Jeremiah 10:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.”

King James Bible
They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

American Standard Version
They are like a palm-tree, of turned work, and speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.

Douay-Rheims Bible
They are framed after the likeness of a palm tree, and shall not speak: they must be carried to be removed, because they cannot go. Therefore, fear them not, for they can neither do evil nor good.

English Revised Version
They are like a palm tree, of turned work, and speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.

Webster's Bible Translation
They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

Jeremiah 10:5 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

(Jeremiah 9:24-25)

Thus Jeremiah 9:24 and Jeremiah 9:25 are connected with what precedes. The lack of righteousness is indicated by the idea מוּל בּערלה: circumcised with foreskin, i.e., not, circumcised in the foreskin (lxx, Vulg.), but circumcised and yet possessed of the foreskin. It is incorrect to translate: circumcised together with the uncircumcised (Kimchi, de W.). This is not only contrary to the usage of the language, but inconsistent with the context, since in Jeremiah 9:25 uncircumcisedness is predicated of the heathen and of Judah. The expression is an oxymoron, thus: uncircumcised-circumcised (Ew.), intended to gather Jews and heathen into one category. This is shown by the order of the enumeration in Jeremiah 9:24 : Egypt, Judah, Edom, etc.; whence we may see that in this reference the prophet puts Judah on the same footing with the heathen, with the Egyptians, Edomites, etc., and so mentions Judah between Egypt and Edom. From the enumeration Ew. and Ng., following the example of Jerome,

(Note: Jerome writes: multarum ex quadam parte gentium, et maxime quae Judaeae Palaestinaeque confines sunt, usque hodie populi circumciduntur, et praecipue Aegyptii et Idumaei, Ammonitae et Moabitae et omnis regio Saracenorum, quae habitat in solitudine.)

conclude that all the peoples named along with Judah practised circumcision. But neither on exegetical nor on historical grounds can this be confidently asserted. Considered from the exegetical point of view, it is contradictory of the direct statement in Jeremiah 9:25, that all the nations are uncircumcised. We must certainly not take the words כּל־הגּוים as: all these peoples, giving the article then the force of a retrospective demonstrative; still less can they mean "all the other nations" besides those named. "All the nations" are all nations besides Israel. When these are called "uncircumcised," and Israel "uncircumcised in heart," it is as clear as can be that all nations, and so Egyptians, Edomites, etc., are called uncircumcised, i.e., in the flesh; while Israel - the whole house of Israel, i.e., Judah and the other tribes - are set over against the nations in contrast to them as being uncircumcised in heart, i.e., spiritually. From the historical view-point, too, it is impossible to prove that circumcision was in use amongst all the nations mentioned along with Judah. Only of the Egyptians does Herod. ii. 36f., 104, record that they practised circumcision; and if we accept the testimony of all other ancient authors, Herod.'s statement concerns only the priests and those initiated into the mysteries of Egypt, not the Egyptian people as a whole; cf. my Bibl. Archol. i. S. 307f. The only ground for attributing the custom of circumcision to the Moabites and Arabs, is the fact that Esau and Ishmael, the ancestors of these peoples, were circumcised. But the inference drawn therefrom is not supported by historical testimony. Indeed, so far as the Edomites are concerned, Josephus testifies directly the contrary, since in Antt. xiii. 9. 1, he tells us that when John Hyrcanus had conquered this people, he offered them the choice of forsaking their country or adopting circumcision, and that they chose the latter alternative. As to the ancient Arabs, we find in the Ztschr. fr die Kunde des Morgl. iii. S. 230, a notice of the tribe 'Advân, where we are told that the warriors of this tribe consist of uncircumcised young men along with those already circumcised. But this gives us no certain testimony to the universal prevalence of circumcision; for the notice comes from a work in which pre-and post-Mohammedan traditions are confounded. Finally, there is no historical trace of the custom of circumcision amongst the Ammonites and Moabites. קצוּצי פאה here, and Jeremiah 25:23; Jeremiah 49:32 : those polled, cropped at the edges of the beard and sides of the head, are such as have the hair cut from off the temples and the forehead, observing a custom which, according to Herod. iii.8,

(Note: Τῶν τριχῶν τὴν κουρὴν κείρεσθαί φασι, καθάπερ αὐτὸν τὸν Διόνυσον κεκάρθαι, κείρονται δὲ ὑποτρόχαλα περιξηροῦντες τοὺς κροτάφους.)

was usual amongst some of the tribes of the Arabian Desert. The imitation of this practice was forbidden to the Israelites by the law, Leviticus 19:27; from which passage we may see that פאה refers to the head and the beard. Acc. to Jeremiah 49:32, cf. with v. 28, the tribes meant belonged to the Kedarenes, descended according to Genesis 25:13 from Ishmael. In the wilderness, i.e., the Arabian Desert to the east of Palestine. By means of the predicate "uncircumcised in heart," the whole house of Israel, i.e., the whole covenant people, is put in contrast with the heathen. Circumcision involved the obligation to walk blameless before God (Genesis 17:1), and, as sign of the covenant, to keep God's commandments. If this condition was not fulfilled, if the heart remained uncircumcised, Israel lost all pre-eminence over the heathen, and was devoid of all room for glorying in the sight of God, just as the heathen were, who know not God the Lord, who have turned the truth of God into unrighteousness, and in their unrighteousness have become liable to the judgment of God.

Jeremiah 10:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

speak.

Psalm 115:5-8 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not...

Psalm 135:16-18 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not...

Habakkuk 2:19 Woe to him that said to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver...

1 Corinthians 12:2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, even as you were led.

Revelation 13:14,15 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast...

be borne.

Isaiah 46:1,7 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols were on the beasts, and on the cattle: your carriages were heavy laden...

do evil.

Isaiah 41:23,24 Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods: yes, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed...

Isaiah 44:9,10 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses...

Isaiah 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you that are escaped of the nations...

1 Corinthians 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world...

Cross References
1 Corinthians 12:2
You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.

1 Kings 18:26
And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.

Psalm 115:5
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.

Psalm 115:7
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.

Isaiah 41:23
Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified.

Isaiah 41:24
Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.

Isaiah 44:10
Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?

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