Jeremiah 2:33
Why trim you your way to seek love? therefore have you also taught the wicked ones your ways.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) Why trimmest thou thy way . . .?—The verb is the same as that rendered amend” in Jeremiah 7:3; Jeremiah 7:5, and was probably often on the lips of those who made a show of reformation. Here it is used with a scornful irony, “What means this reform, this show of amendment of thy ways, which leads only to a further indulgence in adulterous love?”

Hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.—Better, hast thou also taught thy ways wickednesses. The professed change for the better was really for the worse.

Jeremiah 2:33-34. Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love — “The prophet,” says Lowth, “alludes to the practices of common harlots, who deck themselves, and use all inveigling arts, that they may recommend themselves to their gallants; in like manner,” the prophet intimates, “the Jews tried all methods to gain the friendship and assistance of foreign idolaters, who are called their lovers:” see Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 22:22. Houbigant’s translation of this verse is, “Why dost thou strew thy way, that thou mayest find lovers; and teachest thy ways to thy companions?” The original word, rendered trimmest, תישׂבי, properly means, to make good, right, or agreeable. Noldius expounds the clause, “Why dost thou justify thy ways, or insist upon thy innocence?” And the French interpret the verse, “Why wouldest thou justify thy conduct, to enter into favour with me? so long as thou hast taught to others the evil which thou hast done; and while (Jeremiah 2:34) in thy skirts,” &c. Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls, &c. — This would be better rendered, Also in thy skirts is found the blood of poor and innocent persons, for by souls is meant persons; and by the blood being found in their skirts, the prophet means their committing murders and oppressions, secretly, perhaps; but their guilt was as manifest as though the blood of the persons slain had been found sprinkled upon their garments. The LXX. render the clause εν ταις χερσι σου ευρεθησαν αιματα ψυχων αθωων, in thy hands have been found the blood of innocent souls, or persons. Their sacrificing of their little children to their idols, as well as their oppressing and murdering of adult persons, is intended to be comprised here. I have not found it by secret search — The LXX., with whom all the ancient versions agree, render the clause ουκ εν διορυγμασιν ευρον αυτους, I have not found them in digged holes, or ditches, but upon all these. The LXX. and Syriac render על כל אלה, here, upon every oak. “The meaning of which,” says Blaney, “is this: In the law it is commanded, (Leviticus 17:13,) that the blood of animals killed in hunting should be covered with dust, in order, no doubt, to create a horror at the sight of blood. In allusion to this command, it is urged against Jerusalem, (Ezekiel 24:7,) that she had not only shed blood in the midst of her, but that she had set it upon the top of a rock, and poured it not upon the ground to cover it with dust; that is, she had seemed to glory in the crime, by doing it in the most open and audacious manner, so as to challenge God’s vengeance. In like manner it is said here, that God had not discovered the blood that was shed in holes under ground, but that it was sprinkled upon every oak before which their inhuman sacrifices had been performed.”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.Why trimmest thou thy way - literally, "Why makest thou thy way good," a phrase used here of the pains taken by the Jews to learn the idolatries of foreign nations.

The wicked ones ... - Or, "therefore thou hast taught" thy ways wickednesses."

33. Why trimmest—Maurer translates, "How skilfully thou dost prepare thy way," &c. But see 2Ki 9:30. "Trimmest" best suits the image of one decking herself as a harlot.

way—course of life.

therefore—accordingly. Or else, "nay, thou hast even," &c.

also … wicked ones—even the wicked harlots, that is, (laying aside the metaphor) even the Gentiles who are wicked, thou teachest to be still more so [Grotius].

Why trimmest, or deckest, Ezekiel 23:40, thinking thereby to entice others to thy help? thus is the word used, Jeremiah 4:30. Or, Why dost thou use so much art and skill, and take so much pains, to go and send here and there to contract a friendship with foreign people, and to bring them to thy embraces, Isaiah 57:9,10, or thinking to set a good face or gloss upon the matter, and excuse thyself, as if thou couldst delude God, whereas all thou dost is to get acquaintance with other idolaters?

To seek love, i.e. to commit filthiness with thy idols; a synecdoche of the kind.

Therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones, i.e. thou art become so vile, that even strumpets themselves may come to learn of thee, 2 Chronicles 33:9. Or by thy example; nations that have been vile enough of themselves, by thy example are become more vile.

Thy ways, i.e. thy actions; a metaphor. Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?.... To seek the love, and gain the affections and esteem, of the idolatrous nations; as a lascivious woman dresses herself out in the best manner to excite the lust and move the affections of her lovers; and as Jezebel, who painted her face, and tired her head, 2 Kings 9:30 or dressed it in the best manner, where the same word is used as here; so the Targum,

"why dost thou make thy way beautiful, to procure loves (or lovers) to be joined to the people?''

or the sense is, why art thou so diligent and industrious to make thy way, which is exceeding bad, look a good one, by sacrifices and ceremonies, oblations and ablutions, in order to seek and obtain my love and favour, which is all in vain? it is not to be gained by such methods:

therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways; the wicked idolatrous nations, to whom they joined themselves; these they taught their ways of sacrificing, their rites, ceremonies, and superstitions; or, as Jarchi interprets it, thou hast taught thyself the worst way among them all; that is, thou hast used thyself to it: there is a double reading in this clause. The Cetib, or writing, is "I have taught"; as if they were the words of God, saying, "wherefore I have taught"; or, "will teach"; that is, by punishing thee;

that thy ways are evil; or, as Kimchi explains it,

"I have taught thee by thy ways that they are evil, and evil shall come unto thee because of them.''

The Keri, or reading, is "thou hast taught"; which is confirmed by the Targum; and is followed by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and other versions. It is by some rendered, "seeing thou hast taught others thy evil ways" (p); not content to sin themselves, but taught others to do so, and yet would be thought good.

(p) "Quandoquidem etiam (alios) malas docuisti vias tuas", Noldius, p. 507. vid. No. 1998.

Why trimmest thou thy way to {u} seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.

(u) With strangers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
33. How trimmest thou thy way] lit. How thou makest thy way good! i.e. How cleverly thou goest about (to reach an immoral object)!

even the wicked women, etc.] even experts in immorality can learn fresh wickedness from thee. LXX (“thou hast done wickedly in corrupting thy ways”) very possibly represents a text superior to MT.Verse 33. - Why trimmest thou thy way I rather, How well thou contrivest thy way, etc.? Therefore hast thou also taught, etc. The meaning which floated before our trans-labors seems to be this: "so utterly immoral is thy course of life, that even the worst of women ['wicked ones' is in the feminine] have been able to learn something from thee" (so the great Dutch scholar, De Dieu,in 1548). But a more natural rendering is, "Therefore [i.e. to gain thine ends] thou hast accustomed thy ways to those evil things." Nemo repente fuit tupissimus. It required a deliberate "accustoming," or "training" (such is the literal meaning of limad), to produce such a habit (ἕξις) as is here rebuked. 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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