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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 18:13

13. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing.

13. Propterea sic dicit Jehova, Interrogate agedum inter gentes, quis audierit secundum hoc (quis unquam audierit aliquid simile?) foeditatem (vel, portentum) patravit valde virgo Israel.

God shews here that the Jews were become wholly irreclaimable, for they arrived at the highest pitch of impiety, when they were so daring as to reject the salvation offered to them; for what had the Prophet in view but, to extricate them from ruin? God himself by his Prophet wished to secure their safety. How great then was their ingratitude to reject God's paternal care, and not to give ear to the Prophet who was to be a minister of salvation to them? Now as they were extremely deaf and stupid: God turns to the Gentiles.

Enquire, or ask, he says, among the Gentiles, Has any one heard such a thing? as though he had said, |I will no more contend with those brute animals, for there is no reason in them; but the Gentiles, destitute of the light of knowledge, can be made witnesses of so gross an impiety.| And he says the same thing in Jeremiah 2:10,

|Go, pass through the isles and survey the whole world, has any nation forsaken its own gods, and yet they are no gods?|

As though he had said, |Religion so much prevails among wretched idolaters, that they continue steadfast in their superstitions; as they consider it a dreadful thing to change their god, they therefore shun it as a monstrous thing. Hence it is, that they are devoted to their superstitions, for the god whom they have once received, they think it the highest impiety to forsake, while yet they are no gods; but my people have forsaken me, who am the fountain of living water.| Jeremiah repeats now the same thing in other words, that such an example could not be found among heathens.

He then adds, A base thing has the virgin of Israel done. Some indeed render srrt, shorret, |a monstrous thing,| and it may be thus taken metaphorically, for the verb sr shor, means to count, to think; and this meaning may be adopted here; but as in many places it signifies baseness, I will not depart from that common meaning. He says then, that it was an extremely base thing for the people to forsake him. He does not call the people the virgin of Israel by way of honor, but to augment their reproach. For God, as we have before seen, had espoused the people to himself; and so it was their duty to observe conjugal fidelity, as a virgin espoused by a husband, who ought not to regard any other, for she is not to look for any other after she has pledged her faith. But the people of Israel, who ought to have been as it were the bride of God, sinned most basely, yea, most disgracefully and infamously, when they prostituted themselves to wicked counsels as well as to superstitions. He now adds comparisons, by whichlte more fully exposes their wickedness, --

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