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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 10:15

15. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

15. Vanitas sunt, opus illusionum; in tempore visitationis ipsorum peribunt.

He confirms the same thing. What he called before falsehood, sqr, shikor, he calls now vanity, hvl ebel. They are vanity, he says. He had said that they were falsehood, which means, that men were grossly deceived when they sought the presence of God in dead things, now he says, that they were vanity, and also the work of illusions; but some render the last word |mockeries,| taking it in a passive sense; and hence the Chaldee interpreter renders it, |a thing worthy of ridicule and laughter.| But I prefer to take it for imposture or deception. Jacob said to his mother, |I shall be found in the eyes of my father a deceiver;| but some render the word there |a mocker.| But Jacob, on the contrary, meant that he should be found out as one of no credit, or acting in guile, as though he had said, |I shall be an impostor, and rny father will flnd out the fraud.| So also in this place, he calls idols the work of deceptions, by which men infatuated themselves. He does not then teach us here that idols deserved to be ridiculed, but he refers to the madness of those who imagined that they were gods, for he had before called them vanity and falsehood; and there is no doubt but that in these various ways he repeats and confirms the same thing.

He afterwards adds, In the time of their visitation they shall perish The pronoun |their| may be applied to idols or to the Chaldeans: when the time of visitation shall come; that is, when God shall punish the enemies of his Church, then their idols shall perish: or, when the time shall come for God to visit the idols, they shall perish. Either sense may be admitted; and indeed as to the subject in hand, there is no difference.

The Israelites might have objected and said, |How is it then that false gods, whom men have devised for themselves, are worshipped, and are in great esteem and highly regarded? How does God suffer and overlook this?| The Israelites might have raised an objection of this kind. Therefore the Prophet answers them, They shall perish; but it shall be at the time of visitation It is an exhortation to patience, that the faithful might not despond or be weakened in their hopes, though they saw silver gods carried on men's shoulders, though they saw wood and stone set on elevated places, and incense burnt to them and sacrifices offered to them. Though then they saw idols in such esteem, they were not yet to despair or fall away from true religion, for the time of visitation was to be looked for, when God would execute his judgment on the false gods as well as on their worshippets. We now understand why he speaks of visitation. It follows --

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