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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 23

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-8

Jeremiah 22:1 to Jeremiah 23:8 . This section contains several distinct Jeremianic prophecies, relating to contemporary kings of Judah; they have been editorially collected, probably with some expansion.

Jeremiah 22:1-9 . Introduction.— The prophet is sent down to the palace (lower than the Temple, and on the S.) to declare judgment and justice as the condition of permanence in the royal line. He bewails in a dirge ( Jeremiah 22:6 f.) the fall of the royal house, which is like that of well-wooded districts (Gilead, Lebanon) delivered over to the axe. The cause is the disloyalty of the city to Yahweh ( Jeremiah 22:8 f.; taken from Deuteronomy 29:4 f.).

Jeremiah 22:5 . For this solemn oath by Yahweh, cf. Jeremiah 49:13, and Hebrews 6:13-18.

Jeremiah 22:10-12 . Josiah and Jehoahaz.— The fate of Josiah (“ the dead” ; slain in battle at Megiddo, 608, 2 Kings 23:29 f.; cf. 2 Chronicles 35:25) is less pitiful than that of Jehoahaz (Shallum), who reigned (for three months in 608) until taken captive by Pharaoh Necho into Egypt, where he died ( 2 Kings 23:31 ff.; this king, like Jeremiah, was anti-Egyptian in his policy).

Jeremiah 22:13-19 . Jehoiakim (608– 597; 2 Kings 23:36-37).— His injustice and rapacity ( Jeremiah 22:17 mg.) , as shown in his sumptuous palace-building, are contrasted with the normal life and upright rule of his father, Josiah. Jehoiakim shall not be honoured in death by his relatives ( 1 Kings 13:30) or subjects ( Jeremiah 34:5), but flung forth unburied ( Jeremiah 36:30; cf. 2 Kings 24:6, where there is no mention of burial).

Jeremiah 22:14 . chambers: the word denotes structures on the roof; cf. Thomson, p. 160. In Jeremiah 22:14 b read “ panelling it . . . painting” .

Jeremiah 22:20-30 . Jehoiachin.— Jerusalem is bidden to climb the heights and lament ( Jeremiah 7:29), because her lovers ( Jeremiah 4:30; probably of allies) are broken, and the wind shall “ shepherd” her shepherds (rulers). Her fancied security, as of a bird making its nest in Lebanon, will be turned into groaning travail ( Jeremiah 22:23 mg.) . Jehoiachin (Coniah or Jeconiah, who reigned for three months in 597, 2 Kings 24:8 ff; 2 Kings 25:27) is rejected by Yahweh, and will be exiled with his mother (Nehushta, Jeremiah 13:18. 2 Kings 24:8); he is to be recorded ( Isaiah 4:3) as having no royal successor.

Jeremiah 22:20 . Abarim: E. of Dead Sea.

Jeremiah 22:24 . signet: Haggai 2:23.

Jeremiah 22:30 . Jehoiachin was not childless according to 1 Chronicles 3:17.

Jeremiah 23:1-8 . Conclusion.— Denunciation of the unworthy rulers (shepherds, Jeremiah 22:22): “ ye have scattered, I will gather my flock ( Psalms 95:7) and appoint worthy rulers” ( Jeremiah 23:1-4). The king called the “ Shoot” ( Jeremiah 23:5 mg.) will continue the worthy traditions of David ( 2 Samuel 8:15) and rule over a united people (Israel as well as Judah). His symbolic name shall be “ Yahweh is our righteousness,” i.e. the source of all our well-being. This restoration will eclipse the original deliverance from Egypt ( Jeremiah 23:5-8). Note that this “ Messianic” king is an ideal human ruler, acting as Yahweh’ s administrator, and subordinate to him.

Jeremiah 23:5 . Branch: “ Shoot,” i.e. from the ground, as in Heb. of Genesis 19:25; for the later use of the term as title, cf. Zechariah 3:8 ; Zechariah 6:12.

Jeremiah 23:6 . The title is used of Jerusalem in Jeremiah 33:16; cf. Ezekiel 48:35; there is a tacit reference here to Zedekiah (597– 586), whose name means “ Yahweh is righteousness” .

Verses 9-40

Jeremiah 23:9-40 . The Prophets.— Jeremiah is overcome by the stern message given him to deliver. The evil of the land is encouraged by prophet and priest ( Jeremiah 6:13), even the Temple being dishonoured ( 2 Kings 21:5); for this they shall be thrust down a dark and slippery way ( Jeremiah 23:9-12). The immorality of the southern prophets is worse than was the false religion of the northern ( Jeremiah 23:13). Hence their punishment ( Jeremiah 23:15; cf. Jeremiah 9:15). They inspire baseless hopes (“ teach you vanity” , Jeremiah 23:16), which are without Divine warrant ( Jeremiah 14:14) and prophesy well-being ( Jeremiah 23:17, as mg.) . They have had no entrance into Yahweh’ s heavenly council ( Jeremiah 23:18; cf. Jeremiah 23:22, Job 15:8 mg.; whereas true prophets have, Amos 3:7). Jeremiah 23:19 f., describing the ultimate judgment, appears to be an interpolation from Jeremiah 30:23 f. The teaching of the true prophet can be known from its moral quality ( Jeremiah 23:22). But Yahweh is omnipresent and omniscient ( Jeremiah 23:23 f.) and knows the falsity of the appeal made by these prophets to their dreams as revelation ( cf. Job 4:13 ff.). Let the dream be put forward for no more than it is; the (direct) word of Yahweh shall be known by its powerful effects ( i.e. its appeal to the sanctions of history, Jeremiah 23:29). Yahweh is against this imitative, second-hand prophecy ( Jeremiah 23:30), which is without inner confirmation ( Jeremiah 23:31, and see on Jeremiah 20:9), and Divine commission ( Jeremiah 23:32). This passage is important for the study of the prophetic consciousness, especially of the distinction of true from false prophecy ( cf. Jeremiah 14:13 ff., Ezekiel 13:1-16). The implied marks of false prophecy are superficial optimism ( Jeremiah 23:17), immoral teaching ( Jeremiah 23:22), futility of result ( Jeremiah 23:29), lack of originality and inner conviction ( Jeremiah 23:30).— There follows ( Jeremiah 23:33-40) a rather obscure denunciation of the term “ burden” , as used of an oracle, i.e. of something “ taken up” on the prophet’ s lips. When men scornfully ask about Yahweh’ s “ burden” , the answer, playing on the term, shall be “ Ye are the burden” ( Jeremiah 23:33 mg.) . Men make their own words into Yahweh’ s “ burden” ( Jeremiah 23:36 mg.) . If men persist in using this term “ burden” of Yahweh’ s oracles, he will “ take them up” ( Jeremiah 23:39 mg., again with play on the word) and fling them away.

Jeremiah 23:9 . shake: “ be soft,” i.e. strengthless.

Jeremiah 23:10 . Read mg.; “ for because . . . dried up” interrupts the connexion.

Jeremiah 23:13 . folly: lit. “ unsavouriness” , Job 6:6.

Jeremiah 23:23 . at hand: must be taken to mean “ locally limited” , in view of context. Jeremiah 23:26. The verse is corrupt: Driver suggests “ how long? is (my word) in the heart, etc.” .

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 23". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/jeremiah-23.html. 1919.
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