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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 9:4

 

 

"Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; Because every brother deals craftily, And every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Take ye heed everyone of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will go about with slanders. And they will deceive everyone his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thy habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith Jehovah."

"Trust ye not in any brother ..." (Jeremiah 9:4). Some have been critical of advice such as this, pointing out such passages as 1 Corinthians 13:7, where the true man of God is represented as one who "believeth all things!" However, as Haley pointed out, There is no `command' here regarding the trust of a brother, but `advice,' equivalent to saying, "Such is the state of public morals that if you trust any man you shall be deceived and betrayed."[6] The explanation of this advice is given in Jeremiah 9:6, where the whole society is referred to as "a habitation in the midst of deceit."

"Every brother will utterly supplant ..." (Jeremiah 9:4). "The Hebrew here is a punning reference to Jacob (Genesis 27:36). God had transformed Jacob into Israel; but his descendants insisted on living the life of the unregenerate."[7] Cheyne did not accept this interpretation, affirming that, "There is nothing in the context so suggest an allusion to Genesis 27:36, or to Jacob";[8] but, in our view, the only thing needed to suggest that connection is the word "supplanter."

"They weary themselves to commit iniquity ..." (Jeremiah 9:5). "Lying, deceit, treachery, adultery, and idolatry were everyday sins in Judah, and the people had literally worn themselves out with perversions."[9] The gross indulgence of physical passions can and does result in the debilitation and weakening of the body.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jeremiah-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Take ye heed everyone of his neighbour,.... Take care of being imposed upon by them, since they are so given to lying and deceit; be not too credulous, or too easily believe what is said; or keep yourselves from them; have no company or conversation with them, since evil communications corrupt good manners:

and trust ye not in any brother; whether by blood or by marriage, or by religion, believe not his words; trust him not, neither with your money, nor with your mind; commit not your secrets to him, place no confidence in him; a people must be very corrupt indeed when this is the case: or, "trust ye not in every brother"F18ועל כל אח אל תבטחו "et omni fratri ne fidatis", Paganinus. ; some may be trusted, but not all though the following clause seems to contradict this,

for every brother will utterly supplant; or, in supplanting supplantF19עקוב יעקב "supplantanto supplantat", Schmidt. ; play the Jacob, do as he did by his brother, who supplanted him twice; first got the birthright from him, and then the blessing; which was presignified by taking his brother by the heel in the womb, from whence he had his name; and the same word is here used, which signifies a secret, clandestine, and insidious way of circumventing another;

and every neighbour will walk with slanders; go about spreading lies and calumnies, as worshippers, backbiters, and tale bearers do. The word דכיל is used for a "merchant"; and because such persons went from place to place with their goods, and made use often times of fraudulent practices to deceive people, it is applied to one that is guilty of slander and calumny; Song of Solomon 3:8.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-9.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any e brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

(e) Meaning, that all were corrupt, and none could find an honest man.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-9.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

supplant — literally, “trip up by the heel” (Hosea 12:3).

walk with slanders — (Jeremiah 6:28).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-9.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

In this verse the Prophet describes the extreme wickedness of the people. For though sometimes thefts, robberies, frauds, slaughters, perjuries, sorceries prevail, yet some regard for near relations remains; but it is monstrous when all relative affections are destroyed. As then, even in the most wicked, there remain some natural affections, called storgoe by philosophers, it follows, that men depart wholly from nature and become wild beasts, when these no longer exist. This is the import of what is here said.

There is a similar passage in Micah 7:5. The idea is there indeed more fully expanded; for the Prophet adds,

“From her who sleeps in thy bosom guard the doors of thy mouth; for the son lies in wait for his father, and the daughter delivers up her mother to death; and the chief enemies of man are his own domestics.”

The prophets then mainly agree in shewing, that there was no humanity left among flmm; for the son, forgetful of his duty, rose up against his father, and every one was perfidious towards his own friend, and a brother spared not his own brother.

Let a man then guard himself This is not an admonition, as though the Prophet exhorted men to be wary; but he only shews that there was no fidelity; for every one was perfidious and unfaithful towards his own friend, and even a brother acted unjustly towards his own brother. It hence follows, that the Jews are charged with being natural monsters; for they were deservedly objects of detestation, when they cast aside every care for their own blood, and as far as they could, destroyed everything like humanity. He says that brothers by supplanting supplanted, that is, craftily deceived and circumvented their own brothers. The verb עקב okob, is to be taken mttaphorically; it is derived from the heel of the foot, and means to oppress the simple by secret arts. He says also, that all friends acted fraudulently. Of this kind of speaking we have spoken on Jeremiah 6:28; for we found there the same complaint; and the Prophet then said the Jews were like iron and brass, because they had hardened themselves so as to be capable of any cruelty. This sort of speaking often occurs, when the word רכיל, rekil, is connected with the verb הלך elak; and they who are the most learned in the language say, that this word is never found in Scripture but in connection with the verb to go or to walk. They hence conclude that some particular person is meant, that is, one who goes about veiled or deceitfully, and rambles and runs here and there, that he may find some opportunity of deceiving and cheating. It cannot be taken here for slandering, as we have also stated on chapter the sixth: it is too unmeaning. It is found indeed in this sense in Leviticus 19:16,

“Go not about a slanderer among thy people;”

where some render it a whisperer. But the Prophet no doubt condemns here the frauds and deceitful crafts, by which they deceived and cheated one another: for רכל, recal signifies a merchant; and as it is often the case that traders act cunningly and practice crafty artifices, the Hebrews call that man רכיל racal, fraudulent and wickedly crafty, whose object is to deceive and cheat. And we see that this is the meaning in this place, as it designates those who circumvented one another: for the Prophet says, that they were foolish who trusted in brothers or friends; and he gives the reason, because brothers supplanted one another, and friends went about fraudulently. It follows —


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-9.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

trust

(See Scofield "Psalms 2:12").


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Jeremiah 9:4". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/jeremiah-9.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 9:4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

Ver. 4. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour.] Since there is scarce any to be trusted. The poets tell us, that when Pallas had taught people to build a house, Momus found this fault with it, that it was fixed to a place and not set upon wheels; to the end that if men liked not their neighbourhood, they might remove at pleasure. A good neighbour is a rare bird. (a)

And trust ye not in any brother.] See Micah 7:5-6, with the notes.

For every brother will utterly supplant.] (b) Singula verba hic habent pondus et pathos ingens. Here each word hath its weight, each syllable its substance.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-9.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jeremiah 9:4. Take ye heed, &c.— See Micah 7:5. Matthew 10:35.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jeremiah-9.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour; better rendered friend, or companion, as 2 Samuel 16:17, and in the next verse; showing the general corruption will be so malignant, that one friend will betray another; no faith in friends.

Will utterly supplant; wholly given to it; Heb. supplanting will supplant; or, treading down treadeth down; trampling them under their feet, noting their oppression, which they exercise all manner of ways, as in the next verse, both by fraud and force. Like the interpretation that Esau puts upon Jacob, Genesis 27:36; not only such as are near in habitation, pretending neighbourhood and friendship; but near in relation, even a

brother will circumvent; no respect to blood, arguing them to be monstrous in nature, putting off humanity. The word is here in allusion to Jacob, who had his name from supplanting; a metaphor taken from the sole of the foot, Genesis 25:26.

Walk with slanders; carrying tales and reports up and down, whether true or false, to the disturbance of the peace of neighbourhood, Jeremiah 6:28, and against the law of God, Leviticus 19:16.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-9.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord advised His people to be on guard against their neighbors, and not to trust their fellow Israelites, because they all dealt deceitfully and slandered one another. The word translated "craftily" comes from the same Hebrew root as "Jacob," ya"qob. The people were behaving like Jacob at his worst. This was civil unrest at its worst.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-9.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Deceitfully. A man must guard against his relations and domestics, Micheas vii. 5., and Matthew viii. 35. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-9.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

neighbour = friend.

trust ye not = do not confide. Hebrew. batah. App-69.

every brother . . . supplant. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 25:26; Genesis 27:36). App-92.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-9.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.

Every brother will utterly supplant - literally, trip up by the heel (Hosea 12:3, "He (Jacob) took his brother (Esau) by the heel").

Walk with slanders - (Jeremiah 6:28).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-9.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Take ye heed . . .—The extreme bitterness of the prophet’s words is explained in part by what we read afterwards of his personal history (Jeremiah 12:6; Jeremiah 18:18). Then, as at other times, a man’s foes were those of his own household (Matthew 10:36).

Every brother will utterly supplant.—The word is that which gave the patriarch his significant name of Jacob, the supplanter (Genesis 25:26; Genesis 27:36). Jeremiah seems to say that the people have forfeited their claims to the name of the true Israel. Every brother Israelite is found to be a thorough-paced Jacob. The adverb “utterly” expresses the force of the Hebrew reduplication of the verb.

Will walk with slanders.—Better, walketh a slanderer.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-9.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
ye heed
12:6; Psalms 12:2,3; 55:11,12; Proverbs 26:24,25; Micah 7:5,6; Matthew 10:17,21,34,35; Luke 21:16
neighbour
or, friend. every brother.
Genesis 27:35,36; 32:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:6
walk
6:28; Leviticus 19:16; Psalms 15:3; Proverbs 6:16,19; 10:18; 25:18; Ezekiel 22:9; 1 Peter 2:1,2

Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-9.html.

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