Jeremiah 17:2
Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees on the high hills.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Whilst their children remember . . .—If we take “children” as referring to age, there may be a reference to the way in which the horrors of Molech worship were burnt in upon the minds of boys who were present at such a spectacle, so as never to be forgotten, but the general sense in which we speak of the “children” of Israel or Judah seems sufficient. The thought expressed is that every locality that could be used for idolatrous worship made them “remember” that worship, and set about reproducing it. By some interpreters the clause is rendered, as they remember their children so do they their altars and their groves; i.e., their idols are as dear to them as their offspring. The former construction is, however, the more natural, and is best supported by the versions.

Groves.i.e., as throughout the Old Testament, when connected with idolatry, the wooden columns that were the symbols of the Phœnician goddess Asherah, possibly the same as Astarte (Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 16:21; 1Kings 14:23). The “green trees” suggested the thought of this worship—for the Asherah, though not a grove, was generally connected with one—as the “high hills” did that of the altars. Commonly the worship is described as “under every green tree.” Here a different preposition is used, “on the green trees,” connecting them with the verb “remember.”

17:1-4 The sins which men commit make little impression on their minds, yet every sin is marked in the book of God; they are all so graven upon the table of the heart, that they will all be remembered by the conscience. That which is graven in the heart will become plain in the life; men's actions show the desires and purposes of their hearts. What need we have to humble ourselves before God, who are so vile in his sight! How should we depend on his mercy and grace, begging of God to search and prove us; not to suffer us to be deceived by our own hearts, but to create in us a clean and holy nature by his Spirit!While their children remember their altars - Perhaps an allusion to their sacrifices of children to Moloch. Present perhaps at some such blood-stained rite, its horrors would be engraven forever upon the memory.

Groves - "Asherahs," i. e., wooden images of Astarte (see Exodus 34:13 note).

2. children remember—Instead of forsaking the idolatries of their fathers, they keep them up (Jer 7:18). This is given as proof that their sin is "graven upon … altars" (Jer 17:1), that is, is not merely temporary. They corrupt their posterity after them. Castalio less probably translates, "They remember their altars as (fondly as) they do their children."

groves—rather, "images of Astarte," the goddess of the heavenly hosts, represented as a sacred tree, such as is seen in the Assyrian sculptures (2Ki 21:7; 2Ch 24:18). "Image of the grove." The Hebrew for "grove" is Asherah, that is, Assarak, Astarte, or Ashtaroth.

by the green trees—that is, near them: the sacred trees (idol symbols) of Astarte being placed in the midst of natural trees: "green trees" is thus distinguished from "groves," artificial trees. Henderson, to avoid taking the same Hebrew particle in the same sentence differently, "by … upon" translates "images of Astarte on the green trees." But it is not probable that images, in the form of a sacred tree, should be hung on trees, rather than near them.

This showed how inveterate they were in this sin of idolatry, that they taught it their children, and their children remembered their idolatrous altars and the groves where they were wont to worship idols by the green trees, as they did also upon the high hills; so their sin was derived from one age to another. Others think that the phrase rather expresseth their fondness of their idols, and think it should be read, as their children they remember, &c.; that is, they loved their idols and their idolatrous services as they loved their children, which also was true; yea, they that made their children pass through the fire to Molech loved them better than their children. Whilst their children remember their altars,.... Which is a further proof of their long continuance in idolatrous practices, and a fresh witness against them; they trained up their children in them; who, when grown up, could not forget them, but imitated them, and went on in the same evil ways. Some render the words, "as they remember their children, so they remember their altars (i), and their groves, by the green trees upon the high hills"; they had the same love to their idols, and the worship of them, as they had to their children. This sense is received by Kimchi (k); yea, they had a greater affection for their idols than for their children; since they made their children pass through the fire to Moloch, and burnt their sons and their daughters to Baal. The Targum renders it, "their groves under every green tree": see Jeremiah 2:20. Kimchi and Ben Melech connect green trees not with groves but with altars; and take the sense to be, that their altars were by green trees; since groves and green trees were the same, and which altars also were upon high hills.

(i) "sicut recordantur filiorum suorum, ita recordantur ararum suarum"; so some in Vatablus. (k) So in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 63. 2. & Gloss in ib.

{d} While their children remember their altars and their idols by the green trees upon the high hills.

(d) Some read, So that their children remember their altars, that is, follow their father's wickedness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2, 3. The text is difficult, and pretty certainly contains some error. Du. and Co. omit from “whilst their” to “Asherim,” as a gloss, introduced to shew how indelible was Judah’s guilt, to be remembered by future generations. If this change be adopted, the passage will stand thus:

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron,

With the point of a diamond is it graven upon the table of their heart,

Upon the horns of their altars, upon [every] spreading tree,

Upon the high hills, the mountains in the field.” (Dr. in notes.) Gi. suggests, with the change of one letter in MT., “so that their children will remember,” but prefers “for a remembrance before me,” omitting the rest of the v. as a gloss. He thus obtains Ḳinah measure for the passage.

Asherim] The Asherah was a rough hewn post, probably representing a sacred tree, and placed alongside of an altar. As having associations with heathenism, it was forbidden to worshippers of Jehovah. See Exodus 34:13 (and mg.); Deuteronomy 12:3, etc. It may have been connected with devotions paid to a goddess Asherah or Ashrat.Verse 2. - Whilst their children remember, etc. The connection of this with the preceding verse is rather obscure. Probably it is intended as an exemplification of the "sin of Judah," the inveterateness of which is shown by their thoughts spontaneously turning to the altars and symbols of the false gods whenever they are near a leafy tree or a high hill (probably "under the green trees" is the right reading; comp. 1 Kings 14:23; so Targum). To make "their sons" the accusative (with Hitzig and Keil), rendering, "As they remember their children, [even so they remember their altars]," seems unnatural; why should "children" and "altars" be associated in idea? Groves; rather, idols of Asherah, the Canaanitish goddess. Further account of the punishment foretold, with the reasons for the same. - Jeremiah 16:16. "Behold, I send for many fishers, saith Jahve, who shall fish them, and after will I send fore many hunters, who shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rock. Jeremiah 16:17. For mine eyes are upon all their ways, they are not hidden from me, neither is their iniquity concealed from mine eyes. Jeremiah 16:18. And first, I requite double their iniquity and their sin, because they defiled my land with the carcases of their detestables, and with their abominations they have filled mine inheritance. Jeremiah 16:19. Jahveh, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of trouble! Unto Thee shall the peoples come from the ends of the earth and say: But lies have our fathers inherited, vanity, and amidst them none profiteth at all. Jeremiah 16:20. Shall a man make gods to himself, which are yet no gods? Jeremiah 16:21. Therefore, behold, I make them to know this once, I make them to know my hand and my might, and they shall know that my name is Jahveh."

Jeremiah 16:16-17

Jeremiah 16:16-18 are a continuation of the threatening in Jeremiah 16:13, that Judah is to be cast out, but are directly connected with Jeremiah 16:15, and elucidate the expulsion into many lands there foretold. The figures of the fishers and hunters do not bespeak the gathering again and restoration of the scattered people, as Ven. would make out, but the carrying of Judah captive out of his land. This is clear from the second of the figures, for the hunter does not gather the animals together, but kills them; and the reference of the verses is put beyond a doubt by Jeremiah 16:17 and Jeremiah 16:18, and is consequently admitted by all other comm. The two figures signify various kinds of treatment at the hands of enemies. The fishers represent the enemies that gather the inhabitants of the land as in a net, and carry them wholesale into captivity (cf. Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:15). The hunters, again, are those who drive out from their hiding-places, and slay or carry captive such as have escaped from the cities, and have taken refuge in the mountains and ravines; cf. Jeremiah 4:29, Judges 6:2 1 Samuel 13:6. In this the idea is visibly set forth that none shall escape the enemy. שׁלה c. ל pers., send for one, cause him to come, as in Jeremiah 14:3 (send for water), so that there is no call to take ל according to the Aram. usage as sign of the accusative, for which we can cite in Jeremiah only the case in Jeremiah 40:2. The form דּוּגים (Chet.) agrees with Ezekiel 47:10, while the Keri, דּיּגים, is a formation similar to ציּדים. In the second clause רבּים is, like the numerals, made to precede the noun; cf. Proverbs 31:29; Psalm 89:51. - For the Lord knows their doings and dealings, and their transgressions are not hid from Him; cf. Jeremiah 23:24; Jeremiah 32:19. על for אל, indicating the direction. Their ways are not the ways of flight, but their course of action.

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