King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jeremiah 2

God expostulates with his people. (1-8) Their revolt beyond example. (9-13) Guilt the cause of sufferings. (14-19) The sins of Judah. (20-28) Their false confidence. (29-37)

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God expostulates with his people

1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.

4 Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:

5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

6 Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?

7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.

8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

Their revolt beyond example

9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead.

10 For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.

11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.

12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Guilt the cause of sufferings

14 Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?

15 The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.

16 Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.

17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way?

18 And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?

19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

The sins of Judah

20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.

21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?

22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.

25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.

26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.

27 Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.

28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.

Their false confidence

29 Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.

30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.

31 O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?

32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.

33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.

34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.

35 Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.

36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.

37 Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Espousals. He speaks ironically. Theod. — Yet the Israelites at first shewed greater proofs of love than they did afterwards. It is true they often prevaricated, in the wilderness. Ex. xxxii. 1. Amos v. 25. Ps. lxxvii. &c. C. — The Lord declares his gratuitous love, and then upbraids his people. H. — He had caused them to multiply in Egypt, and gratuitously made choice of them. W.

Ver. 3. Increase; most desirable. Osee ix. 10. God punished those who attempted to injure his people: yet they abandoned his service.

Ver. 5. Vanity; idols, whom he will not mention, to spare their shame. C.

Ver. 7. Carmel. That is, a fruitful, plentiful land. Ch. W. — All Palestine is thus designated. M.

Ver. 8. Priests were silent, or abandoned themselves. — Pastors; “princes.” Chal. Manasses, Amon, &c. — In Baal, promoting his worship. H. — The land was full of false prophets, and none stood up for the Lord.

Ver. 9. Children; the Israelites, under Moses, and their posterity transgressed.

Ver. 10. Cethim; Macedon. It here denotes the western nations, as Cedar does those of the east.

Ver. 11. Glory; the true God and his ark. Ps. iii. 4. and 1 K. iv. 21.

Ver. 12. Gates; angels, or the temple.

Ver. 13. Water. The idols and nations, to which they have had recourse, injure them. C. — The Jews did just the reverse to what God commanded. W.

Ver. 14. Slave. From such, labour and tribute were required. Mat. xvii. 24. Jo. viii. 33.

Ver. 15. Lions; kings of Assyria, &c. The decree for the devastation of Juda had already passed, though it was not put in execution.

Ver. 16. Taphnes, 16 miles from Pelusium, in Egypt. The nation proved only detrimental to the Jews, by engaging them in their abominations, instead of affording relief.

Ver. 18. Troubled. Heb. shichor, or Nile water, (Jos. xiii. 3.) which was thought as good as wine, and grew better for keeping. Strabo xvii. — Hence the people adored it. Vitruv. viii. — God often reproached the Jews for distrusting in his protection, and seeking aid from the Egyptians, who deceived them. We know not that Josias did so. C. — He even opposed them, and lost his life in defending the country. 4 K. xxiii. 29. H. — He was probably obliged to pay tribute to the Assyrians, whom Achaz had called in. 2 Par. xxviii. 23. These alliances the Lord condemned.

Ver. 20. Thou. Sept. Yet Heb. and Chal. have, “I have permissively broken,” or foretold this infidelity.

Ver. 21. Chosen. Heb. Sorek. Judg. xvi. 4. Is. v. 2. and xvi. 8. C. — God created all things good, planted his Church in justice, and no evil proceeds from Him. W.

Ver. 22. Borith. An herb used to clean clothes, and take out spots and dirt, (Ch.) like kali, soda, (C.) or soap. Langius. — Prot. “and take thee much soap.” H.

Ver. 23. Valley of Hinnom, under the very walls of Jerusalem. C. — Runner. Heb. “dromedary,” which takes its name from its swiftness. H. — The female camel continues all day with the male, and cannot be approached. Aristot. Pliny x. 63. — Juda is represented as no less libidinous. C.

Ver. 24. Away. The female may easily be found by the poisonous hippo-manes. Georg. iii. — Thus Jerusalem is an impudent prostitute. H.

Ver. 25. Foot, and the parts which modesty covers. My exhortations are slighted. C. — Despair opens the door to every sort of impurity. Eph. iv. 19. H.

Ver. 26. Taken. Juda affected still to be very pious. v. 23.

Ver. 28. Cities. All were abandoned. Ezec. xvi. 24. Osee x. 1.

Ver. 30. Prophets; Zacharias, (2 Par. xxiv. 21.) Isaias, &c. Mat. xxiii. 34. C. — Punishment is designed by God to cause people to repent. W.

Ver. 31. See, or hear. The sword seems to be animated. C. — Lateward. Heb. “darksome land.” Have I not heaped blessings on my people? — Revolted. Prot. “Lords.” H.

Ver. 33. Thou who. Heb. “Therefore have I.” C. — Prot. “hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.” H. — Thou hast opened a school of vice.

Ver. 34. Innocent children, immolated to Moloc, or people murdered, whose blood thou hast not concealed. 4 K. xxi. 16.

Ver. 37. Head, like the violated Thamar. 2 K. xiii. 19. The king of Egypt was routed, when coming to assist Sedecias. C. xxxvii. 3. 10. C.