1. Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, (while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison) saving,
1. Et fuit sermo Jehovae ad Jeremiam secundo, cum ipse adhuc captivus esset in atrio custodiae, dicendo,
2. Thus saith the Lord, the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; The Lord is his name;
2. Sic dicit Jehova, faciens ipsam, Jehova formans ipsam, ad stabiliendum ipsam; Jehova nomen ejus;
3. Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
3. Clama ad me, et respondebo tibi, et annunciabo tibi res magnificas et reconditas, quas non novisti:
4. For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;
4. Quia sic dicit Jehova, Deus Israel, super domibus urbis hujus, super domibus regum Jehudah, quae dirutae fuerunt catapultis (vel, balistis, vel, machinis aliis) et gladio, (alii autem vertunt, ad catapultas, vel, balistas, vel, alias munitiones, et ad gladium; dicemus postea de sensu: hoec omnia legenda sunt uno contextu)
5. They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger, and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.
5. Venerunt ad praeliandum cum Chaldaeis, et ad replendas ipsas (domos) cadaveribus hominum, quos percussi in ira mea et indignatione mea, et quia abscondi faciam meam ab hac urbe propter universam malitiam ipsorum;
6. Behold, I will bring it health and cum, and I will cum them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
6. Ecce ego adduco illi restitutionem et sanationem, et sanabo eos, et aperiam ipsis multitudinem pacis et veritatis (alii vertunt, orationem)
This prophecy refers to the same subject; nor was it to be wondered at, that God spoke so much of the same thing, for it was necessary to render the Jews inexcusable, as they always pretended ignorance, except God made frequent repetitions. And this was also the reason why Paul said, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses everything should be established, when he said that he would come the second and the third time to Corinth. (2 Corinthians 13:1) He intimated that his coming would not be useless, for except they repented they could not have escaped by pretending ignorance, as hypocrites are wont to do. It was, then, God's purpose to confirm by many prophecies what he had once testified respecting the restoration of the people; but he had an especial care for the faithful, that they might not grow faint and succumb under those many trials which remained for so long a time; for as some died in exile, they might have forgotten the covenant of God, and thus the soul might have perished with the body. And those who were to return to their own country had need of no common support, so that they might continue firm for seventy years, and rely with confidence on God's mercy. We now, then, understand why God repeated the doctrine as to the return of the people.
It is said that the
There is also no doubt but that it was profitable to Jeremiah himself; for it was a most iniquitous reward, that he should, while serving God faithfully and conscientiously, be cast ignominiously into prison, and be there kept a captive so long. It was, then, some mitigation of his grief, that God appeared to him in that very prison; it was an evidence that God esteemed him higher than all the Jews. God did not then speak in the Temple, nor throughout the whole city. The prison then was God's sanctuary, and there he gave responses to his Prophet, though he was wont to do this before from the mercy-seat, from the ark of the covenant. We hence see how great was the honor that God was pleased at that time to bestow in a manner on a prison, when he had forsaken his own Temple.
Now follows the prophecy, the substance of which is, that though the city was to be given up into the hand of the king of Babylon, yet that calamity was not to be perpetual, for God at length, after the completion of seventy years, would restore it. But why this promise was given has been stated already: it was given that the faithful might submit patiently to God, and suffer themselves with calm minds to be chastised, and also recumb on the hope the promise gave them, and thus feel assured, that as they were smitten by God's hand, their punishment would prove their medicine and an aid to their salvation. Now, then, we perceive what this prophecy is, and also for what purpose it was delivered.
But before God promised anything respecting the return of the people, he strengthened the mind of the Prophet by a preface, and also encouraged and animated the godly to entertain good hope. The preface is, that God created and
"the fashion of this world," as Paul says, "passeth away."
(1 Corinthians 7:81)
As, then, changes so various take place in all cities, God, by a singular privilege, exempted Jerusalem from this common lot; and hence the Prophet truly and wisely concludes, that the ruin of the city would not be perpetual, because God had formed it. And hence its future restitution is sufficiently proved.
But if any one prefers the present time, then the meaning would be, that he who had resolved to create and form Jerusalem is Jehovah, the God of hosts: no one then can hinder his work. As this sense is not unsuitable, I do not reject it, though I follow the former. We must, at the same time, bear in mind this principle, -- that restoration is promised to the Jews, because Jerusalem had been, as it were, chosen by God, so that he took it under his care and protection, so as to preserve it perpetually. Whether then we take the words to be in the past or present time, that God is the creator and former of Jerusalem, we see that the promise of deliverance is founded on the mercy of God, even because he had cliosen Jerusalem for his own habitation, according to what is in the Psalms,
"His foundations are on the holy mountains." (Psalm 87:1)
And there, also, the pronoun is used instead of God's name, as here instead of the city's name,
"His foundations are on the holy mountains,"
there is no doubt but that the word God is to be understood, though not expressed. So here, when speaking of the city, he says that Jehovah
He afterwards adds,
But this passage ought especially to be noticed; for we may hence conclude, that whenever we pine away in sorrow, or are worn out by affliction, it is our own fault, because we are tardy and slow to pray: for every one who cries acknowledges that God is always nigh, as he promises in the Psalms, to those who truly call on him. That we are then sometimes worn out with long grief, and no comfort given to us, this happens, let us know, through our neglect and sloth, because we cry not to God, who is ever ready to answer us, as he here promises.
And he says,
He now expresses what these hidden things were,
There are two parts to this prophecy, -- that the Jews were about to perish through their own fault, -- and that they were to be restored through the favor and goodness of God alone. Here, then, in the first place, the Prophet condemns the false confidence of the people, who stoutly resisted the Chaldeans.
Grant, Almighty God, that we may so learn to humble ourselves under thy mighty hand, whenever thou chastisest us, that we may not faint in our miseries, but flee to thy mercy with more confidence, and by acknowledging our sins, may become so displeased with ourselves, that we may never lose the taste of thy mercy but gird ourselves up so as to entertain good hope, and call upon thee, until we shall at length find by success that our prayers are not in vain; and may we ever thus find comfort in our evils, so that we may at length enjoy that perfect felicity, which thou hast prepared for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. -- Amen.
Lecture One Hundred and Thirty-Third
I was compelled yesterday to stop at the second clause of the fifth verse, where God declares that the Jews were slain by him, while they were exerting all their strength to resist. He then says that that slaughter happened to the city and to the people, because they had sinned against him. But he says, first, I have slain them, and then,
He afterwards says,
And it is added,
1 The Sept. give the present time, "who makes," etc.; the Vulg. the future, "who will make," etc.; and the Syr. and the Targ. in the past, "who made," etc. The verse may be thus rendered, --
Thus saith Jehovah, -- Made it hath Jehovah, Having formed it in order to establish it; Jehovah is his name.
That the city is meant cannot be disputed, as the word itself is introduced in the 4th verse (Jeremiah 33:4), and at the end of the 5th verse. In the Sept. it is land, "who makes the land," and in the Syr., "who made thee:" both which are no doubt wrong. -- Ed.
2 These two verses have been improperly separated, so that
4. For thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Concerning the houses of this city, And concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, -- Which are thrown down by the engines,
5. And by the sword of those who come To make war, even the Chaldeans, And to fill them [i.e., houses] with the carcases of the men, Whom I have smitten in mine anger, And in my wrath, and for all whose wickedness I have hidden my face from this city, --
6. Behold, I will bring, etc. etc.
The present and past time in the 4th and 5th verses, is used for the future, which is often the case in prophecies. -- Ed.
4 The best word for it here, as given by the Syr., is security; "And I will unfold to them abundance of peace and security." -- Ed.
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