Jeremiah 2:10
For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.
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(10) Pass over the isles . . .—Chittim is named as being, from the prophet’s point of view, the furthest country in the west (Genesis 10:4; Numbers 24:24), Kedar (Genesis 25:13; Psalm 120:5) in the east. The whole earth might be searched without finding a parallel to the guilt of Israel.

Jeremiah 2:10-11. For pass over the isles of Chittim — The neighbouring isles and peninsulas, which lay west of Judea, meaning especially the countries of Greece and Macedonia, and the islands and continents of Europe in general; the countries that were more polite and learned. And send unto Kedar — To Arabia, and the countries to the east and south, as the others lay to the west and north: send to them that are more rude and barbarous. And consider diligently — As a matter well worth your attention; and see if there be such a thing — As if he had said, If you search from east to west, from south to north, you will find no instance of apostacy from the objects of their worship like this of yours. Hath a nation changed their gods? — The gods worshipped by their forefathers? or shown a disposition to change them? Which are yet no gods? — But mere imaginary beings, or images made by men’s hands, or the creatures of the living and true God. But my people have changed their glory, have relinquished the worship of the infinite and eternal Jehovah, their Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, Redeemer, Friend, and Father, to whom they owe their all, and whose worship and service, favour and protection, were their greatest glory. For that which doth not profit — For those idols which never did, nor can, do them any good; that have no essence or power; and of which they must necessarily be ashamed.

2:9-13 Before God punishes sinners, he pleads with them, to bring them to repentance. He pleads with us, what we should plead with ourselves. Be afraid to think of the wrath and curse which will be the portion of those who throw themselves out of God's grace and favour. Grace in Christ is compared to water from a fountain, it being cooling and refreshing, cleansing and making fruitful: to living water, because it quickens dead sinners, revives drooping saints, supports and maintains spiritual life, and issues in eternal life, and is ever-flowing. To forsake this Fountain is the first evil; this is done when the people of God neglect his word and ordinances. They hewed them out broken cisterns, that could hold no water. Such are the world, and the things in it; such are the inventions of men when followed and depended on. Let us, with purpose of heart, cleave to the Lord only; whither else shall we go? How prone are we to forego the consolations of the Holy Spirit, for the worthless joys of the enthusiast and hypocrite!Kedar signifies the whole East, and the isles of Chittim (Isaiah 23:12 note) the West. If then you traverse all lands from west to east, it will be impossible to find any nation guilty of such apostasy as that committed by Israel. 10. pass over the isles—rather, "cross over to the isles."

Chittim … Kedar—that is, the heathen nations, west and east. Go where you will, you cannot find an instance of any heathen nation forsaking their own for other gods. Israel alone does this. Yet the heathen gods are false gods; whereas Israel, in forsaking Me for other gods, forsake their "glory" for unprofitable idols.

Chittim—Cyprus, colonized by Phœnicians, who built in it the city of Citium, the modern Chitti. Then the term came to be applied to all maritime coasts of the Mediterranean, especially Greece (Nu 24:24; Isa 23:1; Da 11:30).

Kedar—descended from Ishmael; the Bedouins and Arabs, east of Palestine.

The isles of Chittim; a synecdochical expression, extending to all isles in the Mediterranean Sea, or any other the neighbouring coasts; for the Hebrews call all people that are separated from them by the Mediterranean Sea islanders, because they come to them by shipping. See of Chittim, Isaiah 23:1.

Send unto Kedar; understand Arabia, that lay east-south-east of Judea, as Chittim did more north or north-west: q. d. Go from north to south, east to west, and make the experiment; look to Chittim, the most civilized, or Kedar, the most. barbarous, yet neither have changed their gods.

See if there be such a thing; not that they were to pass over locally, or send messengers thither actually; but, q.d. Cast your eyes thither, and make your observations; by what you have ever seen or heard, did you ever hear of such a prodigious thing? If you should either go or send, you will find it so.

For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see,.... Or, "to the isles of Chittim" (z); so called from Kittim the son of Javan, Genesis 10:4 who, as Josephus says (a), possessed the island of Chethima, now called Cyprus; and, from that, all islands, and most maritime places, are, by the Hebrews, called Chittim, he observes: it may regard all the islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas:

and send unto Kedar; which was in Arabia, and lay to the east, as Chittim to the west; and so the Targum paraphrases it,

"send to the provinces of the Arabians:''

and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing; as what is inquired about in the following verse, a change of deities. All this is to be understood of the contemplation of the mind, and not of any corporeal journey to be taken, to inquire into this matter.

(z) Sept. "transite ad insulas Cethim", V. L. "ad insulas Cypriorum"; so some in Vatablus; "in insulas", Schmidt. (a) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1.

For pass over the isles of {o} Chittim, and see; and send to {p} Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there is such a thing.

(o) Meaning, the Grecians and Italians.

(p) To Arabia.

10. the isles of Kittim] The Kittim are mentioned as descendants of Javan in Genesis 10:4. Josephus (Ant. I. vi. 1) identifies the original seat of the tribe with the town of Citium (Larnaka) in Cyprus. Gradually the name seems to have been extended, so as to include not only the neighbouring islands, but the coastlands of Italy and Greece. In Daniel 11:30 the “ships of K.” refer to the Roman expedition to Egypt against Antiochus Epiphanes b.c. 168. The word in 1Ma 1:1; 1Ma 8:5 means Macedonia.

Kedar] As Kittim represented the parts of the world that lay to the westward of Palestine, so Kedar represented those which lay to the eastward. Kedar was the second son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13) and seems from the many subsequent notices of his tribe in the Bible to have been destined to be in his posterity the most distinguished of the twelve brethren, princes, given in the genealogy. They were a pastoral tribe (Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 60:7) and were bowmen (Isaiah 21:17) living on the north-west of Arabia, and extending to the borders of Palestine. In Psalm 120:5 they are spoken of as a barbarous tribe, to dwell amongst whom was to be utterly cut off from the worship of the true God. Even they, however, the Lord declares, do not furnish a parallel for the baseness which appertains to the Jews.

Verse 10. - Justification of Jehovah's judicial action towards Judah. Consider the heinousness of the offence. Pass over - rather, pass over to - the isles of Chittim; i.e. the islands and maritime countries of the West, represented by Cyprus (see on Genesis 10:4). For the wide use of Chittim, comp. Numbers 24:24; Daniel 11:30). Kedar, in the narrower sense, is a large tribe of Arabian origin, whose haunts were between Arabia Petraea and Babylonia. Here, however, it is used in a wider sense for the Arab tribes in general (so Jeremiah Tiler 28; Isaiah 21:16, 17). Jeremiah 2:10Such backsliding from God is unexampled and appalling. Jeremiah 2:9. "Therefore will I further contend with you, ad with your children's children will I contend. Jeremiah 2:10. For go over to the islands of the Chittim, and see; and send to Kedar, and observe well, and see if such things have been; Jeremiah 2:11. whether a nation hath changed it gods, which indeed are no gods? but my people hath changed its glory for that which profits not. Jeremiah 2:12. Be horrified, ye heavens, at this, and shudder, and be sore dismayed, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 2:13. For double evil hath my people done; me have they forsaken, the fountain of living waters, to hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, the hold no water."

In the preceding verses the fathers were charged with the backsliding from the Lord; in Jeremiah 2:9 punishment is threatened against the now-living people of Israel, and on their children's children after them. For the people in its successive and even yet future generations constitutes a unity, and in this unity a moral personality. Since the sins of the fathers transmit themselves to the children and remoter descendants, sons and grandsons must pay the penalty of the fathers' guilt, that is, so long as they share the disposition of their ancestors. The conception of this moral unity is at the foundation of the threatening. That the present race persists in the fathers' backsliding from the Lord is clearly expressed in Jeremiah 2:17. In "I will further chide or strive," is intimated implicite that God had chidden already up till now, or even earlier with the fathers. ריב, contend, when said of God, is actual striving or chastening with all kinds of punishment. This must God do as the righteous and holy one; for the sin of the people is an unheard of sin, seen in no other people. "The islands of the Chittim" are the isles and coast lands of the far west, as in Ezekiel 27:6; כּתּים having originally been the name for Cyprus and the city of Cition, see in Genesis 10:4. In contrast with these distant western lands, Kedar is mentioned as representative of the races of the east. The Kedarenes lived as a pastoral people in the eastern part of the desert between Arabia Petraea and Babylonia; see in Genesis 25:13 and Ezekiel 27:21. Peoples in the two opposite regions of the world are individualizingly mentioned instead of all peoples. התבּוננוּ, give good heed, serves to heighten the expression. אם equals הןintroduces the indirect question; cf. Ew. 324, c. The unheard of, that which has happened amongst no people, is put interrogatively for rhetorical effect. Has any heathen nation changed its gods, which indeed are not truly gods? No; no heathen nation has done this; but the people of Jahveh, Israel, has exchanged its glory, i.e., the God who made Himself known to it in His glory, for false gods that are of no profit. כּבוד is the glory in which the invisible God manifested His majesty in the world and amidst His people. Cf. the analogous title given to God, ,נּאון ישׂראל Amos 8:7; Hosea 5:5. The exact antithesis to כּבודו would be בּשׁת, cf. Jeremiah 3:24; Jeremiah 11:13; but Jeremiah chose לאto represent the exchange as not advantageous. God showed His glory to the Israelites in the glorious deeds of His omnipotence and grace, like those mentioned in Jeremiah 2:5 and Jeremiah 2:6. The Baals, on the other hand, are not אלהים, but, אלילים nothings, phantoms without a being, that bring no help or profit to their worshippers. Before the sin of Israel is more fully set forth, the prophet calls on heaven to be appalled at it. The heavens are addressed as that part of the creation where the glory of God is most brightly reflected. The rhetorical aim is seen in the piling up of words. חרב, lit., to be parched up, to be deprived of the life-marrow. Israel has committed two crimes: a. It has forsaken Jahveh, the fountain of living water. ,מים חיּיםliving water, i.e., water that originates and nourishes life, is a significant figure for God, with whom is the fountain of life (Psalm 36:10), i.e., from whose Spirit all life comes. Fountain of living water (here and Jeremiah 17:13) is synonymous with well of life in Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 14:27, Sir. 21:13. b. The other sin is this, that they hew or dig out wells, broken, rent, full of crevices, that hold no water. The delineation keeps to the same figure. The dead gods have no life and can dispense no life, just as wells with rents or fissures hold no water. The two sins, the forsaking of the living God and the seeking out of dead gods, cannot really be separated. Man, created by God and for God, cannot live without God. If he forsake the living God, he passes in spite of himself into the service of dead, unreal gods. Forsaking the living God is eo ipso exchanging Him for an imaginary god. The prophet sets the two moments of the apostasy from God side by side, so as to depict to the people with greater fulness of light the enormity of their crime. The fact in Jeremiah 2:11 that no heathen nation changes its gods for others, has its foundation in this, that the gods of the heathen are the creations of men, and that the worship of them is moulded by the carnal-mindedness of sinful man; so that there is less inducement to change, the gods of the different nations being in nature alike. But the true God claims to be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and does not permit the nature and manner of His worship to depend on the fancies of His worshippers; He makes demands upon men that run counter to carnal nature, insisting upon the renunciation of sensual lusts and cravings and the crucifixion of the flesh, and against this corrupt carnal nature rebels. Upon this reason for the fact adduced, Jeremiah does not dwell, but lays stress on the fact itself. This he does with the view of bringing out the distinction, wide as heaven, between the true God and the false gods, to the shaming of the idolatrous people; and in order, at the same time, to scourge the folly of idolatry by giving prominence to the contrast between the glory of God and the nothingness of the idols.

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