18. And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
18. Et rependam ab initio duplum iniquitatum eorum et scelerum eorum; quia polluerunt (super polluere ipsos) terram meam in cadaveribus abominationum suarum, et suis inquinamentis replerunt haereditatem meam.
Jeremiah introduces here nothing new, but proceeds with the subject we observed in the last verse, -- that God would not deal with so much severity with the Jews, because extreme rigor was pleasing to him, or because he had forgotten his own nature or the covenant which he had made with Abraham, but because the Jews had become extremely obstinate in their wickedness. As, then, he had said that the eyes of God
But every word ought to be considered: He says
"Come upon you shall righteous blood from Abel to Zachariah, the son of Barachiah." (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51)
The Prophet now repeats the same thing, -- that God, in allotting to the Jews their reward, would collect together as it were all the iniquities which had been as it were long buried, so that he would include the fathers and their children in one bundle, and gather together all their sins, in order that he might consume them as it were in one heap. In this way I explain the term "From the beginning."1
He then adds,
"The Lord hath recompensed double for all her sins;"
that is, sufficiently and more, (satis superque) as the Latins say. There God assumes the character of a father, and, according to his great kindness, says that the Jews had been more than sufficiently punished. So also in this place, in speaking of punishment, he calls that double, not what would exceed the limits of justice, but because God would shew himself differently to them from what he had done before, when he patiently bore with them; as though he had said, "I will to the utmost punish them; for there will be no remission, no lenity,no mercy." We hence see that what is here designed is only extreme rigor, which yet was just and right; for had God punished a hundred times more severely even those who seemed to have sinned lightly, his justice could not have been questioned as though he had acted cruelly. Since, the Jews, then, had in so many ways, and for so long a time, and so grievously sinned, God could not have been thought too severe, when he rendered to them their reward; and he calls it double because he omitted nothing in order to carry it to the utmost severity. Probably he alludes also to the enemies as being ministers of his vengeance, whose cruelty would be more atrocious than the Jews thought, who imagined some slight remedies for slight sins, as we say, Il n'y faudra plus retourner, or, tote outre.
And he adds,
And he says further,
Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast not given to thy servants a small corner only of the earth to dwell in, but hast designed to extend thy kingdom to the utmost borders of the earth, and to dwell with us, wherever we be, by thine onIy-begotten Son, -- O grant, that we may offer ourselves as sacrifices to thee, and labor also so to regulate our life according to thy word that thy name may be glorified in and by us, till we shall become at length partakers of that celestial and eternal glory, which has been provided for us by Christ our Lord -- Amen.
1 The Septuagint omit this word, and give this rendering, "And I will recompense their twofold iniquities," etc., so does the Vulgate, only it retains this word, and renders it "first." But the Hebrew will not admit the connection of "two-fold" with "iniquities."
Venema gives the best exposition of this passage, from Jeremiah 16:14 to the end. he considers it a prophecy of the restoration of the people from Babylon. The "fishers" and "the hunters," in Jeremiah 16:16, he regards as the indibviduals employed by God to gather them from the countries to which they had been dispersed, suych as Zerubbabel, Joshuah, Ezra, and Nehemiah. He connects this verse more especially with the latter part of Jeremiah 16:17. Having stated that their ways would not be hid from God in their dispersion, the Prophet refers to their previous iniquity as having not been hid from them, and then says in God's name, "And I will first recompense doubly their iniquity," etc., that is before I restore them. These two verses may be thus rendered, the first line being connected with the previous verse, --
17. For mine eyes shall be on all their ways. Concealed have they not been from me, Nor hid has been their iniquity from my eyes;
18. And I will first doubly recompense Their iniquity and their sin, Because they have polluted my land With the vileness of their detestable things, And with their abominations have fined mine inheritance.
As the previous verse is in the future tense, so the first line in Jeremiah 16:17. The "detestable things" were their idols. The version of the Septuagint is, "with the dead bodies (
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