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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 19:13

13. And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.

13. Et erunt domus Hierusalem et domus regum Jehudah, sicut locus Thopheth immundae; ad omnes domos in quibus suffitum fecerunt super tecta eorum universae militiae coelorum, et libarunt libamen diis alienis.

He describes, as I have said, more at large what he had briefly expressed, for he had spoken of the city; but as the belief of that was difficult, he now enumerates particulars, as though he had said, that Jerusalem was a wide city and splendidly built, for there were there many large and elegant houses, and the royal palaces, yet he says, that all these things would not prevent God to demolish the whole city. And this deserves particular notice, for we know that Satan dazzles our eyes whenever he suggests anything that gives a hope of defense, but what God threatens we think is vain, and as it were fabulous, or at least produces no effect on us. Since then so gross an hypocrisy prevailed in the hearts of the people, the Prophet rightly tried to shake off from them whatever might deceive them.

Hence he says, The houses of Jerusalem, etc. -- these were many and splendid -- and the houses of the kings of Judah, their palaces either within or without the city shall be as the place of Tophet; that is, no house shall be exempt from slaughter, and no palace shall protect its inhabitants. They shall be unclean, he says, that is, on account of dead bodies, for men slain would be found everywhere; and this is, as it is well known, often mentioned in Scripture as a pollution or defilement. With regard to all the houses; some read, |On account of all the houses,| and l lamed, is often a causal preposition. But it seems rather to be taken here as explanation; and hence I render the words, With regard to all the houses, so that the Prophet speaks of all the houses in, which they made incense. As then there was no house free from sacrilege, he says that God's vengeance would penetrate into all houses without any exception.

He says also, On the roofs, with the view of condemning them for their effrontery; for they raised their baseness as a standard, that it might be seen at a distance. They indeed thought that God was delighted with such a service; but how came they to entertain such a foolish persuasion, except through their neglect and contempt of the law, and also through a mad presumption in giving more credit to their own fictions than to certain truth. The Prophet then justly condemns them, for they had cast off all shame, and went up to the roofs of their houses, that their doings might be more open. Then he mentions the whole host of heaven; and says further, that they had poured a libation to foreign gods. We see that many kinds of superstitions prevailed among the people; for he spoke of Baal in the singular number, he mentioned also Baalim, patrons, and he now adds, the whole host of heaven; that is, the sun, the moon, and all the stars.

We hence see that the Jews kept no limits as to their sacrileges, which is usually the case with all the ungodly; for as soon as men begin to turn aside from the pure and genuine worship of God, they sink into the lowest depths. It is then this wantonness that the Prophet now refers to, when he intimates that their various forms of worship were so increased, that they had devised as many gods as there are stars in heaven; which is similar to what is said elsewhere,

|According to the number of thy cities, O Judah, are thy gods,| (Jeremiah 2:28; Jeremiah 11:13.)

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