Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaks deceit: one speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in heart he lays his wait.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)An arrow shot out.—Better, an arrow that pierceth, or slayeth.
In heart.—More literally, inwardly.
speaketh peaceably … in heart … layeth … wait—layeth his ambush [Henderson], (Ps 55:21).Their tongue is as an arrow: before, Jeremiah 9:3, it was compared to a bow, i.e. ready prepared, and furnished with materials contriving their wickedness, Psalm 11:2; and here to an arrow shot out, actually executing what they have designed. Some translate it a murdering arrow. It speaketh deceit; never speaking what they mean, that thereby they may the easier deceive the credulous; a double tongue, speaking fair when they mean to destroy, Psalm 55:21, as the next words explain it, intending to do the greatest mischief when they speak fairest.
In heart he layeth his wait, Heb. in midst of him, i.e. in his very inwards, with his whole heart he contrives mischief. 1 Kings 10:16, gold drawn out into plates; and here of an arrow drawn out of a quiver; and so it is interpreted in the Talmud (w); or is "wounding", as the Septuagint, or "slaying" (x); denoting the mischief and injury done to the characters of men, by a deceitful, detracting, and calumniating tongue. The Targum is, "as a sharp arrow their tongue"; which pierces deep, and is deadly; See Gill on Jeremiah 9:3,
it speaketh deceit; deceitful words, by which men are imposed upon, and are led into wrong ways of thinking and acting:
one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth; salutes him in a friendly manner; wishes him all health, peace, and prosperity; professes a sincere and cordial friendship for him, and pretends a strong affection to him:
but in his heart he layeth wait; to draw him into snares, and circumvent, trick, and defraud him.Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. LXX, by a different arrangement of the words forming the second and third clauses, have the words of their mouth are deceitful, an improvement in symmetry, to which the original easily lends itself.Verse 8. - (Comp. Psalm 55:21.) As an arrow shot out; rather, as a sharpened arrow; but this is based on the marginal reading, and is itself a slightly forced rendering. The Hebrew text (i.e. the consonants), and also the Septuagint and Vulgate, have "as a murderous arrow." Jeremiah 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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