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THOU indeed, O Lord, art just, if I plead with thee, but yet I will speak what is just to thee: Why doth the way of the wicked prosper: why is it well with all them that transgress, and do wickedly?

Ver. 1.  Is just.  Heb. "judgment."  Sept. "I will make my apology to thee."  Jeremias had been grievously persecuted by his countrymen: he therefore mentions a subject which has been the source of much perplexity.  The success of the wicked is a temptation for weak souls.  See Job xxi.  Ps. lxxii. 3.  Hab. i. 13.  C.


--- The prophets often speak in their names, not being ignorant or doubtful of the justice of divine providence.  W.


2 Thou hast planted them, and they have taken root: they prosper and bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

Ver. 2.  Reins.  They have thy name in their mouth, but not in their heart.  Is. xxix. 13.  Mat. xv. 8.

3 And thou, O Lord, hast known me, thou hast seen me, and proved my heart with thee: gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.

Ver. 3.  Gather.  God orders his prophet to announce the misery of the wicked.

4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? The beasts and the birds are consumed: because they have said: He shall not see our last end.

Ver. 4.  Mourn?  Is not this a proof of my providence in chastising Juda?  This famine is specified C. viii. 13. and xiv. 4.  C.


--- Last end.  Two letters seem to be transposed in Heb. as the Sept. read "ways."  Kennicott.


--- The impious blaspheme as if all were ruled by chance.  C.

5 If thou hast wearied with running with footmen, how canst thou contend with horses? and if thou hast been secure in a land of peace, what wilt thou do in the swelling of the Jordan?

Ver. 5.  Horses.  If thou hast been terrified at the threats of thy fellow-citizens, how wilt thou withstand those of Jerusalem? (M.) or he speaks to Juda, who would not be able to resist the Chaldees, since the Philistines, &c. had routed the Jews, though destitute of cavalry.


--- Jordan, or the nations of Ammon, &c. on that side.  C.


--- Prot. "if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt," &c.  H.

6 For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have fought against thee, and have cried after thee with full voice: believe them not when they speak good things to thee.

Ver. 6.  To thee.  Edom, &c. made a league with Sedecias, which they broke.  They always bore a hatred to the Jews, though sprung from the same stock.  C. xxvii. 1.  Lam. iv. 21.  C.

7 I have forsaken my house, I have left my inheritance: I have given my dear soul into the land of her enemies.

Ver. 7.  Soul; people, (H.) whose punishment was decreed.  Say not, therefore, that the wicked always prosper.

8 My inheritance is become to me as a lion in the wood: is hath cried out against me, therefore have I hated it. 9 Is my inheritance to me as a speckled bird? Is it as a bird died throughout? come ye, assemble yourselves, all the beasts of the earth, make haste to devour.

Ver. 9.  As a.  Sept. "a den of the hyena:" Alex. "robbers."  Grabe inserts, "or a den around it?"  H.


--- They have read auss, "a den," instead of hait, "a bird."  Bochart, (iii. 11.) however, shews that the latter word denotes various wild beasts, and nearly follows the Sept.  Though the inheritance be most charming, it shall not pass unpunished.  C.

10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot: they have changed my delightful portion into a desolate wilderness.

Ver. 10.  Pastors; princes of my people, as well (H.) as of the Chaldees.  C. vi. 3.

11 They have laid it waste, and it hath mourned for me. With desolation is all the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in the heart.

Ver. 11.  Heart, to seek God and the cause of their misfortunes.

12 The spoilers are come upon all the ways of the wilderness, for the sword of the Lord shall devour from one end of the land to the other end thereof: there is no peace for all flesh. 13 They have sown wheat, and reaped thorns: they have received an inheritance, and it shall not profit them: you shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce wrath of the Lord.

Ver. 13.  Fruits.  They shall not satisfy your expectations or wants.

14 Thus saith the Lord against all my wicked neighbors, that touch the inheritance that I have shared out to my people Israel: Behold I will pluck them out of their land, and I will pluck the house of Juda out of the midst of them.

Ver. 14.  Land.  Nabuchodonosor led the Ammonites, &c. into captivity, five years after the Jews.  Jos. Ant. x. 11.  C.


--- After the children are chastised, the rod is burnt.  W.

15 And when I shall have plucked them out, I will return, and have mercy on them: and I will bring them back, every man to his inheritance, and every man to his land.

Ver. 15.  Land; the Jews, as well as their neighbours.  C. xlix. 6.  M.  Is. xxiii. 15.  Ezec. xvi. 55.

16 And it shall come to pass, if they will be taught, and will learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name: The Lord liveth, as they have taught my people to swear by baal: that they shall be built up in the midst of my people.

Ver. 16.  People.  After the captivity, converts were more cherished.  Yet the predictions concerning the call of the Gentiles were accomplished only by the preaching of the gospel.  C.

17 But if they will not hear, I will utterly pluck out and destroy that nation, saith the Lord.
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Holy Spirit