Jeremiah 8:14 MEANING

Jeremiah 8:14
(14) Why do we sit still? . . .--The cry of the people in answer to the threatening of Jehovah is brought in by the prophet with a startling dramatic vividness. They are ready to flee into the defenced cities, as the prophet had told them in Jeremiah 4:5, but it is without hope. They are going into the silence as of death, for to that silence Jehovah himself has brought them.

Water of gall.--The idea implied is that of poison as well as bitterness. It is uncertain what the "gall-plant" was; possibly, from its connection with "grapes" or "clusters," as in Deuteronomy 32:32, belladonna or colocynth is meant. Others have suggested the poppy, and this is in part confirmed by the narcotic properties implied in Matthew 27:34. In Deuteronomy 29:18 it is joined with "wormwood."

Verse 14. - Why do we sit still? The prophet transports us by a stroke of his pen into the midst of the fulfillment of his prophecy. The people of the country districts are represented as urging each other to flight. True, it is the resource of despair. No defensed cities can defend them against the judgment of Jehovah. Let us be silent; rather, let us perish; literally, let us be put to silence. Hath put us to silence; rather, hath caused us to perish; i.e. hath decreed our destruction. Water of gall; a phrase characteristic of our prophet (see Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23:15). It is a little difficult to find a rendering which shall suit all the passages in which rosh (gall) is mentioned. In Deuteronomy 32:33 (and so Job 20:16) it is clearly used for "venom" in general; and yet in Ver. 32 of the same chapter it obviously means a plant. Another general application of the term seems to have been to bitterness in general, the ideas of bitterness and poisonousness being taken as interchangeable. The Authorized Version may therefore stand.

8:14-22 At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.Why do we sit still?.... In the country, where were barrenness and want of provisions; in the villages and unwalled towns, where they were exposed to the spoils and ravages of the enemy. These words, with what follow, are the words of the prophet, in the language of the Israelites, as Kimchi observes.

Assemble yourselves; this is the gathering together, in order to be consumed, before threatened, which they themselves were made to do:

and let us enter into the defenced cities; such as Jerusalem, where they thought they should be safe from their enemies:

and let us be silent there; either promising themselves rest, quietness, and security; or suggesting that it would be right in them to say nothing by way of complaint; having no reason to murmur at their afflictions, since they were no other than what their own sins had brought upon them:

for the Lord our God hath put us to silence; stopped their mouths that they could not complain, being convicted in their consciences of their sins; and brought them into a state of destruction and death, which makes silent:

and given us water of gall to drink; afflictions bitter and deadly. The Targum is,

"and hath made us drink the cup of an evil curse, as the heads of serpents;''

a poisonous and deadly potion:

because we have sinned against the Lord; which they were obliged to own; though it does not appear that they had true repentance for their sins, or amended their ways; sometimes confession of sin is made without either of these.

Courtesy of Open Bible