Jeremiah 44:4
Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.
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(4) Rising early and sending them . . .—The prophet uses the same anthropomorphic language as of old (Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4; Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 29:19). The term “abominable thing,” or “abomination,” though common in many of the books of the Old Testament, as in the Proverbs, where it is applied to moral enormities (e.g., Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 6:16), is specially characteristic, as applied to idolatry, of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 27:15; Deuteronomy 32:16), Jeremiah (here and Jeremiah 7:10; Jeremiah 8:12; Jeremiah 32:35), and Ezek. (Ezekiel 5:11, and some forty other passages).



Jeremiah 44:4

The long death-agony of the Jewish kingdom has come to an end. The frivolous levity, which fed itself on illusions and would not be sobered by facts, has been finally crushed out of the wretched people. The dreary succession of incompetent kings-now a puppet set up by Egypt, now another puppet set up by Babylon, has ended with the weak Zedekiah. The throne of David is empty, and the long line of kings, which numbered many a strong, wise, holy man, has dwindled into a couple of captives, one of them blind and both of them paupers on an idolatrous monarch’s bounty. The country is desolate, the bulk of the people exiles, and the poor handful, who had been left by the conqueror, flitting like ghosts, or clinging, like domestic animals, to their burnt homes and wasted plains, have been quarrelling and fighting among themselves, murdering the Jewish ruler whom Babylon had left them, and then in abject terror have fled en masse across the border into Egypt, where they are living wretched lives. What a history that people had gone through since they had lived on the same soil before! From Moses to Zedekiah, what a story! From Goshen till now it had been one long tragedy which seems to have at last reached its fifth act. Nine hundred years have passed, and this is the issue of them all!

The circumstances might well stir the heart of the prophet, whose doleful task it had been to foretell the coming of the storm, who had had to strip off Judah’s delusions and to proclaim its certain fall, and who in doing so had carried his life in his hand for forty years, and had never met with recognition or belief.

Jeremiah had been carried off by the fugitives to Egypt, and there he made a final effort to win them back to God. He passed before them the outline of the whole history of the nation, treating it as having accomplished one stadium-and what does he find? In all these days since Goshen there has been one monotonous story of vain divine pleadings and human indifference, God beseeching and Israel turning away-and now at last the crash, long foretold, never credited, which had been drawing nearer through all the centuries, has come, and Israel is scattered among the people.

Such are the thoughts and emotions that speak in the exquisitely tender words of our text. It suggests-

I. God’s antagonism to sin.

It is the one thing in the universe to which He is opposed. Sin is essentially antagonism to God. People shrink from the thought of God’s hatred of sin, because of-

An underestimate of its gravity. Contrast the human views of its enormity, as shown by men’s playing with it, calling it by half-jocose names and the like, with God’s thought of its heinousness.

A false dread of seeming to attribute human emotions to God. But there is in God what corresponds to our human feelings, something analogous to the attitude of a pure human mind recoiling from evil.

The divine love must necessarily be pure, and the mightier its energy of forth-going, the mightier its energy of recoil. God’s ‘hate’ is Love inverted and reverted on itself. A divine love which had in it no necessity of hating evil would be profoundly immoral, and would be called devilish more fitly than divine.

II. The great purpose of the divine pleadings.

To wean from sin is the main end of prophecy. It is the main end of all revelation. God must chiefly desire to make His creatures like Himself. Sin makes a special revelation necessary. Sin determines the form of it.

III. God’s tender and unwearied efforts.

‘Rising early’ is a strong metaphor to express persistent effort. The more obstinate is our indifference, the more urgent are His calls. He raises His voice as our deafness grows. Mark, too, the tenderness of the entreaty in this text, ‘Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate!’ His hatred of it is adduced as a reason which should touch any heart that loves Him. He beseeches as if He, too, were saying, ‘Though I might be bold to enjoin thee’ that which is fitting, ‘yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee.’ The manifestation of His disapproval and the appeal to our love by the disclosure of His own are the most powerful, winning and compelling dehortations from sin. Not by brandishing the whip, not by a stern law written on tables of stone, but by unveiling His heart, does God win us from our sins.

IV. The obstinate resistance to God’s tender pleadings.

The tragedy of the nation is summed up in one word, ‘They hearkened not.’

That power of neglecting God’s voice and opposing God’s will is the mystery of our nature. How strange it is that a human will should be able to lift itself in opposition to the Sovereign Will! But stranger and more mysterious and tragic still is it that we should choose to exercise that power and find pleasure, and fancy that we shall ever find advantage, in refusing to listen to His entreaties and choosing to flout His uttered will.

Such opposition was Israel’s ruin. It will be ours if we persist in it. ‘If God spared not the natural branches, neither will He spare thee.’

44:1-14 God reminds the Jews of the sins that brought desolations upon Judah. It becomes us to warn men of the danger of sin with all seriousness: Oh, do not do it! If you love God, do not, for it is provoking to him; if you love your own souls, do not, for it is destructive to them. Let conscience do this for us in the hour of temptation. The Jews whom God sent into the land of the Chaldeans, were there, by the power of God's grace, weaned from idolatry; but those who went by their own perverse will into the land of the Egyptians, were there more attached than ever to their idolatries. When we thrust ourselves without cause or call into places of temptation, it is just with God to leave us to ourselves. If we walk contrary to God, he will walk contrary to us. The most awful miseries to which men are exposed, are occasioned by the neglect of offered salvation.Howbeit I sent - And I sent. 4. (2Ch 36:15). No text from Poole on this verse.

Howbeit, I sent unto you all my servants the prophets,.... As many as he raised up, and employed in the work and service of prophesying; and these were many; and as many as they were, he sent them to them, one after another, to warn them of their sin and danger; but all to no purpose; which was a further aggravation of their wickedness: nay, though he was

rising early, and sending them; was very early in his messages to them; gave them timely warning, and let slip no opportunity of admonishing them; and this he did constantly; see Jeremiah 7:13;

saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate; all sin is abominable in itself, and hateful to God, especially idolatry; and therefore should not be done; it should be abominable to men, and hateful to them, because it is so to God; and after such a remonstrance as this, to commit it must be very aggravating and provoking.

Yet I sent to you all my servants the prophets, {b} rising early and sending them, saying, O, do not this abominable thing that I hate.

(b) Read Jer 7:25,25:3,29:19,32:33.

4. Cp. Jeremiah 7:25 and elsewhere. We should perhaps read for “you” them, although “you” implies in a significant way the continuous personality of the nation.

Jeremiah 44:4The warning and threatening. - "Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Ye yourselves have been all the evil which I have brought on Jerusalem, and on all the cities of Judah; and, behold, they are a desolation this day, and there is no inhabitant in them; Jeremiah 44:3. Because of their wickedness which they have done, by provoking me through going to burn incense, (and) to serve other gods whom they knew not, (neither) they (nor) ye, nor your fathers. Jeremiah 44:4. And I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending (them), to say, Do not this abominable thing which I hate. Jeremiah 44:5. But they did not hear, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, by not burning incense to other gods. Jeremiah 44:6. Therefore my wrath and mine anger poured itself out, and burned up the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem; so that they have become a desolation and a waste, as at this day. Jeremiah 44:7. Now therefore thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do ye great evil against your souls, by cutting off from yourselves man and women, child and suckling, out of the midst of Judah, so leaving no remnant for yourselves; Jeremiah 44:8. Through provoking me by the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye have gone to sojourn, that ye might bring destruction on yourselves, and that ye might become a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? Jeremiah 44:9. Have ye forgotten the evil deeds of your fathers, and the evil deeds of the kings of Judah, and the evil deeds of their wives, and your own evil deeds, and the evil deeds of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem? Jeremiah 44:10. They have not been contrite to this day, and are not afraid, nor do they walk in my law, and in my statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers. Jeremiah 44:11. Therefore thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. Jeremiah 44:12. And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go to the land of Egypt in order to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed; in the land of Egypt shall they fall, by sword and famine shall they be consumed; small and great, by sword and famine shall they die, and they shall become an execration and an astonishment, and a curse and a reproach. Jeremiah 44:13. And I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I punished Jerusalem, by sword, and famine, and pestilence. Jeremiah 44:14. There shall not be one escaped or left to the remnant of Judah that came to sojourn there in the land of Egypt, so as to return to the land of Judah, whither they long to return and dwell; for they shall not return except as escaped ones."

Jeremiah 44:2-6

In order to make an impression on the people by his warning against idolatry, Jeremiah begins his address with a reference to the great calamity which the fathers have brought on the kingdom of Judah through their continued idolatry (Jeremiah 44:2-6). "Ye have seen all the evil," etc.; all the cities are laid waste and depopulated, because their inhabitants have roused the anger of the Lord, and have not let themselves be dissuaded by the admonitions of the prophets whom God has sent. "This day," i.e., now, at present. On Jeremiah 44:3, cf. Jeremiah 11:17; Jeremiah 19:4; Jeremiah 32:32, etc.; and as to the meaning of קטּר, see on Jeremiah 1:16. In Jeremiah 44:3 the address becomes more direct, through the change into the second person, "ye;" the audience then present only continue these sins of their fathers. On Jeremiah 44:4, cf. Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4, etc. דּבר התּעבה הזּאת, "the thing of this abomination," which is equivalent to "this abominable idolatry." דּבר serves to render the subject more prominent, as in Judges 19:24. On Jeremiah 44:6, cf. Jeremiah 42:18; Jeremiah 7:20. The wrath of God burned in the cities, for the fire of destruction was a manifestation of the divine wrath. As to כּיום הזּה, see on Jeremiah 11:5.

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