Jeremiah 5:12
They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come on us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
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(12) It is not he.i.e., It is not Jehovah who speaks. They listened to the prophet’s warnings as if they came from himself only, and brought with them no certainty of the “sword” or “famine” which they foretold. Perhaps, however, the words refer also to the denial that Jehovah was working in the sufferings that fell upon the people, or even to a more entire denial, like that of the fool in Psalm 14:1.

5:10-18 Multitudes are ruined by believing that God will not be so strict as his word says he will; by this artifice Satan undid mankind. Sinners are not willing to own any thing to be God's word, that tends to part them from, or to disquiet them in, their sins. Mocking and misusing the Lord's messengers, filled the measure of their iniquity. God can bring trouble upon us from places and causes very remote. He has mercy in store for his people, therefore will set bounds to this desolating judgment. Let us not overlook the nevertheless, ver. 18. This is the Lord's covenant with Israel. He thereby proclaims his holiness, and his utter displeasure against sin while sparing the sinner, Ps 89:30-35.It is not he - i. e., Who speaks by the prophets. 12. belied—denied.

It is not he—rather, "(Jehovah) is not He," that is, the true and only God (Jer 14:22; De 32:39; Isa 43:10, 13). By their idolatry they virtually denied Him. Or, referring to what follows, and to Jer 5:9, "(Jehovah) is not," namely, about to be the punisher of our sins (Jer 14:13; Isa 28:15).

They have belied the Lord: this may signify either a denying, viz. a renouncing, making little or nothing of him, as some; or a denying, i.e. not believing, that these words of the prophet were God’s words, or God did not say so; he gave not the prophet, nor any other, any such commission; and possibly their atheism might grow to so high a degree as to deny his providence, power, and justice, &c.: so it agrees with the following words,

It is not he, or, God did not speak as he meant; but he would only fright us, it shall not be thus.

Neither shall we see sword nor famine this siege or famine, or any other such dreadful judgments, as Jeremiah speaks of, shall not befall us. Seeing is used here for feeling, as it is in Job 7:7. They have belied the Lord, and said, it is not he,.... Or, "denied the Lord" (x), as some render the words, saying that there was no God; which, though they might not deliver in express words, yet inasmuch as they denied his providence, and disbelieved his word by his prophets, it was tacitly denying that there was a God, or that the Lord was God. The meaning of the phrase "not he" may be, he takes no notice of what is done by us; he does not concern himself with our affairs; nor has he given any such orders to our enemies, as above; nor said these things by the prophets which are pretended:

neither shall evil come upon us; they speak of:

neither shall we see sword nor famine; war and sieges, and famine, the consequence of them.

(x) "egaverunt Dominum", V. L. Pagninus; "abnegant", Piscator; "abnegarunt Jehovam", Cocceius, Schmidt.

They have {k} lied about the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:

(k) Because they gave no credit to the words of his prophets, as in Isa 28:15.

12. It is not he] lit. not he! probably corresponding to our own colloquial expression, and used as a rejoinder by those who refused to credit prophetic warnings of disaster. Cp. Zephaniah 1:12.Verse 12. - It is not he. Understand "who speaks by the prophets" (Payne Smith). It is hardly conceivable that any of the Jews absolutely denied the existence of Jehovah. They were practical, not speculative unbelievers, like men of the world in general. This verse is neither a threatening of future punishments, nor is to be taken figuratively (lion, bear, leopard, as figures for dreadful enemies). The change from the perf. הכּם to the imperf. ישׁדדם and יטּרף tells against the future construction, showing as it does that the verbs are used aoristically of chastisements which have partly already taken place, which may be partly yet to come. And the figurative explanation of the beasts of prey by hostile peoples - found so early as the Chald. - is not in the least called for by the text; nor is it easy to reconcile it with the specification of various kinds of wild beasts. The words are a case of the threatening of the law in Leviticus 26:22, that God will chasten the transgressors of His law by sending beasts of prey which shall rob them of their children. Cf. with the promise, that if they keep His commandments, He will destroy the wild beasts out of the land. Cf. also the fact given in 2 Kings 17:25, that God sent lions amongst the heathen colonists who had been transplanted into the depopulated kingdom of the ten tribes, lions which slew some of them, because they served not Jahveh. The true conception of the words is confirmed by Ezekiel 14:15, when in like manner the sending of evil (ravening) beasts is mentioned as an example of God's punishments. הכּה, smite, is a standing expression for the lion's way of striking down his prey with his paws; cf. 1 Kings 20:36. זאב ערבות is not wolf of the evening, as Chald. Syr., Hitz. explain it, following Habakkuk 1:8 and Zephaniah 3:3; for ערבות is not the plural of ערב, but of ערבה, steppe: the wolf that lives in the steppe, and thence makes its raids on inhabited spots. The reference of the words to place is suggested plainly by the parallel, the lion out of the wood. The leopard (panther) watches, i.e., lies lurking in wait against their cities, to tear those that come out. The panther is wont to lie in wait for his prey, and to spring suddenly out on it; cf. Hosea 13:7. With "because many are thy transgressions," cf. Jeremiah 30:14.

Since these chastisements have profited nothing God cannot pardon the people. This is the meaning of the question in Jeremiah 5:7, אי לזאת, wherefore should I then pardon? not, should I then pardon for this? for אי by itself does not stand for ה interrog., but is set before the pronom. demonstr. to give it the force of an interrogative adjective; cf. Ew. 326, a. The Cheth. אסלוחest obsoletum adeoque genuinum (Ros.); the Keri substitutes the usual form. To justify the question with a negative answer implied, the people's fall into idolatry is again set up before it in strong colours. Thy sons (the sons of the daughter of Zion, i.e., of the national congregation, and so the individual members of the nation; cf. Leviticus 19:18) have forsaken me, and swear by them that are not gods, i.e., the idols; cf. Jeremiah 2:11. For אשׁבּיע אותם, I caused them to swear, the old translators have אשׂבּיע , I filled them to the full, and so it is read in many codd. and edd. This reading is preferred by most of the ancient commentators, and they appeal for a parallel to Jeremiah 5:28, and Deuteronomy 32:15 ("when Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked"), Hosea 13:6; Nehemiah 9:25, etc., where apostasy from God is chidden as a consequence of superfluity of earthly goods. So Luther: "and now that I have filled them full, they committed adultery." Now possibly it is just the recollection of the passages cited that has suggested the reading אשׂביע. The apodosis, they committed adultery, forms no antithesis to filling full. Adultery presupposes a marriage vow, or troth plighted by an oath. God caused Israel to swear fidelity when He made the covenant with it at Sinai, Exodus 24. This oath Israel repeated at each renewal of the covenant, and last under Josiah: 2 Kings 23:3; 2 Chronicles 34:31. Hence we must not wholly restrict the searing to the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai, nor wholly to the renewal of it under Josiah. We must refer it to both acts, or rather to the solemnity at Sinai, together with all solemn renewals of it in after times; while at the same time the reference to the renewal under Josiah, this being still fresh in memory, may have been the foremost. We must not confine the reference of ינאפוּ to spiritual adultery ( equals a fall away from Jahveh into idolatry); the context, especially the next clause, and yet more unmistakeably Jeremiah 5:8, refers to carnal uncleanness. This too was a breach of the covenant, since in taking it the people bound itself not only to be faithful to God, but to keep and follow all the laws of His covenant. That the words, crowd into the house of the harlot, i.e., go thither in crowds, are to be taken of carnal uncleanness, may be gathered from Jeremiah 5:8: each neighs after the wife of his neighbour. Fornication is denounced as a desecration of the name of the Lord in Amos 2:7. The first clause of Jeremiah 5:8 suggests a comparison: well-fed horses are they, i.e., they resemble such. On the lechery of horses, see on Ezekiel 23:20. The Cheth. מוזנים is partic. Hoph. of זוּן, in Aram. feed, fatten, here most suitable. The Keri מיזנים would be the partic. Pu. from יזן, the meaning of which is doubtful, given arbitrarily by Kimchi and others as armati sc. membro genitali. משׁכּים, too, is derived from משׁך, and given by Jerome sensu obscaeno: trahentes sc. genitalia; but משׁכּים cannot come from משׁך, משׁכּים being the only possible form in that case. Nor does trahentes, "draught-horses" (Hitz.), give a sense at all in point for the comparison. A better view is that of those who follow Simonis, in holding it to be partic. Hiph. of שׁכה, in Aethiop. oberravit, vagatus est. The participle is not to be joined with "horses" as a second qualifying word, but to be taken with היוּ, the periphrastic form being chosen to indicate the enduring chronic character of the roaming.

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