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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 44:15-16

15. Then all the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,

15. Et responderunt Jeremiae om-nes viri, qui sciebant quod suffitum offerrent uxores ipsorum diis alienis, et omnes mulieres quae adstabant, coetus magnus, et totus populus qui habitabant in terra Aegypti, in Pathros, dicendo,

16. As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.

16. In sermone (subaudiendum est in, vel, quoad sermonem) quem locutus es ad nos in nomine Jehovae, nos audivimus to.

Here is more fully seen the irreclaimable obstinacy of that nation; for Jeremiah had given them more than sufficient evidences of his integrity. They ought then to have been fully convinced that he was a true Prophet of God. Though they had disregarded him for forty years and more, he had yet given full proof of his legation when he had constantly, even to the last, prophesied of the destruction of the city and the Temple. They had, then, learnt by their own calamities that Jeremiah was an instrument of the Holy Spirit, and a true interpreter of God's will. And it hence appears how blind they were when they rejected all his admonitions, and counted his threatenings as fables. Thus, as in a mirror, the Holy Spirit of God sets before us how great the madness of men is when Satan once takes possession of their minds. But let us, at the same time, learn that this is the reward rendered to obstinacy, when God's Prophets are despised. It was, indeed, a monstrous and most disgraceful thing, when they dared so insolently to repudiate the holy Prophet, while, at the same time, they had been reduced to the greatest extremities, and when spoiled of all things, had fled into Egypt, and lived there, as we have seen, in a servile and miserable condition. Inasmuch, then, as they were still ferocious and still arrogant towards God's Prophet, it hence appears that they were untamable.

He then says, that all the men to whom the impiety of their wives was known, answered Jeremiah By these words the Prophet intimates that the beginning of idolatry was from the women. Things then had not as yet gone so far that all the men openly worshipped idols; but the women had taken this liberty, and the men readily indulged them. But why then did the Prophet before reprove them, as though they all made incense to idols? We doubtless learn from this passage, that they are not only guilty before God who openly do what is wicked, but also those who by connivance tolerate them; for the men ought to have interfered so as to restrain their wives from polluting themselves with ungodly superstitions; but this they patiently endured. Then their consent was the same as the deed, as we may rightly conclude from the words of the Prophet. He then says, that the men offered incense, not indeed openly and with their own hands, but that they knew of their wives, and that this impiety was done by the women with their consent. The rest I cannot now finish, I will proceed with it to-morrow.

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