Jeremiah 9:14
But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:
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(14) Imagination.—Stubbornness, as in Jeremiah 3:17.

Baalim.—The generic name for false gods of all kinds, and therefore used in the plural. (Comp. Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 2:23.)

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.Imagination - Or, as in the margin.

Which their fathers taught them - It was not the sin of one generation that brought upon them chastisement: it was a sin, which had been handed down from father to son.

14. (Jer 7:24).

Baalim—plural of Baal, to express his supposed manifold powers.

fathers taught them—(Ga 1:14; 1Pe 1:18). We are not to follow the errors of the fathers, but the authority of Scripture and of God [Jerome].

Imagination, or stubbornness and obstinacy: see Jeremiah 7:24.

Baalim: see Jeremiah 2:23. The prophet doth not charge them with new crimes, but with their tenacious sticking to their idolatry.

Which their fathers taught them: see Jeremiah 7:18. It seems they might partly thank their education for it, as well as their own natural perverseness: hence we should learn to follow God’s counsel in the Scriptures, and not blindly follow our fathers’ counsel, precepts, or examples, or our own will, which is the worst guide. But have walked after the imagination of their own heart,.... What their own hearts devised, chose, and were best pleased with; See Gill on Jeremiah 7:24,

and after Baalim; the idols of the Gentiles; these they served and worshipped, and not the true God:

which their fathers taught them; which was so far from excusing them, that it was an aggravation of their sin, that they had continued in their wicked ways and idolatrous practices, from age to age, from one generation to another. This then was the cause of their calamity and destruction; they had forsaken the law of the Lord, and had broken that; they had chose their own ways, and had been guilty of idolatrous practices time out of mind; wherefore the Lord had shown much longsuffering and patience with them, and would now no longer forbear he was just and righteous in his doings.

But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which {l} their fathers taught them:

(l) He shows that the children cannot excuse themselves by their fathers: for both father and child if they are wicked will perish.

14. the Baalim] See on ch. Jeremiah 2:8.Verse 14. - Imagination; rather, stubbornness (see on Jeremiah 3:17). Baalim. The Hebrew has "the Baalim;" practically equivalent to "the idol-gods" (see on Jeremiah 2:8). Which their fathers taught them. "Which" refers to both clauses, i.e. to the obstinacy and the Baal-worship. 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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