Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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JEREMIAS - Chapter 4

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Jeremias iv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Blocks; idols, (Calmet) and other occasions of sin. (Haydock)

Ver. 2. Swear, when requisite. (Calmet) --- Thus thou wilt learn to confess one God. (Theodoret) --- If all were upright, oaths would be unnecessary, Matthew v. 34. But as they are not so, (Calmet) this may be a religious act. (Worthington) --- Justice. These three conditions are essential. (Haydock) --- Him; the people, (Calmet) or God. (St. Jerome) --- An oath must attest God, and be used when a thing is true and of moment. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Thorns. Your misconduct hinders your advancement. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Hearts. Understand, and act with purity. (Haydock)

Ver. 5. Cities. Nabuchodonosor is at hand.

Ver. 7. Robber. Nabuchodonosor attacks unjustly, (Calmet) though he be God's scourge.

Ver. 9. Heart; counsel and vigour. --- Prophets of falsehood.

Ver. 10. Alas! Protestants, "Then I said: Ah! Lord God, surely thou hast deceived," &c., (Haydock) by permitting the people to follow false prophets, Isaias lxi. 17., and Psalm xliii. 19.

Ver. 11. Desert of Arabia. It may designate Nechao, (2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 20.) who slew Josias, after whose death all fell to ruin.

Ver. 15. Ephraim. At Bethel and Dan the calves were adored. (Calmet) --- But they were now no more. (Haydock) --- The irruption of Nabuchodonosor is announced. He set himself up for a god.

Ver. 16. Guards. The Chaldeans will besiege the city, and prevent provisions from entering, 4 Kings xxv. 1. (Calmet)

Ver. 19. My. God, (St. Jerome) the people, (Grotius) or rather Jeremias speaks.

Ver. 20. Moment. The cities are destroyed as easily as a tent.

Ver. 22. Me, practically. They have not honoured me as they ought. (Calmet) --- If they were indeed devoid of sense, they would be excused. (Worthington)

Ver. 23. Void. Hebrew, "Thohu and bohu," like chaos, Genesis i. 2. (Haydock)

Ver. 25. Gone. Beasts feel the wrath of God, and in a land uninhabited; not even birds will remain, Osee iv. 3. (St. Jerome)

Ver. 26. Carmel: the beautiful country of Palestine, (Haydock) Jerusalem, (Theodoret) or the mountain so called.

Ver. 27. Destroy, when Jechonias was led captive. God allowed the people still eleven years to repent; and he afterwards restored the Jews. (Calmet) --- He will never suffer his church to perish. (Worthington)

Ver. 28. Repented. Only a finite being can do this. God's resolution is here unconditional and fixed.

Ver. 30. Stone, or antimony, like Jezabel, (4 Kings ix. 30.) to darken and enlarge the eye-lids. --- Lovers. Infidel nations of Egypt, &c.

Ver. 31. Child. Hebrew and Septuagint, "a first-born," when the pains are most acute. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

An admonition to sincere repentance, and circumcision of the heart, with threats of grievous punishment to those that persist in sin.

1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return to me: if thou wilt take away thy stumbling-blocks out of my sight, thou shalt not be moved.

2 And thou shalt swear: As the Lord liveth, in truth, and in judgement, and in justice: and the Gentiles shall bless him, and shall praise him.

3 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Juda and Jerusalem: *Break up anew your fallow ground, and sow not upon thorns:

4 Be circumcised to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, ye men of Juda, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my indignation come forth like fire, and burn, and there be none that can quench it: because of the wickedness of your thoughts.

5 Declare ye in Juda, and make it heard in Jerusalem: speak, and sound with the trumpet in the land: cry aloud, and say: Assemble yourselves, and let us go into strong cities.

6 Set up the standard in Sion. Strengthen yourselves, stay not, *for I bring evil from the north, and great destruction.

7 The lion is come up out of his den, and the robber of nations hath roused himself: he is come forth out of his place, to make thy land desolate: thy cities shall be laid waste, remaining without an inhabitant.

8 For this, gird yourselves with hair-cloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned away from us.

9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord: That the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes: and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall be amazed

10 And I said: Alas, alas, alas, O Lord God, hast thou then deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: You shall have peace: and behold the sword reacheth even to the soul?

11 At that time it shall be said to this people, and to Jerusalem: A burning wind is in the ways that are in the desert of the way of the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse.

12 A full wind from these places shall come to me: and now I will speak my judgments with them.

13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots as a tempest: his horses are swifter than eagles: woe unto us, for we are laid waste.

14 Wash thy heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that thou mayst be saved: how long shall hurtful thoughts abide in thee?

15 For a voice of one declaring from Dan, and giving notice of the idol from Mount Ephraim.

16 Say ye to the nations: Behold, it is heard in Jerusalem, that guards are coming from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Juda.

17 They are set round about her, as keepers of fields: because she hath provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord.

18 *Thy ways and thy devices have brought these things upon thee: this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it hath touched thy heart.

19 My bowels, my bowels are in pain, the senses of my heart are troubled within me, I will not hold my peace, for my soul hath heard the sound of the trumpet, the cry of battle.

20 Destruction upon destruction is called for, and all the earth is laid waste: my tents are destroyed on a sudden, and my pavilions in a moment.

21 How long shall I see men fleeing away, how long shall I hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 For my foolish people have not known me: they are foolish and senseless children: they are wise to do evils, but to do good they have no knowledge.

23 I beheld the earth, and lo it was void, and nothing: and the heavens, and there was no light in them.

24 I looked upon the mountains, and behold they trembled: and all the hills were troubled.

25 I beheld, and lo there was no man: and all the birds of the air were gone.

26 I looked, and behold Carmel was a wilderness: and all its cities were destroyed at the presence of the Lord, and at the presence of the wrath of his indignation.

27 For thus saith the Lord: All the land shall be desolate, but yet I will not utterly destroy.

28 The earth shall mourn, and the heavens shall lament from above: because I have spoken, I have purposed, and I have not repented, neither am I turned away from it.

29 At the voice of the horsemen, and the archer, all the city is fled away: they have entered into thickets, and have climbed up the rocks: all the cities are forsaken, and there dwelleth not a man in them.

30 But when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? though thou clothest thyself with scarlet, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, and paintest thy eyes with stibic-stone, thou shalt dress thyself out in vain: thy lovers have despised thee, they will seek thy life.

31 For I have heard the voice as of a woman in travail; anguishes, as of a woman in labour of a child. The voice of the daughter of Sion, dying away, spreading her hands: Woe is me, for my soul hath fainted because of them that are slain.



3: Osee x. 12.

6: Jeremias i. 14.

18: Wisdom i. 3. and 5.