Lecture One Hundred and Fifty-Seventh
7. And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah.
7. Et fuit a fine decem dierum datus est sermo Jehovae ad Jeremiam.
8. Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people, from the least even to the greatest,
8. Et vocavit Joannem filium Kareah et omnes duces copiarum, qui cum eo erant, et totum populum a parvo usque ad magnum,
9. And said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him;
9. Et dixit illis, Sic dicit Jehova, Deus Israel, ad quem misistis me (ad verbum, ad quem misistis me ad ipsum,) ut prosternerem preca-tionem vestram coram facie ejus, --
10. If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down; and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.
10. Si habitando habitaveritis in terra hac, tunc, aedificabo vos, et non diruam, et plantabo vos et non evellam; quia poenitet me mali quod intuli vobis (vel, satiatus sum malo.)
Here Jeremiah declares what answer he received from God; and he gave it in his name to the leaders of the forces and to the whole people. The answer was, that they were to continue in the land; for this would be for their good. We shall hereafter see, that they had falsely asked counsel of God, whom they had resolved not to obey, as it has been already stated. But the Prophet shews again more clearly how perversely they acted after God had commanded them to remain quiet, and especially not to proceed to Egypt.
Now he says, that at the tenth day God answered him. He might have done so immediately, but he deferred, that the prophecy might have more weight. Had the Prophet been asked any question respecting the common rule of life, as a faithful expounder of the Law, he might have explained to them what their duty was; but as he had been asked on a special subject, he could not have immediately answered them. And God, as I have said, kept them for a time in suspense; not only that the Prophet's answer might be made without ostentation, but also that. the people might embrace as coming from God what the Prophet would say; for his doctrine could not have been doubted, for he did not instantly bring forth what had arisen in his own head, but prayerfully waited to know what pleased God, and at length announced his commands. We now then perceive the cause of delay, why God did not immediately convey to his servant the answer required.
Let us at the same time learn from this passage, that if God does not immediately extricate us from all perplexity and doubt, we ought patiently to wait, according to the direction of Paul, who, when speaking of doctrine, admonished the faithful to remain contented until what they knew not should be revealed to them. (Philippians 3:15.) Much more should we do so, when we ask counsel as to any particular thing. When God does not immediately make known to us what we ask, we ought, as I have already said, to wait with calm and resigned minds for the time and the season when it shall be made known to us.
Jeremiah says, that he
He then says that he faithfully related to them what God had commanded,
He now adds,
Now when orators adduce what is useful in order to persuade, they have recourse to conjectures, they state human reasons; but the Prophet here promised in God's name, that that if they remained it would be for their good. God's promise, then, is brought forward here instead of conjectures and reasons. Therefore the obstinacy of the people was without excuse, when they rejected the authority of God; and then despised his counsel, and also disbelieved his promise. Then to the contempt of God was added unbelief: and we know that no greater reproach can be offered to God than when men do not believe him.
The metaphors here used occur often in Scripture. God is said to build up men when he confirms them in a settled state; and in the same sense he is said to plant them. This we have already seen, and it is especially evident from Psalm 44:2, where God is said to have "planted" in the land of Canaan the people he had brought out of Egypt. He then promised that the condition of the people would be secure, and safe, and perpetual, if only they did not change their place. When he adds, I will
It afterwards follows,
We now, then, perceive what is meant by the reason here given, that the Jews were not to fear if they dwelt in the land, because God had sufficiently chastised them, and that he was so pacified that he would not further pursue them with severity. Jeremiah at the same time reminds us, that whatever evils happen to us, they ought to be ascribed to God's judgment, and not to adverse fortune. We hence see that by these words the people were exhorted to repent; for as they were bidden to entertain good hope, because their safety was in God's hand, so also the Prophet shews that as to the time past they had suffered nothing by chance, but that they had been punished because they had provoked God's wrath. It follows, --
1 The phrase often occurs, and has ever this meaning; and it is the meaning here, no doubt, though the Sept. and the Vulg. adopt the other sense. The versions often give different senses to the same phrases, which render them unsafe guides. -- Ed.
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