Jeremiah 22:4-5

4. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.

4. Quid si faciendo feceritis (alii vertunt, quin potius faciendo faciatis) ser-monem hunc (hoc est, obediatis sermoni huic,) et ingrediemini per portas domus hujus, reges sedentes pro Davide (vel, Davidi) super solium ejus, insidentes currui et equis, ipse, rex, et servi ejus et populus ejus.

5. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.

5. Quod si non obedieritis sermonibus istis, in me (hoc est, per me) juravi, dicit Jehova, quod in solitudinem (aut, vastitatem) erit domus haec.


The Prophet expresses more clearly what I have already stated, that if the Jews from the heart repented, there was yet a place for mercy; for he promises them that God would be reconcilable, if they sought to be reconciled to him; he allures them to repentance by words of kindness. We may, indeed, read Mayk, kiam, as one word, and render it, "But rather;" but I follow others who give this version, For if by doing ye will do this word, then ye shall enter in, etc.; and thus they turn the copulative into an adverb of time, which is often the case.1 Still the other meaning is not unsuitable, when the future verb, wset, toshu, is taken in a hortative sense; for we know that the future tense in Hebrew is often to be understood as an imperative. As to the general meaning, there is not much difference; for what the Prophet designed to shew was this, that God would be reconciled to the Jews, if they were not wholly disobedient. "Only," he says, "obey my word, and your safety shall be secured." Not that impunity was to be expected, as I have said before, but, as they would have found, their reconciliation to God would not have been in vain, for their punishment would have been mitigated; in that case their exile would have been rendered more endurable, for God would have doubtless made their adversaries kind to them; in short, mercy would have been shewn to them in many ways. Moreover, the Prophet shews that he called them not in vain to repent; for he sets before them God's favor in mitigating their punishment.

And he adds, Ye shall enter through the gates of this house, both your kings and their counsellors; but the number is afterwards changed, he, that is, every king.2 The Prophet, seems, at the first view, to have retracted what he had said respecting exile; but the two things are to be connected together, that there was some hope remaining, if the Jews accepted the favor of God, and then that the punishment, once decreed, was to be borne by them. These two things do not disagree. For God had resolved to drive the Jews into exile; but all Judea would not doubtless have been reduced to solitude, as that happened through their irreclaimable obstinacy, according to what we read at the end of this Book; for they might have otherwise dwelt still in their own country. This is one thing; and then their condition after their exile would have been better and far more happy. But even at that time, the crown was trodden under foot, and all the dignity and power of the family of David were nearly abolished.

When, therefore, the Prophet says, "Enter shall kings in chariots and on horses," and also "the people and he and his counsellors, through the gates of this city;" he does not mean that they would so escape as that God would not chastise them for their sins, as he had declared, but that there would still be some form of a kingdom, and that exile would be short, and also that there would be at length a restoration, so that the descendants of David would return to their former state, and that the city itself would be restored so as to abound in wealth as in all other blessings. Such is the promise. The Prophet further adds what would otherwise take place, If they will not hear, this place shall become a desolation. But this threatening shall be considered tomorrow.


Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast been pleased to erect the throne of thy Son among us, we may suffer ourselves to be ruled by him, and not falsely boast that we are his people, but really prove that we truly and from the heart confess him as our King, that he may also so defend us through the whole course of life against all the assaults of our enemies, that we, ever relying on thine aid, and possessing our souls in patience, may at length be translated into that blessed glory and rest, which he has purchased for us by his own blood: -- Amen.

Lecture Eighty-First

We explained yesterday the declaration of the Prophet, -- that the kingdom would again be restored by the Lord, if the king and his servants and the whole people repented. He now introduces a commination, -- that if they heard not, it was all over with the palace and the city. But the word house, or palace is often repeated; for though the defenses of the city gave courage to the people, yet what made them especially proud was the confidence they felt that the kingdom had been promised to be for ever. Hence, they thought, that the royal dignity could not possibly fall as long as the sun and moon continued in the heavens. (Psalm 89:38.) This false confidence is what the Prophet now meets, and he says, If ye will not hear these words, etc. He changes the number: he had said before this word, hzh rbdh ta, at edeber eze; but he now says these words, Myrbdh ta, at edeberim. But the singular number includes the whole of his doctrine; yet he now uses the plural number, because he had exhorted them to change their life.3

And that they might not think that they were for no good reason terrified, he declares that God had sworn by himself. We indeed know that when God makes an oath, either when he promises anything, or when he denounces punishment on sinners, it is done on account of men's sloth and dullness. For our hearts through unbelief will hardly receive a simple truth, unless God removes the impediments; and this is the design of making an oath, when God does not only speak, but in order to render us more certain of our salvation, he confirms his promise by introducing his own name as a pledge. The reason is similar as to threatenings; for so great is the false security of sinners, that they are deaf until God, as it were, with force penetrates into their hearts. Hence he says, that God made an oath by himself; for it seemed incredible to the Jews, that the family which had been set apart by God from the world, would ever perish. It now follows:

1 The Vulg., the Syr., and the Targum omit the w before "enter:" but it has often the meaning of then, especially when preceded, as here, by the conditional particle if. -- Ed.

2 The verse may be rendered thus, --

4. For if doing ye shall do this word, Then come through the gates of this house Shall kings, sitting for David on his throne, Who shall ride in a chariot and on horses, He, and his servant, and his people.

The "sitting" belongs to the kings, but "riding" to the king, his servant, and his people. As "he" is in the singular number, so "the servant" is, though both are pluralized by the Sept., the Vulg., and the Arab., and indeed, the "servant" by the Syr. And the Targ. But the Hebrew is as rendered above, as to the word "chariot," and "servant;" it is the idiom of the language. -- Ed.

3 "These words" include the "word" of message contained in the second verse, and the "word" of precept in the third verse; and "this word" or thing, at the beginning of the fourth verse, is the latter -- the word of precept. -- Ed.


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