1. Thus saith the Lord, Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word,
1. Sic dicit Jehova, Descende in domum regis Jehudah, et loquere illic ser-monem hunc,
2. And say, Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates;
2. Et dices, Audi sermonem Jehova, rex Jehudah, qui sedes super solium Davidis, tu et servi tui, et populus tuus qui ingredimini per portas has:
3. Thus saith the Lord, Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.
3. Sic dicit Jehova, Facite judicium et justitiam, et eripite spoliatum e manu oppressoris; peregrinum, pupilum, et viduam ne fraudetis (Hieronymus hoc verbum ubique vertit, contristari, vel, tristitia afficere; significat autem potius inferre violentiam, aut fraudulenter nocere;) ne violentiam exerceatis (alii vertunt, romxt la, et sanguinem innocentem ne fundatis in loco isto.
The Prophet is again bidden to reprove the king and his counsellors; but the exhortation is at the same time extended to the whole people. It was necessary to begin with the head, that the common people might know that it was not a matter to be trifled with, as God would not spare, no, not even the king himself, and his courtiers; for a greater terror seized the lower orders, when they saw the highest laid prostrate. That what is here taught might then penetrate more effectually into the hearts of all, the Prophet is bid to address the king himself and his courtiers: he is afterwards bidden to include also the whole body of the people. And hence it appears, that there was some hope of favor yet remaining, provided the king and the whole people received the admonitions of the Prophet; provided their repentance and conversion were sincere, God was still ready to forgive them.
We must at the same time observe, as I have already said, that they could not escape the calamity that was at hand; but exile would have been much milder, and also their return would have been more certain, and they would have found in various ways that they had not been rejected by God, though for a time chastised. As then we now say, that a hope of pardon was set before them, this is not to be so understood as that they could avert the destruction of the city; for it had once for all been determined by God to drive the people into a temporary exile, and also to put all end for a time to their sacrifices; for this dreadful desolation was to be a proof that the people had been extremely ungrateful to God, and especially that their obstinacy could not be endured in having so long despised the Prophets and the commands of God. However the hope of mitigation as to their punishment was given them, provided they were touched by a right feeling, so as to endeavor to return into favor with God. But as Jeremiah effected nothing by so many admonitions, they were rendered more inexcusable.
We now see the design of what is here said, even that the Jews, having been so often proved guilty, might cease to complain that they suffered anything undeservedly; for they had been often admonished, yea, almost in numberless instances, and God had offered mercy, provided they were reclaimable. I come now to the words --
But he speaks of the king as
But that his reproof might have its just weight, the Prophet carefully shews that he brought nothing but what had been committed to him from above; this is the reason why he repeats,
He says, first,
He then adds,
The Prophet now adds other things which he had not mentioned in the preceding chapter;
But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God's Church things in such a disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become, on this account, alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, detest such monsters, but we must take care lest God's word, through men's wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought, then, to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses' seat. (Matthew 23:2.) Thus it behoved the Jews to venerate that royal throne, on which God had inscribed certain marks of his glory. Though they saw that it was polluted by the crimes and evil deeds of men, yet they ought to have retained some regard for it on account of that expression, "This is my rest for ever."
But we yet see that the king was sharply and severely reproved, as he deserved. Hence most foolishly does the Pope at the present day seek to exempt himself from all reproof, because he occupies the apostolic throne.5 Were we to grant what is claimed, (though that is frivolous and childish,) that the Roman throne is apostolic, (which I think has never been occupied by Peter,) surely the throne of David was much more venerable than the chair of Peter? and yet the descendants of David who succeeded him, being types and representatives of Christ, were not on that account, as we here see, exempt from reproof.
It might, however, be asked, why the Prophet said that he was sent to the whole people, when his doctrine was addressed only to the king and the public judges? for it belonged not to the people or to private individuals. But I have said already that it was easy for the common people to gather how God's judgment ought to have been dreaded, for they had heard that punishment was denounced even on the house of David, which was yet considered sacred. When, therefore, they saw that those were summoned before God's tribunal who were, in a manner, not subject to laws, what were they to think but that every one of them ought to have thought of himself, and to examine his own life? for they must at length be called to give an account, since the king himself and his counsellors had been summoned to do so. It now follows, --
1 Or "descend;" it appears that Jeremiah was in the Temple when he had this commission. And it would be better to render the first words, "Thus said Jehovah," as it is a narrative of what had taken place. In Jeremiah 18:1, it is said the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, and then he was commanded to go down to the potter's house; which intimates that he was at the time in the Temple, officiating probably in his course as a priest. -- Ed.
2 The verb here is different from that in Jeremiah 21:12, though rendered in our version the same -- "execute." It is
Blayney's version can by no means be approved, "Do right and justice," as the distinctive character of the two acts is not expressed. "Do judgment and justice," are all the Versions and the Targum. -- Ed.
3 So it is rendered by Blayney; by the Vulg. and Targ., "Make not sad;" by the Sept., "Tyrannize not over;" and by the, Syr., "Wrong not." The verb means to press down, to depress, and hence to oppress. With this the next verb is connected by
We may render the passage as Gataker does, "And the stranger, the orphan, and the widow oppress not, wrong not," or plunder not. A similar passage is in Jeremiah 7:6. The word rendered there "oppress" is different,
4 There is first in this passage a general direction, "Administer ye judgment and justice;" and then there is a specification which refers first to justice and then to judgment, the order, as is commonly the case, being reversed. It was an act of "justice" to rescue the plundered from the hands of the plunderer. Then they were forbidden to administer wrong, "judgment," so as to depress and plunder the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, and to shed innocent blood. See Psalm 94:6. It shews a bad state of society when the wicked and the guilty are not punished; but it is still worse when the helpless are oppressed, and the innocent are condemned. -- Ed.
5 Poor Peter never had any throne, therefore the Pope's throne cannot be apostolic. The Pope's throne is a heathen throne, both materially and spiritually. The seat itself is a chair of some heathen hero or deity, and the power claimed to be exercised was never claimed nor possessed by Peter. The Pope is quite as much an impostor as Mahomet, only his blasphemy is greater and more detestable. -- Ed.
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