Jeremiah 3:24
For shame has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
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(24) Shame.—The Hebrew noun has the article, “the shame,” and is the word constantly used as the interchangeable synonym for Baal, as in Jerubbaal and Jerubbesheth (Judges 6:32; 2Samuel 11:21), Mephibosheth and Merib-baal (2Samuel 4:4; 1Chronicles 8:34). The words point accordingly to the prodigal waste of victims, possibly of human life also, in the worship of Baal and that of Molech, which in the prophet’s mind was identified with it, and which had brought with it nothing but a lasting shame. This also forms part of the confession of the repentant people (comp. Jeremiah 11:13).

Jeremiah 3:24-25. For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers — That is, the fruit of their labour, יגיע, which properly signifies labour and toil, being here put by a metonymy for the substance acquired by toil; that is, their labours have been followed by disappointment and shame; they have not reaped the expected fruit of them. Or sin, which causes shame, especially the sin of idolatry, has brought all our calamities upon us, the loss of our goods and substance, the dispersion of our families and nearest relations, and all the other miseries of our captivity: all these evils, which we and our forefathers have felt, are the effects of our idolatry, of which we are now heartily ashamed, and which had brought shame and confusion upon us. Blaney renders הבשׁת, (which we translate shame,) that thing of shame, meaning the idol which they worshipped, called by the same name, chap. Jeremiah 11:13; Hosea 10:10; “and with good reason,” says he, “because, in return for all the expense and pains bestowed upon it, it only frustrated the hopes of its votaries, and, as it follows in the next verse, left them mortified with disappointment, and overwhelmed with disgrace, for having deserted the service of a Being that could have saved them, in pursuit of so vile and worthless an object.” We lie down in our shame — Being unable to bear it. Our confusion covereth us — On account both of our sins and sufferings. Sin hath laid us under such rebukes of God’s providence, and such reproaches of our own consciences, as surround us and fill us with shame. These expressions, which set forth the greatness of their repentance and sorrow, are taken from those who cast themselves down upon the ground, and cover themselves with dust or ashes, out of grief and anguish of mind. 3:21-25 Sin is turning aside to crooked ways. And forgetting the Lord our God is at the bottom of all sin. By sin we bring ourselves into trouble. The promise to those that return is, God will heal their backslidings, by his pardoning mercy, his quieting peace, and his renewing grace. They come devoting themselves to God. They come disclaiming all expectations of relief and succour from any but the Lord. Therefore they come depending upon him only. He is the Lord, and he only can save. It points out the great salvation from sin Jesus Christ wrought out for us. They come justifying God in their troubles, and judging themselves for their sins. True penitents learn to call sin shame, even the sin they have been most pleased with. True penitents learn to call sin death and ruin, and to charge upon it all they suffer. While men harden themselves in sin, contempt and misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall find mercy.For ... - And. It is the continuation of the thought in Jeremiah 3:23. Idolatry was there described as unprofitable, here as ruinous and hurtful.

Shame - literally, the shame (Bosheth, personified), that is, "Baal." The names "Bosheth" and "Baal" are constantly interchanged. Compare Judges 6:31-32.

Their flocks and their herds - The temperate and sober enjoyments connected with Yahweh's sacrifices led to no excess, whereas in idol-worship the people, after sitting down "to eat and drink, rose up to play," and wasted both health and substance in licentious revelry.

Their sons ... - This probably refers to human sacrifices.

24. shame—that is, the idols, whose worship only covers us with shame (Jer 11:13; Ho 9:10). So far from bringing us "salvation," they have cost us our cattle and even our children, whom we have sacrificed to them. Shame; either in general put for sin, which causeth shame, a metonymy of the effect; for that brought shame first into the world, Genesis 2:25. Or in particular the idol Baal, called the shameful thing, Jeremiah 11:13 Hosea 9:10. Hath devoured the labour of our fathers: q.d. This hath been the fruit of our idolatry, to have all things go to ruin, both in respect of expense; that which our fathers having got for themselves and us by their industry, they have expended upon Baal, and other idols, Ezekiel 16:16-21; and also of the heavy judgments that God brought upon us for it, Jeremiah 5:17.

From our youth; either with reference to the nation, ever since they began first to be a people unto God, and followed him in the wilderness, Jeremiah 2:2; or rather, ever since we were born, or took notice of any thing, thus it was from time to time; we find from our childhood that our fathers have laboured in vain, and all things have succeeded ill with us, because of their departure from God. Their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters: all these things are mentioned to show that they did thrive in nothing; but either a blast upon all from God, Hosea 9:11, to the end; Malachi 2:2,3; or idolatrous sacrifices, consumed all, Amos 4:4,5, the idols not sparing even their very children, Psalm 106:37; or the enemy spoiled them of all, Jeremiah 5:17; and all this as the sad effect of their idolatries. For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth,.... That is, sin, which is the cause of shame, and of which sinners ought to be ashamed, and will be sooner or later; so the Targum renders it, "the confusion of sins"; and the Jewish writers generally interpret it of idolatry, and of the idol Baal, as Kimchi and others, called "shame", or that "shameful thing", Jeremiah 11:13, this idol, because of the multitude of the sacrifices offered to it, consumed what their fathers laboured for, ever since they had known them; or, for their worshipping of this idol, such judgments came upon them as consumed all they got by hard labour; or rather it may regard their shameful sin of rejecting the Messiah, and crucifying him; which they will be ashamed of at the time of their conversion, when they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and on account of which they suffer the many calamities they now do:

their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters; whatever evils have befallen them in their persons, families, and estates, they will confess are owing to sin they have committed, of which they will now be ashamed; hence it follows:

For shame hath devoured the labour of our {y} fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.

(y) For their idolatry God's vengeance has light on them and theirs.

24. Vain was the boisterous service spoken of in Jeremiah 3:23. It is not merely without profit, but most hurtful.

the shameful thing] Heb. Bosheth (shame), a word frequently substituted for Baal, when the latter had come to have idolatrous and therefore shameful associations. Cp. Jeremiah 11:13, where the two are identified, also Hosea 9:10; so too Jerubbaal (Jdg 6:32) = Jerubbesheth (2 Samuel 11:21); Eshbaal (1 Chronicles 8:33) = Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 2:8).

their sons and their daughters] See on Jeremiah 5:17, and cp. 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 21:6.Verse 24. - For shame; rather, and the Shame (i.e. the Baal). The words Bosheth ("Shame") and Baal are frequently interchanged; so again in Jeremiah 11:13 (comp. Hosea 9:10). So, too, Jerubbesheth stands for Jerubbaal (2 Samuel 11:21; comp. Judges 6:32); Ishbosheth for Eshbaal (2 Samuel 2:8; comp. 1 Chronicles 8:33). Hath devoured the labor of our fathers, etc.; a condensed way of saying that Baal-worship has brought the judgments' of God upon us,, our flocks, and herds, and all the other labor (or rather "wealth;' i.e. fruit of labor) of our fathers, being destroyed as the punishment of our sins (comp. Deuteronomy 28:30-32). Another view is that the "devouring" had to do with the sacrifices, but it is improbable that the sacrificial worship of Baal bad developed to such a portentous extent, and the former explanation is in itself more suitable to the context. In those days when Jerusalem is glorified by being made the throne of the Lord, Judah along with Israel will come out of the north into the land which the Lord gave to their fathers. As the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple is foretold implicite in Jeremiah 3:16, so here the expulsion of Judah into exile is assumed as having already taken place, and the return not of Israel, only, but of Judah too is announced, as in Hosea 2:2, and more fully in Ezekiel 27:16. We should note the arrangement, the house of Judah with (על, prop. on) the house of Israel; this is as much as to say that Israel is the first to resolve on a return and to arise, and that Judah joins itself to the house of Israel. Judah is thus subordinated to the house of Israel, because the prophet is here seeking chiefly to announce the return of Israel to the Lord. It can surely not be necessary to say that, as regards the fulfilment, we are not entitled hence to infer that the remnant of the ten tribes will positively be converted to the Lord and redeemed out of exile sooner than the remnant of Judah. For more on this point see on Jeremiah 31:8.
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