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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 22

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Thus saith the LORD; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word,

Go down to the house of the king of Judah. — To the palace royal of Jehoakim, son of Josiah, who reigned after that his brother Jehoahaz was carried captive to Egypt. 2 Kings 23:34

Verse 2

And say, Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates:

Thou and thy servants. — Thine attendants and officers, who, too oft, are evil instruments. This made the primitive Christians pray for the emperor, that God would send him Senatum fidelem, faithful counsellors. Tertul. Apol.

Verse 3

Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

Execute ye judgment and righteousness. — Make good laws, and see that they be well executed. This the prophet presseth quasi ad fastidium, ever and anon, over and over, as the likeliest means to prevent future judgments; so Phineas found it. See Jeremiah 21:12 .

Verse 4

For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.

For if ye do this thing indeed. — Heb., If doing you do this word, i.e., If seriously and sedulously ye do it.

Then shall there enter in … kings sitting. — See Jeremiah 17:25 .

Verse 5

But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.

That this house shall become a desolation. — This stately edifice, the place of thy royal residence. Note here the prophet’s boldness, and learn that truth must be spoken, however it be taken.

Verse 6

For thus saith the LORD unto the king’s house of Judah; Thou [art] Gilead unto me, [and] the head of Lebanon: [yet] surely I will make thee a wilderness, [and] cities [which] are not inhabited.

For thus saith the Lord concerning the king’s house,i.e., Concerning the whole kingdom of Judah, saith Junius.

Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon,i.e., High and happy, as these fruitful mountains, famous for spicery and other things desirable. Genesis 37:25

Yet surely I will make thee a wilderness. — Like as I have made them when the ten tribes were carried away captive.

Verse 7

And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast [them] into the fire.

And I will prepare destroyers. — Heb., Sanctify them; that is, send them on mine errand, and let them forward. God’s holy hand is in all such desolations.

Every one with his weapons. — Or, Tools rather, to fell with.

And they shall cut down.Sonat icta securibus ilex.

Verse 8

And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city?

And many nations shall pass, … — By a personification of passengers admiring the utter ruin of so famous a city, the prophet setteth forth the cause of their desolations.

Verse 9

Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.

Because they have forsaken the covenant …In promptu causa est. Heinous sins brings hideous plagues. Ingentia beneficia, flagitia, supplicia. Magdeburg.

Verse 10

Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: [but] weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country.

Weep not for the dead, neither bemoan him. — Lament no more for the good Josiah, lately slain in war, and yet dead in peace: Ne fletote, neque condoletote: there is no such cause, everything counted; neither shall ye have leisure so to do, because of later miseries befalling you thick and threefold. Weep ye rather for his son Challum, carried captive into Egypt; and there miserably handled, without hope of return.

Verse 11

For thus saith the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more:

Which reigned instead of Josiah his father. — But was too hasty, stepping into the throne before his elder brother Jehoiakim; and therefore soon after dethroned, carried down to Egypt, and, as some say, there put to death. See 2 Kings 23:33 2 Chronicles 36:2 . See Trapp on " 2 Kings 23:33 " See Trapp on " 2 Chronicles 36:2 "

Verse 12

But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.

But he shall die in the place. — See on Jeremiah 22:11 .

Verse 13

Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; [that] useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;

Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness. — This was Jehoiakim, cuius iniusta et insana aedificia hic accusantur; who would needs be building, but whether by fight or by wrong dealing, regarded not. This was to incur that curse. Isaiah 5:8 Habakkuk 2:9 ; Habakkuk 2:12 See Trapp on " Isaiah 5:8 " See Trapp on " Habakkuk 2:9 " See Trapp on " Habakkuk 2:12 " Such injurious and therefore accursed builders were the pyramid makers in Egypt, Tarquinius Priscus, Caligula, Nero, Phocas, Sueton.; Niceph. who is said to have heard this voice from heaven, Though thou shouldst erect thine edifice as high as heaven -

Aedificans aure, sedesque in sidera mittens,

yet sin, that lieth at the foundation, will soon overturn all. Bernard inveigheth against some in his time, who did, with great care and cost, erigere mutes, negligere mores, build high manors, but not amend their manners, which should have been their chief care.

That useth his neighbour’s service. — His "neighbour" he was, though his vassal and poor labourer.

And giveth him not for his work. — This is a crying sin. Deuteronomy 24:14-15 James 5:4 See Trapp on " James 5:4 "

Verse 14

That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and [it is] cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion.

I will build me a wide house. — Heb., A house of measures, or dimensions; such as is the Turk’s Seraglio, two or three miles in compass, or rather such as is Westminster Hall, built by William Rufus, who found much fault with it for being too little, saying it was fitter for a chamber than for a hall for a king of England; and taking a plot for one more spacious to be added unto it, he came to an untimely end. Daniel’s History. Sarcophago contentus, shut up in a little grave, which yet was more honour than this ambitious prince attained to; for he was "cast out and buried with the burial of an ass," as it followeth. Jeremiah 22:19

And large chambers. — Heb., Widened or winded; thoroughly aired. Coenacula perstabilia. Thus, with those Megarensians, spoken of by Plato, he built as if his life had been riveted upon eternity.

And cutteth him out windows. — Some render it, and the original will bear it, That teareth my windows Et lacerat sibi fenestras meas. - Trem. - scil., To enlarge and beautify therewith his new building: he took in, belike, a piece of God’s house. This was such a piece of sacrilege as the very heathens abhorred. A certain King of Sicily, to enlarge his palace, pulled down an old temple; but the emperor, Marcus Antoninus, calleth it a beastly and lewd action, not to be spoken of without shame, protesting that it was a matter of wonder and scandal, not only to him, but to the whole city and senate of Rome; and therefore he blamed the king exceedingly for it. Our William the Conqueror is much cried out upon for throwing down thirty-six mother churches in Hampshire for the making of his New Forest, to hunt in. Camden’s Britain.

Verse 15

Shalt thou reign, because thou closest [thyself] in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, [and] then [it was] well with him?

Shalt thou reign because thou closest thyself in cedar? — Hast thou no better mediums to establish thy throne? no better defence against a potent enemy that comes to dethrone thee than a ceiling of cedar? What if thy cedar putrify not can it secure thee that thou perish not? Ah, never think it.

Did not thy father eat and drink? — Live cheerfully and comfortably, enjoying peace and prosperity through his righteousness and piety.

And then it was well with him. — Heb., Then was good to him; though he did not flaunt it out in sumptuous buildings. But you have great thoughts, and will not take it as your father did.

Verse 16

He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then [it was] well [with him: was] not this to know me? saith the LORD.

He judged the cause of the poor and needy. — And so took a right course, a thriving way. Proverbs 29:4

Was not this to know me? saith the Lord,i.e., To show that he knew me soundly and savingly; while he exercised his general calling in his particular, and observed the first table of the decalogue in the second.

Verse 17

But thine eyes and thine heart [are] not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do [it].

But thine eyes and thy heart are not but for thy covetousness. — That is all thou mindest and lookest after, oculis atque animo intentus ad rem. "Hearts they have," saith Peter of such, "exercised with covetous practices: cursed children." 2 Peter 2:14 William Rufus is in story noted for such another.

Verse 18

Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, [saying], Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, [saying], Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!

They shall not lament for him. — By his exactions he had so far lost his people’s affections, that none were found, either of his allies or others, that bewailed his death; but, Jehoram-like as he had lived undesired, so he died unlamented Edwin-like, as he lived wickedly, so he died wishedly; Daniel’s History. Mohammed-like, he lived feared of all men, and died bewailed of none. Turkish History. See the contrary promised to his brother Zedekiah, for his courtesy to Jeremiah, Jeremiah 34:5 .

Verse 19

He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

He shall be buried with the burial of an ass. — His corpse shall be cast out, like carrion, into some bycorner. A just hand of God upon this wicked one, that he who had made so many to weep, should have none to weep over him; he who had such a stately house in Jerusalem, should not have a grave to house his carcase in: sed insepulta sepultura elatus, Philippic i. as Cicero phraseth it; but without the ordinary honour of burial, should be cast out, or thrown into a ditch or a dunghill, to be devoured by the beasts of the earth and fowls of heaven. Our Richard II, for his exactions to maintain a great court and favourites, lost his kingdom, was starved to death at Pomfret Castle, and scarcely afforded common burial. King Stephen was interred in Faversham monastery; but since, his body, for the value of the lead wherein it was coffined, was cast into river. Let great ones so live, as that they meet not in the end with the death of a dog, the burial of an ass, and the epitaph of an ox; such as Aristotle calleth that of Sardanapalus -

“ ταυτ εχω, Eφαγον και εφυβρισα , ”& c.

Or that of Pope Alexander VI and his Lucrece -

Hospes abi: iacet hic et scelus et vitium.

Verse 20

Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from the passages: for all thy lovers are destroyed.

Go up to Lebanon and cry. — Jehoiakim hath had his doom and his destiny read him. Subiecit fata tristissima Iechoniae. Followeth now Jehoiakim’s part, and what, for his obstinace, he shall trust to. The prophet beginneth this part of his discourse with a sarcasm or scoff at their carnal security and creature confidence. Get up, saith he, into those high mountains here mentioned, Lebanon, Bashan, Abarim, that look all toward Egypt, and see if thence, by crying and calling for help, thou mayest be saved from the Chaldees, who are coming upon thee; but all shall be to small purpose.

But thy lovers are all destroyed. — The Egyptians, to whom thou bearest a blind affection, contrary to God’s covenant.

Verse 21

I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; [but] thou saidst, I will not hear. This [hath been] thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.

I spake unto thee in thy prosperity. — Heb., In thy prosperities, or tranquillities. Prosperity rendereth men refractory. Demetrius called a peaceable and prosperous life a dead sea; because, being not tossed with any considerable troubles, it slayeth the simple, as Solomon hath it. Proverbs 1:32 Men are usually best when worst, and worst when best: like the snake which, when frozen, lieth quiet and still, but waxing warm, stirreth and stingeth. The parable of the sun and the wind is known, Anglica gens est optima flens et pessima ridens. The English people are best crying and worst laughing. Some of those who, in Queen Mary’s days, kept their garments close about them, wore them afterwards more loosely. It is as hard to bear prosperity, as to drink much wine and not be giddy. It is, at least, as strong waters to a weak stomach; which, however they do not intoxicate, yet they weaken the brain: plus deceptionis semper habet quam delectationis; it always has greater deception then amusments, it is able to entice, and ready to kill the entangled. In rest we contract rust; neither are men’s ears opened to hear instruction but by correction. Job 33:16 God holdeth us to hard meat, that he may be true to oar souls. Psalms 119:75

This hath been thy manner from thy youth. — "Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked," is an old complaint. Deuteronomy 32:15 To have been an old sinner, habituated and hardened in iniquity, is no small aggravation of it: Ezekiel 20:13 , "But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness"; there they murmured against God and Moses ten times; "forty years was he there grieved with that perverse generation." They began as soon as ever they were moulded into a state, like as Esau began to persecute Jacob in the very womb, that no time might be lost.

Verse 22

The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.

The wind shall eat all thy pastors,Vento vanitatis, ut chamaeleontes aere pascuntur. i.e., The vain hope that thy governors have in foreign helps shall deceive them; for God will make the strongest sinew in the arm of flesh to crack and break.

Surely then shalt thou be ashamed. — When thou shalt see thyself so shamefully disappointed by human helps, which were never true to those that trusted them.

Verse 23

O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail!

O inhabitant of Lebanon. — Heb., O inhabitress - that is, O Jerusalem, who hast perched thyseff aloft, and pridest thyself in thy strength and stateliness.

How gracious shalt thou be!i.e., How ridiculous, when thy lofty and stately rooms wherein thou art roosted shall be to thee but as groaning rooms to women in travail.

Verse 24

[As] I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;

As I live, saith the Lord. — An oath which none may lawfully take but God himself, who is life itself. It is therefore sinful for any one to say, As I live, such a thing is so or so. That is God’s oath. See Numbers 14:21 Psalms 95:11 .

Though Coniah. — So Jechoniah, or Jehoiakin, by an aphaeresis, dropping a letter, is called in scorn and contempt. Prepared he was of the Lord, as his name signifieth, for misery; and yet he was now but eighteen years old. 2 Kings 24:8 Youth excuseth not those that are wicked. This young king was scarce warm in his throne when carried captive to Babylon.

Were the signet on my right hand. — Which is very carefully kept and carried about. See Song of Solomon 8:6 Haggai 2:23 , where good Zerubbabel, the nephew of this Jechoniah, is called God’s "signet."

Yet would I pluck thee thence. — This Nazianzen fitly applieth to preachers, such as prove vile and vicious.

Verse 25

And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand [of them] whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.

And I will give thee into the hand. — No sooner was he plucked off God’s hand but he fell into his enemies’ hands. So Saul’s doleful complaint was, God hath forsaken me, and the Philistines are upon me. 1 Samuel 28:15

Verse 26

And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.

And I will cast thee out. — Heb., I will hurl thee out. To be held captive by idolaters in a strange country is no small misery. Poor Zegedine found it so among the Turks.

Verse 27

But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.

But to the land that they desire to return. — Heb., Which they lift up their soul to quam avent totaque anima expetunt, et ad quam summe anhelant; they shall die in banishment. So they that are once shut out of heaven must for ever abide in hell, would they never so fain get out, with dragons and devils.

Verse 28

[Is] this man Coniah a despised broken idol? [is he] a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?

Is this Coniah a despised, broken idol?Interrogatio pathetica: Is he not? Who would ever have thought to have seen a king of Judah so little set by, like some old picture or inglorious trunk?

A vessel in which is no pleasure. — That is, by a modest round about phrase, A close stool, or piss pot. so Hosea 8:8

He and his seed. — If any he had, or shall have in his captivity.

Verse 29

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. — Hear this irrevocable decree of mine, and this ensuing dreadful denunciation, which I cannot get this stupid and incredulous people to believe. His trebling of the word is as Ezekiel 21:27 for more assurance. Some sense it thus, O Coniah, thou who art earth by creation, earth by generation, and earth by resolution, hear and give ear, be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken it. as Jeremiah 13:15

Verse 30

Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man [that] shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.

Write ye this man childlessAriri - i.e., orbus vel solus, sicut in deserto myrica. - Fuller. As to succession in the royal dignity, as well as to success in his reign. The Septuagint render it, A man abdicated or proscribed. This God would have to be written - that is, to be put upon public record for the use of posterity. Our chronicles tell us of John Dudley, that great Duke of Northumberland, in King Edward VI’s days - who endeavoured by all means to engrand his posterity, reaching at the crown also, which cost him his head - that though he had six sons, all men, all married, yet none of them left any issue behind them. "Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; serve the Lord with fear."

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 22". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/jeremiah-22.html. 1865-1868.
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