Lecture Fifty-Eighth

Jeremiah 14:21

21. Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake; do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

21. Ne rejicias propter nomen tuum, ne rejieias (lbn significat interdum respuere, floccipendere, significat etiam projicere, et eadem est fere signicatio alterius verbi Pan, significat enim projicere, et pro nihilo ducere et vilipendere; ne ergo projicias vel vilipendas) solium gloriae tuae; recordare, ne irritum facias (alii vertunt, dissolvas) foedus tuum nobiscum.


Jeremiah goes on with the same prayer; and he made it from love, and also for the purpose of encouraging the faithful, who remained among the people, to seek forgiveness; for he undertakes here to represent the true Church, which was then very small. All indeed boasted that they were the children of God, and gloried in the covenant made with Abraham; but hardly one in a thousand called on God in truth and from the heart. The Prophet then represented the common feeling of a very small number; and yet he proceeded, as I have said, with his prayer.

Hence he says, Reject not, overthrow not, the throne of thy glory; or the meaning of the two verbs may be the same, which seems to me more probable.1 But the Prophet joined together two verbs, not so much for the sake of ornament as rhetoricians do, as for the purpose of expressing the intenseness of his concern and anxiety; for he saw that the kingdom of Judah was in extreme danger. He then did not in an ordinary way try to turn aside God's vengeance, but he hastened as one to extinguish a fire; for the obtaining of pardon was difficult.

He calls Jerusalem the throne of God's glory, because God had chosen that city where he was to be worshipped, not that he was confined to the Temple, but because the memorial of his name was there, according to what had been usually said, especially by Moses. (Exodus 20:24) Nor was the ark a vain Symbol of his covenant, for God really dwelt there; for the presence of his power and grace was evidenced by the clearest proofs. But as this mode of speaking is often found in the Prophets, it was sufficient for Jeremiah briefly to notice the subject. God indeed, as it is well known, fins heaven and earth, but he gives symbols of his presence wherever he pleases; and as it was his will to be worshipped in the Temple, it is called iris throne, and it is elsewhere called his footstool; for the Scripture describes the same thing in various ways. The Temple is often called the rest of God, his dwelling, his sanctuary, the place of his habitation; it is also called his footstool,

"We will worship at his footstool." (Psalm 132:7)

But these various forms are used for the same purpose, though they are apparently different; for where the Temple is called the habitation of God, his palace or his throne, the presence of his power is set forth, as though God dwelt as a friend among his worshippers; but when it is called his footstool, it is for the purpose of checking a superstition which might have crept in; for God raises the minds of the godly higher, lest they should think that his presence is confined to any place.

We then perceive what the Scripture intends and what it means, whenever it calls Jerusalem or the Temple the throne or the house of God.

But we nmst carefully notice what is here mentioned by the Prophet, For thy name's sake. We know that whenever the saints pray to be heard for the sake of God's name, they cast aside every confidence in their own worthiness and righteousness. Whosoever then pleads God's name, in order to obtain what he asks, renounces all other things, and fully confesses that he is unworthy to find God propitious to him; for this form of speaking necessarily implies a contrast. As then the Prophet flees to God's name as his only refuge, there is included in the words a confession, such as we have before noticed, -- that the Jews, inasmuch as they had acted wickedly towards God, were unworthy of any mercy; nor could they pacify him by any of their own satisfactions, nor have anytiling by which they could obtain his favor. This then is the meaning; and as this doctrine has been elsewhere more fully handled, it; seems to me sufficient briefly to shew the design of the Prophet.

He calls it the throne of glory, to intimate that God's name would be unknown and unnoticed, or even despised and exposed to reproaches, if he did not spare the people whom he had chosen. The genitive case is used in Hebrew, we know, instead of an adjective; and to enlarge on the subject is useless, as this is one of its primary elements. The Prophet then in calling the Temple the glorious throne of God, in which his majesty shone forth, in a manner reminds God himself not to expose his name to reproaches; for instantly the ungoldly, according to their evil dispositions, would vomit forth their blasphemies; and thus God's name would be reproached.

He afterwards adds, Remember, make not void, thy covenant with us. Here also the Prophet strengthens his prayer by calling to mind the covenant: for it might have been said, that the Jews had nothing to do with the holy name of God, with his glory, or with his throne; and doubtless they were worthy of being wholly forsaken by God. As then they had divorced themselves from God, and were wholly destitute of all holiness, the Prophet here brings before God his covenant, as though he had said, "I have already prayed thee to regard thine own glory and to spare thine own throne, as thou hast favored the place with so much honor as to reign among us: now, though our impiety is so great that thou mayest justly cast us away yet thou didst not make a covenant with Mount Sion, or with the stones of the Temple, or with material things, but with us; render not void then this thy covenant."

We hence see that there is great emphasis in the words of the Prophet, when he implores God not to make void, or not to undo, the covenant, which he had made with the people. For though God would have continued true and faithful, had he obliterated the name of the whole people, yet it was necessary that his goodness should contend with their wickedness, his fidelity with their perfidiousness, inasmuch as the covenant of God did not depend on the people's faithfulness or integrity. It was, as it may be said, a mutual stipulation; for God made a covenant with Abraham on this condition -- that he should walk perfectly with him: this is indeed true; and the same stipulation was in force in the time of the Prophets. Yet at the same time Jeremiah assumed this principle -- that the grace of God cannot be wholly obliterated; for he had chosen the race of Abraham, from whom the Redeemer was at length to be born. But Jeremiah intended to extend God's grace still farther, according to what has been already said, and we shall again presently see the same thing. However this may be, he had a just reason for praying, "Undo not thy covenant with us." But God had hidden means of accomplishing his purpose; for he did, according to the common apprehension of men, abolish the covenant by which the Jews thought him to be bound to them; and yet he remained true; for his truth shone forth at length from darkness, after the time of exile was completed. It now follows --

1 The versions differ as to the two verbs: "Cease for thy name's sake, and destroy not," etc., is the Septuagint and the Arabic; "Reproach us not, etc., nor dishonor," etc., is the Vulgate; "Be not angry, etc., nor dishonor," etc., is the Syriac; "Cast us not away, etc., nor make vile," etc., is the Targum. Neither of these renderings is correct. The two verbs here used have a similar meaning, though they are different, with those in the 19th verse (Jeremiah 14:19); the first signifies the rejection of a thing as worthless, and the second as vile, or filthy. They may be thus rendered, --

Scorn not, for thy name's sake, Abominate not,
the throne of thy glory.

The same form is adopted in what follows; two verbs are used, which have the same objective case, --

Remember, break not, thy covenant with us.

Which means, Remember thy covenant, and break it not, or annul it not. Blayney renders the first two lines thus, --

Spurn us not for thy name's sake.
Dishonor not the throne of thy glory.

But "us" is not in the original, nor do the versions give it, except the Vulgate; and dishonor has also been borrowed from that version, and is not the meaning of the verb. No doubt the two verbs refer to the throne. - Ed.


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