Jeremiah 42:20
For you dissembled in your hearts, when you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us to the LORD our God; and according to all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare to us, and we will do it.
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(20) For ye dissembled in your hearts . . .—Looks and whispers betrayed, we may believe, the feelings of the prophet’s hearers. He saw by such outward signs, or he read, as by the intuition of inspiration, the secret counsels of their hearts (1Corinthians 14:24-25), that they had made a false profession of their readiness to obey, and really meant all along to act as they liked, with the prophet’s approval, if they could get it; if not, without. Hypocrisy such as this could not fail to draw down a righteous punishment.

Jeremiah 42:20-22. For ye dissembled in your hearts — Hebrew, התעתום, have used deceit. They acted deceitfully, either toward God, calling him to bear witness to their sincerity in a matter in which they were not sincere; or toward the prophet, sending him to inquire of God for them, and promising to act according as God should direct, when they never intended it; or, toward their own souls, as the margin reads it. Thus Blaney, Surely ye have practised deceit against your own souls, following the Masoretic reading of the margin, confirmed by twenty-two MSS. and five editions. The LXX. read οτι επονηρευσασθε εν ψυχαις υμων; for you have acted wickedly in your souls, and the Vulgate, because you have deceived your souls. Now I have this day declared it to you — I went, according to your desire, to inquire of God for you; he revealed his will to me respecting you, and now I have as faithfully told you what it is. But ye have not obeyed, &c. — Or, will not obey. If it be asked how Jeremiah knew they would not obey God’s will in this instance, inasmuch as they had not yet declared their minds to him, it must be answered, God had made their intentions known to him. Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, &c. — You think to avoid death by going to Egypt to sojourn for a little time, but you shall perish there, and that by those very deaths which, by going thither, you seek to avoid. Observe, reader, we must expect disappointment, misery, and ruin to follow actions done in disobedience to the revealed will of God. 42:7-22 If we would know the mind of the Lord in doubtful cases, we must wait as well as pray. God is ever ready to return in mercy to those he has afflicted; and he never rejects any who rely on his promises. He has declared enough to silence even the causeless fears of his people, which discourge them in the way of duty. Whatever loss or suffering we may fear from obedience, is provided against in God's word; and he will protect and deliver all who trust in him and serve him. It is folly to quit our place, especially to quit a holy land, because we meet with trouble in it. And the evils we think to escape by sin, we certainly bring upon ourselves. We may apply this to the common troubles of life; and those who think to avoid them by changing their place, will find that the grievances common to men will meet them wherever they go. Sinners who dissemble with God in solemn professions especially should be rebuked with sharpness; for their actions speak more plainly than words. We know not what is good for ourselves; and what we are most fond of, and have our hearts most set upon, often proves hurtful, and sometimes fatal.Ye dissembled in your hearts - Or, "ye have led yourselves astray," i. e., your sending me to ask counsel of God was an act of self-delusion. You felt so sure that God would direct you to go into Egypt, that now that He has spoken to the contrary, you are unable to reconcile yourselves to it. 20. dissembled in your hearts—rather, "ye have used deceit against your (own) souls." It is not God, but yourselves, whom ye deceive, to your own ruin, by your own dissimulation (Ga 6:7) [Calvin]. But the words following accord best with English Version, ye have dissembled in your hearts (see on [962]Jer 42:3) towards me, when ye sent me to consult God for you. Ye dissembled in your hearts; or, you have used deceit, either towards God, dealing falsely with him, calling him to be a witness to your sincerity in what you never intended any sincerity in; or towards me, sending me to inquire of God for you, and promising to do according to what I should reveal to you from God as his will, whenas you never intended it; or towards your own souls, as every sinner doth but deceive his own soul: you made a pretence of what was not in your hearts, when you sent me to pray God’s direction for you, and made me such a firm promise to do whatsoever I should reveal to you from God as his will in this case. For ye dissembled in your hearts,.... Did not honestly and faithfully declare their intentions; they said one thing with their mouths, and meant another in their minds; they pretended they would act according to the will of God, as it should be made known to them by him, when they were determined to take their own way. Some render it, "ye have deceived me in your hearts" (z); the prophet, so Kimchi; by that which was in their hearts, not declaring what was their real intention and design: or, "ye have deceived your souls" (a); you have deceived yourselves and one another; I have not deceived you, nor the Lord, but you have put a cheat upon your own souls: or, "you have used deceit against your souls" (b); to the hurt of them, to your present ruin and everlasting destruction:

when ye sent me unto the Lord your God; the prophet did not go of himself, they desired him to go:

saying, pray for us unto the Lord our God; to be directed in the way they should go; so that the prophet did nothing but what they desired him to do:

and according to all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it; they pressed him to a faithful declaration of the will of God to them, and promised they would act according to it. Now he had done all this; he had been wire God, prayed unto him as they requested, and had brought them his mind and will, and made a faithful relation of it, and yet they did not attend to it; so that the deceit was not in him, but in them, as follows:

(z) "seduxistis me animis vestris", so some in Vatablus; "fefellistis me", Munster. So Ben Melech. (a) "Fecistis errare animas vestras", Pagninus; "fefellistis", Calvin. (b) "Seduxeritis vos contra animas vestras", Schmidt.

For ye were {h} hypocrites in your hearts, when ye sent me to the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us to the LORD our God; and according to all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare to us, and we will do it.

(h) For you were fully intending to go into Egypt, whatever God spoke to the contrary.

20. have dealt deceitfully against your own souls] i.e. selves or lives; mg. (less well) in your souls. It is best (with slight modification of the MT.) to render with LXX “ye have done evil against,” etc.

Jeremiah 43:1-7. See introd. summary to the section.Verse 20. - For ye dissembled in your hearts; rather, for ye have gone astray (from the right path) at the risk of your lives; or, another possible rendering, for ye hate led yourselves astray. Hypocrisy is certainly not the accusation which Jeremiah brings against the people.

The threatening if, in spite of warning and against God's will, they should still persist in going to Egypt. The protasis of the conditional sentence begun in Jeremiah 42:13, "If ye say," etc., extends onwards through Jeremiah 42:14; the apodosis is introduced co-ordinately with the commencement of Jeremiah 42:15, "Now therefore," etc. קול שׁופר, "the sound of war-trumpet," as in Jeremiah 4:19. On "hungering after bread," cf. Amos 8:11. הלחם (with the article) is the bread necessary for life. "The remnant of Judah" is to be understood of those who still remained in the land, as is shown by Jeremiah 42:2; see also Jeremiah 42:19, Jeremiah 43:5; Jeremiah 44:12, Jeremiah 44:14. The warning given in Jeremiah 42:16 contains the idea that the very evil which they feared would come on them in Judah will befall them in Egypt. There they shall perish by sword, famine, and plague, since Nebuchadnezzar will conquer Egypt; cf. Jeremiah 43:8-13.
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