5. And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.
5. Et vir proximo sue (socio) mentitur (hoc est, quisque; nam
Jeremiah goes on with the same subject. He says that fidelity had so disappeared among the Jews, that every one endeavored to deceive his neighbor. Hence it followed, that they were withhout any shame. Some sense of shame at least remains among men, when they have to do with their own friends; for though they may be wholly given to gain, and to indulge in falsehoods, yet when they transact business with friends, they retain some regard for equity, and shame checks their wickedness: but when there is no difference made between friends and strangers, it follows that their character is become altogether brutal. This is what the Prophet meant.
And he adds, that they
And for the same purpose he says, that they had
He says at last, that they
We now perceive the Prophet's meaning: He confirms, as I have said, what he had stated before. He had threatened the people with utter ruin; they were secure and heedless, and despised all his denuncitations. He now shews, from God's nature and office, that ruin was nigh them, though they feared it not and thought themselves abundantly safe. But if God be the judge of the world, as it will be hereafter proved, how is it possible for him to connive perpetually at so great wickedness? And to shew this he also adds --
1 The whole verse may he thus rendered, --
And they deceive, every one his neighbor, And the truth they speak not; They have taught their tongue the word of falsehood; With perverting have they wearied themselves.
The verb for "deceive" means to mock, to trifle with, to play the fool with. Their object was to befool their neighbors by cheating and deceiving them. "The word," or the matter, "of falsehood," is falsehood itself, or sheer falsehood. The Vulgate and the Syriac's version is, "They have taught their tongue to speak falsehood." To teach the tongue false-hood, was to habituate it to tell lies. The last line is differently rendered. The Septuagint deviates far from the original. The version of the Vulgate is, "They have labored to act unjustly;" and this comes near the meaning; only "to act unjustly" is rather to act pervertingly: they wrested and turned everything from its right course and meaning; and they labored in perverting things, until they wearied themselves. Falsehood requires more labor than truth. -- Ed.
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