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Under the type of good and bad figs, he foresheweth the restoration of them that were in captivity, and the desolation of Zedekiah and the rest.
Before Christ 598.
Jeremiah 24:1. The Lord shewed me— This vision happened after the carrying away of Jeconiah, and under the reign of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. The prophet himself sufficiently explains the meaning of the vision, in which two such baskets of figs were presented to his view as used to be offered up for first-fruits at the temple. The good figs signified those who were already gone into captivity; and the bad figs those who remained and were exposed to the second famine and pestilence.
Jeremiah 24:2. Like the figs that are first ripe— Dr. Shaw speaks of three sorts of figs; the first of which he calls the boccore, (being those here spoken of) which comes to maturity towards the middle or latter end of June; the second the kermez, or summer fig, which seldom ripens before August; and the third, which he calls the winter fig: this is usually of a much longer shape and darker complexion than the kermez, hanging and ripening upon the tree even after the leaves are shed; and provided the winter proves temperate, is gathered as a delicious morsel in the spring. Shaw's Travels, p. 370 fol.
Jeremiah 24:5. Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge— "As he who has figs in his garden acknowledges those of the first season as his, and as part of his property, and neglects the autumnal figs as having no taste, and fit only to be trodden under foot; so will I," &c. The Jews who remained in their own country, flattered themselves with being more beloved by the Almighty than their brethren who were carried away captive. To check this vain confidence, God promised to shew the latter particular marks of his favour in a strange land; and accordingly, we find that many of these, as Daniel and his companions, for instance, found great esteem and honour during their captivity. See chap. Jeremiah 29:17. Lowth and Houbigant.
Jeremiah 24:6. I will build them, &c.— Though this prophesy has its completion in part in the restoration of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, yet both this and the following verse will have their perfect completion only in the conversion of the Jews to Christianity.
Jeremiah 24:8. So will I give Zedekiah, &c.— So will I render Zedekiah, &c. Houbigant.
REFLECTIONS.—Though, in general, the prophet's word was rejected by the people, yet there were some who heard it, and to whom it was a savour of life unto life. And though, the nation's iniquities now being full, they fell into the promiscuous ruin, yet even in their captivity God will take care of them, and make even this most afflictive providence work for the good of the sincere.
1. The date of the vision is in the beginning of Zedekiah's reign, when Nebuchadnezzar had carried away Jeconiah the king, and the princes of Judah, captives to Babylon, and with them the carpenters and smiths; either to employ them in his own works, or to deprive the captive land of their assistance in making fortifications and weapons of war.
2. The vision itself consisted of two baskets of figs, placed before the temple; the one, vile and refuse, which could not be eaten; the other very good. The explication of which the Lord gives him.
[1.] The good figs were the captives gone into Babylon: these God promises to regard, to cause their captivity to issue for their good; those who were faithful should be improved in the furnace of affliction, and many who were otherwise till then, should be, through grace, wrought upon and led to repentance by the visitation. In consequence of which, the eyes of his favour should be upon them, they should be again restored and firmly established in their own land; and, better than all temporal good, the Lord engages to enrich them with enlarged spiritual understanding, and to bestow on them the best of blessings; I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord, by experience of his power, grace, and love exerted eminently for them, and exercised richly towards them; and they shall be my people, enjoying his protection, and taken into covenant with him, and I will be their God, their helper and defenders their portion, their exceeding great reward; for they shall return unto me with their whole heart, in simplicity and sincerity, ashamed of their backsliding, and unfeignedly penitent. Note. (1.) The ways of providence are mysterious; what seemed the greatest affliction, proves often in its issue the most substantial blessing. (2.) God's hand is to be acknowledged in all our sufferings; whatever instruments are employed, we must say, I became dumb, and opened not my mouth, for it was thy doing. (3.) If ever we come to the true knowledge of God, we must consider it as the gift of his grace; for without this, we can know nothing, as we ought to know. (4.) Whatever our sins and backslidings have been, whenever through grace we have a heart to return unto him, we may be assured that his arms are still open to receive us.
[2.] The evil figs represented the remnant which were left in Jerusalem under Zedekiah, who, though they stood before the temple, yet were much worse than their brethren who had gone into captivity; for not the greatest sinners are always the first to suffer; God permits them to stand to fill up the measure of their iniquities, while he corrects his dear children with the scourges of paternal love: but their judgment advances; surely, thus saith the Lord, the decree is gone forth, and the execution of it sure; Zedekiah and his princes, with the residue of Jerusalem, are devoted to destruction; nor should they, who fled to Egypt for shelter, be exempted, since thither the judgments of God should follow them. The sword, the famine, and the pestilence, shall consume them; and those who survive be doomed to a miserable slavery, worse than death; scattered into all lands for their hurt, where they shall have no intercourse to administer friendly consolation to each other; and being hardened, instead of repentant, under their sufferings, their yoke should be made heavy, and their persons despicable and odious; they should be a reproach, a proverb, a taunt, and a curse, in all places whither God would drive them; and this seems to have a reference, not only to their desolations under Nebuchadnezzar, but also to look forward to their last more terrible destruction by the Romans; and the truth of the prediction appears verified this day in that unhappy people, who live under the evident curse of God, and the contempt of all nations whither they are scattered.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 24". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany