Lecture One Hundred and Forty-Sixth
11. And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army,
11. Et aceidit postquam ascenderat exercitus Chaeldmorum ab Jerosolyma propter exercitum Pharaonis;
12. Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people.
12. Tunc egressus est Jeremias Jerosolyma, ut proficisceretur in terram Benjamin, ut divideret illinc in medio populi.
13. And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fullest away to the Chaldeans.
13. Quum esset in porta Benjamin, illic erat magister custodiae, cujus nomen liria, filius Selemiae, filii Chananiae, qui apprehendit Jeremiam Prophetam, dicendo, Ad Chaldaeos tu cadis (aut, dilaberis, hoc enim significat verbum lpn)
14. Then said Jerenfiah, It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.
14. Et dixit Jeremias, Mendacium, non dilabor ad Chaldaeos; sed non audivit eum, et apprehendit Iiria Jeremiam, et deduxit eum ad principes.
Here Jeremiah tells us how, and on what occaision, he was cast into prison. He had said shortly before, that he was in the middle of the people, or among them; but now he gives an account of the cruelty of the princes, that they not only cast him into prison, but even into a grave, for they put him, as we shall see, in a dungeon, so that it was a miracle that he did not die there; and this was not done only once; but we shall hereafter see, before the end of the chapter, that he was unhumanly treated, so that he was afraid to return to the same place, lest it should prove fatal to him. He mentions the time when this was done, that is, when the Chaldean army went forth to meet the Egyptians. He was then free to leave the city: no one before could have gone out, because the gates were closed, and the city was also surrounded by enemies. It was then, he says, that he went out, that he might go to
But he then adds, that he was intercepted by the
This passage teaches us that God's servants cannot escape without being exposed to many calumnies and false suspicions. Jeremiah might at the beginning have evaded this, and according to the perception of the flesh, his exemption or immunity might have been viewed as lawful, for there was now before his eyes the danger, not only of losing his life, but also of his name and reputation, which, to ingenuous and wise men, is of much more value. Had Jeremiah then chosen to evade, he might have made this pretense, -- "I am indeed ready to offer my life as a sacrifice a hundred times, but what will it avail me, if I am to be regarded as a revolter?" For he must have thus exposed the very name of God to many blasphemies: they might have said," This is the Prophet who boasted that he had been sent from above, but he is now become perfidious and a traitor to his own countw, and has tried to deliver up the city into the hands of enemies." Jeremiah then might have shaken off this burden laid on him; but it was nccessary for him to bear this reproach, with which he was falsely charged. Faithful teachers ought indeed to remove, as far as they can, all calumnies, and to check the wicked and malicious, so that they may not have the occasion to speak evil; but when they have done all, they will not yet exempt themselves from calumny; for their words and their deeds will be misconstrued. Thus Jeremiah was loaded with false charges; for all had persuaded themselves, that as he had so much extolled the power of King Nebuchadnezzar, he had been hired by him for the purpose of depressing the people by fear; and it may be that the violent among them did wilfully and knowingly make his case to appear worse to the ignorant, even by false reports. As then this conviction respecting him prevailed everywhere, he was apprehended as a revolter, as he was going out of the city.
But he says, that he intended to go
Then follows what we have already mentioned, that he was
I have already reminded you that the verb
1 The idea of trafficking or buying is given by the Sept., "to buy thence in the midst of the people." The Fulg. is, "that he might divide there his possession in the sight of the citizens;" and materially the same meaning is given by the Syr. and the Targ. The literal rendering is, "For a portion from thence (or, there) among the people;" which seems to mean, that he intended to go to the land of Benjanmin, that he might get his portion or share from the inheritance he had among his people. So that Blayney's version appears to be right, "to receive a portion thereof among the people." The Chaldeans had deprived him of his patrimony in the land of Benjamin: when they retreated he purposed to go there, "with the view," as Blayney observes, "of coming in for a share of the produce of the land with the rest of his neighbors." -- Ed.
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