalm 135:7 (where see Note), and one is obviously a quotation from the other, or both from some common source. We have no data, however, for saying which is the older of the two. The idea of the “treasure chambers” from which the winds are brought appears in Job 38:22.

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.When ... - i. e., the rushing downpour of rain follows immediately upon the thunder. The rest of the verse is identical with marginal reference; but probably the words belong to Jeremiah, the Psalm being of comparatively late date.

With rain - For the rain Psalm 135:7.

13. Literally, "At the voice of His giving forth," that is, when He thunders. (Job 38:34; Ps 29:3-5).

waters—(Ge 1:7)—above the firmament; heavy rains accompany thunder.

vapours … ascend—(Ps 135:7).

treasures—His stores.

As in the former verse he relates God’s unspeakable power and wisdom in his creating and fixing the stated order of things; so here he further sets it forth in his providential ordering and disposing their accidents.

When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters; i.e. either at his command, when he is pleased to call for the rain; or rather, when he thundereth in the heavens, Job 37:4,5 Psa 77:18: though it often rains when it thunders not, and thunders when it rains not, yet when it rains and thunders the rain usually falls more forcibly from the clouds, and in more sudden plenty, as it were a more immediate consequent of it.

The heavens, viz. the lowest heaven, the region of the air.

The vapours; exhalations, whether wet or dry, causing wind or rain, by the ascending whereof the lower heavens gather them into clouds, which, when full and burdened, descend in showers for the conveniences of the earth and springs.

He maketh lightnings with rain: though fire and water be contrary, yet it opens the clouds to make way for the rain, and is produced in the midst of waters, all which is wonderful.

And bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures; which, partly, notes that it is secret and hidden, as coming from the caverns and hollow parts of the earth; no man knows from whence they come, or whither they go, John 3:8; and it is wonderful to observe how suddenly at a calm time the winds will rise how they will whirl about, how various, unconstant, and contrary in their motions; and partly, the plenty, both for vehemency and continuance, signified also by treasures, the plenty of snow and hail being thus expressed, Job 38:22; and partly, that it is at his disposal to bring out of his treasure when he pleases. See Psalm 135:7. When he uttereth his voice,.... Declares his will and pleasure, issues out his commands; or when he thunders, for thunder is his voice, Job 37:2,

there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; they are covered with clouds, and these clouds full of water; which is brought about by the following means:

and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; from the north and south, as Kimchi observes from the philosophers; or from all parts of the earth, the most distant, and particularly from the sea, the border of the earth, from whence clouds arise, being exhaled by the sun; see 1 Kings 18:43.

He maketh lightnings with rain; which very often go together, and the one makes way for the other, Job 28:26, though they are so opposite one to another:

and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures; the caverns of the earth, or his fists, in which he holds it, Proverbs 30:4 and lets its loose at his pleasure; he has plenty of it in reserve; he is Lord over it; he sends it forth when he pleases, and it fulfils his will and his word.

When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
13. when he uttereth his voice, etc.] The sense is plain, though the form of the Hebrew in MT. is peculiar, and hence the alternative in mg. at the sound of his giving an abundance of waters, continuing, when he causeth or (simply), he causeth. Thunder, torrential rain, lightning, and winds mark Jehovah’s supremacy over the elements of the storm.

maketh lightnings for the rain] probably meaning, pierceth with his flash the clouds, so that they pour their contents upon the earth. For the v. cp. Psalm 135:7.Verse 13. - When he uttereth his voice, etc. The phrase is difficult, but the Authorized Version probably gives the right sense. God's "voice" is the thunder (Psalm 29:3), which is accompanied by the gathering of heavy clouds ("His pavilion round about him," Psalm 18:11). He causeth the vapors to ascend, etc.; the storm-clouds coming up more and more thickly from the horizon. From this point the verse agrees with Psalm 135:7 (the psalm is full of such reminiscences, and is obviously very late). Lightning's with rain; rather, for the rain. The lightning's are, as it were, the heralds or attendants of the rain. The wind out of his treasures; a noble figure, used elsewhere of the snow and hail (Job 38:22), and of the waters of the sea (Psalm 33:7). 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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