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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 44:19

19. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

19. Et quando nos suffitum fecimus artificio coelorum, et libavimus ei libamina, an absque viris nostris fecimus ei placentas ad exhilarandum illud (aliivertunt, simulaehrum,) et etiam libando ei libamina?

They brought forward another argument, that they were not a small portion, but the whole people, who then flourished in prosperity, when they offered incense to idols. We know that but a few remained of that large multitude, which lived when the kingdom as yet existed. They said then that they were not the sole authors of this superstition, but that it was practiced by a large number of men, even the whole people, when Jerusalem was full of inhabitants, and the whole country.

Some explain this of the women, but improperly, as I think. The masculine gender is sometimes applied to women, but seldom, and it is harsh, and then it agrees not with this passage, where the whole context shews that men are spoken of; but one reason only leads them to think so, and that is frivolous. It is said, Have we done this without our men? When, therefore, they said that they had not acted without the men, it has immediately occurred to inter-prefers that the women spoke; but the word is in the masculine gender. It is well known that 'nsym, anushim, mean sometimes the aged, and also the princes who bear rule, as it is evident from other passages. But here that small band which remained brought forward the consent of a large multitude, as though they had said, |We here are many against thee who standest alone; but if thou comparest the ancient condition of the city and of the land with our miserable state, when the kingdom flourished, when the city remained in safety, when the whole country was full of inhabitants, did they not all then, with one consent, worship the stars and the workmanship of the heavens? Since, then, this religion has been approved by the consent of so many, what meanest thou in attempting to take it away from us?|

We now, then, perceive the design of the Prophet, or rather we understand the meaning of those whom he has introduced as the speakers. They then said that they did not offer incense and pour out libations without their men, that is, without that large multitude, which afterwards perished or was consumed; and thus they set up against him, as a cloud, a large number of men, as the Papists do at this day, who, by means of consent, only fight against the truth, of God for the purpose of overwhelming it. In like manner did these wretched men contend with Jeremiah; and this pretext was their shield, that the whole people, before the city was demolished, followed these superstitions: We have, then, not done this without our men, pouring out libations and offering incense. It now follows, --

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