They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor's wife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They were as fed horses in the morning.—Better, As fed stallion horses they rove about. The animal passion is taken, as in Ezekiel 23:20, (1) as answering to the same passion in man; (2) as symbolical of the lust for idolatrous ritual. (Comp. Jeremiah 2:24.)Fed horses, to note the greatness and unruliness of their lust, pampered horses being most wanton, like that Deu 32:15.
In the morning: it is questioned whether morning relates to horses or to men; if to horses, then they are compared to stallions, that having been fed to the full over-night, and lain at ease, in the morning they are most lusty; but rather it seems to relate to men, showing that they were very early in going about their filthinesses, Zephaniah 3:7, following their uncleanness with as great eagerness as it is said that drunkards follow strong drink, Isaiah 5:11.
Every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife, i.e. with an impetuous earnestness and unwearied hunting, they sought after the adulteresses to satisfy their beastly lusts. It notes,
1. The strength of their lust, a thing in horses much taken notice of by authors.
2. The unbridledness and uncontrollableness of it, as is seen in the pampered horses hunting after the mare, of which neighing is a sign, thus expressed Jeremiah 13:27. Thus the Grecians would express men extremely libidinous by the word ippobinoi, and ippopornoi, and that they do ippomanein, so the LXX., and thus described Ezekiel 22:11. Hosea 6:4) "drawing out" (u); that is, the genital member, as lascivious horses do. The word is difficult of interpretation. The Targum calls them field or wood horses; horses that run in fields and woods, and are very vicious and wanton:,
everyone neighed after his neighbour's wife; coveted and lusted after her, signified his lustful desires, and sought an opportunity to defile her. Neighing is a sign of lust, and keeps up the metaphor of the horse.
(u) "trahentes", Aquila, Symmachus & Theodotion in Bootius, l. 3. c. 5. sect. 3. Aben Ezra and Abendana interpret it of horses that come from Meshec; see Psal. cxx. 5. which were the strongest and most lascivious.They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. The Hebrew of the first clause is obscure. The reading “fed horses,” which is to be preferred, represents the consonants of MT. (K’thibh), though the verb which they form is found elsewhere only in cognate languages (meaning to feed). The mg. of MT. (Ḳ’ri) is of uncertain signification, but probably is from a root giving a sense equivalent to the word dealt with in the next note.
in the morning] Hebrew grammar forbids this rendering, while mg. roaming at large connects it with a root from which it cannot, strictly speaking, be drawn. It is best, with a slight change in MT., to take it as meaning stallions. See Dr. p. 345.Verse 8. - As fed horses in the morning. The rendering fed horses has considerable authority. "Lustful horses" is also possible; this represents the reading of the Hebrew margin. The following word in the Hebrew is extremely difficult. "In the morning" cannot be right, as it is against grammar; but it is not easy to furnish a substitute. Most moderns render "roving about;" Furst prefers "stallions." Jeremiah 5:1. "Range through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek upon her thoroughfares, if ye find any, if any doth judgment, seeketh after faithfulness, and I will pardon her. Jeremiah 5:2. And if they say, 'As Jahveh liveth,' then in this they swear falsely. Jeremiah 5:3. Jahveh, are not Thine yes upon faithfulness? Thou smitest them, an they are not pained; thou consumest them, they will take no correction; they make their face harder than rock, they will not turn. Jeremiah 5:4. And I thought, It is but the baser sort, they are foolish; for they know not the way of Jahveh, the judgment of their God. Jeremiah 5:5. I will get me then to the great, and will speak with them, for they know the way of Jahveh, the judgment of their God; yet together have they broken the yoke, burst the bonds. Jeremiah 5:6. Therefore a lion out of the wood smiteth them, a wolf of the deserts spoileth them, a leopard lieth in wait against their cities: every one that goeth out thence is torn in pieces; because many are their transgressions, many their backslidings. Jeremiah 5:7. Wherefore should I pardon thee? thy sons have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods. I caused them to sear, but they committed adultery, and crowd into the house of the harlot. Jeremiah 5:8. Like well-fed horses, they are roaming about; each neigheth after the other's wife. Jeremiah 5:9. Shall I not punish this? saith Jahveh; or shall not my soul be avenged on such a people as this?"
The thought of Jeremiah 5:1, that in Jerusalem there is not to be found one solitary soul who concerns himself about uprightness and sincerity, does not, though rhetorically expressed, contain any rhetorical hyperbole or exaggeration such as may have arisen from the prophet's righteous indignation, or have been inferred from the severity of the expected judgment (Hitz.); it gives but the simple truth, as is seen when we consider that it is not Jeremiah who speaks according to the best of his judgment, but God, the searcher of hearts. Before the all-seeing eye of God no man is pure and good. They are all gone astray, and there is none that doeth good, Psalm 14:2-3. And if anywhere the fear of God is the ruling principle, yet when the look falls on the mighty hosts of the wicked, even the human eye loses sight of the small company of the godly, since they are in no case to exert an influence on the moral standing of the whole mass. "If ye find any" is defined by, "if there is a worker of right;" and the doing of right or judgment is made more complete by "that seeketh faithfulness," the doing of right or judgment is made more complete by "that seeketh faithfulness," the doing being given as the outcome of the disposition. אמוּנה is not truth (אמת), but sincerity and good faith. On this state of affairs, cf. Hosea 4:1; Micah 7:2; Isaiah 64:5. The pledge that God would pardon Jerusalem if He found but one righteous man in it, recalls Abraham's dealing with God on behalf of Sodom, Genesis 18:23. In support of what has been said, it is added in Jeremiah 5:2, that they even abuse God's name for lying purposes; cf. Leviticus 19:12. Making oath by the life of Jahveh is not looked on here as a confession of faith in the Lord, giving thus as the sense, that even their worship of God was but the work of the lips, not of the heart (Ros.); but the solemn appeal to the living God for the purpose of setting the impress of truth on the face of a life, is brought forward as evidence that there is none that strives after sincerity. the antithesis forced in here by Hitz. and Graf is foreign to text and context both, viz., that between swearing by Jahveh and by the false gods, or any other indifferent name. The emphasis lies on swearing לשׁקר, as opposed to swearing in the way demanded by God, בּאמת וּבמשׁפּט וּבצדקה, Jeremiah 4:2. לכן, therein, i.e., yet even in this, or nevertheless.
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