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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 1 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 9:2

2. Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

2. Quis statuet me in deserto, in diversorio (alii, tugurium, vertunt; sed nescio an reperiatur mlvn in hoc sensu) viatorum? et relinquam populum meum et discedam ab illis; quia omnes adulteri, conventus transgressorum (vel, perfidorum; nam vgdym sunt perfidi et apostatoe, ut alibi vidimus.)

Here the Prophet entertains another wish: He had before wished that his head were waters, that he might shed tears, and he had wished his eyes to be the fountains of tears; but now, after having duly considered the wickedness of the people, he puts off every feeling of humanity, and as one incensed, he desires to move elsewhere, and wholly to leave the people; for their impiety had so prevailed that he could no longer live among them. It is indeed certain that the Prophet had no common grief, when he perceived that God's dreadful vengeance was not far distant: it is also certain that he was moved and constrained by their detestable conduct to desire to be removed elsewhere. But he speaks not only for his own sake; for he regards his own nation, and expresses his feelings, that he might more effectually touch their hearts. We must then understand, that so great was the sympathy of the Prophet, that he was not satisfied with shedding tears, but that he wished that his whole head would flow into fearn It appears, also, that he was so moved with idignation, that he wished wholly to leave his own people. But, as I have said, his object was to try whether he could restore them to the right way.

He then shews, in this verse, that the Jews had become so detestable, that all the true servants of God wished to be removed far away from them: Who then will set me in the desert? He seeks not for himself another country; he desires not to dwell in a pleasant situation, or that some commodious asylum should be offered to him? but he desires to be placed in the desert, or in the lodging of travelers. He speaks not of those lodgings or inns, which were in villages and towns; but of a lodging in the desert; according to what is the case, when a long and tedious journey is made through forests, some sheds are formed, that when a traveler is over -- taken by the darkness of night, he might be protected by some covering, and not He down in the open air. It is of this kind of lodging that the Prophet speaks: then he no doubt means a shed; but as to the word, we may retain, as I have said, its proper meaning. What is meant is, that to dwell in the desert alllong wild beasts was better than to be among that abominable people. By expressing this wish he inflamed no doubt the fury of the whole people, or at least of most of them; but it was necessary thus forcibly to address them: as they submitted to no kind and wholesome warnings and counsels, they were to be forcibly stimulated and urged by such reproofs as these.

I will leave my people This had an emphatic, bearing; for delightful to every one is his native soil, and it is also delightful to dwell among one's own people. As then the Prophet wished to be removed into the desert,, and to leave his own people, all his relatives and the nation from which he sprang, and to depart frora them, it follows that they nmst have come to extremities.

And the reason is added, For all are adulterers I take the word mn'phym menaphim, adulterers, in a metaphorical sense, as meaning all those who had departed from God, and abandoned themselves to ungodly superstitions, or those who had become so vitiated and corrupt as to retain no integrity. He does not then call them adulterers, because they were given to whoredoms, but because they were immersed in all kinds of defilements. He afterwards calls them an assembly of apostates, or of perfidious men. The word tsr, otsar, means to prohibit, to restrain: hence the noun tsrt ostaret, means a summoned assembly, when, according to an oath or laws, men are forced to meet; and after the assembly is proclaimed, they dare not depart. Then the Prophet by this word points out the consent and union that existed among that people, as though he had said, that they no less clave to their sins, that if by a solemn rite or authority or ordinance they had been summoned together and were prohibited to depart. We hence see that he condemns the impious consent that was among the people, and also their pertinacity; for they could by no means be restored to a right mind. And for this reason he calls them also vgdym begadim, transgressors; for by this word the Hebrews mean, not every kind of sinners, but those who are wholly wicked: and hence the prophets, when, they speak of apostates and revolters, ever call them vgdym, begadim, as in this passage. I shall not proceed farther.

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