2. Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.
2. Quis statuet me in deserto, in diversorio (alii, tugurium, vertunt; sed nescio an reperiatur
Here the Prophet entertains another wish: He had before wished that his head were waters, that he might shed tears, and he had wished his eyes to be the fountains of tears; but now, after having duly considered the wickedness of the people, he puts off every feeling of humanity, and as one incensed, he desires to move elsewhere, and wholly to leave the people; for their impiety had so prevailed that he could no longer live among them. It is indeed certain that the Prophet had no common grief, when he perceived that God's dreadful vengeance was not far distant: it is also certain that he was moved and constrained by their detestable conduct to desire to be removed elsewhere. But he speaks not only for his own sake; for he regards his own nation, and expresses his feelings, that he might more effectually touch their hearts. We must then understand, that so great was the sympathy of the Prophet, that he was not satisfied with shedding tears, but that he wished that his whole head would flow into fearn It appears, also, that he was so moved with idignation, that he wished wholly to leave his own people. But, as I have said, his object was to try whether he could restore them to the right way.
He then shews, in this verse, that the Jews had become so detestable, that all the true servants of God wished to be removed far away from them: Who then will set me in the desert? He seeks not for himself another country; he desires not to dwell in a pleasant situation, or that some commodious asylum should be offered to him? but he desires to be placed in the desert, or in the lodging of travelers. He speaks not of those lodgings or inns, which were in villages and towns; but of a lodging in the desert; according to what is the case, when a long and tedious journey is made through forests, some sheds are formed, that when a traveler is over -- taken by the darkness of night, he might be protected by some covering, and not He down in the open air. It is of this kind of lodging that the Prophet speaks: then he no doubt means a shed; but as to the word, we may retain, as I have said, its proper meaning. What is meant is, that to dwell in the desert alllong wild beasts was better than to be among that abominable people. By expressing this wish he inflamed no doubt the fury of the whole people, or at least of most of them; but it was necessary thus forcibly to address them: as they submitted to no kind and wholesome warnings and counsels, they were to be forcibly stimulated and urged by such reproofs as these.
And the reason is added,
Grant, Almighty God, that since thou hast been pleased that the prophetic writings should be preserved for our use, that they may continually excite us to repentance, and that since thou stiffest up daily those who urge us by their exhortations, and draw us, as it were by force, to repent, -- O grant, that there may not be in us such perverseness as we see existed in thine ancient people; but that we may render ourselves teachable, and be so moved by thy threatenings, as to anticipate thy judgment, lest we, mistaking thy forbearance, should at length be visited with that dread, described to us by thy servant Jeremiah, but that we may, on the contrary, find thee to the end to be not only a reconcilable but also a most merciful Father, until we shall at last enjoy a fuller knowledge of thy goodness in thy celestial kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
1 This verse may be rendered thus, --
O that I, had in the desert the lodging of travellers, Then I would go away from them; For all of them are adulterers, A company of hypocrites.
He preferred living in the temporary sheds of travellers, erected in the desert, rather than to live among his own people. How intolerably wicked they must have been! A company, or an assembly, a multitude: the word need not be deemed as retaining its primary idea. The meaning is, that the whole community, the whole people, were hypocrites; they pretended to worship and serve God, and at the same time were idolaters and treacherous and immoral in their conduct. The word for "hypocrites" is derived from one that means a garment, a cloak, a covering; and the verb means to act under a cover, to act deceitfully, or falsely, or hypocritically, or perfidiously. It is rendered "deceivers" by the Septuagint, "prevaricators" by the Vulgate, "liars" by the Syriac, "falsifiers" by the Targum, and "perfidious dealers" by Blayney. -- Ed.
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