Jeremiah 3:9
And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
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(9) The lightness of her whoredom.—Lightness in the ethical sense of “levity.” Apostasy was treated once more as if it had been a light thing (1Kings 16:31). The word is, however, very variously interpreted, and the meaning of “voice,” or “cry,” in the sense in which the “cry” of Sodom and Gomorrah was great (Genesis 18:20), seems more satisfactory. On “stones” and “stocks,” see Note on Jeremiah 2:27.

Jeremiah 3:9-10. And through the lightness of her whoredom — “By this phrase,” says Blaney, “I take to be meant, that she was not nice in the choice of the objects, but was ready to prostitute herself to all that came in her way; that is, she eagerly fell in with all kinds of idolatrous worship indiscriminately, descending so low as to images of wood and stone.” That she defiled the land — Brought the whole land under the guilt of idolatry. Yet for all this — Though God saw what she did, and though she saw the shameful idolatry of Israel, and what she had suffered; yet Judah hath not turned unto me, &c. — When they had a good king that would have reformed the nation, they did not heartily concur with him in that good work. In the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, who were disposed to idolatry, the people were so too, and all the country was corrupted by it, none fearing the ruin which Israel, by this sin, had brought on themselves. God therefore tried whether they would manifest a different spirit and conduct under a good king, but the evil disposition was still the same, and they returned not to the Lord with all their hearts, but feignedly — They were forced indeed to an external compliance with Josiah, who went further in destroying idolatry than the best of his predecessors had done, joined with him in keeping a very solemn passover, and in professing to renew their covenants with God, 2 Chronicles 34:32; 2 Chronicles 35:17; but they were not sincere in all this, nor were their hearts right with God. For which reason God, at that very time, said, I will remove Judah out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, (2 Kings 23:27,) because Judah was not removed from their sin by the sight of Israel’s removal from their land.

3:6-11 If we mark the crimes of those who break off from a religious profession, and the consequences, we see abundant reason to shun evil ways. It is dreadful to be proved more criminal than those who have actually perished in their sins; yet it will be small comfort in everlasting punishment, for them to know that others were viler than they.Lightness - Others render as in the margin.

Defiled - Rather, profaned. The land especially consecrated to Yahweh's service was treated by Judah as a common land.

9. it—Some take this verse of Judah, to whom the end of Jer 3:8 refers. But Jer 3:10 puts Judah in contrast to Israel in this verse. "Yet for all this," referring to the sad example of Israel; if Jer 3:9 referred to Judah, "she" would have been written in Jer 3:10, not "Judah." Translate, "It (the putting away of Israel) had come to pass through … whoredom; and (that is, for) she (Israel) had defiled the land" &c. [Maurer]. English Version, however, may be explained to refer to Israel.

lightness—"infamy." [Ewald]. Maurer not so well takes it from the Hebrew root, "voice," "fame."

The lightness of her whoredom; whether of Judah’s or of Israel’s is not agreed upon, but the right applying of it doth depend much upon the right acceptation of the word lightness, which comes from a Hebrew word that signifies voice; and so it may refer either to the noise or fame of it, that would fly abroad, and thus it is applied to Israel, i.e. though Israel’s whoredoms were never so much blazed abroad, yet Judah regarded it not. Or it may be taken for the heinousness of it, a crying voice, as Genesis 4:10, and so by an hypallage, her whoredoms of fame, or notorious whoredoms; and is not ill expressed here by

lightness of her whoredom, noting her impudence in it, as we use to term a common harlot a light woman; and thus it is applied to Judah, both the foregoing and following words seeming to be an aggravation of Judah’s refractoriness.

Defiled the land; brought the whole land under the imputation of filthiness.

With stones and with stocks, i.e. with idols made of stone and wood, a metonymy of the matter, to note the baseness of the fact.

And it came to pass, through the lightness of her whoredom,.... Or the "swiftness" (b) of it; when it was once set on foot, it ran through the land presently one taking it from and following the example of another; or it became a light thing with her to commit idolatry; it was looked upon as a small thing, a trivial offence at most: so the Targum,

"it came to pass that her idols were light in her eyes;''

not lightly esteemed of, but it was a light thing to commit idolatry with them; interpreting the word as the Masora, which it follows: and to the same sense the Septuagint version, "her fornication was for nothing"; it stood for nothing, it was not reckoned as a sin: the Arabic version is, "her fornication was with nothing"; with an idol, which is nothing in the world, 1 Corinthians 8:4, some choose to render it, "because of the voice or fame of her whoredom" (c), or idolatry; it sounded forth, and the fame, or rather infamy of it, went out through the whole land: wherefore it follows,

that she defiled the land; polluted it with sin, involved it in guilt, and exposed it to punishment:

and committed adultery with stones and with stocks; that is, with images made of stone and wood, which they served and worshipped as gods; and is the adultery or idolatry they are charged with, and by which the land was defiled. The Targum is,

"she erred or committed idolatry with the worshippers of stone and wood.''

This, by what follows, seems to be understood not of Judah, but of Israel.

(b) "a levitate", a "velocem esse", Calvin. (c) Heb. "propter vocem scortationis ejus, vel famosam scortationem", Piscator; "a voce scortationis ejus", Schmidt; "propter famam scortationis ejus", Cocceius; "prae famosa scortatione", Junius & Tremellius.

And it came to pass through the {l} lightness of her harlotry, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with trees.

(l) The Hebrew word may either signify lightness and wantonness, or noise and brute.

9. lightness] frivolity. The Hebrew word occurs here only in this sense.

with stones and with stocks] See on Jeremiah 2:27.

Verse 9. - Through the lightness of her whoredom; i.e. through the slight importance which she attached to her whoredom. So apparently the ancient versions. The only sense, however, which the word kol ever has in Hebrew is not "lightness," but "sound," "voice," and perhaps "rumor" (Genesis 45:16). Hence it is more strictly accurate to render "through the cry." etc. (comp. Genesis 4:10; Genesis 19:13), or "through the fame," etc. (as Authorized Version, margin). But neither of these seems quite suitable to the context, and if, as King James's translators seem to have felt it necessary to do, we desert the faithful translation, and enter on the path of conjecture, why not emend kol into klon (there is no vav, and such fragments of true readings are not altogether uncommon in the Hebrew text), which at once yields a good meaning - "through the disgrace of her whoredom ?" Ewald thinks that kol may be taken in the sense of k'lon; but this is really more arbitrary than emending the text. With stones, etc. (see Jeremiah 2:27). Jeremiah 3:9In Jeremiah 3:9 Judah's fornication with the false gods is further described. Here מקּל זנוּתהּ ereH is rather stumbling, since ob vocem scortationis cannot well be simply tantamount to ob famosam scortationem; for קול, voice, tone, sound, din, noise, is distinct from שׁם or שׁמע, fame, rumour. All ancient translators have taken קל from קלל, as being formed analogously to עז ,תּם ,חם; and a Masoretic note finds in the defective spelling קל an indication of the meaning levitas. Yet we occasionally find קול, vox, written defectively, e.g., Exodus 4:8; Genesis 27:22; Genesis 45:16. And the derivation from קלל gives no very suitable sense; neither lightness nor despisedness is a proper predicate for whoredom, by which the land is polluted; only shame or shameful would suit, as it is put by Ew. and Graf. But there is no evidence from the usage of the language that קל has the meaning of קלון. Yet more inadmissible is the conjecture of J. D. Mich., adopted by Hitz., that of reading מקּל gnidaer fo taht, stock, for מקּל, a stock being the object of her unchastity; in support of which, reference is unfairly made to Hosea 4:12. For there the matter in hand is rhabdomancy, with which the present passage has evidently nothing to do. The case standing thus, we adhere to the usual meaning of קל: for the noise or din of her whoredom, not, for her crying whoredom (de Wette). Jeremiah makes use of this epithet to point out the open riotous orgies of idolatry. תּחנף is neither used in the active signification of desecrating, nor is it to be pointed ותּחנף (Hiph.). On the last clause cf. Jeremiah 2:27.
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