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JEREMIAH CHAPTER 33
The taking of Jerusalem, carrying away the people, their return, Jeremiah 33:1-8; joyful state and settled government, Jeremiah 33:9-14. Christ the Branch of righteousness: his everlasting kingdom and priesthood; and blessed seed, Jeremiah 33:15-26.
See Poole "Jeremiah 32:2". Jeremiah was forced out of the temple, God followeth him to the prison, and there revealeth his mind to him once and again. The wickedness of the Jews in persecuting the prophet could not make God’s promises of no effect for mercy to be showed to the people after the captivity, which though made before, are again confirmed a second time, for this chapter for substance contains no more than promises of the like nature with those in the foregoing chapters.
The maker thereof, that is, say some, of Jerusalem, (so Mr. Calvin,) or the maker of these promises, (so others interpret it,) his name is Jehovah; so as he hath a sufficiency in himself to make good his word to establish Jerusalem, or to establish the word spoken by him for the establishment of it.
God either speaketh to the people to pray unto him, or to the prophet on the behalf of the people to pray, promising him he would show him great things.
Object. But how doth God say that Jeremiah did not know them, when God before this time had revealed them to the prophet, and the prophet had revealed them?
Solut. He did not know them before God had revealed them, and though God had revealed them, yet by his prayer in the former chapter it appears he did not fully understand them, or firmly believe them as he ought to have done.
That is, which in part are thrown dawn, and shall yet further be thrown down, by the engines of war which the Chaldeans use to batter down the city: see before, Jeremiah 32:24. Some read for the mounts, as if they were thrown down by the citizens to make room for the citizens to cast up defensive mounts. The word translated sword may be as well translated hammers or mattocks, as it is 2 Chronicles 34:6. It is translated axes, Ezekiel 26:9.
It is very difficult to determine whether these words contain an entire sense in themselves, or what connexion they have with the foregoing words: not to repeat men’s diverse apprehensions, of which a large account is given by the author of the English Annotations, I think they judge best who think they have an entire sense in themselves, and judge that the they here mentioned are the Jews, of whom the prophet saith they come, because he knew they would sally out and fight with their enemies; but to no purpose but to fill their houses with their own dead bodies, whom he would cause in his anger to be slain, for their wickedness which they had provoked God by, and caused him to hide his face from that city which had so much of his countenance formerly.
The latter part of this verse expoundeth the former, for by
cure the prophet meaneth peace and truth: we met with the like metaphorical expression Jeremiah 30:17; See Poole "Jeremiah 30:17". The miserable disturbed state of a nation being compared to wounds and sickness, the restoring of it to a peaceable, prosperous state is fitly called its health and cure. By
truth here seems to be meant faithfulness, or stability, not truth of propositions: q.d. I will, after this great wound which I have given this people, bring them again into a quiet and peaceable state, in which they shall abide many days.
In this verse the latter part is expounded by the former: the restoring of them is called building them, in opposition to the throwing them down, by the mounts mentioned Jeremiah 33:4; unless by building be to be understood not laying the foundation of their new state, but the further prospering of them in that state.
Here is but one thing expressed by two phrases; the word by us translated cleanse signifies to expiate or purify, with allusion to the legal purifications, so as cleansing must not be understood of regeneration, but of that pardon which is mentioned in the latter part of the verse.
I will do so well by this people, that other nations shall honour and praise me for my goodness to them; and not only so, but shall fear to engage against a nation so beloved and favoured by me, Exodus 15:14,Exodus 15:16; Others interpret it of a religious fear and trembling, to which God’s mercy to the Israelites should invite those people that should see and hear of it; but I think the former is the most probable sense of the prophet here.
Ye say; those of you who, though you find no great difficulty to believe what I have prophesied concerning the Chaldeans’ taking this city, seeing it upon the matter already taken, yet find a difficulty to believe what I tell you about the people’s returning, and the rebuilding of it. The Lord speaketh the one as well as the other; There shall be heard again in it, &c.
The sum of this verse is, that those that should be carried into captivity should return, and upon their return they should be in their former states; both as to civil transactions, they should again marry and give in marriage; and as to civil and spiritual joy, they should publicly praise the Lord as they were wont to do in the words of David, Psalms 106:1; Psalms 107:1; Psalms 118:1; Psalms 136:1, (we have a record in holy writ of the fulfilling of this prophecy upon the laying the foundations of the second temple, Ezra 3:11) and offer sacrifices of thanksgiving. See Nehemiah 12:27.
That is, a great part of which is, and the other part shall soon be, desolate. In all these places there shall be flocks and herds of sheep and goats, which the shepherd shall take care of as in former times.
So as to keep tale of them, as it is said they were wont to do both morning and evening in those countries.
The Lord is not yea and nay, he cannot lie nor repent. I speak not of the present time, but there shall be a time when God will justify every good word of this nature which he hath spoken to his ancient people.
Whatsoever the Jews and some others say, the
Branch of righteousness here spoken of can be meant of no other but Christ, who is called a Branch out of the stem of Jesse, Isaiah 11:1; the Branch of the Lord, Isaiah 4:2; a righteous Branch, Jeremiah 23:5. (See the notes on those places.) Zorobabel, though descended from David, cannot be meant here, but the same who is thus called in all those parallel texts, of whom yet Zorobabel (being a good man, and descended from the family of David) may be allowed to have been a type; but this text far more concerneth Christ, as he in whom all the promises are founded, and in whom they are all yea and Amen. The kings they had hitherto had of the line of David were most of them unrighteous men, but God promiseth that after the captivity they should have a Branch of David that should execute judgment and righteousness in the land, for the protection and government of those that feared him.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: it is the opinion of some that a spiritual salvation and security is promised under these expressions, but the most and best interpreters rather understand it of a temporal salvation as primarily intended, though typical of that spiritual and eternal salvation which is often promised to the true Israel of God; as their rest in Canaan typified that rest which remaineth for the people of God.
And this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness: our translation of this phrase is something strange, the words in the Hebrew are וזה אשר־ יקרא־ לה יהוה צדקנו Pagnine translateth them, and he who shall call it the Lord our righteousness, supplying the verb substantive, is: He who shall call it is the Lord our righteousness. We translate it, this is the name wherewith it shall be called, &c.; that which causes the difficulty is, that the pronoun הוא which signifieth he, is applied both to persons and things, and translated he or it, and the relative אשר is of all cases, so may be translated who, or which, or with which; those words which our translators have supplied, is the name, are not in the Hebrew. This hath made a great doubt amongst interpreters, whether The Lord our righteousness be the name of Christ, or the name of the city. I do incline to their opinion who think that it is here mentioned as the name of Christ. In that sense there is nothing to be understood but the verb substantive, is, which is ordinarily understood; so the words are thus, and he who shall call it, is, the Lord our righteousness. The context seemeth to favour this, Christ being that Ruler mentioned Jeremiah 33:15, as he who shall execute justice and judgment in the land; besides that, there is no such name any where given, either to the Jewish or Christian church, as the Lord our righteousness, but the full import of that name is spoken of Christ, Isaiah 45:23, which text is applied to Christ, Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10; he is called the just King, Zechariah 9:9, and our righteousness, 1 Corinthians 1:30.
This is apparently a promise relating to Christ, for David’s line had failed long since, had it not been continued in Christ, whose kingdom is and shall be an everlasting kingdom. So long as Israel remained a kingdom, those of the line of David ruled over it; when that failed, Christ came in the flesh, who ruleth, and shall rule, over the Israel of God for ever.
The best interpreters understand this of a ministry to abide in the church to the end of the world, according to Matthew 28:20; nor is it unusual for God in the Old Testament to express promises relating to, and to be fulfilled under, the gospel by expressions and terms proper to the Old Testament, as Isaiah 66:23; and in this sense it must be expounded, or restrained to the times immediately following the captivity; but it is generally understood as a promise for a gospel ministry to succeed the ministry in the Jewish church, and to abide to the end of the world.
covenant of day and night here is meant the same with the ordinances mentioned Jeremiah 31:35. God’s law established in the course. of natural causes, by virtue of which the day and night orderly succeed one another. These verses are but a further confirmation of what was said before, and the sense of them no more than this, that the succession of the gospel ministry in the church of God, to abide for ever, should be as certain as the succession of darkness and light; God had established the latter in a necessary course of natural causes, and he would by his providence take care for the other, that the effect should be every whit as certain. Though the second causes are widely different, yet God, who is the First Cause of both, is the same, and would as certainly bring the one to pass as the other.
The former promise was for the stability, this for the multiplication of the church, which is here expressed under the notion of the
seed of David, that is, the members of Christ: the Jews were ordinarily called the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but I do not remember they are any where called the seed of David, unless it be 1 Kings 11:39, where it seems also to be understood only of the princes that came from David; nor indeed could they be so called in any proper sense; David being no common head to the whole Jewish nation, as both Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were; but Christ is often called the seed of David, John 7:42; Acts 13:23; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; and Christ is himself called David, whose seed and whose
Levites are multiplied in the multiplying of Christians and of faithful ministers under the gospel, which certainly are the things here promised.
This people, that is, (say some,) the enemies of the Jews; but it may as well be interpreted either of the wicked Jews, wicked men being always full of groundless, presumptuous hopes, or sunk in despair; or of such amongst them as were better, but weak in faith, that knew not how to give any firm assent to promises, the fulfilling of which seemed to the eyes of sense and reason so improbable. By
the two families here mentioned, the prophet either meaneth the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, or, which seemeth to me much more probable, the families of David and Aaron, mentioned before. Thus, saith God, they have spoken scornfully of my people, as if they should never be a nation more, having rulers of themselves and a ministry.
the seed of Jacob, and of Abraham and Isaac, are meant the body of the Jews, to whom these three patriarchs were common heads; by the seed of David, persons lineally descended from David, who should rule over the Israel of God. The sum of these two verses is plainly no more than God had said before, that a restoration of them to their own land should as certainly succeed their captivity as the night succeedeth the day, or the day succeedeth the night. God had as certainly established and ordained the one as the other, though not as yet so established, the one in the order of natural causes as the other. God would certainly have mercy on them, and in showing his mercy would take care that one of the seed of David should be their ruler, which was fulfilled in the Messiah.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 33". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25