Jeremiah 19:11
And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
19:10-15 The potter's vessel, after it is hardened, can never be pieced again when it is broken. And as the bottle was broken, so shall Judah and Jerusalem be broken by the Chaldeans. No human hand can repair it; but if they return to the Lord he will heal. As they filled Tophet with the slain sacrificed to their idols, so will God fill the whole city with the slain that shall fall as sacrifices to his justice. Whatever men may think, God will appear as terrible against sin and sinners as the Scriptures state; nor shall the unbelief of men make his promise or his threatenings of no effect. The obstinacy of sinners in sinful ways, is their own fault; if they are deaf to the word of God, it is because they have stopped their ears. We have need to pray that God, by his grace, would deliver us from hardness of heart, and contempt of his word and commandments.Made whole again - literally, "healed." In this lies the distinction between this symbol and that of Jeremiah 18:4. The plastic clay can be shaped and re-shaped until the potter forms with it the vessel he had predetermined: the broken bottle is of no further use, but its fragments are cast away forever upon the heaps of rubbish deposited in Tophet. 11. as one breaketh a potter's vessel—expressing God's absolute sovereignty (Jer 18:6; Ps 2:9; Isa 30:14, Margin; La 4:2; Ro 9:20, 21).

cannot be made whole again—A broken potter's vessel cannot be restored, but a new one may be made of the same material. So God raised a new Jewish seed, not identical with the destroyed rebels, but by substituting another generation in their stead [Grotius].

no place to bury—(Jer 7:32).

The Lord of hosts; a name ordinarily given to God, here very properly, to let them know that he said nothing with his lips but what he had power by his hand to accomplish, being the Captain-general of all the armies of his creatures. God, by ordering the prophet to carry no other vessel but one of earth, had a design, upon the breaking of it, not only to show them that he would bruise, wound, or endamage them greatly, but so destroy them, as there should be no present remedy. If a vessel of brass, silver, gold, &c. be broken, it may be mended, but an earthen vessel, if broken, cannot be made whole. See the like Isaiah 30:14. He tells them that this Tophet, which they had made a place of barbarous slaughter for the children, killed for idolatrous sacrifices, should continue for a slaughter-house, but of another nature, even for them that had committed such wickedness in it, who should be slain there in such plenty, that they should want ground to bury dead carcasses in.

And shalt say unto them, thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Of armies above and below; and so able to execute what he here threatens:

even so will I break this people and this city: the people, the inhabitants of this city, and that itself, by the sword, famine, burning, and captivity:

as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again; or "healed" (r); a potter's vessel, upon the wheel, such an one as the prophet had seen, and to which the Jews are compared, Jeremiah 18:3; being marred, may be restored and put into another form and shape; but one that is dried and hardened, when broke, can never be put together again; so a vessel, of gold, silver, and brass, when broke, may be made whole again; but an earthen vessel never can; a fit emblem therefore this to represent utter and irrecoverable ruin; see Isaiah 30:14. Jerom here again observes, that this is clearly spoken, not of the Babylonish, but of the Roman captivity; after the former the city was rebuilt, and the people returned to Judea, and restored to former plenty; but since the latter, under Vespasian, Titus, and Hadrian, the ruins of Jerusalem remain, and will till the conversion of the Jews:

and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury: where there should be such great numbers slain; or whither such multitudes of the slain should be brought out of the city to be buried there, that at length there would not be room enough to receive the dead into it; or, as the Syriac version renders it, "and in Tophet they shall bury, for want of a place to bury" in; in such a filthy, abominable, and accursed place shall their carcasses lie, where they were guilty of idolatry, and sacrificed their innocent babes, there being no other place to inter them in: an emblem this of their souls suffering in hell the vengeance of eternal fire.

(r) "sanari", Montanus; "curari", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius.

And shalt say to them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a {e} potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury.

(e) This visible sign was to confirm them concerning the assurance of this plague, which the Lord threatened by his prophet.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. and they shall bury … to bury] The absence of connexion shews this (not found in LXX) to be an insertion from Jeremiah 7:32. Gi. and Schmidt omit the clause and onwards to end of Jeremiah 19:13.

Verse 11. - As one breaketh a potter's vessel (comp. Isaiah 30:14). Dr. Them-son speaks of the utter indifference with which the common pottery of Palestine is handled. It is not only brittle, but so cheap that no one is distressed at breaking it. And they shall bury them in Tophet, etc. These words form the conclusion of Jeremiah 7:32 (see note), the greater part of which is repeated in ver. 6. They are certainly out of place here, and are wanting in the Septuagint. Jeremiah 19:11In Jeremiah 19:6-13 the threatened punishment is given again at large, and that in two strophes or series of ideas, which explain the emblematical act with the pitcher. The first series, Jeremiah 19:6-9, is introduced by בּקּותי, which intimates the meaning of the pitcher; and the other, Jeremiah 19:10-13, is bound up with the breaking of the pitcher. But both series are, Jeremiah 19:6, opened by the mention of the locality of the act. As Jeremiah 19:5 was but an expansion of Jeremiah 7:31, so Jeremiah 19:6 is a literal repetition of Jeremiah 7:32. The valley of Benhinnom, with its places for abominable sacrifices (תּפת, see on Jeremiah 7:32), shall in the future be called Valley of Slaughter; i.e., at the judgment on Jerusalem it will be the place where the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah will be slain by the enemy. There God will make void (בּקּותי, playing on בּקבּק), i.e., bring to nothing; for what is poured out comes to nothing; cf. Isaiah 19:3. There they shall fall by the sword in such numbers that their corpses shall be food for the beasts of prey (cf. Jeremiah 7:33), and the city of Jerusalem shall be frightfully ravaged (Jeremiah 19:8, cf. Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 25:9, etc.). מכּתה (plural form of suffix without Jod; cf. Ew. 258, a), the wounds she has received. - In Jeremiah 19:9 is added yet another item to complete the awful picture, the terrible famine during the siege, partly taken from the words of Deuteronomy 28:53. and Leviticus 26:29. That this appalling misery did actually come about during the last siege by the Chaldeans, we learn from Lamentations 4:10. - The second series, Jeremiah 19:10-13, is introduced by the act of breaking the pitcher. This happens before the eyes of the elders who have accompanied Jeremiah thither: to them the explanatory word of the Lord is addressed. As the earthen pitcher, so shall Jerusalem - people and city - be broken to pieces; and that irremediably. This is implied in: as one breaks a potter's vessel, etc. (הרפה for הרפא). The next clause: and in Tophet they shall bury, etc., is omitted by the lxx as a repetition from Jeremiah 7:32, and is object to by Ew., Hitz., and Graf, as not being in keeping with its context. Ew. proposes to insert it before "as one breaketh;" but this transposition only obscures the meaning of the clause. It connects very suitably with the idea of the incurable breaking in sunder. Because the breaking up of Jerusalem and its inhabitants shall be incurable, shall be like the breaking of a pitcher dashed into countless fragments, therefore there will be lack of room in Jerusalem to bury the dead, and the unclean places of Tophet will need to be used for that purpose. With this the further thought of Jeremiah 19:12 and Jeremiah 19:13 connects simply and suitably. Thus (as had been said at Jeremiah 19:11) will I do unto this place and its inhabitants, ולתת, and that to make the city as Tophet, i.e., not "a mass of sherds and rubbish, as Tophet now is" (Graf); for neither was Tophet then a rubbish-heap, nor did it so become by the breaking of the pitcher. But Josiah had turned all the place of Tophet in the valley of Benhinnom into an unclean region (2 Kings 23:10). All Jerusalem shall become an unclean place like Tophet. This is put in so many words in Jeremiah 19:13 : The houses of Jerusalem shall become unclean like the place Tophet, namely, all houses on whose roofs idolatry has been practised. The construction of הטּמאים causes some difficulty. The position of the word at the end disfavours our connecting it with the subject בּתּי, and so does the article, which does not countenance its being taken as predicate. To get rid of the article, J. D. Mich. and Ew. sought to change the reading into תּפתּה טמאים, after Isaiah 30:33. But תּפתּה means a Tophet-like place, not Tophet itself, and so gives no meaning to the purpose. No other course is open than to join the word with "the place Tophet:" like the place Tophet, which is unclean. The plural would then be explained less from the collective force of מקום than from regard to the plural subject. "All the houses" opens a supplementary definition of the subject: as concerning all houses; cf. Ew. 310, a. On the worship of the stars by sacrifice on the housetops, transplanted by Manasseh to Jerusalem, see the expos. of Zephaniah 1:5 and 2 Kings 21:3. 'והסּך, coinciding literally with Jeremiah 7:18; the inf. absol. being attached to the verb. finit. of the former clause (Ew. 351, c.). - Thus far the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, which he was to proclaim in the valley of Benhinnom. - The execution of the divine commission is, as being a matter of course, not expressly recounted, but is implied in Jeremiah 19:14 as having taken place.
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