Jeremiah 17:3
O my mountain in the field, I will give your substance and all your treasures to the spoil, and your high places for sin, throughout all your borders.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) My mountain in the field.—As in Jeremiah 21:13; Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:2, a poetic phrase for Jerusalem or Zion, its greatness consisting not in its material elevation above the “field” or surrounding country, but in being “my mountain,” i.e., the mountain of Jehovah. The words predict the plunder of the city, perhaps specially the plunder of the Temple.

Thy high places.—As having been from the time of Samuel onward the chief scene of the false worship of the people. The threat is repeated almost verbally from Jeremiah 15:13.

Jeremiah 17:3-4. O my mountain in the field — By this expression the prophet is thought, by many interpreters, to intend the temple, which stood on a mountain, called elsewhere, the mountain of the Lord’s house, (Isaiah 2:2,) and the holy mountain. And this, as being the principal part of Jerusalem, is understood as being put, by way of synecdoche, for the whole city. Michaelis paraphrases it thus: “O Jerusalem, which hast long been situate on my chosen mountain, and surrounded by a most fertile country, the land of Canaan.” But Cocceius thinks that the Jewish people are hereby enigmatically compared with the rest of the world, as a mountain situated in the midst of a level plain, and distinguished with a glory which did not belong to the world in general. And it must be acknowledged that nations and princes of great power and eminence are often figuratively called mountains, in regard to their strength and elevation: see Jeremiah 51:25; Isaiah 41:15; Zechariah 4:7. Judah, therefore, in general, as well as Jerusalem in particular, may be here styled God’s mountain, as having been chosen by him, and thereby raised to a degree of elevation above all other people: see a confirmation of this interpretation, Jeremiah 31:23. I will give thy substance, and all thy treasures, to the spoil — Both the products of the country, and the stores of the city, shall be seized by the Chaldeans. Justly are men stripped of that with which they have served their idols, and which has been made the food and fuel of their lusts. And thy high places for sin — You have worshipped your idols on the high places, and now they shall be given for a spoil; in all your borders — See note on Jeremiah 15:13. Observe, reader, what we make an occasion of sin, God will make a matter of spoil; for what comfort can we expect in that wherewith God is dishonoured? And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thy heritage — Shalt intermit the occupation of thy land, as the word שׁמשׂ, here used, signifies, Exodus 23:11. The prophet undoubtedly alludes to the seventh year of release, enjoined by Moses, Deuteronomy 15:1, which law the Jews had a long time neglected out of covetousness, and refused to observe, even after a solemn engagement to the contrary, Jeremiah 34:8, &c. So here the passage implies, that since they would not release their land nor their servants in the sabbatical years, as God had enjoined them, he would dispossess them of the inheritance which he had given them, and the land shall enjoy her sabbaths, according to the prescription of the law: see Leviticus 26:34. And I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not — As a punishment for thy compelling thy servants to serve thee in thy own land, when I enjoined thee to set them at liberty. For ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, &c. — By your idolatries and other sins you have increased my wrath to such a fire that it shall burn for a long time in terrible judgments upon you in this world, and shall burn all such as remain impenitent for ever, in the world to come.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!O my mountain in the field - i. e., Jerusalem or Zion, called the Rock of the Plain in Jeremiah 21:13. "The field" is the open unenclosed country, here contrasted with the privileged height of Zion.

Or sin - i. e., because of thy sin.

3. mountain—Jerusalem, and especially Zion and the temple.

in the field—As Jerusalem was surrounded by mountains (Ps 125:2), the sense probably is, Ye rely on your mountainous position (Jer 3:23), but I will make "My mountain" to become as if it were in a plain (field), so as to give thy substance an easy prey to the enemy [Calvin]. "Field" may, however, mean all Judea; it and "My mountain" will thus express the country and its capital. (Gesenius translates, "together with," instead of "in"; as the Hebrew is translated in Jer 11:19; Ho 5:6; but this is not absolutely needed), "the substance" of both of which God "will give to the spoil."

thy high places—corresponding in parallelism to "My mountain" (compare Isa 11:9), as "all thy borders," to "the field" (which confirms the view that "field" means all Judea).

for sin—connected with high places" in English Version, namely, frequented for sin, that is, for idolatrous sacrifices. But Jer 15:13 makes the rendering probable, "I will give thy substance … to … spoil … on account of thy sin throughout all thy borders."

O my mountain in the field; O Mount Zion; for though Jerusalem stood in a plain, yet it was at the foot of a hill, and part of it was built upon the side of the hill, upon the top of which hills Were many pleasant fields. Or, O Judah; which was a country full of mountains. God calls it his mountain, because of the particular favour he had to this country. He threateneth to give all the riches of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem as a spoil, and all the high places where they had committed idolatry throughout all their country into the enemies’ hands. O my mountain in the midst of the field,.... Meaning either the temple, called the mountain of the house, and of the Lord's house, Micah 3:12, or else Jerusalem, which stood on a hill in the midst of a plain, surrounded with fruitful fields and gardens; or in the midst of a land like a field. The Targum is,

"because thou worshippest idols upon the mountains in the field:''

I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil; all the riches of the city and temple to be the spoil and plunder of the enemy; See Gill on Jeremiah 15:13.

and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders. The sense is, that all their substance and treasure throughout their borders, the riches of the whole land, as well as of the city and temple, Jeremiah 15:13 and all their high places throughout the land, which were used for sin, for idolatrous practices, on account thereof, should become the spoil of the enemy.

{e} O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.

(e) Zion that was my mountain, will now be left as a waste field.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. See on Jeremiah 17:2 for amended reading, which is adopted by Du. and Co. The rendering in the text makes the “mountain” to apply to Jerusalem. But as a designation for the city it has a strange appearance, and Jeremiah 21:13, quoted in its support, is precarious.

thy substance … (Jeremiah 17:4) for ever] See on Jeremiah 15:13 f. where the greater part of this passage has occurred in a form somewhat less well preserved.Verse 3. - O my mountain in the field; a still more obscure passage. The question is whether "my mountain in the field" is a vocative or an accusative dependent on "I will give." If the former, then the phrase will mean Jerusalem (comp. "rock of the plain," Jeremiah 21:13). This, however, does not suit with the second half of the verse ("thy high places," etch), and still less with ver. 4, which evidently refers to the people of Judah. Added to this, if Jerusalem were here addressed we should certainly expect feminine suffixes. It remains to take "my mountain," etc., as an accusative. It describes, not Jerusalem, but Mount Zion as the site of the temple, the mountain of the house of Jehovah (Isaiah 2:3; Zechariah 8:3; Psalm 24:3). Render, therefore, my mountain in the field will I give. The prophet magnifies Zion into a mountain with a widely extended prospect (comp. ver. 12 and Jeremiah 21:13). Thy substance and all thy treasures; i.e. these of the people. The part of the verse which begins here is almost the same as Jeremiah 15:13 (see note). And thy high places for sin. Keil explains, Jehovah declares that he will, on account of the sinful practices upon them, deliver up the high places throughout the land. Gesenius, "He will deliver up the high places with the sin attaching to them;" Hitzig, "as a sin offering." There is a question, however, whether there is not a corruption in the text, and whether we should not read, with Ewald, "without price for thy sins" (as in the parallel passage, Jeremiah 15:13). The punishment foretold is but retribution for their sins. Because they have defiled the land by idolatry, they shall be driven out of it. ראשׁונה, first, is by Jerome, Hitz., Ew., Umbr. made to refer to the salvation promised in Jeremiah 16:15 : first, i.e., before the restoration of my favour spoken of in Jeremiah 16:15, I requite double. Against this Graf has objected, that on this view "first" would appear somewhat superfluous; and Ng., that the manifestly intended antithesis to משׁנה is left out of account. There is little force in either objection. Even Ng.'s paraphrase does not do full justice to the presumed antithesis; for if we render: "For the first time the double shall be requited, in the event of repetition a severer standard shall be used," then the antithesis to "first" would not be "double," but the supplied repetition of the offence. There is not the slightest hint in the context to lead us to supply this idea; nor is there any antithesis between "first" and "double." It is a mere assumption of the comm., which Rashi, Kimchi, Ros., Maur., etc., have brought into the text by the interpolation of a ו cop. before משׁנה: I requite the first of their transgressions and the repetition of them, i.e., their earlier and their repeated sins, or the sins committed by their fathers and by themselves, on a greater scale. We therefore hold the reference to Jeremiah 16:15 to be the only true one, and regard it as corresponding both to the words before us and the context. "The double of their iniquity," i.e., ample measure for their sins (cf. Isaiah 40:2; Job 11:6) by way of the horrors of war and the sufferings of the exile. The sins are more exactly defined by: because they defiled my land by the carcases of their detestables, i.e., their dead detestable idols. שׁקּוּצים נבלת is formed according to פּגרי , Leviticus 26:30, and it belongs to "they defiled," not to "they filled," as the Masoretic accentuation puts it; for מלא is construed, not with בּ of the thing, but with double accus.; cf. Ezekiel 8:17; Ezekiel 30:11, etc. So it is construed in the last clause: With their abominations they have filled the inheritance of Jahveh, i.e., the land of the Lord (cf. Jeremiah 2:7). The infin. חלּלם is continued by מלאוּ in verbo fin., as usual.

In Jeremiah 16:19-21 we have more as to the necessity of the threatened punishment. The prophet turns to the Lord as his defence and fortress in time of need, and utters the hope that even the heathen may some time turn to the Lord and confess the vanity of idolatry, since the gods which men make are no gods. To this the Lord answers in Jeremiah 16:21, that just therefore He must punish His idolatrous people, so that they shall feel His power and learn to know His name.

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