Jeremiah 10:18
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) I will sling out.—The same bold metaphor, though not the same word, for violent expulsion, is found in the prophecy of the fate of Shebna (Isaiah 22:18).

That they may find it so.—In the Hebrew, the verb, though transitive, stands by itself, without an object. The ellipsis has been filled up either by “it,” as in the English Version, i.e., may feel it in all its bitterness; or by “me,” as in the Syriac version, i.e., may be led through their misery to seek and find Jehovah. The parallelism of Deuteronomy 4:29; Jeremiah 29:13, makes the latter meaning probable (see also Acts 17:27); but it may be suggested that the very omission of an object was intended to be suggestive in its abruptness. “They would find . . .;”what they found would depend upon themselves. A possible construction is that they (the enemy) may find them (the people besieged), but this is hardly the natural sequel of the exile of which the previous words speak.

10:17-25 The Jews who continued in their own land, felt secure. But, sooner or later, sinners will find all things as the word of God has declared, and that its threatenings are not empty terrors. Submission will support the believer under every grief allotted to him; but what can render the load of Divine vengeance easy to be borne by those who fall under it in sullen despair? Those cannot expect to prosper, who do not, by faith and prayer, take God with them in all their ways. The report of the enemy's approach was very dreadful. Yet the designs which men lay deep, and think well formed, are dashed to pieces in a moment. Events are often overruled, so as to be quite contrary to what we intended and expected. If the Lord has directed our steps into the ways of peace and righteousness, let us entreat him to enable us to walk therein. Say not, Lord, do not correct me; but, Lord, do not correct me in anger. We may bear the smart of God's rod, but we cannot bear the weight of his wrath. Those who restrain prayer, prove that they know not God; for those who know him will seek him, and seek his favour. If even severe corrections lead sinners to be convinced of wholesome truths, they will have abundant cause for gratitude. And they will then humble themselves before the Lord.Sling out - A similar metaphor for violent ejection occurs in Isaiah 22:18 (see the note).

At this once - Or, "at this time." Previous invasions had ended either in deliverance, or at most in temporary misfortune. God's long-suffering is exhausted, and this time Judaea must cease to be an independent nation.

That they may find it so - Omit "so," and explain either

(1) "I will distress them" with the rigors of a siege "that they may feel it, i. e., the distress; or,

(2) "that they may find" Me, God, that which alone is worth finding.

18. sling out—expressing the violence and suddenness of the removal to Babylon. A similar image occurs in Jer 16:13; 1Sa 25:29; Isa 22:17, 18.

at this once—at this time, now.

find it so—find it by experience, that is, feel it (Eze 6:10). Michaelis translates, "I will bind them together (as in a sling) that they may reach the goal" (Babylon). English Version is best: "that they may find it so as I have said" (Nu 23:19; Eze 6:10).

I will sling out; it notes with how much violence, and speed, and with ease the Chaldeans shall hurry away the people into Babylon, as the stone doth swiftly and violently pass which is thrown out of a sling, with so much ease, and therefore it is said at at this once; I will not delay, but make one thorough quick work of it; noting not only the time, but implying the clear riddance the he would make of them, 2 Chronicles 36:17-19: they had been often assaulted by enemies, and sometimes they redeemed themselves, sometimes delivered by God, their enemies being sometimes divided; but it should not be so now, but all swept away. That they may find it so; that they may see I am in good earnest, that I have not only said it, but they shall find that I will execute it; and though they would never believe it, yet they shall actually find the truth of my threatenings. See Jeremiah 5:12,13 Eze 6:10.

For thus saith the Lord,.... This is a reason enforcing the exhortation in the preceding verse, and shows that the same people that are spoken of here are addressed there.

Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once; meaning the inhabitants of the land of Judea; or otherwise the prophet would never have expressed such a concern for them as he does in the following verse. Their captivity is signified by the slinging of a stone out of a sling, and shows how sudden, swift, and certain, it would be: and that it would as easily and swiftly be done, and with equal force and rapidity, as a stone is slung out of a sling; and that it would be done by the Lord himself, whoever were the instruments:

and will distress them; or "straiten" (z) them, on every side; it seems to intend the siege; or bring them into great straits and difficulties, through the pestilence, famine, sword, and captivity:

that they may find it; so as he had spoken by his prophets, it coming to pass exactly as they had foretold. The Targum is,

"that they may receive the punishment of their sins;''

and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "that thy stroke may be found"; but the Syriac version is very different from either, "that they may seek me and find"; which is an end that is sometimes answered by afflictive dispensations.

(z) "oblidere faciana eos", some in Vatablus; "et angustabo, vel obsidebo eos", Schmidt; "faciam ut obsideant eos", Calvin; "arctum ipsis facium", Cocceius.

For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. sling out] Cp. 1 Samuel 25:29; also Isaiah 22:18.

feel] See the mg. The clause is suspicious in form, the verb having no expressed object. It is just possible, but hardly likely, that it may be corrected (by a change of vocalisation) to “that they may be found,” i.e. that disaster may overtake them. But this is a very forced sense for the expression to bear.

Verse 18. - I will sling out; a forcible image, to express the violence of the expulsion; comp. Isaiah 22:17, 18 (Ver. 17 needs correcting). At this once; rather, at this time (comp. Jeremiah 16:21). Invasion was no novelty to the Jews, but had hitherto merely produced loss of goods rather than of personal liberty. That they may find it so; better, that they may feel it. Others supply as. the subject "Jehovah," comparing Psalm 32:6, "In a time of finding (Authorized Version, "When thou mayest be found"). Jeremiah himself says, "Ye shall seek me, and shall find, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 - Deuteronomy 4:29). Still, these passages are hardly quite parallel, as the object of the verb can be easily supplied from the connection. The Vulgate apparently reads the text with different vowels, for it renders ut inveniantur; the Septuagint has "that thy stroke may be found." Jeremiah 10:18The captivity of the people, their lamentation for the devastation of the land, and entreaty that the punishment may be mitigated. - Jeremiah 10:17. "Gather up thy bundle out of the land, thou that sittest in the siege. Jeremiah 10:18. For thus hath Jahveh spoken: Behold, I hurl forth the inhabitants of the land this time, and press them hard, that they may find them. Jeremiah 10:19. Woe is me for my hurt! grievous is my stroke! yet I:think: This is my suffering, and I will bear it! Jeremiah 10:20. My tent is despoiled, and all my cords are rent asunder. My sons have forsaken me, and are gone: none stretches forth my tent any more, or hangs up my curtains. Jeremiah 10:21. For the shepherds are become brutish, and have not sought Jahveh; therefore they have not dealt wisely, and the whole flock is scattered. - Jeremiah 10:22. Hark! a rumour: behold, it comes, and great commotion from the land of midnight, to make the cities of Judah a desolation, an abode of jackals. - Jeremiah 10:23. I know, Jahveh, that the way of man is not in himself, nor in the man that walketh to fix his step. Jeremiah 10:24. Chasten me, Jahveh, but according to right; not in Thine anger, lest Thou make me little. Jeremiah 10:25. Pour out Thy fury upon the peoples that know Thee not, and upon the races that call not upon Thy name! for they have devoured Jacob, have devoured him and made an end of him, and laid his pastures waste."

Jeremiah 10:17-20

In Jeremiah 10:17 the congregation of the people is addressed, and captivity in a foreign land is announced to them. This announcement stands in connection with Jeremiah 9:25, in so far as captivity is the accomplishment of the visitation of Judah threatened in Jeremiah 9:24. That connection is not, however, quite direct; the announcement is led up to by the warning against idolatry of vv. 1-16, inasmuch as it furnishes confirmation of the threat uttered in Jeremiah 10:15, that the idols shall perish in the day of their visitation, and shows besides how, by its folly in the matter of idolatry, Judah has drawn judgment down on itself. The confession in Jeremiah 10:21 : the shepherds are become brutish, points manifestly back to the description in Jeremiah 10:14 of the folly of the idolaters, and exhibits the connection of Jeremiah 10:17-25 with the preceding warning against idolatry. For "gather up," etc., Hitz. translates: gather thy trumpery from the ground; so that the expression would have a contemptuous tone. But the meaning of rubbish cannot be proved to belong to כּנעה; and the mockery that would lie in the phrase is out of place. כּנעה, from Arab. kǹ, contrahere, constipare, means that which is put together, packed up, one's bundle. The connection of אסף and מארץ is pregnant: put up thy bundle and carry it forth of the land. As N. G. Schroeder suspected, there is about the expression something of the nature of a current popular phrase, like the German Schnr dein Bndel, pack up, i.e., make ready fore the road. She who sits in the siege. The daughter of Zion is meant, but we must not limit the scope to the population of Jerusalem; as is clear from "inhabitants of the land," Jeremiah 10:18, the population of the whole land are comprised in the expression. As to the form יושׁבתי, see at Jeremiah 22:23. אספּי with dag. lene after the sibilant, as in Isaiah 47:2. "I hurl forth" expresses the violent manner of the captivity; cf. Isaiah 22:17. "This time;" hitherto hostile invasions ended with plundering and the imposition of a tribute: 2 Kings 14:14; 2 Kings 16:5; 2 Kings 18:13. - And I press them hard, or close them in, למען ימצאוּ. These words are variously explained, because there is no object expressed, and there may be variety of opinion as to what is the subject. Hitz., Umbr., Ng., take the verb find in the sense of feel, and so the object צרה would easily be supplied from the verb הצרתי: so that they may feel it, i.e., I will press them sensibly. But we cannot make sure of this meaning for מצא either from Jeremiah 17:9 or from Ecclesiastes 8:17, where know (ידע) and מצא are clearly identical conceptions. Still less is Graf entitled to supply as object: that which they seek and are to find, namely, God. His appeal in support of this to passages like Psalm 32:6; Deuteronomy 4:27 and Deuteronomy 4:29, proves nothing; for in such the object is manifestly suggested by the contest, which is not the case here. A just conclusion is obtained when we consider that הצרתי contains a play on בּמּצור in Jeremiah 10:17, and cannot be understood otherwise than as a hemming in by means of a siege. The aim of the siege is to bring those hemmed in under the power of the besiegers, to get at, reach them, or find them. Hence we must take the enemy as subject to "find," while the object is given in להם: so that they (the enemy) may find them (the besieged). Thus too Jerome, who translates the disputed verb passively: et tribulabo eos ut inveniantur; while he explains the meaning thus: sic eos obsideri faciam, sicque tribulabo et coangustabo, ut omnes in urbe reperiantur et effugere nequeant malum. Taken thus, the second clause serves to strengthen the first: I will hurl forth the inhabitants of this land into a foreign land, and none shall avoid this fate, for I will so hem them in that none shall be able to escape.

This harassment will bring the people to their senses, so that they shall humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Such feelings the prophet utters at Jeremiah 10:19., in the name of the congregation, as he did in the like passage Jeremiah 4:19. As from the hearts of those who had been touched by their affliction, he exclaims: Woe is me for my breach! i.e., my crushing overthrow. The breach is that sustained by the state in its destruction, see at Jeremiah 4:6. נחלה, grown sick, i.e., grievous, incurable is the stroke that has fallen upon me. For this word we have in Jeremiah 15:18 אנוּשׁה, which is explained by "refuseth to be healed." ואני introduces an antithesis: but I say, sc. in my heart, i.e., I think. Hitz. gives אך the force of a limitation equals nothing further than this, but wrongly; and, taking the perf. אמרתּי as a preterite, makes out the import to be: "in their state of careless security they had taken the matter lightly, saying as it were, If no further calamity than this menace us, we may be well content;" a thought quite foreign to the context. For "this my suffering" can be nothing else than the "hurt" on account of which the speaker laments, or the stroke which he calls dangerous, incurable. אך has, besides, frequently the force of positive asseveration: yea, certainly (cf. Ew. 354, a), a force readily derived from that of only, nothing else than. And so here: only this, i.e., even this is my suffering. חלי, sickness, here suffering in general, as in Hosea 5:13; Isaiah 53:3., etc. The old translators took the Yod as pronoun (my suffering), whence it would be necessary to point חלי, like גּוי, Zephaniah 2:9; cf. Ew. 293, b, Rem. - The suffering which the congregation must bear consists in the spoliation of the land and the captivity of the people, represented in Jeremiah 10:20 under the figure of a destruction of their tent and the disappearance of their sons. The Chald. has fairly paraphrased the verse thus: my land is laid waste and all my cities are plundered, my people has gone off (into exile) and is no longer here. יצאני construed with the accus. like egredi urbem; cf. Genesis 54:4, etc. - From "my sons have forsaken me" Ng. draws the inference that Jeremiah 10:19 and Jeremiah 10:20 are the words of the country personified, since neither the prophet could so speak, nor the people, the latter being indeed identical with the sons, and so not forsaken, but forsaking. This inference rests on a mistaken view of the figure of the daughter of Zion, in which is involved the conception of the inhabitants of a land as the children of the land when personified as mother. Nor is there any evidence that the land is speaking in the words: I think, This is my suffering, etc. It is besides alleged that the words give no expression to any sense of guilt; they are said, on the contrary, to give utterance to a consolation which only an innocent land draws from the fact that a calamity is laid upon it, a calamity which must straightway be borne. This is neither true in point of fact, nor does it prove the case. The words, This is my suffering, etc., indicate resignation to the inevitable, not innocence or undeserved suffering. Hereon Graf remarks: "The suffering was unmerited, in so far as the prophet and the godly amongst the people were concerned; but it was inevitable that he and they should take it upon their shoulders, along with the rest." Asserted with so great width, this statement cannot be admitted. The present generation bears the punishment not only for the sins of many past generations, but for its own sins; nor were the godly themselves free from sin and guilt, for they acknowledge the justice of God's chastisement, and pray God to chasten them בּמשׁפּט, not in anger (Jeremiah 10:24). Besides, we cannot take the words as spoken by the prophet or by the godly as opposed to the ungodly, since it is the sons of the speaker ("my sons") that are carried captive, who can certainly not be the sons of the godly alone.

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