Jeremiah 2:23

23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there,

Jeremiah 2:23 in Other Translations

23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;
23 How can you say, 'I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals'? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done-- a restless young camel running here and there,
23 “You say, ‘That’s not true! I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’ But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate.
23 "How dare you tell me, 'I'm not stained by sin. I've never chased after the Baal sex gods'! Well, look at the tracks you've left behind in the valley. How do you account for what is written in the desert dust - Tracks of a camel in heat, running this way and that,
23 How can you protest: I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals? Look at your behavior in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. [You are] a swift young camel twisting and turning on her way,

Jeremiah 2:23 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 2:23

How canst thou say, I am not polluted
No man can say this; for all are defiled with sin; but this was the cast and complexion of these people in all ages; they were a generation of men that were pure in their own eyes, but were not cleansed from their filthiness; they fancied that their ceremonial washings and sacrifices cleansed them from moral impurities, when those only sanctified to the purifying of the flesh; still their iniquity remained marked before the Lord; they acted the part of the adulterous woman in ( Proverbs 30:20 ) to whom they are compared in the context; and, therefore, as wondering at their impudence, they having a whore's forehead, this question is put, how and with what face they could affirm this, and what follows: I have not gone after Baalim?
or, "the Baalim"; the idols of the people, as the Targum interprets it; for there were many Baals, as Baalzephon, Baalpeor, Baalzebub, and others: see thy way in the valley;
where idols were set up and worshipped; or through which the way lay, as Kimchi observes, to the hills and mountains where idolatry was frequently committed; perhaps no particular valley is meant, but any in which idols were worshipped, or which they passed through to the worshipping of them; though the Targum interprets it of the valley in which they dwelt, over against Baalpeor, so Jarchi and Abarbinel, when they worshipped that idol; and seems to design the valley of Shittim, ( Numbers 25:1 Numbers 25:2 ) , but rather, if any particular valley is intended, the valley of Hinnom seems to bid fair for it; and to this it may be the Septuagint version has respect, rendering it (en tw poluandriw) , "in the sepulchre of the multitude"; multitudes being burnt and buried here: know what thou hast done;
in the valley, especially in the valley of Hinnom, where they caused their children to pass through the fire to Molech: thou art a swift dromedary.
The Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, interpret it a young camel; and so the word in the Arabic language signifies; and the epithet "swift" better agrees with that than with the dromedary. Curtius F26 makes mention of dromedary camels of great swiftness; but it may be this is to be understood, not of its swiftness in running, but of its impetuous lust, as Calvin observes; and, indeed, each of these creatures are very libidinous; and therefore these people are compared to them; (See Gill on Micah 1:13), it follows: traversing her ways;
running about here and there after the male, burning with lust, sometimes one way, and sometimes another; and so these people sometimes run after one idol, and sometimes another, and followed a multitude of them. The Targum renders it, "which corrupts or depraves her ways". De Dieu observes, that the word (Krv) , in the Ethiopic language, signifies "the evening"; and so may intend walking in the evening, in the dark, rather than in the light; which, as it is the way of dromedaries, and almost of all beasts, so of harlots, to whom these people are likened; and he further observes, that, in the Arabic language, it signifies to make common, which agrees with adulterous persons, as these were in a spiritual sense. The word is only used in this place, and is deduced from, or has some relation to, the word (Kwrv) , which signifies a "shoelatchet", ( Genesis 14:23 ) as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; and may denote, as the shoe is bound and fastened with the latchet, the binding of her ways to her heart, as the former suggests, the strengthening and confirming of her in her evil ways, and her constant persisting therein; but the first sense of running here and there through lust is best; and is approved by Bynaeus F1 and by Buxtorf F2.


F26 (Curtius) L. 5. c. 2.
F1 De Calceis Heb. l. 1. c. 7. sect. 4.
F2 Lex. Heb. rad. (Krv) .

Jeremiah 2:23 In-Context

21 I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign LORD.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving— in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.’

Cross References 4

  • 1. S Proverbs 30:12
  • 2. ver 25; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23:27
  • 3. S 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:2; Jeremiah 31:40
  • 4. ver 33; Jeremiah 31:22
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