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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 8:18

18 When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.

18. Roborate meum (vel, quum vellem roborare me) super dolorem, super me cor meum infirmum est.

Interpreters explain differently the word mvlgyty, mebelgiti. Some take m, mem, in the sense of v, beth; but others, with whom I agree, regard it as a servile, deriving the word from vlg, belag; and this letter is prefixed to it to shew that it is a noun. The t, tau, also at the end, is a servile.

The Prophet then means, that he sought strength in his sorrow, but that his heart was weak He no doubt, I think, sets forth in this verse the perverse character of the people, -- that they sought through their obstinacy to drive away every punishment. This could not indeed be referred to himself, or to those who were like him, as we know how fearful are God's servants with regard to his wrath; for as the fear of God prevails in their hearts, so they are easily terrified by his judgment; but hypocrites and wicked men ever harden themselves as far as they can. They then strengthened themselves against God, and thought in this way to be conquerors. Since they thus perversely contended with God, the Prophet sets forth here the great hardness of the people: I would, he says, strengthen myself in my sorrow; but my heart is within me weak; that is, |In vain are these remedies tried; in vain have ye hitherto endeavored to strengthen yourselves, and have sought fortresses and strongholds against God; for sorrow will at length prevail, as the Lord will add troubles to troubles, so that ye must at length succumb under them.|

He means the same when he says, his heart was within him weak: |I have, |he says, |been oppressed with sorrow, when I thought I had strength enough to resist.| For thus the ungodly think manfully to act, when they madly resist God; but at length they find by the event that they in vain seek thus to strengthen themselves; for our heart, he says, will become within us weak, and debility itself will at last oppress and overwhelm us.

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