Jeremiah 6:27
I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(27) I have set thee . . .—The verse is difficult, as containing words in the Hebrew which are not found elsewhere, and have therefore to be guessed at. The following rendering is given on the authority of the most recent commentators, and has the merit of being in harmony with the metallurgic imagery of the following verses. As a prover of ore I have set thee among my people, and thou shalt know and try their way. The words are spoken by Jehovah to the prophet, and describe his work. By others, the first part of the sentence is rendered as follows: As a prover of ore I have set thee like a fortress, as if with a reference to Jeremiah 1:18, where the same word is used.

Jeremiah 6:27. I have set thee for a tower, &c. — According to this reading, God speaks here by way of encouragement to the prophet, and tells him he had made him a fortified tower, that he might be safe, notwithstanding all the attempts of the wicked against him. But Lowth, with some others, thinks that “the sense would be plainer if the words were translated thus: I have set thee (in) a watch-tower, and (in) a fortress;” that is, God tells the prophet that he hath placed him as a watchman in a high tower, or fortress, to take an account of the people’s behaviour, and to warn them accordingly. That thou mayest know and try their way — That is, their actions and manners, and how they stand affected toward God and his word; that thou mayest bring their whole conduct under thy strict observation and scrutiny, as refiners do metals. Hereby the prophet is encouraged to reprove them more freely, and with authority, because God promises to defend him from injury, and would give him prudence to see what was amiss, and undauntedness to oppose it. It may be proper to observe here, that this latter clause of the verse favours the sense in which the LXX. and the Vulgate have taken the preceding clause. They render the word בחון, which we translate a tower, δοκιμαστην, probatorem, a prover, or trier, which Blaney interprets thus: “I have appointed thee the office of an assay-master among my people, as to the gold thereof; that is, to try what is in them of genuine worth and excellence, which, like pure gold, will stand the utmost test.” Dr. Dodd considers the passage in the same light, observing, “The prophet in these verses evidently takes his ideas from metals, and the trial of them; and the verbs in the latter clause of this verse, referring to such trial, manifestly require something corresponding in the preceding part. But what has a tower and fortress to do with the trying of metals? In this view the reader will agree with me, that the passage is rendered much more properly in some of the versions, and indeed more agreeably to the Hebrew, I have given, or established, thee as a strong prover, or trier of metals among my people that thou mightest know, &c.”

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.Render it:

I have set thee among My people as a prover of ore,

And thou shalt know and try their way.

They are all of them rebels of rebels (i. e., utter rebels):

Slander-walkers, were copper and iron,

Corrupters all of them.

The bellows glow: from their fire lead only!

In vain hath the smelter smelted,

And the wicked are not separated.

Refuse-silver have men called them:

For Yahweh hath refused them.

The intermixture throughout of moral words and metallurgical terms is remarkable.

27. tower … fortress—(Jer 1:18), rather, "an assayer (and) explorer." By a metaphor from metallurgy in Jer 6:27-30, Jehovah, in conclusion, confirms the prophet in his office, and the latter sums up the description of the reprobate people on whom he had to work. The Hebrew for "assayer" (English Version, "tower") is from a root "to try" metals. "Explorer" (English Version, "fortress") is from an Arabic root, "keen-sighted"; or a Hebrew root, "cutting," that is, separating the metal from the dross [Ewald]. Gesenius translates as English Version, "fortress," which does not accord with the previous "assayer." Here God speaks by way of encouragement to the prophet, and tells him he had made him a fortified tower, that he might both discover the carriages of his people, which is one use of a high tower, Isaiah 21:5,8 Hab 2:1; and also to assure him, though they shall make several attempts against him, yet he shall be kept safe, os in a castle or fortress, Jeremiah 15:20.

That thou mayest know and try their way; their courses, actions, and manners, and which way they stand affected; thou mayest bring all to thy strict observation and scrutiny, as goldsmiths or refiners do metals; for so is the word try used, Psalm 66:10, and elsewhere. Hereby he shall be encouraged to reprove them more freely, and with authority, because God doth promise to defend him, that they shall not hurt him; God will give him prudence to see what is amiss, and undauntedness to oppose it.

I have set thee for a tower,.... Or "in" one (d); in a watch tower, to look about and observe the actions of the people, their sins and transgressions, and reprove them for them; as well as to descry the enemy, and give notice of danger; see Habakkuk 2:1 or, "for a trier"; since the word used comes from one which signifies to "try" metals, as gold and silver; and the rather this may be thought to be the meaning here, since the verb is made use of in this sense in the text; and the metaphor is carried on in the following words; though the word is used for towers in Isaiah 23:13 and may well enough be understood of a watchtower, agreeably with the office of the prophet; who is here addressed as a watchman, and was one to the house of Israel: and as the faithful discharge of his work required courage, as well as diligence and faithfulness, it follows, and

for a fortress among my people; not to defend them, but himself against them; or he was to consider himself as so under the divine protection, that he was as a fortress or strong tower, impregnable, and not to be dismayed and terrified with their calumnies and threatenings; see Jeremiah 1:18,

that thou mayest know and try their way; their course and manner of life, whether good or bad; which he would be able to do, being in his watch tower, and in the discharge of his duty; for the ministry of a good man is as a touchstone, by which the principles and practices of men are tried and known; for if it is heard and attended to with pleasure, it shows that the principles and practices of men are good; but if despised and rejected, the contrary is evident, see 1 John 4:5.

(d) "in exploratoria specula", Junius & Tremellius.

I have set {u} thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.

(u) Meaning, Jeremiah, whom God had appointed to try out the godly from the wicked, as a founder does the pure metal from the dross.

27. a tower] rather, as mg., a trier. It was owing to a difficulty presented by the following substantives that this was rendered tower.

a fortress] The same word (with slight difference in vocalisation) has the sense of “tower” in Isaiah 23:13. Hence probably, and with a reference to Jeremiah 1:18, the word “fortress” got into the MT. It is quite foreign to the context. If retained, it must be pointed otherwise, but the meaning which must then be given it, viz. gold-washer, or gold-extractor, has no valid support.

27–30. In these vv. the Lord reassures Jeremiah of his divine commission, and he appears under the figure of one testing metal. The result of the testing process is that no precious metal is found. All is dross.

Verse 27. - I have set thee, etc.; literally, as an assayer have I set thee among my people, a fortress. Various attempts have been made to avoid giving the last word its natural rendering, "a fortress." Ewald, for instance, would alter the points, and render "a separator [of metals]," thus making the word synonymous with that translated "an assayer;" but this is against Hebrew usage. Hitzig, assuming a doubtful interpretation of Job 22:24, renders "... among my people without gold," i.e. "without there being any gold there for thee to essay" (a very awkward form of expression). These are the two most plausible views, and yet neither of them is satisfactory. Nothing remains but the very simple conjecture, supported by not a few similar phenomena, that mibhcar, a fortress, has been inserted by mistake from the margin, where an early glossator had written the word, to remind of the parallel passage (Jeremiah 1:18, "I have made thee this day a fortress-city," 'it mibhcar). In this and the following verses metallurgic phraseology is employed with a moral application (comp. Isaiah 1:22, 25). Jeremiah 6:27Sorest affliction will seize the inhabitants of Jerusalem. As to "daughter of my people," cf. Jeremiah 4:11; on "gird thee with sackcloth," cf. Jeremiah 4:8. To bestrew the head with ashes is a mode of expressing the greatest affliction; cf. Ezekiel 27:30; Micah 1:10. אבל as in Amos 8:10; Zechariah 12:10.

The closing verses of this discourse (Jeremiah 6:27-30) are regarded by Hitz. as a meditation upon the results of his labours. "He was to try the people, and he found it to be evil." But in this he neglects the connection of these verses with the preceding. From the conclusion of Jeremiah 6:30, "Jahveh hath rejected them," we may see that they stand connected in matter with the threatening of the spoiler; and the fact is put beyond a doubt when we compare together the greater subdivisions of the present discourse. The Jeremiah 6:27-30 correspond in substance with the view given in Jeremiah 5:30-31 of the moral character of the people. As that statement shows the reasons for the threatening that God must take vengeance on such a people (Jeremiah 5:29), so what is said in the verses before us explain why it is threatened that a people approaching from the north will execute judgment without mercy on the daughter of Zion. For these verses do not tell us only the results of the prophet's past labours, but they at the same time indicate that his further efforts will be without effect. The people is like copper and iron, unproductive of either gold or silver; and so the smelting process is in vain. The illustration and the thing illustrated are not strictly discriminated in the statement. בּחון is adject. verb. with active force: he that tries metal, that by smelting separates the slag from the gold and silver ore; cf. Zechariah 13:9; Job 23:10. מבצר creates a difficulty, and is very variously understood. The ancient comm. have interpreted it, according to Jeremiah 1:18, as either in a fortress, or as a fortress. So the Chald., changing בחון for בחור: electum dedi te in populo meo, in urbe munita forti. Jerome: datur propheta populo incredulo probator robustus, quod ebraice dicitur מבצר, quod vel munitum juxta Aquil., vel clausum atque circumdatum juxta Symm. et lxx sonat. The extant text of the lxx has ἐν λαοῖς δεδοκιμασμένοις. Following the usage of the language, we are justified only in taking מבצר as apposition to בּחון, or to the suffix in נתתּיך; in which case Luther's connection of it with עמּי, "among my people, which is so hard," will appear to be impossible. But again, it has been objected, not without reason, that the reference of "fortress" to Jeremiah is here opposed to the context, while in Jeremiah 1:18 it falls well in with it; consequently other interpretations have been attempted. Gaab, Maur., Hitz., have taken note of the fact that בּצר occurs in Job 36:19, like בּצר in the signification of gold; they take מבצר as a contraction for מן בצר, and expound: without gold, i.e., although then was there no gold, to try for which was thy task. To this view Graf has objected: the testing would be wholly purposeless, if it was already declared beforehand that there was no noble metal in the people. But this objection is not conclusive; for the testing could only have as its aim to exhibit the real character of the people, so as to bring home to the people's apprehension what was already well known to God. These are weightier considerations: 1. We cannot make sure of the meaning gold-ore for בּצר by means of Job 36:19, since the interpretation there is open to dispute; and בּצר, Job 22:24, does not properly mean gold, but unworked ore, though in its connection with the context we must understand virgin gold and silver ore in its natural condition. Here, accordingly, we would be entitled to translate only: without virgin ore, native metal. 2. The choice of a word so unusual is singular, and the connection of מבצר with עמּי htiw is still very harsh. Yet less satisfactory is the emendation defended by J. D. Mich., Dahl, Ew., and Graf, מבצּר: "for a trier have I made thee among my people, for a separater;" for בּצר has in Heb. only the meaning cut off and fortify, and the Pi. occurs in Isaiah 22:10 and Jeremiah 51:53 in the latter meaning, whereas the signif. separate, discriminate, can be maintained neither from Hebrew nor Arabic usage. The case being so, it seems to us that the interpretation acc. to Jeremiah 1:18 has most to be said for it: To be a trier have I set thee amid my people "as a strong tower;" and to this Ges., Dietr. in Lex. s.v., adhere.

Jeremiah 6:27 Interlinear
Jeremiah 6:27 Parallel Texts

Jeremiah 6:27 NIV
Jeremiah 6:27 NLT
Jeremiah 6:27 ESV
Jeremiah 6:27 NASB
Jeremiah 6:27 KJV

Jeremiah 6:27 Bible Apps
Jeremiah 6:27 Parallel
Jeremiah 6:27 Biblia Paralela
Jeremiah 6:27 Chinese Bible
Jeremiah 6:27 French Bible
Jeremiah 6:27 German Bible

Bible Hub

Jeremiah 6:26
Top of Page
Top of Page