Jeremiah 2:26
As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) As the thief . . .—The words point to the sense of shame as already felt, and as therefore bringing with it the possibility of repentance. Once they gloried in their false worship; now they feel as if detected in a crime. Conscience had once again been roused into activity.

Jeremiah 2:26-28. As the thief is ashamed — As the thief has nothing to say for himself, but is perfectly confounded when he is taken in the very act, so the house of Israel hath no manner of plea wherewith to defend or excuse their idolatry. They, their kings, their princes — Whose duty it was to have restrained them from such practices by their authority; their priests, and their prophets — Who ought to have set them a better example, and have given them better instruction. Saying to a stock, Thou art my father — Giving the title of father, which belongs to God, as the sovereign Creator and Preserver of all things, (see Jeremiah 3:19,) to senseless images, made of wood and stone. They did not, indeed, think themselves to be created or made by these images, but thus they addressed the gods whom they thought to be present in the consecrated images. But as there was in fact no such deity residing in the image, but it was a mere nothing, a fiction of the idolaters, their worship in reality centred in, or went no higher than, the image itself. For they have turned their back unto me — A token of contempt and aversion; and not their face — Which they turn wholly toward their idols. But in the time of their trouble — A time which is approaching; they will say, Arise, and save us — As they did formerly; see the margin. When they prove, by experience, the vanity of their idols, and their own folly in relying on things that cannot help or save them, and in rejecting me, then they will apply to me for relief and aid. But where are thy gods? — Thy idols, the gods of thy own making? Let them arise — From the places where they are fixed; if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble — In thy great distress, when thou art in such need of help. For according to the number of thy cities are thy gods — For thou hast a sufficient number of them, every country and city having its peculiar deity, imitating the heathen, who, according to Varro, had above thirty thousand gods. Make trial, if any, or all of them together, can help thee.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.

26. is ashamed—is put to shame.

thief—(Joh 10:1).

Israel—that is, Judah (Jer 2:28).

Ashamed when he is found; not ashamed of his sin of theft, but that he is found, that his shifts and blinds would serve him no longer, especially if he have had the reputation of an honest man.

The house of Israel; or families, the twelve tribes; a metonymy of the subject.

Ashamed; or, confounded, in the passive voice; viz. when they shall be taken by Nebuchadnezzar, then their idols, which they went a whoring after, shall be discovered, and so put them to shame: in the active voice, their inability to help them, Jeremiah 2:28 Isaiah 1:29 Hosea 4:19; and their shame will be the more, because they had the repute of being my people.

Their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets; rulers and teachers, such as should have given better examples, and better instruction. As the thief is ashamed when be is found,.... Taken in the fact, or convicted of it; that is, as the Targum explains it, one that has been accounted faithful, and is found a thief; for, otherwise, those who have lost their character, and are notorious for their thefts and robberies, are not ashamed when they are found out, taken, and convicted:

so is the house of Israel ashamed: of their idolatry, or ought to be; or "shall be", as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it; though not now, yet hereafter, sooner or later:

they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets; all being guilty; kings setting ill examples, and the people following them; the priests being priests of Baal, and the prophets false ones.

As the {n} thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,

(n) As a thief will not acknowledge his fault, till he is taken with the deed, and ready to be punished, so they will not confess their idolatry, till the plagues due to the same light on them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. Israel, though insensible now to their disgrace, will realise it presently and all classes will be filled with confusion (as a detected thief) when the penalty arrives. Cp. Isaiah 1:29 ff.

ashamed] disconcerted by the failure of plans, a frequent sense of the word: cp. Jeremiah 2:36, Jeremiah 17:18, Jeremiah 48:13; Job 6:20; Joel 1:11.Verse 26. - Is... ashamed. It is the per-feet of prophetic certitude. All along Israel has been refractory; it cannot and will not cease from idolatry. Jeremiah 2:20. "For of old time thou hast broken thy yoke, torn off thy bands; and hast said: I will not serve; but upon every high hill, and under every green tree, thou stretchedst thyself as a harlot. Jeremiah 2:21. And I have planted thee a noble vine, all of genuine stock: and how hast thou changed thyself to me into the bastards of a strange vine? Jeremiah 2:22. Even though thou washedst thee with natron and tookest much soap, filthy remains thy guilt before me, saith the Lord Jahveh. Jeremiah 2:23. How canst thou say, I have not defiled me, after the Baals have I not gone? See thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done-thou lightfooted camel filly, entangling her says. Jeremiah 2:24. A wild she-ass used to the wilderness, that in her lust panteth for air; her heat, who shall restrain it? all that seek her run themselves weary; in her month they will find her. Jeremiah 2:25. Keep thy foot from going barefoot, and thy throat from thirst; but thou sayest, It is useless; no; for I have loved strangers, and after them I go." Jeremiah 2:20. מעולם, from eternity, i.e., from immemorial antiquity, has Israel broken the yoke of the divine law laid on it, and torn asunder the bands of decency and order which the commands of God, the ordinances of the Torah, put on, to nurture it to be a holy people of the Lord; torn them as an untamed bullock (Jeremiah 31:18) or a stubborn cow, Hosea 4:16. מוסרות, bands, are not the bands or cords of love with which God drew Israel, Hosea 11:4 (Graf), but the commands of God whose part it was to keep life within the bounds of purity, and to hold the people back from running riot in idolatry. On this head see Jeremiah 5:5; and for the expression, Psalm 2:3. The Masoretes have taken שׁברתי and נתקתי for the 1st person, pointing accordingly, and for אעבוד, as unsuitable to this, they have substituted אעבור. Ewald has decided in favour of these readings; but he is thus compelled to tear the verse to pieces and to hold the text to be defective, since the words from ותּאמרי onwards are not in keeping with what precedes. Even if we translate: I offend transgress not, the thought does not adapt itself well to the preceding; I have of old time broken thy yoke, etc.; nor can we easily reconcile with it the grounding clause; for on every high hill,...thou layest a whoring, where Ew. is compelled to force on כּי the adversative sig. Most commentators, following the example of the lxx and Vulg., have taken the two verbs for 2nd person; and thus is maintained the simple and natural thought that Israel has broken the yoke laid on it by God, renounced allegiance to Him, and practised idolatry on every hand. The spelling ,נתּקתּי ,שׁברתּי i.e., the formation of the 2nd pers. perf. with y, is frequently found in Jer.; cf. Jeremiah 2:33; Jeremiah 3:4; Jeremiah 4:19; Jeremiah 13:21, etc. It is really the fuller original spelling tiy which has been preserved in Aramaic, though seldom found in Hebrew; in Jer. it must be accounted an Aramaism; cf. Ew. 190, c; Gesen. 44, 2, Rem. 4. With the last clause, on every high hill, etc., cf. Hosea 4:13 and Ezekiel 6:13 with the comm. on Deuteronomy 12:2. Stretchest thyself as a harlot or a whoring, is a vivid description of idolatry. צעה, bend oneself, lie down ad coitum, like κατακλίνεσθαι, inclinari.
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