Jeremiah 2:4
Hear you the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
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Jeremiah 2:4-6. Hear, O house of Jacob, &c. — The prophet here directs his discourse to the twelve tribes, as he does afterward, Jeremiah 3:14, &c. For the captivity of the ten tribes was not so total but that there were some Israelites still remaining in the land among the Assyrian colonists. What iniquity have your fathers found in me? — That is, what injustice or unfaithfulness in not performing my part of the Sinai covenant? That they are gone far from me — Far from the love and fear of me, and from obedience to my laws; far from my worship and service; and have walked after vanity — Have followed after vain idols, incapable of affording them either protection or help. And are become vain — In their imaginations, Romans 1:21-22; fools, as senseless as the stocks or stones, of which they made their idols. Neither said they, Where is the Lord? — They made no inquiry after him, took no thought about their duty to him, nor expressed any desire to recover his favour; that brought us up out of the land of Egypt? — Working such a deliverance for us as had never been wrought for any people. That led us through the wilderness — Conducting and sustaining our whole nation in that barren desert for the space of forty years, by almost incessant miracles; through a land of deserts and pits — Through desolate and dangerous places; through a land of drought — Where we had no water but by a miracle; and of the shadow of death — Houbigant renders it, where death threatened us. A barren and deadly land, where no man could live; bringing forth nothing that could support life, and therefore where nothing but death could be expected; and, besides, possessed by great numbers of venomous and destructive creatures, such as scorpions, serpents, &c., and where we were exposed to the attacks of many enemies. A land that no man passed through — As having in it no accommodation for travellers, much less for habitation.2:1-8 Those who begin well, but do not persevere, will justly be upbraided with their hopeful and promising beginnings. Those who desert religion, commonly oppose it more than those who never knew it. For this they could have no excuse. God's spiritual Israel must own their obligations to him for safe conduct through the wilderness of this world, so dangerous to the soul. Alas, that many, who once appeared devoted to the Lord, so live that their professions aggravate their crimes! Let us be careful that we do not lose in zeal and fervency, as we gain knowledge.Render: "Israel" is an offering consecrated to Yahweh, His firstfruits of increase. The firstfruits were God's consecrated property, His portion of the whole harvest. Pagan, i. e., unconsecrated, nations must not meddle with Israel, because it is the nation consecrated to God. If they do, they will bring such guilt upon themselves as those incur who eat the first-fruits Leviticus 22:10, Leviticus 22:16. 4. Jacob … Israel—the whole nation.

families—(See on [892]Jer 1:15). Hear God's word not only collectively, but individually (Zec 12:12-14).

Hear ye the word of the Lord: he bespeaks their attention to what he is about to speak, as unto the word of the Lord, telling them that he deliver’s God’s message, and vents not his own passions: the like Isaiah 1:10, and elsewhere frequently, both in the Old and New Testament, as 1 Corinthians 11:23 1 Thessalonians 4:15.

Jacob, i.e. his posterity; Jacob and Israel here being the same, as it is Isaiah 43:1. The families, viz. tribes, Jeremiah 31:1. Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. The Lord, by the prophet, having observed his great kindness to this people, what they were unto him, and what a regard he had for them, proceeds to upbraid them with their ingratitude, and requires an attention to what he was about to say; all are called upon, because, all were guilty. This respects the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the several families in them. The ten tribes had been long carried captive. Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
4. all the families of the house of Israel] addressed not to the ten tribes only, but to the nation as a whole.The interpretation of the symbols is followed by a charge to Jeremiah to address himself stoutly to his duties, and to discharge them fearlessly, together with still further and fuller assurance of powerful divine assistance.

"But thou, gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak to them all that I command thee: be not dismayed before them, lest I dismay thee before them. Jeremiah 1:18. And I, behold I make thee this day a strong city, an iron pillar, a brazen wall against the whole land, the kings of Judah its princes, its priests, and the people of the land. Jeremiah 1:19. They shall strive against thee, but not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith Jahveh, to save thee." To gird up the loins, i.e., to fasten or tuck up with the girdle the long wide garment, in order to make oneself fit and ready for labour, for a journey, or a race (Exodus 12:11; 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 4:29; 2 Kings 9:1), or for battle (Job 38:3; Job 40:7). Meaning: equip thyself and arise to preach my words to the inhabitants of the land. In 'אל־תּחת and ' אחתּך לthere is a play on words. The Niph. sig. broken in spirit by terror and anxiety; the Hiph. to throw into terror and anguish. If Jeremiah appears before his adversaries in terror, then he will have cause to be terrified for them; only if by unshaken confidence in the power of the word he preaches in the name of the Lord, will he be able to accomplish anything. Such confidence he has reason to cherish, for God will furnish him with the strength necessary for making a stand, will make him strong and not to be vanquished. This is the meaning of the pictorial statement in Jeremiah 1:18. A strong city resists the assaults of the foes; the storm cannot shatter an iron pillar; and walls of brass defy the enemy's missiles. Instead of the plural חמות, the parallel passage Jeremiah 15:20 has the sing. חומת, the plural being used as frequently as the singular to indicate the wall encircling the city; cf. 2 Kings 25:10 with 1 Kings 3:1; Nehemiah 2:13; Nehemiah 4:1 with Nehemiah 1:3, and Nehemiah 2:17; Nehemiah 4:10. With such invincible power will God equip His prophet "against the whole land," i.e., so that he will be able to hold his own against the whole land. The mention of the component parts of "all the land," i.e., the several classes of the population, is introduced by למלכי, so that "the kings," etc., is to be taken as an apposition to "against all the land." Kings in the plural are mentioned, because the prophet's labours are to extend over several reigns. שׂרים are the chiefs of the people, the heads of families and clans, and officers, civil and military. "The people of the land" is the rest of the population not included in these three classes, elsewhere called men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 17:25; Jeremiah 32:32, and frequently. אליך for עליך; so in Jeremiah 15:20, and often. With the promise in Jeremiah 15:19, cf. Jeremiah 1:8.

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