Jeremiah 5:23
But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
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(23) But this people . . .—The contrast seems to lie in the fact that the elements are subject to God’s will, but that man’s rebellious will, with its fatal gift of freedom, has the power to resist it. The two adjectives “revolting” and “rebellious” (the negative and positive aspects of apostasy) are joined together, as in Deuteronomy 21:18; Deuteronomy 21:20.

5:19-31 Unhumbled hearts are ready to charge God with being unjust in their afflictions. But they may read their sin in their punishment. If men will inquire wherefore the Lord doeth hard things unto them, let them think of their sins. The restless waves obeyed the Divine decree, that they should not pass the sandy shores, which were as much a restraint as lofty mountains; but they burst all restraints of God's law, and were wholly gone into wickedness. Neither did they consider their interest. While the Lord, year after year, reserves to us the appointed weeks of harvest, men live on his bounty; yet they transgress against him. Sin deprives us of God's blessings; it makes the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron. Certainly the things of this world are not the best things; and we are not to think, that, because evil men prosper, God allows their practices. Though sentence against evil works is not executed speedily, it will be executed. Shall I not visit for these things? This speaks the certainty and the necessity of God's judgments. Let those who walk in bad ways consider that an end will come, and there will be bitterness in the latter end.The heart, or will of the Jews was first "revolting," literally a will that "drew back" from God, because it disliked His service; and secondly it was "rebellious," a will that actively resisted Him. Compare Deuteronomy 21:18, Deuteronomy 21:20.23. (Jer 6:28). They are not only revolted from me, and gone back, but they continue obstinate, and will not return, Psalm 78:8, as the next clause intimates, where God shows their obstinacy by the effect of it.

Gone, viz. from me, they persist in their courses, no reclaiming of them; for they are not only revolted, but they are gone quite away, and are irreclaimable. They are not so obedient as the sea and its waves; nor so firm and stable as the sand that is set for the bound of it. This is a reproof and an aggravation of the revoltings and rebellions of this people:

they are revolted and gone; they had departed from the ways of the Lord, and were gone back from his worship, as the Targum; and were gone into evil ways, and to a false worship; they not only had revolted, but they went on, they continued therein, and went further and further, off from God and his worship.

But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
23. The people are rebellious, even as inanimate nature sometimes is. But Jehovah can control both.Verse 23. - A revolting and a rebellious heart. The heart is the center of the moral life virtually equivalent to "the will;" it. is "revolting" when it "turns back" (so literally here) from God's Law and service, and "rebellious" when it actively defies and opposes him. This people will devour the harvest and the bread, the children, the cattle, and the best fruits of the land. Devour, here as often, in the wider sense, destroy; cf. e.g., Jeremiah 3:24 and Jeremiah 10:25, where the first half of the present verse is compressed into the words: they ate up Jacob. We need not wait to refute Hitz.'s absurd remark, that the author imagined the enemy, the assumed Scythians, to be cannibals. In the second half of the verse the words, "the fenced cities wherein thou trustest,"are a reminiscence of Deuteronomy 28:52; and hence we may see, that while our prophet is describing the enemy in Jeremiah 5:15-18, Moses' threatening, Deuteronomy 28:49-52, was in his mind. רשׁשׁ, break in pieces, as in Malachi 1:4. With the sword, i.e., by force of arms; the sword, as principal weapon, being named, instead of the entire apparatus of war. In Jeremiah 5:18 the restriction of Jeremiah 5:10 (cf. Jeremiah 4:27) is repeated, and with it the threatening of judgment is rounded off.
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