3. From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, (that is the three and twentieth year,) the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.
3. A tertio decimo anno Josiae filii Ammon regis Jehudah ad hunc diem, hic tertius et vicesimus annus est, loquutus est Jehova ad me, et loquutus sum ad vos, surgens mane; et non audistis:
4. And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
4. Et misit Jehova ad vos omnes suos servos Prophetas, mane surgens et mittens; et non audistis et non inclinastis aurem vestram ad audiendum;
5. They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever.
5. Dicendo, Revertimini agedum quisque a via sua mala eta malitia operum vestrorum; et habitate super terram, quam dedit Jehova vobis et patribus vestris a seculo et usque in seculum (et quoe sequuntur. )
Jeremiah now expostulates with the Jews, because they had not only perfidiously departed from the true worship of God, and despised the whole teaching of his Law, but because they had shaken off the yoke, and designedly and even obstinately rejected all warnings, being not moved by reproofs nor even by threatenings. He does not then simply charge them with impiety and ingratitude, but adds the sin of perverseness, that they were like untameable wild beasts, and could by no means be corrected.
He had spent his time in vain, he had consumed much labor without any fruit. It is then no wonder that he now accuses them of perverseness, and that in the name of God; for he pleads not his own cause, but shews what the Jews deserved, considering how much God had labored in reclaiming them, and that they had rejected all his warnings and refused all his remedies. Then
We learn that the Prophet spoke thus seventeen years before the destruction of the City and Temple; for he had accomplished forty years before the people were driven into exile, and before they who thought themselves safe, miserably perished. He continued to the death of Josiah; and afterwards about twenty-two transpired; for Jehoiakim reigned eleven years; and without reckoning the short time of Jeconiah, Mathaniah, called also Zedekiah, was in the eleventh year removed, and disgracefully and reproachfully put to death. Thus it appears that the Prophet constantly labored for forty years.
Hence, also, we learn how diabolical was the madness of that people in rejecting so many admonitions. And if we connect another thing, to which I lately referred, that they had been taught by many examples, it will appear still more evident that the disease of impiety as to that people was altogether incurable.
But this passage deserves special attention; for we here learn that we ought immediately to return to God when he invites us; for faith is known by its promptitude. As soon then as God speaks, it behoves us to be attentive, so that we may immediately follow him. But if God ceases not for a whole year to warn and exhort us, while at the same time his doctrine is despised, we become guilty of intolerable sin. Let us then remember that days are here in a manner mentioned as well as years, that the Jews might consider how many days are included in every year; and let us also know that years are mentioned by Jeremiah, that they might, understand that they had no excuse, inasmuch as God had for so long a time ceased not to promote their welfare, while in the meantime they persisted in their impiety, and continued obstinate to the last. This is the reason why the Prophet relates again when it was that he began to discharge his prophetic office, even from the thirteenth year of Josiah.
He then adds, that it was their own fault that they had not repented;
After having asserted the authority of his call, he adds, that he had faithfully promoted the welfare of the whole people; for he declares how faithful and diligent he had been when he says, that he had
He then adds, I
He afterwards applies to God what he had said of himself,
"He who hears you hears me,
and he who despises you despises me." (Luke 10:16)
So also the Prophet sets forth God himself as rising up early, exhorting the people and manifesting every care for their wellbeing. This, then, is the design of the metaphor, when he says, that God had sent to them and rose up early; he rose up early while sending his servants.
Now as God fulminates against all despisers of his doctrine, so from these words we may gather no small consolation; for we certainly conclude that God watches over our safety whenever sound and faithful teachers go forth: it is the same as though he himself descended from heaven, rose up early, and was intent in securing our salvation. This we learn from the very words of the Prophet, when he says, that God rose up early. But as this testimony of God's favor and paternal care towards us is delightful, so to the same extent dreadful is the vengeance that awaits those who neglect this favor, who sleep when God is watching, who hear not when he is speaking, who continue in their sloth and torpor when God of his own accord meets them, and kindly and gently invites them to himself.
Grant, Almighty God, that since thou hast been pleased to choose us from our infancy to be thy people, and that when we were wretched apostates, thou hast also been pleased to restore us to the right way, by stretching forth thine hand to lead us, -- O grant, that we may not be deaf nor idle; but may it please thee, by thy Spirit, especially to correct all obstinacy in our hearts, so that we may render ourselves obedient and submissive to thee: and as thou hast not ceased continually to call us, may we in our turn respond to thee, and not only by our tongues, but also by our works, pursue the course which thou hast appointed for us, until we shall reach the goal, and enjoy that blessed state of glory which thou hast prepared for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
We began yesterday to explain God's complaint against the Jews, -- that he had found them wholly refractory and rebellious. He says, in one word, that they did
He afterwards explains what God required them to do,
When they were bidden to repent of their
Now there is a striking alliteration in the verbs
He also emphatically uses the word
And this is what ought to be observed; for we are wont, in a cold manner, to confess our sins, and to pray to God when we are proved guilty, except when each one is touched with the sense of his own guilt, and owns himself to be justly exposed to God's judgment; for while every one mingles with the multitude, it so happens that no one acknowledges the heinousness of his own sins. Therefore, for true and sincere repentance this peculiar examination is necessary, so that every one may repent and not regard his friends.
When he says,
1 This is not quite correct: the verbs are not the same, though in some moods and tenses they are formed the same; the one is
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