Jeremiah 10

God and Idols

1 Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel.
2 This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
6 No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.
7 Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
8 They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols.
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple— all made by skilled workers.
10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.
11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’ ”[a]
12 But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including Israel, the people of his inheritance— the LORD Almighty is his name.

Coming Destruction

17 Gather up your belongings to leave the land, you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the LORD says: “At this time I will hurl out those who live in this land; I will bring distress on them so that they may be captured.”
19 Woe to me because of my injury! My wound is incurable! Yet I said to myself, “This is my sickness, and I must endure it.”
20 My tent is destroyed; all its ropes are snapped. My children are gone from me and are no more; no one is left now to pitch my tent or to set up my shelter.
21 The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.
22 Listen! The report is coming— a great commotion from the land of the north! It will make the towns of Judah desolate, a haunt of jackals.

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
24 Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure— not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the peoples who do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland.

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 63

  • 1. S Exodus 23:24; S Leviticus 20:23
  • 2. S Genesis 1:14
  • 3. S Isaiah 40:19
  • 4. Deuteronomy 9:21; S 1 Kings 8:36; Jeremiah 44:8; Ezekiel 7:20
  • 5. Psalms 135:15; Hosea 13:2; Habakkuk 2:19
  • 6. S 1 Samuel 5:3; Isaiah 41:7
  • 7. S 1 Kings 18:26; 1 Corinthians 12:2
  • 8. S Isaiah 45:20; Psalms 115:5,7
  • 9. Isaiah 41:23
  • 10. S Isaiah 41:24; Isaiah 44:9-20; Isaiah 46:7; Acts 19:26
  • 11. S Exodus 8:10
  • 12. S 2 Samuel 7:22; S Psalms 48:1
  • 13. Jeremiah 5:22
  • 14. Psalms 22:28; S Isaiah 12:4; Revelation 15:4
  • 15. S Isaiah 44:18
  • 16. S Isaiah 40:19; S Jeremiah 4:22
  • 17. S Deuteronomy 32:21
  • 18. S Genesis 10:4
  • 19. Psalms 115:4; S Isaiah 40:19
  • 20. S Joshua 3:10; S Matthew 16:16
  • 21. S Genesis 21:33; Daniel 6:26
  • 22. S Psalms 18:7
  • 23. S Judges 5:4; S Job 9:6; Psalms 29:8
  • 24. Psalms 76:7; Jeremiah 21:12; Nahum 1:6
  • 25. Psalms 96:5; S Isaiah 2:18
  • 26. S 1 Samuel 2:8
  • 27. S ver 16
  • 28. S Genesis 1:31
  • 29. S Genesis 1:1,8; Job 9:8; Isaiah 40:22
  • 30. S Job 36:29
  • 31. S Job 36:30
  • 32. S Psalms 104:13; S Psalms 135:7
  • 33. S Deuteronomy 28:12
  • 34. S Psalms 97:7; S Isaiah 1:29
  • 35. S Isaiah 44:20
  • 36. S Isaiah 41:24; S Jeremiah 14:22
  • 37. S Deuteronomy 32:9; S Psalms 119:57
  • 38. ver 12; Jeremiah 32:17; Jeremiah 33:2
  • 39. S Exodus 34:9; Psalms 74:2
  • 40. Jeremiah 31:35; Jeremiah 32:18
  • 41. Ezekiel 12:3-12
  • 42. S 1 Samuel 25:29; S Isaiah 22:17
  • 43. S Deuteronomy 28:52
  • 44. Job 34:6; Jeremiah 14:17; Jeremiah 15:18; Jeremiah 30:12,15; Lamentations 2:13; Micah 1:9; Nahum 3:19
  • 45. Micah 7:9
  • 46. S Jeremiah 4:20
  • 47. Jeremiah 31:15; Lamentations 1:5
  • 48. Jeremiah 22:22; Jeremiah 23:1; Jeremiah 25:34; Jeremiah 50:6
  • 49. ver 8
  • 50. S Isaiah 56:10
  • 51. Jeremiah 22:30
  • 52. Jeremiah 23:2; Ezekiel 34:6
  • 53. Jeremiah 6:22; Jeremiah 27:6; Jeremiah 49:28,30
  • 54. Ezekiel 12:19
  • 55. S Isaiah 34:13; Jeremiah 9:11
  • 56. S Job 33:29; S Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 20:24
  • 57. Psalms 6:1; Psalms 38:1; S Jeremiah 7:20; Jeremiah 18:23
  • 58. Jeremiah 46:28
  • 59. Jeremiah 30:11
  • 60. S Psalms 69:24; Zephaniah 2:2; Zephaniah 3:8
  • 61. Job 18:21; S Psalms 14:4
  • 62. S Psalms 79:7; S Jeremiah 2:3; Jeremiah 8:16
  • 63. Psalms 79:6-7

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The text of this verse is in Aramaic.

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

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