4. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God.
4. Et ego dixi, Certe (alii vertunt, forsan,
5. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.
5. Ibo ad optimates (ad magnos, ad verbum) et loquar apud eos; quia ipsi cognoscunt viam Jehovae judicium Dei sui: atque ipsi fregerunt jugum, ruperunt vincula.
Some think that the Prophet here makes an excuse for the people, and, as far as he could, extenuates their fault; but they are greatly mistaken. For there is no doubt but that he, by this comparison, more clearly shews how past remedy was then the state of things. The sum, then, of what he says is, -- that corruptions so prevailed, not only among the multitude, but also among the chief men, that there remained no soundness, as they say, from the head to the sole of the foot. Nearly the same thing, only in other words, is stated by Isaiah in the twenty-eighth chapter; for after having spoken generally against the people, he assails the leading men, and says that they were inebriated no less than the common people, that they were inebriated with wine and strong drink. But the meaning is, that they were like drunken men, because they felt no shame, while they abandoned themselves to deeds the most disgraceful.
To the same purpose is what Jeremiah says here, when he declares, that he thought that they were the poor who had thus sinned, and obscure men and of no repute; but that he had found the same thing among the chief men as among the common people. He might, indeed, have only said, "Not only the lowest orders, the multitude, are become corrupt, but also the chief men, who ought to have excelled the rest." But much more striking is the comparison, when he says, "It may be, that these miserable men have thus sinned because they understood not the law of God, nor is it a matter of wonder; but greater integrity will be found in the chief men." By speaking thus the Prophet brings the reader into the midst of the scene, and shews to him that not only all the people were guilty, but also the priests and the prophets, and the chief men in the state. The design of the Prophet is thus evident.
The law was, indeed, given to all without any difference; so that the common people had no excuse. But this evil has prevailed almost in all ages, -- that few attend to the teaching of the law; for there is no one who is not inclined to shake off this yoke. The common people, indeed, think that they have some excuse for neglecting it, because they have no leisure, and are not born for high stations. The Prophet then speaks according to this prevailing opinion; but he does not extenuate their fault who pleaded ignorance as an excuse, because they had not been taught in schools; for, as it has been said, God intended his law for the whole people without exception.
He now adds,
He afterwards adds,
1 It is better to take
Then I said, Doubtless, the poor are these, they have become stupid, For they have not known the way of Jehovah, The judgment of their God.-Ed.
2 Literally it is, "I will go for myself,"-an idiomatic form of speech. The Welsh is exactly the same, af rhagof; which means, I will go forth; but it cannot be literally expressed in another language. After the verb, as in Hebrew, there is a preposition prefixed to "me."-Ed.
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