Jeremiah 17:11
(11) As the partridge sitteth on eggs . . .--Better, following the LXX. and Vulg., and the marginal reading of the Authorised Version, heaps up eggs and hath not laid them. The words point to a popular belief among the Jews that the partridge steals the eggs of other birds and adds them to her own, with the result that when the eggs are hatched the broods desert her (see Bibl. Educ. iii. p. 73). It thus became a parable of the covetous man, whose avarice leads him to pile up riches which are not rightly his, and which after a while "make to themselves wings" and are seen no more. Modern naturalists have not observed this habit, but it is probable that the belief originated in the practice of the cuckoo laying its eggs in the nest of the partridge, as in that of other birds. The cuckoo (Leviticus 11:16; Deuteronomy 14:15) was and is a common bird in Palestine (Bibl. Educ. 2 p. 363).

Shall leave them in the midst of his days.--If we retain the rendering of the Authorised Version the words may refer to the practice of hunting the partridge by driving it from its nest and then striking it with a club (see Bibl. Educ. iii. p. 73). Many commentators, however, adopt the rendering, they (the riches) shall leave him. As covetousness was the besetting sin of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:17), the prediction may have pointed specially to him.

Verse 11. - As the partridge... hatcheth them not; rather, as the partridge sitteth on eggs which it hath not laid; a proverbial illustration of the Divine retributive justice. The prophet assumes the truth of a popular belief respecting the partridge (still a common bird in Judaea), that it brooded upon eggs which it had not laid. As the young birds soon leave the false mother, so unjustly acquired riches soon forsake their possessors. [Canon Tristram rejects this explanation, on the ground that the statement is not true to natural history; the partridge neither steals the broods of others nor needs to do so, as it lays a very large number of eggs. But grammar requires us to translate as suggested above, and consequently excludes any other explanation-May not the unusually large number of the eggs laid by the partridge have led to the fancy that they could not be all its own?]

17:5-11 He who puts confidence in man, shall be like the heath in a desert, a naked tree, a sorry shrub, the product of barren ground, useless and worthless. Those who trust to their own righteousness and strength, and think they can do without Christ, make flesh their arm, and their souls cannot prosper in graces or comforts. Those who make God their Hope, shall flourish like a tree always green, whose leaf does not wither. They shall be fixed in peace and satisfaction of mind; they shall not be anxious in a year of drought. Those who make God their Hope, have enough in him to make up the want of all creature-comforts. They shall not cease from yielding fruit in holiness and good works. The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom it does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if the conscience, which should set right the errors of other faculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our own hearts, nor what they will do in an hour of temptation. Who can understand his errors? Much less can we know the hearts of others, or depend upon them. He that believes God's testimony in this matter, and learns to watch his own heart, will find this is a correct, though a sad picture, and learns many lessons to direct his conduct. But much in our own hearts and in the hearts of others, will remain unknown. Yet whatever wickedness there is in the heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but God cannot be deceived. He that gets riches, and not by right, though he may make them his hope, never shall have joy of them. This shows what vexation it is to a worldly man at death, that he must leave his riches behind; but though the wealth will not follow to another world, guilt will, and everlasting torment. The rich man takes pains to get an estate, and sits brooding upon it, but never has any satisfaction in it; by sinful courses it comes to nothing. Let us be wise in time; what we get, let us get it honestly; and what we have, use it charitably, that we may be wise for eternity.As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not,.... Here seems to be another sin pointed at, as the cause of the ruin of the Jews; as idolatry and trust in the creature before mentioned; so riches unjustly got, and these boasted of and trusted in; the folly of which is illustrated by the simile of a bird sitting on eggs, and not hatching them; being either addled, or broke by the male through lust, or by the foot of man or beast, being laid on the ground; Or by a bird which "gathers" (s), as some; or "hatches", as others, eggs it has not laid; which being hatched, run away from it, and so not enjoyed by it. The Targum is,

"as the partridge, or "koraah", which gathers eggs that are not its own, and nourishes young ones which will not follow it, so, &c.''

whether the partridge is meant by "kore", the word here used, is uncertain. Bochart (t) thinks the "woodcock", or "snite" or "snipe", is intended. Jarchi interprets it, by the "cuckoo", which is not likely; since that does not take away another's eggs, and sit on them; but lays its own eggs in another's nest, and leaves them to be hatched by it; but it must be understood rather of such an one that gets the eggs of another, and hatches them, but cannot keep the young when hatched; and this is said of the partridge, that when its own eggs are broke, it will get others, and sit upon them, and hatch them; but being hatched, knowing her not to be their dam, and hearing the voice of that which is, run from her to it (u):

so he that getteth riches, and not by right; but by fraud, rapine, and oppression; such are they that will be rich, that are resolved upon it at any rate, right or wrong; and such persons may succeed, and become rich by illicit methods; but then, as such riches may be truly called "mammon of unrighteousness"; so they will not profit in a time to come, in a day of wrath; neither are they of long continuance now: for such a man

shall leave them in the midst of his days; which, according to the common term of life, and course of nature, he might hope to arrive to; he shall die, and not enjoy what he has got together; while he is promising himself much and long happiness, his soul is required of him; and whose his substance shall be, he knows not; the riches he has heaped up together, he knows not who shall gather; nor to whom he leaves them, whether a wise man or a fool: however, this is certain as to himself,

and at his end shall be a fool; he shall appear to be one for getting riches in an unlawful way; for trusting in uncertain riches; for promising himself a great deal of pleasure and felicity in them for a long time, which he could not secure; and for neglecting the true riches of grace and glory; see Luke 12:19. The Targum is,

"at his end he is called a wicked man;''

because of the unjust manner in which he has got his riches, and which appears by his end; every wicked man is a fool. The word here used is "Nabal"; and as is his name, so is he.

(s) "collegit", Vatablus, Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "collegit", Montanus, Schmidt; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 82. 1.((t) Hierozoicon, par. 2. l. 1. c. 12. Colossians 81. (u) Vid. Frantz. Hist. Animal. Sacr. par. 2. c. 11. p. 414.

Jeremiah 17:10
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