Jeremiah 5:26
For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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). Jeremiah 5:26The people has by its sins brought about the withdrawal of these blessings (the withholding of rain, etc.). הטּוּ, turned away, as in Amos 5:12; Malachi 3:5. "These," i.e., the blessings mentioned in Jeremiah 5:24. The second clause repeats the same thing. The good, i.e., which God in His goodness bestowed on them.

This is established in Jeremiah 5:26. by bringing home to the people their besetting sins. In (amidst) the people are found notorious sinners. ישׁוּר in indefinite generality: they spy about, lie in wait; cf. Hosea 13:7. The singular is chosen because the act described is not undertaken in company, but by individuals. שׁך from שׁכך, bend down, stoop, as bird-catchers hide behind the extended nets till the birds have gone in, so as then to draw them tight. "They set;" not the fowlers, but the wicked ones. משׁחית, destroyer (Exodus 12:23, and often), or destruction (Ezekiel 21:36); here, by virtue of the context, a trap which brings destruction. The men they catch are the poor, the needy, and the just; cf. Jeremiah 5:28 and Isaiah 29:21. The figure of bird-catching leads to a cognate one, by which are set forth the gains of the wicked or the produce of their labours. As a cage is filled with captured birds, so the houses of the wicked are filled with deceit, i.e., possessions obtained by deceit, through which they attain to credit, power, and wealth. Graf has overthrown Hitz.'s note, that we must understand by מרמה, not riches obtained by deceit, but he means and instruments of deceit; and this on account of the following: therefore they enrich themselves. But, as Graf shows, it is not the possession of these appliances, but of the goods acquired by deceit, that has made these people great and rich, "as the birds that fill the cage are not a means for capture, but property got by cunning." כּלוּב, cage, is not strictly a bird-cage, but a bird-trap woven of willows (Amos 8:1), with a lid to shut down, by means of which birds were caught.

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