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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 42

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,

Then all the captains of the forces and Johanan. — Or, Even Johanan; he among the rest, and above the rest. Ille huic negotio non interfuit modo, sed etiam praefuit.

And Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah. — Brother, belike, to that Azariah, Jeremiah 43:2 a noble pair of brethren in evil.

And all the people. — Who follow their rulers; as in a beast the whole body followeth the head.

Drew near. — They came as clients use to do for counsel.

Verse 2

And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, [even] for all this remnant; (for we are left [but] a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)

Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee. — Here they seem to humble themselves before Jeremiah the prophet; which, because King Zedekiah did not, he came to ruin. 2 Chronicles 36:12

And pray for us unto the Lord thy God. — Good words may be found even in a hellish mouth sometimes. Who would think but these men had spoken what they did unfeignedly, and from their very hearts? whenas it soon after appeared that all was no better than deep dissimulation. They had made their conclusion beforehand to go down to Egypt, only in a pretence of piety, and for greater credit, they would have had God’s approbation; which, since they cannot, they will go on with their design however, fall back, fall edge. O most hateful hypocrisy! O contumacy worthy of all men’s execration!

Verse 3

That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.

That the Lord thy God may show us the way. — But they had set themselves in the way to Egypt before they came with this request to the prophet: why went they else to Goruth Chimham, the road toward Egypt? Jeremiah 41:17 why were they also so peremptory, when they knew God’s mind to the contrary? Jeremiah 43:7

And the thing that we may do. — Good words all along; but those, we say, are light cheap: Quid vero verba quaero, facta cum videam? They were as forward to speak fair, as their ancestors were in the wilderness; but oh that there were a heart in this people, saith God, to do as they have said!

Verse 4

Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard [you]; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, [that] whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare [it] unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.

I have heard you; behold, I will pray. — The wisdom from above is persuasible, easy to be entreated, James 3:18 and good men are ready to every good work. Titus 3:1 Jeremiah hoped they might speak their whole hearts, and promiseth to do his best for them, both by praying and prophesying.

Whatsoever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare.Sic veteres nihil ex se vel potuerunt, vel protulerunt. The prophets spake as they were inspired by the Spirit of truth. Christ spake nothing but what was consonant to the Holy Scriptures. The apostles delivered to the churches what they had received of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:23 Polycarp told the churches that he delivered nothing to them but what he had received of the apostles. Irenaeus, lib. iii.; Eccles. Hist., lib. iv. cap. 14.

Verse 5

Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us.

The Lord be a true and faithful witness between us. — Did these men know what it was so solemnly to swear a thing? Or were they stark atheists, thus to promise that with an oath which they never meant to perform?

At sperate Deum memorem fandi atque nefandi.

Their king, Zedekiah, paid dearly for his perjury to God and men.

Verse 6

Whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.

Whether it be good, or whether it be evil,i.e., Whether it please us or cross us. Veniat, veniat verbum Domini: et submittemus ei, sexcenta si nobis essent colla, said a good man once - that is, Let God’s Word come to us once and he shall be obeyed, whatever come of it. These in the text seem to say as much, but they say it only; neither was it much to be liked that they were so free of their promises, and all in their own strength, without any condition of help from heaven: as if the matter had been wholly in their own hands, and they had free will to whatsoever good purpose or practice.

O caecas mentes hominum!

“O the blind mind of men”

We will obey the voice of the Lord. — Yes, as far as a few good words will go.

Pollicitis dives quilibet esse potest. ” - Ovid.

Verse 7

And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.

And it came to pass that after ten days. — So long God held his holy prophet in request; and so he doth still his best servants many times, thereby tying, as it were, the sacrifice to the horns of the altar. How impatient those wretched roysters were of such a delay, we may well imagine (the Chinese use to whip their gods when they will not hear and help them forthwith); but God held them off as unworthy of any answer, and seemed by his silence to say unto them, as in Ezekiel 20:3 , "Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord, I will not be inquired of by you."

Verse 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,

And all the people, from the least unto the greatest. — For the Word of God belongeth to all of all sorts; and as the smaller fish bite first, so the poor are evangelized Matthew 11:5 when the richer stand off.

Verse 9

And said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him;

Unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication. — Heb., To make your supplication fall in his presence. This I have not ceased to do ever since, but had no answer till now; and it may be that now you may the better regard it. Cito data eito vilescunt. Soon given, soon worthless.

Verse 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.

Then will I build you.Promittitur felicitatio; parabola ab architectura et agricultura desumpta. God promiseth to bless and settle them by a twofold similitude, used also by the apostle, 1 Corinthians 3:9 "Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building." See Jeremiah 24:6 .

For I repent me of the evil. — A term taken from men, Genesis 6:6 though repentance in men is a change of the will; but repentance in God is only the willing of a change, mutatio rei, non Dei. See Jeremiah 18:8 .

Verse 11

Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I [am] with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.

Fear not the king of Babylon. — See on Jeremiah 41:18 .

For I am with you to save you. — Not only to protect you from the Babylonian, but also to incline his heart to clemency toward you. Jeremiah 42:12

Verse 12

And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.

And I will shew mercies unto you. — Tender mercies, such as proceed from the heart, and of a parent, nay, a mother. This was more than all the rest.

Verse 13

But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God,

But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land. — Because more barren than Egypt, and besides beset with many and mighty enemies

Neither obey the voice of the Lord your God. — Which you ought to do, whatever come of it, since rebellion is as witchcraft. 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Verse 14

Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell:

Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt. — Infamous for idolatry, luxury, and the oppression of your ancestors there, besides God’s express prohibition and Deuteronomy 17:16 commination of it, as the last and greatest plague. "The Lord shall bring thee unto Egypt." Deuteronomy 28:68

And there will we dwell. — The prophet now, by their looks, or some other way, perceived their purpose so to do, whatever they had promised. Jeremiah 42:5-6

Verse 15

And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there;

If ye wholly set your faces. — As now I see ye do, and shall therefore tell you what to trust unto; with the froward God will wrestle. Psalms 18:26

Verse 16

Then it shall come to pass, [that] the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.

Then it shall come to pass, that the sword which ye feared shall overtake you there.Categorice intonat propheta. God hath long hands; neither can wicked men anywhere live out of the reach of his rod.

And the famine whereof ye were afraid. — Egypt was very fertile, the granary of the world, and yet God could cause a famine there; he hath treasures of plagues for sinners, and can never be exhausted.

Verse 17

So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.

They shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. — Three threats, answerable to those three promises, Jeremiah 42:10-12 in case of their obedience.

Verse 18

For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more.

As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth, — Metaph. a metallis. scil., Like scalding lead or burning bell-metal, The substance of which bells are made; an alloy of copper and tin, the tin being in larger proportion than in ordinary bronze. which runneth fiercely, spreadeth far, and burneth extremely.

Upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. — Out of which fire I have late pulled you as a brand; the smell thereof is yet upon your clothes, as it were: Cavete. Beware.

Verse 19

The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.

Go ye not into Egypt. — Be ruled, or you will rue it when you have learned their evil manners, and shall perish in their punishments. It is better for you to be in cold irons at Babylon than to serve idols in Egypt at never so much liberty. Your fathers brought a golden calf thence; Jeroboam brought two.

Verse 20

For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do [it].

For ye dissembled in your hearts. — Heb., Ye seduced in your souls or in your minds. The Vulgate hath it, You deceived your souls, and not God, by playing fast and loose with him, by dealing with him ac si puer esset, scurra, vel morio, and if he sould be a boy, a baffoon or an idiot.

Verse 21

And [now] I have this day declared [it] to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any [thing] for the which he hath sent me unto you.

But ye have not obeyed the voice of the Lord. — Nay, you take a clean contrary course, as if ye would despitefully spit in the face of Heaven, and wrestle a fall with the Almighty.

Verse 22

Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go [and] to sojourn.

Now, therefore, know certainly that ye shall die. — In running from death ye shall but run to it, as Jonah did.

Quo fugis, Encelade? quaseunque accesseris orss,

Sub Iove semper eris. ”

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 42". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/jeremiah-42.html. 1865-1868.
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