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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Jeremiah 8:22

Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 8:22

22 Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

22. An resina (aut, balsamus) non est in Gilead? an medicus non illic est? nam cur non ascendit sanitas filiae populi mei?

The Prophet intimates in these words that the slaughter of the people would be so fatal that they would in vain seek remedies; as though he had said, that the disease would be incurable, and altogether deadly. The people, no doubt, ever devised for themselves many kinds of aids, according to what is commonly done; for ungodly men, when any danger appears, look around them on all sides; and when they think that they can be protected by any kind of assistance, or by any of the means they contrive, they rest secure and free from every trouble. Hence the Prophet, that he might dispel such vain confidences, says that there would be no rosin to heal their diseases. The rosin is a liquid which flows, not from every tree, but from the pine, and trees of that kind.

We may conclude from this passage, as well as from other passages, that the best and the most valuable rosin was found in that part of Judea, called Gilead. Indeed the whole of Judea produced rosin; but as it was more abundant in Gilead, and as that rosin was more odoriferous and more powerful, he expressly mentions that place. The word tsry tsari, means also balsam: and as to this let each follow his own opinion, for the Jews themselves do not altogether agree. They who render it |treacle| wholly depart from the meaning, and offer what is absurd; for we know that treacle is made up of several ingredients: now rosin is not any sort of gum, but a thick liquid, as I have said, which belongs to trees; and from it comes rosin, and mastic, and other things; for the liquid becomes thick after it has flown from the trees.

He says then, as one astonished, Is there not rosin in Gilead? Is there not a physician there? But the Prophet foretells here by the Spirit, that there would be such a destruction as could not by any means be avoided, that the disease would be incurable. For why, he says, does not health come to the daughter of my people? The reason is added, because healing could not be expected by the people; not that the Jews perceived this, for, on the contrary, they boasted, as I have said, of their perfect safety. But the Prophet here declares that a deadly disease was at hand, which would inevitably destroy the wicked Afterwards follows --

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