Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On Jer 8:4. “In this consists our human blindness in spiritual matters, that he who has fallen cannot imagine he has fallen, he who errs will not be convinced that he errs. For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, 1 Cor. 2:14.” CRAMER.—“Labi humanum est, resurgere Christianum, nolle resurgere diabolicum.” FÖRSTER.
2. On Jer 8:5. “The people will still go astray more and more, they hold so fast to their false worship that they will not be turned away, and this because they have no proper place: because they have the service of God in reserve only au pis aller, it does not so much concern them whether they lie or steal, whether they go right or wrong, they do not wish to go anywhere.” ZINZENDORF.
3. On Jer 8:7. “God opens to us the book of nature not only that we may behold as in a mirror the divine wisdom and omnipotence, but that we may also take thence good examples of discipline and improvement. Isa. 1:3; Prov. 6:6. For if we behold such examples in nature we ought surely to be ashamed that irrational creatures are so willing and obedient, and do that for which they are created, but we men (who were made in His image and sealed with the Holy Ghost on the day of redemption) are so opposed, rebellious and disobedient to Him. This will certainly, in the case of no amendment, lead to a devilish bad ending.” CRAMER.
4. On Jer 8:5. “Manifeste docet nos, malitiam non esse opus naturæ, sed voluntatis (προαιρέσεως).” THEODORET.
5. On Jer 8:7. “CHRYSOSTOM, homil de Turture see de virtute: turturem dicit omnem castam ecclesiam, hirundinem vero Joannem hominum amatorem, cicadam autem eloquentissimum Paulum, ecclesiæ organum.” GHISLERUS.
6. On Jer 8:8. “Jeremiah finds some of those also among us, who (according to this description of the theologians of his country) either deduce propositions from the Scriptures which a child may see are not so, or make up sentences and bring them to the people, and when they are asked: Where is that in the Bible? reply unabashed: O there is much in the Bible that is no longer applicable! or, All that is true is not in the Bible.” ZINZENDORF.
7. On Jer 8:9. GHISLERUS here remarks that the concionatores bene prædicantes sed male operantes are put to shame and judged by the progress in wisdom and virtue of their hearers. He adduces a passage from the 18th Sermon of Bernard on the Song of Solomon, where it is said that the preacher should be concha not canalis. “Hic pæne simul et recipit et refundit; illa vero donec impleatur exspectat, et sic quod superabundat sine suo damno communicat.”
8. On Jer 8:13. Compare here Luke 13:6 sqq. and the New Year’s hymn of RAMBACH, “One year after another comes,” especially Jer 8:3. “Hew down, said He, the barren tree,” etc.
9. On Jer 8:14. “Despair is the last point to which God in His just judgments allows the godless to fall (Matt. 27:4, 6). Despairing men know indeed God’s just judgment concerning them, but not so that they are penitent for their sins (Gen. 4:13, 14),” STARKE.
10. On Jer 8:16. In accordance with the view widely extended among the church fathers and supported by Gen. 49:17 (see DELITZSCH ad. h. l.), that the Antichrist should proceed from Dan (comp. also Levit. 24:11 and the supposed origin of Judas Iscariot from the tribe of Dan). IRENÆUS (Adv. Hær. V. 30) remarks on this passage: “Jeremias non solum subitaneum Antichristi adventum sed et tribum, ex quo veniet, manifestavit dicens; ex Dan audiemus vocem velocitatis equorum ejus, etc. Et propter hoc non adnumeratur tribus hæc in Apocalypsi (7:5–8) cum his quæ salvantur.”
11. On Jer 8:16. “As the snorting of the horses sounded long before in the ears of the prophet, so shall the voice of Christ forever sound in our ears: ‘Arise ye dead and come to judgment.’ ” CRAMER.
12. On Jer 8:17. “Frustra ad Deum preces fundunt adversus serpentem antiquum qui Dei præcepta contemserint.” GHISLERUS.
13. On Jer 8:21. “Our connection with those who hear us continually is so full, so intimate, so tender, no one can understand it who has not experienced it. We get love, we get somewhat from the heart, which was broken for its enemies, and which could cry even on the cross: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” ZINZENDORF.
14. On Jer 8:22. “A pastor of a separatistic spirit cannot make many things whole, and it will be better for him to testify in earnest for the building up of those whom he would rather see pulled down.—He who will help his religion must regard it not as a Babylon, but as a broken Zion, and this from his heart; then he asks for salve and help, then he mourns for the hurt of Joseph.” ZINZENDORF.
15. On Jer 8:22. “Non solum in præsenti loco, sed et in multis aliis testimoniis scripturarum invenimus resinam Galaad pro pœnitentia poni atque medicamine, mirarique nunc Deum, quare vulnera Jerusalem nequaquam curata sint, et necdum cicatrices obduxerint cutem, eo quod non sint prophetæ nec sacerdotes, quorum debeant curari medicamine.” JEROME.
16. On Jer 8:23. The tears of Jeremiah are a prelude and type of the tears which the Lord wept over Jerusalem. Luke 19:41. As the blood of Abel cried to heaven so do these tears, and it is here first truly manifest how ruinous it is for men when the servants of God exercise their office among them not with joy but with sighs (Heb. 13:17).
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. On Jer 8:4-9. An earnest admonition to all who know that they are walking in perverse ways. They are admonished 1. to uprightness. They are (a) not to palliate their sins, (b) least of all to palliate them by a false interpretation of the divine word, either α. themselves or β. allow others to do it (Jer 8:8, 9).—2. To speedy return, for (a) he who returns betimes may be helped (Jer 8:4 the falling, the erring, Jer 8:7 the migratory birds); (b) but he who wilfully persists goes to ruin (Jer 8:6, the mad stallion). [HENRY: Those who persist in sin oppose 1. the dictates of reason (vers 4 and 5), 2. the dictates of conscience (Jer 8:6), 3. the dictates of Providence (the judgment of the Lord, Jer 8:7), 4. the dictates of the written word (Jer 8:8 and 9).—S. R. A.]
2. On Jer 8:4-7. God’s complaint of the impenitence of His people. 1. How far this applies to us; 2. what should awaken us to repentance: 3. what true repentance is. BRANDT. Epistelpredigten.
3. On Jer 8:10-13. Signs of the decline and fall of a nation. 1. Avarice reigns. 2. Priests and prophets teaching false worship, hush up and deceive the people with false comfort. Deacon HAUBER, in PALMER’S Casual-Reden. 2te Folge. I. Stuttgardt, 1860.
4. On Jer 8:18-23. In times of great distress in the church this text gives us occasion to consider I. Zion’s complaint. This is 1. (in its subject) (a) general (Jer 8:19, a), (b) special, of the true servants of the church (Jer 8:21, 23); 2. (in its object) directed (a) to being (for the moment) forsaken (Jer 8:19 b), (b) to the delay of help (Jer 8:20). II. Zion’s guilt (Jer 8:19 b). III. Zion’s salvation. This is conditioned (a) by the presence of the true means of salvation (word and sacraments), (b) by the true application of the same.
5. On Jer 8:20-22. The question of the divine word in our harvest-complaint and the answer of the divine word to our harvest-question. 1. Our harvest-complaint runs thus: the harvest is past, the summer is ended and no help is come to us. Then God’s word asks thee: (a) What is at fault? Is it not thy sin? (b) Is it really true that there was no help for thee? 2. Our harvest question runs: Is there then no salve in Gilead? Or is there no physician there? Why then is not the daughter of my people healed? To this the word of God answers: (a) O yes, salve and physician are there. The salve is the word of the fathers and the physician is thy Lord. (b) It is because the salve and the physician are not employed that our people are not healed. FLOREY, 1862.
6. [On Jer 8:20. 1. Every person who still remains in sin may at the close of the year usefully adopt this lamentation. 2. A season of religious revival is also eminently a time of harvest, and such as lose this season may usefully adopt this lamentation. 3. Another situation to which this melancholy reflection is peculiarly liable is that of a dying sinner. DWIGHT—“There is in this text I. The acknowledgment of opportunity. II. The confession of neglect. III. The anticipation of doom.” J. W. W.—S. R. A.]
7. [On Jer 8:22. I. Sin prevails as a disease. It is (a) hereditary, (b) pervading, (c) vital and inveterate, (d) deceitful, (e) often painful, (f) mortal. II. There is a physician. III. How then does this condition exist? Because men are (a) insensible of need, (b) disposed to procrastinate, (c) will not take the remedy simply. DR. A. THOMSON, of Edinburgh.—S. R. A.]
8. [On Jer 8:23. “The same word in Hebrew signifies both the eye and a fountain, as if in this land of sorrows our eyes were designed rather for weeping than seeing.” HENRY.—S. R. A.]
At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:1. 6. FULFILMENT OF RETRIBUTION CORRESPONDING TO THE IDOL-ABOMINATIONS
1 At this time, saith Jehovah, they shall bring1
The bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of his princes,
And the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets,
And the bones of the citizens of Jerusalem out of their graves,
2 And they shall spread them out to the sun,
And to the moon, and to all the host of heaven,
Which they loved and which they served and followed,
And which they sought and worshipped;
They shall not be gathered, nor buried;
They shall be dung on the surface of the earth.
3 And the whole remnant of the survivors of this wicked race
Shall prefer2 death to life in all places of the survivors3,
Whither I have driven them, saith Jehovah Zebaoth.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
It is clear from the contents that this strophe is closely connected with the preceding. Death is to come in a new form, as it were, in those who are already dead. The bones of the buried shall be disinterred and strewed in the face of the stars, their powerless deities, shall become stinking ordure (Jer 8:1, 2). And the surviving remnant will long for death as a benefit (Jer 8:3).
Jer 8:1, 2. At this time, saith Jehovah … surface of the earth. Of the motive of the disinterment the prophet says nothing. He had certainly no idea of its being the search for booty (JEROME, HITZIG, [HENDERSON]). He has in mind only the punitive justice of God.—His before princes is to be referred to the kings, viz., the princes of each king or kingdom, or of the crown. Comp. 24:8; 25:19; 34:21. We should have expected in reference to Judah their princes, as in Isai. 3:4; Hos. 7:16; 9:15.—Spread them out. Observe the irony. The stars look powerlessly down on the bones of their worshippers—while these send up a stench!—Gathered. Comp. 16:4; 25:33.—For the subject-matter compare 2 Sam 21:12 sqq.
Jer 8:3. And the whole remnant … saith Jehovah. The discourse concludes with a parting glance at the survivors, who are the most unfortunate of all. Comp. 25:26.—On the subject-matter comp. 24:8 sqq.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On 7:1. The exhortation which Jeremiah here addresses to his contemporaries is, as CHRYSOSTOM remarks, substantially the same as that of John the Baptist to the Jews of his time: “Bring forth therefore fruits—meet for repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father; for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” But there is a difference between trusting in descent from Abraham, and in the stone Sanctuary at Jerusalem. For as the tabernacle and the sanctuary at Shiloh have disappeared, so the temple built by Solomon and the ark of the covenant itself; and even the temple re-erected without the ark was destroyed a second time by Titus and not rebuilt, though according to the testimony of Josephus (Bell. Jud. VI. 2, 1) the mad resistance of the Jews was chiefly based on the idea that Jerusalem being the city of God was in no danger of destruction. Now while the sacred places and buildings for worship, from the tabernacle to the temple of Herod, were destroyed, never to be rebuilt (comp. 3:16 לֹא יֵעָשְׁה עוֹר) the descent from Abraham, in spite of all temporary reversions, retains its eternal significance, as the Apostle Paul shows in Rom. 11, where he says, “If the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy, and if the root be holy so are the branches. … If some of the branches have been broken off on account of unbelief, yet they may be grafted in again. … For according to the Gospel, he says, I regard them as enemies, but according to the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” If now to trust in descent from Abraham is in so far foolish and unjustifiable, as it does not prevent partial destruction of the nation, to trust in the outward sanctuary, constructed of earthly material, is still less justifiable, for this has no guarantee of continuance; it may indeed suffer total destruction without endangering the foundations of the theocracy. Just as unjustifiable as this confidence of the Jews in an earthly sanctuary as the chosen place of divine presence and blessing is every analogous confidence of the Christian church in a real or supposed divinely chosen earthly substratum of tokens of blessing, whether it be a place, office or race. All the places consecrated by the presence of the Lord and the ministry of His apostles have been destroyed and given up to the abomination of desolation: Jerusalem with the Mt. of Olives and Golgotha, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the whole of Palestine, Asia Minor and Greece, became Christian and yet fell a prey to the crescent. All the less may Rome count on perpetuity, since the chair of Peter rests not on divine but on arbitrary human institution. So also the legitimate ruling families of Europe, who so fondly imagine, that they are irrevocably chosen, should never forget that the Lord not only appoints but deposes kings. (Comp. Dan. 4:32; 5:21).
2. PETRUS GALATINUS (de Arc. cath. Jer 8:5:10) remarks (according to GHISLER.) that some Rabbins refer the lying word of the thrice repeated הֵיכָל to the false hope of those who suppose that a third temple will yet be built. But this hope is not a false one. It certainly will not be realized in the erection of a third sanctuary of stone but in that spiritual body of which we must regard Ezekiel’s temple as the type. Comp. BALMER-RINCK, on the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the temple, Basel, 1858, and my review of this work in Reut. Rep. 1860, H. III. S. 151, 2. This is not of course to say that the thrice repeated word does not really refer to the third temple.
3. “If God has not His temple and abode in the heart, that (viz., that thou hast an outward temple or house of God) will avail thee nothing.” Mic. 3:11, 12. STARKE.
4. “The words ‘this is the Lord’s temple’ might properly be written on the hearts of believers,” 1 Cor. 3:16; Gen. 28:17. STARKE.
5. “It is a heathenish delusion and false confidence to suppose that God is bound to any place or spot, as the Trojans thought because they had the temple of Pallas in their city it could not be taken, and in the present day the manner of the Papists is to bind Christ to Rome and the chair of Peter, and then defiantly maintain ‘I shall never be moved’ (Ps. 10:6). For, they say, the ship of Peter may sink a little, but not altogether. Then the only point that is deficient is this, that they are not the ship of Peter, but rather an East Indianman with a cargo of Indian apes and such like foreign merchandize, pearls, purple, silk, brass, iron, silver, gold, incense, lead, that they may carry on simony and make merchandize of religion, and deceive the whole world (Rev. 18:11 sqq.).” CRAMER.
6. On 7:9–11. Necessary as the doctrine of the church is in the organic system of Christian doctrine it may become dangerous, if the church is regarded one-sidedly as an objectively saving-institution, and the subjective conditions of its operation are undervalued. For then it is regarded as alone necessary to salvation, and not only in the sense that this virtue is ascribed exclusively to one particular church in opposition to another, but also in the sense of supposing that the church alone, as an objective institution, is the means of salvation, a man needing to do nothing more than to enter into a passive relation to the church, i.e., without conscious resistance (obex). From this alone saving church there is but one step to the infallibly saving, i.e., to that, of which a passive member cannot be lost, however much he may steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, etc. Where this ruinous delusion prevails men enter the church, perform the ceremonies, wipe their mouths, and say salvi sumus (נִעַלְנוּ). But thus the church of Christ becomes a den of robbers.
7. On 7:16. “This may serve to comfort you, for God thus testifies to the power of prayer, that it would stand in His way so that He could not go on. Therefore He had first of all to forbid the prophet from praying. Thus also He says to Moses (Exod. 32:10) ‘Let Me alone that My wrath may burn against them. So much may a believing prayer accomplish.” CRAMER.
8. On 7:22, 23. In Ps. 51:16, 17, we read “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Had sacrifices and burnt-offerings been positively displeasing to God, He would have forbidden them. But they must have been pleasing to Him even as types of the sacrifice on Golgotha. They displease Him only when He is to accept them instead of a broken and contrite heart. The sacrifices have thus a two-fold significance; objectively as types, and in so far as God beholds in every sacrifice that of Christ, they are pleasing to Him—subjectively, as the offering of man. But when in this relation God is to be satisfied with the fat and blood of an animal instead of the spiritual oblatio cordis, the sacrifice is displeasing. Thus as the sacrifice is on the one hand pleasing, on the other displeasing, Jeremiah might say that God did not speak of sacrifices, though on the other hand it is admitted, that He did speak of them.
9. On 7:26. “It is an evil consolation, and one of the greatest exercises of the witnesses, when they are treated with such indifference, that they are not opposed, but also receive no real attention. Then is Satan most firmly seated, and his business best established when he has induced such a state of indifference. Phlegm in religion, patience in hearers (a sign that they are inured to blows) is an incurable evil. So long as they are calumniated, persecuted, mocked, the witnesses still have a handle. But the time, when one preaches and no one rises, is a miserable epoch for the ministry. Yet it must be endured, for it is either not general or a teacher is usually free. For because the Lord ‘spews out of His mouth’ such men and such times of lethargy are heralds of the overflowing of the divine judgments, and especially of the removal of the candlestick from its place, there is generally a new period for the teachers, and they become elsewhere a great nation (Exod. 32:10)” ZINZENDORF.
10. On 7:33. “Charitati Christianæ et legi naturæ consentaneum est, ut hominum cadavera terra obruantur, unde Augustinus (De Civ. D. I. 13); non contemnenda et abjicienda sunt corpora justorum et fidelium, quibus tanquam organis et vasis suis ad omnia bona opera spiritus sanctus fuit usus.” FÖRSTER.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. On 7:1–3. [HENRY:—“Note: (1) Even those that profess religion have need to be preached to, as well as those that are without. (2) It is desirable to have opportunity of preaching to many together. Wisdom chooses to cry in the chief place of concourse, and as Jeremiah here, in the opening of the gates, the temple gates. (3) When we are going to worship God, we have need to be admonished to worship Him in the Spirit, and to have no confidence in the flesh. Phil. 3:3.”—S. R. A.]
2. On 7:3–7. The doctrine of the Church. I. The church externally or as an external I ordinance. 1. What is this external ordinance? (Word, sacrament, office). 2. How far is this external ordinance necessary? 3. What reasons have we to be on our guard respecting it? (Jer 8:4. It may be overestimated).—II. The church internally. 1. It is essentially a community of saints and true believers. (“Congregatio sanctorum et vere credentium.” Conf. Aug. Art. VIII.) 2. Its existence is manifested, a. in the holy walk of its members (Jer 8:3, 5, 6); b. in the blessings of the Divine presence (Jer 8:3 and 7).
3. On 7:8. [HENRY:—“The privileges of a form of godliness are often the pride and confidence of those that are strangers and enemies to the power of it. It is common for those that are furthest from God to boast themselves most of their being near to the church.”—S. R. A.]
4. On 7:8–15. An earnest warning against merely external ecclesiasticism. I. Its essence is: false confidence in the unconditional saving efficacy of a supposed or real sanctuary (Jer 8:8, 10). II. Its consequences are: 1. Demoralization (Jer 8:9, 10). 2. Desecration of the holy (Jer 8:11). 3. Destruction of the offenders (Jer 8:12–15).
5. On 7:16. On Intercession. 1. When it is not in place (compare this verse with 1 John 5:16). 2. When it is in place. 3. What it can accomplish.
[HENRY:—“See here (1). That God’s prophets are praying men. (2). That God’s praying prophets have a great interest in heaven, how little soever they have on earth. (3). It is an ill omen for a people when God restrains the spirits of His ministers and people from praying for them. (4). Those that will not regard good ministers’ preaching cannot expect any benefit by their praying. If you will not hear us when we speak from God to you, God will not hear us when we speak to Him for you.”—S. R. A.]
6. On 7:18. [HENRY:—“Let us be instructed even by this bad example in the service of our God. (1) Let us honor Him with our substance. (2). Let us not decline the hardest service, nor disdain to stoop to the meanest, for none shall kindle a fire on God’s altar for naught. (3). Let us bring up our children in the acts of devotion; let them, as they are capable, be employed in doing something toward the keeping up of religious exercises.”—S. R. A.]
7. On 7:22, 23. Of the true service of God. I. Its nature (1) not outward ceremonies, but (2) walk according to the divine commands. II. Its reward. (I will be your God, that it may be well with you).
8. On 7:24–29. Of disobedience to God’s word. I. Its cause is, (1) not neglect on the part of God to make known His word to men (Jer 8:25). (2) Not the imperfect performance of his duties by the preacher (Jer 8:27) but (3) the hardness of men’s hearts, who (a) walk only after the thoughts of their heart, and therefore (b) do not hear, do not believe, (Jer 8:28) do not wish to improve. II. Its consequence is (1) increasing moral corruption (Jer 8:24, 26) and (2) rejection on the part of God (Jer 8:29).
9. On 7:25–28. The sad characteristics of an unbelieving epoch. 1. Contempt of the preaching of the divine word. 2. Stiff-neckedness in respect to the visitations of divine chastisement. 3. Increase of wickedness in spite of all the warnings of the past. (LIC. CLAUSS).—When is a people ripe for destruction? 1. When it despises the visitations of divine grace (Jer 8:25). 2. When it hardens itself in unbelief against God’s word and voice (Jer 8:26 and 27). 3. When in spite of the divine judgment it departs the more into sin (Jer 8:26, 28).—The people Israel a warning example for the present race in view of the prevailing unbelief of the times. Their example is admonitory, 1. with respect to their ingratitude for God’s gracious visitations. 2. with respect to their opposition to the true friends of the nation; 3. with respect to their frivolity in view of inevitable destruction. (DR. GR.)—Let the remembrance of our calling serve to awaken us. To this end let us consider. 1. What is our calling? 2. How does the Lord call us? 3. How long does He call us? 4. How have we answered Him? 5. What will be the end of our calling? (Z.—: Gesetz u. Zeugniss, Juni. 1860, S. 339).
Jer 8:1.—Instead of ויוֹצִיאוּ the Masoretes would omit the ו, as they perceived that neither as consecutive nor as copulative is it in place, while in accordance with the constant usage we should expect it to be followed by the perfect. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 840. Yet in such cases the imperfect with Vau copulat. is not without example; comp. Exod. 12:3.
Jer 8:3.—וְנִבִּחַד comp. Prov. 21:3. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 100, 4.
Jer 8:3.—הַנִּשְׁאָרִים. If we do not with HITZIG and GRAF reject this word as resting on a clerical error, we must explain it with MAURER and DE WETTE as the repetition of the noun instead of the pronoun, so that the article stands before the construct state in an emphatic almost pronominal signification: in all those places. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 71; 5 Anm.
Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?II. SECOND CHARGE: THEIR RUINOUS PERSISTENCE IN EVIL
1. Their stiff-necked impenitence and its punishment
4 And say to them: Thus saith Jehovah:
Do men4 fall and rise not up again?
Or does one turn away and not return again?
5 Why then does this people, Jerusalem,
Turn away5 with a perpetual6 apostacy?
They hold fast to error,7 wish not to return.
6 I inclined myself and listened:
They speak that which is worth nothing.
There is none who repents of his wickedness
And who says: what have I done?
They are all8 turned away in their courses,
Like a mad9 stallion in the battle.
7 Even the stork in the air knoweth his seasons,
The turtle-dove, swallow and crane keep the time of their coming,
But my people know not the judgment of Jehovah.
8 How say ye then, We are wise,
And the law of Jehovah is with us?
Behold! surely the lying style of the writer has brought forth only lies.
9 The wise men are put to shame,
Confounded and taken are they.
Behold! they have despised Jehovah’s word,
What wisdom,10 however, is among them?
10 Therefore11 will I give their wives to others,
Their fields to the conquerors,
For from the least to the greatest they are all bent on gain;
From the prophet to the priest they all practise deceit,
11 And healed the hurt of the daughter of my people most slightly,
Saying, Peace, peace! when there is no peace.
12 They are put to shame, for they have committed abomination;
Yet they blush not, nor understand to be ashamed.
Therefore shall they fall with the falling,
At the time of their visitation will they be overthrown,
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
The second point in the charge concerns the impenitent obduracy with which the people, true to their often censured character (comp. Exod. 32:9: 33:3, 5; 34:9; Deut. 9:6, 13; 10:16; 31:27 coll. Jer. 5:3; Isai. 48:4; Ezek. 2:4; 3:7) persist in the perverse course they have adopted (Jer 8:4–7). To be sure they will not admit that they have adopted a false course. They maintain on the contrary (comp. 7:21 sqq.) that they are in the right way, because they are not lacking in instruction or knowledge of the law of God (Jer 8:8). But the prophet does not allow this to pass. He traces their imagined wisdom to the deception of their false leaders, of whom he predicts that with their pseudo-sophy they must be put to shame (Jer 8:9), and then he again announces to all in the words of a former discourse the judgment of God for their manifold wickedness (Jer 8:10–12). This strophe contains the main thought of this chapter, i.e., of the second part. The two following strophes describe only the particular features of the punishment.
Jer 8:4, 5. And say to them … wish not to return. The simple introduction by and say shows that what follows is closely connected with the preceding. The meaning of שׁוּב is here, the first time to turn, to make any kind of a turn (comp. Josh. 19:12, etc.), the second time to return.—It is evident that the prophet had hoped that Israel would have returned in view of his previous representations. No one who falls remains lying on the ground, and no one perseveres in the course he has taken without turning to one side or another, how then is it that Israel so obstinately persists in his perverse ways? The answer is given in Jer 8:6. By the manner in which the prophet emphasizes the idea of turning we are forcibly reminded of 3:1–4;—Wish not to return, comp. 5:3; Hos. 11:5.
Jer 8:6. I inclined myself … stallion in the battle. It is best to regard this as an answer to the question why? in Jer 8:5. In order to be able to give the Lord a correct answer, the prophet listens. For thus he may be able to learn the true secret thoughts of their hearts. The information he thus obtains is not comforting; from their speeches he learns only the radically corrupt condition of their hearts, closed against all knowledge of the right. Hence their obduracy.—They do not speak that which is right, i.e., they not only are silent with respect to the right, but they speak that which is not right, which is false. Comp. Gen. 42:11, 19, 31, 33, 34, and Exod. 10:29; 2 Ki. 7:9; Prov. 15:7; Isai. 16:6; Jer. 23:10; 48:30.—Their conduct corresponds to their words; there is none who repents.—שָׁב stands in opposition to the שׁוּב desired in Jer 8:4 and 5, with a certain irony; they are not wanting in שׁוּבturn, but they practise it only in the sense se avertere. This they certainly pursue with the greatest ardor. They turn away in their entirety.—in their courses. The plural form is explained by the collective idea of the noun, to which all refers. This plural gives a satisfactory sense, and it is therefore unnecessary to alter it as the Keri does according to 23:10. As to the meaning: the word in 2 Sam. 18:27 has the meaning of violent running, hunting, chasing. This meaning is suitable to Jer. 22:17; 23:10, and is also demanded by the connection here. They turn them in this sense, that with violent haste they pursue their chosen path.
Jer 8:7. Even the stork … the judgment of Jehovah. What חֲסִירָה is, is very uncertain, since the distinctive marks mentioned in Old Testament passages (Levit. 11:19; Deut. 14:18; Ps. 104:17; Job 39:13; Zech. 5:9) suit several birds, on which account (apart from the fact that the LXX. translate sometimes ἓποψ, sometimes ἐρωδιός or πελεκάυ, the Targumists and Talmudists רַּיִּיתָּא חִוַּרְתָּאmilvus albus, videBUXTORF, Lex. Chald., p. 528) modern commentators are divided between “heron” (So BOCHART, GESEN., ROSENM., FUERST in his concordance, EWALD, MEIER, and others) and “stork” (WINER, FUERSTLex., GRAF and others). Since the derivation from חָסִירpius is the most natural and the designation of the stork as avis pia is very general (comp. ἁυτιπελαργεί̓ν, although in single cases the filial piety of the heron is also celebrated, ÆLIAN, Anim. III. 23), I give my preference in this instance to the meaning stork.—תּוֹר is the turtle-dove. That it is migratory in the East (comp. the American migratory pigeon) may be inferred also from Song of Sol. 2:11, 12. Comp. WINER, R. W. B.S. V.—וסוס ועגור. The meaning of these words is uncertain. Both words occur besides only in Isai. 38:14.—There it reads כְּסוּם עָגוּר כְּן אֲצַפְצְף. There the asyndeton is in favor of rendering עָגוּר as the predicate or in apposition to סוּם, but in the present passage the וְ is opposed to it. Neither the dialects nor the early translators and commentators afford us any secure data. In order to deal fairly with both passages, we must take one of the two words in a sense which would allow it to be rendered both as in opposition and as an independent word, as, for example, we may say felis leo or felis et leo. Perhaps סוּם (for which the Keri and Palestinian could read סֵים) is an onomatopoeticum or imitation of the natural sound (Venetian Zysilia=swallow. VideROSENM.) and in this sense the name of the genus and species at the same time (comp. felis-felis). At any rate the prophet wishes to say that the irrational animals punctually obey the natural law which prescribes their return into a certain country, while Israel seems not even to know the rule instituted by Jehovah for their moral action.—But my people. Comp. Isai. 1:3; Jer. 5:4, 5.
Jer 8:8. How say ye then … only lies. To the charge at the close of Jer 8:7 the prophet supposes the people to reply: We are wise, etc.; just as what is said in 7:21 sqq., presupposes an appeal of the people to their observance of the ceremonial law, so here also the assertion is put into their mouth that they were well instructed in the law. It may be inquired whether חֲכָמִים is here used in a general sense, or whether it contains an allusion to those who from the age of Solomon constituted a particular class of the supporters and promoters of culture by the side of the priests and prophets. (Comp. BRUCH, Weisheits-Lehre der Hebräer, Strassb., 1851, S. 48). Jeremiah himself (18:18) names wise men together with priests and prophets. But Ezekiel in the parallel passage 7:26, uses elders for wise men, and generally it might be difficult to prove that in Jeremiah and elsewhere, (especially in Prov. 1:6; 13:20; 15:12; 22:17; 23:24), they appear as a special class and not rather as specially gifted men of every class and calling, as Solomon also was a תָכָם, and with him men of the priestly and levitical orders (1 Ki. 5:9–11). Observe also that it is said not: wise men are among us, but, wise men are we.—That תּוֹרָה must designate the Torah in the sense of the Pentateuch cannot be maintained, for the word occurs frequently in a more general signification, ex. gr., Isai. 2:3; 8:16. Certainly the word would have to be rendered in the narrower sense if hemistich 2 were to be translated: truly (אָכֵן comp. 3:23; 4:10) the lying style of the scribes has made it a lie. But on the other hand 1, to supply the suffix is not a matter of course, as it must be if the want of the suffix (which is certainly frequent, comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 78, 2, Anm.) is to appear justified. 2, סֹפְרִים, scribes in the sense of those who spin a web of human inventions around the word of God is of later date. Ezra, as is well known, was the first סֹפֵר (comp. Ezra 7:6, 11) but not in a bad sense, for the evil practices of the scribes were only a corruption of the praiseworthy labors commenced by him (comp. HERZOG, R.-Enc. XIII. 5. 733, etc.) Since the verb עָשָׂה is decidedly used in an absolute sense =to make, to work, (Exod. 5:9; 31:4; 1 Ki. 5:30; 20:40; Ruth 2:19; Prov. 13:16; 31:13) this passage can mean only: behold! he has worked for a lie, i.e., has done lying work, the pen of the scribe has produced lies. Scribes indeed occur almost up to the time of Jeremiah only as State-officials (Judges 5:14; 2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 2 Ki. 12:11; 19:2, etc), but Baruch also is called a scribe (Jer. 36:26, 32), and since the canonical writings set before us the picture of a literary activity in a good sense, why may they not also have given us one in a bad sense? False prophets labored with their word in opposition to the word of the true prophets, why might they not do the same with their writings? Jeremiah here presupposes a literary activity which designated its productions as the directions of Jehovah, but not in truth. For what was thus written in the name of Jehovah, and doubtless with an appeal to the law, was human invention and lies. Comp. Isai. 10:1.
Jer 8:9. The wise men are put to shame … what wisdom however is among them? The prophet for every “abuse of the name of God” declares the divine punishment. They are put to shame with their teaching and prophecy. The false scribes had evidently flattered the people and promised them good days to come. (Comp. infra Jer 8:11, and 6:14; 23:9; Ezek. 13.). The contrary, says Jeremiah, will be the case, to their shame and their hurt.—Put to shame, comp. on 2:26.—The wise here are not identical with those to whom the predicate wise is applied in Jer 8:8. For while the latter refers to all Israel, the former refers only to the scribes. These are called wise men, not because they formed a special class, but because they boasted of special insight into religious things.—Confounded, etc. Comp. 48:1; 1:2. Because they have despised the word of the Lord and substituted their own wisdom, it will come to the light that they know nothing.
Jer 8:10-12. Therefore will I give their wives … saith Jehovah. These verses refer not to the false prophets alone but to all those previously mentioned in common. They announce both to the whole people, who were addressed in Jer 8:4–7, and to their perverse leaders, to whom Jer 8:8 and 9 refer, their common, public, and outwardly palpable punishment, and in so far form the necessary conclusion of the strophe. This announcement is made in the form of a quotation, these three verses being a repetition of 6:12–15. As it is the leaders of the people, the priests and prophets who are there spoken of (6:13–15), the verses suit this place very well, particularly as Jer 8:11, and healed, etc., so well proves the shaming of the false prophets (Jer 8:9). But nevertheless we see that this passage is a quotation and is not here in its original position. For Jer 8:10 is a contracted form of 6:12, 13. Here also the sequence of thought is not quite correct, the causal כִּי following the illative particle לָכֵן. But that a copyist did not transpose the passages, but the prophet himself repeated with freedom his former utterance, is seen from the little alterations which betray a reproduction from memory as well as the hand of an author making free use of his own property, in Jer 8:10, 11, 12 (comp. 10:15; 11:23; 23:12, etc.). On the repetitions in Jeremiah see the table in NAEGELSB.: Jer. u. Bab. S. 128.—Comp. besides the excellent refutation of HITZIG’S view as to the interpolation of this passage in GRAF, S. 135.
Jer 8:4.—היפּלו. The indefinite subject in Hebrew may be expressed as here by the 3d pers. of the plural or of the singular. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 101, 2.—On the disjunctive question comp. Gr. § 107, 4. [BLAYNEY, NOYES, UMBREIT, etc. render as in the text: HENDERSON has: Shall they fall; but incorrectly, for as HITZIG says, the Jews cannot be the subject in Jer 8:4.—S. R. A.]
Jer 8:5.—שׁוֹבְבָה (not שׁובֵבָה, 31:21; 49:4, nor שוֹבָבָה, 3:14, 22) is to be regarded according to EWALD, § 188 b, as a verbal form, and in a directly causative sense = to make a turn. Comp. rems. on 31:21.—THIS PEOPLE IS not in the relation of a genitive to the following JERUSALEM, as is evinced by the form, but the latter is in simple apposition to the former. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. § 66. [HENDERSON: this people of Jerusalem].
Jer 8:5.—נִצִּהַ (adject. denomin. ad formam עִוִּרִ ·דּבֵּר Comp. N. Gr., § 42, a, S. 87) is an ἅπ. λεγ. The meaning is derived from נֶצַח perfectio, absolutio = perfectus, absolutus:
Jer 8:5.—תִּרְ מִית (comp. 14:14, Keri; 23:26; Zeph. 3:13; Ps. 119:118) must here according to the connection be rendered in a passive sense = error.
Jer 8:6.—כֻּלּהֹּ is literally: its entirety. From the singular suffix we perceive that the nation is regarded as a single individual. Comp. EWALD, § 286, e.
Jer 8:6.—שׁוֹטֵף used originally of streaming water (comp. Isai. 30:28; 66:12; Ezek. 13:11, 13); in the transferred sense of the running of a horse here only (comp. effuso cursa, faga effusior in Livy). [All the English translations render: as a horse rushes into the battle.—S. R. A.]
Jer 8:9.—הכמת־מה [lit. : the wisdom of what]? sapientia cujus? Comp. 44:28; Gen. 24:33; NAEGELSB. Gr., § 65, 2, b.
Jer 8:9.—[“The LXX. omit these three verses with the exception of the first two lines of the 10th. The repetitious character of many parts of the book of Jeremiah leaves no reason to doubt that the repetition here of Jer 6:12–15 is genuine. Theodotion and the Hexaplar Syriac supply the omission of the LXX.” HENDERSON.—S. R. A.]
I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.2. FURTHER PORTRAYAL OF THE VISITATION ANNOUNCED IN VER
13 I will sweep12 them utterly away, saith Jehovah.
There were no grapes on the vine,
No figs on the fig-tree,
The land was withered.—
So I gave to them13 those who shall overrun them.
14 “What is then the ground on which we remain?
Assemble, let us go into the fortified cities and perish14 there?
For Jehovah, our God, has allowed us to perish
And given us water of poison to drink;
For we have sinned against Jehovah.
15 We hoped15 for blessing but no good came—
For a time of healing16 and behold terror!”
16 From Dan is heard the snorting of his horses,
At the sound of the neighing of his stallions the whole earth trembles.
And they came and devoured the land and what was in it,
The city and those that dwelt therein.
17 For behold, I send among you serpents,
Basilisks, against which no charm avails,—
These shall bite you, saith Jehovah.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
This strophe is entirely occupied with the further portrayal of the visitation which is announced in Jer 8:12. The object of the discourse, the visitation, appears under various images, according to the use of literal or figurative language. The speakers are also changed several times. First the Lord announces that He will sweep them away in the storm as unfruitful withered plants. Then they must themselves announce that they wish to flee into the fortified cities but without the hope of escape. For they themselves feel and express that they bear their death within them, as it were, the Lord Himself having given them poison-water as a punishment for their sins, and instead of healing they find (in the cities) only terror. (Jer 8:14, 15). For they already perceive the approach of the enemy from the North (Jer 8:16a), which the prophet confirms, describing in blunt words the sad end as already begun (Jer 8:16b). At last the Lord Himself again speaks, and returning to the figurative mode of speech compares the threatening enemies with serpents of the poisonous kind, for whose bite there is no remedy (Jer 8:17).
Jer 8:13. I will sweep them … overrun them. In what follows the motive of this punishment is presented. Israel is an unfruitful vine and fig-tree, a withered branch. The same figure in Ps. 1:3; Jer. 17:7; Isai. 1:30; 5:2; Mic. 7:1; Luke 13:8.—I regard the words I will sweep them utterly away as a general statement of what follows. In this the Lord Himself accounts for the genesis of this declaration. He relates that he instituted an investigation, the result of which was that Israel was like an unfruitful, withered tree. In consequence of this He determined that they should be swept away by a storm: then I gave to them those who shall overrun them. (Comp. Isai. 8:8; Dan. 11:10, and Jer. 5:22; 23:9). In overrun is evidently an allusion to whirlwind, to which sweep points, and the verse forms a sort of circle, the end returning to the beginning. The plural overrun intimates that in reality a number of persons would represent this storm. Comp. Jer 8:16.—The certainly peculiar expression וָאֶתֵן for then I appointed for them, hung over them, is explained by supposing that the prophet intended a play upon the words תְּאֵנִים, תְּאֵנָה.
Jer 8:14, 15. What is then the ground on which we remain? … and behold terror. The people themselves relate how that which was determined in the secret counsels of Providence was actually carried out. The prophet portrays how the people, seized by the foreboding of threatening destruction, felt themselves insecure in their abodes, and concluded to flee to the fortified cities. עַל־מָה causal = why? Comp. 9:11; Job 13:14. Yet I would take עַל at the same time as local: on what? on what insecure ground are we sitting? I endeavored to express this double sense in the translation.—Assemble, etc., taken verbatim from 4:5. The people thus do something to which the Lord had previously summoned them by His prophet, but to follow this advice now will not avail, since they so long openly transgressed the holy will of God, as revealed in His law. In all their measures for flight they have this consciousness: there is no help, we are already lost.—And perish there. Not to be saved, but only to perish somewhat later, to obtain a little respite, do they flee to the cities.—For Jehovah, etc. They know that their destruction is already determined upon, and that they bear death, as it were, in their bodies into the cities. This is the sense of given us water of poison, etc. Comp. 9:14; 23:15, and 25:15, 17; Lam. 3:15; Ps. 60:5. On ראֹשׁ comp. WINER, R. W. B., S. V.Gift.—Vain therefore is also the hope, which they still maintain, because every man hopes while he lives. This passage is repeated in 14:19.
Jer 8:16. From Dan … that dwelt therein. Hemistich a states the cause of the terror, again referring to a former declaration (4:16; 6:22, 23). It appears that these words belong still to the speech of the Israelites, at least these may thus speak, since the words contain only the description of what was then perceived. But hemistich b describes the future as though it had already taken place. This could be done only by the prophet; וַיַבֹאוּ וַיּאֹכְלוּ are therefore prophetic aorists. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. § 88, 5. [GREEN’SGr. § 262, 4.—S. R. A.]—The prophet interposes with and they came, etc., to say that the terror was not an empty one, but that the enemy thus announced had really come. The singular suffixes refer to the enemy represented as a single person. Comp. 4:13.—אַבִּיר of horses, 47:3; 50:11.
Jer 8:17. For behold, I send … saith Jehovah. The discourse is now again figurative and Jehovah speaks Himself, as in the beginning of the strophe, Jer 8:13. We might compare a strophe like this with the variations of a musical theme. The more frequently the theme changes its form, the more impression does it make, the more ways of entrance are opened to it. That this verse has the character of a conclusion is seen, (a) from there turn to the beginning, (b) from the climax, which is expressed in the figure of serpents inaccessible to all charms. This contains the idea of the most intensive destruction, excluding all possibility of healing. Since this is the main thought of the verse כּי is best referred to Jer 8:16, b.:—Thus is it, for, etc. The Lord Himself confirms the words of the prophet. This verse has moreover a striking resemblance to Gen. 49:17, and it would not be impossible that the prophet, reminded by the mention of Dan of the prophecy concerning him, makes use of the images there employed for his description of the enemy coming from Dan.—צִפְעֹנִי(Isai. 11:8; 59:5; Prov. 23:32) and צֶפַע (Isai. 14:29) so called probably a sibilardo (so GESEN. THES., FUERST, DRECHSLER) are regarded by most modern commentators, following in this Aquila and the Vulgate (the LXX. vary) as the basilisk, a small, exceedingly poisonous kind of viper. On no charm, etc., comp. Ps. 58:5, 6, [4, 5].
Jer 8:13.—אָסֹף from אֲסִיפֵם, אָסַף from desinere, Hiph. finem imponere, consumere. As in סוּף at the same time the idea of storm is contained (comp. סוּפה, procella) this compound evidently signifies to sweep away in a storm. The connection of two verbs, having roots of different or similar sound, in this construction frequently occurs. Comp. 48:9; Isai. 28:28, and especially Zeph. 1:2, 3; where we find the same connection as in this passage (NAEGELSB. Gr., § 93, d. Anm.) The Hiph. הֵסִיף occurs only in these three passages.
Jer 8:13.—The ancient rendering, occurring in the Chaldee and Syriac: and I recompensed to them that which they transgressed, is harsh and opposed especially by the difficulty of thus satisfactorily explaining the suffix.—The explanation preferred by most modern commentators: and I give them up to those who come over them—has against it, (1) that וָאֶתֵּן must be made into וְאֶתֵן which besides is not a normal construction, comp. the remarks on ויוציאו Jer 8:1; (2) that להם must be translated not “to them” but “to those,” (3) that the suffix must be supplied to אֶהֵּן, which, as was remarked on עָשָׁה, can only take place where this supplementation is a matter of course.
Jer 8:14.—ונרמה. This form follows the Aramaic formation with reduplication of the first radical. Comp. יִתִּמוּ Deut. 34:8; יִדְּמוּ Ps. 31:78; Job 29:21. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 31, Anm. OLSH. § 243, d.
Jer 8:15.—קַוֵּה Inf. abs. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 92, 2, b.
Jer 8:15.—מַרְפֵה instead of מרפא. Camp. Jer 8:11.
When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.3. CONTINUATION: THE VISITATION ENDS WITH THE, CARRYING AWAY CAPTIVE OF ISRAEL, TO THE INEXPRESSIBLE GRIEF OF THE PEOPLE AND OF THE PROPHET
18 O my comfort17 in the sorrow!
My heart within me is faint.
19 Hark! a cry of my people from distant18 lands:
“Is Jehovah not in Zion, or her king not in her”
“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
With their foreign vanities?”
20 “The harvest is past, the fruit-gathering is over,
And we are not saved!”
21 For the wound of the daughter of my people am I wounded,19
I go mourning; horror hath seized me.
22 Is there ho balsam in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then proceeds not the healing of the daughter of my people?
23 O that mine head were waters,20
And mine fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
This strophe, in which the nameless grief of the prophet at the destruction of his people is expressed in simple but highly poetical words, serves for the elucidation and completion of the previous one. In that the manner of the destruction, which the Northern enemy was to inflict, was not distinctly designated; at the most Jer 8:13 contained a dim intimation of a threatening captivity. That this will be the punishment of the people, is now distinctly expressed in this strophe. In deep sorrow (Jer 8:18), the prophet tells us that he has heard from distant lands the mournful question of his people, whether Jehovah is no longer in Zion (Jer 8:19, a). To this the answer of the Lord is: This is the punishment of idolatry (Jer 8:19, b).—New lamentation of the people: respite after respite and no salvation! (Jer 8:20).—Finally the wailing of the prophet: the cause of his sorrow is the misery of his people (Jer 8:21) being hopeless (Jer 8:22), wherefore nothing remains for the prophet but to bewail this misery with endless weeping (Jer 8:23). Observe also in this strophe the dramatic character of the change in persons.
Jer 8:18. O my comfort … is faint. Comp. the TEXT. AND GRAM. rems.—In the words within me is contained the idea of the heavy heart, which is felt as an oppression or burden. Comp. Ps. 42:6, 7, 12; 43:5; 142:4; coll. 39:4; Lam. 1:20.
Jer 8:19. Hark! a cry … foreign vanities. The prophet beholds Israel in exile. Their eyes are still turned towards Zion as the chosen abode of the God of Israel (comp. Ps. 14:7; 20:3; 128:5; 134:3; Isai. 37:32, etc.) but it appears that He has forsaken it. Comp. Mic. 4:9.—This painful question is answered by the Lord Himself, who continues and accounts for this impression. The expression provoked to angerwith their images reminds us of Deut. 32:21; 1 Ki. 16:13, 26. Comp. Jer. 14:22; Ps. 31:7.
Jer 8:20. The harvest is passed … not saved. Period after period elapses without help coming (comp. Isai. 59:9). Without observing Jer 8:19, a, or the time when this discourse was composed, most of the ancient commentators refer these words to the vain expectation of Egyptian help, which presupposes 2 Ki. 24:1; or to that which is expressly announced in Jer. 37:5. On the other hand SCHNURRER correctly remarks that the expression has somewhat of a proverbial character. Even those who are in exile still hope, as is also intimated in Jer 8:19b, but still in vain.
Jer 8:21, 22. For the wound … the daughter of my people.—I go mourning. Comp. 4:28; 14:2. The prophet is inwardly broken, and to this corresponds his outward appearance.—The prophet tells us in Jer 8:22 why the wound of his people causes him so much pain: it is not only a very dangerous one, as is clear from all that precedes, but also, which is the worst, no one heals it. It is as though Gilead no longer possessed any balsam, or any man skilful in the application of it, though the balsam was especially, according to Pliny (Hist. Nat., XII. 54) exclusively, to be found in Palestine. The question: “Is there no balsam,” etc., has then the meaning: Is Israel wanting in that which was given to him in preference to all other nations? It is plain that the prophet here alludes to the relation of Israel to Jehovah, as the peculiar “glory of the land.” (Gen. 43:11, song = best fruits, of the land). Whether צֳרִי is precisely the resin of the balsam-plant, which elsewhere is called בֶּשֶׂם, בּשֶֹׁם, or בָּשָׂם, is uncertain. Comp. WINER, R. W. B. s. v. Balsam. It is mentioned as a remedy also in Jer. 46:11; 51:8, as an article of commerce, Gen. 43:11; Ezek. 27:17.—Is there no physician there? GRAF would not refer there to Gilead, because it is not known that physicians were fetched from thence. But we may well suppose that in the land of the balsam the use of it was best understood. The prophet therefore wishes only to say: Is there then in Israel, where the true medicina salutis is found, no one who understands how to make the application of it? He silently answers this question in the negative, and gives the reason for it in what follows.—The healing. The same expression in 30:17; 33:6; 2 Chron. 24:13; Neh. 4:1. Comp. Isa. 58:8. The expression “bandage” does not suit in all these passages, but “healing” does everywhere. Comp. ROSENM. ad loc.
Jer 8:23. O that mine head … daughter of my people. The poetry of suffering is presented most touchingly in these brief but thrilling words. It is the wish of the prophet that the whole interior of his head might dissolve into water, so that his eyes might be inexhaustible fountains of tears. For all he can do is to weep, and this is his only comfort.
Jer 8:18.—מַבִלִיגִית is ἅπαξ λεγ—The radix בָּלַג, illuminate, beam upon, (in Arabic of the rising sun) occurs only in Hiphil: Am. 5:9; Ps. 39:13; Job 9:27; 10:20. It is formed like מַרְבִּית (multitude, fulness, increase, Levit. 23:37), מַרְעִית (pastio, flock, Jer. 23:1), מַשׁבִּית (copy, Numb, 33:52). Comp. OLSH. § 218, a. The meaning is therefore: beaming, enlightening, exhilaration. [HENDERSON renders: my exhilaration within me is sorrow. NOYES, with a better sense: O where is consolation for my sorrow?—S. R. A.] The construction with עַל (Comp. Am. 5:9) appears to be founded on the radical meaning, O beam on sorrow! The suffix of the first person refers to the whole, which is to be regarded as a single conception, in like manner as in מַחֲסִי עזֹ רַּרכֵּךְ, זמָּה, comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 63, 4, g. According to the Keri, and even according to the Chethibh of several codices of KENNICOTT and DE ROSSI we should read מבלי גיתי in two words, which reading the LXX. seem to follow (καί δὴξονται ν́μᾶς ἀνίατα μετ’ ὀδὺνης) yet without its being possible to give to this גיתי a satisfactory meaning. For many other explanations, comp. ROSENMUELLER.
Jer 8:19.—The form מַרְהַקִים is found besides only in Isai. 33:17.
Jer 8:21.—הָשׁבַּר Hoph. here only. The Niph in this sense is frequent, ex. gr., Jer. 23:9.
[Jer 8:23.—In the A. V. this verse is 9:1, but not in the Hebrew.—S. R. A.]