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JEREMIAH CHAPTER 30
God showeth Jeremiah the deliverance and return of the Jews, Jeremiah 30:1-9. He comforteth Jacob, Jeremiah 30:10-17. Their return shall be gracious. Wrath on the wicked, Jeremiah 30:18-24.
This title is thought to extend to all we have both in this and the next chapter, both which mostly consist of comfortable promises of the restoration of this people, and teacheth us what ought to be the matter of our sermons; we ought to speak nothing for substance but what we can justify to come from the Lord, which all doctrine doth that is bottomed on Scripture, though opened and made more plain and intelligible by words formed in our own minds.
It is uncertain whether this was a command from God to Jeremiah to record all the revelations which God had made to him, or only the revelation contained in this and the following chapter, which consists chiefly of promises of the people’s restoration; and so God might command them to be written that they might not be forgotten, but be at hand for the people to read during their captivity, to keep up their faith and hope in God. A book, in the Hebrew dialect, signifieth any parchment or roll; God would have them recorded to testify his truth, and the truth of the prophet, when they should see the things accomplished.
The reason why God would have the prophecy written, was for a memorial of God’s truth in his promises. Israel never returned as to the body of the people, but those of the ten tribes which were God’s people did return; we read, Luke 2:36, of one Anna who was of the tribe of Asher, and many more doubtless did return according to the promises, Jeremiah 3:12,Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 31:1,Jeremiah 31:6; Ezekiel 37:21,Ezekiel 37:22. It is uncertain whether this promise of returning to their own land was fulfilled in those few of the ten tribes who joined themselves with those of Judah after they were returned from Babylon, or remaineth yet in part to be fulfilled. The former is most probable, and that there shall be no such time when the Jews shall return again to Jerusalem, and possess their own land, for it is hard now to give an account where the posterity of the ten tribes be by whose return the promise should be justified. Besides that the phrase in the beginning of this verse, For, lo, the days come, seem to import a more speedy fulfilling of the promise than after some thousands of years, though it is certain the Jews feed themselves with some such expectations.
God here speaketh, but whether personating other nations or the Jewish nation is not agreed, nor yet whether this text refers to the times of the Messiah, when the nations should tremble, or the time when Darius invaded Babylon, or the times of Gog and Magog, (of which read Ezekiel 38:0) or the time when the Chaldeans invaded Judah: this last seemeth most probable, and that God by this intended only to rouse the Jews out of their security, and put them off from expecting peace according to the flatteries of the false prophets, assuring them that the times that were coming next were not times of peace, but such as should make them tremble.
The voice which I hear is not the voice of women, but of men, and those the strongest and stoutest men, yet it is a voice like the voice of women in travail, roaring out through their pains; and the posture I see the generality of men are in is like the posture of women in travail, who hold their hands upon their loins, hoping thereby to abate their pain. Was it ever heard that males had the pains that use to attend child-bearing women?
And all faces are turned into paleness; and all men’s faces look as if they had the yellow jaundice; or are of the colour of blasted corn, as the word signifieth, Deuteronomy 28:22.
It is no wonder that there is such a trembling upon all hearts, such a consternation and great complaining; for it will be a time of no ordinary calamity, but of great evil and misery, in the same sense as it is called a great day, Joel 2:11, great and terrible; and Zephaniah 1:14, &c.; there never was such a day before. It will be a day of trouble to those that are the posterity of Jacob, both good and bad; they shall not be delivered from it, but they shall be delivered out of it.
In that day; not in that great day before mentioned, but in the day when God should deliver the seed of Jacob out of trouble. God threatens to break the yoke of the king of Babylon, that is, to break that power of his which for seventy years he should exercise in keeping the Jews under; and he would break the bonds in which they should be kept, and foreign nations should no more serve themselves upon the Jews.
Who is here meant by David is not well agreed. Some think this promise was fulfilled in the rule of Zorobabel, and those after the captivity of Babylon, of the family of David, who ruled over the Jews, though not under the style of kings; others think that Christ is intended, as in the other parallel prophecies, Ezekiel 34:23; Ezekiel 37:22; Hosea 3:5, and that the deliverance here promised was spiritual; and indeed unless we so understand it, it will be hard to assign a time when the promise of the former and this verse was made good, for upon the return from the captivity to the coming of Christ, and from his time to this day, other nations have served themselves upon the Jews, and they have been in perpetual servitude, first to the Persians, then to the Grecians, then to the Romans, in servitude to whom they were at the coming of Christ, and soon after miserably subdued by them, and since that time almost all nations have served themselves of the Jews. Either therefore this prophecy must be understood in a spiritual sense of the kingdom of Christ, under which the Jews that received him were made spiritually free; or else there is a time yet to come, when this ancient people of God shall be restored to a further civil liberty than they have enjoyed ever since the captivity of Babylon, and be more fully converted to Christ than they yet are; towards which sense many texts of Scripture, besides this, look; particularly Romans 11:25,Romans 11:26.
You that are my servants, and the posterity of Jacob, though your captivity be threescore and ten years, yet be not afraid that I have quite forgotten you, or my promise made to your fathers. For I will assure you, that though I have for your sins sent you afar off, yet you are not beyond the reach of my saving arm; you shall return out of the captivity of Babylon, and be at rest: as they were for one hundred and fifty years during the time of the Persian monarchy; a short history of which we have in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
To save thee with a temporal salvation and deliverance, and those of thee who are Israelites indeed with a spiritual and eternal salvation; but the first is what is here principally intended. God puts a difference betwixt the chastisements of his people, and the punishments of their enemies; the latter he destroyeth with an utter and total destruction, to make an end of them; but he chastens his people like a father for their profit, and will not bring them to utter ruin. He corrects them
in measure; the Hebrew word signifieth, in judgment; that is, not in equity only, but in wisdom, or with moderation, whereas he is said to punish his enemies in fury. There are many texts of Scripture that mention this difference which God puts betwixt his punishing his people and his punishing their enemies, Isaiah 26:14,Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 27:7,Isaiah 27:8. But yet God will not let his own people go altogether unpunished, that by it they may be reclaimed, and the world may take notice that God is of purer eyes than that he can, in any persons, behold iniquity.
Interpreters generally understand by bruise or wound here the state that the Jews should be in the captivity of Babylon, which would be miserable, and so miserable that it would be incurable from any hand, except the hand of God. But I do not understand why it may not as well be interpreted of their sinful state, with reference to God’s purpose, and interpreted by 2 Chronicles 36:16, where it is said, The wrath of God arose against them till there was no remedy. They had sinned to that degree that God had resolved into captivity they should go, and there should abide till the determination of seventy years.
Concerning the general design of the prophet in these words, all interpreters seem agreed that the prophet’s scope is to bring their uneasy thoughts to a rest, and make them rest satisfied with the providence of God; for there was no resistance of the will of God, which he metaphorically expresseth under the notion of one miserably and incurably wounded, whom no physician or surgeon could heal, and for whom there was no effectual plaster: but concerning the particular sense of the Hebrew words much is critically said, which I conceive not my work to repeat, nor is it of much moment to us to know whether the word more properly signifies
healing medicines, or courses of cure, or plasters; those who are curious may read sufficiently about it in the English Annotations upon the text. It may be more material to consider whether the prophet’s meaning be, there was none would do it, or there was none could do it, or there was none should do it, that is, whom God would admit at present to do it; as he elsewhere saith, though Noah, Daniel, and Job, and though Moses and Samuel, stood before him, they should save none but their own souls. The prophet’s design doubtless was to satisfy this people that there was no present remedy for them but patience: though some would in charity plead for them, and though their false prophets might promise a cure; yet in very deed God would admit now of no plea for them, and all means that could be used for their more speedy restoration would prove no healing medicines, but like medicines that make the patients worse, and irritate instead of allaying the distemper.
In the time of thy prosperity thou hadst many friends, but now they have
forgotten thee. Very probably the Egyptians and Assyrians, whose help the Jews made often use of, are the lovers here intended, 2 Chronicles 28:21; Hosea 12:1; indeed the Egyptians were before conquered, or very much brought low, by the king of Babylon. They see the miserable case they are in, and now do not covet thee as formerly, they discern that I have wounded thee with such a wound as cruel men use to give their enemies; though it be in me no act of cruelty, for it is but in a just punishment of your iniquities, which were increased to a very great multitude.
Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable:
Why complainest thou of my dealings with thee? or, as Jeremiah 15:18, the cause of thy sorrow is incurable: or, as others, Why complainest thou that thy sorrow is incurable? Though it be so, yet thou hast no reason to complain of my dealings, for thy destruction is of thyself; I am just in what I have done, for I have but given thee that death which is the wages of thy work of sin; nor was I suddenly provoked, it is for the multitude of thine iniquities, and in that case the living man hath no just reason to complain, Lamentations 3:39.
The particle לָכֵן is thought here to be ill translated therefore, for manifestly it is not a causal or illative, and those who interpret it therefore refer it to what went before, Jeremiah 30:10,Jeremiah 30:11. It were better translated nevertheless, or notwithstanding yet: so the learned author of the English Annotations thinks it should be translated Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 30:18, and in many other texts.
This text is a declaration of God’s free mercy: though this people had justly provoked the Lord by their iniquities to punish them, yet he would at length revenge them of their enemies, and those that spoiled them should feel his justice, and be themselves spoiled: so Isaiah 10:12; Isaiah 33:1. God ordinarily punisheth those that have been enemies to his people more severely than his people have been punished by them; the reasons are, because though they serve God in chastising his people, yet they do it not designedly, Isaiah 10:7, and commonly they exceed a measure in their executing God’s vengeance.
As the miserable state of this people was by the prophet, Jeremiah 30:12,Jeremiah 30:13, described under the similitude of a man wounded, and bruised, and sick; so their more prosperous state is described under the nation of health, and God’s action in restoring them expressed under the notion of healing, both here and in many other texts, Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 19:22; Isaiah 57:18,Isaiah 57:19. The particle here translated because may so signify, here, for often the scorn and contempt of God’s people’s enemies causeth God to make haste to their salvation and deliverance; but many think that it were better translated although, as it is Joshua 17:18; though the heathens call thee one that I have cast off, as a man doth his wife; yet they shall see the contrary, for I will heal thee of thy wounds.
Saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after; though they deriding say, This Zion whom none cares for. Some think that in this they alluded to the original signification of the word Zion, which is, a dry or waste place.
This verse manifestly is a promise of the rebuilding of the city, and was fulfilled in the times of Ezra; and the term
captivity, which in its proper sense relates to persons, not to places, being here applied to places, signifies the miserable state of Jerusalem upon the taking it by Nebuchadnezzar, which God promiseth to change or alter under the notion of
bringing again; so we read of the captivity of Job, who yet strictly was never a captive, Job 42:10. Whether by the term heap be meant the heap of rubbish into which the city was turned, upon the taking of it by the king of Babylon, or the hill upon which the city was builded, is not much material; by the palace is meant either the king’s house or the temple: so the verse is a promise of the building again of the city, the temple, and the chief governor’s house, all which was fulfilled by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zorobabel, the history of which we read in the books wrote by Ezra and Nehemiah.
Out of them shall proceed thanksgiving; thanksgiving to God, as Jeremiah 17:26, either thank-offerings, Leviticus 7:12,Leviticus 7:13, or vocal thanksgivings.
And the voice of them that make merry; either in a religious sense, or in a civil sense if it be taken in the former, it signifieth their mirth at their religious festivals, of which we read much in Scripture, Psalms 42:4; Psalms 118:15, &c.; if in the latter, it signifieth their happy and joyful state after their restoration.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; though they be diminished in the captivity, yet I will return to them in my wonted providences, and multiply them according to my promise to Abraham, so as they shall be for number many.
I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small; and as to their quality, it shall be honourable; though during those seventy years they shall be a people of mean or no reputation, yet after that time they shall recover their ancient reputation, and again be a people great for honour and glory.
Their posterity also shall be as happy, and in as much repute, as they were before this carrying into Babylon. Their church, or the body of the people of the Jews, shall from generation to generation be established. And though in those times there will be some that will oppress them, yet they shall not escape my vengeance that do it, for I will protect and defend them.
Their governor shall proceed from the midst of them: this promise was made good in Zerobabel, and other governors of the Jews after their return out of captivity, till they came to be subdued by the Romans. Some restrain this unto Christ, and make it a prophecy of Christ being born of the Jewish nation; it is he, they say, that was meant by David, Jeremiah 30:9; and it is not improbable that the sense of the text may reach unto Christ, but it seems literally to be understood of Zerobabel, and to be opposed to strangers ruling over them, which was no small piece of their calamity while they were in captivity.
He shall approach unto me; that is, he shall serve me, and I will favour him; or, this people shall serve me, and I will favour them, and not be as one at a distance or far off from them. Some understand this of the civil governor that should be after the captivity; some understand it of the people; some understand it of Christ. Those that understand it of the governor, make it to signify the special favour that governor should be in with God and his religion; those that understand it of the people, make it to signify the religion of the people, and the favour they should be in with God; those who understand it of Christ, interpret it of his favour with God, by whom also the saints have their access.
For who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? Interpreters are yet more divided about this phrase; some apply it to Christ, either as an admiration of his excellency, or as denoting that none but he could draw near to God in that manner as he did, nor had any such a delight in the sons of men as he, so as for him to be a Mediator betwixt offenders and an offended God; none but he durst look in the face of an angry God. Others understand it of God’s people, intimating that in the day when they should return out of captivity there would be but few that with any serious purpose of heart would apply themselves unto God, or signifying the impotency that is in man heartily to draw nigh to God, till (as it is before said) God causeth him so to do; and some think the words have a reference to the covenant mentioned in the next verse.
God in these words declares that in that day he would renew his covenant with Israel, (at least the true Israelites,) and they should be his people to serve and to obey him, and he would be their God to protect and bless them with all temporal and all spiritual blessings.
The whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury; the vengeance of God compared to a whirlwind, for the suddenness of it, and because it should encompass them to their ruin, a terrible whirlwind.
A continuing whirlwind; or, a continuing whirling; not a sudden blast of wind, that shall presently go over, but a vengeance that shall abide. The miserable effects of which, in destroying, shall be either upon the heathen, or upon the wicked Jews that shall continue in their disobedience and stubbornness.
He expoundeth in these words the continuing whirlwind, spoken of Jeremiah 30:23, and withal lets them know that what the false prophets said of a speedy return out of Babylon of those already there, or of the not going of those which as yet were in Judea, was all but falsehood; for the Lord was angry, and was resolved to fulfil the purpose of his heart in punishing them. And though at present they would not consider nor believe it, yet afterward, when they should see things come to pass according as he had said, then they should consider what he had told them.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 30". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24