Jeremiah 11:13
For according to the number of your cities were your gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have you set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense to Baal.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) According to the number of thy cities . . .—This and Jeremiah 11:12 reproduce what we have heard already in Jeremiah 2:27-28; Jeremiah 7:17. The “shameful thing” is, as in Jeremiah 3:24, the image of Baal, which would seem to have been set up openly in some prominent place in every city of Judan, every street of Jerusalem. The reference is probably made, as before, to the formal recognition of Baal-worship in the days of Manasseh (2Kings 21:3; 2Chronicles 33:3), but the sin may have been repeated as soon as the restraint of Josiah’s reign had been removed.

11:11-17 Evil pursues sinners, and entangles them in snares, out of which they cannot free themselves. Now, in their distress, their many gods and many altars stand them in no stead. And those whose own prayers will not be heard, cannot expect benefit from the prayers of others. Their profession of religion shall prove of no use. When trouble came upon them, they made this their confidence, but God has rejected it. His altar shall yield them no satisfaction. The remembrance of God's former favours to them shall be no comfort under troubles; and his remembrance of them shall be no argument for their relief. Every sin against the Lord is a sin against ourselves, and so it will be found sooner or later.That shameful thing - i. e., Baal; public establishment of idolatry, such as actually took place in the reign of Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:3. Contrast 2 Kings 18:4). 13. shameful thing—Hebrew, "shame," namely, the idol, not merely shameful, but the essence of all that is shameful (Jer 3:24; Ho 9:10), which will bring shame and confusion on yourselves [Calvin]. Not that they had just so many idols as were cities in Judah, or altars as were streets in Jerusalem; the meaning is, they had very many, and that the people who lived in every city and street were guilty. What he calls their shame, or the shameful thing, is afterwards expounded Baal, called a shameful thing, because it was what they had reason to be ashamed of, and what would certainly bring them to shame and confusion.

Baal signifieth lord, and was a common name given to more idols than one; the Phoenicians used the name Baal, the Chaldeans Bell. God, Hosea 2:16, forbade his people to call him by this name, because so abused to idolatry. Many think that the sun was what the Phoenicians worshipped under this name; some say Saturn was he. Manasseh, who preceded Josiah, reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them, 2 Chronicles 33:3. Learned men say that the Asians called the same idol Baal, whom those of Europe called Jupiter. It is not improbable which learned men judge, that the heathens acknowledging one Supreme Being, worshipped him in several creatures; some mistaking the sun, moon, and stars to be he, others other things; these they called Baalim, lords, as they called the principal god Baal. The heathens’ idolatry seems to be their worshipping God in creatures, and paying a divine homage to creatures, the sun, moon, and stars, and other far inferior to them, not believing that those creatures were the Divine Being, but that the Divine Being was in them, and from them would hear their supplicants, and do them good; which, though the heathens might a little be excused in, having no Scriptures showing them the nature of the true God, and how he would be worshipped; yet in the Jews was inexcusable, they having the oracles of God committed to them, which both showed them the true nature of God, and let them know that no creature could be any similitude or representation of him; and that his will was, that they should pay their homage to him without any similitudes or representations exciting them to that homage, fit for nothing but to beget in the minds of people false conceptions and apprehensions of the Divine Being, which is merely spiritual; notwithstanding which direction from the Divine law, the Jews, after the manner of the heathens, would pay their homage to God before the sun, moon, and stars, and before images made with hands, and make altars to such creatures and images, which was the idolatry God complains of, and of which he declares a greater abhorrence than almost of any other sin. It is likely that Baal here mentioned was the sun, because it was near Manasseh’s times, who thus highly offended God; and it is probable that though Josiah had begun a famous reformation. yet a great deal of this leaven was left in the common people; besides that the sins of Manasseh, 2 Kings 23:26, are reckoned up as the special proximate cause of this wrath of God against Judah. For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah,.... See Gill on Jeremiah 2:28,

and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem; of which there were many, and some of note (i):

have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal; one of whose names is Bosheth, "shame"; see Hosea 9:10, hence Jerubbaal is called, in 2 Samuel 11:21, Jerubbesheth; very properly is this name given to Baal, not only because the worship of him was to the reproach of the true God, but brought shame and confusion in the issue to its worshipper; as well as because shameful things were done in the worship of it, especially of Baalpeor; who seems to be the same with the Priapus of other nations.

(i) Vid. Lightfoot, Chorograph. Cent. ad Matt. p. 34.

{h} For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense to Baal.

(h) Read Jer 2:28.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 13. - That shameful thing; rather, the shame. The name Baal is changed, to mark the abhorrence of the speaker, into Bosheth (see Jeremiah 3:24). Manasseh, we are told, "raised up altars for Baal" (2 Kings 21:3). Having set forth the curse to which transgressors of the law are exposed, God commands the prophet to proclaim the words of the covenant to the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, and to call upon them to do these. "All these words" are those subsequently specified, i.e., the commandments of the law (cf. Jeremiah 11:2). Jeremiah is to proclaim these, because, in spite of unremitting exhortation to hear and give heed to the voice of the Lord, the fathers had paid no regard thereto. קתא, not: read aloud (Hitz., Graf), but: proclaim, make known, as in Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 3:12, etc. העיד with בּ, to testify against any one, equivalent to: solemnly to enforce on one with importunate counsel and warning; cf. Deuteronomy 30:19; Psalm 50:7, etc. On השׁכּם והעד, see at Jeremiah 7:13. - But they have not hearkened, Jeremiah 11:8, running almost literally in the words of Jeremiah 7:24. "And I brought upon them," etc., i.e., inflicted upon them the punishments with which transgressors of the law were threatened, which curses had been, in the case of the greater part of the people, the ten tribes, carried to the extreme length, i.e., to the length of their banishment from their own land into the midst of the heathen; cf. 2 Kings 17:13.
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