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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 6:7

7. As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.

7. Sicuti scaturire facit puteus aquas suas (hoc est, sicuti scaturiunt aquae ex fonte, vel, puteo,) sic scaturire fecit malitiam suam; violentia et deceptio (aut, vastatio) audita fuit in ea coram facie mea assidue, dolor et percussio (alii vertunt, plagam; sed nomen percussionis melius convenit.)

The Prophet enlarges on what he had said in the last verse; for he had shewn, by mentioning one kind of evil, that Jerusalem was a den of thieves, as oppression dwelt in the midst of it. But he now, by a comparison, amplifies his former statement, and says, that violence, oppression, devastation, grief, and smiting, streamed forth like waters from a fountain. It is possible for many vices to break out from a place, but repentance afterwards follows; but when men cease not, and heap vices on vices, it then appears that they swell with wickedness, and even burst with it, as they cannot repress it: they are like a fountain, which ever bubbles up, and cannot contain its own waters. We hence see the object of the Prophet.

The word vvr, bur, means a fountain, and v'r, bar, means also a fountain, or a well, and they are no doubt synonymous: and hence appears the mistake of a very learned man among the Hebrews, who makes a difference between the two, and says that the first is a cistern, which receives waters, but has no streaming. That this is false appears from the words of the Prophet; for a cistern does not cast forth water.

But with regard to what is taught, we sufficiently understand that what the Prophet means is, -- that the Jews had so given up themselves to their vices, that they were ever contriving some new way of doing evil, as waters never cease to stream forth from the fountain; and it is a proof, as I have said, that a nation is wholly irreclaimable, when there is no cessation from evil deeds, when there is no intermission of injuries, when men ever indulge in their vices; and as the Jews could not deny that such was the atrocity of their wickedness, the Prophet again assumes the name of God, and says, Heard have been oppressions, and smitings are before me; as though he had said, |They will gain nothing by evasions, for if they make a hundred excuses before men, it will be wholly useless to them when they shall come before God's tribunal.| And he again adds the adverb dymt, tamid, continually, which answers to the perpetual streaming of waters. It follows --

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