Jeremiah 9:7
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) I will melt them, and try them.—The prophet, speaking in the name of Jehovah, falls back upon the imagery of Jeremiah 6:28-30; Isaiah 48:10. The evil has come to such a pass that nothing is left but the melting of the fiery furnace of affliction. How else could He act for the daughter of His people? The phrase throws us back upon Jeremiah 8:21-22. The balm of Gilead had proved ineffectual. The disease required a severer remedy.

Jeremiah 9:7-8. Behold, I will melt them and try them — I will cast them into the furnace of affliction, that I may purify them from their dross. See note on Jeremiah 6:29-30, and on Isaiah 1:25. For how shall I do, &c. — I have tried all other means, and they have proved ineffectual. Their tongue is as an arrow, &c. — It was compared to a bow bent, Jeremiah 9:3, plotting and preparing mischief; here it is an arrow shot out, putting in execution what they had projected. Dr. Waterland renders the words, as a sharp, or killing arrow; it speaketh deceit — They speak what they do not mean, that they may more easily deceive the credulous: they speak fair when they mean to destroy, as the next words explain it.

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.I will melt them, and try them - The punishment is corrective rather than retributive. The terms used are those of the refiner of metals, the first being the smelting to separate the pure metal from the ore; the second the testing to see whether the metal is pure, or still mixed with alloy. God will put the nation into the crucible of tribulation, that whatever is evil being consumed in the fire, all there is in them of good may be purified.

For how shall I do ... - Rather, "for how" else could I act with reference to the "daughter of my people?"

7. melt … try them—by sending calamities on them.

for how shall I do—"What else can I do for the sake of the daughter of My people?" [Maurer], (Isa 1:25; Mal 3:3).

I will melt them, and try them; the same metaphor used Jeremiah 6:29; try them by melting them, i.e. either I will try what lesser afflictions will do before I do utterly destroy them; or rather, I will bring judgment upon them, the fire and fury of the Chaldean war, that shall clear away their dross from among them, and purge away those deceits in which they trust, that fire remnant may be purified, Daniel 11:35; as when the dross is separated from metals, the rest remains pure: see on Isaiah 1:25. How shall I do? q. d. There is no remedy, I have tried all other means, and they have been ineffectual, any people will take no wanting; they are grown to such a height of impiety, that I can do no less, though they are any people, Hosea 6:4. Or God doth expostulate with them, How can you expect that I should treat you otherwise, that have so provoked me, and whose impieties have redounded so much to any dishonour?

Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Because of this deceit and hypocrisy, and lying:

behold, I will melt them, and try them: as the refiner does his gold and silver, by putting them into the fire of afflictions, and thereby remove their dross and corruption from them. So the Targum,

"behold, I will bring distress upon them, and melt them, and try them.''

For how shall I do for the daughter of my people? the sense is, what could be done otherwise or better? what was more fit or proper to be done, than to melt and try them, and purge away their sin, "from the face of the daughter of my people", as the words may be rendered? The Septuagint version is, "what shall I do from the face of the wickedness of my people?" and so the Targum,

"what shall I do from before the sins of the congregation of my people?''

that is, by way of resentment of them, and in order to remove them.

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will {h} melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?

(h) With the fire of affliction.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. melt] the same Hebrew word as “refining” in Jeremiah 6:29, where see note, and cp. Zechariah 13:9.

how else should] or, how (terribly) will.

because of the daughter] LXX probably rightly has because of the evil of the daughter, etc. Cp. Jeremiah 7:12, Jeremiah 32:32.

Verse 7. - I will melt them. It is the same word as that used in Malachi 3:3 of the "refiner and purifier of silver." Purification, not destruction, is the object of the judgment which is threatened! Strange that mercy should find place, after the offence of the criminal has been found so grievous l But, lest we should expect too favorable an issue, the prophet adds, in the name of Jehovah, For how shall I do? or rather, How should I act? How otherwise should I act? The continuation is a little doubtful. The Hebrew has," by reason of the daughter of my people;" but this can hardly be right. We naturally expect something to justify the preceding statement. The reading of the Septuagint answers to our anticipations by rendering ἀπὸ προσώπου πονηρίας θυγατρὸς λαοῦ μου, and this is confirmed by the parallel passage Jeremiah 7:12 (comp. Jeremiah 11:17; Jeremiah 32:32). Jeremiah 9:7In 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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