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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jeremiah 15

 

 

Verses 1-21

CHAPTER15

4. The Second Refusal

Jeremiah 15:1-4

1 And Jehovah said unto me:

If Moses and Samuel stood before me,

Yet my soul is not inclined towards this people:

Away with them from my presence! Out with them!

2 And if they say to thee: Out whither shall we go?—

Then say to them: Thus saith Jehovah:

He who is for death to death, he for the sword to the sword,

And he who is for famine to famine, and he for captivity to captivity.

3 And I appoint over them four kinds, saith Jehovah:

The sword to kill and the dogs to tear,

The birds of heaven and the beasts of the field to devour and to destroy.

4 And I make them a horror[FN1] to all kingdoms of the earth,

On account of Prayer of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah,

And on account of what he did at Jerusalem.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The second petition is refused with a decisiveness which allows of no repetition and the people are rejected from the presence of the Lord ( Jeremiah 15:1), but not to a definite place, for they are delivered up to destruction in the most various forms ( Jeremiah 15:2), and to destroyers of the most terrible kinds ( Jeremiah 15:3), so that their destruction will excite the horror of all nations; but all this will correspond to the seed of abomination which Prayer of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, scattered in Judah ( Jeremiah 15:4).

Jeremiah 15:1. And Jehovah said … out with them! Moses is an intercessor, Exodus 17:11 sqq.; Jeremiah 32:11 sqq.; Numbers 14:13; Psalm 106:23.—Samuel in 1 Samuel 7:8; 1 Samuel 8:6; 1 Samuel 12:16-23; 1 Samuel 15:11; Psalm 99:6; Sirach 46:16. Comp. Herzog, Real-Enc. XIII. S. 398.—Noah, Daniel and Job are mentioned in a similar manner in Ezekiel 14:14; and in later times Jeremiah himself in 2 Maccabees 15:14.—The object of away, according to the preceding context, and to whither shall we go? Jeremiah 15:2, can be no other than the people.

Jeremiah 15:2-3. And if they say … to destroy. The question, whither shall we go? presupposes the thought of a mere banishment. It is declared in what follows that far worse than this is meant.—He who is for death. A fearful destructive blow is to follow, which causes the people to be scattered and drives individuals, without selection or respect of persons, into the hands of the agents of death.—Death, with sword, famine and captivity, is evidently the relatively spontaneous death by disease or pestilence (דֶּבֶר), wherefore the latter word is also used with the other in Jeremiah 14:12; Ezekiel 14:21; Ezekiel 33:27; comp. Jeremiah 43:11.

Jeremiah 15:3 fortifies this judgment of destruction, by declaring it in a certain measure permanent. For and I appoint declares that Israel is to be placed as it were under the jurisdiction of these four destructive forces, as also in Ezekiel 14:21 it is expressly said that the Lord will send His “four sore judgments—the sword and the famine and the noisome beast and the pestilence,” upon Jerusalem.—Kinds, משׁפחות. Comp. דּוֹר, the four generations, Proverbs 30:11 sqq. Since the four instruments here mentioned correspond to the four kinds of destruction mentioned in Jeremiah 15:2, it is evident that Jeremiah 15:3 bears to Jeremiah 15:2 not a logical but rhetorical relation. The sword moreover represents the judgment on the living, the three others the judgment on the dead. Comp. Jeremiah 14:16; Deuteronomy 28:26.

Jeremiah 15:4. And I make them … at Jerusalem. Repetition of the first half of the verse Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 29:18; Jeremiah 34:17. The expression is taken from Deuteronomy 28:25. Concerning Manasseh comp. 2 Kings 21:1-17; 2 Kings 23:26; 2 Kings 24:3. The biblical accounts dismiss the long reign of this king with remarkable brevity. We obtain the impression that this is the effect of a certain reluctance to recall this name, which represents the darkest portion of the history of Judah, an epoch which is to be regarded as the concentration and end of all ungodliness.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 15:4.—Here and in Ezekiel 23:46 זַעֲוָת is found without marginal reading, but in Isaiah 28:19 the older form זְוָעָה. In the other places (besides those quoted in Jeremiah also 2 Chronicles 29:8), where Ewald (comp. § 53, b) would read זועִה (scarecrow, sport [of chance]) there is always the Keri זַעֲוָה. Except in Isaiah 28:19, the word occurs only as the designation of the terminus in quem after נָתַן or before הָיָה. The root זוּעַ has both in the Hebrew (it occurs in the Old Test. only in Ecclesiastes 12:3; Esther 5:9; Habakkuk 2:7) and in the dialects (comp. Daniel 5:19; Daniel 6:27) the meaning of violent motion, commotion. Hence זְוָעָה is commotion, quaking, horror.

5. FURTHER DESCRIPTION OF THE SAD FATE IMPENDING OVER THE REJECTED NATION

Jeremiah 15:5-9

5 For who will have pity on thee, O Jerusalem?

Or who will have sympathy for thee?

Or who will turn aside to wish thee well?

6 Thou hast rejected me, saith Jehovah, [and] wentest backwards.[FN2]

Then I stretched out my hand against thee and destroyed thee:

I was weary of repenting.

7 And I winnowed them out with a fan

At the gates of the land;

I orphaned, I destroyed my people,—

For they had not turned them from their ways.

8 Their widows are become to me more than the sand of the sea.

I brought them over the mother of the chosen[FN3] the spoiler at noon-day;

I caused to fall on her sudden anguish[FN4] and terror.

9 She who bore seven is exhausted;

She breathed out her soul [expired];

Her sun went down while it was yet day;

She was ashamed and confounded [put to shame];

But the residue I will give to the sword,

Before their enemies, saith Jehovah.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

After the definite refusal in Jeremiah 15:1-4, the prophet can declare only that there is no further prospect of pity or succor for Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 15:5). The people having rejected the Lord, He rejects them, and will not as before retract this determination ( Jeremiah 15:6). Winnowed out of the country, Israel is bereaved of his men and sons ( Jeremiah 15:7-9 a); and the enemy will come with the sword after the fugitive remnant ( Jeremiah 15:9 b).

Jeremiah 15:5. For who will take pity … to wish thee well. From Jeremiah 15:1-4 it follows with absolute certainty that Jehovah will no longer help, and that therefore Israel is inevitably lost. כִּי, For, implies a reference to this thought. No longer any escape! If the Lord will not, who else will have pity on the people? ( Isaiah 51:19; Nahum 3:7). Who indeed will even ask how they are? (שׁאל לשׁלום properly = to ask after one’s good health, to greet, Genesis 43:27; Exodus 18:7; Judges 18:15, etc.) The thought seems to be thus implied, that still less will any one do aught for the welfare of the people, or any longer intercede for them as the prophet has done ( Jeremiah 14:7 sqq.; Jeremiah 14:19 sqq.).—Turn aside.סוּר is here, as frequently, to deviate from the direct, proposed way, in order to turn to some other object, with which, as here, the idea of taking trouble may be connected. Ruth 4:1; 1 Kings 20:39; Exodus 3:3.

Jeremiah 15:6. Thou hast rejected me … of repenting. The reason for the declaration in Jeremiah 15:5, that Israel is irretrievably lost, is stated in Jeremiah 15:6, and more particularly in Jeremiah 15:7 sqq. The reason first given, in Jeremiah 15:6 a, is objective, it being declared what Israel has done to draw upon himself such a punishment. The words then I stretched to repenting express the subjective reason, i.e., they declare what facts on the part of the speaker (i. e., of God) are presented as causæ efficientes of destruction. The præterite ואט, etc., is not strange; as the apostasy is an already accomplished fact, so also is the hostile position which God assumes towards it. The “stretched-out arm,” which is so often mentioned as Israel’s saving arm ( Deuteronomy 4:34; Deuteronomy 5:15; Deuteronomy 26:8, etc.), signifies the hostile position of God towards the enemies of the people. Elsewhere the stretching out of the hand frequently designates the declaration of war, or the command to use force; 1 Kings 13:4; Job 15:25; Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:11; Isaiah 10:4; Jeremiah 6:12; Jeremiah 51:25; Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 14:9; Ezekiel 14:13, etc.—Perhaps also the assonance of וָאַט to אַתְּ is intended.—Destroyed thee is a summary intimation of the import of the gesture I was weary, etc., a more particular definition, in so far as it declares that the destruction will no longer be deferred as heretofore by a gracious “repenting.” Comp. Jeremiah 4:28; Jeremiah 6:11; Isaiah 1:14.

Jeremiah 15:7-9. And I winnowed them … before their enemies. I do not think with Graf that שׁערי הארץ is to denote the uttermost, lands of the earth. How then could בְ be used? The preposition retains its proper meaning, if as in Nahum 3:13 we understand the exits of the land. The Lord winnows so powerfully that as the chaff flies out over the threshing-floor, so Israel flies out through the exits of the land to a distance.—Had not turned, etc., is a causal sentence.—In Jeremiah 15:8-9 the prophet uses similar colors to those in Jeremiah 14:16-17 Comp. Jeremiah 11:22; Jeremiah 18:21.—The words אֵם בָּחוּר, variously interpreted by the commentators, are most easily explained by the antithesis to the subsequently mentioned יֹלֶדֶת הַשִׁבְעָה. Even the strongest women, both those who have borne distinguished warriors, and those who have had numerous sons, shall perish. Without insisting on the singular in בָּחוּר I believe that it includes the idea of quality, as שׁבעה does of quantity. (Comp. 1 Samuel 2:5).—[Henderson:—“By the ‘young spoiler’ [text ‘destroyer’] is meant Nebuchadnezzar II, who, when his father was old and infirm, had part of the Chaldean army committed to him, and after defeating Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish marched forward against Jerusalem and captured it. The attack being made at noon indicates the unexpectedness by which it was characterized, that being the time of day when, owing to intense heat, military operations are carried on with less vigor.”—Hitzig: “The description in Jeremiah 15:8 points to a lost battle; and on this hypothesis all the single features of the picture in Jeremiah 15:7-9 may be brought into one point of view, so as to present one event. The author then refers to the battle of Megiddo, the more probably ( 2 Kings 23:29) as the figure of the sun setting in bright daylight might then be founded on the eclipse which took place in that valley 30 th Sept, A. D610. (Vid.Thenius on 2 Ki.)”—S. R. A,]—Breathed, etc., נפחה. From Job 31:39 the meaning of the word exspirare seems plain. The rendering “to sigh” is too feeble in this connection.—Her sun, the sun of her life, and the happiness (comp. Malachi 3:20; Psalm 84:12) which she had in her sons is gone down. בָּאָה as in Genesis 15:17; 2 Samuel 2:24; Micah 3:6. בעיד ו׳, comp. the previous “at noon-day.”—And confounded.בושה ו׳. The reference to the mother is to be preferred; for the sun itself does not suffer shame, but those who by the setting of the sun are reduced from the condition of an honored mother to the wretched state of a bereaved and childless one. In Isaiah 24:23 it is the sun and moon themselves which must pale before a more brilliant star.—Deliver to the sword. Comp. Micah 6:14.

Footnotes:

FN#2 - Jeremiah 15:6.—ֹאחור תלכי. The imperfect is frequently used to designate a fact often repeated in the past. Comp. Nargelsb. Gr., § 87. f.

FN#3 - Jeremiah 15:8.—[A. V. “I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noon-day” Boothroyd: “against their mother city, a chosen one that spoileth,” etc. Henderson:—“The words עַל־אֵםִ בָּוּר ( Jeremiah 15:8) have been very differently construed. Nor is the difficulty which they present by any means easy of solution, however simple the words may be in themselves. LXX. ἐπὶ μητἐρα νεανίσκους. Some compare the phrase אֵס עַל בָּנִים the mother with her children [Syr, Arab, C. B. Mich, Ewald, etc.—S. R. A.] but the position of the preposition before and not after אֵם renders such construction untenable. Others take אֵם בָּחוּר to be in the construct state: the mother of the young man [Chald, Kimchi, .J. B. Mich, Hitzig, etc.—S. R. A.] or regarding the nouns as collectives: the mothers of the young men [De Wette, Maurer, Rosenmueller, etc.—S. R. A.] but neither of these affords a suitable sense. Jarchi, Capellus, Castalio, De Dieu, Doederlein, Eichhorn, Dahler, consider אֵם mother, to mean the metropolis, as 2 Samuel 20:19, and אַמֶּה 2 Samuel 8:1. The word is thus used on Phœnician coins. Comp. the Arab. لم, the Greek μήτηρ; Callin. Fragm, 112; and the Latin mater, Flor. Jeremiah 3:7; Jeremiah 3:18; Ammian, Jeremiah 17:13; Gesenius, in voc. The objection of Schnurrer, that it wants the article, is of little force, as the prophets sometimes omit it for the sake of condensation. See Isaiah 21:12, and Nordheimer’s Gr., II. p13, note. This, on the whole, as the text now stands, is the preferable interpretation.”—S. R. A.]

FN#4 - Jeremiah 15:8—בצהרים has the meaning of unusual, unexpected. Comp. Jeremiah 6:4; Amos 8:9.—עיר ἅπ. λεγ. radically related to צוּר, צִיר = coarctatio, angor.

SECOND MAIN DIVISION

the consequences of the refusal with respect to the person of the prophet and instructions 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 person

Jeremiah 15:10-18

10 Wo unto me, my mother, that thou hast borne me,

A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole land:

I have not borrowed nor lent, yet all curse me.[FN5]

11 Jehovah said: Verily, I distress thee[FN6] for thy good,

Verily the enemy shall approach thee imploringly[FN7]

In the time of calamity and in the time of distress.

12 Will then iron break iron from the north and brass?

13 Thy substance and thy treasures will I give up for spoil, not for hire,[FN8]

But on account of all thy sins and in all thy borders.

14 And I take thee[FN9] with thine enemies into a land that thou knowest not,

For a fire[FN10] is kindled in my nostrils which shall burn over you6

15 Thou knowest it, O Jehovah, remember me,

And visit me, and avenge me of my persecutors;

Sweep me not away by[FN11] thy long suffering;

Know that for thy sake I have suffered reproach.

16 Thy words were offered and I devoured them,

And thy words[FN12] were to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.

For I bear thy name, O Jehovah, God of Zebaoth.

17 I sat not in the assembly of the joyful, nor was merry.

Before thy hand I sat solitary, for thou hast filled me with indignation.

18 Why then has my pain become perpetual,[FN13]

And my wound helpless,[FN14] that will not heal?

Art thou then become to me as a deceitful brook,[FN15]

As precarious water?

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

After a sorrowful lament of the prophet, that without any fault of his, all curse him ( Jeremiah 15:10), follows (if Jeremiah 15:11-14 are genuine) first a comforting assurance from the Lord, that all will accrue to his advantage and that even his enemies in their distress will turn to him as suppliants ( Jeremiah 15:11); and then a description of this distress: it comes as iron from the North which cannot be broken by other iron or brass ( Jeremiah 15:12); all wealth in all the borders of Israel will be plundered on account of their sin ( Jeremiah 15:13), and the people will be carried away into a strange land in consequence of the violent and inextinguishable anger of Jehovah ( Jeremiah 15:14). In Jeremiah 15:15-18 follows a further address of the prophet to the Lord, which, by the words “Thou knowest it,” may possibly be connected with Jeremiah 15:12, but may also be connected with Jeremiah 15:10. The prophet prays the Lord for His gracious interposition, for vengeance on his enemies, for long-suffering forbearance, since he is indeed suffering for God’s sake ( Jeremiah 15:15). He grounds his petition further on his willing devotion to the Lord as His instrument ( Jeremiah 15:16), and his having walked worthy of this great honor ( Jeremiah 15:17). In conclusion another lament of the prophet: Why is there then for me no cure, no recreation? ( Jeremiah 15:18).

Jeremiah 15:10. Wo unto me … all curse me. Had the intercession of the prophet in Jeremiah 16. been heard, his lot, in so far as it depended on his countrymen, would have been more agreeable. But now that so stern a refusal has been given he sees the whole fury of the people discharged upon his person. The mention of the calamity of the mother, Jeremiah 15:8-9, reminds the prophet of his own mother, not however to lament on her account, but on his own, that he was ever born. Comp. Jeremiah 20:14; Job 3:3; 1 Maccabees 2:7.—Lending and borrowing cause most law-suits. The prophet neither receives loans from others (נָשָׁה, Isaiah 24:2), which as a bad debtor he did not repay, nor does he himself lend money (נָשָׁה בְּ, Deuteronomy 24:11, נָשֵׁהcreditor, exactor, Psalm 109:11), which as a stern creditor he calls in with rigor.—Observe the contrast between the accusations, which according to Jeremiah 15:10 were universally raised against the prophet, and the touching petitions, which Hebrews, Jeremiah 14:7-19, offers for his people. He thus gives a reply to those accusations, which causes their unrighteousness most distinctly to appear.

Jeremiah 15:11. Jehovah said … in time of distress. The formula Jehovah said (אָמַר י׳) thus prefixed is found besides only in Jeremiah 46:25, and in no other prophet. I cannot agree with Graf, who in Jeremiah 46:25 would attach it to the preceding context. (Comp. הִנְנִי פקֵר). We cannot then say that this position of the formula is a proof of the spuriousness or corruption of the text.—The Lord presents to the prophet’s view a second pleasing turn in his affairs: even his opponents, who now press him in a hostile way, shall then be brought to press him with supplications, because they perceive their only salvation to be in his intercession. This is more particularly explained in Jeremiah 15:12.

Jeremiah 15:12. Will then iron … brass? The words are very variously construed. The most simple construction, which agrees well with the context, is to take the first iron, ברזל, as the nominative, and the two following as in the objective case. Will then iron, i.e. any other iron, brought by men, break the northern iron or brass? That the northern iron is the northern empire ( Jeremiah 13:20) is clear. The most celebrated iron and steel manufacture among the ancients was that of the Chalybeans in Pontus, of whom Strabo says, οἱ δὲ νῦν Χαλδαῖοι Χάλνβες τὸ παλαιὸν ὠνομάζοντο, XII. p826. Comp. J. D. Michaelis. Observv. phil. et crit, in Jer., Ed. Schleusner, p136. [Comp. Winer, R-W-B., II. S. 512; Smith. Bibl. Dict., II. p1376.—S. R. A.]. It is accordingly quite suitable to represent this northern nation itself under the figure of the strongest iron. The connection with the preceding is this: thine enemies among the people will yet turn to thee as their only refuge, when they have learned their inability to master the northern iron. For the fulfilment see Jeremiah 37:3; Jeremiah 42:2 sqq.

Jeremiah 15:13-14. Thy substance … burn over you. These verses are evidently intended to give a plainer description of the distress, merely intimated in Jeremiah 15:11, and briefly and obscurely described in Jeremiah 15:12. The words are, however, taken from Jeremiah 17:3-4, where they are found in the more original form and proper connection.—Not for hire. The thought occurs similarly only in Psalm 44:12. In this passage, however, it is the selling of the people, not of their property and treasures, which is spoken of. It is also a question whether in Psalm 44:12 the selling is to be understood in a literal sense=thou causest thy people to be sold into slavery by their conquerors at a mean price (comp. Joel 3:8; Joel 3:11-12; Vaihinger on Psalm 44:12). Since now it is doubtful whether the thought that God sells His people for nothing or without return is biblical, and still more doubtful whether it may be said God sells the treasures of His people for nothing, the view gains in probability that there is here a corruption of the text. Comp. the Textual Note4.

Verses11,12contain in themselves nothing to lead us to doubt their integrity, nor do they in the connection form an incongruous element. Jeremiah 15:11 contains a preliminary tranquilization of the prophet, Jeremiah 15:12 a more particular characterization of the distress intimated in Jeremiah 15:11, and the reason of approach imploringly, etc.Thou knowest, in Jeremiah 15:15, may be connected with Jeremiah 15:12, in the sense: I cannot indeed conceive how that is possible, but Thou Lord knowest it. For since Jeremiah 15:11-12 contain the words of the Lord to the prophet, “Thou knowest it” cannot be an appeal by the prophet to the divine testimony, but only for the purpose of self-tranquilization. But on the other hand it cannot be denied, that this interruption in the prophet’s lament is the more remarkable, as Jeremiah afterwards continues in Jeremiah 15:15 as though he hid received no consolation (comp. especially Jeremiah 15:18) and the consolatory statements of Jeremiah 15:11 recur in Jeremiah 15:19 sqq. For these verses also declare that the affliction will accrue to the honor and welfare of the prophet and that the enemies will yet be compelled to apply to him. This is also favored by the perfect appropriateness with which Jeremiah 15:15 is connected with Jeremiah 15:10. The prophet had in Jeremiah 15:10 protested his innocence, for which in Jeremiah 15:15 he appeals to the Omniscient as a witness. Verses13,14bear in a much higher degree the stamp of spuriousness. For1. They prolong in an unnecessary manner (as mere filling out of the portrayal of the previously intimated distress) the interruption of the connection; 2. They are a mere quotation from Jeremiah 17:3-4 and textually corrupt, with which it accords, that they contain an address to the people which does not suit the connection; 3. The words Thou knowest, Jeremiah 15:15, are then disconnected, for neither can they be referred to the close of Jeremiah 15:14 nor to Jeremiah 15:13-14 together, since these verses contain neither the words of the prophet, nor anything which appeared incredible to the prophet.

Jeremiah 15:15 a. Thou knowest it … thy long-suffering. On thou knowest itvid. supra; comp. Psalm 40:10; Ezekiel 37:3.—And visit me, פָקַד is frequently used of a gracious visitation of God after a period of disfavor: Genesis 21:1; Exodus 3:16; Exodus 4:31; Ruth 1:16; Psalm 8:5-6; Isaiah 23:17, etc. Comp. Psalm 106:4.—Avenge, etc.והנקם לי מ׳ properly=avenge Thee for my good upon my enemies. This construction here only. Comp. 1 Samuel 24:13; Numbers 31:2.—By thy long-suffering. Since the prophet is not himself conscious of having deserved the divine anger, the long-suffering can be referred only to the enemies: “Suffer not that in consequence of the delay of Thy vengeance I be swept away of my enemies.”

Jeremiah 15:15 b–17. Know that … filled with indignation. In these words the prophet presents the grounds on which he expects help from the Lord. He first prays the Lord to consider that he is suffering for His (the Lord’s) sake. Comp. Psalm 69:8 ( Zephaniah 3:18)., He then appeals to the willingness with which he offered himself as the Lord’s organ, and his life in accordance with his high calling.—Thy words, etc. The prophet did not excogitate what he was to proclaim but found it, it was offered to him. The found is according to Old Test, usage frequently that which is present of itself in opposition to that which one has produced or procured by his own activity. Comp. Genesis 19:15; 1 Samuel 21:4; 1 Samuel 25:8.—Devoured. As in Ezekiel 2:8; Ezekiel 3:3 coll. Revelation 10:9-10, he designates by eating the eager complete reception of them into the mind. The commentators refer to Plautus, Aulul. III:6, 1, nimium lubenter edi sermonem tuum.—For I bear, etc. The word of the Lord may then have become the joy of his heart because it effected that “the name of Jehovah was named over him” (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 7:10), i. e. that he was designated as a prophet of Jehovah in opposition to the prophets of the idols (comp. the prophets of Baal, 1 Kings 18:19; 2 Kings 10:19). This designation was to him an honorary title of the highest value. But by this it is not excluded that the word of the Lord in itself was already a cause of rejoicing to him.—I sat not. The prophet here describes how his life externally had been spent in accordance with the prophetic calling. He had avoided the society of idle, pleasure-seeking men, he had sat in solitude, the feeling of being divinely possessed as well as the sorrow caused by the predominant objects of his vision, viz. human sin and divine punishment, rendering him incapable of taking part in the proceedings of the merry.—Before thy hand. The expression “hand” designates the divine operation as immediate and irresistible. Comp. Isaiah 8:11; Ezekiel 3:14; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 11:5; Ezekiel 37:1, etc.For thou hast filled me, etc. The prophet is filled with indignation and anger by what he beholds in consequence of the divine operation. He cannot possibly be angry with God. Rather is he full of the divine wrath ( Jeremiah 6:11) at the sin of men and at the necessity of punishing them. Moreover we see from Jeremiah 15:16 that indignation is not the only feeling of the prophet, nor the only reason which detained him from the society of men. He was in part too divinely troubled, in part too joyful in God, to feel at home in such society. [Henderson: “The hilarity which the prophet had experienced was not that of the ungodly, who at their festive meetings treated divine things with scorn. With these he had had no fellowship, but because of the faithful communication of his inspired messages he had been expelled from society and made the object of their fiercest indignation. The occurrence of “indignation” with “hand” in this verse has generally induced the supposition that by the latter the afflicting power of God is intended; but it seems more in accordance with the bearing of the connection to regard the expression as designed to convey the idea of powerful divine impulse or prophetical inspiration. Comp. Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:14, and frequently. Thus Vatablus, Clarius.”—S. R. A.]

[“On Tindal’s objections to this passage, see Waterland, Scripture Vindicated, p245.” Wordsworth.—S. R. A.]

Footnotes:

FN#5 - Jeremiah 15:10.—כלה מקללוני. This wholly abnormal form (comp. Olsh, § 206 b) which as forma mixta has been variously explained, is evidently due, as J. D. Michaelis, Hitzig, Graf, Meier have recognized, to a wrong division. It should read כֻּלְּהֶם קִלִלוּנִי. The attraction of the ם to the following word may have been occasioned by the circumstance that the form ending with it is not found elsewhere (similar formation בֻּלֻּבֶם Deuteronomy 1:22. Comp. אוֹתְהֶם Ezekiel 23:45; Ezekiel 23:47; אֶתְהֶם Genesis 32:1; Genesis 19:8). The 1 Pers. בֻּלָּ‍ֽהֵם however is found in 2 Samuel 23:6.

FN#6 - Jeremiah 15:11.—אם לא שׁרוֹתךָ. The Chethibh may be read שָׁרוֹתךָ (who attack thee, anomalous inf. Kal. from שָׁרַר, as Hitzig), שְׁרוֹתְךָ (solvendo te, Rosenmueller), שֵׁרוּתְךָ (initium tuum, Gesen.), שְׁרוּתְדָ solutio tua sc. erit, Winer), שָׁרוּתְדָ (in different meanings: confirmabo te or exhilarabo te, J. D. Michaelis; firmabo te, Maurer, Ewald; I do thee injury, I oppress thee, Gesen, Thesaur., Meier). The Keri is שֵׁרִיתִיךָ Piel from שָׁרָה, which verb occurs besides only in Job 37:3 (disputed in the latter place) and is said to signify to loosen like the Aram. שְׁרָא (comp. Daniel 2:22; Daniel 3:25; Ezra 5:2). [So Henderson.—S. R. A.] The old translators vacillate and alter arbitrarily. Vulg, Targ, Raschi, Kimchi read שֵׁרִיתְךָ for שְׁאֵריתְךָ (comp. 1 Chronicles 12:38; Olsh, S. 70,412), which they regard as = reliquiæ tuæ or finis tuus thy remnant, thy exit, for which however אַ‍ֽהֲרִית always stands elsewhere. [A. V.: it shall be well with thy remnant]. I agree with Gesenius in his Thesaurus and Meier. The scriptio defect. is no objection. Comp. ex. gr. ענִּתִךְ Nahum 1:12; לִבַּבְתּנִי Song of Solomon 4:9. שָׁרַר means torsit, contorsit. Hence שֹׁררֵ, oppressor ( Psalm 8:3; Psalm 27:11; Psalm 54:7), שֹׁר cloud (contortum) שֵׁרָה torques, שַׁרְשְׁרָה catena. The Lord tells the prophet for his consolation that the oppression will eventuate in favor of his best interests. Comp. Jeremiah 15:19 sqq, לְטוֹב besides only in Jeremiah 32:39. Elsewhere לְטוֹבָה ( Jeremiah 14:11; Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 24:5-6; Jeremiah 39:16; Jeremiah 44:27).

FN#7 - Jeremiah 15:11.—פָנַע בְּ .הפגעתי ו׳ signifies in Jeremiah 7:16; Jeremiah 27:18; Job 21:15; Ruth 1:16 to apply to one, press one with petitions. Accordingly Hiphil here quite regularly = to cause such application, urging, although the Hiph. is elsewhere used in the sense of the Kal. ( Isaiah 53:12; Isaiah 59:16; Jeremiah 36:25).

FN#8 - Jeremiah 15:13.—לֹא בִמְחִיר. There is probably here a corruption of the text. In the parallel passage Jeremiah 17:3 we read after אתן the words במתיך בהטאת בכל־גבוליך. Since now במתיך might very easily become במחיר, especially if we consider the difficulty of this word, it is very natural to perceive in the latter a corruption of the former. The unmeaningness of the sentence then led to the addition of לאֹ which is wanting in the LXX. The author of the gloss might also have had in mind passages like Isaiah 45:13; Isaiah 52:3; Isaiah 55:1. What occasioned the deviation from Jeremiah 17:3 it is difficult to tell. At any rate, if the words are to yield any sense, the first ו must be rendered by “and indeed” (comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 111, 1), and ובבל־גבוליך be referred to the first section of the verse.

FN#9 - Jeremiah 15:14.—והעברתי. In Jeremiah 17:4 we have והעבדתיך, which is also given by the LXX, Syr, Chald. The Hiphil from עבר is evidently a corruption, but in the gloss the genuine text, and therefore to be retained, although no commentator has yet been able to give a satisfactory explanation of it. From לא ידעת we see that the people (at any rate with the previously mentioned treasures) is regarded as the object.—Comp. Jeremiah 9:15.

FN#10 - Jeremiah 15:14.—כִּי־אֵש, etc. The words are taken verbatim, from Deuteronomy 32:22, while in Jeremiah 17:4 we have קְדַחְתֶּם (transit. as in Isaiah 1:11; Isaiah 64:1). For עֲלֵיכֶם we find in Jeremiah 17:4 more appropriately עַד עוֹלָם.

FN#11 - Jeremiah 15:15.—לְ as in לֶאֱמוּנָה, Jeremiah 9:2; לַמִּשְׁפָט, Jeremiah 30:11. Comp. Isaiah 11:3; Isaiah 32:1.

FN#12 - Jeremiah 15:16.—דבריך. The Chethibh דְבָ‍ֽרְךָ is quite impertinent. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 105, 4 b, 3.

FN#13 - Jeremiah 15:18.—נֶצַח: Subst. (comp. Psalm 74:3; 1 Chronicles 29:11) = perpetuitas. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 74.

FN#14 - Jeremiah 15:18.—אֲנוּשָׁה, comp. Jeremiah 30:15; Isaiah 17:11; Micah 1:9.

FN#15 - Jeremiah 15:18.—אַכְזָב. Comp. Micah 1:14. It is the opposite of נַחַל אֵיתָן, Deuteronomy 21:4; Amos 5:24. Comp. Exodus 14:27.

2. THE LORD’S TRANQUILIZING AND CONSOLATORY ANSWER

Jeremiah 15:19-21

19 Therefore thus saith Jehovah:

If thou return, I will cause thee again to stand before me;[FN16]

And if thou bring forth the precious without the base, thou shalt be as my mouth.[FN17]

They shall return to thee, but thou shalt not return to them.

20 And I will make thee to this people a brazen wall, a strong one;

And they will contend against thee, but not prevail over thee;

For I am with thee to deliver

And to preserve thee, saith Jehovah.

21 And I preserve thee from the hand of the wicked,

And redeem thee from the might of the violent.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The Lord answers the prophet by promising him anew, together with a mild correction and on the condition of blameless purity, the honor of being permitted to serve Him as His organ ( Jeremiah 15:19 a). He then promises the return to him of his enemies ( Jeremiah 15:19 b), inexpugnable firmness ( Jeremiah 15:20), protection and deliverance from all dangers ( Jeremiah 15:21).

Jeremiah 15:19. Therefore thus … return to them.—If thou return. In these words there is evidently a gentle reproof. In the preceding context, especially Jeremiah 15:18, the prophet had allowed himself to be carried away into doubt of the fidelity and trustworthiness of the Lord. In this there was an element of alienation from the Lord. Without entering on a confutation or accusing the prophet directly of his departure, he gives him to understand that such a departure has taken place only by the conditional sentence, “If thou return.” For turning back presupposes a turning away. Comp. Jeremiah 4:1.—To stand before me, in the sense of mediatorship, which at the same time includes the honor of a servant and of one who stands very near his Lord: Jeremiah 15:1; Jeremiah 18:20; Jeremiah 35:19; Jeremiah 40:10.—Bring forth, etc. From the context such a bringing forth only can be spoken of as on the one hand is opposed to the blameworthy utterances of the prophet in Jeremiah 15:18, and as on the other hand qualifies him to be the Lord’s mouth. הוציא is therefore to be taken in the sense in which it occurs, ex. gr. in Job 15:13, which passage has in general a remarkable resemblance to the present. Then מִן is away from, far from, without. Comp. Jeremiah 10:14; Job 11:15; Job 21:9. Vid.Naegelsb. Gr. § 112, 5 d.—On the subject-matter comp. Exodus 4:16.—They, etc. The triumph of a witness of the truth consists in this that his opponents finally agree to his testimony. Comp. Proverbs 16:7.

Jeremiah 15:20-21. And I will … violent. The Lord confirms the prophet in his office and His promise in the same words in which He had assured him of both in the beginning, Jeremiah 1:18-19.—Brazen wall. [“The Roman Poet felt something of the great truth contained in these divine words, when he said,

Hicmurus aheneusesto,

Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa.’

(Horat. I. Epist1:60).” Wordsworth.—S. E. 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.].

Footnotes:

FN#16 - Jeremiah 15:19.—ואשׁיבך, etc. The construction is like לֹא תֹסִיפִי יִקְרְאוּ לָךְ, Isaiah 47:1; Isaiah 47:5. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 95, g, Anm.

FN#17 - Jeremiah 15:19.—בְּפִי, Kaph veritatis. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr. § 112, 5 c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 15:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-15.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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