10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the a signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them.
10:3 For the b 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.
(a) God forbids his people to give credit or fear the constellations and conjunctions of stars and planets which have no power of themselves but are governed by him, and their secret motions and influences are not known to man and therefore there can be no certain judgment of it, ( Deuteronomy 18:9 ).
10:4 They deck it c with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it may not move.
(b) Meaning not only in the observation of the stars, but their laws and ceremonies by which they confirm their idolatry, which is forbidden, ( Deuteronomy 12:30 ).
10:6 Forasmuch as [there is] none like thee, O LORD; d thou [art] great, and thy name [is] great in might.
(c) The prophets use thus plainly and simply to set forth the vile absurdity of the idolaters that men might learn to be ashamed of that to which their corrupt nature is most subject, ( Isaiah 44:12 ).
10:8 But they are altogether senseless and foolish: the stock [is] a e doctrine of vanities.
(d) He teaches the people to lift up their eyes to God, who has all power and therefore ought only to be feared: and in this he shows them not only the evil that they ought to hate: but the good which they ought to follow, ( Revelation 15:4 ).
10:9 Silver beaten into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold f from Uphaz, the work of the craftsman, and of the hands of the goldsmith: blue and purple [is] their clothing: they [are] all the work of skilful [men].
(e) Because the people thought that to have images was a means to serve God, and to bring them to the knowledge of him, he shows that nothing more displeases God, nor brings man into greater errors and ignorance of God: and therefore he calls them the doctrine of vanity, the work of errors, ( Jeremiah 10:15 ). ( Habakkuk 2:18 ) calls them the teachers of lies: contrary to that wicked opinion, that they are the books of the lay people.
10:11 Thus shall ye say to them, The gods g that have not made the heavens and the earth, [even] they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
(f) Where they found the best gold; showing that they thought nothing too dear for their idols, some read Ophir as in ( 1 Kings 9:28 ).
(g) This declares that all that has been spoken of idols in this chapter, was to arm the Jews when they would be in Chaldea among the idolaters, and now with one sentence he instructs them both how to protest their own religion against the idolaters and how to answer them to their shame who would exhort them to idolatry, and therefore he writes this sentence in the Chaldean tongue for a memorial while all the rest of his writing is in Hebrew. 10:14 Every man is h senseless in [his] knowledge: every goldsmith is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image [is] falsehood, and [there is] no breath in them.
(h) The more man thinks to do anything well by his own wisdom, and not as God instructs him, the more he proves himself to be a vile beast. 10:16 The i 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.
10:17 k Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.
(i) By these words, portion and rod, he signifies their inheritance, meaning that God would be all sufficient for them: and that their happiness consisted in him alone, and therefore they ought to renounce all other help and comfort as of idols, etc. ( Deuteronomy 32:9 ; Psalms 16:5 ).
(k) The prophet wills the Jews to prepare themselves for this captivity, showing that it was now at hand that they would feel the things of which he had told them. 10:19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this l [is] a grief, and I must bear it.
(l) It is my just plague, and therefore I will take it patiently: by which he teaches the people how to behave themselves toward God. 10:20 m My tabernacle is laid waste, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone from me, and they [are] not: [there is] none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.
(m) He shows how Jerusalem will lament. 10:21 For the shepherds n have become senseless, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
(n) The governors and ministers. 10:22 Behold, the sound of a rumour is come, and a great commotion from the o north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, [and] a den of dragons.
10:23 O LORD, I know that p the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
(o) Read ( Jeremiah 4:15 ).
10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with q judgment; not in thy anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
(p) He speaks this because Nebuchadnezzar purposed to have made war against the Moabites and Ammonites, but hearing of Zedekiahs rebellion he turned his power to go against Jerusalem, ( Ezekiel 21:21 ) therefore the prophet says that this was the Lords direction.
10:25 Pour out r thy fury upon the nations 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.
(q) Considering that God had revealed to him the certainty of their captivity ( Jeremiah 7:16 ) he only prays that he would punish them with mercy which Isaiah calls in measure, ( Isaiah 27:8 ) measuring his rods by their infirmity ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ) for here by judgment is meant not only the punishment but also the merciful moderation of the same as in ( Jeremiah 30:11 ).
(r) As God cannot only be known and glorified by his mercy that he uses toward his Church, but also by his justice in punishing his enemies, he prays that this glory may fully appear both in the one and the other, ( Psalms 79:6 ).