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1 Moreouer, the word of the Lord came to me, saying;

2 Goe, and crie in the eares of Ierusalem, saying; Thus sayth the Lord, I remember thee, the kindnesse of thy youth, the loue of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wildernesse, in a land that was not sowen.

3 Israel was holinesse vnto the Lord, and the first fruites of his increase: all that deuoure him, shall offend, euill shall come vpon them, sayth the Lord.

4 Heare ye the word of the Lord, O house of Iacob, and all the families of the house of Israel.

5 Thus sayth the Lord, What iniquitie haue your fathers found in me, that they are gone farre from mee, and haue walked after vanitie, and are become vaine?

6 Neither sayd they, Where is the Lord that brought vs vp out of the land of Egypt? that led vs through the wildernesse, through a land of deserts and of pittes, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed thorow, and where no man dwelt.

7 And I brought you into a plentifull countrey, to eate the fruit thereof, and the goodnesse thereof; but when ye entred yee defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.

8 The Priests said not, Where is the Lord ? and they that handle the Law knew me not: the pastours also transgressed against mee, and the Prophets prophecied by Baal, and walked after things that doe not profit.

9 Wherefore, I will yet pleade with you, sayth the Lord, and with your childrens children will I pleade.

10 For passe ouer the yles of Chittim, and see; and send vnto Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.

11 Hath a nation changed their Gods, which are yet no Gods? but my people haue changed their glory, for that which doth not profit.

12 Be astonished, O yee heauens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be yee very desolate, saith the Lord.

13 For my people haue committed two euils: they haue forsaken me, the fountaine of liuing waters, and hewed them out cisternes, broken cisternes that can hold no water.

14 Is Israel a seruant? is he a home-borne slaue? why is he spoiled?

15 The young lyons roared vpon him and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burnt without inhabitant.

16 Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes haue broken the crowne of thy head.

17 Hast thou not procured this vnto thy selfe, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way?

18 And now what hast thou to doe in the way of Egypt, to drinke the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to doe in the way of Assyria, to drinke the waters of the riuer?

19 Thine owne wickednesse shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reproue thee: know therefore and see, that it is an euill thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my feare is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of Hostes.

20 For of old time I haue broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands, and thou saidst; I will not transgresse: when vpon euery high hill, and vnder euery greene tree thou wandrest, playing the harlot.

21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholy a right seede: How then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine vnto me?

22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much sope, yet thine iniquitie is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I haue not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedarie trauersing her wayes.

24 A wild asse vsed to the wildernesse, that snuffeth vp the wind at her pleasure, in her occasion who can turne her away? all they that seeke her will not wearie themselues, in her moneth they shall find her.

25 Withhold thy foote from being vnshod, and thy throte from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope. No, for I haue loued strangers, and after them will I goe.

26 As the thiefe is ashamed, when he is found: so is the house of Israel ashamed, they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, & their prophets,

27 Saying to a stocke; Thou art my father, and to a stone; Thou hast brought me forth: for they haue turned their backe vnto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble, they will say; Arise and saue vs.

28 But where are thy Gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise if they can saue thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities, are thy Gods, O Iudah.

29 Wherefore will yee plead with me? yee all haue transgressed against me, saith the Lord.

30 In vaine haue I smitten your children, they receiued no correction: your owne sword hath deuoured your prophets, like a destroying lyon.

31 O generation, see yee the word of the Lord: haue I beene a wildernesse vnto Israel? a land of darkenesse? wherefore say my people; We are Lords, we will come no more vnto thee?

32 Can a maide forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people haue forgotten me dayes without number.

33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seeke loue? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy wayes.

34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the soules of the poore innocents: I haue not found it by secret search, but vpon all these.

35 Yet thou sayest; Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turne from me: behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I haue not sinned.

36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt bee ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.

37 Yea thou shalt goe forth from him, and thine hands vpon thine head: for the Lord hath reiected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for Jeremiah 2

God expostulates with his people. (1-8) Their revolt beyond example. (9-13) Guilt the cause of sufferings. (14-19) The sins of Judah. (20-28) Their false confidence. (29-37)1-8 Those who begin well, but do not persevere, will justly be upbraided with their hopeful and promising beginnings. Those who desert religion, commonly oppose it more than those who never knew it. For this they could have no excuse. God's spiritual Israel must own their obligations to him for safe conduct through the wilderness of this world, so dangerous to the soul. Alas, that many, who once appeared devoted to the Lord, so live that their professions aggravate their crimes! Let us be careful that we do not lose in zeal and fervency, as we gain knowledge.

9-13 Before God punishes sinners, he pleads with them, to bring them to repentance. He pleads with us, what we should plead with ourselves. Be afraid to think of the wrath and curse which will be the portion of those who throw themselves out of God's grace and favour. Grace in Christ is compared to water from a fountain, it being cooling and refreshing, cleansing and making fruitful: to living water, because it quickens dead sinners, revives drooping saints, supports and maintains spiritual life, and issues in eternal life, and is ever-flowing. To forsake this Fountain is the first evil; this is done when the people of God neglect his word and ordinances. They hewed them out broken cisterns, that could hold no water. Such are the world, and the things in it; such are the inventions of men when followed and depended on. Let us, with purpose of heart, cleave to the Lord only; whither else shall we go? How prone are we to forego the consolations of the Holy Spirit, for the worthless joys of the enthusiast and hypocrite!

14-19 Is Israel a servant? No, they are the seed of Abraham. We may apply this spiritually: Is the soul of man a slave? No, it is not; but has sold its own liberty, and enslaved itself to divers lusts and passions. The Assyrian princes, like lions, prevailed against Israel. People from Egypt destroyed their glory and strength. They brought these calamities on themselves by departing from the Lord. The use and application of this is, Repent of thy sin, that thy correction may not be thy ruin. What has a Christian to do in the ways of forbidden pleasure or vain sinful mirth, or with the pursuits of covetousness and ambition?

20-28 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.

29-37 The nation had not been wrought upon by the judgements of God, but sought to justify themselves. The world is, to those who make it their home and their portion, a wilderness and a land of darkness; but those who dwell in God, have the lines fallen to them in pleasant places. Here is the language of presumptuous sinners. The Jews had long thrown off serious thoughts of God. How many days of our lives pass without suitable remembrance of him! The Lord was displeased with their confidences, and would not prosper them therein. Men employ all their ingenuity, but cannot find happiness in the way of sin, or excuse for it. They may shift from one sin to another, but none ever hardened himself against God, or turned from him, and prospered.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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