Jeremiah 9:2
Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) Oh, that I had . . .!—Literally, as before, Who will give . . .?

A lodging place of wayfaring men.—i.e., a place of shelter, a khan or caravanserai, such as were built for travellers, such, e.g., as the “inn” of Genesis 42:27, the “habitation” of Chimham (Jeremiah 41:17), which the son of Barzillai had erected near Bethlehem, as an act of munificent gratitude to his adopted country (2Samuel 19:40). In some such shelter, far from the cities of Judah, the prophet, with a feeling like that of the Psalmist (Psalm 55:6-8) would fain find refuge from his treacherous enemies—“adulterers,” alike spiritually and literally (Jeremiah 5:8).

Jeremiah 9:2. O that I had in the wilderness, &c. — The prophet here wishes that he had a lodging-place, or tent, such as travellers in this country were wont to lodge in when they travelled over the deserts, professing that he would rather pass his days in such a habitation in some desert place, than at Jerusalem, which was filled with wicked men. That I may leave my people and go from them — Not chiefly because of the ill usage he met with among them, but rather because his righteous soul was vexed from day to day, as Lot’s was in Sodom, with the wickedness of their conversation, 2 Peter 3:7-8. It made him even weary of his life to see them dishonouring God and destroying themselves. Time was when the place where God had chosen to put his name, there were the desire and delight of good men. David, in the wilderness, longed to be again in the courts of God’s house; but now Jeremiah, in the courts of God’s house, (for there he was when he said this,) wishes himself in a wilderness! Those have made themselves very vile and very miserable, that have made God’s people and ministers weary of them, and desirous to get from among them. It may not be improper to observe here, that “travellers in the East are not, nor ever were, accommodated at inns on the road, after the manner of the European nations. In some places indeed there are large public buildings provided for their reception, which they call caravansaries; but these afford merely a covering, being absolutely without furniture; and the traveller must carry his own provisions and necessaries along with him, or he will not find any. Nor are even these empty mansions always to be met with; so that if the weary traveller at night comes into a town where there is no caravansary, or πανδοχειον, as it is called Luke 10:34, he must take up his lodging in the street, unless some charitable inhabitant will be pleased to receive him into his house, as we find Jdg 19:15. And if he passes through the desert, it is well for him if he can light upon a cave, or a hut, which some one before him may have erected for a temporary shelter. And this last is what I conceive to be here meant by מלון ארחים, a solitary and not very comfortable situation, but yet preferable to the chagrin of living continually in the society of men of profligate manners.” — Blaney. For they be all adulterers — The expression seems here to be metaphorical, implying that they were apostates from God, to whose service they were engaged by the most solemn covenant, like that which obliges a wife to be faithful to her husband. See note on Jeremiah 2:2; and compare Matthew 16:4; James 4:4.

9:1-11 Jeremiah wept much, yet wished he could weep more, that he might rouse the people to a due sense of the hand of God. But even the desert, without communion with God, through Christ Jesus, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, must be a place for temptation and evil; while, with these blessings, we may live in holiness in crowded cities. The people accustomed their tongues to lies. So false were they, that a brother could not be trusted. In trading and bargaining they said any thing for their own advantage, though they knew it to be false. But God marked their sin. Where no knowledge of God is, what good can be expected? He has many ways of turning a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwell therein.From their punishment the prophet now turns to their sins.

Jeremiah 9:2

The prophet utters the wish that he might be spared his daily striving, and in some lone wilderness give way to his sorrow, without restraint.

A lodging place - It was usual to build in the desert, either by private charity or at the public expense, caravanserais, to receive travelers for a single night, who had however to bring their own supplies with them.

An assembly - Or, a gang.

Treacherous - Faithless toward one another.

2. lodging-place—a caravanseral for caravans, or companies travelling in the desert, remote from towns. It was a square building enclosing an open court. Though a lonely and often filthy dwelling, Jeremiah would prefer even it to the comforts of Jerusalem, so as to be removed from the pollutions of the capital (Ps 55:7, 8). He proceeds in his lamentation, which in the former verse he did, by way of compassion, in this in a way of indignation, Wishing for some retiring place, or sorry shed, or night cottage; See Poole "Isaiah 24:20"; though it were but some mean and sorry lint in the wilderness, as David, Psalm 55:6,7, such as might but shelter him from the injuries of the weather: LXX., in some remotest station or corner, where he might not be an eye-witness of their miseries to grieve him so at the heart, Psalm 119:136,158; see 2 Peter 2:7,8; and where he might hope to find better entertainment from the savage beasts than from his own countrymen.

They be all adulterers, i.e. for the most part, Jeremiah 5:8, both properly and metaphorically, being full of idolatrous practices; or, there is no integrity found among them.

An assembly of treacherous men; that deal perfidiously with God and man in all the concerns they are conversant about, Isaiah 1:4. And though the word here for assembly is most ordinarily used for a holy assembly, Leviticus 23:36 Numbers 29:35, which causeth some to understand it of their being most vile when they should be most devout; yet here it most naturally signifies a kind of combination among them, as such that have conspired one among another to act all manner of villanies.

Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men,.... Such as travellers take up with in a desert, when they are benighted, and cannot reach a town or village. This the prophet chose, partly that he might have an opportunity to give vent to his grief, being alone; for which reason he did not desire to be in cities and populous places, where he might be amused and diverted while his people were in distress: and partly to show his sympathy, not being able to bear the sight of their misery; and also some degree of indignation at their impieties, which had brought ruin upon them; on account of which it was more eligible to dwell with the wild beasts of the desert than with them in his native country: wherefore it follows,

that I might leave my people, and go from them; which of itself was not desirable; no man chooses to leave his country, his own people, and his father's house, and go into distant lands and strange countries; and especially into a wilderness, where there is neither suitable food nor agreeable company: wherefore this shows, that there must be something very bad, and very provoking, to lead him to take such a step as this: the reason follows,

for they be all adulterers; either in a literal or figurative sense; the latter seems rather intended; for though corporeal fornication and adultery might greatly prevail among them, yet not to such a height as that "all" of them were guilty; whereas idolatry did generally obtain among them: an assembly of treacherous men; not a few only, but in general they were apostates from God and from true religion, and treacherous to one another. The Septuagint calls them "a synod"; and Joseph Kimchi interprets it "a kingdom"; deriving the word from as it signifies to have rule and dominion; denoting, that the kingdom in general was false and perfidious.

O that I had in the wilderness a {b} lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they are all {c} adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

(b) He shows that there was more peace and greater safety for him to dwell among the wild beasts than among this wicked people except that God has given him this charge.

(c) Utterly turned from God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. a lodging place] a caravanserai, hospice (khan). Shelter was all that they afforded. The most desolate spot is to the prophet’s mind better than the sights which thrust themselves upon him in Jerusalem.

adulterers] See on last words of ch. Jeremiah 2:20.

Verses 2-22. - Complaint of the treachery and folly of the people; lamentation over their consequences. Verse 2. - A lodging place of wayfaring men; a "khan" or "caravanserai," to use the terms now so familiar from Eastern travel, where "wayfaring men" could at least find shelter, and the means of preparing their provisions. Comp., besides the parallel passage in Psalm 55:6, 7, our own Cowper's fine reminiscence of Jeremiah: "Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness!" etc. Adulterers... treacherous men (see Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:8, 9; Jeremiah 3:20; Jeremiah 5:11). Jeremiah 9:2Jeremiah 9:1. "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfarers! then would I leave my people, and go away from them. For they be all adulterers, a crew of faithless ones. Jeremiah 9:2. They bend their tongue like their bow with lying; and not according to faithfulness do they manage in the land, but go on from evil to evil, and me they know not, saith Jahve. Jeremiah 9:3. Beware each of his neighbour, and trust not in any brother; for every brother supplanteth, and every friend goeth slandering. Jeremiah 9:4. And one overreaCheth the other, and truth they speak not; they teach their tongue to speak lies, to deal perversely they weary themselves. Jeremiah 9:5. Thy dwelling is in the midst of deceit; in deceit they refuse to know me, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 9:6. Therefore thus hath spoken Jahveh of hosts: Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how should I deal in regard to the daughter of my people? Jeremiah 9:7. A deadly arrow is their tongue; they speak deceit; with his mouth one speaketh peace with his neighbour, and inwardly within him he layeth ambush. Jeremiah 9:8. Shall I not visit this upon them? saith Jahveh; or on such a people as this shall not my soul take vengeance?"

Jeremiah would flee into the wilderness, far away from his people; because amidst such a corrupt, false, and cunning people, life had become unbearable, Jeremiah 9:1. מי יתּנני, as in Isaiah 27:4, equivalent to מי יתּן לי, Psalm 55:7 : who would give me equals Oh that I had! The "lodging-place" is not a resting-place under the open sky, but a harbour for travellers - a building (khan) erected on the route of the caravans, as a shelter for travellers. Adultery and faithlessness are mentioned as cardinal sins. The first sin has been rebuked in Jeremiah 5:7, the second is exposed in Jeremiah 9:2-4. בּוגד, faithless either towards God or one's fellow-men; here in the latter sense. The account of the unfaithful conduct is introduced in Jeremiah 9:2 by the imperf. with ו consec., and is carried on in the perf. Manifestations of sin are the issue of a sinful state of heart; the perfects are used to suggest the particular sins as accomplished facts.

In the clause, "they bend," etc., שׁקר is the second object; and "their bow" is in apposition to "their tongue:" they bend their tongue, which is their bow, with lying. For this construction the Hiph. is the proper form, and this is not to be changed into the Kal (as by Hitz., Gr., Ng.). In Job 28:8 the Hiph. is used instead of the Kal in the sense of tread upon, walk upon; here it is used of the treading of the bow to bend it, and lying is looked upon as the arrow with which the bow is stretched or armed for shooting. If the verb be changed into the Kal, we must join שׁקר with קשׁתּם: their lying-bow. For this connection דּרכּך זמּה, Ezekiel 16:27, may be cited; but it gives us the unnatural figure: their tongue as a bow, which is lying. It is neither the tongue nor the bow which is lying, but that which they shoot with their tongue as with a bow. According to faithfulness; ל of the rule, norm, as in Jeremiah 5:3. Not faithfulness to their convictions (Hitz.), but in their behaviour towards their fellow-man. גּבר, be strong, exercise strength, rule, and manage. The prophet has in view the great and mighty who had power in their hands, and who misused it to oppress their inferiors. From evil to evil they go on, i.e., they proceed from one sin to another; but God the Lord they know not, i.e., are determined to know nothing of Him; cf. 1 Samuel 2:12; Job 18:21. Hence each must keep himself on his guard against the other. To express this in the most emphatic manner, Jeremiah gives it the form of a command: Beware each of his neighbour, trust not in a brother; for each seeks to overreach and trip up the other. In the words עקוב יעקב there seems to be an allusion to Jacob's underhand dealing with his brother Esau, Genesis 27:36. On "goes slandering," cf. Jeremiah 6:28, and cf. also the similar description in Micah 7:5-6.

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