18. Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
18. Propterea audite gentes, et cognosce coetus quid in ipsis futurum sit.
19. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
19. Audi, terra, Ecce ego adduco malum (hoc est, cladem) super populum hunc, fructum cogitationum ipsorum, qui ad verba mea non fuerunt attenti, et legem meam spreverunt (ad verbum, et legem meam spreverunt in ipsa; sed non est ambiguus sensus, quod scilicet vel abjecerint vel spreverint, vel pro nihilo duxerint; verbum hoc significat rejicere et spernere, significat etiam reprobare; jam semel hoc usus est Propheta et saepius utetur.)
He turns now to address the nations, which had never heard anything of true religion. But the design of the apostrophe was, to make the Jews ashamed of their insensibility and deafness, for more attention and understanding were found among heathen nations. This was surely very great shame: the Jews had been plainly taught by the Law and by the Prophets, God had continued morning and evening to repeat the same things to them, that the nations, who had never heard the prophets and to whom the Law had not been given, should still be endued with more understanding and judgment than the Jews -- this was very shameful and really monstrous. Thus the Prophet's design was to expose their disgraceful conduct by addressing the nations, and saying, Hear, ye nations
Then he says, Know, thou assembly The words used are dy, doi, and dh, ode; and though the letters are inverted, there is yet an alliteration by no means ungraceful. With regard to the meaning, the Prophet shews that he found no disciples among the elect people, for they were like brute beasts or stones or trunks; he therefore turned to address the nations, as he despaired of any fruit to his labors among the Jews: ye nations, then, hear, and know, thou assembly, (the reference is to any people,) what shall be to them Some interpreters apply this to their vices, and give this version, |What their state is, |or, |What atrocious vices prevail and reign among them.| But I prefer to apply it to their punishment, though I do not contend for this view, as there is a probability in favor of the other. But the Prophet seems here to send for the nations, that they might be witnesses of the just vengeance of God, because the people's impiety had become irreclaimable. |Hear then what shall be done to them.| He had threatened the Jews as he had done before, and as he will often do hereafter; but his design in this place was to reproach them for being so intractable; for he expected that his labors would produce more fruit among the nations than among them.
He then adds, Hear, thou earth This is general, as though he said, |Hear ye, all the inhabitants of the earth: |Behold, I am bringing an evil on this people He would have directly addressed the Jews, had they ears to hear; but as their vices and contempt of God had made them deaf, it was necessary for him to address the earth. Now, God testifies here that he should not act cruelly in visiting with severity this people, as he would only reward them as they deserved. The sum of what is said then is, that however grievous might be the punishment he would inflict, yet the people could not complain of immoderate rigor, for they should only receive what their works justly deserved. But Jeremiah not only speaks of their works, but he mentions the fruit of their thoughts; for they concocted their wickedness within, so that they did not offend God through levity or ignorance. By thoughts, then, he means that daily meditation on evil, to which the Jews had habituated themselves. So then their interior wickedness and obstinacy are here set forth.
He afterwards adds, Because they have not to my words attended, and for nothing have they esteemed my law. We ever see that the guilt of the Jews was increased by the circumstance, that God had exhorted them by his servants, and that they had rejected all instruction. That they then would not hearken, and that they counted the law and instruction as nothing, made it evident that their sin could not by any pretense be excused; for they knowingly and openly carried on war with God himself, according to what is said of the giants.
We may learn from this passage, that nothing is more abominable in the sight of God than the contempt of divine truth; for his majesty, which shines forth in his word, is thereby trampled under foot; and further, it is art extreme ingratitude in men, when God himself invites them to salvation, willfully to seek their own ruin and to reject his favor. It is no wonder then that God cannot endure the contempt of his word; by which his majesty, as I have said, is dishonored, and his goodness, by which he would secure the salvation of men, is treated with the basest ingratitude. He afterwards adds --