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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 10

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-16




Upon his being made acquainted with the long-lost "book of the covenant" discovered in the temple, King Josiah purposed that with all his heart and soul to confirm, or perform, the words of that covenant. He, furthermore, caused his brethren in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand by the covenant that he had made, (2 Kings 23:3; 2 Chronicles 34:32). This covenant was made between Josiah and His people in the presence of the book before which they stood in awe. This was followed by renewed, and more drastic measures to suppress idolatry in the land. Outwardly, that campaign appeared to be a success, (2 Chronicles 34:33), but, in reality, idolatry simply went underground for a time.

The prophecies recorded in chapter 10 through 12 correspond to this particular period in the reign of Josiah. While Josiah was attempting to stamp out idolatry, the prophet, Jeremiah, was declaring it to be abominable in the sight of the true and living God, (Jeremiah 10:1-16). He foretells the coming judgment upon that idolatry, (Jeremiah 10:17-25).

Though men sometimes lose consciousness of God, they never lose their sense of NEED for God. For this reason they often attempt to supplant the true God with gods of their own making. This was the story of Judah’s disloyalty and corruption.


POWER OF JEHOVAH (Jeremiah 10:1-16)

Vs. 1-5, 8-9, 14-15: THE IMPOTENCE OF IDOLS

1. The covenant-nation is warned against learning the delusive customs of the heathen, (vs. 1-2; Exodus 20:4-6; Exodus 32; Numbers 25:1-3; Hosea 13:4; Isaiah 40:18-20; Isaiah 41:5-7; Isaiah 41:28-29; Isaiah 44:9-20; Isaiah 45:16-20; Isaiah 46:1-7).

2. Their idols are worthless - being cut from a tree, fashioned by craftsmen, decorated by artists and then anchored securely - lest they topple over! (vs. 3b-4, 9).

3. Like "scarecrows in a cucumber garden" (Berkeley), they cannot speak or move, (Isaiah 41:21-24; Isaiah 46:6-7); there is no reason to fear them, for they can do no evil - and to do good is beyond their power, (vs. 5; comp. Isaiah 41:23-24).

4. Idolators are stupid and foolish (Jeremiah 4:22; Jeremiah 5:4; Jeremiah 5:20); no better than the wooden idol itself, the teaching of idolatry is totally destitute of any moral or spiritual power, (vs. 8).

5. How utterly ridiculous that, in the hour of need, one would look expectantly toward a lifeless, mindless, helpless toy of his own making! (Jeremiah 14:22; Jeremiah 2:27-28).

6. A work of false hood, the idol brings shame and delusion; in the day of judgment the workman and his work will perish together, (vs. 14­,15; Jeremiah 8:12; Jeremiah 51:18; Jeremiah 18:15-17).


1. By way of contrast with idols, whose position and authority are derived solely from human imputation, Jehovah is incomparably great (Deuteronomy 33:26-29; Jeremiah 32:17-19; Psalms 48:1; Psalms 96:4) - being sovereign over ALL nations (Psalms 22:27-28).

2. He is the true and living God - an everlasting king, whom all men should fear, (vs. 7a; 10a; Isaiah 65:15-16; Jeremiah 4:1-2; Psalms 86:8-10; Psalms 10:16; Psalms 29:10-11).

3. The earth will tremble when His wrath is kindled, (see note of Jeremiah 4:24. comp. Jeremiah 50:46); nor will the nations be able to stand in the presence of His indignation, (vs. 10b; Psalms 76:7; Psalms 130:3; Nahum 1:6; Malachi 3:2-6).

4 Every god that has not created the heavens and the earth will perish from under the heavens, (vs. 11; Psalms 96:4-6; Isaiah 2:18; Zephaniah 2:11).

5. Jehovah is God; the Designer and Creator of ALL, He rules overall! (Jeremiah 51:15-19; Isaiah 45:18).

a. The heavens and the earth are the works of His hands -manifesting His supreme wisdom and sovereign power, (Psalms 19:1-4).

b. The elements are all under His control - obeying His voice, (vs. 13).

c. And He is the Maker of man who,. refusing Him, tinkers with a tree to make a lifeless god of silver and gold, purple and blue before which he will foolishly do obeisance!

6. Jehovah is the portion of Jacob (Jeremiah 51:19; Psalms 73:26; comp. Psalms 16:5) - if the nation will but TURN and RECEIVE Him; Jacob is the tribe of His inheritance, (Deuteronomy 32:9).

7. Though the nation has long rejected Him, He is still faithful to His covenant.

Verses 17-25


1. Forseeing the impending invasion, and the siege of Jerusalem, Jeremiah appeals to his people - urging them to accept their just punishment and to prepare for deportation, (vs. 17-18).

2. In the cry of verses 19-21 he appears to be expressing Judah’s hurt as she laments the ruin that has come upon her through the stupidity of her rulers.

a. Her wound is grievous, but she realizes that she must bear it, (vs. 19; comp. Jeremiah 4:31; Jeremiah 14:17; Micah 7:9).

b. The desolation of her heart is set forth in verse 20; her tent destroyed, her cords broken and her. children exiled, (comp. Jeremiah 4:20; Jeremiah 31:15; Isaiah 51:18).

c. Since her rulers (shepherds) lost touch with Jehovah, they were not able to lead the flock to safety, (vs. 21; 8a; Jeremiah 12:10-11; Isaiah 56:10-12; Jeremiah 2:8).

3. From the north country (Babylon) is heard a commotion that forebodes such crushing of Judah that her cities will become a lair of night-dogs, (vs. 22; Jeremiah 1:14; Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 9:11).

4. In view of the judgment purposed upon Judah, Jeremiah pleads the basic moral weakness of man and his inability to walk uprightly before God, (vs. 23).

5. While admitting that divine judgment is richly deserved, he pleads for mercy - lest Judah be totally wiped out! (vs. 24; comp. Psalms 6:1-2; Jeremiah 30:18-22; Jeremiah 46:28).

6. He pleads that the Lord may reserve the fullness of His wrath for those nations whom He has used to discipline His people, but whose vindictiveness has far exceeded that which he has prescribed (vs. 25); the prophet REALLY CARES for his thoughtless brethren!

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 10". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-10.html. 1985.
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