I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said, I will not hear. This has been your manner from your youth, that you obeyed not my voice.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In thy prosperity.—Literally, prosperities. The word is used, as in Proverbs 1:32; Ezekiel 16:49; Psalm 30:6, in reference to what in old English was called “security,” the careless, reckless temper engendered by outward prosperity. The plural is used to include all the forms of that temper that had been manifested in the course of centuries.Jeremiah 22:21. I spake unto thee in thy prosperity — Spake by my servants the prophets, in reproofs, admonitions, counsels; but thou saidst, I will not hear — Didst manifest by thy conduct that thou wouldest not obey. Such is too often the effect of prosperity. It puffs men up with pride and high-mindedness, and makes them despise the word of God, thinking themselves too wise to stand in need of advice, and therefore they defer attending to it, till they are in extremities, when it becomes of little or no benefit to them. The word שׁלוה, however, which we translate prosperity, properly signifies security, and may be spoken of the false security in which the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem lived in times when they were threatened with the most grievous calamities, and which had been denounced to them by the prophets, from the time of Hezekiah on account of the idolatries and various other acts of wickedness of their kings and people; who nevertheless continued in their vices without any amendment. This hath been thy manner from thy youth — From thy being first formed into a people. See the margin.
prosperity—given thee by Me; yet thou wouldest not hearken to the gracious Giver. The Hebrew is plural, to express, "In the height of thy prosperity"; so "droughts" (Isa 58:11).
thou saidst—not in words, but in thy conduct, virtually.
thy youth—from the time that I brought thee out of Egypt, and formed thee into a people (Jer 7:25; 2:2; Isa 47:12).
but thou saidst, I will not hear; this was the language of their hearts and actions, though not of their mouths:
this hath been thy manner from thy youth; from the time they came out of Egypt, and first became a church and body politic; while they were in the wilderness; or when first settled in the land of Canaan: this was the infancy of their state; and from that time it was their manner and custom to reject the word of the Lord, and turn a deaf ear to it:
that thou obeyest not my voice; in his law, and by his prophets.I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 21. - From thy youth; i.e. from the time that thou didst become a nation (comp. Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 2:15). It is the Exodus which is referred to. Jeremiah 22:15 Jeremiah pursues the subject: kingship and kingcraft do not consist in the erection of splendid palaces, but in the administration of right and justice. The reproachful question התמלך has not the meaning: wilt thou reign long? or wilt thou consolidate thy dominion? but: dost thou suppose thyself to be a king, to show thyself a king, if thy aim and endeavour is solely fixed on the building of a stately palace? "Viest," as in Jeremiah 12:5. בּארז, not: with the cedar, for תחרה is construed with the accus. of that with which one vies, but: in cedar, i.e., in the building of cedar palaces. It was not necessary to say with whom he vied, since the thought of Solomon's edifices would suggest itself. The lxx have changed בארז by a pointless quid pro quo into באחז, ἐν ̓́Αχαζ, for which Cod. Alex. and Arabs have ἐν ̓Αχαάβ. The fact that Ahab had built a palace veneered with ivory (1 Kings 22:39) is not sufficient to approve this reading, which Ew. prefers. Still less cause is there to delete בארז as a gloss (Hitz.) in order to obtain the rendering, justified neither by grammar nor in fact, "if thou contendest with thy father." To confirm what he has said, the prophet sets before the worthless king the example of his godly father Josiah. "Thy father, did not he eat and drink," i.e., enjoy life (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:13)? yet at the same time he administered right and justice, like his forefather David; 2 Samuel 8:15. Then went it well with him and the kingdom. אז, Jeremiah 22:16, is wider than אז טו: in respect that he did justice to the poor and wretched, things went well, were well managed in the kingdom at large. In so doing consists "the knowing of me." The knowledge of Jahveh is the practical recognition of God which is displayed in the fear of God and a pious life. The infinitive nomin. דּעת has the article because a special emphasis lies on the word (cf. Ew. 277, c), the true knowledge of God required to have stress laid on it. - But Jehoiakim is the reverse of his father. This thought, lying in Jeremiah 22:16, is illustrated in Jeremiah 22:17. For thine eyes are set upon nothing but gain. בּצע, gain with the suggestion of unrighteousness about it, cf. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 8:10. His whole endeavour was after wealth and splendour. The means of attaining this aim was injustice, since he not only withheld their wages from his workers (Jeremiah 22:13), but caused the innocent to be condemned in the judgment that he might grasp their goods to himself, as e.g., Ahab had done with Naboth. He also put to death the prophets who rebuked his unrighteousness, Jeremiah 26:23, and used every kind of lawless violence. "Oppression" is amplified by המרוּצה (from רצץ, cf. Deuteronomy 28:33; 1 Samuel 12:3), crushing, "what we call flaying people" (Hitz.); cf. on this subject, Micah 3:3.
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