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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Jeremiah 29

 

 

Verses 1-32

Jeremiah 29:10. After seventy years. See Jeremiah 26:1. Zechariah fixes the captivity at the same number of years, and he flourished sometime after Jeremiah’s death. No doubt the captivity was exactly seventy years from the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Jeconiah, the heir apparent, with about twenty thousand of the guards, the nobles, and artisans was carried to Babylon. As to the difficulties of the chronology which seem to make more than seventy years, they belong to critics, and they are common to every other subject of Hebrew history.

Jeremiah 29:22. Zedekiah and Ahab, two false prophets whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire. From the most ancient times wizards and witches have been burned: very many under the imputation of witchcraft were also burned, in the dark ages of the church. See on Exodus 22:18.

Jeremiah 29:26. The Lord hath made thee priest instead of Jehoiada. This is a broad hint that he ought to imitate the zeal of Jehoiada, the blessed of the Lord, who saved Joash an infant from the carnage of Jehu in Jezreel, and from Athaliah in Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 22:10.

REFLECTIONS.

The gracious God, moved with compassion to his mournful people in Babylon, inspired Jeremiah to write as a father to his family. His letter shows the never-ceasing care of providence over the church. They were indeed suffering for their sins, but they were suffering under the eye of a pardoning God. Jeremiah had predicted the captivity, and though at the time they believed him not, they were now compelled to place some sort of confidence in his predictions. Hence, having wounded them by his words, the Lord employed him to heal them with a distant hope.

The letter of Jeremiah was not only a gracious but a seasonable word to the captives; for the false prophets were buoying up their minds with the illusive hopes of a speedy return to Jerusalem. This was very hurtful to their souls, in obstructing the sanctifying influence of their afflictions. It was also hurtful to their interests, in obstructing the establishments requisite for a protracted residence. Hence Jeremiah exhorts them to build, to plant, and to marry, that the hope of Israel might not be extinguished in the gloom of adversity. He exhorts them to regulate their political conduct according to the principles of piety and peace, to pray for the government, and for the particular city and district in which they might be scattered. Hereby they would merit the confidence of their rulers, obtain better treatment, and not extinguish religion by a factious spirit. Christians are everywhere exhorted in the new testament to do the same.

Instead of plotting seditious plans of return, he exhorts them to seek the Lord with all their heart; to abstain from sin, and be constant in private and public worship; for they had places on the shores of the rivers where prayer was wont to be made, and where they sat down and wept, while their harps reposed upon the willow. Psalms 137.

The prophet exhorts them to suffer with their eye constantly fixed on the promise of liberation which extended to the glorious age of the Messiah. I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you; which the Lord accomplished by Cyrus in a way far superior to any plot they could have formed for their own emancipation. Hence good men have a bright hope before their eyes which makes adversity soften its bitterness, and supports the mind with an unshaken confidence in the faithful God.

When men trust in the Lord, they must cease from an arm of flesh. Of those still remaining in Jerusalem, unreformed by the first captivity, the Lord declares that they were devoted to the sword, the famine, and the pestilence. There was no hope of returning to Zion till after her crimes were purged with blood.

The fearful end of the false prophets is very instructive. Zedekiah and Ahab, who disturbed the people in Babylon, were roasted alive by a slow fire. And Shemaiah, who wrote a letter back from Babylon, to Jehoiada the priest, to excite a persecution against Jeremiah, received a sentence of family extinction. Let us therefore beware how we call the Lord’s servants madmen, when they draw a just connection between sin and its punishment. By seeking to injure them we may destroy our own souls, and bring a curse upon our family. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/jeremiah-29.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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