Jeremiah 5:3
O LORD, are not your eyes on the truth? you have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.
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(3) Upon the truth.—The Hebrew word, which has no article, implies truth in the inward parts, faithfulness, as well as truth in words. The “eyes” of God looked for this, and He found the temper that hardens itself against discipline, and refuses to repent.

Jeremiah 5:3-5. O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth — Dost thou not approve of truth and faithfulness? And dost thou not search men’s hearts, and clearly discern their real dispositions from their hypocritical pretences? Thou hast stricken them — With one affliction after another; but they have not grieved — They have remained insensible as stocks or stones: they have not been humbled, and made truly penitent. Thou hast consumed them — Not chastised them lightly, but wasted them by several enemies: but they have refused to receive correction — To accommodate themselves to, and answer thy design in, correcting them. They have not been instructed or amended by it. They have made their faces harder than a rock, &c. — They have been obstinate and impudent in their evil practices, and have wilfully rejected thy counsel, and disregarded thy judgments. Therefore I said, These are poor, &c. — I thought at first, says the prophet, that such insensibility and want of concern respecting the duties of religion could be only charged upon the rude and ignorant vulgar, who, through the ignorance and poverty of their parents, were not sufficiently instructed when young, and afterward had neither leisure nor opportunity of learning their duty. I will get me to the great men — And see if I can find them better acquainted with, and regardful of, the providence and word of God. For — I thought, rarely they have been better educated, and have had all opportunities and means of instruction and improvement, and therefore they must have known the way of the Lord, &c. But these have altogether broken the yoke, &c. — These are more refractory than the others; no law of God is able to hold them.5:1-9 None could be found who behaved as upright and godly men. But the Lord saw the true character of the people through all their disguises. The poor were ignorant, and therefore they were wicked. What can be expected but works of darkness, from people that know nothing of God and religion? There are God's poor, who, notwithstanding poverty, know the way of the Lord, walk in it, and do their duty; but these were willingly ignorant, and their ignorance would not be their excuse. The rich were insolent and haughty, and the abuse of God's favours made their sin worse.Upon the truth - God looks to the "faith," the upright purpose of the heart, and without it the nominal fealty of an oath is an abomination. 3. eyes upon the truth—(De 32:4; 2Ch 16:9). "Truth" is in contrast with "swear falsely" (Jer 5:2). The false-professing Jews could expect nothing but judgments from the God of truth.

stricken … not grieved—(Jer 2:30; Isa 1:5; 9:13).

refused … correction—(Jer 7:28; Zep 3:2).

Are not thine eyes upon the truth? The prophet, observing the obstinacy of this people, abruptly turns himself to God, yet emphatically insinuates their incorrigibleness. This may refer either to God’s discerning and knowing truth from falsehood, as being impossible that any thing should be hid from him, Psalm 11:4; or rather, (more agreeably to the phrase,) to God’s approving; and this some again refer to persons, as men of truth for true men, so man of wisdom for a wise man, Micah 6:9; but others, better, to truth and faithfulness, as that which God hath a great respect for, and delight in, Psalm 51:6, and was not to be found among these people. Though none of these senses be improper, this seems the most genuine.

They have not grieved; they have been under sore grievances that God hath laid them under, yet they seem unconcerned, Proverbs 23:35 Isaiah 42:25; or it is probable they were grieved at their sufferings, but they have not repented, thereby to turn away the causes of his just displeasure: see 2 Corinthians 7:9,10.

Thou hast consumed them; God had not only lightly chastised them, but wasted them by several enemies, as the Assyrian, Isaiah 10:5,6 36:1, and Pharaoh-nechoh, 2 Kings 23:33, and the Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites, and the Ammonites, 2 Kings 24:2, and Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 24:13, &c. All these he made use of as the rod of his indignation, yet they refused to receive correction; see Jeremiah 2:30; a metonymy of the effect; they have profited nothing by it, not at all reformed, Isaiah 1:5,16 Am 4:6,8-11.

They have made their faces harder than a rock; noting their obstinacy and impudence, laying aside all sense of judgments, as past feeling, Proverbs 21:29 Zechariah 7:12. They have refused to return; wilfully rejected counsel, and slighted correction, resolving to persist in their obstinacy. O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth?.... That is, thou hast no regard to such deceitful men, such hypocritical worshippers and formal professors, but to true and upright men: God looks not at outward appearances, but to the heart; he can see through all masks and vizards, there is no deceiving of him; he desires truth in the inward parts, and his eyes are on that; he has respect to men that have the truth of grace, the root of the matter in them, oil in their vessels, together with the lamps of an outward profession: his eyes are on such as have a true inward sense of sin, a genuine repentance for it, and that make a sincere, hearty, and ingenuous confession of it; to this man he looks, that is poor, and of a contrite spirit; he is nigh to such, and dwells with them; when he has no regard to the sad countenances and disfigured faces of Pharisees; to the tears of a profane Esau, or to the external humiliations and concessions of a wicked Pharaoh: his eyes are upon the internal graces of his own Spirit; to love, that is in deed and in truth; to hope, that is without dissimulation, and to faith unfeigned: and so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it, "thine eyes are unto faith"; or, respect faith (p); the faith of Christians, as Jerom interprets it. Faith is a grace well pleasing to God, and everything that is done in faith is so, and nothing else; it is a grace that gives glory to God, and on which he has put much honour, in making it the receiver of all the blessings of grace, and connecting salvation with it; he has so great a regard for it, that whatever it asks it has of him. In short, the sense is, that the eyes of the Lord, of his love, favour, good will, and delight, are upon such whose hearts are upright towards him; who draw nigh to him in truth, worship him in spirit and in truth, and are hearty to his cause and interest, and faithful to his word and ordinances; who are lovers of truth; of Christ, who is the truth itself; and of his Gospel, the word of truth, and the doctrines of it; see 1 Samuel 16:7.

Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; that is, the Lord had courted and chastised them with afflictive providences; he had brought his judgments upon them, and had smitten them with the sword, or famine, or pestilence, or some such sore calamity, and yet it had not brought them to a sense of their sin, and to a godly sorrow for it:

thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction; God had by his judgments consumed or swept away many of them, yet the rest did not take warning thereby, but went on in their sins; or they were brought near to consumption, as Kimchi interprets it; nevertheless remained obstinate and incorrigible, refused to receive any correction or instruction by such providences:

they have made their faces harder than a rock; becoming more impudent in sinning, not blushing at, or being ashamed for it, and unmoved by judgments and chastising providence:

they have refused to return; to the Lord, and to his worship, from which they revolted; or by repentance, and unto faith and truth, from which they had swerved.

(p) "oculi tui respiciunt fidem", V. L. "ad fidem" Justius & Tremellius, Cocceius, and some in Vatablus.

O LORD, are not thy eyes upon the {c} truth? thou hast {d} stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

(c) Do you not love uprightness and faithful dealing?

(d) You have often punished them, but all is in vain, Isa 9:13.

3. do not thine eyes look upon, etc.] Dost thou not look for faithfulness in men?

they have made their faces harder than a rock] Cp. Ezekiel 3:7 ff.Verse 3. - Are not thine eyes upon the truth? rather, surely thine eyes are upon (equivalent to thou lookest for and demandest) good faith, alluding to ver. 1. The devastation of Judah, though not its utter annihilation, is irrevocably decreed, and cannot be turned away by any meretricious expedients. - Jeremiah 4:27. "For thus saith Jahveh, A waste shall the whole land be, yet will I not make an utter end. Jeremiah 4:28. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heaven above darken, because I have said it, purposed it, and repent it not, neither will I turn back from it. Jeremiah 4:29. For the noise of the horseman and bowman every city flees; they come into thickets, and into clefts of the rock they go up; every city is forsaken, and no man dwells therein. Jeremiah 4:30. And thou, spoiled one, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself in purple, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou tearest open thine eyes with paint, in vain thou makest thyself fair; the lovers despise thee, they seek thy life. Jeremiah 4:31. For I hear a voice as of a woman in travail, anguish as of one who bringeth forth her first-born, the voice of the daughter of Zion; she sigheth, she spreadeth out her hands: Woe is me! for my soul sinketh powerless beneath murderers."

Jeremiah 4:27-29

Jeremiah 4:27 and Jeremiah 4:28 confirm and explain what the prophet has seen in spirit in Jeremiah 4:23-26. A waste shall the land become; but the wasting shall not be a thorough annihilation, not such a destruction as befell Sodom and Gomorrah. עשׂה , as in Nahum 1:8., Isaiah 10:23, and freq. This limitation is yet again in v. Jeremiah 5:10, Jeremiah 5:18 made to apply to Jerusalem, as it has done already to the people at large. It is founded on the promise in Leviticus 26:44, that the Lord will punish Israel with the greatest severity for its stubborn apostasy from Him, but will not utterly destroy it, so as to break His covenant with it. Accordingly, all prophets declare that after the judgments of punishment, a remnant shall be left, from which a new holy race shall spring; cf. Amos 9:8; Isaiah 6:13; Isaiah 11:11, Isaiah 11:16; Isaiah 10:20., Micah 2:12; Micah 5:6; Zephaniah 3:13, etc. "For this" refers to the first half of Jeremiah 4:27, and is again resumed in the על כּי following: for this, because Jahveh hath purposed the desolation of the whole land. The earth mourns, as in Hosea 4:3, because her productive power is impaired by the ravaging of the land. The heaven blackens itself, i.e., shrouds itself in dark clouds (1 Kings 18:45), so as to mourn over the desolated earth. The vividness of the style permits "have decreed it" to be appended as asyndeton to "I have said it," for the sake of greater emphasis. God has not only pronounced the desolation of the land, but God's utterance in this is based upon a decree which God does not repent, and from which He will not turn back. The lxx have placed the זמּתי after נחמתּי, and have thus obtained a neater arrangement of the clauses; but by this the force of expression in "I have said it, decreed it," is weakened. In Jeremiah 4:29 the desolation of the land is further portrayed, set forth in Jeremiah 4:30 as inevitable, and exhibited in its sad consequences in Jeremiah 4:31. On the approach of the hostile army, all the inhabitants flee into inaccessible places from the clatter or noise of the horsemen and archers. He that casts the bow, the bowman; cf. Psalm 78:9. כּל־העיר means, in spite of the article, not the whole city, but every city, all cities, as may be gathered from the בּהן, which points back to this. So frequently before the definite noun, especially when it is further defined by a relative clause, as e.g., Exodus 1:22; Deuteronomy 4:3; 1 Samuel 3:17; cf. Ew. 290, c. For the first כּל־העירthe lxx have πᾶσα ἡ χώρα, and accordingly J. D. Mich., Hitz., and Graf propose to amend to כּל־הארץ, so as to avoid "the clumsy repetition." But we cannot be ruled here by aesthetic principles of taste. Clearly the first "every city" means the populace of the cities, and so בּאוּ is: they (i.e., the men) come, pouring forth. עבים is not here clouds, but, according to its etymology, to be dark, means the dark thickets or woods; cf. the Syr. ̀āb, wood. כּפים, rocks, here clefts in the rocks, as is demanded by the בּ. For this state of things, cf. Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21, and the accounts of Judges 6:2; 1 Samuel 13:6, where the Israelites hide themselves from the invading Midianites in caves, ravines, thorn-thickets, rocks, and natural fastnesses.

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