Jeremiah 2:7
And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.
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(7) A plentiful country.—Literally, a land of Carmel, that word, as meaning a vine-clad hill, having become a type of plenty. So “the forest of his Carmel,” in Isaiah 37:24; elsewhere, as in Isaiah 10:18; Isaiah 32:15, “fruitful.” The LXX. treats the word as a proper name, “I brought you unto Carmel.”

When ye entered.—The words point to the rapid degeneracy of Israel after the settlement in Canaan, as seen in the false worship and foul crimes of Judges 17-21. So in Psalm 78:56-58. Instead of being the pattern nation, the firstfruits of mankind, they sank to the level, or below the level, of the heathen.

Jeremiah 2:7-8. And I brought you into a plentiful country — Hebrew, into the land of Carmel. Carmel was so fertile a part of Judea, that the word from thence came to be used to express a fruitful place in general. Canaan was as one great, fruitful field, Deuteronomy 8:7. When ye entered, ye defiled my land — By your sins, especially by your idolatries, Psalm 106:38; that sin being greatly aggravated by this circumstance, that the people thereby renounced God’s authority in that very land into which he had brought them, by a train of unparalleled wonders, and the propriety of which he had reserved to himself, though he had graciously bestowed upon them the use of it: see Leviticus 25:23. The priests said not, Where is the Lord? — That race of men, whom I exalted to the honourable office of ministering to me in holy things, neither inquired after me, nor cultivated any acquaintance or intercourse with me. And they that handle the law knew me not — They, whom I appointed to the important office of instructing others in the knowledge of me and their duty, (see Malachi 2:6-7,) were ignorant or regardless of it themselves. And this was the principal cause of that degeneracy of manners which prevailed among the people. The pastors also transgressed against me — By pastors here, distinguished from the priests and prophets, are meant the kings, princes, and chiefs of the nation; for the word pastor is used in the prophets for a magistrate, as well as for a teacher of the people, and ecclesiastical governor. And the prophets prophesied by Baal — Gave forth prophecies in the name of Baal, with a view to recommend him as a god. Or, they that should have taught the people the true worship of God, were themselves worshippers of, and advocates for, Baal, and drew others from God to the worship of that idol; and walked after things that do not profit — Namely, after idols; things that could not possibly do them any service, but were sure to bring ruin upon them. It appears from hence, that all orders and degrees of men in authority had contributed to that general corruption of manners, whereof Jeremiah complains.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.A plentiful country - literally, "a land of the Carmel," a Carmel land (see 1 Kings 18:19, note; Isaiah 29:17, note). 7. plentiful—literally, "a land of Carmel," or "well-cultivated land": a garden land, in contrast to the "land of deserts" (Jer 2:6).

defiled—by idolatries (Jud 2:10-17; Ps 78:58, 59; 106:38).

you … ye—change to the second person from the third, "they" (Jer 2:6), in order to bring home the guilt to the living generation.

Plentiful country, Heb.

land of Carmel, Isaiah 29:17; understand Canaan, Numbers 13:27: See Poole "Isaiah 35:2".

To eat the fruit thereof and the goodness; to enjoy all the blessing of it.

My land, i.e. consecrated to my name, Leviticus 25:23; and this you have defiled by going a whoring after your idols, Jeremiah 3:1, and many other abominations, Psalm 106:29,35,37-39.

Mine heritage; in the same sense that it is said in the foregoing clause my land, and which you received from me as your heritage, the place that I chose for my church’s present habitation, and earnest of their future heavenly one. And I brought you into a plentiful country,.... "Into the land of Carmel", as in the Hebrew text; that is,

"into the land of Israel, which was planted as Carmel,''

as the Targum paraphrases it; with wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olives; a land flowing with milk and honey, Deuteronomy 8:8, so Ben Melech:

to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; of vineyards and oliveyards, which they had not planted, and for which they had never laboured, Joshua 24:13,

but when ye entered ye defiled my land; which the Lord had chosen above all lands, where he would have a temple built for his worship, and where he would cause his Shechinah or glorious Majesty to dwell; but this they defiled by their sins and transgressions, and particularly by their idolatry, as follows:

that made mine heritage an abomination; by devoting it to the worship of idols, as the Targum paraphrases it.

And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit of it and the goodness of it but when ye entered, ye defiled {h} my land, and made my heritage an abomination.

(h) By your idolatry and wicked manners, Ps 78:58,106:38.

7. a plentiful land] lit. a land of the Carmel. The word Carmel properly means a piece of ground fertile and well-cultivated (Jeremiah 4:26 R.V. mg.), but was commonly used as the actual name of one such spot of Palestine, the only promontory that the sea-board of the country possesses, jutting out into the Mediterranean, and bounding the great plain of Esdraelon.

defiled] with (i) idolatry, (ii) sacrifices of their children; so Ps. 104:37. The old inhabitants of Canaan were driven out for their sins (cp. Deuteronomy 9:4 ff; Deuteronomy 18:12, etc.). Israel has proved little better. See Jeremiah 3:2; Jeremiah 3:9.

mine heritage] Cp. Exodus 15:17; Psalm 79:1. Elsewhere it is generally Israel itself that goes by this name; e.g. Deuteronomy 32:9. Cp. Jeremiah 10:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Kings 8:51; Psalm 28:9; Psalm 78:71; Isaiah 19:25.Verse 7. - A plentiful country. "A Carmel land," as it were (so Payne Smith). "Carmel" is strictly an appellative noun, meaning" garden-land," i.e., land planted with vines and other choice plants. So Jeremiah 4:26; Isaiah 29:17; Isaiah 37:24. "And then came to me the word of Jahveh, saying: Go and publish in the ears of Jerusalem, saying: I have remembered to thy account the love of thy youth, the lovingness of thy courtship time, thy going after me in the wilderness, in a land unsown. Holy was Israel to the Lord, his first-fruits of the produce: all who would have devoured him brought guilt upon themselves: evil came upon him, is the saying of Jahveh." The Jeremiah 2:2 and Jeremiah 2:3 are not "in a certain sense the text of the following reproof" (Graf), but contain "the main idea which shows the cause of the following rebuke" (Hitz.): The Lord has rewarded the people of Israel with blessings for its love to Him. זכר with ל pers. and accus. rei means: to remember to one's account that it may stand him in good stead afterwards - cf. Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:22, Nehemiah 13:31; Psalm 98:3; Psalm 106:45, etc. - that it may be repaid with evil, Nehemiah 6:14; Nehemiah 13:29; Psalm 79:8, etc. The perfect זכרתּי is to be noted, and not inverted into the present. It is a thing completed that is spoken of; what the Lord has done, not what He is going on with. He remembered to the people Israel the love of its youth. חסד, ordinarily, condescending love, graciousness and favour; here, the self-devoting, nestling love of Israel to its God. The youth of Israel is the time of the sojourn in Egypt and of the exodus thence (Hosea 2:17; Hosea 11:1); here the latter, as is shown by the following: lovingness of the courtship. The courtship comprises the time from the exodus out of Egypt till the concluding of the covenant at Sinai (Exodus 19:8). When the Lord redeemed Israel with a strong hand out of the power of Egypt, He chose it to be His spouse, whom He bare on eagles' wings and brought unto Himself, Exodus 19:4. The love of the bride to her Lord and Husband, Israel proved by its following Him as He went before in the wilderness, the land where it is not sown, i.e., followed Him gladly into the parched, barren wilderness. "Thy going after me" is decisive for the question so much debated by commentators, whether חסד and אהבה stand for the love of Israel to its God, or God's love to Israel. The latter view we find so early as Chrysostom, and still in Rosenm. and Graf; but it is entirely overthrown by the לכתּך אחרי, which Chrysost. transforms into ποιῆσας ἐξακολουθῆσαι μου, while Graf takes no notice of it. The reasons, too, which Graf, after the example of Rosenm. and Dathe, brings in support of this and against the only feasible exposition, are altogether valueless. The assertion that the facts forbid us to understand the words of the love of Israel to the Lord, because history represents the Israelites, when vixdum Aegypto egressos, as refractarios et ad aliorum deorum cultum pronos, cannot be supported by a reference to Deuteronomy 9:6, Deuteronomy 9:24; Isaiah 48:8; Amos 5:25., Psalm 106:7. History knows of no apostasy of Israel from its God and no idolatry of the people during the time from the exodus out of Egypt till the arrival at Sinai, and of this time alone Jeremiah speaks. All the rebellions of Israel against its God fall within the time after the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai, and during the march from Sinai to Canaan. On the way from Egypt to Sinai the people murmured repeatedly, indeed, against Moses; at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh was pursuing with chariots and horsemen (Exodus 14:11.); at Marah, where they were not able to drink the water for bitterness (15:24); in the wilderness of Sin, for lack of bread and meat (Jeremiah 16:2.); and at Massah, for want of water (Jeremiah 17:2.). But in all these cases the murmuring was no apostasy from the Lord, no rebellion against God, but an outburst of timorousness and want of proper trust in God, as is abundantly clear from the fact that in all these cases of distress and trouble God straightway brings help, with the view of strengthening the confidence of the timorous people in the omnipotence of His helping grace. Their backsliding from the Lord into heathenism begins with the worship of the golden calf, after the covenant had been entered into at Sinai (Exodus 32), and is continued in the revolts on the way from Sinai to the borders of Canaan, at Taberah, at Kibroth-hattaavah (Numbers 11), in the desert of Paran at Kadesh (Numbers 13; 20); and each time it was severely punished by the Lord.

Neither are we to conclude, with J. D. Mich., that God interprets the journey through the desert in meliorem partem, and makes no mention of their offences and revolts; nor with Graf, that Jeremiah looks steadily away from all that history tells of the march of the Israelites through the desert, of their discontent and refractoriness, of the golden calf and of Baal Peor, and, idealizing the past as contrasted with the much darker present, keeps in view only the brighter side of the old times. Idealizing of this sort is found neither elsewhere in Jeremiah nor in any other prophet; nor is there anything of the kind in our verse, if we take up rightly the sense of it and the thread of the thought. It becomes necessary so to view it, only if we hold the whole forty years' sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness to be the espousal time, and make the marriage union begin not with the covenanting at Sinai, but with the entrance of Israel into Canaan. Yet more entirely without foundation is the other assertion, that the words rightly given as the sense is, "stand in no connection with the following, since then the point in hand is the people's forgetfulness of the divine benefits, its thanklessness and apostasy, not at all the deliverances wrought by Jahveh in consideration of its former devotedness." For in Jeremiah 2:2 it is plainly enough told how God remembered to the people its love. Israel was so shielded by Him, as His sanctuary, that whoever touched it must pay the penalty. קדשׁ are all gifts consecrated to Jahveh. The Lord has made Israel a holy offering consecrated to Him in this, that He has separated it to Himself for a סגלּה, for a precious possession, and has chosen it to be a holy people: Exodus 19:5.; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2. We can explain from the Torah of offering the further designation of Israel: his first-fruits; the first of the produce of the soil or yield of the land belonged, as קדשׁ, to the Lord: Exodus 23:19; Numbers 8:8, etc. Israel, as the chosen people of God, as such a consecrated firstling. Inasmuch as Jahveh is Creator and Lord of the whole world, all the peoples are His possession, the harvest of His creation. But amongst the peoples of the earth He has chosen Israel to Himself for a firstling-people (,ראשׁית הגּוים Amos 6:1), and so pronounced it His sanctuary, not to be profaned by touch. Just as each laic who ate of a firstling consecrated to God incurred guilt, so all who meddled with Israel brought guilt upon their heads. The choice of the verb אכליו is also to be explained from the figure of firstling-offerings. The eating of firstling-fruit is appropriation of it to one's own use. Accordingly, by the eating of the holy people of Jahveh, not merely the killing and destroying of it is to be understood, but all laying of violent hands on it, to make it a prey, and so all injury or oppression of Israel by the heathen nations. The practical meaning of יאשׁמוּ is given by the next clause: mischief came upon them. The verbs יאשׁמוּ and תּבא dna יא are not futures; for we have here to do not with the future, but with what did take place so long as Israel showed the love of the espousal time to Jahveh. Hence rightly Hitz.: "he that would devour it must pay the penalty." An historical proof of this is furnished by the attack of the Amalekites on Israel and its result, Exodus 17:8-15.

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