Jeremiah 10 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Jeremiah 10 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

"Learn not the way of the heathen" and don't look for signs from heaven. Should we look for signs in the heavens?
Does the bible condemn astrology?
(10:2-4)"Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen.... For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest ... with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold."
God hates Christmas trees
To learn the way of heaven is worshipping the son, the moon and the stars. It has nothing to do with astronomy.

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

On the Christmas tree, I think the author of the SAB is quite right in his observation.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.

8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.

9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.

10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

When God gets angry, the earth trembles. (That's what causes earthquakes.)
The meaning of earth in this verse, as in many other verses, is the inhabitants of it. This is figuratively speaking, poetry. So the meaning is that the inhabitants of the earth shall tremble.

11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.

Jeremiah called them gods, using the words the house of Israel was using. The fact that they could perish, already indicates they were not gods.

12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

16 The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.

17 Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.

18 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.

19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.

20 My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.

21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.

Judah will become a desolate den of dragons.
On dragons, see Ps. 148:7.

23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

"The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Humans lack free will.) What the Bible says about democracy
A nice verse, I thank the author of the SAB for drawing my attention to it.
But it's not the free will humans lack, but the will to do good under all circumstances. Even our will is effected by sin and is inclined to all evil. John Gill comments on this:

as not in natural and civil things, much less in religious ones; a good man is one that "walks", which supposes life and strength, without which there can be no walking; and a progression, a going on in a way; which ways are Christ, and his ordinances the path of doctrine and of duty; yet it is not even in this good man "to direct" and order "his steps" of himself; it is the Lord that must do it, and does; he can take no step aright without him; he is guided by him and his Spirit, both in the path of truth and of obedience; and hence it is that the saints persevere unto the end; see Ps. 37:23

24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name."
Jeremiah prays for the destruction of people and families that don't know God or call on his name.
After having described the destruction that would come upon Israel, the prophet asks God to remember what these nations did to Jacob. God had indeed withdrawn his protection and given over Israel to the fury of these nations, but in their rampage against Israel these nations sinned themselves. The word families in this verse is not individual families, but kingdoms, compare with Ps. 79:6.