Jeremiah 8:19
Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?
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(19) Because of them that dwell . . .—The verse should read thus: Behold, the voice of the cry for help of the daughter of my people from the land of those that are far off. The prophet, dramatising the future, as before, in Jeremiah 8:14, hears the cry of the exiles in a far-off land, and that which they ask is this—“Is not Jehovah in Zion? Is not her king in her?” That question is asked half in despair, and half in murmuring complaint. But Jehovah himself returns the answer, and it comes in the form of another question, “Why have they provoked me to anger . . .?” They had forsaken Him before. He forsook them now and left them, for a time, to their own ways.

8:14-22 At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.Or, "Behold the voice of the cry for help of the daughter of my people from a distant land: Is not Yahweh in Zion? Is not her king there? Why have they provoked Me to anger with their carved images, with foreign vanities?" Their complaint, "Is there no Jehovah in Zion?" is met by God demanding of them the reason why instead of worshipping Him they have set up idols. 19. The prophet in vision hears the cry of the exiled Jews, wondering that God should have delivered them up to the enemy, seeing that He is Zion's king, dwelling in her (Mic 3:11). In the latter half of the verse God replies that their own idolatry, not want of faithfulness on His part, is the cause.

because of them that dwell in a far country—rather, "from a land of distances," that is, a distant land (Isa 39:3). English Version understands the cry to be of the Jews in their own land, because of the enemy coming from their far-off country.

strange vanities—foreign gods.

The voice of the cry, i.e. the, greatness of their cry, the bitter cries, and screeches, and complaints that methinks I hear: the words are abrupt, because the prophet is to represent several persons speaking; himself, the people, and God.

Of the daughter of my people; see Jeremiah 4:11; possibly because Jeremiah loved them, instructed them, admonished them as a daughter.

Them that dwell in afar country, viz. their enemies the Babylonians, that were to come against them from a far country, Jeremiah 6:22; or the voice of them that were captives under those of a far country; now they begin to cry, which would not be persuaded to it before: the first is most to be approved of.

In Zion, viz. in Jerusalem, a metonymy of the subject.

Is not her king in her; or, as King in Zion; or, have we not a king of the seed of David, to whom the kingdom was granted to be perpetual? Either the words of God: q. d. Was not I among you, to provide for you, and protect you, but you must needs repair to idols? The like kind of speech is in 2 Kings 1:3, and the close of the verse seems to favour this. Or, as others, an expostulatory lamentation of the people, that the cruel adversary should prevail over a people that had God so near them, Psalm 48:2,3 76:1,2: Hath God now left us? and is the promise of his continuance here at an end? Psalm 89:36-38.

Why have they provoked me with strange vanities? as if God should seem to reply here, Let them not think it strange, seeing they have turned their backs upon me, and trusted to idols, which are but vanity, Jeremiah 2:11,13; called vanity, not only because idols are as nothing, but because all the confidence that is put them is vain, and because idolaters are vain in their minds, and want understanding. I have not forsaken them, but they me. Behold, the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people,.... This was what made his heart faint, such was his sympathy with his countrymen, his people in distress, whom he affectionately calls the daughter of his people, whose cry was loud, and whose voice he heard lamenting their case:

because of them that dwell in a far country; because of the Chaldeans, who came from a far country; see Jeremiah 5:15 who were come into their land, and devoured it; through fear of them, and because of the devastation they made; hence the voice of their cry: or this is to be understood of the Jews in a far country, carried captive into Babylon, and the voice of their cry there, because of their captivity and oppression. So Abarbinel and the Targum,

"lo, the voice of the cry of the congregation of my people from a far country;''

and so read the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions.

Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her King in her? these are the words of the people, complaining of the Lord, calling in question whether he was in Zion, and whether he was King there; and if he was, how came it to pass that he did not protect it; that he suffered the city to be taken, and the inhabitants to be carried captive?

Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with their strange vanities? that is, with their idols, and their idolatrous worship; this is the Lord's answer to them, giving a reason why he suffered the enemy to come in among them, and prevail over them, namely, their idolatry. It may be rendered, "with the vanities of a stranger" (n); of a strange people, or of a strange god.

(n) "in vanitatibus alienigenae", Montanus; "sub. populi", Vatablus; "dei alieni", Pagninus So Ben Melech.

Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a distant country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why {o} have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with foreign vanities?

(o) Thus the Lord speaks.

19. from (mg. because of) a land that is very far off] There is no need to suspect the genuineness of the clause. Jeremiah is in thought anticipating the captivity, and the distressful cries of the exiles in the direction of their home.

Is not … in her?] the words of the exiles.

Why have they, etc.] This is the Lord’s reply.

strange] foreign.

Verse 19. - Because of them that dwell in, etc. The Hebrew simply has "from them," etc. The prophet is transported in imam-nation to the time of the fulfillment of his prophecies. He hears the lamentation of his countrymen, who are languishing in captivity. Is not the Lord in Zion, etc.? is the burden of their sad complaints; "king" is a familiar synonym for "God" (comp. Isaiah 8:21; Isaiah 33:22; but not Psalm 89:18, which is certainly mistranslated in Authorized Version). But why" in Zion?" "Zion" was properly the name of the eastward hill at Jerusalem, where lay the oldest part of the city (called "the city of David"), and the highest portion of which was crowned by the temple. Why have they provoked me to anger, etc.? is the reply of Jehovah, pointing out that their sufferings were but an exact retribution for their infidelity (comp. Jeremiah 5:19). The warning of coming punishment, reiterated from a former discourse, is strengthened by the threatening that God will sweep them utterly away, because Judah has become an unfruitful vine and fig-tree. In אסף we have a combination of אסף, gather, glean, carry away, and הסיף, Niph. of סוּף, make an end, sweep off, so as to heighten the sense, as in Zephaniah 1:1. - a passage which was doubtless in the prophet's mind: wholly will I sweep them away. The circumstantial clauses: no grapes - and the leaves are withered, show the cause of the threatening: The people is become an unfruitful vine and fig-tree, whose leaves are withered. Israel was a vineyard the Lord had planted with noble vines, but which brought forth sour grapes, Jeremiah 2:21; Isaiah 5:2. In keeping with this figure, Israel is thought of as a vine on which are no grapes. With this is joined the like figure of a fig-tree, to which Micah in Micah 7:1 makes allusion, and which is applied by Christ to the degenerate race of His own time in His symbolical act of cursing the fig-tree (Matthew 21:19). To exhaust the thought that Judah is ripe for judgment, it is further added that the leaves are withered. The tree whose leaves are withered, is near being parched throughout. Such a tree was the people of Judah, fallen away from its God, spurning at the law of the Lord; in contrast with which, the man who trusts in the Lord, and has delight in the law of the Lord, is like the tree planted by the water, whose leaves are ever green, and which bringeth forth fruit in his season, Jeremiah 17:8; Psalm 1:1-3. Ros. and Mov. are quite wrong in following the Chald., and in taking the circumstantial clauses as a description of the future; Mov. even proceeds to change אסף אסיפם into אסף . The interpretation of the last clause is a disputed point. Ew., following the old translators (Chald., Syr., Aq., Symm., Vulg.; in the lxx they are omitted), understands the words of the transgression of the commands of God, which they seem to have received only in order to break them. ואתּן seems to tell in favour of this, and it may be taken as praeter. with the translation: and I gave to them that which they transgress. But unless we are to admit that the idea thus obtained stands quite abruptly, we must follow the Chald., and take it as the reason of what precedes: They are become an unfruitful tree with faded leaves, because they have transgressed my law which I gave them. But ואתּן with ו consec. goes directly against this construction. Of less weight is the other objection against this view, that the plural suffix in יעברוּם has no suitable antecedent; for there could be no difficulty in supplying "judgments" (cf. Jeremiah 8:8). But the abrupt appearance of the thought, wholly unlooked for here, is sufficient to exclude that interpretation. We therefore prefer the other interpretation, given with various modifications by Ven., Rose., and Maur., and translate: so I appoint unto them those that shall pass over them. The imperf. c. ו consec. attaches itself to the circumstantial clauses, and introduces the resulting consequence; it is therefore to be expressed in English by the present, not by the praeter.: therefore I gave them (Ng.). נתן in the general sig. appoint, and the second verb with the pron. rel. omitted: illos qui eos invadent. עבר, to overrun a country or people, of a hostile army swarming over it, as e.g., Isaiah 8:8; Isaiah 28:15. For the construction c. accus. cf. Jeremiah 23:9; Jeremiah 5:22. Hitz.'s and Graf's mode of construction is forced: I deliver them up to them (to those) who pass over them; for then we must not only supply an object to אתּן, but adopt the unusual arrangement by which the pronoun להם is made to stand before the words that explain it.
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