Jeremiah 9:8
Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.
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(8) An arrow shot out.—Better, an arrow that pierceth, or slayeth.

In heart.—More literally, inwardly.

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.An arrow shot out - Rather, "a murderous arrow."

In heart he layeth his wait - Rather, "inwardly he layeth his ambush."

8. tongue … arrow shot out—rather, "a murdering arrow" [Maurer] (Jer 9:3).

speaketh peaceably … in heart … layeth … wait—layeth his ambush [Henderson], (Ps 55:21).

Their tongue is as an arrow: before, Jeremiah 9:3, it was compared to a bow, i.e. ready prepared, and furnished with materials contriving their wickedness, Psalm 11:2; and here to an arrow shot out, actually executing what they have designed. Some translate it a murdering arrow. It speaketh deceit; never speaking what they mean, that thereby they may the easier deceive the credulous; a double tongue, speaking fair when they mean to destroy, Psalm 55:21, as the next words explain it, intending to do the greatest mischief when they speak fairest.

In heart he layeth his wait, Heb. in midst of him, i.e. in his very inwards, with his whole heart he contrives mischief.

Their tongue is as an arrow shot out,.... As an arrow out of a bow, which moves swiftly, and comes with great force; or, "drawn out" (u); as out of a quiver. The word is used of gold, and rendered "beaten gold", 1 Kings 10:16, gold drawn out into plates; and here of an arrow drawn out of a quiver; and so it is interpreted in the Talmud (w); or is "wounding", as the Septuagint, or "slaying" (x); denoting the mischief and injury done to the characters of men, by a deceitful, detracting, and calumniating tongue. The Targum is, "as a sharp arrow their tongue"; which pierces deep, and is deadly; See Gill on Jeremiah 9:3,

it speaketh deceit; deceitful words, by which men are imposed upon, and are led into wrong ways of thinking and acting:

one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth; salutes him in a friendly manner; wishes him all health, peace, and prosperity; professes a sincere and cordial friendship for him, and pretends a strong affection to him:

but in his heart he layeth wait; to draw him into snares, and circumvent, trick, and defraud him.

(u) "extensa, vel tracta", Vatablus (w) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 30. 2. & Gloss. in ib. (x) Jugulans, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.
8. LXX, by a different arrangement of the words forming the second and third clauses, have the words of their mouth are deceitful, an improvement in symmetry, to which the original easily lends itself.

Verse 8. - (Comp. Psalm 55:21.) As an arrow shot out; rather, as a sharpened arrow; but this is based on the marginal reading, and is itself a slightly forced rendering. The Hebrew text (i.e. the consonants), and also the Septuagint and Vulgate, have "as a murderous arrow." Jeremiah 9:8In 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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