10. Thus saith the Lord, Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
10. Sic dicit Jehova, Adhuc audietur in loco hoc, de quo vos dicitis, Exterminatus est (vel, traditus exitio) ab homine (hoc est, ut non supersit homo) neque supersit jumentum in urbibus Jehudah et in compitis Jerusalem, quae in solitudinem redacta sunt, ut non sit homo et non sit habitator, et non sit animal (vel, jumentum)
11. The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness; the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.
11. Vox laetitiae et vox gaudii, vox sponsi et vox sponsae, vox dicentium, celebrate Jehovam exercituum, quia bonus Jehova, quia in seculum misericordia (vel, clementia) ejus, afferentium laudem (hoc est, testimonium gratiarum actionis, pro sacrificio hic capitur) in domum Jehovae, quia reducam captivitatem terrae sicut ab initio, dicit Jehova.
These two verses are connected together, and have been improperly divided, for the sentence is not complete. In the first place we have, Yet shall be heard, but what? the voice of joy, etc., as we find in the following verse. Jeremiah confirms at large what he had taught respecting the return of the people, because there was need of many and strong supports, that, the faithful might proceed in their course with confidence. It was indeed difficult to muster courage under so great a calamity; and had they for a short season breathing time, yet new trials constantly arising might have cast them down and laid them prostrate. There is no wonder then that the Prophet here speaks diffusely of that favor which was deemed incredible; and then the memory of it might not have always remained fixed in the hearts of the faithful, had not a repeated confirmation been given.
He again introduces God as the speaker, that the promise might have more effect. Again, he says, shall be heard in this place -- even in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem -- the voice of joy, etc. He repeats what we noticed yesterday, that the Jews put every obstacle they could in the way of their restoration. The narrowness of our hearts, we know does in a manner exclude an entrance as to God's favor; for being filled, nay, swollen with unbelief, we suffer not God's grace to enter into us. So the Jews, by desponding and imagining that their calamity was incurable, and that no remedy was to be expected, rejected as far as they could the promised favor of deliverance. This, then, is what the Prophet again upbraids them with, even that they said that the whole country and all the cities were destroyed, so that neither man nor beast remained. This was, indeed, the fact at that time, and the Jews had spoken correctly; but as it was said yesterday, the ungodly never feel the scourges of God without rushing headlong into despair. Then what is condenmed is this, that the Jews thought that they were to perish without any hope of deliverance. Hence the Prophet here reproves their unbelief, and at the same time exhorts them to entertain hope. But he testifies that God's grace would surpass all their wickedness.
Heard then shall be the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness; the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; that is, marriages shall again be celebrated. And this way of speaking often occurs in the Prophets when they refer to the joyful condition of the city and of the people; for in seasons of mourning no one thinks of marrying a wife, so that marriage-feasts then cease as well as all festivals. Then the Prophet briefly shews that God would put an end to the calamities of the people, and give them reasons for rejoicing after he had for a time punished their sins.
But he shews also of what kind their joy would be, The voice of them who shall say, Praise ye Jehovah of hosts. Here he distinguishes between the faithful and the ungodly, for joy is common to both, when prosperity happens to them; for God's children may rejoice when the Lord shews himself to them as a bountiful Father. But the profane exult through intemperate joy, and at the same time they make no mention of God, for they live only on present things; but the faithful raise up their thoughts to God, and never rejoice without thanksgiving. Thus they consecrate and sanctify their joy, when the ungodly, by polluting God's blessing, do also contaminate their joy. We ought then to take special notice of this difference which the Prophet here intimates, between godly and profane joy; for the children of this world do indeed exult, but as we have said, immoderately in their joy; and they are unthankful to God, and never duly reflect on his goodness; nay, they designedly turn away their eyes and their thoughts from God; but the faithful have always a regard to God whenever it succeeds well with them, for they know that everything flows to them from God's goodness only.
Hence he says, Heard shall be the voice of them who shall say, Praise ye Jehovah, for he is good, etc. The Prophet here alludes to the customary practice of singing, which is spoken of in sacred history. For we know that when the Temple was dedicated, the praises of God were celebrated, and the Levites always sang, For his mercy is for ever. They first exhorted others to praise God, and to every sentence this repetition was added, "For his mercy is for ever." What then had formerly been in common use the Prophet refers to: Heard then shall be that usual song, Praise ye Jehovah, for his mercy is for ever.
He then adds, Of them who shall bring praise to the house of Jehovah; for I will restore the captivity of the land. He mentions sacrifices, for the service, according to the Law, required, that these should be added as evidences of gratitude. God indeed had no need of vetires, nor did he delight in external displays; but these exercises of religion were necessary for a rude people, and still learning the elements of truth. The Prophet then speaks here with reference to a particular time, when he connects sacrifices with praises and thanksgiving, he yet shews for what end God required sacrifices to be then offered to him, lest the Jews should think that God was pacified when a calf had been slain. He then shews that all this had been prescribed to them, and enjoined for this end -- that they might shew themselves thankful.
This metonymical mode of speaking ought then to be carefully observed; for hence we conclude, that sacrifices of themselves were of no moment, but were only acceptable and of good odor to God on this account -- because they were evidences of gratitude.
He then adds, To the house of Jehovah. Now, this also ought in the last place to be noticed, -- that it is not sufficient for one to be thankful to God, but that public thanksgiving is also required, so that we may mutually stimulate one another. And we also know that confession ought not to be separated from faith; as faith has its seat in the heart, so also outward confession proceeds from it; and therefore it cannot be but that the interior feeling must break out from the soul, and the tongue be connected with the heart. It hence follows, that all those are guilty of falsehood who say that they have faith within, but are at the same time mute, and, as far as they can, unworthily bury the benefits of God. And as I have said, this zeal is required of all the godly, in order that they may stimulate one another to praise God; for it was for this purpose and for this reason, that express mention is made of the Temple; that is, that the faithful might understand, that God is to be worshipped, not only privately and within closed doors, but that also a public profession ought to be made, so that they may together with common consent celebrate and acknowledge his benefits and blessings.
Grant, Almighty God, that as we cease not to separate ourselves often from thee, we may at least know that reconciliation is prepared for us, provided we seek it by a true and sincere faith in thine only-begotten Son, and so return to thee as really to loathe ourselves on account of our sins, and that relying on thine infinite mercy we may never doubt but that thou wilt be reconciled to us, until having at length finished our present course of life, and being cleansed from all the pollutions of the flesh, we shall be clothed with that celestial glory, which thy Son by his death and resurrection has obtained for us. -- Amen.