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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 2:34

34. Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.

34. Etiam in alis tuis repertus est sanguis animarum pauperum innocentum; non in suffossione repertae erant, sed super omnibus his (alii vertunt quia in onmibus illis; et particula est causalis, sed tamen hic adversative debet resolvi, quemadmodum multis locis.)

The Prophet repeats, as I think, what he had before said, -- that the wickedness of his nation was incorrigible; for they repented not when warned, but on the contrary raged like wild beasts against the Prophets and religious teachers. Those interpreters are mistaken who think that the savage cruelty of the Jews in general is here condemned; and all are of this opinion. But the Prophet no doubt enhances this evil, by saying, that the Jews were not only obstinate in their vices, but also raged furiously against the Prophets. Hence he shews again, that God had used all remedies to heal the Jews, but without effect, for what better medicine could have been offered than for the Prophets to reprove the people and to shew to them how wickedly they had departed from God? God then wished thus to correct the vices of his own people; but so far was he from effecting anything, that at Jerusalem and through the whole of Judea, the Prophets were slaughtered, and the whole land was filled with and polluted by their blood.

Hence he says, Even in thy wings has been found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents. He calls the borders of garments wings. He seems to say, that these slaughters were not hid, for the Jews were besprinkled with blood to the very extremities of their garment; as though he had said, |There is no cause for me to deal sharply with you in this instance; for your filthiness is most apparent: ye have not only been rebellious against my teaching, but ye have also cruelly murdered my prophets. If ye ask, Where these slaughters are to be found? Even in your wings, on the borders of your garments; so that your crimes are fully known.| We now perceive what the Prophet means.

We must also notice the import of the particle gm, gam, also, or even. Their cruelty was worse and more nefarious, because they thus rose up against their own physicians; for the prophets, as it has been said, were the ministers of their safety. As then they thus raged against God's favor so as to murder his prophets, it became still more evident, that they were utterly irreclaimable.

He afterwards adds what serves for a confirmation. They have not been found in digging under Some give another explanation; but their opinion is right who think, that the Prophet alludes to what is said by Moses in Exodus 22:2, -- that if a thief should be found in digging under, (or undermining,) he might be killed with impunity: for he who thus breaks through into the houses of others, is equal to a robber in audacity; and he ought to be counted not only a thief, but also as one guilty of manslaughter and felony. God then says, that the Prophets, who had been slain by the Jews, had not been found in digging up, that is, had not been found guilty of any crime, either of robbery or of murder: for he mentions a particular act, instead of the general crime. But it has been on account of all these things; that is, |because they boldly dared to reprove you, because they severely condemned your vices, because they discovered your baseness, because they were enemies to your perfidy and to your sins: as then the prophets had thus by the divine Spirit carried on war with your sins, they have on this account been murdered by you.

We see how well the whole passage reads, provided it be applied to the prophets only. It was not indeed the object of Jeremiah to condemn murders generally among the Jews, but to shew that they were the enemies of the prophets, because they were opposed to every good and sound counsel, and were incapable of receiving instruction. The mistake of other expounders is hereby made evident: for in the last clause they touch neither heaven nor earth. It follows --

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