Jeremiah 6:18
Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Therefore hear, ye nations . . .—The obstinate refusal with which the people met the summons of the prophet leads him once more to a solemn appeal (1) to the heathen nations, then (2) to the “congregation” of Israel (as in Exodus and Numbers passim), or, possibly, of mankind collectively, (3) to earth as the witness of the judgments of Jehovah.

What is among them.—Better, what comes to pass for them, i.e., for the sinful people.

Jeremiah 6:18-19. Therefore hear, ye nations — The very heathen are called upon to take notice of these threatenings and denunciations of God’s wrath against the Jews, lest they should think that the calamities which were soon to fall upon that people had happened by chance, and not by the appointment of that God whom they had dishonoured and refused to obey; and know, O congregation — Of Israel, namely, the general assembly of the people at Jerusalem; what is among them — Rather, what I have decreed against them. God would have all the world to know that the judgments which were coming on the Jews had been foretold by him, and inflicted for the punishment of their sins. Hear, O earth — God’s people, meant, it seems, by the word congregation, in the former clause; and the heathen nations are justly equivalent to the earth. Behold, I will bring evil upon this people — The Chaldean army, with all the direful effect of it; even the fruit of their thoughts — They may thank themselves for what is coming upon them, being the fruit of their contrivances and sinful imaginations. As they have sown, so shall they reap. They thought to strengthen themselves by their alliances with foreigners, which they formed independent of me, and in opposition to my express prohibition, and by having recourse to various species of idolatry, and other superstitions; and these very things will bring ruin upon them.

6:18-30 God rejects their outward services, as worthless to atone for their sins. Sacrifice and incense were to direct them to a Mediator; but when offered to purchase a license to go on in sin, they provoke God. The sins of God's professing people make them an easy prey to their enemies. They dare not show themselves. Saints may rejoice in hope of God's mercies, though they see them only in the promise: sinners must mourn for fear of God's judgments, though they see them only in the threatenings. They are the worst of revolters, and are all corrupters. Sinners soon become tempters. They are compared to ore supposed to have good metal in it, but which proves all dross. Nothing will prevail to part between them and their sins. Reprobate silver shall they be called, useless and worthless. When warnings, corrections, rebukes, and all means of grace, leave men unrenewed, they will be left, as rejected of God, to everlasting misery. Let us pray, then, that we may be refined by the Lord, as silver is refined.God summons three witnesses to hear His sentence.

(1) the Gentiles.

(2) all mankind, Jews and Gentiles.

(3) nature (see Jeremiah 6:19).

What is among them - Rather, "what happens" in them; i. e., "Know what great things I will do to them."

18. congregation—parallel to "nations"; it therefore means the gathered peoples who are invited to be witnesses as to how great is the perversity of the Israelites (Jer 6:16, 17), and that they deserve the severe punishment about to be inflicted on them (Jer 6:19).

what is among them—what deeds are committed by the Israelites (Jer 6:16, 17) [Maurer]. Or, "what punishments are about to be inflicted on them" [Calvin].

Ver. 18, Hear, ye nations: he calls upon the nations round about to be as so many spectators of his severity against Judah, though they were his own people.

1. Partly to vindicate the justice of his proceedings, that they may not think him too severe.

2. Partly to shame them, if thereby tie may bring them to repentance; and therefore he makes them witnesses as well of their sin as of their punishment, Jeremiah 6:19. Besides,

3. It is a secret upbraiding them, as if the nations were more ready to understand than they.

Know, O congregation; either of Israel, and then the next words must be which are among them; or rather, of all nations, as supposing them gathered all together, Psalm 7:7. God is willing that all the world should be witness of the equity of his proceedings.

What is among them; or, that which is among them; the relative put for the antecedent; either the height of their wickedness, or the severity of their judgments; understand it either way, or both ways, and then it is the greatness of their punishment, as the effect of the greatness of their sins.

Therefore hear, ye nations,.... Since the Jews refused to hearken to the word of the Lord, the Gentiles are called upon to hear it, as in Acts 13:45, this is a rebuke to the Jews, that the Gentiles would hear, when they would not:

and know, O congregation; either of Israel, as the Targum and Kimchi explain it; or of the nations of the world, the multitude of them; or the church of God in the midst of them:

what is among them; among the Jews: either what evil is among them; what sins and transgressions are committed by them; which were the cause of the Lord's threatening them with sore judgments, and bringing them upon them; so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret the words; to which agrees the Targum,

"and let the congregation of Israel know their sins;''

or the punishments the Lord inflicted on them: so the Vulgate Latin version, "and know, O congregation, what I will do unto them"; which sense is confirmed by what follows:

Therefore hear, ye {q} nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.

(q) God takes all the world to witness and the insensible creatures of the ingratitude of the Jews.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. The Gentiles are summoned to witness the punishment. Cp. Jeremiah 4:16.

O congregation] The Hebrew word is elsewhere confined to Jews, an application which the parallelism with “nations” here forbids. Moreover, the obscurity of the expression, “what is among them,” suggests a corruption of MT. Perhaps we should read and take good knowledge of that which is coming. So Dr.

Verse 18. - Therefore hear, etc. Remonstrance being useless, the sentence upon Israel can no longer be delayed, and Jehovah summons the nations of the earth as witnesses (comp. Micah 1:2; Isaiah 18:3; Psalm 49:1). O congregation, what is among them. The passage is obscure. "Congregation" can only refer to the foreign nations mentioned in the first clause; for Israel could not be called upon to hear the judgment "upon this people" (ver. 19). There is, however, no other passage in which the word has this reference. The words rendered "what is among them," or "what (shall happen) in them," seem unnaturally laconic, and not as weighty as one would expect after the solemn introduction. If correct, they must of course refer to the Israelites. But Graf's conjecture that the text is corrupt lies near at hand. The least alteration which will remove the difficulties of the passage is that presupposed by the rendering of Aquila (not Symmachus, as St. Jerome says; see Field's 'Hexapla') and J. D. Michaelis, "the testimony which is against them." Jeremiah 6:18Judah being thus hardened, the Lord makes known to the nations what He has determined regarding it; cf. Micah 1:2. The sense of "Know, thou congregation," etc., is far from clear, and has been very variously given. Ros., Dahl., Maur., Umbr., and others, understand עדה of the congregation or assembly of the foreign nations; but the word cannot have this meaning without some further qualifying word. Besides, a second mention of the nations is not suitable to the context. the congregation must be that of Israel. The only question can be, whether we are by this to think of the whole people (of Judah), (Chald, Syr., Ew., and others), or whether it is the company of the ungodly that is addressed, as in the phrase עדת קרח(Hitz.). But there is little probability in the view, that the crew of the ungodly is addressed along with the nations and the earth. Not less open to debate is the construction of את־אשׁר־בּם. In any case little weight can be attached to Hitz.'s assumption, that את is used only to mark out the אשׁר as relative pronoun: observe it, O company that is amidst them. The passages, Jeremiah 38:16 (Chet.), and Ecclesiastes 4:3, where את seems to have this force, are different in kind; for a definite noun precedes, and to it the relation את־אשׁרis subjoined. And then what, on this construction, is the reference of בּם, amidst them? Hitz. has said nothing on this point. But it could only be referred to "peoples:" the company which is amidst the peoples; and this gives no reasonable sense. These three words can only be object to "know:" know what is amongst (in) them; or: what is or happens to them (against them). It has been taken in the first sense by Chald. (their sins), Umbr., Maur.: what happens in or amongst them; in the second by Ros., Dahl.: what I shall do against them. Ewald, again, without more ado, changes בּם into בּא: know, thou congregation, what is coming. By this certainly a suitable sense is secured; but there are no sufficient reasons for a change of the text, it is the mere expedient of embarrassment. All the ancient translators have read the present text; even the translation of the lxx: καὶ οἱ ποιμαίνοντες τὰ ποίμνια αὐτῶν, has been arrived at by a confounding of letters (דעי עדה with רעי עדר). We understand "congregation" of Israel, i.e., not of the whole people of Judah, but of those to whom the title "congregation" was applicable, i.e., of the godly, small as their number might be. Accordingly, we are not to refer את־אשׁר בּםto "peoples:" what is occurring amidst the peoples, viz., that they are coming to besiege Jerusalem, etc. (Jeremiah 6:3.). Nor is it to be referred to those in Judah who, according to Jeremiah 6:16 and Jeremiah 6:17, do not walk in the right way, and will not give ear to the sound of the trumpet. The latter reference, acc. to which the disputed phrase would be translated: what will happen to them (against them), seems more feasible, and corresponds better to the parallelism of Jeremiah 6:18 and Jeremiah 6:19, since this corresponds better to the parallelism of Jeremiah 6:18 and Jeremiah 6:19, since this same phrase is then explained in Jeremiah 6:19 by: I bring evil upon this people.

(Note: So that we cannot hold, with Graf, that the reading of the text is "manifestly corrupted;" still less do we hold as substantiated or probable his conjectural reading: וּדעוּ אשׁר הע, and know what I have testified against them.)

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