Jeremiah 2:15
The young lions roared on him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) The young lions roared . . .—The real answer to the question, that Israel had forsaken its true master, is given in Jeremiah 2:17. Here it is implied in the description of what the runaway slave had suffered. Lions had attacked him; not figuratively only, as symbolising invaders, but in the most literal sense, they had made his land waste (2Kings 17:25).

Are burned.—Better, levelled with the ground.

Jeremiah 2:15-16. The young lions roared upon them — Lions, in the figurative style of prophecy, denote powerful princes and conquerors; see Jeremiah 50:17; where the king of Assyria is mentioned as one of those lions which had devoured him, and Nebuchadnezzar as another. If we consider the prophet as speaking here of what was past, by the young lions he probably means the kings of Syria and Assyria, who laid the country waste, not only of the ten tribes, but also Judah and Benjamin; and carried the Israelites into captivity; see Isaiah 1:7. But the words כפרים ישׁאגוare more properly rendered, The young lions shall roar upon him; and so may be understood of Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar, whose successive hostilities against the kingdom of Judah were foreseen by the prophet, and are probably here foretold. It is true, the following verbs of this verse are in the past time, but the context favours interpreting them of the future. Nor is it unusual for the prophets to speak of events yet to come, and foreseen by them, as if they had been already accomplished. They made his land waste, his cities are burned, &c.

That Jeremiah speaks here of the future, and not of the past, appears from this: that in the time of Josiah, when this prophecy was uttered, the country was not in the condition here described; the land had not been reduced to desolation, nor the cities burned with fire; but the determination of the Lord was past, and the prophet clearly foresaw that these calamities would come. Also the children of Noph, &c., have broken the crown of thy head — By the children of Noph and Tahapanes are meant the Egyptians, these being the two principal cities of Egypt, called by heathen writers Memphis and Taphanes, or Daphnæ Pelusicæ. “This no doubt alludes,” says Blaney, “to the severe blow which the nation received in a capital part, when the good King Josiah was defeated by the Egyptians, and slain in battle; or when, afterward, upon the deposition of Jehoahaz, the glory of the monarchy was debased, by its being changed into a tributary and dependant kingdom, 2 Kings 23:29-34, and 2 Chronicles 35:20.2:14-19 Is Israel a servant? No, they are the seed of Abraham. We may apply this spiritually: Is the soul of man a slave? No, it is not; but has sold its own liberty, and enslaved itself to divers lusts and passions. The Assyrian princes, like lions, prevailed against Israel. People from Egypt destroyed their glory and strength. They brought these calamities on themselves by departing from the Lord. The use and application of this is, Repent of thy sin, that thy correction may not be thy ruin. What has a Christian to do in the ways of forbidden pleasure or vain sinful mirth, or with the pursuits of covetousness and ambition?Upon him - Rather, against him. Israel has run away from his master's house, but only to find himself exposed to the beasts of prey in the wilderness.

They made his land waste - The prophet points to the actual results of Israel's until the multiplication of wild beasts rendered human life unsafe 2 Kings 17:25, but the Assyrian invasions had reduced Judaea to almost as sad a state.

Burned - Others render, "leveled to the ground."

15. lions—the Babylonian princes (Jer 4:7; compare Am 3:4). The disaster from the Babylonians in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, and again three years later when, relying on Egypt, he revolted from Nebuchadnezzar, is here referred to (Jer 46:2; 2Ki 24:1, 2). The young lions; understand the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians, &c., called

lions from their fierceness, and young from their strength. See this Jeremiah 4:7 50:17.

Roared upon him, and yelled; noting the terrible voice that the lion puts forth, either in the seizing the prey, some say in sport, Lamentations 2:7; or the devouring it, Isaiah 5:29. A metaphor, noting the cruelty of the enemy, Psalm 74:4.

Burned without inhabitant, i.e. so consumed and wasted that they are uninhabitable, or shortly shall so consume and waste them. See Jeremiah 2:14. The young lions roared upon him, and yelled,.... Or, "gave out their voice" (e); meaning the kings of the nations, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi explain it; and are to be understood of the kings of Assyria and Babylon, and particularly of Nebuchadnezzar; see Jeremiah 50:17 compared to lions for their strength and cruelty; their "roaring" and "yelling design" the bringing forth of their armies against Israel, the noise of the battle, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war, and the voice of the warrior:

and they made his land waste; all this is said as past, when it was yet to come, because of the certainty of it, and the sure accomplishment of these prophecies; for this respects the future desolation of the land of Israel at the Babylonish captivity:

his cities are burnt without inhabitant; not only Jerusalem was burnt with fire, Jeremiah 52:13, but other cities in the land of Israel, so that they were not inhabited: or, "they were desolate or destroyed" (f) as the Septuagint version, so that none could dwell in them; and so the Targum,

"her cities are desolate, without inhabitant.''

Kimchi's father explains the word by "budded", or brought forth herbs or plants; for desolate places bring up plants; where there is no inhabitant, grass grows.

(e) "dederunt vocem suam", Montanus, Pagninus; "edunt rocem suam", Schmidt. (f) "desolatae sunt, sive destructae", Vatablus.

The young {x} lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without {y} inhabitant.

(x) The Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians.

(y) Not one will be left to dwell there.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. The young lions have roared upon him, and yelled] referring to the frequent Assyrian invasions. The lion was the symbol of Assyria (Nahum 2:12 f.). Cp. Isaiah 5:29 (of an attacking host).

burned up] Many prefer to render, slightly altering MT., are laid waste, desolated, as in Jeremiah 4:7.Verse 15. - The young lions, etc. A fresh figure, and a most natural one in Judaea (comp. 1 Samuel 17:34); already applied to the Assyrians by Isaiah (Isaiah 5:29, 30). Burned; rather, made ruinous (corer. "ruinous heaps," 2 Kings 19:25). Such 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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