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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 3 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 22:17

17. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.

17. Quia non oculus tuus et cor tuum nisi ad cupidatatem tuam, et ad sanguinem innoxium fundendum, et ad rapacitatem, et ad oppressionem, ad faciendum (hoc est, ut exequaris.

Here the Prophet expresses more clearly how much Jehoiakim differed from Josiah his father. He indeed shews that he was wholly unlike him, because Josiah had endeavored to observe what was equitable, while he set all his thoughts on fraud, plunder, and cruelty; for by the eye and the heart he means all the faculties of his soul and body. One of the main senses of the body, as it is well known, is the sight. Hence the Prophet includes here whatever is external and internal in men, when he says, thine eye, that is, all thy bodily senses are set on covetousness, and also thine heart, that is, all thy thoughts, feelings, designs, meditations, and purposes are employed in the same way. He intimates, in short, that Jehoiakim was corrupt both in body and mind, so that having cast aside every fear of God, he abandoned himself to avarice as well as to plunder and all acts of oppression. Thine eye, he says, and thy heart is not, except on covetousness

The verb vts, betso, means to covet; hence the noun signifies not only avarice, but also any sinful lust. He adds cruelty, for it, cannot be but that all are bloody who give loose reins to their lusts. He mentions in the third place rapacity, or violent seizure; for sq, oshek, means to take by force what belongs to another; hence the noun signifies rapacity. What follows in the last place is oppression, or disquietude. As rvph, ruts, means to run, Jerome renders it |the course of thy work,| as though l, lamed, prefixed to svt, oshut, were not one of the serviles, m, l, k, v, beth, caph, lamed, mem, but this cannot be admitted. The clear meaning of the Prophet indeed is, that Jehoiakim was not only intent on taking possession on what belonged to others, but that he also oppressed and distressed all he could. It is lastly added, to do; the verb to do is to be applied to what has gone before, that Jehoiakim employed all his thoughts, and was wholly engaged in evil deeds, that he not only contrived acts of cruelty and of avariciousness in his mind, but also carried fully into execution what he had contrived. It follows, --

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