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Jeremiah 2:20

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Of old time I have broken thy yoke - It is thought by able critics that the verbs should be read in the second person singular, Thou hast broken thy yoke, Thou hast burst thy bonds; and thus the Septuagint, συνετριψας τον ζυγον σου, "thou hast broken thy yoke." And the Vulgate, Confregisti jugum meum, rupisti, vincula mea; "Thou hast broken my yoke; thou hast burst my bonds;" and so the Arabic. But the Chaldee gives it a meaning which removes the difficulty: "I have broken the yoke of the people from thy neck; I have cut your bonds asunder." And when this was done, they did promise fair: for "thou saidst, I will not transgress;" but still they played the harlot - committed idolatrous acts in the high places, where the heathen had built their altars, pretending that elevation of this kind assisted their devotion.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Transgress - Rather, as in marg. If the “yoke” and “bands” refer to the slavery in Egypt from which Yahweh freed Israel, the sense is - “For of old time I Yahweh broke thy yoke, I burst thy bands,” not that thou mightest be free to do thy own will, but that thou mightest serve me: “and thou saidst, I will not serve.”

When … - “For … under every leafy tree thou” layest thyself down as a harlot. The verb indicates the eagerness with which she prostrates herself before the objects of her idolatrous worship.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Notwithstanding all their advantages, Israel had become like the wild vine that bears poisonous fruit. Men are often as much under the power of their unbridled desires and their sinful lusts, as the brute beasts. But the Lord here warns them not to weary themselves in pursuits which could only bring distress and misery. As we must not despair of the mercy of God, but believe that to be sufficient for the pardon of our sins, so neither must we despair of the grace of God, but believe that it is able to subdue our corruptions, though ever so strong.
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