Jeremiah summons the people to lament over the miserable consequences of their rejection of God. In the valley of Hinnom, where lately they offered their innocents, they shall themselves fall before the enemy in such multitudes that burial shall be impossible, and the beasts of the field unmolested shall prey upon their remains.
The daughter of Zion, defiled by the presence of enemies in her sanctuary, and rejected of God, must shear off the diadem of her hair, the symbol of her consecration to God, just as the Nazarite, when defiled by contact with a corpse, was to shave his crowned head.
Take up a lamentation - Or, lift up a “lamentation on the bare hill-sides” Jeremiah 3:2.
They have set their abominations - Probably a reference to the reign of the fanatic Manasseh, in whose time the worship of Astarte and of the heavenly bodies was the established religion of the land 2 Kings 21:3-5, and even the temple was used for idolatrous services. The people had never heartily accepted Josiah‘s reformation.
The high places - Here, probably, not natural hills, but artificial mounts, on which the altars were erected.
Tophet (marginal reference note) is not here a proper name; as applied to Baal-worship the term is not an ordinary one, but almost unique to Jeremiah. Comparing this verse with Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35, it will be found that Baal is in those passages substituted for Tophet. Just as it is the practice of the prophets to substitute “Bosheth, shame,” for Baal (see Jeremiah 3:24), so here Jeremiah uses “Tophet, an object of abhorrence” (compare Job 17:6 note), in just the same way.
Valley of the son of Hinnom - See Joshua 15:8 note.
To burn - The children were not burned alive, but slain first Ezekiel 16:21.
The valley of slaughter - Where they killed their helpless children, there shall they be slaughtered helplessly by their enemies.
Till there be no place - Rather, for want of room elsewhere.