Jeremiah 2:25
Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.
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(25) Withhold thy foot.—From the brute types of passion the prophet passes to the human. Here he has Hosea as giving a prototype (Hosea 2:5; Hosea 2:7), perhaps also Isaiah (Isaiah 23:15-16). The picture may probably enough have been drawn from the life, but that sketched in Proverbs 7:10-23 may well have supplied the outline. Jehovah, as her true husband, bids the apostate wife to refrain for very shame from acting as the harlot, rushing barefoot into the streets, panting, as with a thirst that craves to be quenched, for the gratification of her desires. The “unshod” may possibly refer to one feature of the worship of Baal or Ashtaroth, men and women taking off their shoes when they entered into their temples, as being holy ground (Exodus 3:5), and joining in orgiastic dances.

Thou saidst, There is no hope: no.—Here also we find a parallel to the thought and language of Hosea. There the one effectual remedy for the evil into which the apostate wife had fallen was to speak to her heart, and to open the door of hope (Hosea 2:14-15). Now the malignity of the evil is shown by the loss of all hope of recovery in returning to Jehovah:—

“Small sins the heart first desecrate,

At last despair persuades to great.”

Like Gomer, she will go after her “lovers,” though they are “strangers,” as if they were her only protectors. It would seem, from the recurrence of the phrase in Jeremiah 18:12, as if it were the formula of a despairing fatalism, like the proverb of the fathers eating sour grapes (Jeremiah 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:2).

Jeremiah 2:25. Withhold thy foot from being unshod, &c. — “Do not wear out thy shoes, or sandals, and expose thyself to thirst and weariness in undertaking long journeys, to make new alliances with idolaters.” Thus Lowth, and many other expositors. “But I rather take it,” says Blaney, “to be a warning to beware of the consequences of pursuing the courses they were addicted to: as if it had been said, Take care that thou dost not expose thyself, by thy wicked ways, to the wretched condition of going into captivity unshod, as the manner is represented Isaiah 20:4; and of serving thine enemies in hunger, and in thirst, and in want of the necessaries of life,” Deuteronomy 28:48. But thou saidst, There is no hope — The language of desperate sinners, who are resolved to continue in their wickedness, in spite of every reason that can be offered to the contrary. No; for I have loved strangers — Strange gods, idols; and after them will I go — The Jews probably did not really speak in this manner, but they acted thus: this, the prophet signifies was the language of their conduct. By their actions they professed that idolatry which they denied with their mouths.

2:20-28 Notwithstanding all their advantages, Israel had become like the wild vine that bears poisonous fruit. Men are often as much under the power of their unbridled desires and their sinful lusts, as the brute beasts. But the Lord here warns them not to weary themselves in pursuits which could only bring distress and misery. As we must not despair of the mercy of God, but believe that to be sufficient for the pardon of our sins, so neither must we despair of the grace of God, but believe that it is able to subdue our corruptions, though ever so strong.God the true husband exhorts Israel not to run barefoot, and with parched throat, like a shameless adulteress, after strangers.

There is no hope - i. e., It is in vain.

25. Withhold, &c.—that is, abstain from incontinence; figuratively for idolatry [Houbigant].

unshod, &c.—do not run so violently in pursuing lovers, as to wear out thy shoes: do not "thirst" so incontinently after sexual intercourse. Hitzig thinks the reference is to penances performed barefoot to idols, and the thirst occasioned by loud and continued invocations to them.

no hope—(Jer 18:12; Isa 57:10). "It is hopeless," that is, I am desperately resolved to go on in my own course.

strangers—that is, laying aside the metaphor, "strange gods" (Jer 3:13; De 32:16).

Withhold thy foot from being unshod; good counsel given them by the prophet to tarry at home; either that they do not go a gadding after their spiritual or corporal adulteries, or seek foreign aids, thereby to wear out their shoes; a metonymy of the effect, Joshua 9:13: or, that thou put not off thy shoes to go into the bed of lust, or uncover thy feet; a modest Hebrew expression, as also of other languages, for

exposing thy nakedness, Ezekiel 16:25: or, take not those courses that will reduce thee to poverty, to go bare-foot, and bare-legged, and to want wherewith to quench thy thirst, as in the next clause, Pr 6 26 Isa 20:2,4. See Isaiah 5:13. There is no hope: she seems to return a cross answer, the word pointing at somewhat that is desperate, Ecclesiastes 2:20. It either expresseth the desperateness of their condition: q.d. We are as bad as we can be, and there is no hope that God should receive us into favour. Or, else by way of interrogation, Is there no hope? May we not hold on still, and prosper? Must we desist from our ways? No, we will not; but we will go after other gods, and they shall defend us, Isaiah 57:10 Jeremiah 18:12. Or the desperateness of their resolution upon it: q.d. We care not since there is no remedy; you lose your labour to go about to reclaim us; which agrees with the next clause. Strangers, viz. idols, or strange gods.

After them will I go, come what will of it.

Withhold thy foot from being unshod,.... That it may not be unshod, be naked and bare. The sense is, either, as some, do not take long journeys into foreign countries for help, as into Assyria and Egypt, whither they used to go barefoot; or wore out their shoes by their long journeys, and so returned without; or refrain from idolatry, as Jarchi interprets it, that thou mayest not go naked into captivity; or this is an euphemism, as others think, forbidding adulterous actions, showing the naked foot, the putting off of the shoes, in order to lie upon the bed, and prostitute herself to her lovers; and is to be understood of idolatry:

and thy throat from thirst; after wine, which excites lust; abstain from eager and burning lust after adulterous, that is, idolatrous practices; so the Targum,

"refrain thy feet from being joined with the people, and thy mouth from worshipping the idols of the people.''

The words are paraphrased in the Talmud (e) thus,

"withhold thyself from sinning, that thy foot may not become naked; (the gloss is, "when thou goest into captivity") refrain thy tongue from idle words, that thy throat may not thirst:''

this was said by the Lord, or by the prophets of the Lord sent unto them, to which the following is an answer:

but thou saidst, there is no hope; of ever being prevailed upon to relinquish those idolatrous practices, or of being received into the favour of God after such provocations: no; I will never refrain from them; I will not be persuaded to leave them:

for I have loved strangers; the strange gods of the nations:

and after them will I go; and worship them; so the Targum,

"I love to he joined to the people, and after the Worship of their idols will I go.''

(e) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 77. 1.

Withhold thy foot from {m} being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.

(m) By this he warns them that they should not go into strange countries to seek help: for they should but spend their labour, and hurt themselves, which is here meant by the bare foot and thirst, Isa 57:10.

25. Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst] Do not pursue thy shameless quest in recklessness and heat, till thy sandals are worn out, and thy throat parched. The words of the reply, the first part of which we might render, “Hopeless! No!” express the desperate determination to continue in sin.

strangers] i.e. foreign gods. Cp. Deuteronomy 32:16.

Verse 25. - Withhold thy foot, etc. Hitzig, with unnecessary ingenuity, explains this with reference to the fatiguing practices of the heathen cultus, comparing 1 Kings 18:26, where "vain repetitions" of "Baal, Baal," and (as he thinks) barefoot religious dances, are mentioned as parts of the worship of Baal. Umbreit's view, however, is far more natural. "God the true husband exhorts Israel not to run barefoot, and with parched throat, like a shameless adulteress, after strangers" (Payne Smith). There is no hops; i.e. the exhortation is in vain (so Jeremiah 18:12). Jeremiah 2:25In Jeremiah 2:24 בּחדשׁהּ is variously interpreted. Thus much is beyond all doubt, that the words are still a part of the figure, i.e., of the comparison between the idolatrous people and the wild ass. The use of the 3rd person stands in the way of the direct reference of the words to Israel, since in what precedes and in what follows Israel is addressed (in 2nd pers.). חדשׁ can thus mean neither the new moon as a feast (L. de Dieu, Chr. B. Mich.), still less tempus menstruum (Jerome, etc.), but month; and the suffix in הדשׁהּ is to be referred, not with Hitz. to תּאנתהּ, but to פּרה. The suffixes in מבקשׁיה and ימצאוּנה absolutely demand this. "Her month" is the month appointed for the gratification of the wild ass's natural impulse, i.e., as Bochart rightly explains it (Hieroz. ii. p. 230, ed. Ros.) mensis quo solent sylvestres asinae maris appetitu fervere. The meaning of the comparison is this: the false gods do not need anxiously to court the favour of the people; in its unbridled desires it gives itself up to them; cf. Jeremiah 3:2; Hosea 2:7, Hosea 2:15. With this is suitably coupled the warning of Jeremiah 2:25 : hold back, i.e., keep thy foot from getting bare (יהף is subst. not adjective, which would have had to be fem., since רגל is fem.), and thy throat from thirst, viz., by reason of the fever of running after the idols. This admonition God addresses by the prophet to the people. It is not to wear the sandals off its feet by running after amours, nor so to heat its throat as to become thirsty. Hitz. proposes unsuitably, because in the face of the context, to connect the going barefoot with the visiting of the sanctuary, and the thirsting of the throat (1 Kings 18:26) with incessant calling on the gods. The answer of the people to this admonition shows clearly that it has been receiving an advice against running after the gods. The Chet. וגורנך is evidently a copyists's error for וּגרונך. The people replies: נואשׁ, desperatum (est), i.e., hopeless; thy advice of all in vain; cf. Jeremiah 18:12, and on Isaiah 57:10. The meaning is made clearer by לוא: no; for I love the aliens, etc. זרים are not merely strange gods, but also strange peoples. Although idolatry is the matter chiefly in hand, yet it was so bound up with intriguing for the favour of the heathen nations that we cannot exclude from the words some reference to this also.
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