Jeremiah 9:4
Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
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(4) Take ye heed . . .—The extreme bitterness of the prophet’s words is explained in part by what we read afterwards of his personal history (Jeremiah 12:6; Jeremiah 18:18). Then, as at other times, a man’s foes were those of his own household (Matthew 10:36).

Every brother will utterly supplant.—The word is that which gave the patriarch his significant name of Jacob, the supplanter (Genesis 25:26; Genesis 27:36). Jeremiah seems to say that the people have forfeited their claims to the name of the true Israel. Every brother Israelite is found to be a thorough-paced Jacob. The adverb “utterly” expresses the force of the Hebrew reduplication of the verb.

Will walk with slanders.—Better, walketh a slanderer.

Jeremiah 9:4-6. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour — Or, of his friend, as רעהוrather signifies; of him who pretends friendship to him, or whom he has befriended. And trust ye not in a brother — Against whom you must stand as much upon your guard as if you were dealing with a stranger. For every brother will utterly supplant — Will deceive, overreach, and take all possible advantage of his nearest relation; and every neighbour — Or friend, rather, as before; will walk with slanders — Will not care what ill he says of another, though never so false. The Hebrew, רכיל יהלךְ, is properly, will go about as a detracter, or calumniator, namely, carrying slanders with him from house to house. This is a strong description of the falsehood and calumny which universally prevailed among them. And weary themselves to commit iniquity — They are so inclined and enslaved to iniquity, that they not only commit it when they can do it easily, but when the commission of it is attended with difficulty; for they take more pains to carry on their ill designs than the practice of truth and integrity would cost them. Thy habitation is in the midst of deceit — That is, all about thee are addicted to it, therefore stand upon thy guard. They are God’s words to the prophet. If all around us are false and deceitful, it concerns us to beware of them, and to be wise as serpents. Through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord — “The knowledge of God, which is true religion, is incompatible with the practice of any wickedness. And therefore it is natural enough for those that are resolved at all events to abide in their evil courses, to endeavour, if possible, to divest themselves of all religious principles, which, if insufficient to restrain, will be sure at least to be very troublesome to them.”

9:1-11 Jeremiah wept much, yet wished he could weep more, that he might rouse the people to a due sense of the hand of God. But even the desert, without communion with God, through Christ Jesus, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, must be a place for temptation and evil; while, with these blessings, we may live in holiness in crowded cities. The people accustomed their tongues to lies. So false were they, that a brother could not be trusted. In trading and bargaining they said any thing for their own advantage, though they knew it to be false. But God marked their sin. Where no knowledge of God is, what good can be expected? He has many ways of turning a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwell therein.In a state of such utter lawlessness, the bonds of mutual confidence are relaxed, and suspicion takes its place.

Utterly supplant - An allusion to the name of Jacob Genesis 27:36. It might be rendered, "every brother is a thorough Jacob."

Will walk with slanders - Or, slandereth.

4. supplant—literally, "trip up by the heel" (Ho 12:3).

walk with slanders—(Jer 6:28).

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour; better rendered friend, or companion, as 2 Samuel 16:17, and in the next verse; showing the general corruption will be so malignant, that one friend will betray another; no faith in friends.

Will utterly supplant; wholly given to it; Heb. supplanting will supplant; or, treading down treadeth down; trampling them under their feet, noting their oppression, which they exercise all manner of ways, as in the next verse, both by fraud and force. Like the interpretation that Esau puts upon Jacob, Genesis 27:36; not only such as are near in habitation, pretending neighbourhood and friendship; but near in relation, even a

brother will circumvent; no respect to blood, arguing them to be monstrous in nature, putting off humanity. The word is here in allusion to Jacob, who had his name from supplanting; a metaphor taken from the sole of the foot, Genesis 25:26.

Walk with slanders; carrying tales and reports up and down, whether true or false, to the disturbance of the peace of neighbourhood, Jeremiah 6:28, and against the law of God, Leviticus 19:16.

Take ye heed everyone of his neighbour,.... Take care of being imposed upon by them, since they are so given to lying and deceit; be not too credulous, or too easily believe what is said; or keep yourselves from them; have no company or conversation with them, since evil communications corrupt good manners:

and trust ye not in any brother; whether by blood or by marriage, or by religion, believe not his words; trust him not, neither with your money, nor with your mind; commit not your secrets to him, place no confidence in him; a people must be very corrupt indeed when this is the case: or, "trust ye not in every brother" (r); some may be trusted, but not all though the following clause seems to contradict this,

for every brother will utterly supplant; or, in supplanting supplant (s); play the Jacob, do as he did by his brother, who supplanted him twice; first got the birthright from him, and then the blessing; which was presignified by taking his brother by the heel in the womb, from whence he had his name; and the same word is here used, which signifies a secret, clandestine, and insidious way of circumventing another;

and every neighbour will walk with slanders; go about spreading lies and calumnies, as worshippers, backbiters, and tale bearers do. The word is used for a "merchant"; and because such persons went from place to place with their goods, and made use often times of fraudulent practices to deceive people, it is applied to one that is guilty of slander and calumny; Sol 3:8.

(r) "et omni fratri ne fidatis", Paganinus. (s) "supplantanto supplantat", Schmidt.

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any {e} brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

(e) Meaning, that all were corrupt, and none could find an honest man.

4. Cp. Micah 7:5 f. “The mutual distrust, which had already in the time of Hezekiah broken up families and divided the nearest friends, and made a man’s worst enemies those of his own household, had now reached the highest degree of intensity” (Stanley, J. Ch. II. 437).

will utterly supplant] The Hebrew verb emphasizes the allusion to Genesis 27:36. We might render, “Every brother is a thorough Jacob.”

Verse 4. - Take ye heed every one of his neighbor. Such was the result of clinging to an unprogressive religion - one which refused to be spiritualized by the prophets. Certainly, if the established religion was so inefficacious, it was self-condemned. Hero we find the prophet depicting a state of society in which the elementary bonds are already dissolved, and suspicion becomes the natural attitude even of a good man. We find a very similar picture in the last chapter of Micah - a chapter, it is true, which stands apart from the rest of the book, as it implies a greater development of wickedness than the rest of Micah and the contemporary prophecies of Isaiah would lead us to expect. Are these prophetic descriptions just and accurate? We may allow something, no doubt, for the warmth of feeling natural to every human preacher, even under the influence of inspiration; but we must not allow ourselves to explain away the obvious meaning of the prophets. The latter and their disciples were "the salt" of their country; and in proportion as their influence declined, the natural effects of a non-moral, purely ritualistic religion showed themselves on a larger scale. Every brother; i.e. every fellow-tribesman or fellow-citizen. Will utterly supplant. There is nothing in the context to suggest an allusion to Genesis 27:36 (Jacob). The verb has its common sense of deceiving. The tense should be the present, not the future, both here and in the next verse. Will walk; rather, goeth about (see Jeremiah 6:28). Jeremiah 9:4In Jeremiah 9:4 these sinful ways are exposed in yet stronger words. יהתל, uncontracted form of the imperf. Hiph. of תּלל, trip up, deceive. On the infin. העוה, cf. Ew. 238, e, and Gesen. 75, Rem. 17. They weary themselves out, put themselves to great labour, in order to deal corruptly; נלאה as in Jeremiah 20:9; Isaiah 16:12, elsewhere to be weary of a thing; cf. Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 15:6. - In Jeremiah 9:5 the statement returns to the point at which it commenced: thy sitting (dwelling) is in the midst of deceit. In deceit, i.e., in the state of their mind, directed as it is by deceit and cheating, they refuse to know me, i.e., they are resolved to have nothing to do with the knowledge of God, because in that case they must give up their godless ways.

(Note: The lxx have not understood שׁכתּך dootsr. They have split it up into שׁב תּך, joined שׁב to נלאוּ, and translated, after adding ולא: καὶ ου ̓ διέλιπον τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι τόκος ἐπὶ τόκῳ (i.e., usury upon usury) καὶ δόλος ἐπὶ δόλω οὐκ ἤθελον εἰδέναι με. Ew. has adopted this construction, and so translates: "have accustomed their tongue to speak lies, to do perversity, are weary of turning again; wrong upon wrong, deceit upon deceit, they are not willing to know me." But this text is not better, but worse, than the Masoretic: for, 1st, the perverse dealing or action is attributed to the tongue; 2nd, the thought, they are weary of turning again, does not suit the context, since the persons described here have never sought to return or repent, and so cannot have become weary of it. For these reasons, neither Hitz. nor Graf has given countenance to the lxx text.)

By reason of this depravity, the Lord must purge His people by sore judgments. He will melt it in the fire of affliction (Isaiah 48:10), to separate the wicked: cf. Isaiah 1:25; Zechariah 13:9; and on בּחן, Jeremiah 6:27. For how should I do, deal? Not: what dreadful judgments shall I inflict (Hitz., Gr.), in which case the grounding כּי would not have its proper force; but: I can do none otherwise than purge. Before the face of, i.e., by reason of, the daughter, because the daughter of my people behaves herself as has been described in Jeremiah 9:2-4, and as is yet to be briefly repeated in Jeremiah 9:7. The lxx have paraphrased מפּני: ἀπὸ προσώπου πονηρίας. This is true to the sense, but it is unfair to argue from it, as Ew., Hitz., Gr. do, that רעת has been dropped out of the Hebrew text and should be restored. - In Jeremiah 9:7 what has been said is recapitulated shortly, and then in Jeremiah 9:8 the necessity of the judgment is shown. חץ שׁוחט, a slaying, slaughtering, i.e., murderous arrow. Instead of this Chet., which gives a good sense, the Keri gives שׁחוּט, which, judging from the Chald. translation, is probably to be translated sharpened. But there is no evidence for this sig., since שׁחוּט occurs only in connection with זהב, 1 Kings 10:16, and means beaten, lit., spread gold. At מרמה דבּר the plural passes into the singular: he (one of them) speaks; cf. Psalm 55:22. ארב for insidious scheming, as in Hosea 7:6. With Jeremiah 9:8 cf. Jeremiah 5:9, Jeremiah 5:29.

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