Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Jeremiah
Book: Jeremiah
Chapter: 2

God expostulates with his people. (1-8) Their revolt Beyond
Example. (9-13) Guilt the cause of sufferings. (14-19) The sins
of Judah. (20-28) Their false confidence. (29-37)

1-8 Those who begin Well, but do not persevere, will justly be
upbraided with their hopeful and promising beginnings. Those who
Desert religion, commonly oppose it more than those who never
knew it. For this they could have No excuse. God's spiritual
Israel must own their obligations to him for safe conduct
through the Wilderness of this world, So dangerous to the soul.
Alas, that many, who once appeared devoted to the Lord, So live
that their professions aggravate their crimes! Let us be careful
that we do not lose in zeal and fervency, as we gain knowledge.

9-13 Before God punishes sinners, he pleads with them, to bring
them to Repentance. He pleads with us, what we should plead with
ourselves. Be afraid to think of the wrath and Curse which will
be the portion of those who throw themselves out of God's Grace
and favour. Grace in Christ is compared to water from a
Fountain, it being cooling and refreshing, cleansing and making
fruitful: to living water, because it quickens dead sinners,
revives drooping saints, supports and maintains spiritual Life,
and issues in eternal Life, and is ever-flowing. To forsake this
Fountain is the first evil; this is done when the people of God
neglect his Word and ordinances. They hewed them out broken
cisterns, that could Hold No water. Such are the world, and the
things in it; such are the inventions of men when followed and
depended On. Let us, with purpose of Heart, cleave to the Lord
only; whither else shall we go? How prone are we to forego the
consolations of the Holy Spirit, for the worthless joys of the
enthusiast and Hypocrite!

14-19 Is Israel a servant? No, they are the seed of Abraham. We
may apply this spiritually: Is the soul of Man a Slave? No, it
is not; but has sold its own liberty, and enslaved itself to
divers lusts and passions. The Assyrian princes, like Lions,
prevailed against Israel. People from Egypt destroyed their
Glory and strength. They brought these calamities On themselves
By departing from the Lord. The use and application of this is,
Repent of thy Sin, that thy correction may not be thy ruin. What
has a Christian to do in the ways of forbidden pleasure or vain
sinful mirth, or with the pursuits of Covetousness and ambition?

20-28 Notwithstanding all their advantages, Israel had become
like the wild Vine that bears poisonous Fruit. Men are often as
much under the power of their unbridled desires and their sinful
lusts, as the brute beasts. But the Lord here warns them not to
weary themselves in pursuits which could only bring distress and
misery. As we must not despair of the Mercy of God, but believe
that to be sufficient for the Pardon of our sins, So neither
must we despair of the Grace of God, but believe that it is able
to subdue our corruptions, though ever So strong.

29-37 The nation had not been wrought upon By the judgements of
God, but sought to justify themselves. The world is, to those
who make it their home and their portion, a Wilderness and a
land of Darkness; but those who Dwell in God, have the Lines
fallen to them in pleasant places. Here is the language of
presumptuous sinners. The Jews had long thrown off serious
thoughts of God. How many days of our lives pass without
suitable remembrance of him! The Lord was displeased with their
confidences, and would not prosper them therein. Men employ all
their ingenuity, but cannot find happiness in the way of Sin, or
excuse for it. They may shift from one Sin to another, but none
ever hardened himself against God, or turned from him, and