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Postscript to Jeremiah 22:13-30. The Fourth King
1The Lord [Jehovah] shewed me, and behold, two baskets1of figs were set 2before the temple of the Lord [Jehovah] after that Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem and had 2brought them to Babylon. One basket had3 very good figs, like the figs first ripe,4and the other basket had very naughty [bad] figs, which could not be eaten,5they 3were so bad. Then said the Lord [Jehovah] unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs very good, and the evil [bad] very evil [bad], that cannot be eaten, they are so evil [bad].
4 Again the word of the Lord [Jehovah] came unto me, saying:
5 Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah], the God of Israel:
Like these good figs, so the captives of Judah,
Whom I have sent away from this place into the land of the Chaldeans,
Will I regard6 for good;
6 And will set mine eye upon them for good,
And will bring them back into this land;
And will build them and not pull them down,
And plant them and not pluck them up;
7 And will give them a heart to know me, that I am Jehovah,
And they shall be my people;
I however will be their God,
When they return to me with their whole heart.
8 But like the bad figs, which cannot be eaten they are so bad,
—Thus saith Jehovah: I will make Zedekiah,
The king of Judah and his princes,
And the residue of Jerusalem, that are left in this land,
And those that dwell in the land of Egypt.
9 And I will make them a horror,
A calamity for all the kingdoms of the earth,
A shame and a proverb, a taunt and a curse,
In all places whither I shall drive them
10 And I will send among them the sword,
The famine and the pestilence;
Till they be entirely extirpated from the land,
Which I gave to them and their fathers.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
After the carrying away of Jehoiachin the prophet beholds in vision, two baskets of figs placed before the temple (Jeremiah 24:1). The figs of one basket were very good, those of the other very bad (Jeremiah 24:2). The prophet, when asked, affirms that he has perceived this correctly (Jeremiah 24:3). Thereupon the Lord Himself interprets the vision: the good figs signify the portion of the people already carried away. The Lord will recognize them as good, bring them back, build and plant, inwardly renew them; He will be their God, they shall be His people (Jeremiah 24:4-7). The bad figs signify the people left in Palestine with Zedekiah, and those who had already emigrated to Egypt (Jeremiah 24:8). These shall be to all nations an object of horror and scorn (Jeremiah 24:9), for the Lord will send among them the sword, famine and pestilence, till they are exterminated from the land (Jeremiah 24:10). The date of this passage may be learned exactly from Jeremiah 24:1. It was the time immediately subsequent to the carrying away of Jeconiah (2 Kings 24:10-12). Hitzig correctly remarks, that the expression אַֽחֲרִי הַגְלוֹת, after … carried away, Jeremiah 24:1, without further distinction, does not permit us to think of another epoch than that immediately subsequent to the deportation. The prophecy is also best explained by the situation at that period. For, as Graf remarks, those who remained may have triumphed over the others, and extolled their good fortune. On this feeling the prophet places a damper by the declaration, that the lot of the captives would be preferable to that of the others (comp. Jeremiah 20:10). At all events the prophecy was delivered before the sending of that letter to the captives, which is treated of in Jeremiah 29:0. On the relation of this passage to the previous chapters consult the introduction to the Eighth Discourse.
Jeremiah 24:1-2. The Lord … they were so bad.The opening is like that of Amos 7:1; Amos 7:4; Amos 7:7; Amos 8:1. Comp. Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 1:13.—Shewed me. This distinguishes the subjective act of vision from the object seen, and designates the former as caused by Jehovah. This distinction with respect to physical vision is found times innumerable, (comp. the mode of expression in Genesis 13:10; Genesis 18:2; Genesis 22:4; Genesis 22:13, etc.), but has only a rhetorical significance. In passages like this and the above from Amos, to which may be added Zechariah 1:8; Zechariah 2:1, etc., it cannot be a seeing with the outward eye which is spoken of. This is apparent, 1, from the object of vision; it is not supposable that baskets of bad and good figs were in reality placed before the temple; 2, from the question, What seest thou? The question evidently has a proper meaning, when there is a possibility of seeing incorrectly. On the point whether this is supposable in visions in a subjective and objective respect comp. the remarks on Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 3:0, from the general character of the state in which the prophet must have been while talking with God. Such a conversation as is here reported can only have taken place ἐν πνεύματι. For man cannot see and hear God with the bodily senses. But if as talking with God he is ἐν πνεύματι, then he must also see what God shows him ἐν πνεύματι. For it is not supposable that in such a case there would be a duplicity of perception. The case being thus, Köhler is right in his remark (on Zechariah 1:7) “wherever the description of a prophetic vision is introduced with the words רָאִיתִי or וָאֶרְאֶה (here הִרְאַני) followed by חִנֵּה, the prophet thus declares that as רֹאֶה or הֹזֶה he has beheld a vision, or had a vision, Isaiah 30:10.” As to the way in which the Lord opens the inner sense so that it can behold spiritual things, comp. 2 Kings 6:17.—Carpenters and smiths. According to 2 Kings 24:14-16, Nebuchadnezzar carried away beside the king, his mother and his wives, the princes, the officers, the mighty of the land, the strong and apt for war, and then the craftsmen and smiths. These were all the mighty men of valor, and only the poorest sort of the people were left. Nebuchadnezzar evidently wished to remove all who were fit for war, as well as those who were skilled in the preparation of warlike instruments. The smiths had once before been carried off for a similar purpose by the Philistines (1 Samuel 13:19). So far all is clear. But who now especially are the מַסְגֵּר? The word occurs only in the accounts of this occurrence: Jeremiah 29:2; 2Ki 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16. Besides with the meaning of “custody, prison,” in Isaiah 24:22; Isaiah 42:7; Ps. 142:8. The ancient translations greatly differ from each other. The LXX. have here δεσμώτας (comp. Bar 1:9) in 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16, τὸν συγκλείοντα: Syr. milites, satellites; Chald. janitores (so also Raschi); Arab. mancipia (comp. the interpretation of Hitzig) [who translates “hod-carriers,” and refers the term to the descendants of the aborigines, who were condemned to be wood-splitters and water-carriers in Israel (Deuteronomy 29:10; comp. Joshua 9:21) deriving it from מַםsocager, and גֵרstranger.—S. R. A.] If we derive the word, which is certainly most natural, from סָגַר, we have either the primitive meaning clausor, shutter, gate-shutter, or the derived: he who prepares what is necessary for shutting, shutting in, i.e., either locksmith; or if we derive from סֻגַּר, those who prepare siege-works, engineers (Ewald). Ewald would certainly also allow the word to be taken in the sense of “purveyor,” by which he understands people “who procure for the king the sup-plies of his kingdom.” But he omits any further proof. Hitzig, Thenius, who are followed by Graf and (as it seems also) by Meier, who translates “daily laborer,” compose the word of מַםtribute-service and גֵּרsojourner, and understand by it common laborers, or hod-carriers, in contrast to skilled artizans. For this interpretation however we find, 1, no analogy in the language, for neither הִדֶּקֶל which alone is adduced by Hitzig, nor מַם עֹבֵד (Joshua 16:10) suit here; 2. that in 2 Kings 24:14 it is expressly stated that דַּלַּת עַס־הָאָרֶץ, the common people, remained, and to these must have necessarily belonged those classes of the people, who were מַם and גֵּרCompare the connection of the passage (2 Kings 24:13-16) and it will be found that Hitzig’s explanation does not agree with it. Since then, grammatically, the derivation from סָגַרclaudere is most natural, as there is further a מַסְגֵּר which signifies “custody,” etc., and consequently the meaning of shutting or of employment in that which serves to shut, or shut up (ex. gr., the bolts of gates, Deuteronomy 3:5; 1 Kings 4:13; Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 3:6; Nehemiah 3:13, etc.), which is the best founded etymologically, I understand, with most recent Comm. the locksmith, the workman, who makes what serves for shutting up in custody. What may be the relation of מַסְנֵר to הָרָשׁ (carpenters), is certainly obscure. Graf is meanwhile wrong in supposing that something more general is here to be designated. It may just as well be intended to set forth only a kind of artificer.
Jeremiah 24:3-7. Then said the Lord … with their whole heart. The construction is: as I acknowledge these good figs (am pleased with them), so I acknowledge the captives …—for good, i.e., to render them good. Comp. Jeremiah 14:11; Psalms 86:17; Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:31.—The tertium comparationis is: as one is pleased with good figs and retains them, but throws the bad away, so shall I be pleased with the captives of Judah and retain them, but reject those who remain.—And I will set, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 21:10.—and will bring them back. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 11:14-17.—and will build, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 1:10.—And they shall be my,etc. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 11:4.—When they, etc. Not “if” but “ when.” In accordance with the opening words of the verse the thought cannot be expressed hypothetically. Comp. moreover Jeremiah 3:14-17; Jeremiah 4:1-4.
Jeremiah 24:8-10. But like the bad. … their fathers.—Thus saith Jehovah is a parenthesis. The כּי is phonastic at the beginning of a direct sentence (comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 109, 1, 4), so that the verbum dicendi to be supplied is to be borrowed from Jeremiah 24:5, to which the כּי refers. It is as though the prophet would say, I have already said, I repeat it, that, etc. As to the Jews then already living in Egypt, reference may not be made to Jeremiah 22:11. For those who were carried away with Jehoahaz are certainly included under the promised blessing, Jeremiah 24:5-7, not under the curse. But it is to be supposed that since the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, after the battle of Carchemish, many Jews fled from Egypt to the king conquered in this battle as to their natural ally, as they also did afterwards (Jeremiah 42:0. sqq.)—A horror, comp. remarks on Jeremiah 15:4.—A calamity. This after the example of the LXX. is struck out by Hitzig, Ewald, Umbreit, Graf. But why should not the prophet wish to say that the Jews should not merely be given up themselves to destruction but should be the cause of destruction to others also? Has not the Jewish people, sighing under the curse, even to the most recent times developed the bad elements of its native peculiarity in many ways, to the destruction of the nations among whom it has been driven?—A proverb, comp. Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 29:22; Deuteronomy 28:37.—And I will send, comp. Jeremiah 29:17-22, where Jeremiah repeats the main thoughts of Jeremiah 24:0.
Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 24:1.—דודהים. This plural form is found in this sense here only (in another sense Genesis 30:14). It is to be derived from a sing. דּוּדַי. Comp. Olsh. § 216, d. Elsewhere the plural of דּוּד is דּוּדִים and דְּוָדִים 2Ch 35:13; 2 Kings 10:7.
Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 24:1.—יָעַד is to determine, appoint. The Hiph. is diem dixit, in jus vocavit aliquem (Job 9:19; Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44). The Hoph. cannot therefore mean simply positum, collocatum esse. Seb. Schmidt: duo calathi singulariter a Deo ante templum propositi, ut prophetia inde sumeretur. Gaab: The baskets were appointed; they would not have stood there, if God had not had a special object in it. I also believe that in מועדים is implied the idea of ex mandato. Yet it seems less probable to me that a mandatum speciale is meant, than that the prophet had in view that mandatum generale, of which we read in Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Deuteronomy 26:2 sqq. The latter passage is particularly important.
Jeremiah 24:2; Jeremiah 24:2.—אֶחָד. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 82, 4.—Observe the tropical use of the nominative: continens pro contento. Comp. Ebrard, Dogma v. h. A. M. [Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper] I. S. 14.
Jeremiah 24:2; Jeremiah 24:2.—הבכרות ἄπ. λεγ. On account of תְּאֵנֵי it is to be regarded as the subject: ficus præcocitatum. The early figs are the nicest. Comp. Isaiah 28:4; Hosea 9:10; Micah 7:1.
Jeremiah 24:2; Jeremiah 24:2.—תאכלנה. The imperf. here as in Jeremiah 24:3; Jeremiah 24:8, might certainly be taken as a simple future;—which are not eaten. The prophet then expresses the certainty, that no one will be in a condition to eat these figs. But the sentence may also be taken with אֲשֶר in the sense of a general declaration; אשׁר is then = quales, which kind of figs cannot be eaten. The imperf. is then used to designate the permanent quality. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 87, d.
Jeremiah 24:5; Jeremiah 24:5.—הִכִיר = to recognize, with the collateral idea of approval, allowal. Comp. Ruth 2:10; Ruth 2:19; and the expression הִכִּיר פַנִים in Deuteronomy 1:17; Deuteronomy 16:19; Proverbs 24:23.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.
2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.
3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24:0. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ . προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.
4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.
It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.
5. On Jeremiah 22:1-3. [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat (Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]
6. On Jeremiah 22:10. [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children (Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]
“Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos (Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4 de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.
7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men (Psalms 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.
Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.
8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.
9. On Jeremiah 22:14. [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]
10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.
11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.
12. On Jeremiah 22:19. [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]
13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.
14. On Jeremiah 22:28. [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]
“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that is, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.
15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural son, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob (Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic (Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam est, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.
16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.
17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII. 9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalms 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p. 133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.
18. On Jeremiah 23:6. [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]
“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.
19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.
20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.
21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.
22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.
23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc., have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.
24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p. 330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p. 508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea (Revelation 3:16).
25. On Jeremiah 23:16. [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]
26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.
27. On Jeremiah 23:21. [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]
28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.
29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea (Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us (Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. (Psalms 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.
30. On Jeremiah 23:28. [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]
He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3:0
31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant (Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.—He, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?
Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,
Who seek our souls to lead astray;
Whose mockeries at mortal woes
Will end in terrible dismay!
Grant that Thy holy word may root
Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit
May ever bear to endless day.
“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.
32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.
33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience (John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.
34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.
35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.
36. On Jeremiah 24:7. [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ (Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.
2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For 1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.
3. On Jeremiah 22:24. [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]
4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.
5. On Jeremiah 23:14. [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked. 1. All sin is horrible in its nature. 2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty. 3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind. 4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit. 5. It is to become partakers of their sins. 6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]
6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him. 2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine 1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections 2. Should deter us from sin. 3. Should teach us humility. 4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]
7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows 1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]
8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people. 2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 24". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent