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CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES.—1. Chronology of the Chapter.—This letter and its transmission are usually dated the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign (because of chap. Jeremiah 28:1), but Jeremiah 29:2 of this chapter rather points to a somewhat earlier date, possibly the first or second year of Zedekiah; for Zedekiah himself had to go in his fourth year (chap. Jeremiah 51:59), and it is probable therefore that this embassy was a year or two earlier.
2. Contemporary Scriptures.—2 Chronicles 36:14-21; Ezekiel 17:11-21.
3. National Affairs.—An embassy sent from Zedekiah to the king of Babylon. Its object unknown; but not unlikely to carry the tribute he was under bond to pay Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:13), and possibly to delude him by renewed pledges of obedience when he was conspiring, with the kings of other nations, to rebel against him (chap. Jeremiah 27:3).
4. Contemporaneous History.—See notes on chap. 21.
5. Personal Allusions.—Jeremiah 29:3. “Elasah.” Most probably brother of Ahikam (see note chap. Jeremiah 26:24), and would consequently be favourably received at the Chaldean court. Jeremiah 29:4. “Gemariah the son of Hilkiah.” Hilkiah was the priest who found the law in the house of the Lord and showed it to Shaphan the scribe, who showed it to Josiah the king (2 Kings 22:8). Different person from the Gemariah of Jeremiah 36:25.Jeremiah 29:21; Jeremiah 29:21. “Ahab, son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah, son of Maaseiah.” Two false prophets who traded upon the wishes and credulity of the Babylonian captives, provoking them to revolt against Nebuchadnezzar, and were therefore cast into the “burning fiery furnace” (comp. Daniel 3:6). Jeremiah 29:24. “Shemaiah the Nehelamite.” This Shemaiah would seem to have been the leader of these false prophets at Babylon, for he wrote the letter in their name against Jeremiah. Jeremiah 29:25. “Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah” (see on Jeremiah 21:1). He was the “second priest,” the pakéd, deputy “in the stead of Jehoiada the priest” (Jeremiah 29:26), and in this office he controlled the civil force which guarded the Temple. Jeremiah 29:26, “Jehoiada the priest.” Supposed by some to be the same conspicuous and influential Jehoiada of king Joash’a reign (2 Kings 11:15; 2 Chronicles 23:16); but as both Jehoiada and Zephaniah are in this verse called “officers in the house of the Lord,” i.e., pakíds, deputy high-priests, the supposition fails.
6. Geographical References.—Jeremiah 29:24. “The Nehelamite,” i.e., belonging to the village of Nehlam. A place of similar name existed somewhere between the Jordan and the Euphrates (comp. 2 Samuel 10:16-17); called there the “Helam” or Chelam, and here Ne-chelam.
7. Literary Criticisms.—Jeremiah 29:2. “The queen.” Nehushta, the queen-mother (comp. Jeremiah 13:18). Jeremiah 29:11. “An expected end.” אַחֲרִית, lit., last, i.e., issue or future—“a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:12. “Ye shall go and pray unto Me.” Probably a Hebrew idiom for repeated and frequent prayer (Michaelis); but better, going to the place of prayer. Jeremiah 29:17. “Like vile figs.” The adjective comes from שָׁעַר to shudder. Jeremiah 29:18. “Deliver them to be removed:” vide note on chap. Jeremiah 15:4, p. 314. Though a different word from “vile,” shuddering, there is a play on the sense of that word in the word rendered “removed” (Jeremiah 29:18), “make them a shuddering.” Jeremiah 29:22. A curse, קְלָלָה. Another ringing on the form of words. This “curse,” kelalah, should be associated with the conduct of “the son of Kolaiah” (Jeremiah 29:21), קוֹלָיָה, whom Nebuchadnezzar “roasted” קָלָם, kalam, in the fire. Jeremiah 29:24. “Nehelamite:” in margin, dreamer; but this is an error, for the word (vide Geographical Reference above) is a name of a place, though it closely resembles the word Chalam, “dreamer,” which Jeremiah so often uses (see Jeremiah 29:8).
HOMILIES AND OUTLINES ON CHAPTER 29
A REVOLUTIONARY EPOCH
Zedekiah’s was certainly an uneasy throne. At home the people were restless, the priests and princes eager to revolt. And in Babylon (to whose monarch he was tributary, and whither the flower of the Jewish nation had already been carried) the Chaldees were probably irritated, as the Romans were in later times, at the determination of the Jews never to submit quietly to a foreign rule; while, also, there was the same ferment among the Jews in Babylon as there was among those in Jerusalem. To quell this ferment among the exiles, he sent letters assuring them that the captivity would continue for seventy years, and urging them to settle down calmly and wisely, to make themselves homes, and give themselves to industry and commerce. His words found acceptance there, but the false prophets in Jerusalem did their utmost to thwart Jeremiah’s aim, and to stir among the exiles resistance to his influence.
Jeremiah 29:1. Theme: MESSAGES TO EXILES. “Now these are the words of the letter Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the residue of the elders which were carried away captives.”
This was a letter from Jeremiah to the captives and exiles, far from Jerusalem their happy home. They were then what we are now, strangers and pilgrims—exiles; and the directions given to them may be fitly applied by us. The captives would find very real consolations in this letter from the prophet whom God inspired to write it.
I. The very fact that a message was sent to them under an express Divine appointment was consolatory. And this may teach us that, wherever God’s children are scattered, the written word is to them a source of permanent encouragement.
God looks after His afflicted and scattered servants. He moved the Apostles James and Peter to write Epistles to the twelve tribes scattered abroad. John, when banished from Ephesus to Patmos, was favoured with high revelations from God. During the seventy years’ captivity, Daniel was raised up to be a living consolation to the exiles; and here Jeremiah is directed to write a letter to them by express command of God. This proves to us that in the severest ways of justice God does not forget His own children, but has in reserve ample consolations for them, when they lie under the common judgment.
A man would have thought that these were driven away from God’s care when they were driven out from the sanctuary, but Ezekiel tells a different tale (Ezekiel 11:16): “I will be a little sanctuary in all countries whither they come.” They at Jerusalem, it seems, had the Temple, but without God; they at Babylon shall have God, but without the Temple. He applies seasonable comforts under discouraging providences, and is bent upon making up His jewels though they seem scattered and lost. God gives a command to Moab: “Let Mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab.”
II. The particular Providence of God, appearing on their behalf under all their calamities, was a source of consolation.
He is the Lord of Hosts, of all the armies above and below, and yet is the God of Israel; and though He permits their captivity, He does not break His relation to them—their covenant God still, though under a cloud.
He assumes the active agency in their dispersion. “I have caused them to be carried away.” Their sins were the procuring cause of their dispersion; Nebuchadnezzar was the instrumental cause, but God Himself was the efficient and disposing cause. “Is there evil in the city and I have not done it?” He asserts the strictness of His justice, visiting the sins of His own people upon them. Certainly it must be a great sin which induees a loving father to cast his child out of doors. But sin is a great scatterer, and is always followed by a driving away and a casting out. It drove the angels from heaven, Adam from Paradise, Cain from the boundaries of the visible Church, and the children of Israel from their much-loved dwellings in Zion. Your houses will be weary of you when you dishonour God in them, and you may live to be driven from those comforts which you abuse to excess.
Yet the fact of God’s being the agent in their dispersion is referred to as a ground of consolation; since it reconciles us to our troubles to see the hand of God in them, and to trace an all-gracious and merciful design in them. “I was dumb because Thou didst it.” “He that scattered Israel shall gather him.”
III. The promise of the stability and security of their social and domestic interests was given. They were promised “peace in the peace of Babylon,” and were forbidden to plot and intrigue against its political interests. They were not to be known as agitators, or ringleaders of revolt, but as peaceful citizens. And it is a fact that they were treated more like colonists than captives: “He made them pitied of those who carried them captive.” If they were to “pray for the peace” of Babylon, much more should we for the welfare of our own country.
The permanence and maintenance of their domestic interests were provided for. “Build ye houses and plant gardens; take wives for your sons, that ye may be increased and not diminished.” This is just contrary to God’s command to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:3) in Jerusalem, because then the country was on the eve of convulsion, but now they were informed of a long captivity. Had God given the hope of speedy return, their minds would have been unsettled and uneasy; they would have applied to no business, taken no comfort; but they were given to calculate on long absence from home.
Scripture deals honestly by us. It tells us that through much tribulation we enter the kingdom. “In every place the Spirit testifies that bonds and imprisonments await us.” It tells us where comfort cannot be found, and where our peace is securely laid up: “In Me ye shall have peace.”
IV. The prospect of a certain and favourable issue to their trials.
“Thoughts of peace and not of evil” (Jeremiah 29:11).—S. Thodey, A.D. 1834.
Jeremiah 29:2. JECONIAH’S CAPTIVITY. Nebuchadnezzar, in the first half of his reign (B.C. 606–562), repeatedly invaded Judea, besieged Jerusalem, carried away the inhabitants to Babylon, and destroyed the city and Temple. Two distinct deportations are mentioned in 2 Kings 24:14 (including 10,000 persons), Jeremiah 35:11; one in 2 Chronicles 36:20; three in Jeremiah 52:28-30 (including 4600 persons); and one in Daniel 1:3. The two principal deportations were—
i. That which took place B.C. 598, when Jehoiachim, with all the nobles, soldiers, and artificers were carried away; and
ii. That which followed the destruction of the Temple and the capture of Zedekiah, B.C. 588.—“Captivities of the Jews” (Dr. Smith).
Jeremiah 29:7. Theme: CHRISTIAN PATRIOTISM. “And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”
The case of these people does not exactly correspond with ours, but the difference should heighten our obligations. Ought we not to seek the good of our native land—the land of our fathers’ sepulchres—the land where we are protected by mild and wholesome laws, where civil and religious freedom are enjoyed in a higher degree than in any other country in Europe; a land where God has been known for many centuries as a refuge; a land where there are greater opportunities for propagating the Gospel, at home and abroad, than in any other land under heaven?
I. Inquire into the duty of religious people towards their country. “Seek the peace of the city.” The word “peace” here means prosperity in general.
We should therefore seek our nation’s welfare. Then—
1. We shall do nothing, and join in nothing, that tends to disturb its peace or hinder its welfare; e.g., conspiracies, inflammatory speeches, sow discontent and disaffection, depreciate those who govern in a way so as to bring government into contempt.
2. Do everything in our power to promote its welfare; e.g., a cheerful obedience to the laws, respect for those who frame and execute them, ready co-operation in beneficent measures.
3. That we pray the Lord on its behalf. Though banished from their Temple, these exiles had access to their God. All our dependence, as a nation, is upon God; and therefore we should importune Him. Further, there is a load of guilt upon our country, and we should therefore supplicate mercy on its behalf.
II. The motives by which these duties are enforced.
1. The interests of individuals and families are closely connected with those of a country.
2. Our interests as Christians are interwoven with the well-being of our country. What our advantages are we should know to our grief were we once to lose them.
3. Should the young be called upon to take up arms for our country’s defence, every one of us, parent, wife, or friend, will (if we can pray for anything) importune the Lord of hosts to cover their heads in the day of battle.—Rev. Andrew Fuller (delivered at Kettering, in 1803, at a time of threatened invasion).
Theme: THE BEST CHRISTIANS THE BEST CITIZENS.
I. They know that the prosperity of the whole is their own prosperity. They do not, therefore, selfishly seek their own advantage.
II. They actually labour with all diligence for the furtherance of the common good.
III. They employ for. this end the power of Christian prayer.—Naegelsbach.
Theme: THE DUTIES OF CHRISTIANS TO THEIR COUNTRY.
I. What are the things absolutely necessary to the security and prosperity, the true glory and happiness, of our country?
1. The true honour of a nation, like that of the individual, lies in character. President Quincy affirms: “Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom; freedom, none but virtue; virtue, none but knowledge; neither freedom nor virtue has any vigour or immortal hope except in the principles of the Christian faith and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.”
2. The security and prosperity of our nation are inseparably associated with the advancement of religion among the people.
II. What are the best means for securing those things which are essential to our country’s highest welfare?
1. General diffusion of education. “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.”
2. Equally essential that the people be virtuous. Knowledge is power, but unsanctified power is power for evil.
3. The general distribution of the Bible. The Bible is the great instrument for enlightening the conscience and purifying the heart.
4. Preaching the Gospel. Our nature is a wreck, a chaos, which the cross of Christ alone can adjust.
5. Prayer. See 2 Chronicles 7:13-14; Psalms 106:23; Exodus 32:10, &c. John Knox, the great Scottish reformer, prayed—“Give me Scotland, or else I die.” Queen Mary said she feared his prayers more than an army of 10,000 men! (See Addenda: PRAYER FOR ONE’S OWN COUNTRY.)
III. What arguments may enforce the duties of personal and combined activity in seeking the highest good of our land?
1. Because our own individual good is intimately connected with its general happiness and prosperity. “For in the peace thereof ye shall have peace.”
2. We shall thereby recommend the religion we profess.
3. The work of supplying our land with the preached Gospel and with religious institutions is the most important work to which Christians can devote their energies.—Rev. Samuel Baker, D.D., Philadelphia, 1864.
Jeremiah 29:8-9. DECEIVING PROPHETS. See on chap. Jeremiah 14:14; Jeremiah 23:21; Jeremiah 27:14-15.
Jeremiah 29:10-14. Theme: GRACIOUS PURPOSES OF GRIEVOUS PUNISHMENTS. In the text four things:—The certain punishment of sin. The certain fulfilment of God’s gracious purposes. The certain issue of sanctified afflictions. The certain acceptance of fervent devotious.
I. The certain punishment of sin.
“After seventy years be accomplished in Babylon I will visit you.” But seventy years must be accomplished. And mark, this threatening was fulfilled towards the most pious of God’s people among the Jews, as well as the most impious. “One event happeneth to all.” “The soul that sinneth,” &c.
The blood of Christ, applied by faith, delivers from the curse of sin hereafter, but the consequences of sin are often bitterly felt by God’s people here. It is the law of Divine dispensations that sin should bring sorrow; and it is the tendency of Divine grace to make sin appear exceeding sinful. Job and David and Hezekiah and Peter, even though through rich grace their sins were forgiven and their hopes were restored, found that it was “an evil thing and bitter to sin against God;” and in the text the pious Jews equally with their irreligious countrymen endured captivity in Babylon seventy years.
As the shadow follows the body, so does anguish attend upon sin. We may advance towards sin with pleasure in our eye, but when we return it is with sorrow and repentance in our heart.
II. The certain fulfilment of God’s gracious purposes. “I will visit and perform My good word. For I know the thoughts,” &c. The “good word” was the word of promise of deliverance from captivity, and the coming and reign of Christ.
It is the mercy of the penitent sinner, it is the comfort of the humblest believer, that God is as true to His promises as to His threatenings—as faithful to the declarations of the covenant of His grace as He is to the sentence of His holy law—as ready to listen to the voice of the blood of sprinkling as He was to listen to the voice of the blood of Abel. God will perform His good word to the humblest spirit that has sought and found rest at the foot of the cross. No sin will be our ruin which leads us to Christ for salvation. It is His own language. “I, even I, am He,” and “Come now, and let us reason.” “I know the thoughts—thoughts of peace.” God often thinks thoughts of peace, when we suppose He thinks thoughts of evil. He occupies Himself in merciful thoughts concerning their spiritual peace of mind now and their eternal peace hereafter.
The issue is to give you “an expected end”—a very desirable one. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth;” “But the God of all grace,” &c.
APPLY IT TO CHRIST, the expected Messiah, in whom all God’s thoughts of peace concerning His people issue. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. Of all things in creation; “for all things were made by and for Him.” All things in Scripure: prophecies, promises, types, ceremonies, sacrifices, “the end of the law.” Salvation by Christ now and happiness with Christ hereafter is the end of all God’s gracious purposes and designs—the end of the covenant of grace—the end of God’s providential dispensations—and the end of the toils and conflicts of the Christian life. It is an end, an issue, contemplated by faith, and waited for by believers; “an expected end,” “receiving the end of your faith,” &c. And it is freely bestowed—thankfully received—as a grace-gift. “By grace ye;” “I will perform My good word;” “Heaven and earth may pass away,” &c.
III. The certain issue of sanctified afflictions (Jeremiah 29:12). “Then shall ye call and go and pray, and I will hearken.” We cannot have a better proof of sanctified afflictions than when a spirit of prayer is poured out—when we are brought to our knees—taught the futility of broken dependencies—taught to find our happiness and all in God. Distrust of ourselves—dependence on Christ—confidence in God—humility in His presence—submission to His will—and a delight in communion with Him—these mark growth in grace.
IV. The certain acceptance of fervent prayer. “Seek and find Me … whole heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). True of forgiveness of sin—support in trouble—deliverance. We must be earnest and fervent, or shall have but a cold answer. He that asks with a doubting mind and wavering lazy desire, begs for nothing but to be denied. God gives His people what they ask, or better. We beg for removal of present sadness—but He gives that which makes us able to bear twenty sadnesses, a cheerful spirit, peaceful conscience, joy in God, the antepast of eternal rejoicings in His kingdom. Remember how great a God you go to, how great a need you have, how great a thing you pray for.—S. Thodey, A.D. 1827.
Jeremiah 29:11. Theme: GOD’S GRACIOUS THOUGHTS.
Near disasters clearly realised (Jeremiah 29:10); yet future good confidently anticipated. As God would be in their calamities, for He will punish sin, so He designed their deliverance, for “He will not always chide, neither keep His anger for ever.”
I. The Lord has “thoughts” concerning His people. Yes! “Thoughts of peace and not of evil.” “How precious also are Thy thoughts!” True: for “as the heavens are high above the earth, so are Thy thoughts above our thoughts,” &c. So then—
i. The Most High bows to the things done upon the earth. Yes, and further: He forms intentions respecting them. And specially: He attentively regards mankind to divide between His people and their adversaries; discerns between our struggles, alarms, prayers, tears, &c., and the scorn and oppression of those hostile to us.
ii. He thinks about us! Is not indifferent, but intently concerned; our case occupies His thoughts. Benevolent people will give to the poor, but not think about the pleader. But God takes us up into His “thoughts.” “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me!”
1. God has “thoughts” of our present condition. “Remembers us in our low estate.”
2. “Thoughts,” too, of our coming calamities (Jeremiah 29:10). “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” &c.
3. But “thoughts” also of our future deliverance and happiness.
II. The Lord’s thoughts will be wrought out into accomplishment. These thoughts of God were—
a. Unrecognised by His people’s foes. They act as if we were friendless. God is not in their thoughts.
b. Unhindered by the world’s designs. What foes intend against us, and may do, does not alter nor impede God’s designs.
1. God’s “thoughts” were not known to us till we were enlightened. His messengers taught, but “we would not hear.”
2. How then should aliens know the thoughts of God? Even “the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth;” how should foes? “The natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God,” &c.
III. Adversaries know not against what Divine “thoughts” and intentions they strive. When they would injure us; “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.” Often they conspire against us; but “if this thing be not of God it cannot stand.” Gladly would hostile powers condemn us; but “who is he that condemneth? Christ hath died, yea, rather is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God.”
Remember how “Satan stood at God’s right hand to resist” Joshua; and the Lord answered, “The Lord rebuke thee, Satan,” &c.
Think of Balaam, whom Balak would have to curse Israel: “How can I curse whom God hath blessed?”
1. It cannot be done. Adversaries intend ruin; but God has preceded their malice by His gracious designs! Human passion cannot reverse the Divine purpose.
2. God’s “thoughts” shall stand. He thinks of us with love; and “I am persuaded nothing shall separate us from the love of God,” &c. He intends our redemption: and “whom He called, them justified, glorified.” He means, we shall have a glad future: and “Because I live ye shall live also.”
Hints: THOUGHTS OF PEACE. We must wait for their realisation; for the Lord delays this, but does not forget it.—Naegelsbach.
“Whereupon is our hope of peace based?
1. Objectively upon this, that the Lord Himself has thoughts of peace concerning us.
2. Subjectively on this, that we (a) call upon and seek the Lord with all our hearts, (b) patiently wait for a time of hearing.”—Naegelsbach.
“The moral malady of man is twofold: at one time vain confidence, then, when that is disappointed, despair. So the Jews first laughed at God’s threats, confident that they should speedily return; then, when cast down from that confidence, they sank into inconsolable despondency.”—Jamieson.
Jeremiah 29:12. “Ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you.” Fulfilled Daniel 9:3, &c. When God designs mercy, He puts it into the hearts of His people to pray for the mercy designed. When such a spirit of prayer is poured out it is a sure sign of coming blessings.
Jeremiah 29:13. Theme: GOOD NEWS FOR TRUE SEEKERS. Some lament they have been seeking God for months, but are still unable to praise Him. But always conclude that if a particular promise of God does not turn out true to you, there is something in you to hinder it.
I. The quality required in every true seeker. It is wholeheartedness: “Search for Me with all your heart.” In order to this there must be
1. An undivided object in the seeker’s mind. “Ye shall seek Me and find Me when ye shall search for Me,” &c. Yes; “Oh that I knew where I might find Him!” Shake off all attention to self. No reservation must be made for the gratification of pride.
2. “With all thy heart” means with the entire faculties of our being. Rouse thy understanding. Use memory and conscience. Bring thy will into the effort.
3. It mainly signifies aroused energy. Getting out of that dull, sluggish, indifferent spirit which is so common; being resolute, importunate.
II. The reasons for this wholeheartedness being required—
1. In every other pursuit, where the object is at all worthy of a man’s efforts, wholeheartedness is required.
2. The danger from which we need to escape is so great that the utmost earnestness is none too much.
3. Look, moreover, at the greatness of the mercy thou art seeking.
4. Everybody else is in earnest: Satan, to ruin thee; Christ, to save thee, &c.
5. You have been wholehearted enough in the ways of sin.
6. How can there be anything true about your seeking if it be not wholehearted?
7. That which you seek, if you obtain it, is a wholehearted thing.
8. The believer’s obedience is wholehearted (Psalms 119:69).
III. Hindrances to a wholehearted search.
1. Presumption. “Because God wants us saved, we need not make much effort.” Or, “Salvation is so simple, any day will do to attend to it,” &c.
2. Remaining self-confident. They think there is at least a little good about themselves.
3. Despair. Some do not believe you can be forgiven, &c.
4. The conduct of Christian professors.
—C. H. Spurgeon, A.D. 1876.
Compare Homilies on chap. Jeremiah 24:7.
Jeremiah 29:14. GATHERING THE EXILES HOME. See on chap. Jeremiah 4:1; Jeremiah 23:3; Jeremiah 24:5.
Jeremiah 29:15-19. Comp. Jeremiah 24:8-10; Jeremiah 17:13, &c.
Jeremiah 29:22. “Whom Nebuchadnezzar roasted in the fire.”
Daniel’s record of the punishment threatened against all who refused to “worship the image Nebuchadnezzar the king set up,” is that “whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:6).
“Here was the warrant for that iniquitous barbarity—the burning of heretics. It originated in Babylon. ‘The Lord make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire.’ It is, at least, impressive to recall how Rome used this same hateful and bellish weapon of vengeance, and that too for the same godless purpose, namely, to subject the souls of men to her idolatry, burning as heretics those who refused to worship her image; thus emphatically identifying herself with the ‘Babylon’ whose cruelty and sins the Apocalypse portrays, and against whom the most solemn curses of Heaven are pronounced.”—Crowds of the Bible (pp. 55, 56), by Rev. W. H. Jellie.
Jeremiah 29:24, seq. JEREMIAH’S SECOND LETTER TO THE EXILES. The messengers (Jeremiah 29:3) of the first letter brought back a strong protest from the false prophet Shemaiah directed to Zephaniah, condemnatory of Jeremiah for pronouncing the captivity “long” (Jeremiah 29:28), and reproving the authorities for their supineness in not apprehending him, urging Zephaniah to put him “in prison and in the stocks” (Jeremiah 29:27).
Zephaniah, instead of lending himself to be the instrument of their rage, showed the letter to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:29).
Whereupon Jeremiah again wrote the exiles, “the word of the Lord,” in which Shemaiah was denounced as—
1. Falsely assuming to be Jehovah’s prophet (Jeremiah 29:31).
2. Misleading the credulous hopes of the exiles, “causing them to trust in a lie.” For which crime there is prophesied—
1. Punishment from God upon himself and his seed.
2. Complete extinction of his family line, “because he hath taught rebellion against the Lord.” See on chap Jeremiah 28:16.
ADDENDA TO CHAP. 29: ILLUSTRATIONS AND SUGGESTIVE EXTRACTS
Jeremiah 29:7. PRAYER FOR ONE’S OWN COUNTRY. John Knox used to be in such agony for the deliverance of his country that he could not sleep. He had a place in his garden where he used to go to pray. One night he and several friends were praying together, and, as they prayed, Knox spoke, declaring that deliverance had come. He explained that he could not tell what had happened, but he felt sure that in some way their prayers had been answered. And the next news informed them that their enemy, Mary Queen of Scotland, was dead.
At one time during the Lutheran reformation, soon after the conference of Augsburg in 1530, when the Reformer’s cause looked mournful, Melancthon, with Luther and other divines, met to consult about the situation; and, after spending some time in prayer to God, Melancthon was suddenly called out of the room, from which he retired heavily depressed. While absent he saw several elders of the reformed churches with their parishioners and families; and many, young and old, were in prayer for the triumph of their cause. He re-entered the room with a joyous countenance, which astonished Luther, who inquired, “What now has happened to you, Philip, that you are become so cheerful?” “Oh, sirs,” replied Melancthon, “let us not be discouraged, for I have seen our noble protectors, and such as, I will venture to say, will prove invincible against every foe.” “And pray,” returned Luther, thrilling with surprise and pleasure, “who and where are these powerful heroes?” “Oh,” said Melancthon, “they are the wives of our parishioners and their little children, whose prayers I have just witnessed—prayers which I am satisfied our God will hear; for as our Heavenly Father and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has never despised our supplications, we have reason to trust that He will not in the present alarming crisis.” The event proved that Melancthon was not mistaken. God heard their prayers.—Cox’s “Life of Melancthon.”
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany