Jeremiah 3:2

2. Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with: in the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredomes, and with thy wickedness,

2. Tolle oculos tuos ad loca excelssa (hoc est, ad colles,) et vide ubi non scortata fueris; super vias (vel, juxta vias) sedisti illis (hoc est, ad illos captandos,) quemadmodum Arabs in deserto; et polluisti terraim scortationibus tuis et malitia tua.


As the Prophet had charged the Jews with being wanton in a loose and promiscuous manner, as it is the case with abandoned women, after having cast away all shame, that they might not evade the charge and object, that they were not conscious of any crime, he makes them in a manner the judges themselves, Raise up, he says, thine eyes to the high places and see; that is, "I bring forward witnesses sufficiently known to thee; there is no hill in the land where thou hast not been connected with idols." We have already said, and we shall find the same thing often mentioned by this Prophet, -- that superstitions are deemed idolatries by God. But it was a customary thing with the Jews to ascend high places, as though they were there nearer to God. This is the reason why the Prophet bids them to turn their eyes to all the hills: See, he says, whether is there any hill free from thy fornications. For as strumpets seek hiding -- places to perpetrate their obscenities, so the Jews sought hills as their brothels. And thus their impiety was the more execrable as they went forth openly, and especially as they wished their flagitious acts to be seen at a distance, ascending, as they did, elevated places; but strumpets, having found adulterers or paramours, are wont to seek some secret retreats. The Prophet then cuts off from the Jews every occasion for evading the charge, when he bids them to raise up their eyes to the high places; for when they prostrated themselves before their idols, it was the same as when strumpets commit acts of adultery.

And he adds, that they sat by the ways, as the Arabian in the desert. He again repeats what we have before observed, -- that the Jews were not led away by the enticement of others to violate the conjugal pledge which they had given to God, but were, on the contrary, moved by their own wantonness, so that they of themselves sought base and filthy gratifications, he had before said, "Thou hast corrupted others by thy wickedness;" and now he confirms the same, "Thou hast sat, he says, "by all the ways." This also is what is done by vile strumpets, who, as it has been said, have lost all shame. But the Prophet enhances this crime by another comparison, As an Arabian in the desert, who lies in wait for travelers, that he may rob and kill them: thus hast thou sat by the ways.1

We then see here a double comparison; one taken from strumpets, who having in time past made gain, when they find themselves neglected, besiege the ways, and offer themselves to any they may meet with. This is the first comparison; the other is, that they were like robbers, who lie in wait for travelers; as though he had said, that the Chaldeans and Egyptians were excusable when compared with the Jews, because they had been drawn by their wicked arts into illicit treaties, like a traveler who passing by is enticed by a robber, -- " What art thou but a helpless man; but if thou joinest me, and engagest to be my companion, there is the best prospect of gain, and new spoils will fall into our hands daily." Such a robber is twice and three times more wicked than the other. So also, the Prophet says of the Jews, that they were like old robbers, who had become hardened in intrigues, in plunders, and in every kind of wickedness, and had enticed to themselves both the Egyptians and the Assyrians. It afterwards follows --

1 Gataker suggests another idea,-that the reference is made to the Arabian traders, who fix their tents in the wilderness to wait for the merchants. Blayney renders the lines differently,-

Lift up thine eyes upon the open plains, and see; Where hast thou not been defiled in the highways? Thou hast sat waiting in them like an Arabian in the desert.

To render Myps, "open plains," is without authority; it means "craggy eminences, "or elevated places. See Numbers 23:3; Isaiah 41:18; Jeremiah 14:6. The division, too, is arbitrary. "The ways," or highways, connects better with the following verb; and Mhl is not "in them, "but to or for them, that is, her lovers, mentioned in the preceding verse. Our version is the most suitable, with which that of Calvin corresponds.

"Arabian" is rendered "crow" by the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Arabic; "robber" by the Vulgate, but "Arabian" by the Targum. It is true that the word for a crow is from the same root, but the iod attached to it shews it to be a proper name. Where the Vulgate got the word "robber, "it is hard to know.-Ed.


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