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1. Showed me In prophetic vision.
Set before the temple of the Lord That is, specially and eminently in the divine presence. Into this place Israel had come by the divine election, and she must endure the tests appropriate to the position.
The carpenters and smiths Carried to Babylon, both to weaken Jerusalem and to increase the resources of Babylon. 2 Kings 24:16.
THE SYMBOL TWO FIG-BASKETS, 1-3.
This passage is distinguished, first of all, by the very definite note of time with which it commences, and its contemptuous treatment of the reigning sovereign, Zedekiah. Those who are gone into captivity are the good figs upon which God will continue to look with kindly remembrance, and will bring them again to their own land; while those that remain are but as refuse and worthless fruit.
2. First ripe The fig-tree bears three crops: the first, which ripened in June, being considered specially choice. (Compare Isaiah 28:4, and Hosea 9:10.)
Naughty figs Possibly because decayed, or, more suitably to the scope of the passage, fruit essentially poor, such, for instance, as the sycamore figs, which, unless they are punctured as they ripen, cannot be eaten.
THE INTERPRETATION OF THE SYMBOL, Jeremiah 24:4-10.
4, 5. Like… good figs These figs represent those Judahites who have been carried away into captivity. They are “good” not absolutely, but comparatively.
6. Set mine eyes upon them Namely, for good, that is, to do good to them, not only by preparing their way before them, thus making their abode in the land of exile tolerable, but especially by bringing them into more full possession of their spiritual heritage.
Will bring them again These words contain a meaning deeper and richer than a mere literal return to Palestine. For, as a matter of fact, to the great mass of the people this promise, in this sense, had no fulfilment at all. A mere remnant of those carried away came back, but, for the great body of the people, the captivity was the beginning of a dispersion which has continued till this present time.
The higher and more universal import of these words was spiritual. By going away into exile, and submitting to the hard discipline of the captivity, they came into the land of promise. God cast down the scaffolding of their political life, in order that the temple of spiritual truth might stand forth in all its divine beauty. He removed the merely mechanical and earthly pressure which held the people together, in order that the forces of life might have freer play. He destroyed them as a nation to exalt them as a people. That this is the sense here intended is evident from the seventh verse words, the full blessedness of which can never be exhausted.
8. But as one throws away evil figs, so God will throw away Zedekiah and his princes. Even those who have taken refuge in Egypt are remembered in this curse. The language here used is taken substantially from Deuteronomy 28:25; Deuteronomy 28:37, which see.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany