They bend their tongues like their bow for lies - And their lies are such that they as fully take away life as the keenest arrow shot from the best strung bow. The false prophets told the people that there was no desolation at hand: the people believed them; made no preparation for their defense; did not return to the Lord; and the sword came and destroyed them.
They are not valiant for the truth - They are bold in sin, and courageous to support their lies; but the truth they neither patronize nor support.
From their punishment the prophet now turns to their sins.
The prophet utters the wish that he might be spared his daily striving, and in some lone wilderness give way to his sorrow, without restraint.
A lodging place - It was usual to build in the desert, either by private charity or at the public expense, caravanserais, to receive travelers for a single night, who had however to bring their own supplies with them.
An assembly - Or, a gang.
Treacherous - Faithless toward one another.
Rather, “And they bend their tongue to be their bow of lies, i. e.” just as men before a battle get their bows ready, so they of set purpose make ready to do mischief, only their arrows are lying words: “neither do they rule faithfully in the land, i. e.” Judaea.
In a state of such utter lawlessness, the bonds of mutual confidence are relaxed, and suspicion takes its place.
Utterly supplant - An allusion to the name of Jacob Genesis 27:36. It might be rendered, “every brother is a thorough Jacob.”
Will walk with slanders - Or, slandereth.
A continuation of the warning given in Jeremiah 9:4. “Trust no one: for thou dwellest surrounded by deceit on every side.” Their rejection of God is the result of their want of honesty in their dealings with one another 1 John 4:20.
I will melt them, and try them - The punishment is corrective rather than retributive. The terms used are those of the refiner of metals, the first being the smelting to separate the pure metal from the ore; the second the testing to see whether the metal is pure, or still mixed with alloy. God will put the nation into the crucible of tribulation, that whatever is evil being consumed in the fire, all there is in them of good may be purified.
For how shall I do - Rather, “for how” else could I act with reference to the “daughter of my people?”
An arrow shot out - Rather, “a murderous arrow.”
In heart he layeth his wait - Rather, “inwardly he layeth his ambush.”