Lecture One Hundred and Sixth
19. For thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, and concerning the sea, and concerning the bases, and concerning the residue of the vessels that remain in this city,
19. Quia sic dicit Jehova exercituum de columnis et de mari, et de basibus, et de residuo vasorum quae supersunt in urbe hac,
20. Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;
20. Quae non abstulit Nebuchadnezer rex Babylonia, cum adduxit captivum Jechaniam filium Jehoiakim regem Jehudah e Jerusalem, Babylonem, et omnes proceres Jehudah et Jerusalem;
21. Yea, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem;
21. Certe sic dicit Jehovah exercituum, Deus Israel, de vasis quae supersunt in domo Jehovae et in domo regis et in Jerusalem;
22. They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the Lord: then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place.
22. Babylonem transferentur, et illic erunt usque ad diem quo visitabo ea (vel, cos, quod mihi magis placet,) dieit Jehova; et ascendere faciam eos et reducam cos ad locum hunc.
Jeremiah said, in the passage we considered yesterday, that it was more to be desired that God should keep what remained at Jerusalem, than that what had been taken away should be restored, for the time of punishment had not yet passed away; and thus he condemned the false teachers, because they had presumptuously and boldly promised a quick return as to the king as well as to those who had been led with him into exile, he now confirms the same thing, and says that what remained as yet at Jerusalem was already destined for their enemies the Babylonians, and would become their prey. Nebuchadnezzar had in part spared the Temple and the city; he had taken away chiefly the precious vessels, but had not entirely spoiled the Temple of its ornaments. As, then, some splendor was still to be seen there, the Jews ought to have learned that he had acted kindly towards them. He now says, that the Temple and the city would be destroyed; and this may be gathered from his words when he says, that there would be nothing remaining.
And he also adds,
Useful instruction may also be hence gathered. Whenever God chastises us, let us ever consider that he does not proceed to extremities; for the cause of murmuring, and often of despair, is this, -- because we think that he deals with us with extreme rigor. But this happens through our sinful and perverted judgment; for God never afflicts us so severely but that some portion of kindness and of moderation ever appears; in a word, his judgments are always founded on his goodness. Were any one, therefore, rightly to call to mind how far he is from suffering extreme evils, it would conduce much to alleviate his sorrows. But when we reject every knowledge of God's goodness, and only consider his severity, we either murmur or in a manner become furious against him. But this passage teaches us, that when God leaves some residue to us, it is an evidence of his paternal favor, and that therefore something more may be hoped for, provided we from the heart repent.
The design, then, of the Prophet's warning was, that the Jews might receive this remaining favor of God, and not proceed in their obstinacy until God again stretched forth his hand to destroy them.
He repeats again the same words,
It was the same thing as though the Jews were reminded that the exile which had been predicted would be long, and that they foolishly hoped for what the false prophets had promised as to the vessels; for God had no greater care for the vessels than for his chosen people, as the vessels were acceptable to God for the people's sake. Here, then, Jeremiah confirms what he has said elsewhere, and that often, that the people would be captives until the day of visitation, that is, till the end of seventy years.
1 Or foundations, those on which the sea or pillars stood. See I Kings 7:27-37. -- Ed.
2 A clear instance of the affirmative sense of this particle, for the passage can admit of no other, though the versions, except the Syr., retain its causal sense. -- Ed.
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