Jeremiah 32:28-29

28. Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:

28. Propterea sic dicit Jehova, Ecce ego trade urbem hanc in manum Chaldaeorum et in manum Nebuchadnezer regis Babylonis, et capiet eam;

29. And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink-offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger.

29. Et ingredientur Chaldaei, qui oppugnant urbem hanc, et succendent urbem hanc igne, et exurent eam, et domus in quibus suffitum fecerunt super tecta ipsarum Baal, et libamen libarunt diis alienis ad me provocandum.


The import of the answer is, that though God would bring to an end the seventy years of exile, yet there was no reason for hypocrites to gather encouragement, for this promise did not belong to them. God then speaks here, in the first place, of his vengeance, in order to fill the despisers of his Law with dread, and to intimate that they were excluded from the favor of redemption, he afterwards adds, that he would at length be merciful to the exiles; but this favor is confined to the elect and faithful alone.

The two parts of the answer ought then to be noticed, for God seems here to set in opposition one to another two contrary things. But as I have said, in the former clause, he has in view the hypocrites, who applied to themselves, without faith and repentance, what the Prophet had testified of restoration. God then sets forth here his extreme severity, and then he mitigates that rigor; but he then turns his discourse to the elect, because they alone were capable of receiving his favor.

Let us now come to the words, I will deliver this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of King Nebuchadnezar, and he will take it. this purpose was, that what Jeremiah himself had predicted by his command, should remain unalterable, that the city could not be delivered. For it might have disturbed the mind of the Prophet were the Jews shortly after to be delivered, and were the siege of the city to be raised: he might, in that case, have been exposed to ridicule, together with his prophecies, and rashness might have been objected to him, because he had dared to announce in God's name what we before noticed. For this reason and purpose God declares that nothing could be changed, for the Chaldeans were to take the city; and thus he bids the Prophet to retain a quiet mind, and not to disturb himself, as though it was his intention to expose his prophecies to ridicule; for God's sacred name would thus have been subjected to many reproaches. Had Jeremiah been proved guilty of falsehood, what would have been the consequence, but that the Jews would have insolently triumphed over God? God then declares again that the city was given over to destruction.

And therefore he adds, enter in shall the Chaldeans who assail the city; for he does not say that they would come, but he confirms in other words what he had said; Break then into the city shall the Chaldeans, though it was closed up and fortified; and shall set on fire this city. It was not without purpose that he mentioned the word city so often; for as it was the sanctuary of God, and the royal seat, the Jews thought that it was impregnable, and that the sun could be sooner cast down from heaven than that; enemies could take possession of it: in order then to subvert this false confidence, God often mentioned the word city. He at last adds, that the Chaldeans would burn it, as though he had said, that whatever Jeremiah had predicted would certainly be fulfilled, not only respecting the attack on the city, but also its destruction, so that not a stone would be left on a stone, but that there would be a dreadful desolation until the time of its restoration. The rest to-morrow.


Grant, Almighty God, that as thou shewest that thou so rulest over the whole world as to exercise a peculiar care over us whom thou hast been pleased to gather into the bosom of thy Church, -- O grant, that we may be so restrained by thy awful power within the bounds of our duty, as that we may yet be always fully persuaded that thou art our God and Father, and thus submit ourselves willingly to thy word, and not only taste of thy goodness, which is laid up for thy children, but also feed on it, so that we may at length come into thy blessed kingdom above, where there will be full satisfaction and fruition, through Jesus Christ our Lord. -- Amen.

Lecture One Hundred and Twenty-Ninth

I did not, in the last lecture, fully explain the passage in which the Prophet announced the burning of the city. After having spoken of the city, he mentions the houses on which they had offered incense to their idols, and poured out libations. He then expresses the cause why so heavy a vengeance from God awaited that holy city, even because its houses had been polluted by superstitions. And he says, that incense had been made to idols on their tops or roofs; for the roofs, as it appears from many parts of Scripture, were places, as it were, to walk in; and we know that idolaters ever sought high places, as they imagined that they were thus nearer to God. Then the design is to shew, that the punishment of which the Prophet had spoken, was not too severe, because all the houses had been contaminated by many sacrilegious acts.

He first mentions Baal, and then foreign gods. Baal, we know, is sometimes taken specifically, and sometimes includes all sorts of idols, and yet the Prophets often used the plural number, and called them Baalim, that is, patrons; whom the Jews thought that they were first to propitiate, in order that they might in the same manner pacify God. For superstition is never satisfied with the one only true God, but seeks many gods, as we shall hereafter see in the 35th verse (Jeremiah 32:35), where Molech is mentioned, being added to Baal. And the Prophet says here, that they had poured libations to foreign gods. We hence see that Baal includes idols of every sort.

He adds, that they might provoke me. By these words God intimates, that no ignorance could have been pretended by the Jews, for they had been more than sufficiently taught from the Law how God was to be worshipped; and a rule had been also prescribed to them to worship God alone: but they worshipped many gods, and according to their own fictitious superstitions. Justly, then, does God here complain that they had, as it were, purposely provoked him, for ignorance could not have been made a pretext, since the doctrine of the Law was sufficient to guide them. It now follows --


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