Thus saith the LORD, Go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests;
Verse 1. - A potter's earthen bottle. Dr. Thomson speaks of the extreme cheapness and brittleness of the common pottery of Palestine (comp. Isaiah 30:14). The ancients of the people. The natural popular representatives (comp. Exodus 3:16; 2 Samuel 19:11; 1 Kings 8:1; 1 Kings 20:7). It was an announcement concerning the whole people that Jeremiah was about to make. The ancients of the priests (comp. 2 Kings 19:2).
And go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,
Verse 2. - The valley of the son of Hinnom (see on Jeremiah 7:31). The east gate; rather the potsherd gate, i.e. the gate where potsherds were wont to be thrown. Another possible rendering is "sun gate," of which "east gate" is but a paraphrase. But there is evidently a connection between the name of the gate and the action performed by Jeremiah. The Authorized Version seems to have misled Captain Warren into identifying the valley of Hinnom with that of Kedron. He confirms his view, it is true, by the Arabic nomenclature, which speaks of the Kedron as the Wady Jehinnam - a nomenclature, however, which is by no means uniform (see Robinson, 'Biblical Researches,' 2:396, 403). The situation of the "potsherd gate" must remain uncertain.
And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
Verse 3. - O kings of Judah; i.e. the numerous clan of royal princes, kings by courtesy (see on Jeremiah 17:20). His ears shall tingle (so 2 Kings 21:12; comp. 1 Samuel 3:11).
Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents;
Verse 4. - Have estranged this place; rather, have treated this place as strange; i.e. as one that did not belong to their God, that was unholy (comp. Jeremiah 16:18, "They have defiled ray land"). With the blood of innocents; comp." Innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters" (Psalm 106:38) - the children sacrificed in Hinnom to Moloch.
They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind:
Verse 5. - Baal. This seems to be used loosely for Moloch (comp. on Jeremiah 2:8).
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.
Verse 6. - (Comp. Jeremiah 7:32.) Tophet; rather, the Tophet (see on Jeremiah 7:31).
And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
Verse 7. - I will make void; literally, I will pour out, alluding to the etymology of the word rendered "bottle" in ver. 1.
And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.
Verse 8. - (Comp. Jeremiah 18:16.)
And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.
Verse 9. - The same description, almost verbatim, is given in Deuteronomy 28:53; (comp. Leviticus 26:29; Ezekiel 5:10). For the fulfillment, see Lamentations 4:10.
Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee,
And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury.
Verse 11. - As one breaketh a potter's vessel (comp. Isaiah 30:14). Dr. Them-son speaks of the utter indifference with which the common pottery of Palestine is handled. It is not only brittle, but so cheap that no one is distressed at breaking it. And they shall bury them in Tophet, etc. These words form the conclusion of Jeremiah 7:32 (see note), the greater part of which is repeated in ver. 6. They are certainly out of place here, and are wanting in the Septuagint.
Thus will I do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet:
Verse 12. - As Tophet; i.e. an unclean spot, avoided by mankind.
And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.
Verse 13. - The houses of the kings of Judah; i.e. the palaces and other buildings which together made up the king's house (Jeremiah 22:6). Shall he defiled as the place of Tophet. This is one of the few places in which the Authorized Version has allowed itself to interfere with the received text; for the Hebrew has "which are defiled," etc. The common reading, in fact, seems untranslatable. Because of all the houses; rather, even all the houses.
Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD'S house; and said to all the people,
Verses 14, 15. - Here begins a fresh section of the narrative. Jeremiah has executed his commission, and now proceeds to the temple, where he repeats before the assembled people his announcement of the awful judgment.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.
Verse 15. - Upon all her towns. The cities of Judah are regarded as in a manner subject to the capital.