Jeremiah 10:1-16

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.

Jeremiah 10:1-16 Meaning and Commentary


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.

Cross References 40

  • 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

Footnotes 1

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