Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Cast them out of my sight - Rather, "send them out of My presence, and let them go away." The prophet is to dismiss them, because their mediators, Moses and Samuel, whose intercession had been accepted in old times (marginal references), would intercede now in vain.
Kinds - literally, as the margin, i. e., classes of things. The first is to destroy the living, the other three to mutilate and consume the dead.
To tear - literally, "to drag along the ground." It forcibly expresses the contumely to which the bodies of the slain will be exposed.
To be removed - Rather, "to be a terror."
Because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah - The name of the pious father intensifies the horror at the wickedness of the son.
This verse gives the reason of the refusal of Yahweh to hear the prophet's intercession. The punishment due has been delayed unto wearisomeness, and this seeming failure of justice has made Judah withdraw further from God.
I will fan them ... - Or, "I have winnowed them with a winnowing shovel." The "gates of the land" mean the places by which men enter or leave it. As God winnows them they are driven out of the land through all its outlets in every direction.
I will bereave - Rather, "I have bereaved, I have destroyed my people." Omit "of children."
Since they return not ... - Rather, "from their ways they have not returned."
Translate, "I have brought upon them, even upon the mother of the young man, a spoiler etc." The word rendered "young man" means a picked warrior. The mother has borne a valiant champion; but neither his prowess nor the numerous offspring of the other can avail to save those who gave them birth; war bereaves both alike.
At noonday - i. e., unexpectedly, as armies used to rest at noon (see Jer 6:4 note).
I have caused him ... - Rather, "I have brought suddenly upon her," the mother of the young warrior, "anguish and terrors."
She hath been ashamed - Or, "is ashamed." To a Hebrew mother to be childless was a disgrace. Many consider that Jer 15:7-9 refer to the battle of Megiddo, and depict the consternation of Jerusalem at that sad event. If so, in the sun going down while it was day, there will be a reference to the eclipse on September 30, 610 b.c.
Jeremiah vents his sorrow at the rejection of his prayer. In reading these and similar expostulations we feel that we have to do with a man who was the reluctant minister of a higher power, from where alone he drew strength to be content to do and suffer.
Strife - More exactly, "lawsuit;" the sense is, "I am as a man who has to enter into judgment with and reprove the whole earth."
I have neither lent ... - i. e., I have no personal cause of quarrel with the people, that I should thus be perpetually at strife with them. The relations between the moneylender and the debtor were a fruitful source of lawsuits and quarrelling.
Shall be well with thy remnant - Or, thy loosing shall be for good; in the sense of being set free, deliverance.
To entreat thee well ... - Rather, "to supplicate thee in the time of evil etc.;" fulfilled in Jer 21:1-2; Jer 37:3; Jer 42:2.
The steel - "brass," i. e., bronze. By the "iron" is meant Jeremiah's intercession; but this cannot alter the divine purpose to send Judah into exile, which is firm as steel and brass. For "brass" see Exo 25:3 note. The alloy of copper and zinc now called brass was entirely unknown to the ancients.
Jeremiah is personally addressed in the verse, because he stood before God as the intercessor, representing the people.
(1) God would give Judah's treasures away for nothing; implying that He did not value them.
(2) the cause of this contempt is Judah's sins.
(3) this is justified by Judah having committed them throughout her whole land.
Render, "And I will make thee serve thine enemies in a land thou knewest not."
For a fire ... - See the marginal reference. The added words show that the punishment then predicted is about to be fulfilled.
This is the prayer of a man in bitter grief, whose human nature cannot at present submit to the divine will. God's long-suffering toward the wicked seemed to the prophet to be the abandonment of himself to death; justice itself required that one who was suffering contumely for God's sake should be delivered.
Rebuke - i. e., reproach, contumely.
Thy words were found - Jeremiah's summons to the prophetic office had not been expected or sought for by him.
I did eat them - i. e., I received them with joy. This eating of the divine words expresses also the close union between that which came from God and the prophet's own being.
I am called by thy name - i. e., I am consecrated to Thy service, am ordained to be Thy prophet.
Rather, "I sat not in the assembly of the laughers, and was merry." From the time God's words came to Jeremiah he abstained from things innocent, and a gravity came over him beyond his years.
I sat alone because of thy hand - As a person consecrated to God he would also be "separated." See Jer 1:5; compare Act 13:2.
With indignation - The prophet thus taught of God sees the sins of the people as offences against God, and as involving the ruin of His Church.
Why is my pain perpetual - i. e., Are all my labors to be in vain?
As a liar ... - Really, "as a deceitful brook," a brook which flows only in the winter, the opposite of the "perennial stream" of Amo 5:24. Jeremiah had expected that there would be a perpetual interference of Providence in his behalf, instead whereof things seemed to take only their natural course.
Jeremiah had questioned God's righteousness (see Jer 12:1 note); he is told, "If thou return," if thou repent thee of thy doubts, and think only of thy duty, "then will I bring thee again, then will I cause thee again to stand before Me." To stand before a person means to be his chief officer or vicegerent. It implies therefore the restoration of Jeremiah to the prophetic office.
If thou take forth the precious from the vile - i. e., if thou cause the precious metal to come forth from the dross. Jeremiah was to separate in himself what was divine and holy from the dross of human passion. Let him abandon this mistrust, this sensitiveness, this idea that God did not deal righteously with him, and then "he shall be as God's mouth, i. e., as the organ by which God speaks.
Let them return ... - Rather, "they shall return unto thee, but thou shalt not return unto them." A flattering prophet perishes with the people whom his soft speeches have confirmed in their sin: but the truthful speaking of God's word saves both.