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JEREMIAH CHAPTER 24
Under the type of good and bad figs, Jeremiah 24:1-3, he foreshoweth the return of some from captivity, Jeremiah 24:4-7, and the ruin of Zedekiah and the rest, Jeremiah 24:8-10.
The sum of what God by his prophet revealeth in this chapter is, that he would deal more graciously with those carried into captivity with Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, of which read 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Chronicles 36:10, than with those that should afterward be carried into captivity with Zedekiah. This the prophet hath revealed to him ill a vision of two baskets of figs, as followeth.
Some think these
two baskets of figs were such as the people had brought for their first-fruits, because they are mentioned as
set before the temple; but this might be no more than a vision, or all appearance of two baskets. The time of this vision was some time betwixt the carrying away of Jeconiah, of which we read 2 Kings 24:12, &c.; 2 Chronicles 36:10, and the carrying away of Zedekiah his uncle, which was eleven years after. In 2 Kings 24:16, there is a particular mention of the king of Babylon’s carrrying away the craftsmen and the smiths a thousand.
God afterwards explaineth to the prophet, and he to the king’s house, the significancy of this vision. The figs first ripe are usually best. By these
good figs, as will appear by the following verses, are intended Jeconiah or Jehoiachin, with the ten thousand mentioned 2 Kings 24:14, and the seven thousand mentioned 2 Kings 24:16, which went with him into captivity. By the other figs which were very bad, not to be eaten, are signified Zedekiah and the residue of the people carried with him into captivity. Some may object that Jeconiah and the people then carried away were wicked enough, why else were they carried away? and being so, how are they compared to good figs?
Answ. 1. Though they were bad, yet they might be comparatively good; this people, for the eleven years they continued in their own land, after that their brethren were carried away, not only continuing in their former courses, but still growing worse and worse.
2. They seem not to be called good or bad figs with respect to their manners or quality, but in respect to what God intended to do to them, viz. to use them as bad figs are used, not fit to: be eaten.
God having caused the prophet to have such a visible object appear to him, asked him what he saw as Jeremiah 1:11.
Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; who have power to do what I please, and who yet am in covenant with Israel, and have a kindness for the seed of my servant Jacob. Look, as thou approvest of one of these baskets of figs, so I do approve of those that were carried away captive with Jeconiah, repenting of their sinful courses, and accepting of that punishment of their iniquity.
Whom I have sent; though Nebuchadnezzar carried them away, it was by commission from met so that though he carried, yet I sent them.
For their good; which words may either refer to the last-mentioned words, intimating that God in sending them away aimed at either their spiritual good, to bring them to repentance, and an acknowledgment of their sins; or their temporal good, they being only quietly led away, without the miseries of famine, fire, and sword, besides carrying away; which those who remained, and were afterwards carried away with Zedekiah, experienced: or else they may be referred to the former words. I will acknowledge them for their good; that is, I will show them favour, being of the number of those who were not leaders to sin, but led away by the ill example of others, and who being carried away grew sensible of their sins by which they provoked me, and so accepted of the punishment of their iniquities.
I will set mine eyes upon them for good; the soul looking out at the eye, discovereth its inclinations and affection, whether of love or wrath. Hence we read of God’s setting his eyes upon people for evil, Amos 9:4, as here of his setting his eyes upon them for good. Or else it may signify God’s setting himself to do them good, as a man when he sets upon doing a thing, sets his eyes upon it in order thereunto.
I will bring them again to this land; some of them probably returned before the end of the captivity, some at the end of the seventy years.
I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up: the meaning of these metaphorical expressions is, I will prosper them, and provide for them. We read, 2 Kings 25:27,2 Kings 25:28, that Evil-merodach, king of Babylon, in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, lifted his head up out of prison, spake kindly to him, &c.; but this prophecy was also fulfilled in Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, and others, who are thought to be carried away with Jeconiah; or the prophecy may be understood of the posterity of those who were at this time carried away.
Under the term
know me is here (as in many other texts) comprehended faith, love, obedience, all those motions of the soul which rationally should follow a right comprehending of God in men’s knowledge.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God; I will be a God in covenant with them; as I will fulfil what I have promised them, so they shall do what is their duty to me. For, or when, or after that they shall return to me; not feignedly, but with their heart; not partially, but
with their whole heart. This is promised as an effect of special grace, not of the mere good inclination of their natural wills, for so the words I will give, in the beginning of the verse, must be understood, otherwise God gives such a heart no more to one man than another.
Whither it is probable many of the Jews had fled, upon the coming, or noise of the coming, of the king of Babylon, as they had done before, Isaiah 30:2; Isaiah 31:1.
The Lord by his prophet expresseth those tremendous judgments which he had designed to bring upon this wicked prince and people in the words of Moses the man of God; as well because the Jews had a great reverence (pretendedly at least) for Moses, how little soever they had for Jeremiah; as to let them see that what the Lord here threatened, and suddenly would bring to pass, was but in a just accomplishment of what he before had threatened in his law, by which they ought to have taken warning. The sum is, he would make them a common scoff and by-word, that their misery should be a common proverb, and when men would curse one another, they should wish them like Zedekiah and the Jews.
Many of them shall not live to be carried into captivity, but shall die miserably in their own land, if not by the enemies’ sword, yet by the famine and the pestilence, which two things ordinarily attend long sieges. By one of these three sore judgments of God they shall be consumed out of the land, and shall not hold it by the title of God’s gift of it
to their fathers. No gifts of God, except those of special grace, are perpetuities; but either given quamdiu bene se gesserint, so long as men behave themselves well in the use of them; or durante bene placito, during God’s good will and pleasure.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 24". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany