Jeremiah 10

Listen to Jeremiah 10

Idols and the Living God

1 Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the LORD: "Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them,
3 1for the customs of the peoples are vanity.[a] 2A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
4 3They decorate it with silver and gold; 4they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.
5 Their idols[b] are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and 5they cannot speak; 6they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, 7for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good."
6 8There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might.
7 9Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.
8 10They are both 11stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood!
9 12Beaten silver is brought from 13Tarshish, and gold from 14Uphaz. 15They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith; their clothing is violet and purple; 16they are all the work of skilled men.
10 17But the LORD is the true God; 18he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
11 Thus shall you say to them: 19"The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth 20shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens."[c]
12 21It is he who 22made the earth by his power, 23who established the world by his wisdom, and 24by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13 25When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, 26and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. 27He makes lightning 28for the rain, 29and he brings forth the wind 30from his storehouses.
14 31Every man is stupid and without knowledge; 32every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, 33and there is no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
16 Not like these is he who is 34the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, 35and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; 36the LORD of hosts is his name.
17 37Gather up your bundle from the ground, O you who dwell under siege!
18 For thus says the LORD: 38"Behold, I am slinging out the inhabitants of the land at this time, 39and I will bring distress on them, that they may feel it."
19 Woe is me because of my hurt! 40My wound is grievous. But I said, "Truly this is an affliction, and I must bear it."
20 41My tent is destroyed, and all my cords are broken; my children have gone from me, 42and they are not; there is no one to spread my tent again and 43to set up my curtains.
21 44For the shepherds 45are stupid and do not inquire of the LORD; therefore they have not prospered, 46and all their flock is scattered.
22 A voice, a rumor! Behold, it comes!-- 47a great commotion out of the north country to make 48the cities of Judah a desolation, 49a lair of jackals.
23 50I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
24 51Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.
25 52Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not, and on the peoples that call not on your name, 53for they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation.

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.

Cross References 53

  • 1. Isaiah 44:9
  • 2. Isaiah 40:20; Isaiah 45:20
  • 3. Isaiah 40:19
  • 4. Isaiah 41:7
  • 5. Psalms 115:5; Psalms 135:16; Habakkuk 2:18, 19; 1 Corinthians 12:2
  • 6. Psalms 115:7; Isaiah 46:7
  • 7. Isaiah 41:23
  • 8. Jeremiah 49:19; Exodus 15:11; Psalms 86:8, 10
  • 9. Jeremiah 5:22; Revelation 15:4
  • 10. [Isaiah 41:29; Habakkuk 2:18; Zechariah 10:2]
  • 11. ver. 21
  • 12. Isaiah 40:19
  • 13. Genesis 10:4; See 1 Kings 10:22
  • 14. Daniel 10:5
  • 15. Isaiah 40:19
  • 16. Psalms 115:4
  • 17. Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalms 31:5
  • 18. Psalms 42:2
  • 19. [Psalms 96:5]
  • 20. ver. 15; Isaiah 2:18; Zechariah 13:2
  • 21. For ver. 12-16, see Jeremiah 51:15-19
  • 22. Gen. 1:1, 6, 9; Psalms 104:5; Proverbs 3:19
  • 23. Gen. 1:1, 6, 9; Psalms 104:5; Proverbs 3:19
  • 24. Job 9:8
  • 25. [Job 38:34; Psalms 104:6, 7]
  • 26. Psalms 135:7
  • 27. Psalms 135:7
  • 28. Jeremiah 14:22; Job 5:10
  • 29. Psalms 135:7
  • 30. Job 38:22
  • 31. ver. 8; Proverbs 30:2; [Romans 1:22]
  • 32. See Isaiah 42:17
  • 33. Psalms 135:17; Habakkuk 2:19
  • 34. Psalms 16:5
  • 35. Deuteronomy 32:9
  • 36. Jeremiah 31:35; Jeremiah 32:18; Jeremiah 50:34
  • 37. [Jeremiah 6:1; Ezekiel 12:3]
  • 38. 1 Samuel 25:29
  • 39. Deuteronomy 28:20
  • 40. Jeremiah 14:17; Jeremiah 30:12
  • 41. Jeremiah 4:20; [Isaiah 54:2]
  • 42. Jeremiah 31:15
  • 43. Jeremiah 4:20; [Isaiah 54:2]
  • 44. Jeremiah 23:1; Ezekiel 34:2
  • 45. ver. 8
  • 46. Ezekiel 34:5, 6
  • 47. See Jeremiah 1:13
  • 48. See Jeremiah 9:11
  • 49. See Jeremiah 9:11
  • 50. Proverbs 16:1; Proverbs 20:24; Daniel 5:23
  • 51. Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 46:28; Psalms 6:1; Psalms 38:1
  • 52. Psalms 79:6, 7
  • 53. Jeremiah 8:16; Jeremiah 30:16; Psalms 14:4

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary


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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.