Why then is this people of Jerusalem slid back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Slidden back . . . backsliding.—The English fails to give the full emphasis of the re-iteration of the same word as in the previous verse. Why doth this people of Jerusalem turn away with a perpetual turning? Here, so far, there was no retracing the evil path which they had chosen.
I hearkened and heard.—Jehovah himself is introduced here, as probably in the question of the previous verse, as speaking, listening for cries of penitence, and hearing only the words of the evildoers.
Rusheth.—The word is primarily used of the rushing of a torrent (Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 10:22; Isaiah 28:17), and is applied to the frantic impetuosity with which Israel was rushing into evil, and therefore into the misery that followed it.Jeremiah 8:4, why is God's own people alone an exception?
Slidden back ... backsliding - The same words as "turn" and "return" in Jeremiah 8:4. They should be rendered, "Why doth this people of Jerusalem turn away with a perpetual turning?"
Deceit - i. e., idolatry; because men worship in it that which is false, and it is false to the worshippers.
perpetual—in contrast to the "arise" ("rise again," Jer 8:4).
refuse to return—in contrast to, "shall he … not return" (Jer 8:4; Jer 5:3).By a perpetual backsliding: either a universal backsliding; or rather, obstinately resolved to hold on, though they see they are out of the way; not out of levity or inconsiderateness. The Hebrew word signifies strength, the same used Psalm 13:1, and translated for ever, implying a strong, stiff, stout refusal. See Isaiah 57:17 Jeremiah 5:3. Deceit: either their injustice and cozenages in circumventing one another, which was so frequent among them, Jeremiah 9:4-6 Micah 7:3,4; or their hypocrisy, whereby they thought to deceive God, but they did indeed deceive themselves; the great impediment of their repentance, Isaiah 44:20; or rather, their sticking close to their false prophets, who did deceive them, thence encouraging themselves in their wickedness, and pleasing themselves that their miseries should not come upon them. See Poole "Isaiah 30:10"; See Poole "Jer v. 31"; See Poole "Jeremiah 14:13", &c. Matthew 23:37 or rather thus, "why does a stubborn aversion turn away this people, O Jerusalem?" and so they are an address to the magistrates and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They hold fast deceit; practise it, and continue in the practice of it, both with God and man:
they refuse to return: to the Lord, to his worship, and to the right ways of holiness and truth, from whence they had erred; see Jeremiah 5:3.Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. slidden back … backsliding … return] All three expressions are from the same root; “turn back … backturning … to return.”Verse 5. - Slidden back... backsliding. The verb is the same verb (in another conjugation) as in Ver. 4, and the noun is a derivative from it. The Authorized Version, therefore, has slightly weakened the force of the argument. They hold fast deceit. They cling to a false view of their relation to their God (comp. Jeremiah 4:2; Jeremiah 5:2). Deuteronomy 28:26.
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