36. And now therefore thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;
36. Et nunc propterea sic dicit Jehova, Deus Israel, ad urbem hanc (vel, de urbe hac) de qua vos dicitis, Tradita est in manum regis Babylonii in gladio et fame et peste;
37. Behold, I will gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely;
37. Ecce ego congrego cos ex omnibus terris, ad quas expulero eos in ira mea, et excandescentia mea, et indignatione magna; et reducam eos ad locum hunc, et habitare faciam secure.
God has hitherto been shewing that the Jews were worthy of that extreme punishment with which he had already visited the kingdom of Israel, and that they could not complain of extreme severity, though they were to rot in exile after the ruin of the city and the Temple, for they had polluted the land which ought to have been sacred to God, and had everywhere spread abroad their abominations, so that even the Temple was not free from their filth and defilements, and they had not thus offended for a short time, but, as we have seen, they had despised all warnings; and though God had been solicitous for their safety, they had yet proudly rejected and even extinguished his favor. As then they were of a disposition so wicked, and their impiety had become altogether incurable through so much hardness, God shews that he would render to them the reward due to their works, by wholly rejecting them. But now he adds the promise of favor, in order to shew that he would in such a manner be the avenger of wickedness, as ever to have a regard for the gratuitous covenant which he had made with Abraham.
We have already said often, that whenever God mitigates the bitterness of punishment with some hope of mercy, he has a peculiar respect to his chosen people. The word then is not indiscriminately addressed to all, when God declares that he will be at length merciful and propitious, for he encourages his chosen people alone, as I have said, to entertain hope. As then there were some godly seed remaining among the people, God intended to relieve them, so that they might not wholly despond.
We now see the Prophet's object; and this truth ought to be carefully observed; for we shall be mistaken as to the doctrine taught by the Prophets, except we know, that after having threatened the wicked and the despisers of God, they then turn their discourse to the elect, to encourage them to bear patiently and with calm minds the punishment laid on them, as Jeremiah did in his own case when he exhorted the faithful to lay their mouth in the dust, and then patiently to wait for God, though he would for a time hide his face from Jacob, that is, from his Church. Jeremiah then, after having shewn that the Jews could not be too severely treated, because they had been wholly intractable, now adds,-
I have said that the case with all the reprobate is, that they deride God while he spares and bears with them; but when they find that he is a judge, then they do not look to his mercy, but he prostrate in despair as though they were lifeless.
We now understand what the design of the Prophet was, when he spoke of the Jews as saying, that the
Here God promises that the exile would only be temporary, because he would at length gather, as it is said in Psalm 147:2, the dispersed of Israel. No name is here expressed, but a pronoun; there is however no ambiguity, for it is sufficiently evident that he speaks of the Jews when he says,
"Though they be scattered to the four quarters of the world,
I will thence gather them."
As then God had through Moses promised, that though they were banished into the farthest parts of the world, yet their restoration would not be difficult to him; so the Prophet applies this declaration of Moses to his own prophecy, even that God would gather from the whole of the East those who had been scattered.
And he adds that his favor would be continued,
But we know that this was not fulfilled when the Jews returned to their own country; for they were greatly harassed by their neighbors, and the building of the Temple was at first hindered, and they endured many troubles from all quarters, and at length they were oppressed with tyranny by the Syrian kings, and reduced to such extremities, that exile would not only have been more tolerable, but even pleasanter and more desirable, in comparison with the many miseries with which they were oppressed. But, as it has been said elsewhere, whenever the Prophets prophesied of the return of the people, they extended what they taught to the whole kingdom of Christ. For liberation from exile was no more than the beginning of God's favor: God began the work of true and real redemption when he restored his people to their own country; but he gave them but a slight taste of his mercy. This prophecy, then, with those which are like it, ought to be extended to the kingdom of Christ. He afterwards adds, --
1 "Ye are saying," is the original, which betokens a habit at that time; they were continually saying this during the siege. -- Ed.
2 This promise clearly shews what Calvin says as to their meaning in saying "The city has been delivered up," etc. that is, irretrievably. No, says God, I will restore it. -- Ed.
3 There is a gradation in the words, -- wrath, hot wrath, foaming wrath. Extreme displeasure betokens, as Calvin intimates, extreme wickedness, and inflicts extreme punishment. -- Ed.
Back to BibleStudyGuide.org.
These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.