Jeremiah 2:26
As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,
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(26) As the thief . . .—The words point to the sense of shame as already felt, and as therefore bringing with it the possibility of repentance. Once they gloried in their false worship; now they feel as if detected in a crime. Conscience had once again been roused into activity.

Jeremiah 2:26-28. As the thief is ashamed — As the thief has nothing to say for himself, but is perfectly confounded when he is taken in the very act, so the house of Israel hath no manner of plea wherewith to defend or excuse their idolatry. They, their kings, their princes — Whose duty it was to have restrained them from such practices by their authority; their priests, and their prophets — Who ought to have set them a better example, and have given them better instruction. Saying to a stock, Thou art my father — Giving the title of father, which belongs to God, as the sovereign Creator and Preserver of all things, (see Jeremiah 3:19,) to senseless images, made of wood and stone. They did not, indeed, think themselves to be created or made by these images, but thus they addressed the gods whom they thought to be present in the consecrated images. But as there was in fact no such deity residing in the image, but it was a mere nothing, a fiction of the idolaters, their worship in reality centred in, or went no higher than, the image itself. For they have turned their back unto me — A token of contempt and aversion; and not their face — Which they turn wholly toward their idols. But in the time of their trouble — A time which is approaching; they will say, Arise, and save us — As they did formerly; see the margin. When they prove, by experience, the vanity of their idols, and their own folly in relying on things that cannot help or save them, and in rejecting me, then they will apply to me for relief and aid. But where are thy gods? — Thy idols, the gods of thy own making? Let them arise — From the places where they are fixed; if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble — In thy great distress, when thou art in such need of help. For according to the number of thy cities are thy gods — For thou hast a sufficient number of them, every country and city having its peculiar deity, imitating the heathen, who, according to Varro, had above thirty thousand gods. Make trial, if any, or all of them together, can help thee.

2:20-28 Notwithstanding all their advantages, Israel had become like the wild vine that bears poisonous fruit. Men are often as much under the power of their unbridled desires and their sinful lusts, as the brute beasts. But the Lord here warns them not to weary themselves in pursuits which could only bring distress and misery. As we must not despair of the mercy of God, but believe that to be sufficient for the pardon of our sins, so neither must we despair of the grace of God, but believe that it is able to subdue our corruptions, though ever so strong.God the true husband exhorts Israel not to run barefoot, and with parched throat, like a shameless adulteress, after strangers.

There is no hope - i. e., It is in vain.

26. is ashamed—is put to shame.

thief—(Joh 10:1).

Israel—that is, Judah (Jer 2:28).

Ashamed when he is found; not ashamed of his sin of theft, but that he is found, that his shifts and blinds would serve him no longer, especially if he have had the reputation of an honest man.

The house of Israel; or families, the twelve tribes; a metonymy of the subject.

Ashamed; or, confounded, in the passive voice; viz. when they shall be taken by Nebuchadnezzar, then their idols, which they went a whoring after, shall be discovered, and so put them to shame: in the active voice, their inability to help them, Jeremiah 2:28 Isaiah 1:29 Hosea 4:19; and their shame will be the more, because they had the repute of being my people.

Their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets; rulers and teachers, such as should have given better examples, and better instruction.

As the thief is ashamed when be is found,.... Taken in the fact, or convicted of it; that is, as the Targum explains it, one that has been accounted faithful, and is found a thief; for, otherwise, those who have lost their character, and are notorious for their thefts and robberies, are not ashamed when they are found out, taken, and convicted:

so is the house of Israel ashamed: of their idolatry, or ought to be; or "shall be", as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it; though not now, yet hereafter, sooner or later:

they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets; all being guilty; kings setting ill examples, and the people following them; the priests being priests of Baal, and the prophets false ones.

As the {n} thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,

(n) As a thief will not acknowledge his fault, till he is taken with the deed, and ready to be punished, so they will not confess their idolatry, till the plagues due to the same light on them.

26. Israel, though insensible now to their disgrace, will realise it presently and all classes will be filled with confusion (as a detected thief) when the penalty arrives. Cp. Isaiah 1:29 ff.

ashamed] disconcerted by the failure of plans, a frequent sense of the word: cp. Jeremiah 2:36, Jeremiah 17:18, Jeremiah 48:13; Job 6:20; Joel 1:11.

Verse 26. - Is... ashamed. It is the per-feet of prophetic certitude. Jeremiah 2:26And yet idolatry brings to the people only disgrace, giving no help in the time of need. Jeremiah 2:26. "As a thief is shamed when he is taken, so is the house of Israel put to shame; they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets. Jeremiah 2:27. Because they say to the wood, Thou art my father; and to the stone, Thou hast borne me: for they have turned to me the back and not the face; but in the time of their trouble they say, Arise, and help us. Jeremiah 2:28. Where then are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can help thee in the time of thy trouble; for as many as are thy cities, so many are thy gods, Judah." The thought in Jeremiah 2:26 and Jeremiah 2:27 is this, Israel reaps from its idolatry but shame, as the thief from stealing when he is caught in the act. The comparison in Jeremiah 2:26 contains a universal truth of force at all times. The perf. הובישׁוּ is the timeless expression of certainty (Hitz.), and refers to the past as well as to the future. Just as already in past time, so also in the future, idolatry brings but shame and confusion by the frustration of the hopes placed in the false gods. The "house of Israel" is all Israel collectively, and not merely the kingdom of the ten tribes. To give the greater emphasis to the reproaches, the leading ranks are mentioned one by one. אמרים, not: who say, but because (since) they say to the wood, etc., i.e., because they hold images of wood and stone for the gods to whom they owe life and being; whereas Jahveh alone is their Creator or Father and Genitor, Deuteronomy 32:6, Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 64:7; Malachi 2:10. אבן is fem., and thus is put for mother. The Keri ילדתּנוּ is suggested solely by the preceding אמרים, while the Chet. is correct, and is to be read ילדתּני, inasmuch as each one severally speaks thus. - With "for they have turned" follows the reason of the statement that Israel will reap only shame from its idolatry. To the living God who has power to help them they turn their back; but when distress comes upon them they cry to Him for help (קוּמה והושׁיענוּ as in Psalm 3:8). But then God will send the people to their gods (idols); then will it discover they will not help, for all so great as their number is. The last clause of Jeremiah 2:28 runs literally: the number of thy cities are thy gods become, i.e., so great is the number of thy gods; cf. Jeremiah 11:13. Judah is here directly addressed, so that the people of Judah may not take for granted that what has been said is of force for the ten tribes only. On the contrary, Judah will experience the same as Israel of the ten tribes did when disaster broke over it.
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