Jeremiah 2:32
Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) Or a bride her attire.—The word is rendered “headbands” in Isaiah 3:20, but here it probably means the “girdle” which formed the special distinction of the wife as contrasted with the maiden. Such a girdle, like the marriage ring with us, would be treasured by the bride all her life long. Even the outward memorial of her union with her husband would be dear to her. But Israel had forgotten her lord and husband Himself.

2:29-37 The nation had not been wrought upon by the judgements of God, but sought to justify themselves. The world is, to those who make it their home and their portion, a wilderness and a land of darkness; but those who dwell in God, have the lines fallen to them in pleasant places. Here is the language of presumptuous sinners. The Jews had long thrown off serious thoughts of God. How many days of our lives pass without suitable remembrance of him! The Lord was displeased with their confidences, and would not prosper them therein. Men employ all their ingenuity, but cannot find happiness in the way of sin, or excuse for it. They may shift from one sin to another, but none ever hardened himself against God, or turned from him, and prospered.A bride treasures all her life the girdle, which first indicated that she was a married woman, just as brides now treasure the wedding ring; but Israel, Yahweh's bride Jeremiah 2:2, cherishes no fond memorials of past affection. 32. Oriental women greatly pride themselves on their ornaments (compare Isa 61:10).

attire—girdles for the breast.

forgotten me—(Jer 13:25; Ho 8:14).

Can a maid forget her ornaments? how seldom is it, and how unlikely, that a maid should forget her ornaments!

Or a bride her attire? whether it belongs to the head, or the breast, or arms, whether bracelets or jewels, wherever worn, is not worth the disputing; but understand those rich jewels which the bridegroom was wont to present his bride with, partly for a general obligation, and partly of particular signification, and all of them ornamental, whatever may render her amiable in the eyes of her bridegroom; virgins, and especially brides, will not usually neglect any thing that may make them comely.

Have forgotten me, viz. in the neglect of my worship; me, who was not only their defence, but their glory, Jeremiah 2:11, &c., that for which other nations honoured them, Psalm 148:14 Ezekiel 16:10-14.

Days without number, i.e. for a long time past, time out of mind, or, as the Hebrew, days of which there is no number. Can a maid forget her ornaments,.... Which she has provided for her wedding day, and is then to wear, and which may be the next; such as ear rings, bracelets, and jewels, which are never out of her mind, and can scarce sleep for thinking of them, how richly she shall be adorned with them; wherefore it follows:

or a bride her attire? or, "her bindings" (o); her knots about her head or breast. The word is rendered "head bands" in Isaiah 3:20 and here, by the Septuagint version, "her stomacher"; set with sparkling precious stones; see Isaiah 61:10, these things her heart being set upon, and priding herself with, cannot be forgotten by her, at least not long:

yet, my people have forgotten me days without number; which shows great stupidity and ingratitude; the Lord not being so much to them, from whom they had received so many favours, as the ornaments of a maid, and the attire of a bride, are to them.

(o) "fasciae suae", Tigurine version; "ligaminum suorum", Munster, Calvin; "ligamentorum suorum", Piscator.

Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. attire] sash, and so rendered by R.V. in Isaiah 3:20. The exact meaning is unknown, but it was plainly an indispensable part of a bride’s costume.Verse 32. - Or a bride her attire. The prophet perhaps means the magnificently adorned girdle which the bride wore on her wedding day (comp. Isaiah 49:18). But the word only occurs again in Isaiah 3:20, and its precise signification is uncertain. And yet idolatry brings to the people only disgrace, giving no help in the time of need. Jeremiah 2:26. "As a thief is shamed when he is taken, so is the house of Israel put to shame; they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets. Jeremiah 2:27. Because they say to the wood, Thou art my father; and to the stone, Thou hast borne me: for they have turned to me the back and not the face; but in the time of their trouble they say, Arise, and help us. Jeremiah 2:28. Where then are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can help thee in the time of thy trouble; for as many as are thy cities, so many are thy gods, Judah." The thought in Jeremiah 2:26 and Jeremiah 2:27 is this, Israel reaps from its idolatry but shame, as the thief from stealing when he is caught in the act. The comparison in Jeremiah 2:26 contains a universal truth of force at all times. The perf. הובישׁוּ is the timeless expression of certainty (Hitz.), and refers to the past as well as to the future. Just as already in past time, so also in the future, idolatry brings but shame and confusion by the frustration of the hopes placed in the false gods. The "house of Israel" is all Israel collectively, and not merely the kingdom of the ten tribes. To give the greater emphasis to the reproaches, the leading ranks are mentioned one by one. אמרים, not: who say, but because (since) they say to the wood, etc., i.e., because they hold images of wood and stone for the gods to whom they owe life and being; whereas Jahveh alone is their Creator or Father and Genitor, Deuteronomy 32:6, Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 64:7; Malachi 2:10. אבן is fem., and thus is put for mother. The Keri ילדתּנוּ is suggested solely by the preceding אמרים, while the Chet. is correct, and is to be read ילדתּני, inasmuch as each one severally speaks thus. - With "for they have turned" follows the reason of the statement that Israel will reap only shame from its idolatry. To the living God who has power to help them they turn their back; but when distress comes upon them they cry to Him for help (קוּמה והושׁיענוּ as in Psalm 3:8). But then God will send the people to their gods (idols); then will it discover they will not help, for all so great as their number is. The last clause of Jeremiah 2:28 runs literally: the number of thy cities are thy gods become, i.e., so great is the number of thy gods; cf. Jeremiah 11:13. Judah is here directly addressed, so that the people of Judah may not take for granted that what has been said is of force for the ten tribes only. On the contrary, Judah will experience the same as Israel of the ten tribes did when disaster broke over it.
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