« PreviousContinue »
them : for they have digged a pit to take me, their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from and hid snares for
thy sight, but let them be overthrown before 23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their thee; deal thus with them in the time of counsel against me 18to slay me : forgive not
18 Heb. for death.
Verse 3. He wrought a work on the wheels.”—The ori- | feet, who is always carefully set at his work, and maketh ginal word (
ox abenayin), rendered wheels,' is all his work by number: he fashioneth the clay with his literally stones; and so the Seventy have it in the pre- arm, and boweth down his strength before his feet; he sent text. In Exod. i. 16, the same is rendered stools;'
applieth himself to lead it over; and is diligent to make and so, or rather seats,' the Arabic and some other ver- clean the furnace'(xxxix. 29, 30). It is observable that sions have here. But the Chaldee, Syriac, and Vulgate
the clause rendered boweth down his strength before his have' wheels,' as in our version. There is no question feet,' is read in the margin ‘tempereth with his feet;' and that stones' is the literal meaning: and we incline to
it is a fact that the Oriental potters temper their clay by think that the potter's wheel is really intended, and that it treading it with their feet; and this is depicted among the is called a stone either because it was made of stone, or operations of the potter in the paintings of ancient Egypt, because its horizontal rotatory action resembled that of the as may be seen in the great work of Rosellini. upper mill-stone. Some interpreters have been induced to 17. ' An east wind?—From the frequency with which reject the wheel' interpretation, because Jeremiah lived the east wind' is mentioned in Scripture, it becomes debefore Anacharsis, who is said to have invented the potter's sirable to mention that every wind that blows from any wheel. Such a reason has now little weight, particularly point of the compass between the east and north, and beas the paintings of the ancient Egyptians, who were tween the east and south, was called an east wind by the famous for their potteries, shew the same wheel in opera- Hebrews, as is still the case among the Orientals, who tion, the use of which is still retained in the country, and attend but little to the subdivisions of the compass. the form of which is so clearly shewn in our engraving as — ' I will shew them the back, and not the face.”—This to render any particular description unnecessary. It will was doubtless a remark of rejection and contempt. In the be seen that, as in common, it consists of an horizontal East scarcely any deeper insult can be conveyed than for wheel fixed on the top of a stake, the lower part of which one person to rise and turn his back upon another, espefalls into a pit, in which stands the potter, who gives the cially upon a visiter. There are among ourselves traces necessary motion to the wheel with his feet, while he of the ideas which the Orientals, more markedly, associate works the clay with his hands. This mode of working is with this action : thus, persons retire from the presence of very general among the Oriental potters : and seems to individuals or assemblies, to which it is necessary that agree very well with the description in Ecclesiasticus, high respect should be shewn, without turning their backs which is of considerable interest: “So doth the potter, sitting at his work and turning the wheel about with his
8 And I will make this city #desolate, and
an hissing; every one that passeth thereby Under the type of breaking a potter's vessel is foreshewed the desolation of the Jews for their sins.
shall be astonished and hiss because of all the
plagues thereof. Tuus saith the LORD, Go and get a potter's | 9 And I will cause them to eat the Pflesh of earthen bottle, and take of the ancients of the their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and people, and of the ancients of the priests; they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend
2 And go forth unto the valley of the son in the siege and straitness, wherewith their of Hinnom, which is by the entry of 'the east enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall straiten them. tell thee,
10 Then shalt thou break the bottle in the 3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, sight of the men that go with thee, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jeru- 11 And shalt say unto them, Thus saith salem ; Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God the Lord of hosts; Even so will I break this of Israel ; Behold, I will bring evil upon this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and shall 'tingle.
they shall "bury them in Tophet, till there be 4 Because they have forsaken me, and have no place to bury. estranged this place, and have burned incense 12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith the in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor LORD, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even their fathers have known, nor the kings of make this city as Tophet: Judah, and have filled this place with the 13 And the houses of Jerusalem, and the blood of innocents;
houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled 5 They have built also the high places of as the place of Tophet, because of all the Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt houses upon whose 'roofs they have burned offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, incense unto all the host of heaven, and have nor spake it, neither came it into my mind : poured out drink offerings unto other gods.
6 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith 14 Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whithe Lord, that this place shall no more be ther the Lord had sent him to prophesy; and called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of he stood in the court of the Lord's house ; Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. and said to all the people,
7 And I will make void the counsel of 15 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will of Israel ; Behold, I will bring upon this city cause them to fall by the sword before their and upon all her towns all the evil that I have enemies, and by the hands of them that seek pronounced against it, because they have hardtheir lives : and their carcases will I give to ened their necks, that they might not hear my be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for words. the beasts of the earth.
i Heb. the sun gate.
8 Chap. 7. 31, 32.
7 Heb. be healed. 8 Chap. 7. 32. 9 Chap. 32. 29.
Verse 2. • The east gate.' — As the valley of Ben-Hinnom lay to the south of the city, it has seemed perplexing that the entrance to it should be from the east ; and hence very various translations, explanations, and emendations have been suggested. But it seems sufficient to observe, that the south side of Mount Zion is so steep and precipitous that we should hardly expect to find there the gate which furnished the usual communication between the town and the valley, but should rather look for it on the east, although the valley itself was to the south.
5. • To burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings.'-As this text is very explicit, we take the opportunity which it offers of making a few remarks on the subject of human sacrifice. The reader of the Bible is aware that the horrid custom is most frequently described as making the children 'pass through the fire.' This form of expression has led some to contend that the poor victims were not really destroyed in the fire, but that they were made to pass through it, and were thereby consecrated to the idol in
whose honour the rite was performed. Mr.C. Taylor, in one of his Fragments to Calmet, supports this view by adducing, from Maurice’s History of Hindostan, an account of the ceremonies observed at the annual festival held in India in honour of Darma Rajah, when the devotees walk barefoot over a glowing fire extending forty feet; in doing which, some carry their children in their arms, that they may participate in the benefits attributed to this act. A similar explanation has been sometimes given to the alleged human sacrifices of the Carthaginians; but that these were real sacrifices has been abundantly proved by Selden and others, and indeed appears from the uniform tenor of history. From an attentive consideration of the subject, we regret to be unable to acquiesce in the more humane view suggested by the above explanation. We believe, indeed, that there was a lustratory and dedicatory ceremony in which children were passed through the fire unbarmed; but that there were also real sacrifices by fire we feel compelled by the weight of evidence to believe. The pre
sent text alone seems conclusive on that point. That this faith, however misunderstood, could be attended with such was the case both explains and vindicates the peculiar lamentable consequences. And when we consider the exemphasis of horror with which the act is mentioned in tent to which the custom of human sacrifice prevailed Scripture; as, for instance, in the present verse, where the among the ancient nations, the most remote from each Lord declares, in every variety of expression, how repug- other, and between which no communication of customs nant such doings were to Him. Besides, as the Hebrews, and ideas can be traced later than the original dispersion from time to time, fell into the grossest idolatries of the of the human race-and when, also, we reflect upon its surrounding nations, and they were all addicted to this
prevalence among the people of unknown continents and dreadful custom, this furnishes the strongest collateral islands discovered within the last 350 years,-it seems evideuce that real human sacrifice is intended. And also, very difficult to trace its origin to this circumstance, and whatever seeming doubt may be involved in such expres- more easy to seek for it in some common and obvious sions as to cause to pass through the fire,' or even in to principle, founded upon a notion which all men enterburn,' seems completely removed by such definite expres- tained. This, we venture to think, may be discovered in siops as in the present text, in which it is said that the the idea, that whatever was most costly and precious was victims were offered as burnt offerings, than which term, in most acceptable and proper as an offering to the gods. its Scriptural acceptation, none can be stronger or clearer Hence, when animal sacrifice became common, care was in shewing that the victims were really destroyed-con- taken that the animal should be fair and unblemished, the sumed by fire. The existence of the practice among the flower of the flock or of the herd; and when these ideas Jews might be proved from these more definite passages were established, it was an easy transition to infer, that alone, even if we allow that simple consecration by fire human life—the most precious of earthly things-being a is intended by all the other less definite expressions. more valuable must be a still more acceptable offering than
An opinion has been entertained by many commentators even the blood of sheep and oxen. In fact, we do find the and others, that human sacrifices arose originally from a idea of relative value carried into this awful practice: for distorted tradition, and consequent misapplication, of Abra- not only was human life the most acceptable offering in ham's intended sacrifice of his son Isaac. So remarkable the abstract, but every circumstance which rendered the a circumstance could scarcely fail to have been noticed by individual life most valuable or most cherished, rendered the Canaanites, Amorites, Phænicians, and others, in or it most acceptable as an offering to the gods. Hence the near whose territories it took place. The fact that the in- lives of the most pure, the most beautiful, the most highjunction was intended as a trial of the patriarch's faith, born-children, virgins, and noble youths--were consiand nothing more, may have been less clearly understood, dered the most splendid sacrifices; although, in default of or, if at first understood, the impression may gradually such, the lives of slaves, of prisoners of war, and of crimihave worn off, while it remained well known that the nals, were deemed of far more importance than those of patriarch obtained the Divine approbation and blessing victims from the herd or the flock. We incline to think for his conduct on that occasion. If this be admitted, it is that this way of viewing the question more satisfactorily not difficult to suppose that they might conclude, that, if accounts for this widely-extended practice than does the his bare intention to sacrifice his son had been so well re- obscure knowledge or tradition of Abraham's intended ceived, what marks of the Divine favour might not they sacrifice ; although it is not unlikely that the Jews themexpect who should actually sacrifice their children? And selves, when they adopted the horrid custom from their when once they had taken up the notion that the main merit heathen neighbours, may so have misconceived that cirof this cruel rite consisted in the stifling all sense of huma- cumstance as to imagine that some sanction to this most nity and natural affection, it was easy for them to infer, horrible rite was afforded by that incident. It is very posthat the more they did so, by the deaths to which they sible that the verse before us, Which I commanded not, put their children, the more would the value of the sacri- nor spake it, neither entered it into my heart,' may have fices be enhanced.
been intended by the Father of all Mercy as a protest There seems to us, however, something revolting in the against this delusive impression, so dishonouring to His idea that a Divine command, for the trial of Abraham's character and attributes.
The engravings we now offer, from the Etruscan tombs to the altar. In the second piece, a friend or relation of Camparini, require a few words of explanation. They (apparently) attempts to pull back, by the mantle, a victim appear to represent sacrifices, unwilling on the part of the
who is dragged to the altar. In the third, we observe a victims. In the first, we observe, on one side of the altar, seemingly aged person, perhaps a father, weeping, or victims in the act of being stripped for sacrifice : while, endeavouring to suppress his emotions, at the act of sacrion the other side, we see one already stripped and conducted fice which is about to take place.
Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a
derision, daily. 1 Pashur, smiting Jeremiah, receiveth a new name, and a fearful doom. 7 Jeremiah complaineth of
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of contempt, 10 of treachery, 14 and of his birth. him, nor speak any more in his name. But
his word was in mine heart as a “burning fire Now Pashur the son of 'Immer the priest, shut up in my bones, and I was weary with who was also chief governor in the house of forbearing, and 'I could not stay. the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied
10 9 For I heard the defaming of many, these things.
fear on every side. Report, say they, and we 2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the pro- will report it. All my familiars watched for phet, and put him in the stocks that were in my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and house of the LORD.
we shall take our revenge on him. 3 And it came to pass on the morrow, that 11 But the LORD is with me as a mighty Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the terrible one : therefore my persecutors shall stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The stumble, and they shall not prevail: they LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but shall be greatly ashamed ; for they shall not ! 'Magor-missabib.
prosper : their 'everlasting confusion shall 4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will never be forgotten. make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy 12 But, O LORD of hosts, that 'triest the friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and let me see thy vengeance on them : for unto I will give all Judah into the hand of the king thee have I opened my cause. of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive 13 Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the into Babylon, and shall slay them with the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the sword.
poor from the hand of evildoers. 5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength 14 9 "Cursed be the day wherein I was of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all born : let not the day wherein my mother bare the precious things thereof, and all the trea- me be blessed. sures of the kings of Judah will I give into the 15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, to my father, saying, A man child is born and take them, and carry them to Babylon. unto thee; making him very glad.
6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in 16 And let that man be as the cities which thine house shall go into captivity : and thou the LORD "overthrew, and repented not: and shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt let him hear the cry in the morning, and the die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all shouting at noontide; thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies. 17. Because he slew me not from the
79 O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and womb; or that my mother might have been I was deceived : thou art stronger than I, and my grave, and her womb to be always great hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every
with me. one mocketh me.
18 Wherefore came I forth out of the 8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days violence and spoil ; because the word of the should be consumed with shame?
% That is, fear round about.
Chap. 15. 20, and 17. 18.
9 Chap. 23.
3 2 Kings 20. 17.
• Or, enticed.
5 Psal. 39. 3.
,' i Chron. 24. 14. 6 Job 32. 18.
10 Chap. 11. 20, and 17. 10.
11 Job 3. 3. Chap. 15. 10.
12 Gen. 19, 25,
13 Job 3, 20.
Verse 15. "The man who brought tidings to my father,' , is particularly exbibited by the father when the wife is etc. We have had frequent occasion to mention the great confined. He is generally in attendance in the house or anxiety of the Orientals to obtain male offspring. This garden to receive the earliest intelligence of the event.
A confidential servant about the haram is usually the first news is conveyed to the father by the midwife herself. to obtain the information from the mother's chamber.
If the child should prove a girl, this, not being considered If he learns that the child is a boy, he runs with all speed likely to make him very glad,' is not communicated to and announces to the father with high exultation that a him, and he learns the result only through the non-apmale child is born unto him, for which glad tidings he pearance of the man with his tidings. never fails to receive a valuable present. In India, this
Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the i Zedekiah sendeth to Jeremiah to enquire the event of hand of their enemies, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar's war. 3 Jeremiah foretelleth a hard those that seek their life: and he shall smite siege and miserable captivity: 8 He counselleth the them with the edge of the sword; he shall people to fall to the Chaldeans, 11 and upbraideth
not spare them, neither have pity, nor have the king's house.
mercy. The word which came unto Jeremiah from 8 1 And unto this people thou shalt say, the Lord, when king Zedekiah sent unto him Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah you the way of life, and the way of death. the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying,
9 He that Rabideth in this city shall die by 2 Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for the sword, and by the famine, and by the us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon pestilence : but he that goeth out, and falleth maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall will deal with us according to all his wondrous live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey. works, that he may go up from us.
10 For I have set my face against this city 31 Then said Jeremiah unto them, Thus for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall ye say to Zedekiah:
shall be given into the hand of the king of 4 Thus saith the LORD God of Israel ; | Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire. Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war 11 | And touching the house of the king that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight of Judah, say, Hear ye the word of the LORD; against the king of Babylon, and against the 12 O house of David, thus saith the LORD ; Chaldeans, which besiege you without the 'Execute judgment in the morning, and walls, and I will assemble them into the midst deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of of this city
the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, 5 And I myself will fight against you with and burn that none can quench it, because of an 'outstretched hand and with a strong the evil of your doings. arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great
at | 13 Behold, I am against thee, O 'inhabitant wrath.
of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the 6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this LORD; which say, Who shall come down city, both man and beast: they shall die of a against us? or who shall enter into our habitagreat pestilence.
tions ? 7 And afterward, saith the LORD, I will 14 But I will "punish you according to the deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his ®fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I servants, and the people, and such as are left will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it in this city from the pestilence, from the shall devour all things round about it. sword, and from the famine, into the hand of * Chap 28. . Chap. 32. 18, and 45.5.
5 Heb. Judge.
1 Exod. 6. 6.
• Chap. 22. 3.
6 Heb. inhabitress.
Heb. visit upon.
2 And say, Hear the word of the LORD,
O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne 1 He exhorteth to repentance, with promises and
of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy threats. 10 The judgment of Shallum, 13 of Jehoiakim, 20 and of Coniah.
people that enter in by these gates :
3 Thus saith the LORD; 'Execute ye Tuus saith the LORD; Go down to the house judgment and righteousness, and deliver the of the king of Judah, and speak there this spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and word,
do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, 1 Chap 21. 12.