Jeremiah 22:17
But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
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(17) Thy covetousness.—More literally, thy gain, the word used implying (as in Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10) the idea of violence and oppression as the means by which it was obtained. The verb from which the noun is derived is so translated—“ violence” (literally, “crushing”)—in Deuteronomy 28:33. The marginal reading, “incursion,” has nothing to commend it. In “the blood of the innocent” here, as in Jeremiah 22:3, we have an allusive reference to many, for the most part unrelenting, acts of cruelty. One of these, the murder of Urijah, meets us in Jeremiah 26:23.

Jeremiah 22:17. But thine eyes and thy heart are not but for thy covetousness — They are for that, and for nothing else. For this cause Jehoiakim is compared to a lion, by the Prophet Ezekiel 19:6. Observe, reader, in covetousness the heart walks after the eyes, Job 31:7; it is therefore called the lust of the eye, 1 John 2:15 : and the eyes and the heart are then for covetousness when the aims and affections are set upon the wealth of this world; and when they are so the temptation is strong to fraud, oppression, and all manner of violence and villany, even, as it is here said, to shed innocent blood.

22:10-19 Here is a sentence of death upon two kings, the wicked sons of a very pious father. Josiah was prevented from seeing the evil to come in this world, and removed to see the good to come in the other world; therefore, weep not for him, but for his son Shallum, who is likely to live and die a wretched captive. Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. Here also is the doom of Jehoiakim. No doubt it is lawful for princes and great men to build, beautify, and furnish houses; but those who enlarge their houses, and make them sumptuous, need carefully to watch against the workings of vain-glory. He built his houses by unrighteousness, with money gotten unjustly. And he defrauded his workmen of their wages. God notices the wrong done by the greatest to poor servants and labourers, and will repay those in justice, who will not, in justice, pay those whom they employ. The greatest of men must look upon the meanest as their neighbours, and be just to them accordingly. Jehoiakim was unjust, and made no conscience of shedding innocent blood. Covetousness, which is the root of all evil, was at the bottom of all. The children who despise their parents' old fashions, commonly come short of their real excellences. Jehoiakim knew that his father found the way of duty to be the way of comfort, yet he would not tread in his steps. He shall die unlamented, hateful for oppression and cruelty.Covetousness - literally, gain. Besides exacting forced labor Jehoiakim, to procure the necessary means for the vast expenses he incurred, put innocent people to death on various pretexts, and escheated their property. 17. thine—as opposed to thy father, Josiah. All that thou lookest after, and that thy heart is set upon, is thy own grandeur and riches. And to make thyself great, thou makest no difficulty to destroy thy subjects that are innocent, and have not deserved death, and to oppress others, using all manner of violence against them. It is not to be thought that Jehoiakim did all this in person, but by such corrupt and unjust judges as he set up; so God accounted that Ahab had killed and taken possession, 1 Kings 21:19, though the elders and nobles were those that did it, 1 Kings 21:11-13. Princes are responsible to God for the sins of their ministers and judges.

But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness,.... He was wholly intent upon gratifying that lust; his heart was meditating, contriving, and forming schemes for that purpose; and his eyes were looking out here and there for proper objects and opportunities to exercise it:

and for to shed innocent blood; in order to get their money, goods, and possessions into his hands; avarice often leads to murder:

and for oppression, and for violence, to do it; by making incursions, and seizing upon the properties of men, and converting them to his own use; so true it is, that covetousness, or the love of money, is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10.

But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
17. covetousness] better as mg. dishonest gain. Jehoiakim “remained fixed in the recollections of his countrymen, as the last example of those cruel, selfish, luxurious princes, the natural product of Oriental monarchies, the disgrace of the monarchy of David.” (Stanley, J. Ch. II. 448.)

Verse 17. - But thou, O Jehoiakim, art the opposite of thy father. For (not, But) thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness. "Covetousness" includes the ideas of injustice and violence (comp. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10); hence the second half of the verse emphasizes the cruel tyranny which marked the internal policy of Jehoiakim. Jeremiah 22:17In Jeremiah 22:15 Jeremiah pursues the subject: kingship and kingcraft do not consist in the erection of splendid palaces, but in the administration of right and justice. The reproachful question התמלך has not the meaning: wilt thou reign long? or wilt thou consolidate thy dominion? but: dost thou suppose thyself to be a king, to show thyself a king, if thy aim and endeavour is solely fixed on the building of a stately palace? "Viest," as in Jeremiah 12:5. בּארז, not: with the cedar, for תחרה is construed with the accus. of that with which one vies, but: in cedar, i.e., in the building of cedar palaces. It was not necessary to say with whom he vied, since the thought of Solomon's edifices would suggest itself. The lxx have changed בארז by a pointless quid pro quo into באחז, ἐν ̓́Αχαζ, for which Cod. Alex. and Arabs have ἐν ̓Αχαάβ. The fact that Ahab had built a palace veneered with ivory (1 Kings 22:39) is not sufficient to approve this reading, which Ew. prefers. Still less cause is there to delete בארז as a gloss (Hitz.) in order to obtain the rendering, justified neither by grammar nor in fact, "if thou contendest with thy father." To confirm what he has said, the prophet sets before the worthless king the example of his godly father Josiah. "Thy father, did not he eat and drink," i.e., enjoy life (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:13)? yet at the same time he administered right and justice, like his forefather David; 2 Samuel 8:15. Then went it well with him and the kingdom. אז, Jeremiah 22:16, is wider than אז טו: in respect that he did justice to the poor and wretched, things went well, were well managed in the kingdom at large. In so doing consists "the knowing of me." The knowledge of Jahveh is the practical recognition of God which is displayed in the fear of God and a pious life. The infinitive nomin. דּעת has the article because a special emphasis lies on the word (cf. Ew. 277, c), the true knowledge of God required to have stress laid on it. - But Jehoiakim is the reverse of his father. This thought, lying in Jeremiah 22:16, is illustrated in Jeremiah 22:17. For thine eyes are set upon nothing but gain. בּצע, gain with the suggestion of unrighteousness about it, cf. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10. His whole endeavour was after wealth and splendour. The means of attaining this aim was injustice, since he not only withheld their wages from his workers (Jeremiah 22:13), but caused the innocent to be condemned in the judgment that he might grasp their goods to himself, as e.g., Ahab had done with Naboth. He also put to death the prophets who rebuked his unrighteousness, Jeremiah 26:23, and used every kind of lawless violence. "Oppression" is amplified by המרוּצה (from רצץ, cf. Deuteronomy 28:33; 1 Samuel 12:3), crushing, "what we call flaying people" (Hitz.); cf. on this subject, Micah 3:3.
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