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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 10

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Chapter 10

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven [or the Zodiac]; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold ( Jeremiah 10:1-4 );

With strings of light and baubles. No, it doesn't say that. Seeing things here.

they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not ( Jeremiah 10:4 ).

Now there are some who believe that this is a reference to the ancient custom of taking the fir trees and decorating them with gold and silver streamers on the twenty-fifth of December in worshipping the god Tammuz, the Babylonian god whose birthday was worshipped on the twenty-fifth of December at the winter solstice. And some believe that this refers to that ancient custom that antedates Christ by a couple thousand years. There are others who say, no, it's just a reference to an idol. Taking a tree, cutting it out of the forest, carving the thing out and then decking the little idol with all of these golden ornaments. Let me say that it's strictly the opinion of man and you can't prove either. It is true that the custom of decorating fir trees antedates Christianity by several thousand years. That is decorating them on the twenty-fifth of December in the time of the winter solstice as they worshipped Tammuz, the son of the queen of heaven Semiramis. And if you want to get into that deeper, I would recommend that you get the book The Two Babylons by Hislop, and he gives quite a thorough historical documentation on the origin of what we call Christmas trees. It will cause you to wonder.

They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must be carried, because they cannot go [on their own momentum]. Don't be afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, but neither is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none that is like unto thee. But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [or the little idol that has been made] is a doctrine of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are the work of cunning men ( Jeremiah 10:5-9 ).

These little gods of silver, gods of gold that they've carved out. Artists have carved them out and then they put blue and purple gowns upon them.

But the LORD [or Jehovah] is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion ( Jeremiah 10:10-12 ).

So he is talking to the people concerning these gods that they had made themselves. The vast difference. There is a God who has made man, and then there are men who make their gods, gods who are made by men. A God who carries men, and a god who must be carried by men. And the prophet finds it rather ridiculous that they have to carry their gods around. They haven't any power to get anywhere themselves. And yet they're worshipping something they've got to carry around. Doesn't even have enough gumption or ability to get where it needs to go on its own. The true God,

When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of water in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasures. Every man is brutish in his knowledge ( Jeremiah 10:13-14 ):

Man, poor man, so ignorant in that which he knows best. Every man is brutish in his knowledge.

every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things ( Jeremiah 10:14-16 );

Rather than being formed, God is the One who has formed all things.

and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts [or Jehovah of hosts] is his name. Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress. For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so. Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it. My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth from me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and their flocks shall be scattered. Behold, the noise of the bruit [or the rumor] is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons. O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O LORD, correct me ( Jeremiah 10:16-24 ),

It's an interesting prayer of the prophet. "God, I know that I don't have enough sense to know what is the right way to go. So You correct me, God. You guide me." I know that the ways of man are not in a man. A man hasn't the ability to direct his own steps. Now the wise man, in recognizing his own limitations, is the man who will commit his life over to God. "God, You direct me. You direct my steps, O Lord."

but not in your anger, lest I become nothing. Pour out your fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate ( Jeremiah 10:24-25 ).

God has some heavy things. I think the heaviest of all is the cry, "The harvest is ended, the summer is over. We are not saved." I hope that none of you ever make that cry. The Bible says, "Behold, today is the day of salvation" ( 2 Corinthians 6:2 ). "Call upon the Lord while He is near" ( Isaiah 55:6 ). "Lest those evil times come when you say, 'I have no pleasure in them'" ( Ecclesiastes 12:1 ). For God's Spirit will not always strive with man. If you continue to reject God's grace and love that He is offering to you through Jesus Christ, the day will come when God will say, "Let them alone. Don't pray any more for them. Don't intercede; I won't listen if you do." And the harvest will be over and the summer ended. And you will be eternally lost.

May that not be the case. May also you not be fooling yourself in thinking that you can live after your flesh and that the grace of God will just somehow compensate and cover it. God said, "Tear your heart, not your garments." He doesn't want an outward display. He wants an inward work in your heart and in your life of commitment to Him. If you feel like you need to settle some things with God tonight, I would encourage you to go back to the prayer room and the pastors will be back there to pray with you. For God wants you to experience His rest which He promised and that you can have as you surrender your life to Him.

Now may the Lord be with you. May He watch over you. May He keep you in His love as He strengthens you by His Holy Spirit and as He guides you into His path of righteousness. May the Lord keep you. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-10.html. 2014.
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