Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it to other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Have estranged this place.—i.e., have alienated it from Jehovah its true Lord, and given it to a strange god. The words refer specially to the guilt of Manasseh (2Chronicles 33:4).
The blood of innocents.—The words seem at first to refer to the Molech sacrifices, which had made the valley of Hinnom infamous. These, however, are mentioned separately in the next verse, and the prophet probably spoke rather here, as in Jeremiah 2:34; Jeremiah 7:6, of the “innocent blood” with which Manasseh had filled Jerusalem (2Kings 21:16; 2Kings 24:4, where the same word is used).
estranged this place—devoted it to the worship of strange gods: alienating a portion of the sacred city from God, the rightful Lord of the temple, city, and whole land.
nor their fathers—namely, the godly among them; their ungodly fathers God makes no account of.
blood of innocents—slain in honor of Molech (Jer 7:31; Ps 106:37).Because they have forsaken me; the laws, statutes, and ordinances which God had given them, to direct them both in their religious behaviour towards him, and in their civil conversations.
Have estranged this place; either this city, or this temple, (which stood very nigh to this valley,) or this particular valley, which they had turned to a use quite contrary to the end for which God gave it them; for in it they had paid a religious homage to idols, strange idols, which their fathers knew not, and had filled that place with the blood of such as had not deserved death, either innocent men, or children, that they had there sacrificed to idols; of which he afterward speaketh more particularly.
and have estranged this place; or made a strange place of it, so that it could scarcely be known to be the same, nor would the Lord own it as his; meaning either the city of Jerusalem, to which the prophet was near, and could point to it; or the temple, which was in sight, and which they had strangely abused, by offering strange sacrifices to strange gods; or the valley of Hinnom, the spot he was upon, and which they had alienated from its original use:
and have burnt incense in it unto other gods; to strange gods, the gods of the Gentiles; and this they did both in the city of Jerusalem and in the temple, and very probably in the valley of Hinnom, where they sacrificed their children: gods
whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah; of whose wisdom, power, and goodness, neither they nor their fathers before them, nor any of their kings, had had any instance; and whose help and assistance, in times of danger and difficulty, they had had no experience of; and, till now, neither they nor their ancestors had ever owned them, or acknowledged them; nor scarce had heard of their names; nor any of their pious kings, as David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah:
and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; young children that were sacrificed here to idols, as they were in the valley of Hinnom, which seems to be the place principally intended; so that they were not only guilty of idolatry, but of murder; and of the murder of innocent creatures, and even, of their own babes; which was shocking and unheard of cruelty!Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. have estranged] have refused to recognise its claims.
they and their fathers and the kings of Judah] rather, as LXX, they and their fathers; and the kings of Judah have filled, etc., generalizing from Manasseh’s acts (2 Kings 21:16; 2 Kings 24:4).
innocents] not children, the sacrifice of whom is first mentioned in the next verse, but in general innocent persons slain in persecution or by malversation of justice.Verse 4. - Have estranged this place; rather, have treated this place as strange; i.e. as one that did not belong to their God, that was unholy (comp. Jeremiah 16:18, "They have defiled ray land"). With the blood of innocents; comp." Innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters" (Psalm 106:38) - the children sacrificed in Hinnom to Moloch. Jeremiah 18:18. "Then said they: Come and let us plot schemes against Jeremiah; for law shall not be lost to the priest, and counsel to the wise, and speech to the prophet. Come and let us smite him with the tongue and not give heed to all his speeches. Jeremiah 18:19. Give heed to me, Jahveh, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me! Jeremiah 18:20. Shall evil be repaid for good, that they dig a pit for my soul? Remember how I stood before Thee to speak good for them, to turn away Thy wrath from them! Jeremiah 18:21. Therefore give their sons to the famine and deliver them to the sword, that their wives become childless and widows, and their men slaughtered by death, their young men smitten by the sword in battle. Jeremiah 18:22. Let a cry be heard from their houses, when Thou bringest troops upon them suddenly; for they have digged a pit to take me and laid snares for my feet. Jeremiah 18:23. But Thou Jahveh knowest all their counsels against me for death: forgive not their iniquity and blot not out their sin from before Thy face, that they be overthrown before Thee; in the time of Thine anger deal with them."
Even the solemn words (Jeremiah 18:15-17) of the prophet were in vain. Instead of examining themselves and reforming their lives, the blinded sinners resolve to put the troublesome preacher of repentance out of the way by means of false charges. The subject of "and they said" is those who had heard the above discourse; not all, of course, but the infatuated leaders of the people who had. They call on the multitude to plot schemes against him, cf. Jeremiah 11:18. For they have, as they think, priests, wise men, and prophets to give them instruction out of the law, counsel, and word, i.e., prophecy - namely, according to their idea, such as advise, teach, and preach otherwise than Jeremiah, who speaks only of repentance and judgment. Recent scholars render תּורה doctrine, which is right etymologically, but not so when judged by the constant usage, which regards the Torah, the law, as containing the substance of all the doctrine needed by man to tell him how to bear himself towards God, or to make his life happy. The Mosaic law is the foundation of all prophetic preaching; and that the speakers mean תּורה in this sense is clear from their claiming the knowledge of the Torah as belonging to the priests; the law was committed to the keeping and administration of the priests. The "counsel" is that needed for the conduct of the state in difficult circumstances, and in Ezekiel 7:26 it is attributed to the elders; and "speech" or word is the declarations of the prophets. On that subject, cf. Jeremiah 8:8-10. To smite with the tongue is to ruin by slanders and malicious charges, cf. Jeremiah 9:2, Jeremiah 9:4,Jeremiah 9:7, where the tongue is compared to a lying bow and deadly arrow, Psalm 64:4., Psalm 59:8, etc. That they had the prophet's death in view appears from Jeremiah 18:23; although their further speech: We will not give heed to his words, shows that in the discourse against which they were so enraged, he had said "nothing that, according to their ideas, was directly and immediately punishable with death" (Hitz.); cf. Jeremiah 26:6, Jeremiah 26:11. Against these schemes Jeremiah cries to God in Jeremiah 18:19 for help and protection. While his adversaries are saying: People should give no heed to his speeches, he prays the Lord to give heed to him and to listen to the sayings of his enemies. "My contenders," who contend against me, cf. Jeremiah 35:1; Isaiah 49:25. - In support of his prayer he says in Jeremiah 18:20 : Shall evil be repaid for good? cf. Psalm 35:12. In his discourses he had in view nothing but the good of the people, and he appeals to the prayers he had presented to the Lord to turn away God's anger from the people, cf. Jeremiah 14:7., Jeremiah 18:19-22. (On "my standing before Thee," cf. Jeremiah 15:1.) This good they seek to repay with ill, by lying charges to dig a pit for his soul, i.e., for his life, into which pit he may fall; cf. Psalm 57:7, where, however, instead of שׁוּחה (Jeremiah 2:6; Proverbs 22:14; Proverbs 23:27), we have שׁיחה, as in Jeremiah 18:22, Chet. - He prays the Lord to requite them for this wickedness by bringing on the people that which Jeremiah had sought to avert, by destroying them with famine, sword, and disease. The various kinds of death are, Jeremiah 18:21, distributed rhetorically amongst the different classes of the people. The sons, i.e., children, are to be given up to the famine, the men to the sword, the young men to the sword in war. The suffix on הגּרם refers to the people, of which the children are mentioned before, the men and women after. On הגּר על ידי ח, cf. Ezekiel 35:5; Psalm 63:11. "Death," mentioned alongside of sword and famine, is death by disease and pestilence, as in Jeremiah 15:2.
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