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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jeremiah 14

 

 

Verses 1-22

THE FIFTH DISCOURSE

( Jeremiah 14:1 to Jeremiah 17:18)

A fearful drought gives the prophet occasion to offer a hearty and touching intercession for his people. The twice-repeated decisive refusal of his petition, based on the revolt of the people ( Jeremiah 15:10 coll. Jeremiah 3:3) compels him to take into view his own situation, rendered exceedingly dangerous in consequence of his prophetic ministry, and then also to present before the people the sad prospect, that from the present calamity which is not spoken of after Jeremiah 14:22, there is no hope of escape, but that far worse, even a fearful punitive judgment ending in captivity, is impending.

As to the lime of composition no data are furnished by the mention of the drought (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 14:1). That it was before the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and therefore before the decisive turning point in the history of the theocracy and in Jeremiah’s prophecies, is evident from the circumstance, already urged, that nowhere in the discourse is the enemy mentioned as known. Twice only and in passages critically suspicious, are the northern iron ( Jeremiah 15:12) and the north country as the place of exile ( Jeremiah 16:15) mentioned. On the other hand there are many traces that the discourse cannot have originated long before the fourth year of Jehoiakim or the discourse preserved in Jeremiah 25. The prophet, when he delivered this discourse, must have been a long time in office. For the hatred against him has become as much deeper as more general ( Jeremiah 15:10 sqq.): he is mocked, because the fulfilment of his prophecy is so long delayed ( Jeremiah 17:15): he moreover complains of the endless duration of his sufferings ( Jeremiah 15:18), while on the other hand he represents to the Lord that he has obtained universal recognition as a prophet of Jehovah ( Jeremiah 15:16). The command not to take a wife ( Jeremiah 16:2) further indicates that the prophet, who at his calling was only a נַעַר ( Jeremiah 1:6-7) has in the meantime reached a mature age. The words “this once” also ( Jeremiah 16:21) seem to indicate that the great catastrophe was very near. It is also seen that this discourse must belong to the same period as Jeremiah 13 Comp. the introduction to the fourth discourse.

The attempts to ascribe different parts of the discourse to different periods (comp. Graf, S. 208, 9) are rendered abortive by the fact that it is a well-compacted whole, as will be seen from the following table of contents.

FIRST MAIN DIVISION

The Twice Repeated Intercession Of The Prophet Concerning The Drought, And Its Twice Repeated Rejection

Jeremiah 14:1 to Jeremiah 15:9

1. The first petition, Jeremiah 14:1-9.

2. The first refusal, Jeremiah 14:10-18.

3. The second petition, Jeremiah 14:19-22.

4. The second refusal, Jeremiah 15:1-4.

5. Further portrayal of the sad fate which is impending over the thus rejected nation, Jeremiah 15:5-9.

SECOND MAIN DIVISION

The Consequences Of Refusal With Respect To The Person Of The Prophet And Instruction Concerning His Further Course

Jeremiah 15:10 to Jeremiah 16:9

1. Complaint and petition of the prophet on account of the consequences of the refusal with respect to his own person, Jeremiah 15:10-18.

2. Tranquilizing and consolatory answer of the Lord, Jeremiah 15:19-21.

3. Instructions how the servant of the Lord should conduct himself among the people on whom the judgment has fallen, Jeremiah 16:1-9.

THIRD MAIN DIVISION

Reason Of The Rejection And Announcement Of The Captivity

Jeremiah 16:10 to Jeremiah 21:9

1. Idolatry is the cause of the removal into exile, Jeremiah 16:10-15.

2. More particular description of the removal announced in Jeremiah 16:13, Jeremiah 16:16-18.

3. Refutation of the objection ( Jeremiah 16:10) that the people had committed no sin by their idolatry, Jeremiah 16:19-21.

4. Refutation of the objection ( Jeremiah 16:10) that the people generally had not served idols, Jeremiah 17:1-4.

CONCLUSION.

Jeremiah 12:5-17

1. Retrospective glance at the deep roots of the corruption, Jeremiah 17:5-13.

2. Petition of the prophet for the safety of his person and the honor of his official ministrations, Jeremiah 17:14-18.

_______________

FIRST MAIN DIVISION

The Twice Repeated Intercession Of The Prophet Concerning The Drought, And Its Twice Repeated Rejection ( Jeremiah 14:1 to Jeremiah 15:9.)

14

1. The first petition

Jeremiah 14:1-9

1 1The word which came to Jeremiah concerning the drought[FN1]:

2 Judah mourns and her gates are in trouble,

Covered by mourning[FN2] even to the earth;

And the cry of Jerusalem goes up.

3 And their mighty ones have sent their mean ones[FN3] for water.

They came to the cisterns, found no water;

Returned with their vessels empty.

Ashamed and confounded are they and cover their heads.

4 On account of the ground, which is dismayed, because there was no rain in the land,

The husbandmen are ashamed and cover their heads.

5 For the hind also in the field has brought forth

And—forsaken,[FN4] for there is no green thing there.

6 And the wild asses stand on the high places,

They gasp for air like the jackals.

Their eyes have failed, for there is no herb there.

7 Though our sins testify against us, O Jehovah,

Acts 5 for thine own name’s sake;

For many are our apostasies, against thee have we sinned.

8 O thou Hope of Israel, his deliverer in distress;

Why wilt thou be as a stranger in the land,

Or as a traveller who pitches (his tent) for the night?

9 Why wilt thou be as a man taken by surprise,[FN6]

As a warrior who can give no help?

Yet thou art in our midst, O Jehovah!

And we bear thy name; forsake us not![FN7]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A fearful drought prevails in the land. Proceeding from the whole to the particulars, from the higher to the lower, the prophet shows how the whole of Judah and Jerusalem mourns ( Jeremiah 14:2), how the rulers of the people send out their subjects in vain for water ( Jeremiah 14:3), how the husbandmen also in like distress stand in like consternation. Passing to the beasts he describes how the terrible thirst conquers even the maternal feeling of the hind ( Jeremiah 14:6) and how the wild asses seek the heights in order to obtain some mitigation at least from stronger currents of air ( Jeremiah 14:6). To this the prophet attaches a hearty prayer that the Lord will not have regard only to the acknowledged sins of Israel, but for the sake of His own glory ( Jeremiah 14:7), will no longer act towards His people as a stranger, who will not help ( Jeremiah 14:8), or as one who has become powerless and cannot help ( Jeremiah 14:9 a), but as one who is near, their shield and Father, and who accordingly will not forsake His people ( Jeremiah 14:9 b).

Jeremiah 14:1. The word which … drought. Contraction of two sentences into one, the predicate of the main sentence having been attracted by the subordinate sentence and become its predicate, so that the subject of the subordinate sentence becomes the predicate. Comp. the same construction Jeremiah 46:1; Jeremiah 47:1; Jeremiah 49:34.—Most commentators following the example of Jerome understand this of a future drought, which they believe to be intimated in 2 Kings 25:3. The connection Isaiah, however, opposed to deferring the drought to the future, as well as that the historical accounts contain no data for the determination of any real time.

Jeremiah 14:2-4. Judah mourns … cover their heads.—Gates = those assembled in the gates. Comp. Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 14:31; Ruth 3:11.—In dark, mourning-attire they seat themselves on the ground. Isaiah 3:26; Jeremiah 8:21; Psalm 35:14.—The cry of Jerusalem goes up, in contrast to covered to the earth.—They do not send their private servants, but as it is a matter of general interest, mean, common people generally.—חתה, dismayed, is a relative sentence (comp. Isaiah 51:1 Naegelsb. Gr., § 80, 6, 1). חַת, dismayed, forms a climax with בּוֹשׁ ashamed (comp. Fuerst, H. W. B. s. v.) and can therefore be used of impersonal objects like the latter. Comp. Jeremiah 51:47; Isaiah 24:23; Joel 1:10.—The husbandmen are ashamed, etc. Comp. Joel 1:11.

[Henderson:—The wild asses betake themselves to the heights in order to discover some supply. They are very sharp-sighted, and travellers in the desert often avail themselves of their appearance, knowing that there must be herbage and water in the vicinity.—S. R. A.]

Jeremiah 14:7-9. Though our sins … forsake us not!—Act for Thy name’s sake (comp. Jeremiah 14:21) i. e., though we cannot ask that thou shouldest interpose actively for our sake, yet do it in behalf of Thine own glory, which is pledged partly for the sake of the election, partly for the sake of Thy renown among other nations. Comp. Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 5:28-29; Ezekiel 20:14; Psalm 109:21.—Pitches (his tent). Hitzig supposes, that the traveller does not trouble himself with a tent. But traveller (אֹרֵחַ) is collective, (comp. אֹרְחָה, the caravans). These certainly take tents with them. I do not think therefore that נָטָה is = to deviate from the way, to turn in (for the night). In this sense סוּר is elsewhere always used. ( Genesis 19:2; Judges 4:18; Judges 15:19, etc.) I supply with the elder commentators אהלי, his tent (comp. Genesis 12:8).—Yet thou art in our midst (comp. Jeremiah 10:21) i. e., thou art constantly and permanently with us (antithetic to נֵּר Jeremiah 14:8).—We bear thy name, we are called the people of Jehovah. Comp. Exodus 5:3; Deuteronomy 28:10, coll. Jeremiah 7:10.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 14:1.—הכצרות may be the plural of בַצרֶֹת Jeremiah 17:8, which undoubtedly signifies drought, in case בַּצָרָה Psalm 9:10; Psalm 10:1 is to be otherwise rendered. Comp. עַשְׁתָּרֹת from עַשְׁתּרֶֹת. The plural does not necessarily imply many things, as Graf supposes. In Hebrew all things which have extension in time or space (comp. הֲשֵׁכִים בְּתוּלִיס, etc. Naegelsb. Gr., § 61, 2, c) may be in the plural. The word means a drought, which extends through a plurality of moments (perhaps also of points of space). [Hitzig: The plural stands here ad dasignandam diuturnam continuationem siccitatis, Ch. B. Mich.—S. R. A.]

FN#2 - Jeremiah 14:2—ל׳ קדרִו Const. prægnans. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 112, 7.

FN#3 - Jeremiah 14:3.—The form צעור is found here only, and Jeremiah 48:4 in the Chethibh. Elsewhere צערד.

FN#4 - Jeremiah 14:5.—ועזוב, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 92, 2, a; Exodus 8:11; Genesis 41:43; Jeremiah 32:33; Jeremiah 32:44.

FN#5 - Jeremiah 14:7.—On עשׂה comp. rems. on Jeremiah 18:23.

FN#6 - Jeremiah 14:9.—נדהם ἅπ. λεγ, since Schultens, is by most commentators derived from the Arabic (dahama = to fall upon,

FN#7 - Jeremiah 14:9.—אל־הנחנו literally ne deponas, dejicias nos (comp. Numbers 19:9). From this are developed the meanings relinquere ( Genesis 42:33) and deserere.

2. THE FIRST REFUSAL

Jeremiah 14:10-18

10 Thus saith Jehovah to this people:

They loved so to wander, their feet they restrained not;

Jehovah moreover hath no pleasure in them;

Now he will remember their guilt and visit their sin.

11 Then said Jehovah unto me:

Pray not on behalf of this people for good.

12 Though they fast, I hearken not to their cry,

And though they offer holocausts and oblations, I have no pleasure in them:

But by the sword, by hunger and pestilence I consume them

13 And I said:

Ah, Lord Jehovah! Behold the prophets say to them,

“Ye will not see the sword, and famine will not come to you,

For I will give you assured peace in this place.”

14 And Jehovah said unto me:

The prophets prophesy falsehood in my name,

I have not sent them nor commissioned them,

Nor have I spoken to them;

False vision and divination and nothingness

And the deceit[FN8] of their heart they prophesy to you.

15 Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning the prophets,

Who prophesy in my name though I have not sent them,

And who say, There shall be no sword or famine in this land:

By the sword and by famine shall these prophets perish.

16 And the people to whom they prophesy

Shall lie cast out in the streets of Jerusalem,

By reason of the famine and the sword.

And will have none to bury them,

Them, their wives, their sons and their daughters:

And I pour out over them their wickedness.

17 And thou shalt say to them this word:

Mine eyes shall flow with tears day and night and cease not,

For the virgin daughter of my people[FN9] is stricken with a grievous stroke,

With a wound very incurable.

18 If I go forth into the field, behold! the slain with the sword,

If I return to the city, behold! the tortures[FN10] of famine!

For even prophet and priest go into the country and know nothing.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The Lord answers the prophet’s petition, that in the description of the thirst-stricken beasts he only describes the conduct of the idolatrous people and has thus himself shown the reason why the Lord must punish them ( Jeremiah 14:10). Therefore he (the prophet) may cease his intercession ( Jeremiah 14:11), and the people their ceremonies, for their destruction by famine, sword and pestilence is determined upon ( Jeremiah 14:12). Thereupon the prophet ventures to interpose in behalf of the people from another side. He calls attention to the fact that the prophets have sustained the people in their errors by false promises ( Jeremiah 14:13). Upon this the Lord declares them to be false prophets ( Jeremiah 14:14), and pronounces their destruction ( Jeremiah 14:15). Moreover the same destruction is impending over the people who believe in them ( Jeremiah 14:16), from which it is seen that the prophet has accomplished nothing by his intervention. The wound is incurable ( Jeremiah 14:17); everywhere in the country, as he wanders hither and thither, the prophet meets with death in its most terrible forms. He learns that neither prophet nor priest is any longer in a condition to propitiate the Lord, or avert the calamity from the people ( Jeremiah 14:18).

Jeremiah 14:10. Thus saith Jehovah … their sin. The commentators mistake the connection of this verse with the preceding, when they overlook, that in כֵן, thus, the Lord refers to the description of the animals tormented with thirst ( Jeremiah 14:5-6), and finds in it a description of the passionate, ungovernable lust of the people for idolatry, the true, final cause of the ruin now come upon Israel. As the hind, impelled by her desire for refreshment, abandons her newly born young in order to seek for food, so Israel forsakes the Lord in order to satisfy his lust for idolatry. As the wild-ass runs to the high places, in order there, with wide-open jaws, to drink in at least a cooler breath of air, so Israel pants for idols. We are justified in this interpretation the rather as the prophet has previously used essentially the same emblems of idolatry. In Jeremiah 2:24 he compared idolatrous Israel with the wild-ass, who (there indeed in the heat of sexual impulse) gasps for breath (comp. Jeremiah 14:6). Wandering (נוּעַ) is there also censured in the people, as a symptom of their lust for idols, as in those who cannot restrain the foot (comp. Jeremiah 2:25). In Jeremiah 14:10 a, then there is a statement of the reason, why He is compelled to refuse, as He does in Jeremiah 14:10 b, the petition of the prophet ( Jeremiah 14:7 sqq.). This second half of the verse is moreover taken verbatim from Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:9.

Jeremiah 14:11-12. Then said Jehovah … I consume them. To this denial the Lord adds by way of climax as before ( Jeremiah 7:16) a prohibition of further intercession, at the same time announcing that the people also will accomplish nothing by the ceremonies of divine worship, which train of thought we found also in Jeremiah 11:14 sqq.—For good. Comp. Deuteronomy 28:11; Deuteronomy 30:9; Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 24:5-6.

Jeremiah 14:13-16. And I said … pour out over them their wickedness.—Assured peace [lit, peace of truth]. Comp. right seed, Jeremiah 2:21. So here genuine, lasting, secure prosperity. Comp. Isaiah 39:8; Jeremiah 33:6. In general comp. Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 4:10.—Divination (קֶסֶם) is used here in a bad sense, as almost always, comp. Numbers 23:23; 1 Samuel 15:23; Ezekiel 13:6; Ezekiel 13:23, etc.—With the description, cast out in the streets, comp. Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 25:33.—I will pour out, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 2:19; Hosea 9:15.

Jeremiah 14:17-18. And thou shalt say to them … know nothing. The formula in Jeremiah 14:17 never introduces greater sections. It occurs verbatim as here only in Jeremiah 13:12. Here certainly at the beginning of a strophe. But there is nothing in the tenor of the words to prevent their being used wherever a definite single word is to be marked. Comp. Jeremiah 28:7.—Let mine eyes, etc. As before ( Jeremiah 8:23; Jeremiah 13:17), the prophet here expresses the thought that nothing but weeping is left for him.—Stroke, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 10:19; Jeremiah 30:12.—For even prophet, etc. The prophet evidently wishes to say, that he has looked about everywhere, both in the country and the city, but has found only symptoms of irretrievable destruction. This moreover was not only his conclusion, for all the priests and prophets who, like him, had gone into the country, had also learned that there was nothing more to be done, so that it must be said of them: לא ידעו, i. e. non sapiunt (comp. Psalm 73:22; Job 34:2), they know nothing.—סחר occurs only in Genesis 34:10; Genesis 34:21; Genesis 42:34, as a finite verb, is contrasted in these passages with the Accusative and signifies at any rate not simply to go directly out, but (after the manner of business-people) to go hither and thither (commeare, ἐμπορεύεσναι). Here then at any rate we must suppose a journeying directed to several points. The אֵל explained by Jerusalem’s being considered as the central point from which they went now this way now that way. The omission of the article before ארץ is not uncommon (comp. on Jeremiah 3:2)

Footnotes:

FN#8 - Jeremiah 14:14.—The forms אֱלוּל and תַּרְמוּת here only, everywhere else תרמית, אליל.

FN#9 - Jeremiah 14:17.—בתולת ב׳ ע׳. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 64, 4; Isaiah 37:22.

FN#10 - Jeremiah 14:18.—תחלואי, sufferings, torments. Comp. Jeremiah 16:4; Deuteronomy 29:21; Psalm 103:3; 2 Chronicles 21:19.

3. THE SECOND PETITION

Jeremiah 14:19-22

19 Hast thou utterly rejected Judah, or has thy soul disgust at Zion?

Why then hast thou smitten us and there is no cure for us?

We hoped for peace but there came nothing good;—

For a time of healing, and behold terror!

20 We acknowledge, O Jehovah, our wickedness,

The guilt of our fathers, that we have sinned against thee.

21 Reject us not for thy name’s sake;

Disgrace not the throne of thy glory;

Hold in remembrance, break not thy covenant with us.

22 Are there then among the vain deities of the heathen rain dispensers?

Or will the heaven [itself] give rain?

Art not thou Hebrews, Jehovah, our God?

And our hope because thou hast made all these things?

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet is not easily turned from his intercession. He here begins again the second time. He asks the Lord why He has rejected Judah and Zion ( Jeremiah 14:19). He then adduces three reasons why this cannot be1. Israel acknowledges his sins ( Jeremiah 14:20); 2. Jehovah must help for His own glory and for the sake of the covenant ( Jeremiah 14:21); 3. There is no other dispenser of rain and of blessing than He ( Jeremiah 14:22).

Jeremiah 14:19. Hast thou utterly … terror.קוה ו repetition from Jeremiah 8:15.

Jeremiah 14:20; Jeremiah 14:22. We acknowledge … made all these things. As in Jeremiah 14:7, so also here ( Jeremiah 14:20), the prophet supports his petition on the confession of sin. Therefore he likewise adds, as in Jeremiah 14:7, an appeal to the Lord’s own honor. Hence he further strengthens his appeal by urging (a) that Zion’s destruction would disgrace the throne of the Lord Himself, in so far as Zion in part is the throne of the Lord, and in part conceals Him in its midst (comp. on Jeremiah 17:12); (b) he reminds the Lord of the covenant made with Israel, which is to be kept, not to be broken. Comp. Jeremiah 11:1 sqq.; Leviticus 26:11-12, which passage seems to have been in the prophet’s mind.—From Jeremiah 14:22 we perceive plainly the connection with the first petition, Jeremiah 14:1 sqq.—Art not thou He?חוא is never a simple copula, not even in Eccles. (comp. Jeremiah 1:17 with Jeremiah 2:13). Here it is demonstrative, i. e. referring to the previously mentioned idea of rain-dispenser. Thou alone art Hebrews, who art at the same time our God and the object of our hope. God alone is the rain-dispenser, for He has made all things. Comp. Job 5:10; Job 38:25-26.—For thou hast made is the basis of Thou art he;—our God, etc., is therefore a parenthesis. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 80, 3.—[Henderson: “From the commencement of Jeremiah 14:19 to the end of the chapter the people are introduced as doing what the prophet was forbidden to do on their behalf.”—S. R. A.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 14:7. “Medicina erranti confessio, qua de re Psalm 32:3-4 et Ambrosius eleganter: Confessio verecunda suffragatur Deo, et pœ Nahum, quam defensione vitare non possumus, pudore revelamus (lib. de Joseph., c. 36), et alibi idem: Cessat vindicta divina, si confessio præcurat humana. Etsi enim confessio non est causa meritoria remissionis peccatorum, est tamen necessarium quoddam antecedens.” Förster.

2. “In earnest and hearty prayer there is a conflict between the spirit and the flesh. The flesh regards the greatness of the sins, and conceives of God as a severe Judge and morose being, who either will not help further or cannot. The spirit, on the other hand, adheres to the name of God, i. e., to His promise; he apprehends God by faith as his true comfort and aid, and depends upon Him.” Cramer.

3. On Jeremiah 14:9 a. “Ideo non vult Deus cito dare, ut discas ardentius orare.” Augustine.

4. On Jeremiah 14:9 b. “Quia in baptismo nomen Domini, i. e, totius SS. et individuæ Trinitatis super nos quoque invocatum Esther, eo et ipso nos in fœdus Dei recepti sumus et inde populus Dei salutamur.” Förster.

5. On Jeremiah 14:10. “So long as the sinner remains unchanged and uncontrite God cannot remove the punishment of the sin ( Jeremiah 26:13).” Starke.—“Quotidie crescit pœ Nahum, quia quotidie crescit et culpa.” Augustine.

6. On [“We further gather from this passage that fasting is not in itself a religious duty or exercise, but that it refers to another end. Except then they who fast have a regard to what is thereby intended—that there may be a greater alacrity in prayer—that it may be an evidence of humility in confessing their sins,—and that they may also strive to subdue all their lusts;—except these things be regarded, fasting becomes a frivolous exercise, nay, a profanation of God’s worship, it being only superstitious. We hence see that fastings are not only without benefit except when prayers are added, and those objects which I have stated are regarded, but that they provoke the wrath of God as all superstitions do, for His worship is polluted.” Calvin.—S. R. A.] “Unbelief is a mortal sin, so that by it the good is turned into evil. For fasting or praying is good; but when the man who does it has no faith it becomes sin ( Psalm 109:7).” Cramer.

7. On Jeremiah 14:14. “He who would be a preacher must have a regular appointment. In like form for all parts of divine worship we must have God’s word and command for our support. If we have it not all is lost.” Cramer.

8. On Jeremiah 14:14 (I have not sent them). “This does not come at all into the account now-a-days; and I do not know, whether to such a preacher, let him have obtained his office as he may, in preaching, absolution, marrying and exorcising, or on any other occasion, when he appeals to his calling before the congregation or against the devil, the thought once occurs, whether he is truly sent by God. Thus the example of the sons of Sceva ( Acts 19:14; Acts 19:16) is no longer considered, and it appears that the devil is not yet disposed by such frightful occurrences to interrupt the atheistical carelessness of the teachers.” Zinzendorf.

9. On Jeremiah 14:15. “The example of Pashur and others shortly afterwards confirms this discourse. This is an important point. One should however, with that modesty and prudence, which Dr. Wiesmann (Prof. of Theol. in Tübingen), who seems called of God to be a writer of church history, in his Introd. in Memorabilia historiæ sacræ N. T. (1731,1745) which I could wish were in the hands of all teachers, repeatedly recommends, have regard to this also, when Song of Solomon -called judgments on the wicked are spoken of, that when the Lord in His wisdom and omnipotence exercises justice on such transgressors by temporal judgments, these are often a blessing to them and the yet remaining means of their salvation. It is related that a certain clergyman in a Saxon village, about the year1730, felt such a judgment upon himself and his careless ministry, and after happy and humble preparation on a usual day of fasting and prayer, presented himself before his church as an example, and exercised on himself what is called church discipline, whereupon he is said to have fallen down dead with the words,

‘My sin is deep and very great,

And fills my heart with grief.

O for thy agony and death,

Grant me, I pray, relief.’

He is no doubt more blessed, and his remembrance more honorable, than thousands of others, who are praised by their colleagues in funeral discourses as faithful pastors, and at the same time, or already before, are condemned in the first but invisible judgment as dumb dogs, wolves or hirelings.” Zinzendorf.

10. On Jeremiah 14:16. “Although preachers lead their hearers astray, yet the hearers are not thus excused. But when they allow themselves to be led astray, the blind and those who guide them fall together into the ditch ( Luke 6:39).” Cramer. [“When sinners are overwhelmed with trouble, they must in it see their own wickedness poured upon them. This refers to the wickedness both of the false prophets and the people; the blind lead the blind, and both fall together into the ditch, where they will be miserable comforters one to another.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

11. On Jeremiah 14:19. Chrysostom refers to Romans 11:1 sqq, where the answer to the prophet’s question is to be found.

12. On Jeremiah 14:21. “Satan has his seat here and there ( Revelation 2:13). I should like to know why the Saviour may not also have His cathedral. Assuredly He has, and where one stands He knows how to maintain it, and to preserve the honor of the academy.” Zinzendorf.

[“Good men lay the credit of religion, and its profession in the world, nearer their hearts than any private interest or concern of their own; and those are powerful pleas in prayer which are fetched from thence, and great supports to faith. We may be sure that God will not disgrace the throne of His glory, on earth; nor will He eclipse the glory of His throne by one providence, without soon making it shine forth, and more brightly than before, by another. God will be no loser in His honor in the long run.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 14:22. “Testimony to the omnipotence of God, for His are both counsel and deed ( Proverbs 8:14). Use it for consolation in every distress and for the true apodictica [demonstration] of all articles of Christian faith, however impossible they may appear.” Cramer.—[“The sovereignty of God should engage, and His all-sufficiency encourage, our attendance on Him, and our expectations from Him, at all times.” Henry.—“Hence may be learned a useful doctrine—that there is no reason why punishments, which are signs of God’s wrath, should discourage us so as to prevent us from venturing to seek pardon from Him; but on the contrary a form of prayer is here prescribed for us; for if we are convinced that we have been chastised by God’s hand, we are on this very account encouraged to hope for salvation; for it belongs to Him who wounds to heal, and to Him who kills to restore to life.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

14. On [To the same effect also Calvin and Henry.—S. R. A.]

15. On Jeremiah 15:4 b. “Scilicet in vulgus manant exempla regentum, utque ducum lituos, sic mores castra sequuntur.”—“Non sic inflectere sensus humanos edicta valent ut vita regentum.”—“Qualis rex talis grex.” Förster.

16. “God keeps an exact protocol [register] of sins, and visits them to the third and fourth generation.” Cramer. [“See what uncertain comforts children are; and let us therefore rejoice in them as though we rejoiced not.” Henry.—S. R. A]

17. On Jeremiah 15:5. “When God abandons us we are abandoned also by the holy angels, and all creatures. For as at court when two eyes are turned away the whole court turns away; so when the Lord turns away all His hosts turn away also.” Cramer.

18. On Jeremiah 15:7. “God as a faithful husbandman has all kinds of instruments for cleaning His grain. He has two kinds of besoms and two kinds of winnowing-fan. With one He cleanses, winnows the grain and sweeps the floor, so that the chaff may be separated from the good wheat. This is done by the Fatherly cross. But if this does not avail He takes in hand the besom of destruction.” Cramer.

19. On Jeremiah 15:10. “The witnesses of Jesus have the name among others of being hard and rough people, from whom they cannot escape without quarreling. It is not only a reproach which Ahab and such like make to Elijah, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’ ( 1 Kings 19:17). But even true-hearted people like Obadiah do not thoroughly trust to them; every one has the thought, if they would only behave more gently it would be just as well and make less noise. Meanwhile the poor Elijah is sitting there, knowing not what to do; a Jeremiah laments the day of his birth … why am I then such a monster? Why such an apple of discord? What manner have I? How do I speak? ‘For when I speak, they are for war’ ( Psalm 120:7). He does not at once remember that they called the master Beelzebub, and persecuted all the prophets before him; that his greatest sin is that he cares for the interests of Jesus in opposition to Satan.” Zinzendorf. [“Even those who are most quiet and peaceable, if they serve God faithfully, are often made men of strife. We can but follow peace; we have the making only of one side of the bargain, and therefore can but, as much as in us lies, live peaceably.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

20. On Jeremiah 15:10 b. (I have neither lent nor borrowed at usury). “My dear Jeremiah! Thou mightest have done that; that is according to the custom of the country, there would be no such noise about that. There is no instance of a preacher being persecuted because he cared for his household. But to take payment in such natural products as human souls, that is ground of distrust, that is going too far, that thou carriest too high, and thou must be more remiss therein, otherwise all will rise up against thee; thou wilt be suspended, removed, imprisoned or in some way made an end of, for that is pure disorder and innovation, that smacks of spiritual revolutionary movements.” Zinzendorf.

21. On Jeremiah 15:15 a. (Thou knowest that for thy sake I have suffered reproach). “This is the only thing that a servant of the Lamb of God should care for, that he does indeed suffer not the least in that he has disguised and disfigured the doctrine of God and his Saviour. … It might be wished that no servant of the Lord, especially in small cities and villages, would now and then make a quarrel to relieve the tedium, which will occupy the half of his life, and of which it may be said in the end: vinco vel vincor, semper ego maculor.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 15:16. “The sovereign sign of a little flock depending on Christ is such a hearty, spiritual tender disposition towards the Holy Scriptures, that they find no greater pleasure than in their simple but heart-searching truths. I, poor child, if I but look into the Bible, am happy for several hours after. I know not what misery I could not alleviate at once with a little Scripture.” Zinzendorf. [On Jeremiah 17:17. “It is the folly and infirmity of some good people that they lose much of the pleasantness of their religion by the fretfulness and uneasiness of their natural temper, which they humor and indulge instead of mortifying it.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

23. On Jeremiah 15:19, a. (And thou shalt stand before me: [Luther: thou shalt remain my preacher]) “Hear ye this, ye servants of the Lord! Ye may be suspended, removed, lose your income and your office, suffer loss of house and home, but ye will again be preachers. This is the word of promise. * * * And if one is dismissed from twelve places, and again gets a new place, he is a preacher to thirteen congregations. For in all the preceding his innocence, his cross, his faith preach more powerfully than if he himself were there.” Zinzendorf.

Note.—On this it may be remarked that in order to be the mouth of the Lord it is not necessary to have a church.

24. On Jeremiah 15:19 b. (Before thou return to them) “We can get no better comfort than this, that our faithful Lord Himself assures us against ourselves. I will make thee so steady, so discreet, so well-founded, so immovable, that, hard as the human heart Isaiah, and dead and opposed, yet it will be rather possible that they all yield to thee, than that thou shouldest be feeble or slack and go over to them.” Zinzendorf.

25. On Jeremiah 15:20. “A preacher must be like a bone, outwardly hard, inwardly full of marrow.” Förster. [“Ministers must take those whom they see to be precious into their bosoms, and not sit alone, as Jeremiah did, but keep up conversation with those they do good to, and get good by.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 16:2. “It is well-known that in no condition is celibacy attended by so many evils as in that of the clergy and that this condition entails in a certain measure a present necessity of marrying. For if any one needs a helpmeet to be by his side, it is the man who must be sacrificed to so many different men of all classes. But all this must be arranged according to circumstances. Ye preachers! Is it made out that ye marry only for Jesus? … that you have the church alone as your object? and that you subject yourselves to all the hardships of this condition with its tribulations only for the profit of many? First, then, examine maturely in your offices, whether there is no word of the Lord, whether circumstances do not show, whether there is not an exception from the rule in your case, that you are to take no wife; whether Paul does not call to you in spirit, ‘I would that thou wert as I.’ May it not sometimes be said? ‘Take no wife at this time or at this place!’ or ‘Take not another!’ How does the matter look on closer examination? The rather, as it is known to the servants of Christ to be no hyperbolical speech, when it is said, ‘The minister has slain his thousands, but the minister’s wife her ten thousands.’ He that loves anything more than Christ is not worthy of Him. If it cannot be cured endure it. But see to it the more, that those who have wives be as those who have them not ( 1 Corinthians 7:29). Lead your wife in prayer diligently and plainly, as Moses with Zipporah ( Exodus 4:25, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me). If they would not have you dead they must leave you your Lord. I know not when anything was so pleasing to me as when I saw a certain minister’s wife weeping sorely from apprehension that her husband would not endure a certain trial. She saw clearly that he would retain his charge, but she feared the Saviour would make it hard to him.”Zinzendorf.

27. On Jeremiah 16:2. “Ridiculi sunt Papicolæ, qui ex hoc typo articulum religionis suæ de cœlibatu saceraotum exstruere conantur. Nam. 1. tota hæc res fuit typica. Typica autem et symbolica theologia non est argumentativa juxta axioma Thomæ. 2. Non simpliciter interdicitur conjugium prophetæ in omni loco, sed tantum in hoc loco.” Förster.

28. On Jeremiah 16:7. This passage (as also Isaiah 58:7) is used by the Lutheran theologians to prove that panem frangere may be equivalent to panem distribuere, as also Luther translates: “They will not distribute bread among them.” This is admitted by the Reformed, who, however, remark that it does not follow from this that frangere et distribuere also “in Sacramento æquipollere, quod esset a particulari ad particulare argumentari.” Comp. Turretin, Inst. Theol. Elencht. Tom. III, p. 499.

29. On Jeremiah 16:8. “When people are desperately bad and will not be told Song of Solomon, they must be regarded as heathen and publicans ( Matthew 17:18; Titus 3:10; 1 Corinthians 5:9).” Cramer.

30. On Jeremiah 16:19. “The calling of the heathen is very consolatory. For as children are rejoiced at heart when they see that their parents are greatly honored and obtain renown and praise in all lands, so do all true children of God rejoice when they see that God’s name is honored and His glory more widely extended.” Cramer.—This passage is one of those which predict the extension of the true religion among all nations, and are therefore significant as giving impulse and comfort in the work of missions. Comp. Deuteronomy 32:21; Hosea 2:1, 25; Joel 3:5; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 65:1; Romans 10:12 sqq.

31. On Jeremiah 16:21. “Nothing can be learned from God without God. God instructs the people by His mouth and His hand, verbis et verberibus.” Cramer.

32. On Jeremiah 17:1. “Scripta est et fides tua, scripta est et culpa tua, sicut Jeremias dixit: scripta est Juda culpa tua graphio ferreo et ungue adamantino. Et scripta Esther, inquit, in pectore et in corde tuo. Ibi igitur culpa est ubi gratia; sed culpa graphio scribitur, gratia spiritu designatur.” Ambros. de Sp. s. III:2.

33. On Jeremiah 17:1. “The devil is God’s ape. For when he sees that God by the writing of His prophets and apostles propagates His works and wonders to posterity, he sets his own pulpiteers to work, who labor with still greater zeal, and write not only with pens and ink, but also with diamonds, that such false religion may have the greater respect and not go down.” Cramer.

34. On Jer 17:5.

“O man in human help and favor

Trust not, for all is vanity,

The curse is on it,—happy Hebrews,

Who trusts alone in Christ the Saviour.”

[“When water is blended with fire, both perish; so when one seeks in part to trust in God and in part to trust in men, it is the same as though he wished to mix heaven and earth together, and to throw all things into confusion. It is then to confound the order of nature, when men imagine that they have two objects of trust, and ascribe half their salvation to God and the other half to themselves or to other men.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

35. On Jeremiah 17:5. “A teacher is commanded to be the first to honor the authorities, to pray for them and be subject to them as God’s servants… But since the authorities, in all which pertains to the concerns of the soul, have part only as members, there is great occasion for this cursed dependence on flesh … when one from the hope of good personal protection … gives up the work of the Lord to the powers of the earth. … It is true the church is to have foster-parents who are kings. But nevertheless neither kings nor princes are its tutelar deities, much less lords and commanders of the church, but one is our Master, one our Judges, one our King, the Crucified.” Zinzendorf.

36. On Jeremiah 17:5. Reformed theologians, ex. gr., Lambertus Danæus (ob. 1596) have applied this passage in the sense of John 6:63, in their controversies against the Lutheran doctrine of the Supper. But as Calvin declared, it is not the flesh of Christ, but only earthly flesh and that per contemtum which is here spoken of Comp. Förster, S. 97.

37. On Jeremiah 17:7. “Blessed are those teachers, who have betaken themselves, to His protection, who once promised His Church, that even the gates of hell should not prevail against it …… Who has ever been put to shame who trusted in Him?” Zinzendorf.

38. On Jeremiah 17:9. “This is a spiritual anatomy of the heart. Examples: Manasseh ( 2 Chronicles 33.); Hezekiah (38:39); the children of Israel ( Numbers 14.). Alii sumus dum lætamur et omnia in vita nobis secundo vento succedunt; alii vero in temporibus calamitosis, ubi quid præter sententiam acciderit. Comp. Ser. Jeremiah 11:27.” (MS. note in my copy of Cramer’s Bibel).

39. On Jeremiah 17:9. Νᾶφε καὶ μέμνασο ἀπιστεῖν. This applies with respect to ourselves and others. For the defiant it avails as an extinguisher ( Romans 12:3); but the despairing may be reassured by it ( 1 John 3:19-20).

40. On Jeremiah 17:14. (Thou art my praise)…… “When a teacher confines himself to the praise of the cross and lets all other matters of praise go, which might adorn a theologian of these times, and adheres immovably to this: ‘I am determined to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ the crucified’ ( 1 Corinthians 2:2),—amid all the shame of His cross He is victorious over the rest.” Zinzendorf.

41. On Jeremiah 17:16. (That which I have preached was right before thee). “It is not difficult to know in these times what is right before the Lord. There is His word; he who adheres to this strictly, knows in thesi that he is right …… In all this it is the teacher’s chief maxim, not to make use of the application without need, but to make the truth so plain in his public discourse, that the hearers must necessarily make the application to themselves. … ‘Thus saying, thou reproachest us also,’ said the lawyer ( Luke 11:45).… Others went away convicted in their consciences.” Zinzendorf.

42. On Jeremiah 17:17. “That is a period which straitens the hearts of witnesses, when their rock, their protection, their consolation, their trust is a terror to them. But under this we must bow and faithfully endure, and we shall have a peaceable fruit of righteousness. Discipline always ends gloriously.” Zinzendorf.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

On Jeremiah 14:7-9. Jeremiah a second Israel, who wrestles with the Lord in prayer1. In what the Lord is strong against the prophet: the sin of the people2. In what the prophet is strong against the Lord: the Name of the Lord (a) in itself. This compels him to show that He is not a desperate hero, or giant, who cannot help; (b) in that His name is borne by Israel. Thus the Lord is bound to show Himself as He who is in Israel (not a guest or stranger), and consequently the Comforter and Helper of Israel.—Heim und Hoffmann, The Major Prophets (Winnenden, 1839). As Daniel ( Jeremiah 9:6) prayed, We have sinned and committed iniquity, etc., so Jeremiah took his share in the sin and guilt of his people.—This is true penitence, when one no longer wishes to contend with God in tribulation, but confesses his sin and condemnation, when he sees that if God should treat us according to our misdeeds, He could find no ground for grace. But for His name’s sake He can show us favor. He Himself is the cause of the forgiveness of sin.—Calwer Handbuch [Manual]. Notwithstanding the ungodliness of the people the prophet may still say, “Thou art among us,” because the temple of the Lord and His word were still in the land, and the pious have never all died out. [On Jeremiah 14:7-9. “Prayer hath within itself its own reward. The prayer of the prophet consists of confession and petition1. Confession fitly begins. It is the testimony of iniquity, and that this iniquity is against God. When we are to encounter any enemy or difficulty, it is sin weakens us. Now confession weakens it, takes off the power of accusation, etc. 2. Petition: For Thy name’s sake. This is the unfailing argument which abides always the same and hath always the same force. The children of God are much beholden to their troubles for clear experiences of themselves and God. Though thou art not clear in thy interest as a believer, yet plead thy interest as a sinner, which thou art sure of.” Leighton.—S. R. A.]

2. On Jeremiah 14:13-16. Against false prophets1. They tell the world what it likes to hear ( Jeremiah 17:13); 2. The Lord denies them ( Jeremiah 17:14); 3. The Lord punishes them ( Jeremiah 17:15); 4. The Lord also punishes those who allow themselves to be deceived by them ( Jeremiah 17:16).—Tüb. Bibelw.: To enter the preacher’s office without divine calling, what an abomination is that! But mark this, ye hirelings! the sentence of condemnation is already pronounced over you ( Jeremiah 23:21; Matthew 7:15).—Osiander Bibl.: God avenges the deception of false teachers most severely, if not in this world in the next ( Acts 13:10-11).—Starke: God punishes both deceivers and deceived, the latter cannot then lay all the guilt on the former ( Jeremiah 27:45).

3. On Jeremiah 14:19-22. The church’s distress and consolation1. The distress is (a) outward ( Jeremiah 17:19), (b) inward ( Jeremiah 17:20, the reason of the outward, confession). 2. The consolation (a). The Lord’s Name, [α] It is called and is One ( Jeremiah 17:22): [β] His glory and that of the church (throne of glory) are one; (b) the Lord’s covenant ( Jeremiah 17:21).—What in the present circumstances should be our position towards God? 1. The divine providence, in which we are at present: 2. Our confession, which we make before God: 3. Our petition, which we should address to Him. Voelter in Palmer’s Ev. Casual-Reden. [Occasional Discourses], 4th Ed, 1865.

4. On Jeremiah 15:16. Sermon on a Reformation or Bible-Anniversary. The candlestick of the Gospel has been rejected by more than one church. We therefore pray: Preserve to us Thy word ( Psalm 109:43). 1. Why we thus pray (Thy Word is our hearts’ joy and comfort); 2. Why we hope to be heard (for we are named by Thy name).

5. On Jeremiah 15:19. Caspari (Installation-sermon at Munich, Adv, 1855). These words treat; 1, of the firm endurance; 2, of the holy zeal; 3, of the joyful confidence, with which a preacher of God must come to an evangelical church.

6. Homilies of Origen are extant on Jeremiah 15:5-6; (Hom. XII, Ed. Lommatzsch); Jeremiah 15:10-19 (Hom. XIV.); Jeremiah 15:10; Jeremiah 17:5 (Hom. XV.). [On Jeremiah 15:20. “I. God’s qualification to be an overseer of the church. The metaphor of a wall implies, (1) courage, (2) innocence and integrity, (3) authority. II. The opposition a church-governor will be sure to meet with, (1) by seditious preaching and praying, (2) by railing and libels; (3) perhaps by open force. III. The issue and success of such opposition (they shall not prevail).” South.—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 16:19-21. Missionary Sermon. The true knowledge of God1. It is to be had in Christianity ( Jeremiah 17:19, a). 2. It will also make its way to the heathen, for (a) It is God’s will that they should be instructed ( Jeremiah 17:21); (b) they are ready to be instructed ( Jeremiah 17:19 b. 20).

8. On Jeremiah 17:5-8. The blessing of faith and the curse of unbelief (comp. Ebal und Gerizim). 1. Why does the curse come upon the unbeliever? (He departs in his heart from the Lord). 2. Wherein this curse consists ( Jeremiah 17:6). 3. Why must blessing be the portion of the believer? ( Jeremiah 17:7). 4. Wherein this blessing consists ( Jeremiah 17:8).

9. On Jeremiah 17:5-8, and Jeremiah 18:7-10. Schleiermacher (Sermon on28 Mark, 1813, in Berlin): We regard the great change (brought about by the events of the period) on the side of our worthiness before God1. What in this respect is its peculiar import and true nature2. To what we must then feel ourselves summoned.

10. On Jeremiah 17:9-10. The human heart and its Judges 1. The antithesis in the human heart2. The impossibility of fathoming it with human eyes3. The omniscient God alone sees through it; and4, judges it with justice. [“The heart is deceitful—it always has some trick or other by which to shuffle off conviction.” Henry.—“It is extremely difficult for sinners to know their hearts. I. What is implied in their knowing their own hearts1. It implies a knowledge of their selfishness2. Of their desperate incurable wickedness3. Of their extreme deceitfulness. II. Why it is so extremely difficult for them to know their own hearts1. They are unwilling to know them2. Because of the deceitfulness of sin. They love or hate, as they appear friendly or unfriendly to them: (a) God, (b) Christ, (c) good men, (d) one another, (e) the world, (f) their own hearts, (g) the means of grace, (h) their convictions, (i) heaven—Improvement. The only way to know the heart is to inquire whether it loves God or not, etc. 2. Saints can more easily ascertain their true character than sinners Song of Solomon 3. All changes in life are trials of the heart,” etc, etc. Emmons.—“I. The human heart exhibits great fraud and treachery1. We are changeable by that connection which the soul has with the body2. By its connection with external objects by our senses3. By its love of novelty and variety4. By its hasty resolutions5. By its self-love. II. Its excessive malice is seen in history and experience. III. Its deep dissimulation and hypocrisy render it inscrutable. Inferences: 1. We should entertain a sober diffidence of ourselves2. We should not be surprised when men use us ill or disappoint us3. We should take care and give good principles and a good example to those young persons under our guidance4. We should be ready to confess our offences to God5. We should bear in mind that we are under the inspection of one who searcheth the hearts,” etc. Jortin.—See also two Sermons by Jer. Taylor.—S. R. A.].

11. Rud. Kœgel (Court and Cathedral preacher at Berlin, 1865). Sermon on Jeremiah 17:9; Jeremiah 17:19, and Hebrews 13:9 : Two pictures: 1, the unregenerate; 2, the regenerate heart.

12. On Jeremiah 17:12-13. Sermon for the dedication of a church, the anniversary of the Reformation, or on Whitsunday. The church of the Lord1. What it is in itself (place of sanctuary, throne of divine glory, house of Him, who is Israel’s hope). 2. What it will be (it will ever remain firm, Matthew 16:18): 3. What they find who forsake it ( Jeremiah 17:19).

13. On Jeremiah 17:14-18. Cry for help of a preacher tempted on account of the truth1. The temptation ( Jeremiah 17:15). 2. The demonstration of innocence ( Jeremiah 17:16). 3. The cry for help, (a) negative ( Jeremiah 17:17-18), (b) positive ( Jeremiah 17:19). [On Jeremiah 17:14. The penitent’s prayer1. The words express an earnest desire for salvation2. He applies to Almighty God for it3. Through the medium of prayer4. With confidence that he will be heard. Dr. A. Thomson of Edinburgh.—S. R. A.].

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 14:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-14.html. 1857-84.

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Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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