Jeremiah 2:37
Yes, you shall go forth from him, and your hands on your head: for the LORD has rejected your confidences, and you shall not prosper in them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(37) From him.—Better, from it, sc., from Egypt as a people.

Thine hands upon thine head.—The outward sign of depression and despair (2Samuel 13:19).

Thy confidences.i.e., the grounds or objects of thy confidence.

Jeremiah 2:37. Yea, thou shalt go forth from him — The ambassadors thou sendest to Egypt shall return with disappointment and confusion; and their hands on their heads — Condoling the desperate condition of their people. Or, Thou shalt go forth from hence, namely, into captivity, in a strange land. And thy hands upon thy head — As Tamar went forth from her brother Amnon, her garments torn, and her hands upon her head, insulted and despised, and in the greatest grief and misery; and Egypt, on which thou reliedst, shall not be able to prevent it, or to rescue thee out of captivity. For the Lord hath rejected thy confidences — Hath refused to give success to them, or hath rejected thee for thy confidences; or he disapproves thy confidences, namely, all thy dependances and refuges, which thou seekest out of him. And thou shalt not prosper in them — They shall not stand thee in any stead, nor give thee any satisfaction. As there is no counsel or wisdom that can prevail against the Lord, so there is none that can prevail without the Lord. Some read it, The Lord hath rejected thee for thy confidences; that is, because thou hast dealt so unfaithfully with him as to trust in his creatures, nay, in his enemies, when thou shouldest have trusted in him only, he has abandoned thee to that destruction from which thou thoughtest thus to have sheltered thyself; and then thou canst not prosper, for none ever either hardened himself against God, or estranged himself from God, and prospered. 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.From him - From it, from this Egypt, which though fem. as a land, yet as a people may be used as a masc. (compare Jeremiah 46:8). Now that Nineveh is trembling before the armies of Cyaxares and Nabopalassar, thou hastenest to Egypt, hoping to rest upon her strength: but thou shalt retrace thy steps, with thy hands clasped upon thy head, disgraced and discarded.

Confidences - Those in whom thou confidest.

In them - literally, "with respect to them."

37. him—Egypt.

hands upon … head—expressive of mourning (2Sa 13:19).

in them—in those stays in which thou trustest.

Thou shalt go forth from him: some apply it to the sad and ineffectual return of the ambassadors, being disappointed in their expectation from the king of Egypt; but rather, All the help thou canst procure from abroad shall not prevent thy captivity, but from hence thou shalt go.

Thine hands upon thine head; a usual posture of sadness and mourning, 2 Samuel 13:19, suited here to her going into captivity.

Rejected thy confidences; refused to give success unto them, 2 Chronicles 16:7. Or, rejected thee for thy confidences; or, he disapproves thy confidences, viz. all thy refuges which thou seekest out of God.

Thou shalt not prosper in them, viz. in thy refuges and dependencies. Yea, thou shalt go forth from him,.... From the Egyptian, without any help, and with shame; or, "from this" (u); that is, from this place, from Jerusalem, and from the land of Judea, into captivity; notwithstanding all the promised and expected help from Egypt, Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thy hands upon {z} thy head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.

(z) In sign of lamentation, as in 2Sa 13:19.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
37. From him also shalt thou go forth] The king of Egypt shall repulse thy advances, and thou shalt return mourning.

thine hands upon thine head] in disgrace and disappointment; cp. 2 Samuel 13:19.

thy confidences] those in whom thou confidest, Egypt and Assyria.Verse 37. - From him; i.e. from Egypt, personified as a man (so whenever a people is referred to; a laud is represented as a woman). Egypt was, in fact, the only great power capable of assisting Judah at this time (see Introduction); yet even Egypt, the prophet says, shall disappoint her Jewish allies, for Jehovah has rejected thy confidences (i.e. the objects of thy confidence). As a matter of fact, "the King of Egypt came not again any more out of his laud" after Necho's crushing defeat at Carehemish (2 Kings 24:7; comp. Jeremiah 37:5).



Judah has refused to let itself be turned from idolatry either by judgments or by the warnings of the prophets; nevertheless it holds itself guiltless, and believes itself able to turn aside judgment by means of its intrigues with Egypt. Jeremiah 2:29. "Wherefore contend ye against me? ye are all fallen away from me, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 2:30. In vain have I smitten your sons; correction have they not taken: your sword hath devoured your prophets, like a devouring lion. Jeremiah 2:31. O race that ye are, mark the word of Jahveh. Was I a wilderness to Israel, or a land of dread darkness? Why saith my people, We wander about, come no more to thee? Jeremiah 2:32. Does a maiden forget her ornaments, a bride her girdle? but my people hath forgotten me days without number. Jer 2:33. How finely thou trimmest thy ways to seek love! therefore to misdeeds thou accustomest thy ways. Jeremiah 2:34. Even in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor ones; not at housebreaking hast thou caught them, but by reason of all this. Jeremiah 2:35. And thou sayest, I am innocent, yea His wrath hath turned from me: behold, I will plead at law with thee for that thou hast said, I have not sinned. Jeremiah 2:36. Why runnest thou so hard to change thy way? for Egypt too thou shalt come to shame, as thou wast put to shame for Asshur. Jeremiah 2:37. From this also shalt thou come forth, beating thy hands upon thy head; for Jahveh rejecteth those in whom thou trustest, and thou shalt not prosper with them." The question in Jeremiah 2:29, Wherefore contend ye against me? implies that the people contended with God as to His visitations, murmured at the divine chastisements they had met with; not as to the reproaches addressed to them on account of their idolatry (Hitz., Graf). ריב with אל, contend, dispute against, is used of the murmuring of men against divine visitations, Jeremiah 12:1; Job 33:13. Judah has no ground for discontent with the Lord; for they have all fallen away from Him, and (Jeremiah 2:31) let themselves be turned to repentance neither by afflictions, nor by warnings, nor by God's goodness to them. לשּׁוא, to vanity, i.e., without effect, or in vain. Hitz. and Graf wish to refer "your sons" to the able-bodied youth who had at different times been slain by Jahveh in war. The lxx seem to have taken it thus, expression לקחוּ by ἐδέξασθε; for the third pers. of the verb will not agree with this acceptation of "your sons," since the reproach of not having taken correction could not apply to such as had fallen in war, but only to those who had escaped. This view is unquestionably incorrect, because, as Hitz. admits the subject, those addressed in לקחוּ, must be the people. Hence it follows of necessity that in בּניכם too the people is meant. The expression is similar to בּני עמּך, Leviticus 19:18, and is used for the members of the nation, those who constitute the people; or rather it is like בּני יהוּדה, Joel 3:6, where Judah is looked on by the prophet as a unity, where sons are the members of the people. הכּה, too, is not to be limited to those smitten or slain in war. It is used of all the judgments with which God visits His people, of sword, pestilence, famine, failure of crops, drought, and of all kinds of diseases; cf. Leviticus 26:24., Deuteronomy 28:22, Deuteronomy 28:27. מוּסר is instruction by word and by warning, as well as correction by chastisement. Most comm. take the not receiving of correction to refer to divine punitive visitations, and to mean refusal to amend after such warning; Ros., on the other hand, holds the reference to be to the warnings and reproofs of the prophets (מוּסר( stehpohic instructionem valet, ut Proverbs 5:12, Proverbs 5:23 cet.). But both these references are one-sided. If we refer "correction have they not taken" to divine chastisement by means of judgments, there will be no connection between this and the following clause: your sword devoured your prophets; and we are hindered from restraining the reference wholly to the admonitions and rebukes of the prophets by the close connection of the words with the first part of the verse, a connection indicated by the omission of all particles of transition. We must combine the two references, and understand מוּסר both of the rebukes or warnings of the prophets and of the chastisements of God, holding at the same time that it was the correction of the people by the prophets that Jer. here chiefly kept in view. In administering this correction the prophets not only applied to the hearts of the people as judgments from God all the ills that fell upon them, but declared to the stiff-necked sinners the punishments of God, and by their words showed those punishments to be impending: e.g., Elijah, 1 Kings 17 and 18, 2 Kings 1:9.; Elisha, 2 Kings 2:23; the prophet at Bethel, 1 Kings 13:4. Thus this portion of the verse acquires a meaning for itself, which simplifies the transition from the first to the third clause, and we gain the following thought: I visited you with punishments, and made you to be instructed and reproved by prophets, but ye have slain the prophets who were sent to you. Nehemiah puts it so in Nehemiah 9:26; but Jeremiah uses a much stronger expression, Your sword devoured your prophets like a lion which destroys, in order to set full before the sinners' eyes the savage hatred of the idolatrous people against the prophets of God. Historical examples of this are furnished by 1 Kings 18:4, 1 Kings 18:13; 1 Kings 19:10; 2 Chronicles 24:21., 2 Kings 21:16; Jeremiah 26:23.

The prophet's indignation grows hotter as he brings into view God's treatment of the apostate race, and sets before it, to its shame, the divine long-suffering and love. הדּור, O generation ye! English: O generation that ye are! (cf. Ew. 327, a), is the cry of indignation; cf. Deuteronomy 32:5, where Moses calls the people a perverse foolish generation. ראוּ: see, observe, give heed to the word of the Lord. This verb is often used of perceptions by any sense, as expressive of that sense by which men apprehend most of the things belonging to the outward world. Have I been for Israel a wilderness, i.e., an unfruitful soil, offering neither means of support nor shelter? This question contains a litotes, and is as much as to say: have not I richly blessed Israel with earthly goods? Or a land of dread darkness? מאפּליה, lit., a darkness sent by Jahveh; cf. the analogous form שׁלהבתיה, Sol 8:6.

(Note: Ewald, Gram. 270, c, proposes to read with the lxx מאפלּיּה, because (he says) it is nowhere possible, at least not in the language of the prophets, for the name Jah (God) to express merely greatness. But this is not to the point. Although a darkness sent by Jah be a great darkness, it by no means follows that the name Jah is used merely to express greatness. But by תּרדּמת ; 1 Samuel 26:12, it is put beyond a doubt that darkness of Jah means a darkness sent or spread out by Jah.)

The desert is so called not merely because it is pathless (Job 3:23), but as a land in which the traveller is on all sides surrounded by deadly dangers; cf. Jeremiah 2:6 and Psalm 55:5. Why then will His people insist on being quit of Him? We roam about unfettered (as to רוּד, see on Hosea 12:1), i.e., we will no longer bear the yoke of His law; cf. Jeremiah 2:20. By a comparison breathing love and longing sadness, the prophet seeks to bring home to the heart of the people a feeling of the unnaturalness of their behaviour towards the Lord their God. Does a bride, then, forget her ornaments? etc. קשׁרים, found besides in Isaiah 3:20, is the ornamental girdle with which the bride adorns herself on the wedding-day; cf. Isaiah 3:20 with Isaiah 49:18. God is His people's best adornment; to Him it owes all the precious possessions it has. It should keep fast hold of Him as its most priceless treasure, should prize Him more highly than the virgin her jewels, than the bride her girdle. but instead of this it has forgotten its God, and that not for a brief time, but throughout countless days. ימים is accus. of duration of time. Jeremiah uses this figure besides, as Calv. observed, to pave the way for what comes next. Volebat enim Judaeos conferre mulieribus adulteris, quae dum feruntur effreni sua libidine, rapiuntur post suos vagos amores.

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