King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 10

The absurdity of idolatry. (1-16) Destruction denounced against Jerusalem. (17-25)

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The absurdity of idolatry

1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.

8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.

9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.

10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.

12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.

Destruction denounced against Jerusalem

17 Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.

18 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.

19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous; but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.

20 My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.

21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.

23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Ways. Religious rites. v. 3. — Fear. Worship. Lev. xix. 14. — Signs. They were designed to point out the seasons. Gen. i. 14. C. — Heathens thought that they had a divine power. W.

Ver. 4. Asunder. Is. xliv. 8. Bar. vi. 3. Wisd. xiii. 11. The pagans themselves laughed at such folly. C. — If such things were gods, the makers and tools deserved more adoration: Fabri deorum vel parentes numinum, says Prudentius. The vanity of such idols was more easily discerned than that of the stars. W.

Ver. 5. Tree. The ancient statues were ill-formed, (Diodor. 4.) before Dedalus brought the art to greater perfection, and gave them a living attitude.

Ver. 6. There. Sept. omit the three following verses; and from v. 9. all these, &c. to the end of v. 10. which Grabe inserts in a different character. H.

Ver. 7. Wise. MS. 2. has in the margin “kings,” perhaps more correctly. Kennicott.

Ver. 8. Vanity, and shews them clearly to be foolish (C.) and wicked. H.

Ver. 9. Ophaz, or Phison, (Gen. ii. 11. C.) the coast of Pegu, Faprobana, &c. M.

Ver. 10. Wrath. God is the true cause of all that terrifies mankind.

Ver. 11. Heaven. This verse is in Chaldee, for the captives to use at Babylon, to defend themselves. It should be in a parenthesis, as it interrupts the discourse. Perhaps it was added during the captivity.

Ver. 13. Voice. Thunder, (Ps. xxviii. 3.) which is usually the forerunner of rain. Lightning is occasioned by the inflamed exhalations of conflicting clouds.

Ver. 14. Knowledge. If it were real, he would see the vanity of idols. v. 8. C.

Ver. 16. Portion. The Lord. H. Ps. lxxii. 6. — Rod, to measure, (Ps. lxxiii. 2.) or the sceptre and ruler. M.

Ver. 17. Shame. Idols. See if they will keep thee. Heb. “thy merchandise,” or most precious effects.

Ver. 18. Found by the enemy. Heb. also, “find” me, being taught by affliction. C. xxix. 13. C. — Entering into sentiments of penance, they shall say, Woe, &c. H.

Ver. 22. North. He has announced this conqueror eight times. — Dragons. Tannim means “huge reptiles,” whether of sea or land. C.

Ver. 23. The way, &c. Notwithstanding man’s free-will, yet he can do no good without God’s help, nor evil without his permission. So that, in the present case, all the evils which Nabuchodonosor was about to bring upon Jerusalem, could not have come but by the will of God. Ch. W. — This prince succeeds by thy order. Theod. — Yet chastise us as a father, and have us not to his fury. v. 24. C. — “Let new preachers blush, who say that each one is governed by his own will,” (S. Jer. C. ix. 23.) and able to do good without God’s grace. H.

Ver. 24. Judgment. C. xxx. 11. Ps. vi. 1. Justice is not contrary to mercy. C.

Ver. 25. Glory. This is repeated from Ps. lxxviii. 6. M. — The prophet supposes that these nations will not repent, and that their sins are more enormous. To see God’s people treated with greater severity, might scandalize the weak, while infidels would take occasion to abuse their own impunity. C.