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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 2:12

12. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

12. Obstupescite coeli super hoc, et expavescite, desolamini (vel, arescite) valde, dicit Jehova.

When the Prophet saw that he had to do with besotted men, almost void of all reason, he turned to address the heavens: and it is a way of speaking, common in the Prophets, -- that they address the heaven and the earth, which have no understanding, and leave men endued with reason and knowledge. This they were wont to do in hopeless cases, when they found no disposition to learn.

Hence now the Prophet bids the heavens to be astonished and to be terrified and to be reduced as it were unto desolation; as though he had said, |This is a wonder, which almost confounds the whole order of nature; it is the same as though we were to see heaven and earth mixed together.| We now then perceive the meaning of the Prophet: for by this representation he intended to shew, how detestable was the impiety of the people, since the heavens, though destitute of reason, ought justly to dread such a monstrous thing.

As to the words, some render them, |Be desolate, ye heavens,| and then repeat the same: but as smm shemem, means to be astonished, the rendering I have given suits the present passage better, |Be astonished, ye heavens, for this,| and then, |be ye terrified and dried up;| for: chrv chareb, signifies to become dry, and sometimes, to be reduced to a solitude or a waste. It afterwards follows: --

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