Jeremiah 24:2. One basket had very good figs. This was emblematical of the better sort of people, who were carried away under Jeconiah, and sent to Babylon for their good. It is much the same with the fruits imported from the east. Being packed a little before they are quite ripe, they improve on the voyage. The second basket of figs were utterly corrupt, descriptive of the people under Zedekiah, who instead of profiting by the first disaster, offended so much the more, and were despised as perished and worthless figs, and treated as double rebels. They were made a reproach and a proverb among distant nations.
Jeremiah 24:6. I will set mine eyes upon them for good. They shall serve the Lord in Babylon, under the ministry of Ezekiel, and under the patronage of Daniel and his three princely colleagues. For them shall be reserved the treasures of righteousness, once more to see their native land, and rebuild the temple, and prepare the way for the kingdom of God, and the call of the gentiles.
We read in the second book of Kings, chap. 24., that Nebuchadnezzar, after a short siege, reduced Jerusalem to surrender at discretion. This was about thirteen years before the burning of the temple, and the final captivity. We read farther, that he carried away seven thousand soldiers, ten thousand captives, with the princes and the artists. Hence Jerusalem was left helpless and destitute; yet not hopeless, had the people who remained been faithful to God. Now, after this terrible stroke which divided Judah, Jeremiah had a vision of the two baskets of figs: the one exceedingly good, the other extremely bad. The good figs were fit for exportation; and they represented the calamitous state of the choice men carried to Babylon; a severe, but ultimately a happy stroke of providence. Hereby they were purged of idols; hereby they learned to know God, and to revere the prophets whom their fathers had stoned. And though for the present they lost their lands, they were prepared by adversity to return, and receive all the covenant mercies which the Lord is here pleased to promise them. As the good figs were carried to Babylon to improve in excellence, so the naughty figs were left behind to perish. Or if they fled into Egypt, as many did when the Chaldees approached, it was but to sustain greater calamities; for a refuge of wickedness is no defence. Hence we see, that the Lord often overrules the great and sore afflictions of men for good; and that he calls us to contemplate his providence, as he called the prophet in the temple to look at the basket of figs.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 24". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany