Jeremiah 9:13
And the LORD said, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;
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9:12-22 In Zion the voice of joy and praise used to be heard, while the people kept close to God; but sin has altered the sound, it is now the voice of lamentation. Unhumbled hearts lament their calamity, but not their sin, which is the cause of it. Let the doors be shut ever so fast, death steals upon us. It enters the palaces of princes and great men, though stately, strongly built, and guarded. Nor are those more safe that are abroad; death cuts off even the children from without, and the young men from the streets. Hearken to the word of the Lord, and mourn with godly sorrow. This alone can bring true comfort; and it can turn the heaviest afflictions into precious mercies.The cause of the chastisement about to fall upon Jerusalem, was their desertion of the divine Law.13. Answer to the "for what the land perisheth" (Jer 9:12). Either this and the next verse refer to the former, viz. because there are none can give the reason why the land perisheth, therefore God will; or else they refer to Jeremiah 9:15,16, as showing the causes of those judgments threatened; for either of the references do not alter the sense: see Jeremiah 5:19: this verse contains negative reasons.

They have forsaken my law; he chargeth them with their apostacy, and refusing to obey his precepts, and conform their conversation to them.

Which I set before them: lest they should plead they were obscure and hard to be understood, therefore he tells them he had made it plain to them, they could not be ignorant of it, except it were out of wilfulness and obstinacy: the like expression Deu 11:32. And the Lord saith,.... The Septuagint version adds, "to me"; there being no wise and understanding man, nor prophet (b), to take up this affair, and open the cause of it, therefore the Lord undertakes it himself: the question was put to them, but they not answering it, the Lord does it,

because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; in a plain and easy manner, so as to be readily understood; yet this they attended not unto, but forsook it, neglected it, and cast it behind their backs. Kimchi's note on the phrase, "before them", is,

"not in heaven is it, nor beyond the sea is it;''

see Deuteronomy 30:11,

and have not obeyed my voice; in the law, and by the prophets:

neither walked therein: according to it, as the Lord directed; they neither hearkened to the voice of the Lord, nor did as they were instructed by it.

(b) Vid. T. Nedarim, fol. 81. 1. & Bava Metzia fol. 85. 1, 2.

And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;
13. I set before them] See e.g. Deuteronomy 4:8; Deuteronomy 4:44.Verse 13. - There is no answer, for the wise men are ashamed (Jeremiah 8:9); so Jehovah himself takes up his speech. My law which I set before them; not in reference to the publication of the Law on Sinai, but, as Keil rightly points out, to the oral exhibition of the Torah by the prophets. Neither walked therein; viz. in the Law. (On the precise contents of the term here rendered "Law," see note on Jeremiah 8:8.) In Jeremiah 9:4 these sinful ways are exposed in yet stronger words. יהתל, uncontracted form of the imperf. Hiph. of תּלל, trip up, deceive. On the infin. העוה, cf. Ew. 238, e, and Gesen. 75, Rem. 17. They weary themselves out, put themselves to great labour, in order to deal corruptly; נלאה as in Jeremiah 20:9; Isaiah 16:12, elsewhere to be weary of a thing; cf. Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 15:6. - In Jeremiah 9:5 the statement returns to the point at which it commenced: thy sitting (dwelling) is in the midst of deceit. In deceit, i.e., in the state of their mind, directed as it is by deceit and cheating, they refuse to know me, i.e., they are resolved to have nothing to do with the knowledge of God, because in that case they must give up their godless ways.

(Note: The lxx have not understood שׁכתּך dootsr. They have split it up into שׁב תּך, joined שׁב to נלאוּ, and translated, after adding ולא: καὶ ου ̓ διέλιπον τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι τόκος ἐπὶ τόκῳ (i.e., usury upon usury) καὶ δόλος ἐπὶ δόλω οὐκ ἤθελον εἰδέναι με. Ew. has adopted this construction, and so translates: "have accustomed their tongue to speak lies, to do perversity, are weary of turning again; wrong upon wrong, deceit upon deceit, they are not willing to know me." But this text is not better, but worse, than the Masoretic: for, 1st, the perverse dealing or action is attributed to the tongue; 2nd, the thought, they are weary of turning again, does not suit the context, since the persons described here have never sought to return or repent, and so cannot have become weary of it. For these reasons, neither Hitz. nor Graf has given countenance to the lxx text.)

By reason of this depravity, the Lord must purge His people by sore judgments. He will melt it in the fire of affliction (Isaiah 48:10), to separate the wicked: cf. Isaiah 1:25; Zechariah 13:9; and on בּחן, Jeremiah 6:27. For how should I do, deal? Not: what dreadful judgments shall I inflict (Hitz., Gr.), in which case the grounding כּי would not have its proper force; but: I can do none otherwise than purge. Before the face of, i.e., by reason of, the daughter, because the daughter of my people behaves herself as has been described in Jeremiah 9:2-4, and as is yet to be briefly repeated in Jeremiah 9:7. The lxx have paraphrased מפּני: ἀπὸ προσώπου πονηρίας. This is true to the sense, but it is unfair to argue from it, as Ew., Hitz., Gr. do, that רעת has been dropped out of the Hebrew text and should be restored. - In Jeremiah 9:7 what has been said is recapitulated shortly, and then in Jeremiah 9:8 the necessity of the judgment is shown. חץ שׁוחט, a slaying, slaughtering, i.e., murderous arrow. Instead of this Chet., which gives a good sense, the Keri gives שׁחוּט, which, judging from the Chald. translation, is probably to be translated sharpened. But there is no evidence for this sig., since שׁחוּט occurs only in connection with זהב, 1 Kings 10:16, and means beaten, lit., spread gold. At מרמה דבּר the plural passes into the singular: he (one of them) speaks; cf. Psalm 55:22. ארב for insidious scheming, as in Hosea 7:6. With Jeremiah 9:8 cf. Jeremiah 5:9, Jeremiah 5:29.

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