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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jeremiah 29

 

 

Verse 1

Jeremiah 29:1 Now these [are] the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon;

Ver. 1. Now these are the words of the letter.] Heb., Of the book. It is taken for any manner of writing, whether longer, as a book, or shorter, as a letter, an epistle, cuius ornamentum est ornamentis carere, saith Politian; the two chief commendations whereof, say others, are shortness and plainness. Here we have both, and should therefore highly prize it, not as apocryphal Baruch’s letter, but as parcel of holy writ, worthy of all acceptation.

Which were carried away captive.] And longed for deliverance; but are advised to have patience, and not to antedate the promises, which in their due time should be accomplished. As till then obediendum est etiam dyscolis, obedience must be yielded to the Babylonians, now their masters, and "not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward; for this is thankworthy." [1 Peter 2:18]


Verse 2

Jeremiah 29:2 (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)

Ver. 2. After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs.] Angusta et eunuchi. These eunuchs were chamberlains to queens; but not always so bold with them as Stephen the Persian presumed to be with the queen mother of the emperor Justinian II: quam flagellis sicuti servam castigavit whom he corrceted with a whip just as a servant. (a) See Jeremiah 24:1-2.


Verse 3

Jeremiah 29:3 By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying,

Ver. 3. By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, &c.] Zedekiah, having heard by Hananiah the prophet, that within two full years Jeconiah and the captives should come back to Jerusalem, and knowing that if that should be so, he must give place and part with his royal dignity, sendeth an embassy to Nebuchadnezzar to show his obsequiousness, and is content that his messenger should carry Jeremiah’s letters (of whom, haply, he had a better conceit after the death of Hananiah) to those of the captivity, to persuade them to live quietly in Babylon, and not yet to think of returning to his disturbance. (a)


Verse 4

Jeremiah 29:4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;

Ver. 4. Thus saith the Lord of hosts.] It was God, then, that dictated this letter to the prophet; neither is it of private, that is, of human interpretation, but the holy man wrote it as he was moved thereunto by the Holy Ghost. [2 Peter 1:20-21]


Verse 5

Jeremiah 29:5 Build ye houses, and dwell [in them]; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;

Ver. 5. Build ye houses, and dwell in them.] Mitigate the extremity of your captivity, which is likely to be long, by all honest means. Levius fit patientia quicquid corrigere est nefas; patience, as a paring knife, cutteth the cross less and less till it comes to nothing. It teacheth a man, in case he cannot bring his estate to his mind, to bring his mind to his estate, and that is as well; but impatiens quisque bis affligitur; the bullock under the yoke gets nothing by wriggling but galling.


Verse 6

Jeremiah 29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.

Ver. 6. Take ye wives, and beget sons.] First get ye houses and gardens, and then take wives. So in the last commandment house is set before wife; and nature teacheth the birds to build their nests before they come together for copulation.


Verse 7

Jeremiah 29:7 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.

Ver. 7. And seek the peace of the city.] Do not tumultuate or seek to break prison, as those seedsmen of sedition, your false prophets, would persuade you, but frame to a peaceable and patient behaviour. "In returning and rest shall ye be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" [Isaiah 30:15]

And pray unto God for it,] sc., That in it you may "lead a peaceable and quiet life, in all godliness and honesty." [1 Timothy 2:2] Christians should improve their waiting months upon the King of saints, to pray for kings and all that are in authority, though to them they had been tyrants, since it seemeth good to God that they should live under them. The Dutch have a proverb,

Arbor honoretur, cuius nos umbra tuetur.


Verse 8

Jeremiah 29:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.

Ver. 8. Let not your prophets and your diviners.] Your deceivers, indeed, which were also in Babylon as well as at Jerusalem; for all places are full of them, aud so is hell too. But "beware of these dogs, beware of evil workers"; [Philippians 3:2] three of them, the most active, no doubt, are here noted and noticed [Jeremiah 29:21; Jeremiah 29:23] with a charge in this text, Ne committitote ut decipiant vos; see that they deceive you not. The body should be kept, say physicians, in habitu athletico, in a vigorous and healthy temper, able to oppose infections. Think the same of the soul.

Neither hearken to your dreams.] "Yours," because you itch after them, listen to them, pay dearly for them.


Verse 9

Jeremiah 29:9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.

Ver. 9. For they prophesy falsely.] As Jeremiah 27:15; Jeremiah 28:15.


Verse 10

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Ver. 10. For thus saith the Lord.] Or, But this hath the Lord said, whatever these impostors say to the contrary. Set truth against falsehood, and it will silence it, like as if a lamp be hanged over a ditch where frogs are croaking, they are forthwith hushed and made quiet.


Verse 11

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Ver. 11. For I know the thoughts that I think.] God’s thoughts run upon his children, the children of affliction especially, as a father’s do upon his dear children. Omnis in Ascanio, &c.

To give you an expected end.] Heb., An end and expectation - i.e., An end of evils past, and expectation of better for the future.


Verse 12

Jeremiah 29:12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

Ver. 12. Then shall ye call upon me.] With mind and mouth, with spirit and speech, as Daniel did, [Daniel 9:3] and as but few others did, during the captivity, as is confessed. [Daniel 9:13]

And go and pray unto me.] Go into your closets, or other oratories, where you shall pour out your hearts unto me.

And I will hearken unto you.] Which shall be a surer seal of my love than your return from Babylon.


Verse 13

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Ver. 13. When ye shall search for me with all your heart.] Not with a piece of your heart only, as do partialists and double minded men, qui in parabola ovis capras quaerunt. who search for a nanny goat instaed of sheep. Johannes Groppcrus, of Colen, refused a cardinalship, but forsook the gospel. So Luther did not, who, when he was offered to be cardinal if he would be quiet, replied, No, not if I might be Pope. (a)


Verse 14

Jeremiah 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

Ver. 14. And I will be found of you.] The best ευρημα. See Psalms 32:6, Isaiah 55:6; Isaiah 65:1.

And I will gather you.] As my scattered jewels. See Jeremiah 13:7; Jeremiah 24:6.


Verse 15

Jeremiah 29:15 Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets in Babylon;

Ver. 15. Because ye have said.] From the heirs of the promises he turneth his speech to others, qui praesumendo sperant, et sperando pereunt.


Verse 16

Jeremiah 29:16 [Know] that thus saith the LORD of the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and of all the people that dwelleth in this city, [and] of your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity;

Ver. 16. Know that thus saith the Lord.] Or, Therefore thus saith the Lord, whatever ye say, or your counterfeit prophets say, to the contrary.


Verse 17

Jeremiah 29:17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.

Ver. 17. Behold, I will send upon them.] Jeremiah 24:10; Jeremiah 27:8.

And will make them like vile figs.] See Jeremiah 24:8.


Verse 18

Jeremiah 29:18 And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them:

Ver. 18. And will deliver them to be removed.] See Jeremiah 15:4; Jeremiah 24:9.


Verse 19

Jeremiah 29:19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending [them]; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.

Ver. 19. Because they have not hearkened.] See Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 7:26; Jeremiah 11:7-8; Jeremiah 13:11; Jeremiah 17:23; Jeremiah 25:4.


Verse 20

Jeremiah 29:20 Hear ye therefore the word of the LORD, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon:

Ver. 20. Hear ye, therefore.] Or, Hear ye also; ye who have lost the fruit of your afflictions, and are little the better for your being so long in the iron furnace.


Verse 21

Jeremiah 29:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes;

Ver. 21. Thus saith the Lord … of Ahab the son of Kolaiah.] These two - though not the two elders that assaulted Susanna, as some have fabled - are singled out, as arch-imposters and filthy adulterers, to be exemplarily punished; to whom also is added Shemaiah the Nehelamite. [Jeremiah 29:24]

And he shall slay them before your eyes.] Vide autem iustam poenam martyrum diaboli, saith Oecolampadius. See here the just punishment of the devil’s martyrs: this evil couple had prophesied, like, the destruction of Babylon, bade the Jews put themselves in a posture to return home, promised to conduct them to Jerusalem, played many lewd pranks besides, and were therefore worthily put to a cruel death by Nebuchadnezzar, in the presence of their friends and followers.


Verse 22

Jeremiah 29:22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which [are] in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire;

Ver. 22. And of them shall be taken up a curse.] They had blessed themselves, though the Lord abhorred them, and sought to set up themselves in the hearts of the people, being gloriae animalia, popularis aurae vilissima mancipia, as Jerome saith of Crates the philosopher; they shall therefore "leave their names for a curse." {as Isaiah 65:15}

Whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire.] Burnt them with a soft slow fire, as the Papists did John Huss, Bishop Ridley, and many other innocent martyrs; but should do rather these filthy Gergesites, their monks and friars, of whom it went for a proverb in Germany, as Luther witnesseth, Whosoever seeth any one of them, seeth the seven deadly sins.


Verse 23

Jeremiah 29:23 Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and [am] a witness, saith the LORD.

Ver. 23. Because they have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives.] As did Eli’s sons, [1 Samuel 2:22] those false prophets also at Jerusalem, [Jeremiah 23:14] Hetser, the great Anabaptist in Germany, (a) who yet died penitently, and as do still the Imailers, an order of religious men among the Turks, (b) who call them the religious brothers of love, and the Brahmins, successors to the Brachmanni, among the Indians, who are extremely impure and libidinous, claiming the first night’s lodging of every bride, &c., having nothing of a man but the voice and shape, and yet these are their priests. (c)

Even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord.] Let them carry their villany never so cleanly and closely, with their si non caste, saltem caute, yet I know all, am now an eyewitness, and will be one day a swift witness against them. Utinam animadverterent haec principes, et ille qui non in sede Petri sed in prostibulo Priapi Lampsaceni sedens fornieationes tegit, sancta coniuga vetat, mera sorenia vendit, et Dei oculos claudit, saith one.


Verse 24

Jeremiah 29:24 [Thus] shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying,

Ver. 24. Thus shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite.] Or, Dreamer, dream wright, enthusiast; such as were the Messalanian heretics of old, and some of the same stamp, loaves of the same leaven, today.


Verse 25

Jeremiah 29:25 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that [are] at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,

Ver. 25. Because thou hast sent letters in thy name.] Such as Sadoletus, a Popish bishop, sent to Geneva in Calvin’s absence, to bring them back again to the obedience of the see of Rome; and as we have many from the Romish factors sent hither, to the seducing of not a few, a subtle and shrewd way of deceiving the simple.

And to Zephaniah.] The second under the high priest Seraiah, and successor likely to that Pashur [Jeremiah 20:1] who was deposed for some misdemeanour, like as Dr Weston was here in Queen Mary’s days, put by all his Church dignities for being taken in bed with a harlot. (a) Of this Zephaniah, see 2 Kings 25:18, his office was to judge of prophecies, and to punish such as he found to be false prophets.

And to all the priests.] Who were much too forward of themselves to bandy against God’s true prophets, [Jeremiah 26:8] and did as little need by letter to be excited thereunto, as Bishop Bonner did to be stirred up to persecute Protestants; and yet to him were letters sent from King Philip and Queen Mary, complaining that heretics were not so reformed as they should be, and exhorting him to more diligence, (b) &c.


Verse 26

Jeremiah 29:26 The LORD hath made thee priest in the stead of Jehoiada the priest, that ye should be officers in the house of the LORD, for every man [that is] mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldest put him in prison, and in the stocks.

Ver. 26. The Lord hath made thee priest instead of Jehoiada the priest.] That heroic reformer in the days of Joash [2 Kings 11:4; 2 Kings 11:17] Therefore, as he did by Mattan the Baalite, so do thou by Jeremiah the Anathothite. But neither was Zephaniah a Jehoiada, nor Jeremiah a Mattan. Shemaiah himself was more like a Baalite, and better deserved that punishment which shortly after also befell him, as was foretold. [Jeremiah 29:32] A hot spirited man he was, and a firebrand, being therefore the more dangerous. He also seemed to himself to be so much the more holy, by how much the prophet whom he set against was more famous for his holiness.

For every one that is mad.] Maniacus, arreptitius, fanaticus; so God’s zealous servants have always been esteemed by the mad world, ever beside itself in point of salvation. See 2 Kings 9:11, Acts 26:24, Jeremiah 43:2.

That thou shouldest put him in prison.] As Jeremiah 20:2.


Verse 27

Jeremiah 29:27 Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you?

Ver. 27. Now, therefore, why hast thou not reproved?] Or, Restrained Jeremiah? Alas! what had the righteous prophet done? He taxed their sin, he foretold their captivity; he desired it not, he inflicted it not, yet he must smart, and they are guilty. Zephaniah also is here blamed for his lenity, as bloody Bonner once was by the rest of the Popish bishops, who made him their slaughter slave.


Verse 28

Jeremiah 29:28 For therefore he sent unto us [in] Babylon, saying, This [captivity is] long: build ye houses, and dwell [in them]; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

Ver. 28. For therefore he sent to us in Babylon.] And is this all the thank he hath for his friendly counsel? Haec est merces mundi. This is the recompence of the world.


Verse 29

Jeremiah 29:29 And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet.

Ver. 29. And Zephaniah the priest read this letter.] For ill will, likely, and with exprobation. Ubi insignis elucit Dei tutela, saith an interpreter, where we may see a sweet providence of God in preserving his prophet from the rage and violence of the people so incensed.


Verse 30

Jeremiah 29:30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

Ver. 30. Then came the word of the Lord.] Or, Therefore came, &c. In the five former verses we had narrationem causae, an account of the reasons Shemaiah’s crime; in these three last, we have dictionem sententiae, the prediction of the sentence Shemaiah’s doom.


Verse 31

Jeremiah 29:31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:

Ver. 31. Send to all them of the captivity.] Send the second time; let not so good a cause be deserted. Vincet aliquando pertinax bonitas, Truth will take place at length.

Because Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you.] He hath rewarded evil thereby to himself, and to his seed after him; his posterity shall rue for it, saith Jeremiah, who was irrefracti plane animi orator, a man of an invincible courage, and might better have been called Doctor resolutus, than was afterwards Bacon the Carmelite.


Verse 32

Jeremiah 29:32 Therefore thus saith the LORD Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.

Ver. 32. Behold, I will punish Shemaiah, and his seed.] As being part of his goods, and walking likely in his evil ways.

He shall not have a man to dwell among this people,] viz., At the return from Babylon; but both he and his shall perish in this banishment, which he prophesied should be shortly at an end, but shall prove it otherwise. See the like, Amos 7:17.

Neither shall he see the good.] He nor any of his. See the like threatened to that unbelieving prince, 2 Kings 7:2.

Because he hath taught rebellion against the Lord.] So Jeremiah 28:16, Jeremiah 23:27, Matthew 5:19. To be tuba rebellionis trumpet of rebellion is no small fault. Luther was so secundum dici, sed non secundum esse; so may the best be; but let not the sins of teachers be teachers of sins, &c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-29.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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