O that I had in the wilderness - In the eastern countries there are no such inns or houses of entertainment as those in Europe. There are in different places public buildings called caravanserais, where travelers may lodge: but they are without furniture of any kind, and without food. Indeed they are often without a root being mere walls for a protection against the wild beasts of the desert. I wish to hide myself any where, in the most uncomfortable circumstances, that I may not be obliged any longer to witness the abominations of this people who are shortly to be visited with the most grievous punishments. Several interpreters suppose this to be the speech of God. I cannot receive this. I believe this verse to be spoken by the prophet, and that God proceeds with the next verse, and so on to the ninth inclusive.
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.”
Cruel were the mockings he was called upon to endure. His sensitive soul was pierced through and through by the arrows of derision hurled at him by those who despised his messages and made light of his burden for their conversion. “I was a derision to all my people,” he declared, “and their song all the day.” “I am in derision daily, everyone mocketh me.” “All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.” Lamentations 3:14; Jeremiah 20:7, 10. PK 420.1
But the faithful prophet was daily strengthened to endure. “The Lord is with me as a mighty terrible One,” he declared in faith; “therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be really ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.” “Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.” Jeremiah 20:11, 13. PK 420.2
The experiences through which Jeremiah passed in the days of his youth and also in the later years of his ministry, taught him the lesson that “the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” He learned to pray, “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing.” Jeremiah 10:23, 24. PK 420.3Read in context »