AN EXHORTATION TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, Jeremiah 22:1-9.
1.Go down — From the temple to the king’s house. See 2 Chronicles 23:20; Jeremiah 26:10; Jeremiah 36:12.
2.Throne of David — The highest seat a man might occupy; but now this humble God-sent prophet is higher still.
Thou’ servants’ people — Showing that the word was of common interest. All are bound up together in the issues of this solemn crisis.
These gates — That is, the gates of the royal palace. Probably the people were wont to assemble there to wait upon the administration of the king.
3.Execute’ judgment — The original here is not the same as in Jeremiah 21:12. The phrase there has an official import; here the sense is, do right — a command of universal application.
4.Kings sitting’ riding — See Jeremiah 17:25. Servants and people are introduced as participating in the pomp of the royal retinue and as sharing the benefits of the kingly rule.
5.I swear by myself — See Hebrews 6:13; Hebrews 6:17. In this instance God is represented as swearing, as if to overcome the antecedent incredibility that the family of David should be cast off.
This house — The royal palace, where Jeremiah was then speaking.
6.Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon — Beautiful as Gilead, majestic as Lebanon. This language is used in respect of the commanding position and magnificence of the royal palace. Gilead was doubtless then, as now, the most beautiful forest tract in the vicinity of the Holy Land; and Lebanon everywhere stands as the symbol of stateliness and magnificence. Its perpetual snows, its firs and cedars, its wealth of springs, and its noble forests, are all prominent in the scenery of the Old Testament. To these localities this splendid palace, with its cluster of associated buildings, is beautifully and expressively compared. But God’s displeasure will change all this splendour and magnificence into a treeless steppe: wilderness’ cities’ not inhabited.
7.Prepare — Literally, consecrate.
Destroyers — These will come on His errand to execute his will. Strangely does such a word sound in application to cruel and merciless men; and yet the truth is a profound and comprehensive one. Any arrow which the Almighty places in his quiver, or shoots from his bow, is “consecrated” to a divine mission. But this does not at all contravene, mitigate, or in any way modify, the wickedness of these men. God has his plan: they have theirs. His purpose is always good, while that of his human agents may be evil.
8, 9.Compare Deuteronomy 29:23-26, and 1 Kings 9:8.
THREE KINGS — SHALLUM, JEHOIAKIM, AND CONIAH, Jeremiah 22:10-30.
10.Weep ye not for the dead — The noble king Josiah, slain in battle; but rather weep for his still more unfortunate son, who goeth away into captivity. In this reference to Jehoahaz is foreshadowed the misery which awaits the whole people.
11.Shallum — Attention is at once arrested by this name, which is applied to Josiah’s son and successor, Jehoiakim. In one other place (2 Chronicles 3:15,) he is so called: in other passages his name is Jehoahaz. Why is he here called Shallum? Some say,
1) Because, from the brevity of his reign, he so much resembles Shallum of Israel. See 2 Kings 15:12, (Graf, Hitzig, et al.) This is fanciful in the extreme. Jeremiah does not write in this way.
2) To mark him as the man whom the Lord had requited for his evil doings. (SHALLUM: the requited — Hengstenberg.) But this explanation is untenable, inasmuch as the name Shallum appears in the genealogical table, 1 Chronicles 3:15.
3) We are forced to conclude that Shallum was probably the original name of this man, and that he took the name Jehoahaz (Jehovah holds) on ascending the throne. Here, however, as the meaning of the old name is specially appropriate, Jeremiah employs it.
13.Woe unto him, etc. — Namely, Jehoiakim. This woe is pronounced because of the ruinous taxation of the people. This was for two objects — the payment of the tribute exacted by Pharaoh-Necho, and the building of a magnificent palace for himself. “He lived in splendour in the midst of the people’s misery, and finally perished miserably at the age of thirty-six, so little cared for that his body was cast aside without burial.”
14.Wide house — Literally, a house of dimensions, or extensions — a grand palace.
Cutteth him out windows — The verb is the same which is used in Jeremiah 4:30, of enlarging or opening the eyes with paint. The word rendered “windows” presents a difficulty, in that it seems to have the suffix of the first person, which here gives no sense at all. Different solutions have been proposed, but the simplest and best is that of Furst, Keil, and others, which takes this as the primary form of a derivative word having the general sense of “window work.” The architectural force of the expression is thus manifest.
Ceiled — Used in 1 Kings 6:9; 1 Kings 7:3, in the sense of roofing, which is the sense here.
Vermilion — See also Ezekiel 23:14. It was either red lead or sulphuret of mercury. The sculptures of Nineveh still attest the beauty and permanency of this pigment.
15.Shalt thou reign, etc. — Not as some interpret, Shalt thou protract thy reign by palace building? but, Does kingcraft consist in this at all? The prophet alludes to Josiah to point the contrast. He established his power, not by the splendours of his public works, but by doing judgment and justice.
Thou closest — Rather, viest in costly erections of cedar.
17.But thine eyes, etc. — Thou rulest for thine own selfish emolument or cruel and revengeful gratification; thy father ruled for the good of his people.
18, 19.Not lament’ Ah my brother — Neither relations nor subjects will lament his death. Like a dead ass his body will be dragged out, and left to decay unburied and unheeded. There is no minute account of the death of this king, and hence we have no historical illustration of the fulfilment of this prophecy.
20.Go up — A passage is here interjected, (20-23,) in which the prophet speaks with touching pathos of the fate of Judah. So far from marring, it actually contributes to the higher unity of the chapter: for the commonwealth is ever present to the prophet’s mind; and as he details one unworthy kingly history after another, it adds to the effectiveness of the whole that he should pause in the midst of these illustrations of kingly apostasy to think of the people and the kingdom whose interests were so disastrously affected by them.
Lebanon’ Bashan’ passages — Rather, Abarim, as in the standard Version. The mountains that bordered on Palestine: Lebanon on the north; Bashan, northeast; Abarim, southeast.
21.Thy prosperity — Literally, prosperities; that is, times of prosperity, or possibly the many conditions which go to make up prosperity.
22.The wind shall eat up, etc. — There is here a play upon words, of which the common Version gives no glimpse: depasture thy pastors — eat up thy feeders. As the parching east wind eats up the grass, so shall the fire of war consume the “pastors” (that is, the leaders) of the people.
23.Inhabitant of Lebanon — That is, Jerusalem, so called in double allusion to her buildings of cedar and her sense of loftiness and security.
How gracious — Rather, how wilt thou groan!
24.Coniah — Abbreviated from Jeconiah, his personal, as Jehoiachim was his official, designation.
As I live — Thus giving to his utterance concerning him special solemnity and emphasis.
Signet — A precious and almost indispensable article of attire — a ring or seal. See Haggai 2:23. Not only had it intrinsic value, but it was a badge of official authority.
26.Thy mother — See 2 Kings 24:8, and Jeremiah 29:2. On the fulfilment of this threatening, see 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Kings 24:15, and Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 29:2.
28.Idol — Rather, vessel. Is the king a mere piece of broken and worthless pottery?
29.Earth, earth, earth — The triple repetition marks the most solemn emphasis. See Jeremiah 7:4; Isaiah 6:3; Ezekiel 21:32.
30.Childless — As one with whom his stock becomes extinct — who has no posterity. This may be as a man, or as a king; but the latter sense seems most strictly relevant. This would not preclude the fact of children, and they would seem to be implied by Jeremiah 22:28, “his seed.”
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany