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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 6

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


Jeremiah 4:5 to Jeremiah 6:30 . A new paragraph should begin with Jeremiah 4:5, introducing a new section of the prophecies, which deals with the judgment of Judah, its causes and its instrument. This section is probably somewhat later than Jeremiah 2:1 to Jeremiah 4:4; it amplifies the vision of the boiling caldron ( Jeremiah 1:13). The “ foe from the north” , whom Jeremiah expected to invade Judah, would originally be the Scythians, subsequently the Babylonians (see on Jeremiah 1:13 ff.).

Verses 1-8

Jeremiah 6:1-8 . The Siege of the Sinful City.— The prophet bids his kinsfolk (Anathoth, his birthplace, being in Benjamin) to abandon the capital, and to gather in the southern mountains; the northern peril is now nearer than ever, and the fair and luxurious city is to be destroyed. Her besiegers are around her, like shepherds with their flocks, ravaging the land. We hear the foe discussing their plans— a surprise at noon when men are resting from the heat; then, when they lament the loss of this opportunity (“ Woe unto us!” ), a night attack. The trees around the city ( Jeremiah 6:6 mg.; cf. Deuteronomy 20:19-20) are cut down, and earthworks are thrown up as part of the enemy’ s plan of attack. The city is “ visited” , i.e. punished, because she “ keeps fresh” ( Jeremiah 6:7 mg.) her wickedness, as a rock-cistern does its waters; let her be disciplined ( Jeremiah 2:30, Jeremiah 5:3; for “ instructed” ) before Yahweh casts her off.

Jeremiah 6:1 . Tekoa: (p. 31, Amos 1:1) 10 miles S. of Jerusalem.— Beth-haccerem: perhaps a height 3 miles NE. of Tekoa.

Jeremiah 6:4 mg. refers to the sacrifices which began a campaign (pp. 99, 114); war and religion are in closest alliance amongst ancient peoples; cf. Deuteronomy 20.

Jeremiah 6:7 . The Rabbis found the middle letter of the OT in the word rendered “ cistern” (Cornill).

Verses 9-15

Jeremiah 6:9-15 . The Justification of Yahweh’ s Wrath.— The turn of Judah, the “ remnant of Israel” , is now come, and Yahweh bids the foe, figured as a grape-gatherer at work on the vine (see on Jeremiah 2:21) to do his work thoroughly ( Jeremiah 6:9 mg.) . The prophet complains that the ears of the people are closed to his word, yet he cannot hold it back ( Jeremiah 20:9), and will pour it out (so LXX) even on the playing children and the irresponsible youth. Calamity falls on all alike, for all seek gain, and the very leaders are false with their easy talk of prosperity ( Jeremiah 6:15; both mgg.) .

Verses 16-21

Jeremiah 6:16-21 . Obedience more than Sacrifice.— Yahweh vainly bade the people stand at the parting of the ways (Hebrew, “ by the ways” ), and seek the ancient road to prosperity, that they may find repose for themselves. The watchmen-prophets have called in vain. Yahweh’ s teaching (“ law” , not necessarily written) has been rejected. For these moral faults far-fetched offerings and many sacrifices do not atone; Yahweh will make the people stumble to their ruin.

Jeremiah 6:16 . saith should be “ said” . This verse must not be taken in the spiritual sense of Matthew 11:29; the “ good” is material well-being, the “ rest” security, and “ your souls” is no more than a reflexive pronoun here.

Jeremiah 6:18 . The latter part of the verse is corrupt and yields no good sense.

Jeremiah 6:20 . The Sabæ ans of S. Arabia ( Sheba, cf. 1 Kings 10:1-13 *) exported perfume ( Isaiah 60:6); the calamus ( mg.) used for incense ( Exodus 30:23) may have come from India.— frankincense is a resinous gum exuding from certain trees; it became a usual accompaniment of the “ meal-offering” ; cf. Jeremiah 17:26, Jeremiah 41:5, Leviticus 2:1.

Verses 22-26

Jeremiah 6:22-26 . The Foe from the North is again described ( cf. Jeremiah 5:15-17) in his advance against Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 6:22-23). Its inhabitants utter their dismay (“ wax feeble,” Jeremiah 6:24; Heb. “ are slack” ). The prophet warns of the danger without ( Jeremiah 6:25), and bids the (individualised) people mourn ( Amos 8:10, Zechariah 12:10) for the coming disaster.

Jeremiah 6:22-24 are repeated in connexion with Babylon in Jeremiah 50:41-43.

Verses 27-30

Jeremiah 6:27-30 . The Prophet’ s Task.— The record of earlier prophecies ( Jeremiah 6:1-6) fitly closes with the application to the prophet of the figure of the “ trier” ( mg.) or assayer; “ so inextricably is the alloy mixed with the silver that, though the bellows blow, and the lead (which was added to carry away the alloy) is oxidised in the heat, no purification is effected; only impure silver remains” (Driver).

Jeremiah 6:27 . Omit a fortress, which is probably a marginal note on the rendering “ tower” , which should be “ trier” .

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 6". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/jeremiah-6.html. 1919.
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