19. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her King in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?
19. Ecce vox clamoris filiae populi mei a terra longinqua, An Jehova non est in Sion? an rex ejus non est in ea? Quare provocarunt me ad iram in suis sculptilibus? in vanitati-bus aiieni?
The Prophet in this verse assumes different characters: he first denounces ruin, which, though near, was not yet dreaded by the people; he then represents the people, and relates what they would say; in the third place, he adds an answer in God's name to check the clamors of the people.
When he says that the
This meaning is not without reason on its side: if then the Prophet's words be thus taken, I offer no objection; for hypocrites derive confidence from the present appearance of things; when they see that there is quietness on every side, they fear no danger; when God threatens them, and shews not immediately his rods, they ridicule or despise them.: thus have we seen in other places.
But another meaning is not unsuitable, -- that Jeremiah describes the lamentations of the people in exile, after having been driven into Chaldea and Assyria:
He adds in the second place,
We hence see the import of the Prophet's words; for he here imitates the perverse language of the people, and recites the words which he knew most of them used. We have before found him addressing them,
"Trust not in words of falsehood, saying, The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah,"
for they were wont perversely to allege against God, the temple, and to regard it as a shield to ward off every evil. In the same way the Prophet says now, "
At the first view this seems to be an evidence of faith, as the people seemed persuaded that they should be safe and secure under the protection of God, and as they turned their eyes to that kingdom, which was a remarkable exhibition of God's presence: for as David was a type of Christ, and also his posterity, no other refuge could have been sought by the faithful than that which is here described. But we know how hypocrites swell with vain confidence, while yet they are wholly destitute of faith, and how they become wantonly insolent whenever God threatens them, as though they held him bound at their will. As then the ungodly are wont thus to abuse the name of God, it is no wonder that they imitate the language of his true servants: but yet they are wholly different. How so? They lay hold on the promises, but they have no faith nor repentance. "This is my rest for ever: it then follows that we shall be ever safe, for God cannot be overcome by any force of arms, by any onset of enemies; since he has taken us under his protection, what have we to fear?" But, at the same time, they despised God and all his teaching.
We hence see how foolish was the boasting of that people, since they wholly despised the holy name of God, and did swell only with wind, inasmuch as they were altogether destitute of faith and piety. We must also ever keep in mind what I have already said, -- that the Jews not only entertained this vain confidence, but also presumptuously rose up against God, as though he had deceived them, having promised that Sion would be his perpetual rest: they now ask him, why he did not defend the city, as he dwelt in Sion? and why was not the king their protection, since it had been said, "So long as the sun and moon shall be in heaven, shall remain the throne of David?" Now follows God's answer.
God says, that he was
1 Literally it is, "The voice of the shout of the daughter of my people," four words in succession, and three in regimine by juxtaposition. The Welsh is exactly the same, "Llev gwaedd merch vy mhobl" -- Voice shout daughter my people. -- Ed.
2 The meaning of this verse is viewed by some differently. Their exile is considered as referred to at the beginning of the verse, "from a distant land," -- or literally, "from the land of the remote ones." All the versions render the preposition "from," and not "because of," as in our version. The Prophet contemplates them as in banishment, and relates what they would say, and what answer God had for them: and they seem to have been thus contemplated to the end of the chapter, --
19.Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people From the land of the remote ones, -- "Was not Jehovah in Sion? Was not her king within her?" "Why! they provoked me with their carved images, With the vanities of the foreigner."
Then follows the continuation of the cry in exile, --
20. "Passed has the harvest, Ended has the summer, And we have not been saved!"
The "King," in verse 19, is "Jehovah" in the former line. "The vanities of the foreigner" were idols: they were vanities, because they could do nothing, neither good nor evil. What made them gods were the imaginations of the infatuated and superstitious. The gods of many now are nothing better. Every notion of God is false but what is consistent with his word. The Socinian god is not the true God; it is the fiction of a perverted mind. Nor is the god of the thorough Papists anything better, nor the god of the Pharisee. -- Ed.
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