Jeremiah 10

False Gods Contrasted with the Creator

1 Hear the word that the Lord has spoken to[a] you, house of Israel.
2 This is what the Lord says: Do not learn the way of the nations[b] or be terrified by signs in the heavens, although the nations are terrified by them,
3 for the customs of the peoples are worthless. Someone cuts down a tree from the forest; [it is] worked by the hands of a craftsman with a chisel.
4 He decorates it with silver and gold. It is fastened with hammer and nails, so it won't totter.
5 Like scarecrows in a cucumber patch, their idols cannot speak. They must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them for they can do no harm- and they cannot do any good.[c]
6 Lord, there is no one like You.[d] You are great; Your name is great in power.[e]
7 Who should not fear You, King of the nations?[f] It is what You deserve. For among all the wise people of the nations and among all their kingdoms, there is no one like You.
8 They are both senseless and foolish, instructed by worthless idols [made of] wood!
9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,[g] and gold from Uphaz[h][i] from the hands of a goldsmith, the work of a craftsman. Their clothing is blue and purple, all the work of skilled artisans.
10 But the Lord is the true God;[j] He is the living God[k] and eternal King.[l] The earth quakes at His wrath,[m] and the nations cannot endure His rage.
11 You are to say this to them: The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.[n]
12 He made the earth by His power, established the world[o] by His wisdom,[p] and spread out the heavens by His understanding.[q]
13 When He thunders,[r] the waters in the heavens are in turmoil,[s] and He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind from His storehouses.[t]
14 Everyone is stupid and ignorant. Every goldsmith is put to shame by [his] carved image,[u] for his cast images are a lie;[v] there is no breath in them.[w]
15 They are worthless,[x] a work to be mocked. At the time of their punishment they will be destroyed.[y]
16 Jacob's Portion[z] is not like these because He is the One who formed all things.[aa] Israel is the tribe of His inheritance;[ab] the Lord of Hosts is His name.[ac]

Exile After the Siege

17 Gather up your belongings[ad] from the ground, you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the Lord says: Look, I am slinging out[ae] the land's residents at this time and bringing them such distress that they will feel it.

Jeremiah Grieves

19 Woe to me because of my brokenness- I am severely wounded![af] I exclaimed, "This is my intense suffering, but I must bear it."
20 My tent is destroyed; all my tent cords are snapped. My sons have departed from me and are no more. [I have] no one to pitch my tent again or to hang up my curtains.
21 For the shepherds are stupid: they don't seek the Lord.[ag] Therefore they have not prospered, and their whole flock is scattered.
22 Listen! A noise-it is coming- a great commotion[ah] from the land to the north. The cities of Judah will be made desolate, a jackals' den.[ai]
23 I know, Lord, that a man's way of life is not his own; no one who walks determines his own steps.[aj]
24 Discipline me, Lord, but with justice- not in Your anger,[ak] or You will reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that don't recognize You and on the families that don't call on Your name, for they have consumed Jacob; they have consumed him and finished him off and made his homeland desolate.[al]

Jeremiah 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

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

Verses 1-16 The prophet shows the glory of Israel's God, and exposes the folly of idolaters. Charms and other attempts to obtain supernatural help, or to pry into futurity, are copied from the wicked customs of the heathen. Let us stand in awe, and not dare provoke God, by giving that glory to another which is due to him alone. He is ready to forgive, and save all who repent and believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Faith learns these blessed truths from the word of God; but all knowledge not from that source, leads to doctrines of vanity.

Verses 17-25 The Jews who continued in their own land, felt secure. But, sooner or later, sinners will find all things as the word of God has declared, and that its threatenings are not empty terrors. Submission will support the believer under every grief allotted to him; but what can render the load of Divine vengeance easy to be borne by those who fall under it in sullen despair? Those cannot expect to prosper, who do not, by faith and prayer, take God with them in all their ways. The report of the enemy's approach was very dreadful. Yet the designs which men lay deep, and think well formed, are dashed to pieces in a moment. Events are often overruled, so as to be quite contrary to what we intended and expected. If the Lord has directed our steps into the ways of peace and righteousness, let us entreat him to enable us to walk therein. Say not, Lord, do not correct me; but, Lord, do not correct me in anger. We may bear the smart of God's rod, but we cannot bear the weight of his wrath. Those who restrain prayer, prove that they know not God; for those who know him will seek him, and seek his favour. If even severe corrections lead sinners to be convinced of wholesome truths, they will have abundant cause for gratitude. And they will then humble themselves before the Lord.

Footnotes 38

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 10

This chapter shows that there is no comparison to be made between God and the idols of the Gentiles; represents the destruction of the Jews as near at hand; and is closed with some petitions of the prophet. It begins by way of preface with an exhortation to hear the word of the Lord, and a dehortation not to learn the way of the Heathens, or be dismayed at their signs, since their customs were in vain, Jer 10:1-3 which lead on to expose their idols, and set forth the greatness and glory of God. Their idols are described by the matter and makers of them, Jer 10:3,4,9 and from their impotence to speak, to stand, to move, or do either good or evil, Jer 10:4,5, but, on the other hand, God is described by the greatness of his name and power, and by the reverence that belongs unto him; in comparison of whom all the wise men of the nations are brutish, foolish, and vain, Jer 10:6-8, by the epithets of true, living, and everlasting, and by the terribleness of his wrath, Jer 10:10, by his power and wisdom, in making the heavens and the earth, in causing thunder and lightning, wind and rain, when the gods that have no share in these shall utterly perish, Jer 10:11-13 their makers being brutish, and brought to shame; and they falsehood and breathless vanity, the work of errors, and so shall come to ruin, Jer 10:14,15, but he, who is Jacob's portion, and whose inheritance Israel is, is not like them; being the former of all things, and his name the Lord of hosts, Jer 10:16 and next follows a prophecy of the destruction of the Jews; wherefore they are bid to gather up their wares, since in a very little time, and at once, the Lord would fling them out of the land, and bring them into distress, Jer 10:17,18, upon which the prophet expresses his sympathy with his people in trouble, and the part of grief he took and bore with them, Jer 10:19, the particulars of his distress, through the desolation of the land, and the captivity of the people, with the cause and authors of it, by whose means these things were brought upon them, are mentioned, Jer 10:20,21, and the Chaldean army, the instruments of their ruin, are represented as just at hand, Jer 10:22, when the prophet, directing himself to God, acknowledges the impotence of man in general to help and guide himself, deprecates correction in anger to himself in particular, and prays that the wrath of God might be poured down upon the Heathens, by whom his people were devoured, consumed, and made desolate, Jer 10:23-25.

Jeremiah 10 Commentaries