Jeremiah 6:21
Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
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(21) And the fathers and the sons together . . .—Better, I give unto this people stumbling blocks, and they shall stumble over them: fathers and sons together, neighbour and his friend, shall perish.

Jeremiah 6:21-26. Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people — I will suffer such things to be laid in their way as shall be the occasion of their destruction. Or, I will bring calamities upon them, by which they shall fall. The neighbour and his friend shall perish — Men of all sorts and conditions. Behold, a people cometh, &c. — The Chaldeans are here again described, as in Jeremiah 5:15; a distant nation, violent, cruel, armed with bows and spears, and well mounted. A great nation from the sides of the earth — Or rather, from the coasts, ends, or extremities of the earth, as Dr. Waterland reads it. Their voice roareth like the sea — The shouts of hostile armies are fitly compared to the waves of the sea, which dash upon the shores with a great noise. And they ride upon horses — Of which there was a great scarcity in Judea, which was one reason that induced the Jews to enter into alliances with Egypt, that they might be furnished with horses from thence. We have heard the fame thereof — The prophet personates the people, and describes the very great consternation which Judah and Jerusalem should be in, upon the approach of this formidable enemy. Our hands wax feeble — We have no heart to make any resistance; anguish hath taken hold of us — We are in an extremity of pain, like that of a woman in travail. Go not forth into the fields, &c. — Thus he expresses the great danger that would be everywhere. O daughter of my people, &c. — Here the prophet calls upon them to lament the desolations that were coming upon them; as if he had said, Hear thy God calling thee to weeping and mourning, and answer his call. Gird thee with sackcloth — Not only put on sackcloth for a day, but gird it on thee to be worn constantly. Wallow thyself in ashes — Lie down among them; use all the tokens of the deepest mourning, and most bitter lamentation; and that not forced, and for show, but with the greatest sincerity, as parents mourn for an only son, and think themselves comfortless because they are childless. The expression, as for an only son, was proverbial among the Jews, to denote the greatest grief. For the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us — Though he is not come yet, he is coming; the decree is gone forth, let us therefore meet the execution of it with a suitable sadness.

6:18-30 God rejects their outward services, as worthless to atone for their sins. Sacrifice and incense were to direct them to a Mediator; but when offered to purchase a license to go on in sin, they provoke God. The sins of God's professing people make them an easy prey to their enemies. They dare not show themselves. Saints may rejoice in hope of God's mercies, though they see them only in the promise: sinners must mourn for fear of God's judgments, though they see them only in the threatenings. They are the worst of revolters, and are all corrupters. Sinners soon become tempters. They are compared to ore supposed to have good metal in it, but which proves all dross. Nothing will prevail to part between them and their sins. Reprobate silver shall they be called, useless and worthless. When warnings, corrections, rebukes, and all means of grace, leave men unrenewed, they will be left, as rejected of God, to everlasting misery. Let us pray, then, that we may be refined by the Lord, as silver is refined."Behold," I give unto "this people" causes of stumbling,

And they shall stumble against them:

Fathers and sons together,

"The neighbor and his friend shall perish."

This is the natural consequence of their conduct. Their service of Yahweh was a systematic hypocrisy: how then could they walk uprightly with their fellow-men? When God lays stumblingblocks in men's way, it is by the general action of His moral law James 1:13-14, by which willful sin in one point reacts upon the whole moral nature James 2:10.

21. stumbling-blocks—instruments of the Jews' ruin (compare Mt 21:44; Isa 8:14; 1Pe 2:8). God Himself ("I") lays them before the reprobate (Ps 69:22; Ro 1:28; 11:9).

fathers … sons … neighbour … friend—indiscriminate ruin.

I will lay stumbling-blocks; God gives this name to all the occasions of the Jews’ ruin; he exposeth them, or suffereth such things to be laid in their way, as shall be the occasion of their destruction; such things which they shall not get over. Or an hypallage, I will bring destruction upon them; as the Hebrews use to speak, They have sent a city into the fire, i.e. They have sent fire into the city. Or God doth here compare his judgments to traps, wherein they shall be taken, which they thought easily to have evaded. What these stumbling-blocks are seem to be expressed in the following verses.

The fathers and the sons together; as well the fathers, that have more prudence and policy, as the children, that are more inadvertent, or possibly may count themselves less guilty, shall perish by these stumbling-blocks; no recovering for themselves, Isaiah 8:14,15.

The neighbour and his friend; men of all sorts and conditions, the greatest intimates and associates, though all lay their heads together for counsel, yet shall they not be able to help one another, but a promiscuous destruction there shall be, Jeremiah 6:11 Jeremiah 13:14.

Therefore thus saith the Lord,.... Because of their immorality and hypocrisy, their contempt of his word, and confidence in legal rites and ceremonies:

behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people; by which may be meant the judgments of God upon them, raising up enemies against them, and suffering them to invade their land; particularly the Assyrians, as the following words show. Moreover, the prophecies of the false prophets, and the doctrines which they were permitted to spread among the people, were snares and stumblingblocks unto them, they being given up to believe their lies, and to be hardened by them; nay, even true doctrines, the doctrines of justification and salvation by Christ, yea, Christ himself, were a rock of offence, and a stumbling stone to these people, Isaiah 8:14.

and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; or, "by them" (z); the latter following the examples of the forager; and so it denotes, that as the corruption was general, the punishment would be:

and the neighbour and his friend shall perish; in the same calamity, being involved in the guilt of the same iniquity, in which they encouraged and hardened one another. The Septuagint and Arabic versions by "stumblingblocks" understand an "infirmity" or "disease", which should come upon the people, and make a general desolation among them. Kimchi interprets the whole of the wickedness of fathers and children, neighbours and friends, and such as were in trade and partnership, and of their delight in mischief; that though they were aware of the stumblingblocks, yet would not give each other warning of them. The whole, according to the accents, should be rendered thus, "and they shall fall upon them, the fathers and the sons together, the neighbour and his friend, and they shall perish"; falling and perishing are said of them all.

(z) "in iis", Schmidt; "in eis", Cocceius, Pegnanius.

Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
21. stumblingblocks] The enemy shall trip them up in their easygoing ways. Cp. Jeremiah 6:15.

Verse 21. - I will lay stumbling-blocks, etc, Of the regenerate Israel of the future it is prophesied (Isaiah 54:15) that his enemies shall "fall upon him [or, 'by reason of him']." Of the unregenerate Israel of the present, that he shall "fall" (i.e. come to ruin) upon the "stumbling-blocks" presented, not without God's appointment, by the terrible northern invader. Jeremiah 6:21Therefore the Lord will lay stumbling-blocks before the people, whereby they all come to grief. The stumbling-blocks by which the people are to fall and perish, are the inroads, of the enemies, whose formidableness is depicted in Jeremiah 6:22. The idea of totality is realized by individual cases in "fathers and sons, neighbour and his friend." יחדּו belongs to the following clause, and not the Keri, but the Cheth. יאבדוּ, is the true reading. The Keri is formed after the analogy of Jeremiah 46:6 and Jeremiah 50:32; but it is unsuitable, since then we would require, as in the passages cited, to have נפל in direct connection with כּשׁל.
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