Lecture Eighty-Fourth

Jeremiah 22:28

28. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?

28. An simulachrum contemptum, contritum, vir iste Coniah? an vas, in quo non est oblectatio? ut quid disjecti sunt ipse et semen ejus et projecti super terram quam non noverunt?


As the Prophet was hardly able to convince the Jews of what he had foretold, he confirms the same thing; but he speaks here as of what was incredible. He assumes the character of one greatly wondering, that others might cease to wonder. He then asks, whether it was possible that Jeconiah should be driven into exile and there miserably perish? We now see the design of the Prophet, that as the Jews thought that the kingdom would be perpetual, it was necessary to shake off such a notion, so that they might know that God had not in vain threatened what we have already noticed. But there is in these questions a kind of irony, for the Prophet might have made a positive assertion in plain words; but from regard to others, he hesitates through wonder, or seems to doubt as of a thing that was monstrous.

Is he a statue? he says; some translate "a vessel;" but it seems to be taken here, as in other places, in its proper sense, a statue. Is, then, this man Coniah a despised and a broken statue? for Pwp, puts, is both to fail and to break.1 We have said that a part of his name was left out by way of contempt; still, as the Jews were so blinded by the royal dignity that they could not believe the prophecy, he asks respecting it as of a thing incredible. Is he a vessel? etc., he adds. The Hebrew word ylk, cali, we know, is taken for any kind of vessel; for the ancients called all kinds of furniture vessels. He asks, then, Is he a contemptible vessel? Is he a vessel in which there is no delight? He had before said that he was a despised statue. Why are they cast forth, he and his seed, and thrown into a land which they have not known? that is, into a remote land?2 And we know that it is a hard lot when one is driven far away from his own country. There is, then, no doubt but that the Prophet enhances the grievousness of the evil when he speaks of an unknown country: for Zedekiah, who was put on the throne, was his uncle; and of his posterity the first was Salathiel, born in exile. It now follows --

1 The verb means to loose, to set free; and it is here in a passive sense, to be loosed or set free. It seems to refer to the setting free the idol or statue from its fastenings; therefore, "broken down" would be its best rendering. -- Ed.

2 It is singular that all the early versions soften down the strong terms used in this verse; not one of them give a faithful translation. The Sept., the Syr., and the Arab. give hardly the half of the verse, and what they give is divested of the tone and spirit of the original. The Vulg. leaves out the word "idol" or statue, and puts "an earthen vessel" in its place. The whole verse I render as follows, --

28. A contemptible, broken down idol! Is this the man Coniah? Is he a vessel in which there is no delight? Why are they cast out, he and his seed, And sent into a land which they have not known?

There is the relative which understood after "vessel" in the third line. The Welsh, which in this kind of idiom is exactly the same with the Hebrew, admits of the same sort of ellipsis, --

Ai llester yw heb hoffder ynddo?

Which is verbally the Hebrew, "Is he a vessel without delight in it?" The "casting out" was from the land of Canaan, and the "sending" was into the unknown land. -- Ed.


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