17. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone, because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.
17. Non sedi in consilio (vel coetu) derisorum, neque exultavi; propter manum tuam seorsum sedi; quia indignatione replevisti me.
Here the Prophet more fully declares, that he was hated by the whole people because he pleased God. He indeed inveighs against the impiety of those who then bore rule; he does not here so much reprove the common people as the chief men, who exercised authority and administered justice; for when he speaks of the assembly of the ungodly, he no doubt refers to wicked rulers, as the word
Now it was necessary for the holy man thus to exasperate these impious men, for they were in favor, credit, and authority with the people; and we know that they who were in power do in a manner dazzle the eyes of the vulgar with their splendor. As they then thus deceived the simple, the Prophet removed the mask, and exclaimed, that he did not sit in their council nor exulted with them. In denying that he was connected with them, he intimates what their conduct and manners were. He therefore shews, that whatever their dignity might be, they were still the impious despisers of God, and were only mockers. The same is the case with us at this day, we are under the necessity directly to expose those masked rulers, who are inflated with their own power and fascinate the people; for buffoons in tippling-houses and taverns do not so wantonly mock God as those courtiers, who, while consulting respecting the state of the whole earth, and deciding on the affairs of all kingdoms, seem as though they themselves possessed all the power of God; and we also know that they are profane mockers. Hardly any piety or reverence for God is to be found in the courts of princes; nay, especially at their councils, the devil reigns, as it were, without control. We are therefore constrained often to speak very strongly against such unprincipled men, who falsely assume the name of God, and by this pretense deceive the common people. By this necessity was Jeremiah constrained to declare, that he had not been in the assembly of such men.
He then adds,
This passage is especially deserving of notice; for the Prophet was at Jerusalem among the priests, and was one of them, as we found at the beginning of this book. Though then he was a priest, he was constrained to separate himself and to renounce all connection with his colleagues and brethren. As then this was the case with the holy Prophet, why do the Papists try to frighten us by objecting to us our separation, as though:it were a most heinous crime? they call us apostates, because we have departed from their assemblies; truly if Jeremiah was an apostate, we need not be ashamed to follow his example, since he was approved by God, though he separated from the whole people, and also from the ungodly priests. Let us at this day openly and boldly confess that we have separated. There is then a separation between us, and one indeed irreconcilable; and accursed were we, if we sought an union with the Papists. We are therefore constrained plainly and openly to repudiate them, and to move heaven and earth rather than to agree with them. We see that there is a rule here prescribed to us by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Jeremiah. To refute then the ealumnies of those who object to us our separation, this very passage is sufficient.
"I sat apart," and true it, was so; but no one can say this at this day; for the Lord has gathered to himself many teachers and many disciples. They then who now profess the gospel do not sit apart as Jeremiah. But though all had forsakert him, he yet hesitated not to separate himself from all. But were it necessary for every one of us to become separated and to live apart, were God to scatter each of us through all the regions of the world, so that no one were to strengthen and encourage another, yet we should still stand firm, under the conviction that we sat apart on account of God's hand. Let the Papists then complain as they please, that we are proud, and that we disturb the peace of the whole world, provided we have this answer to give, -- That we sit apart on account of God's hand, because we seek to obey God and to follow his call: we can therefore boldly and safely despise and scorn all the reproaches with which they falsely load us.
He afterwards adds,
1 Gataker, and after him Blayney, consider the word, rendered "mockers" by Calvin and our version, as meaning "those who make merry;" and the word is so rendered in our version in Jeremiah 30:19, and Jeremiah 31:4. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Targum, favor this rendering; the Syriac and the Arabic, have "mockers." Then the next line is, --
Nor did I exult on account of thy hand.
So all the versions connect the words. The "hand" means, as Blayney says, the impulse of the prophetic spirit. See 1 Kings 18:46; Ezekiel 1:3. He did not inconsiderately rejoice on account of his office, because he was made a prophet. - Ed.
2 "Because all the prophecies thou hast given me are minatory." - Grotius.
The meaning may be, "Thou hast filled me with indignant messages." - Ed.
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