17. Hearken not unto them; serve the king of Babylon, and live: wherefore should this city be laid waste?
17. Ne audiatis ipsos, servite regi Babylonis, et vivetis: ut quid erit urbs haec desolatio (hoc est, in vastitatem?)
It is not to be wondered at that Jeremiah said the same things so often, for, as we have seen, he had to contend with false prophets. When any one speaks, and there be no dispute and no adversary opposing him, he may calmly deal with the teachable and confine himself to a few words; but when contention arises, and opponents appear, who may seek to subvert what we say, then we must exercise more care, for they who are thus driven different ways, will not be satisfied with a few words. As, then, Jeremiah saw that the people were fluctuating, he found it necessary, in order to confirm them, to use many words; not that prolixity is in itself sufficient to produce conviction; yet there is no doubt but that Jeremiah spoke efficiently so as to influence at least some portion of the people. Besides, it was necessary to dwell more expressly on a subject not very plausible; the false prophets were heard with favor, and the greater part greedily devoured what was set forth by them; for the hope of impunity is always pleasing and sought after by the world.
But what did Jeremiah say?
We hence see that there were two very just reasons why the Prophet insisted so much on this one subject, and confirmed what he might have briefly said without any prolixity;
"This is my rest for ever." (Psalm 132:14)
In short, he declared to the Jews that a most awful condemnation awaited them, if they suffered the city to perish through their own fault, and that they would be the authors of their own ruin, if they undertook not the yoke of the king of Babylon. It follows --
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