14. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.
14. Quoniam sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Deus Israel, jugum ferreum imposui super collum omnium gentium istorum, ut serviant Nevuchadnezer, regi Babylonis, et servient ei, atque etiam bestiam agri dedi illi.
It would have been a vain spectacle, had Jeremiah brought only his iron band around his neck; but when he added an explanation of the symbol, he no doubt prevailed on many to believe his prophecy, and rendered those inexcusable who had hardened themselves in their wickedness. But it is worthy of being observed, that God replaced the wooden bands with iron bands; and he did this, because the whole people had through their foolish and wicked consent approved of the madness of that impostor, who had dared to profane that symbol, by which God had testified that he did not speak in vain, but seriously by the mouth of his servant.
A profitable doctrine may be hence elicited, -- that the ungodly by barking against God gain nothing, except that they kindle more and more his wrath, and thus render double their own evils, like a dog, who being ensnared obstinately strives to extricate himself from the snare and to shake it off, and thus strangles himself. In like manner the ungodly, the more they resist God, the heavier judgment they procure for themselves. And, therefore, whenever God declares to us that he is offended with our sins, we ought to take heed, lest while we seek to break the wooden bands, he be preparing and forming for us iron bands. Our condition will ever become worse, unless we humbly deprecate God's wrath as soon as it appears, and also patiently submit to his scourges when he chastises us for our offenses. We ought then to bear this in mind as to the wooden and iron bands.
This servitude may at the same time be explained in another way; the condition of these nations was bearable, as long as Nebuchadnezzar ordered tribute to be paid; and when he sent his prefects, the object was no other than to retain possession; but when he found that they could not be otherwise subdued than by a harder servitude, he began to exercise great tyranny, though he had been before an endurable master. The same thing may be also said of the Jews; for we know that they had been tributaries to the king of Babylon; and as he had spared them, his humanity might have been deemed a sort of liberty; but when he found that a hard wood could not be split but by a hard wedge, he began more violently to oppress them. Then that servitude began which is now mentioned. The Jews, therefore, began then really to serve the king of Babylon, when he saw that they would not endure that bearable yoke which he had laid on them, but in their obstinacy and pride ever struggled against it.
The Prophet adds,
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.