Jeremiah 5:26
For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that sets snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
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(26) They lay wait.—Literally, he lieth in wait (used of the leopard in Hosea 13:7), as in the crouching down of fowlers: they have set the snare. The indefinite singular in the first clause brings before us the picture of isolated guilt, the plural that of confederate evil.

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.Rather, he spieth about like the crouching down of fowlers; they have set the fatal snare; "they catch men."

Trap - literally, "The destroyer;" it was probably a gin, which strangled the birds caught in it.

26. (Pr 1:11, 17, 18; Hab 1:15).

as he that setteth snares—rather, "as fowlers crouch" [Maurer].

trap—literally, "destruction": the instrument of destruction.

catch men—not as Peter, to save (Lu 5:10), but to destroy men.

Among my people are found wicked men; I need not search for such among the heathen nations, for they are found even among them that are called by my name, whereas all my people ought to have been holy.

They lay wait, or contemplate mischievous designs, under deceits, as fowlers do hide themselves, when they watch the birds coming to the snare or net, Proverbs 1:11 Micah 7:2; and therefore the next expression,

he that setteth snares, is but a periphrasis for a fowler, the Hebrew word being always so taken, Psalm 91:3 Proverbs 6:5, and elsewhere; or they pry, i.e. they narrowly look where they may get an advantage; hence enemies are called priers, or observers, as you may frequently find in the Psalms Psalm 5:8 27:11 56:2 59:10 92:11.

They set a trap, they catch men; intimating the success of their wicked policies in bringing their wicked decrees to pass, Psalm 37:7, as false witnesses and trespassers use to do, when they go about to insnare men that are innocent; such a trap did Jezebel lay for Naboth, 1 Kings 21:9,10. Such a one was that conspiracy of more than forty men against Paul, Acts 23:13-15. For among my people are found wicked men,.... Not a few only, but in general they appeared to be so, upon an inquiry into their character and conduct; for otherwise it would not have been so difficult to find a good man among them, as is suggested Jeremiah 5:1,

they lay wait as he that setteth snares; or, "they look about" (c); that is, as Kimchi interprets it, every man looks in the ways, to see if a man passed by, that he might rob him of what he had; as a man that lays snares, or sets a trap to catch birds in: or, "everyone looks out, when they that lay snares rest" (d); and so they are more diligent and constant in catching men than such persons are in catching birds:

they set a trap; or "dig a pit, or ditch" (e); for men to fall in; see Psalm 7:15,

they catch men; and rob them of their substance; or by their ill examples and counsels draw them into sin, and so into ruin; or circumvent them in trade and business.

(c) "aspicit", Vatablus, i. e. "quisque eorum", Piscator; "aspicient", Pagninus. (d) "contemplatur quisque, cum quiescunt aucupes", De Dieu; so Ben Melech; "et cum resident aucupes", Piscator, Gataker; "sit quiet and unmoved, that they may not frighten the birds by any noise, watching and expecting when they would get into the net"; so Gussetius. (e) "fodiunt foveas", Tigurine version.

For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
26. are found wicked men] men of such great wickedness as to infect all.

set a trap] lit. a destroyer. For an illustration of a bird-trap see on Amos 3:5 (C.B.). These men stealthily attack the poor and honest. Cp. Isaiah 29:21; Micah 7:2.

they catch men] They by their wiles do as Nimrod is supposed by ancient commentators to have done by force. The Targ. on Genesis 10:9 speaks of him as “a hunter of the sons of men.”Verse 26. - They lay wait, etc.; rather, they spy (literally, one spieth), as fowlers lie in wait. A trap; literally, a destroyer; i.e. an instrument of destruction (comp. Isaiah 54:16, where" the waster" (or destroyer) probably means the weapon referred to previously). The reproof of sins is introduced by an apostrophe to the hardened race. The exhortation, "Publish this," is addressed to all the prophet's hearers who have the welfare of the people at heart. "This," in Jeremiah 5:20 and Jeremiah 5:21, refers to the chiding statement from Jeremiah 5:23 onwards, that the people fears not God. The form of address, people foolish and without understanding (cf. Jeremiah 4:22; Hosea 7:11), is made cutting, in order, if possible, to bring the people yet to their senses. The following clauses, "they have eyes," etc., depict spiritual blindness and deafness, as in Ezekiel 12:22; cf. Deuteronomy 29:3. Blindness is shown in that they see not the government of God's almighty power in nature; deafness, in that they hear not the voice of God in His word. They have no fear even of the God whose power has in the sand set an impassable barrier for the mighty waves of the sea. "Me" is put first for emphasis. The waves beat against their appointed barrier, but are not able, sc. to pass it.
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