Jeremiah 15
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.

4. The Second Refusal


1          And Jehovah said unto me:

If Moses and Samuel stood before me,

Yet my soul is not inclined towards this people:

Away with them from my presence! Out with them!

2     And if they say to thee: Out whither shall we go?—

Then say to them: Thus saith Jehovah:

He who is for death to death, he for the sword to the sword,

And he who is for famine to famine, and he for captivity to captivity.

3     And I appoint over them four kinds, saith Jehovah:

The sword to kill and the dogs to tear,

The birds of heaven and the beasts of the field to devour and to destroy.

4     And I make them a horror1 to all kingdoms of the earth,

On account of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah,

And on account of what he did at Jerusalem.


The second petition is refused with a decisiveness which allows of no repetition and the people are rejected from the presence of the Lord (Jer 15:1), but not to a definite place, for they are delivered up to destruction in the most various forms (Jer 15:2), and to destroyers of the most terrible kinds (Jer 15:3), so that their destruction will excite the horror of all nations; but all this will correspond to the seed of abomination which Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, scattered in Judah (Jer 15:4).

Jer 15:1. And Jehovah said … out with them! Moses is an intercessor, Exod. 17:11 sqq.; 32:11 sqq.; Numb. 14:13; Ps. 106:23.—Samuel in 1 Sam. 7:8; 8:6; 12:16–23; 15:11; Ps. 99:6; Ecclus. 46:16. Comp. HERZOG, Real-Enc. XIII. S. 398.—Noah, Daniel and Job are mentioned in a similar manner in Ezek. 14:14; and in later times Jeremiah himself in 2 Macc. 15:14.—The object of away, according to the preceding context, and to whither shall we go? Jer 15:2, can be no other than the people.

Jer 15:2 and 3. And if they say … to destroy. The question, whither shall we go? presupposes the thought of a mere banishment. It is declared in what follows that far worse than this is meant.—He who is for death. A fearful destructive blow is to follow, which causes the people to be scattered and drives individuals, without selection or respect of persons, into the hands of the agents of death.—Death, with sword, famine and captivity, is evidently the relatively spontaneous death by disease or pestilence (דֶּבֶר), wherefore the latter word is also used with the other in 14:12; Ezek. 14:21; 33:27; comp. Jer. 43:11.

Jer 15:3 fortifies this judgment of destruction, by declaring it in a certain measure permanent. For and I appoint declares that Israel is to be placed as it were under the jurisdiction of these four destructive forces, as also in Ezek. 14:21 it is expressly said that the Lord will send His “four sore judgments—the sword and the famine and the noisome beast and the pestilence,” upon Jerusalem.—Kinds, משׁפחות. Comp. דּוֹר, the four generations, Prov. 30:11 sqq. Since the four instruments here mentioned correspond to the four kinds of destruction mentioned in Jer 15:2, it is evident that Jer 15:3 bears to Jer 15:2 not a logical but rhetorical relation. The sword moreover represents the judgment on the living, the three others the judgment on the dead. Comp. 14:16; Deut. 28:26.

Jer 15:4. And I make them … at Jerusalem. Repetition of the first half of the verse 24:9; 29:18; 34:17. The expression is taken from Deut. 28:25. Concerning Manasseh comp. 2 Kings 21:1–17; 23:26; 24:3. The biblical accounts dismiss the long reign of this king with remarkable brevity. We obtain the impression that this is the effect of a certain reluctance to recall this name, which represents the darkest portion of the history of Judah, an epoch which is to be regarded as the concentration and end of all ungodliness.


[1]Jer 15:4.—Here and in Ezek. 23:46 זַעֲוָת is found without marginal reading, but in Isa. 28:19 the older form זְוָעָה. In the other places (besides those quoted in Jeremiah also 2 Chron. 29:8), where EWALD (comp. § 53, b) would read זועִה (scarecrow, sport [of chance]) there is always the Keri זַעֲוָה. Except in Isa. 28:19, the word occurs only as the designation of the terminus in quem after נָתַן or before הָיָה. The root זוּעַ has both in the Hebrew (it occurs in the Old Test. only in Eccl. 12:3; Esth. 5:9; Hab. 2:7) and in the dialects (comp. Dan. 5:19; 6:27) the meaning of violent motion, commotion. Hence זְוָעָה is commotion, quaking, horror.

For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?


5          For who will have pity on thee, O Jerusalem?

Or who will have sympathy for thee?

Or who will turn aside to wish thee well?

6     Thou hast rejected me, saith Jehovah, [and] wentest backwards.2

Then I stretched out my hand against thee and destroyed thee:

I was weary of repenting.

7     And I winnowed them out with a fan

At the gates of the land;

I orphaned, I destroyed my people,—

For they had not turned them from their ways.

8     Their widows are become to me more than the sand of the sea.

I brought them over the mother of the chosen3 the spoiler at noon-day;

I caused to fall on her sudden anguish4 and terror.

9     She who bore seven is exhausted;

She breathed out her soul [expired];

Her sun went down while it was yet day;

She was ashamed and confounded [put to shame];

But the residue I will give to the sword,

Before their enemies, saith Jehovah.


After the definite refusal in Jer 15:1–4, the prophet can declare only that there is no further prospect of pity or succor for Jerusalem (Jer 15:5). The people having rejected the Lord, He rejects them, and will not as before retract this determination (Jer 15:6). Winnowed out of the country, Israel is bereaved of his men and sons (Jer 15:7–9a); and the enemy will come with the sword after the fugitive remnant (Jer 15:9b).

Jer 15:5. For who will take pity … to wish thee well. From Jer 15:1–4 it follows with absolute certainty that Jehovah will no longer help, and that therefore Israel is inevitably lost. כִּי, For, implies a reference to this thought. No longer any escape! If the Lord will not, who else will have pity on the people? (Isai. 51:19; Nah. 3:7). Who indeed will even ask how they are? (שׁאל לשׁלום properly = to ask after one’s good health, to greet, Gen. 43:27; Exod. 18:7; Judges 18:15, etc.) The thought seems to be thus implied, that still less will any one do aught for the welfare of the people, or any longer intercede for them as the prophet has done (14:7 sqq.; 19 sqq.).—Turn aside.סוּר is here, as frequently, to deviate from the direct, proposed way, in order to turn to some other object, with which, as here, the idea of taking trouble may be connected. Ruth 4:1; 1 Ki. 20:39; Exod. 3:3.

Jer 15:6. Thou hast rejected me … of repenting. The reason for the declaration in Jer 15:5, that Israel is irretrievably lost, is stated in Jer 15:6, and more particularly in Jer 15:7 sqq. The reason first given, in Jer 15:6a, is objective, it being declared what Israel has done to draw upon himself such a punishment. The words then I stretched to repenting express the subjective reason, i.e., they declare what facts on the part of the speaker (i. e., of God) are presented as causæ efficientes of destruction. The præterite ואט, etc., is not strange; as the apostasy is an already accomplished fact, so also is the hostile position which God assumes towards it. The “stretched-out arm,” which is so often mentioned as Israel’s saving arm (Deut. 4:34; 5:15; 26:8, etc.), signifies the hostile position of God towards the enemies of the people. Elsewhere the stretching out of the hand frequently designates the declaration of war, or the command to use force; 1 Ki. 13:4; Job 15:25; Isai. 5:25; 9:11; 10:4; Jer. 6:12; 51:25; Ezek. 6:14; 14:9. 13, etc.—Perhaps also the assonance of וָאַט to אַתְּ is intended.—Destroyed thee is a summary intimation of the import of the gesture I was weary, etc., a more particular definition, in so far as it declares that the destruction will no longer be deferred as heretofore by a gracious “repenting.” Comp. 4:28; 6:11; Isai. 1:14.

Jer 15:7-9. And I winnowed them … before their enemies. I do not think with GRAF that שׁערי הארץ is to denote the uttermost, lands of the earth. How then could בְ be used? The preposition retains its proper meaning, if as in Nah. 3:13 we understand the exits of the land. The Lord winnows so powerfully that as the chaff flies out over the threshing-floor, so Israel flies out through the exits of the land to a distance.—Had not turned, etc., is a causal sentence.—In Jer 15:8 and 9 the prophet uses similar colors to those in 14:16, 17 Comp. 11:22; 18:21.—The words אֵם בָּחוּר, variously interpreted by the commentators, are most easily explained by the antithesis to the subsequently mentioned יֹלֶדֶת הַשִׁבְעָה. Even the strongest women, both those who have borne distinguished warriors, and those who have had numerous sons, shall perish. Without insisting on the singular in בָּחוּר I believe that it includes the idea of quality, as שׁבעה does of quantity. (Comp. 1 Sam. 2:5).—[HENDERSON:—“By the ‘young spoiler’ [text ‘destroyer’] is meant Nebuchadnezzar II., who, when his father was old and infirm, had part of the Chaldean army committed to him, and after defeating Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish marched forward against Jerusalem and captured it. The attack being made at noon indicates the unexpectedness by which it was characterized, that being the time of day when, owing to intense heat, military operations are carried on with less vigor.”—HITZIG: “The description in Jer 15:8 points to a lost battle; and on this hypothesis all the single features of the picture in Jer 15:7–9 may be brought into one point of view, so as to present one event. The author then refers to the battle of Megiddo, the more probably (2 Ki. 23:29) as the figure of the sun setting in bright daylight might then be founded on the eclipse which took place in that valley 30th Sept., A. D. 610. (Vid.THENIUS on 2 Ki.)”—S. R. A,]—Breathed, etc., נפחה. From Job 31:39 the meaning of the word exspirare seems plain. The rendering “to sigh” is too feeble in this connection.—Her sun, the sun of her life, and the happiness (comp. Mal. 3:20; Ps. 84:12) which she had in her sons is gone down. בָּאָה as in Gen. 15:17; 2 Sam. 2:24; Mic. 3:6. בעיד ו׳, comp. the previous “at noon-day.”—And confounded.בושה ו׳. The reference to the mother is to be preferred; for the sun itself does not suffer shame, but those who by the setting of the sun are reduced from the condition of an honored mother to the wretched state of a bereaved and childless one. In Isai. 24:23 it is the sun and moon themselves which must pale before a more brilliant star.—Deliver to the sword. Comp. Mic. 6:14.


[2]Jer 15:6.—ֹאחור תלכי. The imperfect is frequently used to designate a fact often repeated in the past. Comp. NARGELSB. Gr., § 87. f.

[3]Jer 15:8.—[A. V. “I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noon-day” BOOTHROYD: “against their mother city, a chosen one that spoileth,” etc. HENDERSON:—“The words עַל־אֵםִ בָּוּר (Jer 15:8) have been very differently construed. Nor is the difficulty which they present by any means easy of solution, however simple the words may be in themselves. LXX. ἐπὶ μητἐρα νεανίσκους. Some compare the phrase אֵס עַל בָּנִים the mother with her children [Syr., Arab., C. B. MICH., EWALD, etc.—S. R. A.] but the position of the preposition before and not after אֵם renders such construction untenable. Others take אֵם בָּחוּר to be in the construct state: the mother of the young man [CHALD., KIMCHI, .J. B. MICH., HITZIG, etc.—S. R. A.] or regarding the nouns as collectives: the mothers of the young men [DE WETTE, MAURER, ROSENMUELLER, etc.—S. R. A.] but neither of these affords a suitable sense. JARCHI, CAPELLUS, CASTALIO, DE DIEU, DOEDERLEIN, EICHHORN, DAHLER, consider אֵם mother, to mean the metropolis, as 2 Sam. 20:19, and אַמֶּה 2 Sam. 8:1. The word is thus used on Phœnician coins. Comp. the Arab. لم, the Greek μήτηρ; Callin. Fragm., 112; and the Latin mater, Flor. 3:7, 18; Ammian, 17:13; GESENIUS, in voc. The objection of SCHNURRER, that it wants the article, is of little force, as the prophets sometimes omit it for the sake of condensation. See Isai. 21:12, and NORDHEIMER’S Gr., II. p. 13, note. This, on the whole, as the text now stands, is the preferable interpretation.”—S. R. A.]

[4]Jer 15:8—בצהרים has the meaning of unusual, unexpected. Comp. 6:4; Am. 8:9.—עיר ἅπ. λεγ. radically related to צוּר, צִיר = coarctatio, angor.

Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.


1. Complaint and petition of the prophet on account of the consequences of the refusal with respect to his person


10          Wo unto me, my mother, that thou hast borne me,

A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole land:

I have not borrowed nor lent, yet all curse me.5

11     Jehovah said: Verily, I distress thee6 for thy good,

Verily the enemy shall approach thee imploringly7

In the time of calamity and in the time of distress.

12     Will then iron break iron from the north and brass?

13     Thy substance and thy treasures will I give up for spoil, not for hire,8

But on account of all thy sins and in all thy borders.

14     And I take thee9 with thine enemies into a land that thou knowest not,

For a fire10 is kindled in my nostrils which shall burn over you.6

15     Thou knowest it, O Jehovah, remember me,

And visit me, and avenge me of my persecutors;

Sweep me not away by11 thy long suffering;

Know that for thy sake I have suffered reproach.

16     Thy words were offered and I devoured them,

And thy words12 were to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.

For I bear thy name, O Jehovah, God of Zebaoth.

17     I sat not in the assembly of the joyful, nor was merry.

Before thy hand I sat solitary, for thou hast filled me with indignation.

18     Why then has my pain become perpetual,13

And my wound helpless,14 that will not heal?

Art thou then become to me as a deceitful brook,15

As precarious water?


After a sorrowful lament of the prophet, that without any fault of his, all curse him (Jer 15:10), follows (if Jer 15:11–14 are genuine) first a comforting assurance from the Lord, that all will accrue to his advantage and that even his enemies in their distress will turn to him as suppliants (Jer 15:11); and then a description of this distress: it comes as iron from the North which cannot be broken by other iron or brass (Jer 15:12); all wealth in all the borders of Israel will be plundered on account of their sin (Jer 15:13), and the people will be carried away into a strange land in consequence of the violent and inextinguishable anger of Jehovah (Jer 15:14). In Jer 15:15–18 follows a further address of the prophet to the Lord, which, by the words “Thou knowest it,” may possibly be connected with Jer 15:12, but may also be connected with Jer 15:10. The prophet prays the Lord for His gracious interposition, for vengeance on his enemies, for long-suffering forbearance, since he is indeed suffering for God’s sake (Jer 15:15). He grounds his petition further on his willing devotion to the Lord as His instrument (Jer 15:16), and his having walked worthy of this great honor (Jer 15:17). In conclusion another lament of the prophet: Why is there then for me no cure, no recreation? (Jer 15:18).

Jer 15:10. Wo unto me … all curse me. Had the intercession of the prophet in Jer 16. been heard, his lot, in so far as it depended on his countrymen, would have been more agreeable. But now that so stern a refusal has been given he sees the whole fury of the people discharged upon his person. The mention of the calamity of the mother, Jer 15:8 and 9, reminds the prophet of his own mother, not however to lament on her account, but on his own, that he was ever born. Comp. 20:14; Job 3:3; 1 Macc. 2:7.—Lending and borrowing cause most law-suits. The prophet neither receives loans from others (נָשָׁה, Isa. 24:2), which as a bad debtor he did not repay, nor does he himself lend money (נָשָׁה בְּ, Deut. 24:11, נָשֵׁהcreditor, exactor, Ps. 109:11), which as a stern creditor he calls in with rigor.—Observe the contrast between the accusations, which according to Jer 15:10 were universally raised against the prophet, and the touching petitions, which he, 14:7–19, offers for his people. He thus gives a reply to those accusations, which causes their unrighteousness most distinctly to appear.

Jer 15:11. Jehovah said … in time of distress. The formula Jehovah said (אָמַר י׳) thus prefixed is found besides only in Jer. 46:25, and in no other prophet. I cannot agree with GRAF, who in 46:25 would attach it to the preceding context. (Comp. הִנְנִי פקֵר). We cannot then say that this position of the formula is a proof of the spuriousness or corruption of the text.—The Lord presents to the prophet’s view a second pleasing turn in his affairs: even his opponents, who now press him in a hostile way, shall then be brought to press him with supplications, because they perceive their only salvation to be in his intercession. This is more particularly explained in Jer 15:12.

Jer 15:12. Will then iron … brass? The words are very variously construed. The most simple construction, which agrees well with the context, is to take the first iron, ברזל, as the nominative, and the two following as in the objective case. Will then iron, i.e. any other iron, brought by men, break the northern iron or brass? That the northern iron is the northern empire (13:20) is clear. The most celebrated iron and steel manufacture among the ancients was that of the Chalybeans in Pontus, of whom Strabo says, οἱ δὲ νῦν Χαλδαῖοι Χάλνβες τὸ παλαιὸν ὠνομάζοντο, XII. p. 826. Comp. J. D. MICHAELIS. Observv. phil. et crit., in Jer., Ed. SCHLEUSNER, p. 136. [Comp. WINER, R.-W.-B., II. S. 512; SMITH. Bibl. Dict., II. p. 1376.—S. R. A.]. It is accordingly quite suitable to represent this northern nation itself under the figure of the strongest iron. The connection with the preceding is this: thine enemies among the people will yet turn to thee as their only refuge, when they have learned their inability to master the northern iron. For the fulfilment see 37:3; 42:2 sqq.

Jer 15:13 and 14. Thy substance … burn over you. These verses are evidently intended to give a plainer description of the distress, merely intimated in Jer 15:11, and briefly and obscurely described in Jer 15:12. The words are, however, taken from 17:3, 4, where they are found in the more original form and proper connection.—Not for hire. The thought occurs similarly only in Ps. 44:12. In this passage, however, it is the selling of the people, not of their property and treasures, which is spoken of. It is also a question whether in Ps. 44:12 the selling is to be understood in a literal sense=thou causest thy people to be sold into slavery by their conquerors at a mean price (comp. Joel 3:8, 11, 12; VAIHINGER on Ps. 44:12). Since now it is doubtful whether the thought that God sells His people for nothing or without return is biblical, and still more doubtful whether it may be said God sells the treasures of His people for nothing, the view gains in probability that there is here a corruption of the text. Comp. the TEXTUAL NOTE 4.

Verses 11 and 12 contain in themselves nothing to lead us to doubt their integrity, nor do they in the connection form an incongruous element. Jer 15:11 contains a preliminary tranquilization of the prophet, Jer 15:12 a more particular characterization of the distress intimated in Jer 15:11, and the reason of approach imploringly, etc.Thou knowest, in Jer 15:15, may be connected with Jer 15:12, in the sense: I cannot indeed conceive how that is possible, but Thou Lord knowest it. For since Jer 15:11 and 12 contain the words of the Lord to the prophet, “Thou knowest it” cannot be an appeal by the prophet to the divine testimony, but only for the purpose of self-tranquilization. But on the other hand it cannot be denied, that this interruption in the prophet’s lament is the more remarkable, as Jeremiah afterwards continues in Jer 15:15as though he hid received no consolation (comp. especially Jer 15:18) and the consolatory statements of Jer 15:11 recur in Jer 15:19 sqq. For these verses also declare that the affliction will accrue to the honor and welfare of the prophet and that the enemies will yet be compelled to apply to him. This is also favored by the perfect appropriateness with which Jer 15:15 is connected with Jer 15:10. The prophet had in Jer 15:10 protested his innocence, for which in Jer 15:15 he appeals to the Omniscient as a witness. Verses 13 and 14 bear in a much higher degree the stamp of spuriousness. For 1. They prolong in an unnecessary manner (as mere filling out of the portrayal of the previously intimated distress) the interruption of the connection; 2. They are a mere quotation from 17:3, 4 and textually corrupt, with which it accords, that they contain an address to the people which does not suit the connection; 3. The words Thou knowest, Jer 15:15, are then disconnected, for neither can they be referred to the close of Jer 15:14 nor to Jer 15:13 and 14 together, since these verses contain neither the words of the prophet, nor anything which appeared incredible to the prophet.

Jer 15:15a. Thou knowest it … thy long-suffering. On thou knowest itvid. supra; comp. Ps. 40:10; Ezek. 37:3.—And visit me, פָקַד is frequently used of a gracious visitation of God after a period of disfavor: Gen. 21:1; Exod. 3:16; 4:31; Ruth 1:16; Ps. 8:5, 6; Isa. 23:17, etc. Comp. Ps. 106:4.—Avenge, etc.והנקם לי מ׳ properly=avenge Thee for my good upon my enemies. This construction here only. Comp. 1 Sam. 24:13; Numb. 31:2.—By thy long-suffering. Since the prophet is not himself conscious of having deserved the divine anger, the long-suffering can be referred only to the enemies: “Suffer not that in consequence of the delay of Thy vengeance I be swept away of my enemies.”

Jer 15:15 b–17. Know that … filled with indignation. In these words the prophet presents the grounds on which he expects help from the Lord. He first prays the Lord to consider that he is suffering for His (the Lord’s) sake. Comp. Ps. 69:8 (Zeph. 3:18)., He then appeals to the willingness with which he offered himself as the Lord’s organ, and his life in accordance with his high calling.—Thy words, etc. The prophet did not excogitate what he was to proclaim but found it, it was offered to him. The found is according to Old Test, usage frequently that which is present of itself in opposition to that which one has produced or procured by his own activity. Comp. Gen. 19:15; 1 Sam. 21:4; 25:8.—Devoured. As in Ezek. 2:8; 3:3 coll. Rev. 10:9, 10, he designates by eating the eager complete reception of them into the mind. The commentators refer to PLAUTUS, Aulul. III. 6, 1, nimium lubenter edi sermonem tuum.—For I bear, etc. The word of the Lord may then have become the joy of his heart because it effected that “the name of Jehovah was named over him” (comp. rems. on 7:10), i. e. that he was designated as a prophet of Jehovah in opposition to the prophets of the idols (comp. the prophets of Baal, 1 Kings 18:19; 2 Kings 10:19). This designation was to him an honorary title of the highest value. But by this it is not excluded that the word of the Lord in itself was already a cause of rejoicing to him.—I sat not. The prophet here describes how his life externally had been spent in accordance with the prophetic calling. He had avoided the society of idle, pleasure-seeking men, he had sat in solitude, the feeling of being divinely possessed as well as the sorrow caused by the predominant objects of his vision, viz. human sin and divine punishment, rendering him incapable of taking part in the proceedings of the merry.—Before thy hand. The expression “hand” designates the divine operation as immediate and irresistible. Comp. Isa. 8:11; Ezek. 3:14; 8:1; 11:5; 37:1, etc.For thou hast filled me, etc. The prophet is filled with indignation and anger by what he beholds in consequence of the divine operation. He cannot possibly be angry with God. Rather is he full of the divine wrath (6:11) at the sin of men and at the necessity of punishing them. Moreover we see from Jer 15:16 that indignation is not the only feeling of the prophet, nor the only reason which detained him from the society of men. He was in part too divinely troubled, in part too joyful in God, to feel at home in such society. [HENDERSON: “The hilarity which the prophet had experienced was not that of the ungodly, who at their festive meetings treated divine things with scorn. With these he had had no fellowship, but because of the faithful communication of his inspired messages he had been expelled from society and made the object of their fiercest indignation. The occurrence of “indignation” with “hand” in this verse has generally induced the supposition that by the latter the afflicting power of God is intended; but it seems more in accordance with the bearing of the connection to regard the expression as designed to convey the idea of powerful divine impulse or prophetical inspiration. Comp. Ezek. 1:3; 3:14, and frequently. Thus Vatablus, Clarius.”—S. R. A.]

Jer 15:18. Why then … precarious water. The prophet concludes with an exclamation of hopelessness. After what he could declare of himself in Jer 15:16 and 17 he thought he had some claim for protection and consolation. But there is no prospect of this. As in despair he therefore inquires, Why is this?—According to the sense the whole verse must be rendered as a question, and why therefore be referred to the second section of the verse.—Precarious. Comp. Isa. 33:16. [“On TINDAL’S objections to this passage, see WATERLAND, Scripture Vindicated, p. 245.” WORDSWORTH.—S. R. A.]


[5]Jer 15:10.—כלה מקללוני. This wholly abnormal form (comp. OLSH., § 206 b) which as forma mixta has been variously explained, is evidently due, as J. D. MICHAELIS, HITZIG, GRAF, MEIER have recognized, to a wrong division. It should read כֻּלְּהֶם קִלִלוּנִי. The attraction of the ם to the following word may have been occasioned by the circumstance that the form ending with it is not found elsewhere (similar formation בֻּלֻּבֶם Deut. 1:22. Comp. אוֹתְהֶם Ezek. 23:45, 47; אֶתְהֶם Gen. 32:1; 19:8). The 1st Pers. בֻּלָּ‍ֽהֵם however is found in 2 Sam. 23:6.

[6]Jer 15:11.—אם לא שׁרוֹתךָ. The Chethibh may be read שָׁרוֹתךָ (who attack thee, anomalous inf. Kal. from שָׁרַר, as HITZIG), שְׁרוֹתְךָ (solvendo te, ROSENMUELLER), שֵׁרוּתְךָ (initium tuum, GESEN.), שְׁרוּתְדָ solutio tua sc. erit, WINER), שָׁרוּתְדָ (in different meanings: confirmabo te or exhilarabo te, J. D. MICHAELIS; firmabo te, MAURER, EWALD; I do thee injury, I oppress thee, GESEN., Thesaur., MEIER). The Keri is שֵׁרִיתִיךָ Piel from שָׁרָה, which verb occurs besides only in Job 37:3 (disputed in the latter place) and is said to signify to loosen like the Aram. שְׁרָא (comp. Dan. 2:22; 3:25; Ezr. 5:2). [So HENDERSON.—S. R. A.] The old translators vacillate and alter arbitrarily. Vulg., Targ., RASCHI, KIMCHI read שֵׁרִיתְךָ for שְׁאֵריתְךָ (comp. 1 Chron. 12:38; OLSH., S. 70 and 412), which they regard as = reliquiæ tuæ or finis tuus thy remnant, thy exit, for which however אַ‍ֽהֲרִית always stands elsewhere. [A. V.: it shall be well with thy remnant]. I agree with GESENIUS in his Thesaurus and MEIER. The scriptio defect. is no objection. Comp. ex. gr. ענִּתִךְ Nah. 1:12; לִבַּבְתּנִי Song of Sol. 4:9. שָׁרַר means torsit, contorsit. Hence שֹׁררֵ, oppressor (Ps. 8:3; 27:11; 54:7), שֹׁר cloud (contortum) שֵׁרָה torques, שַׁרְשְׁרָה catena. The Lord tells the prophet for his consolation that the oppression will eventuate in favor of his best interests. Comp. Jer 15:19 sqq., לְטוֹב besides only in 32:39. Elsewhere לְטוֹבָה (14:11; 21:10; 24:5, 6; 39:16; 44:27).

[7]Jer 15:11.—פָנַע בְּ .הפגעתי ו׳ signifies in 7:16; 27:18; Job 21:15; Ruth 1:16 to apply to one, press one with petitions. Accordingly Hiphil here quite regularly = to cause such application, urging, although the Hiph. is elsewhere used in the sense of the Kal. (Isai. 53:12; 59:16; Jer. 36:25).

[8]Jer 15:13.—לֹא בִמְחִיר. There is probably here a corruption of the text. In the parallel passage 17:3 we read after אתן the words במתיך בהטאת בכל־גבוליך. Since now במתיך might very easily become במחיר, especially if we consider the difficulty of this word, it is very natural to perceive in the latter a corruption of the former. The unmeaningness of the sentence then led to the addition of לאֹ which is wanting in the LXX. The author of the gloss might also have had in mind passages like Isai. 45:13; 52:3; 55:1. What occasioned the deviation from 17:3 it is difficult to tell. At any rate, if the words are to yield any sense, the first ו must be rendered by “and indeed” (comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 111, 1), and ובבל־גבוליך be referred to the first section of the verse.

[9]Jer 15:14.—והעברתי. In 17:4 we have והעבדתיך, which is also given by the LXX., Syr., Chald. The Hiphil from עבר is evidently a corruption, but in the gloss the genuine text, and therefore to be retained, although no commentator has yet been able to give a satisfactory explanation of it. From לא ידעת we see that the people (at any rate with the previously mentioned treasures) is regarded as the object.—Comp. 9:15.

[10]Jer 15:14.—כִּי־אֵש, etc. The words are taken verbatim, from Deut. 32:22, while in 17:4 we have קְדַחְתֶּם (transit. as in Isai. 1:11; 64:1). For עֲלֵיכֶם we find in 17:4 more appropriately עַד עוֹלָם.

[11]Jer 15:15.—לְ as in לֶאֱמוּנָה, 9:2; לַמִּשְׁפָט, 30:11. Comp. Isai. 11:3; 32:1.

[12]Jer 15:16.—דבריך. The Chethibh דְבָ‍ֽרְךָ is quite impertinent. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 105, 4 b, 3.

[13]Jer 15:18.—נֶצַח: Subst. (comp. Ps. 74:3; 1 Chron. 29:11) = perpetuitas. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 74.

[14]Jer 15:18.—אֲנוּשָׁה, comp. 30:15; Isa. 17:11; Mic. 1:9.

[15]Jer 15:18.—אַכְזָב. Comp. Mic. 1:14. It is the opposite of נַחַל אֵיתָן, Deut. 21:4; Am. 5:24. Comp. Exod. 14:27.

Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.


19          Therefore thus saith Jehovah:

If thou return, I will cause thee again to stand before me;16

And if thou bring forth the precious without the base, thou shalt be as my mouth.17

They shall return to thee, but thou shalt not return to them.

20     And I will make thee to this people a brazen wall, a strong one;

And they will contend against thee, but not prevail over thee;

For I am with thee to deliver

And to preserve thee, saith Jehovah.

21     And I preserve thee from the hand of the wicked,

And redeem thee from the might of the violent.


The Lord answers the prophet by promising him anew, together with a mild correction and on the condition of blameless purity, the honor of being permitted to serve Him as His organ (Jer 15:19a). He then promises the return to him of his enemies (Jer 15:19b), inexpugnable firmness (Jer 15:20), protection and deliverance from all dangers (Jer 15:21).

Jer 15:19. Therefore thus … return to them.—If thou return. In these words there is evidently a gentle reproof. In the preceding context, especially Jer 15:18, the prophet had allowed himself to be carried away into doubt of the fidelity and trustworthiness of the Lord. In this there was an element of alienation from the Lord. Without entering on a confutation or accusing the prophet directly of his departure, he gives him to understand that such a departure has taken place only by the conditional sentence, “If thou return.” For turning back presupposes a turning away. Comp. 4:1.—To stand before me, in the sense of mediatorship, which at the same time includes the honor of a servant and of one who stands very near his Lord: 15:1; 18:20; 35:19; 40:10.—Bring forth, etc. From the context such a bringing forth only can be spoken of as on the one hand is opposed to the blameworthy utterances of the prophet in Jer 15:18, and as on the other hand qualifies him to be the Lord’s mouth. הוציא is therefore to be taken in the sense in which it occurs, ex. gr. in Job 15:13, which passage has in general a remarkable resemblance to the present. Then מִן is away from, far from, without. Comp. 10:14; Job 11:15; 21:9. Vid.NAEGELSB. Gr. § 112, 5 d.—On the subject-matter comp. Exod. 4:16.—They, etc. The triumph of a witness of the truth consists in this that his opponents finally agree to his testimony. Comp. Prov. 16:7.

Jer 15:20 and 21. And I will … violent. The Lord confirms the prophet in his office and His promise in the same words in which He had assured him of both in the beginning, 1:18, 19.—Brazen wall. [“The Roman Poet felt something of the great truth contained in these divine words, when he said,

Hicmurus aheneusesto,

Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa.’

(HORAT. I. Epist. 1:60).” WORDSWORTH.—S. E. A.]


[16]Jer 15:19.—ואשׁיבך, etc. The construction is like לֹא תֹסִיפִי יִקְרְאוּ לָךְ, Isa. 47:1, 5. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. § 95, g, Anm.

[17]Jer 15:19.—בְּפִי, Kaph veritatis. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. § 112, 5 c.

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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