Jeremiah 9:23
Thus said the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
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(23) Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom.—The long prophecy of judgment had reached its climax. Now there comes the conclusion of the whole matter—that the one way of salvation is to renounce all reliance on the wisdom, greatness, wealth of the world, and to glory only in knowing Jehovah. The “wise man” is, as before in Jeremiah 8:9, and Jeremiah 9:12, the scribe, or recognised teacher of the people

Jeremiah 9:23-24. Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom — Let not men value themselves on account of their wisdom, strength, or riches, which are things in themselves of a very uncertain continuance, and such calamities are coming, (see Jeremiah 9:25-26,) in which they will stand the owners of them in very little stead. The only true, valuable endowment is the knowledge of God, not as he is in himself, which is too high an attainment for poor mortals to pretend to, but with respect to his dealings with men; to have a serious sense of his mercies to the penitent, of his judgments to the obstinate, and of his truth and integrity, in making good his promises and threatenings to both. It is in the exercise of these attributes God chiefly delights; and it is by these he desires to make himself known to the world; and he that forms a just and lively apprehension of God, chiefly with regard to these his perfections, will always demean himself suitably toward him. Judgment and righteousness are often equivalent terms, but here the former seems to denote God’s severity against the wicked, and the latter his truth, justice, or holiness. See Lowth. Upon the whole, all other wisdom is vain and dangerous, except that which has God himself for its object, and teaches us to despise ourselves, to be humbled beneath his mighty hand, and to glory in him alone.9:23-26 In this world of sin and sorrow, ending soon in death and judgement, how foolish for men to glory in their knowledge, health, strength, riches, or in any thing which leaves them under the dominion of sin and the wrath of God! and of which an account must hereafter be rendered; it will but increase their misery. Those are the true Israel who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Let us prize the distinction which comes from God, and will last for ever. Let us seek it diligently.To the end of Jeremiah 10 the prophet urges upon the people the practical conclusion to be drawn from God's righteous dealings with them. The three things on which men most pride themselves are shown in this verse to have proved vain. 23. wisdom—political sagacity; as if it could rescue from the impending calamities.

might—military prowess.

The Jews did glory in the counsel of their wise men, the strength of the soldiers, and the wealth of their cities; but here God takes them off from their vain confidences, that neither their counsels and policy, Ecclesiastes 9:11, nor their forces and arms, Psalm 33:16,17, nor their wealth or riches, Proverbs 11:4 Ezekiel 7:19, should be able to deliver them from being either destroyed or carried captive by the Chaldeans. In these, or some of these, men are apt to put their confidences, and neglect God their only succour in distress; and therefore he puts them upon that in the next verse. Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,.... Not in his natural wisdom, or knowledge of natural things: this is often but an appearance of wisdom, and is science falsely so called; and whatever is real of this kind is of God; and the best falls short of leading men to a true and saving knowledge of God; the foolishness of God is wiser than it; and it is made foolish, destroyed, and brought to nought by him: nor in evangelical wisdom and knowledge; not in that which is less common, or what fits men for public usefulness, as ministerial gifts; for such are received from above; are more for the use of others than a man's self; there is something better than these, which a man may not have, and yet have these, which is grace; those may fade, or be taken away; and a man have them, and be lost eternally: nor in that which is more general, speculative knowledge of Gospel truths; for if it is attended with conceit, it is little or nothing that a man knows; if he is proud of it, his knowledge is not sanctified; and it is no other than what the devils themselves have: nor in that which is more special; wisdom in the inward part, or a spiritual and saving knowledge of God in Christ; this a man has wholly of free grace, and should give the praise and glory of it to God, and not attribute it to himself:

neither let the mighty man glory in his might; not in his natural might or strength; this is of God, and is greater in some of the brutes than in men; and is what God can take away, and does often weaken it in the way by diseases, and at last destroys it by death; nor in moral strength, or in the power of free will; which is very weak and insufficient to do anything that is spiritually good: nor even in spiritual strength; this is from Christ; it is only through him strengthening his people that they do what they do; and all supplies and increase of it are from him; and therefore no room for glorying:

let not the rich man glory in his riches; these come of the hand of God, and are what he can take away at pleasure; they are very uncertain and precarious things; there is a better and more enduring substance; these cannot profit in a day of wrath, nor deliver from death, corporeal, spiritual, or eternal. And the intention of the words here is to show, that neither the wise man with all his art and cunning, nor the mighty man by his strength, nor the rich man through his riches, could save themselves from the destruction before prophesied of. The Targum paraphrases them thus,

"thus saith the Lord, let not Solomon the son of David the wise man praise (or please himself) in his wisdom; nor let Samson the son of Manoah the mighty man please himself in his might; nor let Ahab the son of Omri the rich man please himself in his riches.''

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the {r} wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

(r) As none can save himself by his own labour, or any worldly means, he shows that it is vain to put our trust in it, but that we trust in the Lord, and rejoice in him, who only can deliver.

23–26. See summary introducing the section. Piety alone is the source of true glory. Circumcision, as the mere external mark of the covenant, of itself brings no man, Jew or otherwise, favour with God. 23, 24, and 25, 26 form two detached utterances, which have no relation to this context, and we cannot now say where they should be placed. The former is quite in agreement with other sayings of the prophet (Jeremiah 8:9, Jeremiah 17:5 f., Jeremiah 22:13 ff.). It is accordingly retained as his by Gi. and Co., while Du. rejects it.Verses 23, 24. - These two verses were hardly composed for their present position, though a connection may, of course, be thought out for them. Perhaps a comparison of Habakkuk 3:17, 18, may help us. There the prophet looks forward to a complete desolation resulting from the Chaldean invasion, and yet declares that he can even exult in his God. So here. All subjects of boasting have been proved untrustworthy; but one remains - not wisdom, not valor, not riches, but the knowledge of the revealed God. Zion laid waste. - Jeremiah 9:16. "Thus hath Jahveh of hosts said: Give heed and call for mourning women, that they may come, and send to the wise women, that they may come, Jeremiah 9:17. And may make haste and strike up a lamentation for us, that our eyes may run down with tears and our eyelids gush out with water. Jeremiah 9:18. For loud lamentation is heard out of Zion: How are we spoiled, sore put to shame! because we have left the land, because they have thrown down our dwellings. Jeremiah 9:19. For year, ye women, the word of Jahve, and let your ear receive the word of His mouth, and teach your daughters lamentation, and let one teach the other the song of mourning! Jeremiah 9:20. For death cometh up by our windows, he entereth into our palaces, to cut off the children from the streets, the young men from the thoroughfares. Jeremiah 9:21. Speak: Thus runs the saying of Jahve: And the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the field, and as a sheaf behind the shearer, which none gathereth."

In this strophe we have a further account of the execution of the judgment, and a poetical description of the vast harvest death is to have in Zion. The citizens of Zion are called upon to give heed to the state of affairs now in prospect, i.e., the judgment preparing, and are to assemble mourning women that they may strike up a dirge for the dead. התבּונן, to be attentive, give heed to a thing; cf. Jeremiah 2:10. Women cunning in song are to come with speed (תּמהרנה takes the place of an adverb). The form תּבואינה (Psalm 45:16; 1 Samuel 10:7) alternates with תּבואנהּ, the usual form in this verb, e.g., Genesis 30:38; 1 Kings 3:16, etc., in order to produce an alternating form of expression . "For us" Ng. understands of those who call the mourning women, and in it he finds "something unusual," because ordinarily mourners are summoned to lament for those already dead, i.e., others than those who summon them. "But here they are to raise their laments for the very persons who summon them, and for the death of these same, which has yet to happen." There is a misunderstanding at the bottom of this remark. The "for us" is not said of the callers; for these are addressed in the second person. If Ng.'s view were right, it must be "for you," not "for us." True, the lxx has εφ ̓ ὑμᾶς; but Hitz. has rejected this reading as a simplification and weakening expression, and as disturbing the plan. "For us" is used by the people taken collectively, the nation as such, which is to be so sorely afflicted and chastised by death that it is time for the mourning women to raise their dirge, that so the nation may give vent to its grief in tears. We must also take into account, that even although the lamentations were for the dead, they yet chiefly concerned the living, who had been deeply afflicted by the loss of beloved relations; it would not be the dead merely that were mourned for, but the living too, because of their loss. It is this reference that stands here in the foreground, since the purpose of the chanting of dirges is that our eyes may flow with tears, etc. Zion will lament the slain of her people (Jeremiah 8:22), and so the mourning women are to strike up dirges. תּשּׂנה for תּשּׂאנה, as in Ruth 1:14; cf. Ew. 198, b. On the use of ירד and נזל with the accus.: flow down in tears, cf. Gesen. 138, 1, Rem. 2, Ew. 281, b.

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