Jeremiah 10:15
They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) The work of errors.—Better, a work of mockery, i.e., worthy of that and of that only, the word being apparently substituted, after Jeremiah’s manner, for the technical word, not unlike in sound, which is translated “image work” in 2Chronicles 3:10.

In the time of their visitation.—i.e., in the time when they are visited with punishment, as in 1Peter 2:12; Isaiah 10:3, and Luke 19:44.

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.Rather, "They are vanity, a work of mockery," deserving only ridicule and contempt. 15. errors—deceptions; from a Hebrew root, "to stutter"; then meaning "to mock."

their visitation they—When God shall punish the idol-worshippers (namely, by Cyrus), the idols themselves shall be destroyed [Rosenmuller] (Jer 10:11).

They are vanity, and the work of errors; either in their rise, as springing from men of corrupt minds, or the foundation of them; a metonymy of the effect; teachers and encouragers of lies, Habakkuk 2:18; things rather to be scoffed at and derided, than adored and worshipped; and it is expressed in the plural number, to note the multiplicity of them.

In the time of their visitation they shall perish; when God shall have a controversy with them, shall come to reckon with Babylon and her idols, they and their worshippers shall be destroyed, alluding possibly to the manner of the pagan conquests, who were wont to carry away both persons and the idols of the country, and either break them to pieces, or burn them; thus were they served by, the Persians: see on Isaiah 46:1. This possibly may be spoken by way of encouragement to the Jews, that took offence at the Chaldean idols that were set up in their sight; that God may strengthen their patience he tells them he visits them in mercy, and their enemies in judgment; he will destroy those idols. They are vanity,.... They are the fruit of the vain imagination of men; to worship them shows the vanity of the human mind; and they are vain things to trust to:

and the work of errors; of erroneous men, and which lead men into errors; and are worthy to be laughed at, as the Targum paraphrases it.

In the time of their visitation they shall perish; or in the time that I shall visit upon them their sins, as the Targum; that is, when Babylon should be destroyed by the Medes and Persians, as Kimchi interprets it; when their idols were destroyed also; see Isaiah 46:1.

They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. delusion] rather (with mg.) mockery, bringing scorn upon those who trust in them. The last clause of the v. refers to the fate which may be expected to befall the idols when “the day of the Lord” comes. Cp. Isaiah 2:12 ff.Verse 15. - The very essence of idols is vanity; they are unreal as "a breath;" they are, not so much the work of errors as a work of mockery, i.e. not opus rise dignum, but a work which rewards the efforts bestowed upon its production by disappointment. 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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