18. To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; (as it is this day;)
18. Jerosolymae et urbibus Jehudah, et regibus ejus, et principibus ejus, ad ponendum eos in vastitatem (vel, solitudinem,) in stuporem, in sibulum, et maledictionem, sicut dies haec;
He begins with Jerusalem, as it is said elsewhere that judgment would begin at God's house. (1 Peter 4:17.) And there is nothing opposed to this in the context of the passage; for though he had promised to the children of God a happy end to the evils which they were shortly to endure, he nevertheless enumerates here all the nations on whom God had bidden him to denounce judgments. In this catalogue the Church obtains the first place; for though God be the judge of the whole world, he yet justly begins with his own Church, and that especially for two reasons -- for as the father of a family watches over his children and servants, and if there be anything wrong, his solicitude is particularly manifested; so God, as he dwells in his Church, cannot do otherwise than chastise it for its faults; -- and then, we know that they are less excusable, who, having been taught the will of God, do yet go on indulging their own lusts, (Luke 12:47; ) for they cannot plead ignorance. Hence is fulfilled what Christ declares, that those servants shall be more grievously beaten, who, knowing their masters will, yet obstinately disregard it. There is, then, a twofold fault in the members of the Church; and no comparison can be made between them and the unbelieving who are in thick darkness. Since God shines in his Church and shews the way, as Moses says,
"Behold I set before you the way of life and of death; I therefore call heaven and earth to witness that there is no excuse for you. (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19.)
This, then, is the second reason why God first visits the sins of the faithful, or of those who are counted faithful.
There is also what appertains to an example: God chastises his own children lest he should seem by his indulgence to favor or countenance what is wicked and sinful. But this third reason is in a manner accidental; and therefore I wished to state it apart from the two other reasons. When, therefore, God so severely treats his own Church, the unbelieving ought to draw this conclusion, that if this be done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry? (Luke 23:31.)
But the two things which I have before mentioned ought to be deemed by us as sufficient reasons why God, while suspending his vengeance as to the reprobate, punishes the elect as well as all those who profess themselves to be members of his Church. We now understand why Jeremiah mentions first the holy city, and then all the cities of Judah, the kings also and the princes; for God had with open bosom invited them to himself, but they had, as it were, from determined wickedness, provoked his wrath by despising both his Law and his Prophets.
He afterwards adds,
It is then added,
1 Blayney assents to this conjecture, and not without some reason: he considers that God's words are broken off at the end of Jeremiah 25:16, and are not resumed till the latter part of Jeremiah 25:26, where God again continues his words thus, "and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them." All the intermediate verses he includes in a parenthesis, and regards them as written either by Baruch or by the Prophet himself after the destruction of Jerusalem, when his prophecies were compiled: and this accounts for the words, "as at this day." But Gateker rejects this view, and considers this prophecy to have been announced after the Chaldean irruption in the third or fourth year of Jehoiakim, referred to in Daniel 1:1. The devastation then produced was great, and finally completed in the reign of Zedekiah. -- Ed.
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