corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.09.15
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jeremiah 22

 

 

Verses 1-9

II. MAIN DISCOURSE

Jeremiah 22, 23

Against The Wicked Kings And Prophets

1. Against the wicked kings, ( Jeremiah 22:1 to Jeremiah 23:8)

a. The alternative offered the royal house

Jeremiah 22:1-9

1 Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah]: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, 2and speak there this word. And say, Hear the word of the Lord [Jehovah], O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and 3 thy people that enter in by these gates. Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah]:

Execute judgment and righteousness,

And rescue him that is plundered out of the hand of the oppressor,[FN1]

Strangers, orphans and widows oppress not, nor be violent towards them,

And innocent blood shed not in this place.

4 For if ye indeed do thus,

Then through the gates of this house,

Kings, sitting for David on his throne,

Shall enter in chariots and on horses,

Hebrews, his ministers[FN2] and his people.

5 But if ye hearken not to these words,

I have sworn by myself, saith Jehovah,

That this house shall become a desolation.

6 For thus saith Jehovah concerning the house of the king of Judah:

Gilead art thou to me, summit of Lebanon!

Surely a wilderness will I make thee,

Cities uninhabited.

7 And I consec ate against thee destroyers,

The man and his weapons,

Who shall fell thy choice cedars,

And cast them into the fire.

8 And many nations shall go by this city and say one to another,

Why has Jehovah done thus to this great city?

9 And they shall say:

Because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah their God,

And worshipped other gods and served them.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet receives the command to go down to the king’s house and to deliver to the king and his servants, and to the people, the following divine message ( Jeremiah 22:1-2): if they would practice justice and righteousness ( Jeremiah 22:3), kings of David’s line should possess the throne in royal power and glory ( Jeremiah 22:4); if not, the king’s house should be made desolate ( Jeremiah 22:5). For though hitherto like Gilead and Lebanon, it is to be devastated ( Jeremiah 22:6). Destroyers shall come and shall fell the cedars and cast them into the fire ( Jeremiah 22:7), so that afterwards it shall be asked in astonishment, why such a great calamity has come upon the city ( Jeremiah 22:8). To which no other answer can be given than that they forsook the covenant of the Lord and served idols ( Jeremiah 22:9).—As to the relation of these verses to the preceding ( Jeremiah 21:11-14), the former appear almost only like an extension of the latter. Not only is the fundamental thought the same, but even in details there is great, in part verbal, agreement. The admonition which forms the basis, is found in Jeremiah 21:12 and Jeremiah 22:3, partly with the same words, only in the latter passage somewhat extended (comp. the second half of Jeremiah 22:3) As to the promises and threatenings based on the admonition, the form of the alternative is not found in Jeremiah 21:11-14, for here the idea of non-fulfilment reigns exclusively. But in the form in which the punishment is announced there are great similarities; both times the royal house is compared with a wooded height, the wood of which will be consumed by fire. Since now repetitions occur so frequently in Jeremiah, there is nothing against the supposition that we have here before us two utterances, related in form and purport because they proceed from the same historical situation. That this situation was in the reign of Jehoiakim and before the crisis of the battle of Carchemish appears to me to admit of no doubt. For1. there is no mention of the Chaldeans; 2. the king addressed is warned against despotic acts of violence. This warning corresponds neither to the character of Josiah nor to that, of Jehoahaz, who was most probably elected by the people, because he was supposed to be free from despotic inclinations, and besides he reigned only three months. The warning, however, corresponds entirely to the character of Jehoiakim, who is also afterwards reproved for such acts of violence ( Jeremiah 22:13-17). 3. Jehoiakim is in Jeremiah 22:13-15 especially reproached with his lust for building, which he gratified by despotic means. His cedar palace was a monument of this. Jeremiah is to go down to this proud house ( Jeremiah 22:1 coll. Jeremiah 22:23), and announce to him the judgment of fire ( Jeremiah 22:7). It follows that1. the section1–9 refers to Jehoiakim; 2. it is closely connected with Jeremiah 22:13-23.

Jeremiah 22:1-5. Thus saith … become a desolation.—Go down. Out from the temple. Comp. Jeremiah 26:10; Jeremiah 36:12 coll. Jeremiah 18:2.—Thou, etc. Not the king alone, but his servants, and the people also are to hear the word of the Lord. All are to co-operate in complying with the admonition, as they will all be affected by the consequences.—Execute judgment and righteousness. Comp. Jeremiah 7:6; Jeremiah 21:12; Ezekiel 22:6-7; Ezekiel 45:9.—The stranger. Comp. Exodus 22:20-21.—For if ye will, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 7:5.—There shall enter. Comp. Jeremiah 17:25 coll. Jeremiah 13:13.—But if ye will not hear. Comp. Jeremiah 17:27.—I swear by myself. Comp. Genesis 22:16; Isaiah 45:23; Jeremiah 49:13.

Jeremiah 22:6-9. For thus … and served them. Gilead, which taken in its wider meaning, comprises Bashan (comp. V. Raumer, Palästina, S. 229, sqq.), is a type of luxuriant fertility, especially with respect to pasturage. Comp. Numbers 32:1; Micah 7:14; Jeremiah 1:19.—Lebanon, the far-reaching, adorned with cedars, is also frequently elsewhere an emblem of the lofty and splendid: Isaiah 2:13; Isaiah 10:33-34; Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 60:13; Hosea 14:6-8; Zechariah 11:1-2.—The figures of blessing and exultation are applied to the house of David, not on account of its present prosperity, for this does not exist, nor only on account of its former prosperity,—under David and Solomon—for this is a secondary consideration with the Lord. From the words to me we perceive that the Lord has here in view rather the significance of the Davidic house, which He has most at heart, its universal and transcendent mission ( 2 Samuel 7.). For this reason we must not translate: Thou wast to me, but Thou art to me. The comparison with Lebanon is one of the points of coincidence with21:31. Although the royal house of Judah thus stands before the Lord in such ideal glory, He will make it in outward form a desolation and ruin. (comp. Isaiah 53:1-5).—On uninhabited comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 2:15. But why cities in the plural? Evidently because the prophet wished to intimate that the judgment on the king’s house will be declared in the desolation of the land and the destruction of the cities, especially the capital ( Jeremiah 22:8). It follows that Jeremiah 22:6 stands to Jeremiah 22:5 in the relation of more particular explanation, that for, Jeremiah 22:6, is therefore to be regarded as an explicative. For not only the reason but the manner of the desolation is more particularly defined in Jeremiah 22:6-9.—Consecrated. It is commanded by God and therefore a holy war. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 6:4. Therefore both the warriors and their weapons are designated as holy.—They shall fall, etc. The house of David is still regarded as a wooded mountain (comp. Jeremiah 11:14). At the same time the remembrance of the cedar palaces ( Jeremiah 22:23; 2 Samuel 7:2; 2 Samuel 7:7; 1 Chronicles 17:1; 1 Chronicles 17:6; 1 Kings 7:2) seems to prevail.—Cast them. Comp Jeremiah 21:12; Jeremiah 21:14.

Jeremiah 22:8-9. The prophet has Deuteronomy 29:23 sqq. in mind. Comp. also 1 Kings 9:8-9.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.

2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.

3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθ. προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.

4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.

It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.

5. On [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat ( Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

6. On [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children ( Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]

Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos ( Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.

7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men ( Psalm 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.

Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.

8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.

9. On [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.

11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.

12. On [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.

14. On [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that Isaiah, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.

15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural Song of Solomon, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob ( Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic ( Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam Esther, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.

16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.

17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII:9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalm 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ ἀνταναιρεθῇ σελήνη (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.

18. On [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]

“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.

20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.

21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.

23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc, have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.

24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea ( Revelation 3:16).

25. On [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.

27. On [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.

29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea ( Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us ( Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. ( Psalm 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.

30. On [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3

31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant ( Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.— Hebrews, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?

Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,

Who seek our souls to lead astray;

Whose mockeries at mortal woes

Will end in terrible dismay!

Grant that Thy holy word may root

Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit

May ever bear to endless day.

“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.

32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.

33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience ( John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.

34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.

35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.

36. On [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ ( Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living ( Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.

2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.

3. On [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.

5. On [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked1. All sin is horrible in its nature2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit5. It is to become partakers of their sins6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections2. Should deter us from sin3. Should teach us humility4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 22:3.—עָשׁוֹק, if not written by mistake for עוֹשֵׁק, occurs here only. It is formed like נָדוֹל, meaning oppressor.

FN#2 - Jeremiah 22:4.—[“A great number of MSS. and two of the earliest editions, read עֲרָדָיו his servants, or ministers, according to the Keri.” Henderson.—S. R. A.]


Verses 10-12

B. PROPHECY RELATING TO THE PERSON OF SHALLUM

Jeremiah 22:10-12

10 Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him:

Weep, weep rather for him that goeth away;

For never shall he return, nor see his native land.

11 For thus saith Jehovah concerning Shallum,

The son of Josiah, the king of Judah, who reigned instead of his father,

And who is gone away from this place:

He will not return thither.

12 For in the place whither they have carried him captive he will die,

And will see this land no more.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

That these words were really spoken at the historical epoch to which they correspond (therefore neither earlier nor later) is felt if we weigh the terrible violence of the suffering, which, notwithstanding its brevity, is expressed in it. Jeremiah could speak thus only when it was necessary to give expression, and—a corrective, to the universal mourning at the loss of the noble king Josiah, which was as it were repeated in their horror at the captivity of his successor. Three months after his father’s death ( 2 Kings 23:31-34), Jehoahaz was taken by Pharaoh Necho as a prisoner to Egypt. The sorrow was still lively at the death of his father. Now came this new misfortune. Many might hope for Jehoahaz: he is still young, he will survive and return. Jeremiah cuts off these hopes. There is more cause, he says, to mourn for Jehoahaz than for Josiah. The dead is more fortunate than the living. He intimates that he will perish miserably in captivity. This utterance is one of the oldest in the book.

Jeremiah 22:10-12. Weep ye not … this land no more. The absence of the article with לְמֵת may possibly be ascribed to the freedom which Jeremiah allows himself in the use of the article. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 3:2; Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 14:18; Jeremiah 17:19 (Chethibh). It is however also possible that מֵת, dead, may not express so definite a thought as הלִךְ, going away, because the dead are mourned in general, but those who go away only when their departure is such as it was in this concrete case, which is indicated by the definite article. On the subject-matter comp. Jeremiah 8:3.—Concerning Shallum. אֵל after Verbis dicendioraudiendi = of, concerning: Genesis 20:2; 1 Samuel 4:19; 2 Kings 19:9; 2 Kings 19:32, etc. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr, S. 227.—It is beyond a doubt that this Shallum is Jehoahaz, the son of that Josiah who fell at Megiddo ( 2 Kings 23:29), but it is uncertain why he is here named Shallum. The passage 1 Chronicles 3:15, where four sons of Josiah are named (Johanan, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah and Shallum), is not clear and seems to have derived the name of Shallum from the present passage. Disregarding this, two views are before us. According to the former it is assumed that the Shallum named here had really another name, as cases of double names were, as is well-known, not uncommon among the Jews, especially in this period. (Comp. Uzziah- Prayer of Azariah, Eliakim-Jehoiakim, Mattaniah-Zedekiah. Comp. Simonis, Onomast., p. Jeremiah 20 : Movers, Chronik, S. 156 sqq.: Thenius, on 2 Kings 14:21). But only the possibility of Jehoahaz and Shallum being the same, not the actual case, is admitted. According to the other view the name Shallum is a nomen reale (Hengstenberg) i. e. a symbolical name. The ancients (Jerome and many of the older Rabbins) have taken the word in the sense of consummatio, completio, referring it to the destruction of the kingdom, and understanding by Shallum either Zedekiah or Jehoiakim. This explanation is however contrary to the clear purport of Jeremiah 22:10.—שַׁלּוּם may mean recompense (so Gesenius), recompenser (Fuerst, comp. חַנוּן וְרַחוּם), “and to whom it Isaiah, recompensed” (Hengstenberg). But in none of these meanings will the word exactly suit as a prophetic name. “Recompenser” is certainly not appropriate. But “recompense” and “to whom it is recompensed” are such general ideas, that the name might be ascribed as well to any other wicked king, who was visited by the divine judgment. The turn also, that the name may have been given per analogiam, in remembrance of the Israelitish Shallum, who reigned only a month ( 2 Kings 15:13) is not satisfactory. For then it must first have been evident that every king in general, whose reign was numbered by months, was called Shallum. Why otherwise should Jehoahaz only be so named, since Jehoiachin also reigned only three months? It is thus seen that both these modes of explanation have difficulties. I should decide in preference for the former, in the sense that Jeremiah, of the two names borne by the immediate successor of Josiah, retained the earlier, as the simple personal name, without regard to its meaning, since the other, the royal name (יְוֹאַהַז, Jehovah holds, sustains) contradicted the historical, as also Jeremiah never calls the successor of Jehoiakim Jehoiachin, but only by his original personal name of Jeconiah or Coniah. Comp. Jeremiah 22:24.—King of Judah is in apposition to Shallum, since it was only this name which needed further definition.—Who reigned, etc. Jehoahaz, although the younger son (comp. 2 Kings 23:31 with36), was raised to the throne by the people ( Jeremiah 22:30), his elder brother Eliakim being passed over, and the rights of the primogeniture disregarded, most probably on account of Eliakim’s character, which Jeremiah afterwards portrays in such dark colors. Eliakim does not seem to have submitted with a good will. He threw himself into the arms of the Egyptians. By the favor of Pharaoh Necho he became king in his brother’s place, which position however he had to purchase by a tribute, which was very oppressive to the people ( 2 Kings 23:33-35) In Riblah Jehoahaz was taken prisoner, whether enticed thither, or in some other way, must remain undecided. He was then taken to Egypt and from that time nothing more is known of him. Comp. 2 Chronicles 36:1 sqq.; Ezekiel 19:3-4.—On Pharaoh Necho comp. the Encyclopædias.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.

2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.

3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθ. προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.

4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.

It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.

5. On [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat ( Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

6. On [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children ( Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]

Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos ( Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.

7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men ( Psalm 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.

Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.

8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.

9. On [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.

11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.

12. On [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.

14. On [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that Isaiah, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.

15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural Song of Solomon, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob ( Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic ( Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam Esther, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.

16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.

17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII:9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalm 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ ἀνταναιρεθῇ σελήνη (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.

18. On [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]

“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.

20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.

21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.

23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc, have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.

24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea ( Revelation 3:16).

25. On [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.

27. On [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.

29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea ( Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us ( Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. ( Psalm 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.

30. On [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3

31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant ( Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.— Hebrews, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?

Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,

Who seek our souls to lead astray;

Whose mockeries at mortal woes

Will end in terrible dismay!

Grant that Thy holy word may root

Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit

May ever bear to endless day.

“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.

32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.

33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience ( John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.

34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.

35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.

36. On [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ ( Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living ( Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.

2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.

3. On [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.

5. On [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked1. All sin is horrible in its nature2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit5. It is to become partakers of their sins6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections2. Should deter us from sin3. Should teach us humility4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.


Verses 13-19

C. PROPHECY, RESPECTING THE PERSON OF JEHOIAKIM

Jeremiah 22:13-19

13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by injustice,

And his upper chambers by unrighteousness;

Who uses his neighbor’s service for nothing,

And payeth him not his wages![FN3]

14 Who saith: I will build me a wide house,[FN4]

And roomy upper chambers![FN5]

And breaks out himself windows,[FN6]

Ceils it with cedar and paints it with vermillion.[FN7]

15 Wilt thou be a king, because thou makest a show with cedars?

Thy father, did he not eat and drink,

And execute justice and righteousness?

Then it was well with him.

16 He procured justice for the poor and the humble,

Then it was well with him.

Was not this[FN8] the fruit of knowing me? saith Jehovah.

17 For thine eyes and thy heart are directed only to thy advantage,

And to the blood of the innocent, to shed it,

And to oppression and violence,[FN9] to practise them.

18 Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim,

The son of Josiah, king of Judah.

They shall not mourn for him (saying),

Alas! my brother! Alas! sister!

They shall not mourn for him (saying),

Alas! Lord ! Alas! his majesty!

19 With the burial of an ass shall he be buried;

Dragged and cast out far from the gates of Jerusalem.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet cries, Woe to Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, who unlike his father Josiah, ruled despotically and oppressed the people, especially in behalf of his fine architecture ( Jeremiah 22:13-14). Is the kingdom of heaven founded on cedar-beams? asks Jeremiah. Josiah knew a better foundation. He ate and drank indeed, but he practised justice and righteousness. Then it was well, and it was evident that to know the Lord was true prosperity ( Jeremiah 22:15-16). Jehoiakim, a genuine despot, had only his own advantage in view, and to this end practised violence and the shedding of innocent blood ( Jeremiah 22:17). Therefore he will perish miserably, unwept, dragged and cast out like an ass, his corpse will lie far from Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 22:18-19).—This declaration must have been addressed to Jehoiakim as the reigning king, for he is not only called king ( Jeremiah 22:18), but Josiah’s reign is referred to as past and the end of Jehoiakim’s as future. Thus this prophecy pertains to the reign of Jehoiakim, and since there is no mention of the Chaldeans, and Jehoiakim appears to be in full and undisturbed exercise of his despotism, to the beginning of it, i. e., before the crisis of the fourth year (chap25).

Jeremiah 22:13-14. Woe unto him … with vermillion. Comp. Habakkuk 2:12; Micah 3:10.—Who useth, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 25:14; Jeremiah 27:7; Jeremiah 30:8, etc.And breaks out, etc.קָרַע is to tear to pieces, to cut up of garments ( Genesis 37:29; Genesis 37:34) of bodies (by wild beasts, Hosea 13:8) of a book ( Jeremiah 36:23). In Jeremiah 4:30 it is used of the paint which makes the eyes look as if they were torn open, i. e., larger. In the sense of tearing open, it seems to be used here, only that the tearing seems to be effected not by painting, but by breaking through.

Jeremiah 22:15-16. Wilt thou be a king … saith Jehovah. The prophet tells the king that not splendid buildings are the foundation of a kingdom, but righteousness, and proves this to him by the example of his father Josiah. Comp. Proverbs 14:34; Proverbs 16:12; Proverbs 20:28; Proverbs 25:5; Proverbs 29:14Makest a show, etc. (מתחרה בארז. On the verbal form. Comp. Olsh, § 255, a). The words have been strangely declared by many to be meaningless. But the meaning which the word has in Jeremiah 12:5 (where alone it occurs), is equally appropriate here. There it is undoubtedly æmulari, to vie, (to heat one’s self, to be zealous, from חָרָה to glow. Comp. Nehemiah 3:20), and is connected with אֵת=with, for the designation of the relation to a rival. Here it is not said, with whom Jehoiakim vies. That is a matter of course: He vies with all those who have also built cedar palaces, whether they were prior, contemporaneous, or subsequent to him. It is however said, whereby he seeks to surpass them, in ארז ְבָּאָרֶז, cedar, being taken generally, as in Jeremiah 22:14.—Did he not eat, etc. Josiah enjoyed life also, he was no ascetic. But he did not sacrifice his duty and conscience to the pleasures of life, but practised the highest duty of a ruler, righteousness, in a manner pleasing to God. Thus he laid a secure foundation, and his rule was a prosperous one.—Was not this the fruit refers not to procured justice, but to it was well with him. For that the knowledge of Jehovah (the True) includes the practice of righteousness, Jehoiakim did not probably deny. But he did deny, if not in thesi, yet in praxi, that the true living knowledge of Jehovah ensures the desired satisfaction to a prince. Accordingly היא, this, is predicate, הַדַּעַת ו׳, knowing, subject.

Jeremiah 22:17-19. For thine eyes … gates of Jerusalem.—For refers to a thought to be supplied: Not so thou, for, etc.Blood of the innocent. Comp. Deuteronomy 19:13; 2 Kings 24:4.—Alas! my brother,etc. The prophet quotes the verba ipsissima of the usual wail for the dead. Hence the apparently unsuitable Alas! Sister! He distinguishes the wail of the relatives (comp. 1 Kings 13:30), and that of the subjects (comp. Jeremiah 34:5) הוֹד of the highest royal majesty, comp. Psalm 148:13; 1 Chronicles 29:25.

Jeremiah 22:19. Dragged. Comp. Jeremiah 15:3.—Far from, etc.מֵהָלְאָה as a collective idea, is the accusative governed by הַשְׁלֵךְ. The place of casting away Isaiah, according to a well-known idiom, designated as one presenting itself from far beyond the gates of Jerusalem. Comp. Exeg. rems. on Jeremiah 20:17; Naegelsb. Gr., § 112, 5 d.—As to the fulfilment of the prophecy, it should first be remarked, that the latter is repeated in other words in Jeremiah 36:30. The historical accounts touching the end of Jehoiakim are very scanty. In 2 Kings 24:6 we read only, “So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers.” This expression indicates nothing concerning the burial, which is the more surprising, as the book of Kings elsewhere always designates the place particularly. We are not justified in casting doubt on the statement in 2 Chronicles 36:6, that Nebuchadnezzar bound Jehoiakim with two chains to take him to Babylon. on the ground that the Chronicler transferred what from Jeremiah 22:6 onwards relates to Jehoiachin to his predecessor (Graf). For this statement does not contradict that of the book of Kings. According to this also ( Jeremiah 24:1), Nebuchadnezzar went up against Jehoiakim. The book of Kings does not oxpressly say that at this time he carried away the vessels from the temple, but the case, as related in Chronicles, is in itself probable. It is here said that Nebuchadnezzar carried off simply “the vessels of the house,” etc., while in connection with Jehoiachin, he carried off “the goodly vessels,” etc. If then the account in Chronicles is not inauthentic, it affords sufficient data for the fulfilment of the prophecy in the text. Since Chronicles does not state that Jehoiakim was brought to Babylon, but only that Nebuchadnezzar bound him to take him thither, it is quite possible that he died on the way, and endured the sad fate prophesied in the text. We need not then assume either that Jehoiakim was taken from his grave, after the capture of the city under Jehoiachin, dragged through the gate and cast out, or that having died on the way, his body was delivered up by the Chaldeans for sepulture (Vaihinger in Herzog, R-Enc. VI, S. 790).

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.

2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.

3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθ. προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.

4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.

It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.

5. On [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat ( Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

6. On [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children ( Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]

Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos ( Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.

7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men ( Psalm 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.

Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.

8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.

9. On [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.

11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.

12. On [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.

14. On [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that Isaiah, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.

15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural Song of Solomon, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob ( Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic ( Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam Esther, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.

16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.

17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII:9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalm 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ ἀνταναιρεθῇ σελήνη (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.

18. On [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]

“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.

20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.

21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.

23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc, have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.

24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea ( Revelation 3:16).

25. On [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.

27. On [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.

29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea ( Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us ( Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. ( Psalm 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.

30. On [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3

31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant ( Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.— Hebrews, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?

Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,

Who seek our souls to lead astray;

Whose mockeries at mortal woes

Will end in terrible dismay!

Grant that Thy holy word may root

Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit

May ever bear to endless day.

“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.

32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.

33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience ( John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.

34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.

35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.

36. On [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ ( Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living ( Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.

2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.

3. On [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.

5. On [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked1. All sin is horrible in its nature2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit5. It is to become partakers of their sins6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections2. Should deter us from sin3. Should teach us humility4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.

Footnotes:

FN#3 - Jeremiah 22:13.—כְּעֻלָה=כֹּעַל, wages ( Leviticus 19:13; Psalm 109:20; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 49:4). Comp. Job 7:2.

FN#4 - Jeremiah 22:14.—בית מדות. Comp. שַנְשֵׁי מִדּוֹת ( Numbers 13:2), or מּדָּה ( Isaiah 45:14) [literally: a house of extensions].

FN#5 - Jeremiah 22:14.—מרוחים. This verbal form here only. The Kal of this verb. denomin., 1 Samuel 16:23; Job 32:20, is the sense of “to be airy, light.” Airy chambers=lofty, roomy.

FN#6 - Jeremiah 22:14.—The form חַלּוֹנָי (Kamets on account of the pause) is not sufficiently accounted for either as plural (Gesen.), or as dual termination (Ew, § 177, a; Ges, ed. Roediger, § 88,1, Anm. l, coll. § 87,1, c), or as an adjective form (comp. כִּילַי, Isaiah 32:5; Isaiah 32:7, Bötticher). As a suffix form it does not give a satisfactory meaning. Olshausen, § 111, c, Anm., is of opinion that חַלוֹנִים is to be restored. But it is more natural, with J. D. Michaelis, Hitzig, Gaab, Meier, to connect the following ו with the word and to read חַלֹּונָיו.—Instead of סָכִּוּן we must then read סָכִּוּן, corresponding to the following מָשׁוֹה. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 93, e. The manner of writing סָכּוּן might arise the more easily, as in the six passages where the word occurs in the Old Testament five have the passive part in Kal. ( Deuteronomy 33:21; 1 Kings 7:3; 1 Kings 7:7; Haggai 1:4, and the text), and of these again there are two which contain the words וְסָכֻּן בָּאֶרֶז ( 1 Kings 7:3; 1 Kings 7:7). As Jeremiah evidently alludes to the erections of Song of Solomon, it was natural to seek also this literal agreement. The radical signification of סָכַּן [comp. צָכַּן and שָׁכַּן, Deuteronomy 33:19; כְכְּינָה, Jonah 1:5, a ship with a deck in distinction from an open boat; סִכֻּן, ceiling, 1 Kings 6:15, in distinction from קַרְקַע, floor; בַּתִּים סְכּוּנִים, ceiled houses, as opposed to כַּיִת חָדֵב, Haggai 1:4] is certainly to cover; yet whether merely the roofing is meant, or also the clothing of the walls with cedar-wood (which is also a covering) appears to me doubtful.

FN#7 - Jeremiah 22:14.—שָׁשֵר is found also in Ezekiel 23:14. According to the Vulgate, sinopis, i.e. rubrica Sinopenais; LXX, μίλτος=red, vermillion; Kimchi, cinnabaris, minium.

FN#8 - Jeremiah 22:16.—On the neuter rendering of היא, which besides appears here to be attracted by דעת, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 60, 6, b.

FN#9 - Jeremiah 22:17.—מרוּצָה, from רוּץ=רצה, crushing [comp. Olsh, S. 386], occurs in this sense here only. It is not to be confounded with מְרוּצָה, cursus, Jeremiah 8:6; Jeremiah 23:10; 2 Samuel 18:27.


Verses 20-23

d. The consequences to the people

Jeremiah 22:20-23.

20 Go up to Lebanon and cry[FN10]

And in Bashan lift up thy voice and cry from Abarim,

That all thy lovers are broken in pieces.

21 I spoke to thee in thy prosperity,—

Thou saidst, I will not hear.

This was thy manner from thy youth,

That thou heardest not my voice.

22 The wind shall depasture all thy pastors,

And thy lovers shall go into captivity;

Then shalt thou be put to shame,[FN11]

And confounded for all thy wickedness.

23 Thou that sittest on Lebanon,

That nestlest in cedars,[FN12]

How dost thou groan[FN13] when pains come upon thee,

Pangs[FN14] as of a parturient!

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The people are next addressed,—after the king. They have harmonized too well with their pastors in worldly lust and pride, they must then share their fate. It is evidently this thought of the agreement of the people with such princes as Jehoiakim, which is prominent. Dwelling on Lebanon and making nests among cedars ( Jeremiah 22:23) pleased them, however displeasing the service might be to those who were compelled to render it ( Jeremiah 22:13-15). The passage is thus connected with the preceding, (comp. Jeremiah 22:20; Jeremiah 22:23, with Jeremiah 22:6-7 and Jeremiah 22:13-15). The train of thought is as follows:—The people of Israel are required to announce from the highest summits of the mountains, bordering on their country, the fall of their lovers ( Jeremiah 22:20). For he who will not hear must feel. Thus it must be with Israel, who from his youth has never listened to the voice of the Lord ( Jeremiah 22:21). When then the pastors of Israel are blown away by the storm and their lovers are gone into captivity, Israel will expiate his wickedness in deep shame ( Jeremiah 22:22), and groan for his pride in profound anguish, like a woman in travail ( Jeremiah 22:23).

Jeremiah 22:20-21. Go upmy voice. Lebanon, Bashan and Abarim, are named as the highest summits of the mountains bordering on Palestine.—Go up on Lebanon forms an ironical antithesis to that sittest on Lebanon. The people now proudly dwelling in cedars on Lebanon shall in the future mount on Lebanon (in the proper sense) to lament—an ascent which is really a descent. Bashan stands for the mountain of Bashan ( Psalm 68:15), i. e., Hermon. On Abarim with Mt. Nebo, comp. Numbers 21:11; Numbers 27:12; Deuteronomy 32:49; Raumer, Paläst., S. 72. Israel is to raise his cry of lamentation from, the bordering mountains that his shame and the conqueror’s glory might be widely manifest as a terror to others.—All thy lovers must, according to the connection, mean the kings. For1, it is inconceivable that thy pastors in Jeremiah 22:22, are not the same as thy lovers, ibid. The former, however, are unquestionably the kings ( Jeremiah 23:1-8). 2. The very punishment inflicted on the kings, affected the people themselves immediately. Hence the humiliating lament to which they are summoned in Jeremiah 22:20 to Jeremiah 23:3. The punishment of the pastors and lovers is the same which was announced to Jehoiakim in Jeremiah 22:18-19. To the objection that a similar use of the word “lovers,” cannot be produced, it may be replied that it is an unjustifiable demand, to require a proof of every special application of a meaning admitted in itself. מְאַהֵב means the lover; this is sufficient. It cannot be doubted that this in and of itself, might be said of kings, in reference to their people. The only question Isaiah, whether this mode of expression can be shown to be appropriate in particular cases. This Isaiah, however, the case here. For here the prophet (comp. Jeremiah 22:2) announces the judgment to the people, because they sympathize with the sin of the king, both suffering and promoting it. When there is such concert in wickedness between prince and people, the prince may be named the paramour, unchaste lover (and this is the specific meaning of מאהב. Comp. Ezekiel 16:33; Ezekiel 16:36-37; Ezekiel 23:5; Ezekiel 23:9; Ezekiel 23:22; Hosea 2:7; Hosea 2:9; Hosea 2:12; Hosea 2:14-15), of his people. Comp. besides Lamentations 1:19.—Prosperity. The plural שַׁלְווֹת is found here only. Since the singular=felicitas, rerum status securus atque secundus (comp. Psalm 122:7; Proverbs 1:32; Proverbs 17:1, etc.), the plural is = res secundæ, prosperous, quiet, secure relations. So long as these lasted, Israel would know nothing of obedience to the voice of his God. Comp. Jeremiah 2:25-28.—This was thy manner, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 2:2; Jeremiah 2:23; Jeremiah 2:33; Jeremiah 2:36; Ezekiel 23:3.

Jeremiah 22:22-23. The wind … of a parturient. The pastors are the leaders of the people, especially the princes. In this sense is דֹעִיםֹ also found in Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 23:1-8; Jeremiah 1:6. As the pastor is behind his flock to drive it, so the storm is behind the pastors to sweep them away. Comp. Jeremiah 4:11-12; Jeremiah 13:24; Hosea 4:19.—Thy wickedness. Comp. Jeremiah 2:19, Jeremiah 3:2; Jeremiah 4:18; Jeremiah 11:15.—According to the sense, Jeremiah 22:23 is a further development of thou shalt be put to shame, Jeremiah 22:22. For the shame of the people will appear the more distinctly, the more proudly and securely they now live as on Lebanon. This is evidently intended in a double sense; (a) as an emblem of proud, unapproachable exaltation (comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:6); (b) as an allusion to the cedar-houses, into which they had brought the “glory of Lebanon” ( Isaiah 60:13), so that Jerusalem, in a certain respect, is like Lebanon. For as on this mountain the birds make their nests in the cedars, so the princes of Judah built their nests of the cedars of Lebanon.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.

2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.

3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθ. προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.

4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.

It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.

5. On [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat ( Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

6. On [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children ( Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]

Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos ( Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.

7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men ( Psalm 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.

Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.

8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.

9. On [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.

11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.

12. On [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.

14. On [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that Isaiah, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.

15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural Song of Solomon, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob ( Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic ( Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam Esther, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.

16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.

17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII:9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalm 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ ἀνταναιρεθῇ σελήνη (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.

18. On [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]

“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.

20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.

21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.

23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc, have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.

24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea ( Revelation 3:16).

25. On [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.

27. On [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.

29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea ( Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us ( Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. ( Psalm 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.

30. On [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3

31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant ( Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.— Hebrews, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?

Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,

Who seek our souls to lead astray;

Whose mockeries at mortal woes

Will end in terrible dismay!

Grant that Thy holy word may root

Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit

May ever bear to endless day.

“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.

32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.

33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience ( John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.

34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.

35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.

36. On [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ ( Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living ( Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.

2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.

3. On [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.

5. On [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked1. All sin is horrible in its nature2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit5. It is to become partakers of their sins6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections2. Should deter us from sin3. Should teach us humility4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.

Footnotes:

FN#10 - Jeremiah 22:20.—On the form וּצְָעָקִי, comp. Olsh, § 65 b, and § 234, e.

FN#11 - Jeremiah 22:22.—כי כִּי אָז תֵּבשׁי is pleonastic. Comp. Jeremiah 2:35; Naegelsb. Gr., § 109, 1 a.

FN#12 - Jeremiah 22:23.—On the forms יְשַׁבְתְּי and מְקֻנַּנתְּי, comp. rems. on Jeremiah 10:17. Yet it should be observed that in the latter passage the Keri reads יוֹשֶׁבֶת, while in this place we must read ישַׁבְתְּ, מְקֻנַנְתְּ The latter forms are not impossible (comp. יֹלַדּתּ, Genesis 16:11; Judges 13:5; Judges 13:7, certainly in a standing formula), but are called forth here only by the proximately standing נּחַנְתְּ, which, however, should not be confounded, as2 P. Sing. Fem. Perf, with those participial forms.

FN#13 - Jeremiah 22:23.—נֵחַנְתִּי. On the termination, comp. rems. on Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:5. The form, as it stands, is Niph. of חָנַן (comp. Olsh. S. 593). But since a Niphal of חָנַן to be kind, gracious, nowhere else occurs, most modern commentators suppose that it is written for נֵנַחְתְּ and this for נֶאְַנַחְתְּ, (from אָנַח to sigh, to groan). Yet Fuerst is of opinion that a root חָנַן may be assumed, parallel to the Arabic hanna, to groan, to sigh, from which חַנּוֹת, Job 19:17 and our נֵחַנְתְּ are derived. The latter plan would certainly be more simple than the assumption of a double change of consonants. The decision is still to be expected.

FN#14 - Jeremiah 22:23.—חּיל ו׳. Comp. Jeremiah 6:24.


Verses 24-27

e. Prophecy relating to the person of Jehoiachin

α. Before the Deportation

Jeremiah 22:24-27

24 As I live, saith Jehovah, though Coniah,[FN15]

The son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,

Were the signet ring upon my right hand,

Yet would I pluck thee thence.[FN16]

25 And I give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life,

And into the hand of those before whom thou fearest,

Even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon,

And into the hand of the Chaldeans.

26 And I cast thee forth, and thy mother that bare thee,

Into another country, [FN17] where ye were not born;

And there ye shall die.

27 But to the land whither their soul desires to return,[FN18]

Thither shall they not return.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Jehovah swears by His life, that though Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, were the signet-ring on His right hand, yet He would tear it off ( Jeremiah 22:24), give him into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar ( Jeremiah 22:25), and hurl him forth, together with his mother, into a foreign land. There they shall die ( Jeremiah 22:26) and never return to the home for which they have so longing a desire ( Jeremiah 22:27). It is evident that this utterance is addressed to Jehoiachin during his reign. He is addressed as king; Nebuchadnezzar stands menacingly in the vicinity; the captivity is still future.

Jeremiah 22:24. As I live … thence. King Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son and successor, who however reigned only three months ( 2 Kings 24:8; three months and ten days, 2 Chronicles 36:9), appears under the name of Jeconiah also in Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 27:20; Jeremiah 28:4; Jeremiah 29:2; 1 Chronicles 3:16-17 : comp. Esther 3:6. I believe that the abbreviation here denotes a disparaging treatment of the royal name. Somewhat of the feeling expressed in Jeremiah 22:28 may be traced in it: “Is not this man Coniah a despised broken vessel?”—Since moreover Jeremiah never calls this king Jehoiachin (יְהוֹיָכִין, he is so called only in Jeremiah 52:31), it is possible that Jeconiah was his proper, original name, and Jehoiachin only supplementary, assumed during his brief reign. Although Jeremiah acknowledges him as king, he guards against using a name expressing a false arbitrary hope, as he also retains the original personal name Shallum, instead of the inappropriately chosen royal name of Jehoahaz ( Jeremiah 22:11).—Though Coniah … were, etc. If it were not for יהְיֶה (imperfect) I should be disposed to render in the sense of although he is. But אִם with the imperfect cannot possibly be taken otherwise than in the sense of a conditional sentence. I do not think that we can regard the signet-ring here as a symbol of power, i. e. as a sign of investiture with royal authority. (Comp. Genesis 41:42; Esther 3:10; Esther 8:2). For in this sense Jeconiah was really a signet-ring. But the signet is here only a jewel, a costly valuable ornament ( Song of Solomon 8:6). The Lord would therefore say: As I would pluck away the dearest jewel from which I had never parted hitherto, were it become bad, useless, therefore unworthy of me, so must I reject Jeconiah, as one who is despicable, useless, unworthy, even though he were the signet-ring on my right hand, which he is. not. אּם is here as in Psalm 139:8-9; Amos 9:2-4; Isaiah 10:22; Obadiah 1:4.

Jeremiah 22:25-27. And I give thee unto the hand … they not return. Comp. Jeremiah 19:7; Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 34:20-21.—And thy mother. She was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan, 2 Kings 24:8. Comp. Jeremiah 13:18.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.

2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.

3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθ. προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.

4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.

It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.

5. On [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat ( Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

6. On [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children ( Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]

Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos ( Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.

7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men ( Psalm 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.

Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.

8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.

9. On [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.

11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.

12. On [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.

14. On [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that Isaiah, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.

15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural Song of Solomon, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob ( Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic ( Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam Esther, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.

16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.

17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII:9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalm 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ ἀνταναιρεθῇ σελήνη (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.

18. On [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]

“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.

20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.

21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.

23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc, have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.

24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea ( Revelation 3:16).

25. On [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.

27. On [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.

29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea ( Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us ( Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. ( Psalm 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.

30. On [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3

31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant ( Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.— Hebrews, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?

Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,

Who seek our souls to lead astray;

Whose mockeries at mortal woes

Will end in terrible dismay!

Grant that Thy holy word may root

Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit

May ever bear to endless day.

“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.

32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.

33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience ( John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.

34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.

35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.

36. On [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ ( Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living ( Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.

2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.

3. On [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.

5. On [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked1. All sin is horrible in its nature2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit5. It is to become partakers of their sins6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections2. Should deter us from sin3. Should teach us humility4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.

Footnotes:

FN#15 - Jeremiah 22:24.—The abbreviation כָּנִיָהוּ is found in Jeremiah here and in Jeremiah 37:1 only. Hengstenberg is of opinion that by striking out the יְ the word takes a future meaning. But this is contained not merely in the יְ but in the vowel also: Perf. כַּן, Imperf. יָכּוּן ( Job 31:15) from which, in a double closed syllable and with the accent moved on, is formed יְכָן־. The meaning of the perfect (Jehovah stands fast) also would be no less comforting than that of the future: Jehovah will stand fast.

FN#16 - Jeremiah 22:24.—On the form אתקנך, comp. Olsh, § 68 d. coll97, a; Ew. § 250, b. [Gesen. Gr., § 105, b.—S. R. A.

FN#17 - Jeremiah 22:26.—If the twice repeated על־הארץ ( Jeremiah 22:27-28) has not occasioned the article before ארץ, the case is analogous to the הַגֶכֶּןנָכְרִיּהָ, which see. Comp. also Jeremiah 16:13.

FN#18 - Jeremiah 22:27.—מנשׂאים ר׳. Comp. Jeremiah 44:14; Deuteronomy 24:15.


Verses 28-30

β. After the Deportation

Jeremiah 22:28-30.

28 Is then this man Coniah a despised broken vessel?

Or a vessel wherein is no pleasure?

Why are they then hurled forth, he and his seed?

And cast into the land which they know not?

29 O land, land, land, hear Jehovah’s word!

30 Thus saith Jehovah: Write ye this man childless,

As one who has no prosperity in the days of his life;

For not one of his seed shall succeed

To sit upon the throne of David and rule again over Judah.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

These words were spoken after Jeconiah had been carried away captive. Compare “I cast thee forth,” Jeremiah 22:26, with “hurled forth” and “cast” in Jeremiah 22:28. Hence Jeconiah himself is not addressed, but the prophet speaks of him to others. He first sets forth how in the fate of Jeconiah the divine judgment of his unworthiness is manifested. The antithesis is here plainly felt to the “ signet-ring on my right hand,” Jeremiah 22:24, and that in this comparison there was a cutting irony ( Jeremiah 22:28). Thereupon the prophet addresses the land directly, solemnly repeating ארץ thrice ( Jeremiah 22:29), to announce concerning it the fatal declaration of Jehovah, that no descendant of Jehoiachin will any more sit on the throne of David.

Jeremiah 22:28-30. Is then … over Judah. To the question of Jeremiah 22:28 an affirmative answer is expected. Comp. rems. on Jeremiah 7:9; Jeremiah 12:9, coll. Jeremiah 2:14. On the abbreviated name Coniah, the object of which comes out here with especial distinctness, comp. rems. on Jeremiah 22:24.—Childless. Jeconiah was eighteen years old when he became king ( 2 Kings 24:8), and it is expressly stated that he had wives. That he had some off-spring is therefore not impossible, and is not even excluded by Jeremiah 22:30. But even if he had no children, there was other “royal seed” ( Daniel 1:3).—Into the land. Comp. Jeremiah 22:26; Jeremiah 16:13. The article is explained by the circumstance that this unknown land at the same time hovered before the prophet as one often mentioned and definitely designated.—The repetition of land is to call attention to the fact that the prophet has somewhat unusually important to say with respect to the country. This is the announcement that none of the offspring of Jeconiah should possess the throne of David, by which it is at the same time indicated that an important change would take place in the throne itself, i. e. that it would cease and give place to the throne of a universal empire.—Write. The prophet has evidently in view those who are entrusted with the keeping of the family record (comp. Saalschuetz, Mos. Recht, S. 61; Ezekiel 13:9; coll. Jeremiah 17:13; Psalm 69:29; Isaiah 4:3). When it is said that they are to write him as childless, it is said only that he is to pass for such, not that he was really so. In 1 Chronicles 3:17-18, his sons are at least mentioned. Whether they were natural offspring (observe the phrase יְכָנְיהָ אַסִּיר, the imprisoned Jeconiah [A. V.: Jeconiah, Assir, etc.—S. R. A.]) or only legal (by a Levirate marriage), is doubtful, comp. Ebrard, Kritik der eo. Gesch. S. 201, sqq.—As one, etc. This sentence is subordinate to the preceding, as explanation and more exact definition: Jeconiah is called childless, because his whole life through he will be an unprosperous man. This will be manifest, in that he will have seed, but no successor. None of his descendants will succeed to his throne. Zedekiah was Jeconiah’s uncle and the last king of Judah of the family of David. The text accordingly rather favors than opposes the hypothesis that Jeconiah had natural offspring.—Shall succeed to sit (יצלה ישׁב)—he will not have success or prosperity, as sitting, etc. We should say: he will not have the good, fortune to sit, etc.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:2. “King Zedekiah sends word to Jeremiah, that the Lord is to do according to all His miracles, that Nebuchadnezzar may withdraw. A demand rather cavalierly made in such evil circumstances. But the noble are so unfortunate! It is indeed as though it only depended on them to arrange matters with God; as if He were only waiting for them, as if it were a point of honor not to be over-hasty, but first to await a little extremity …. It is a very necessary observance for a servant of the Lord, that he try his superiors, whether there is any trace remaining in them of having been once baptized, well brought up and instructed in the fear of the Lord. If he observe anything of this kind, he must insist upon it and especially not allow them to deal too familiarly with the Judge of all the earth, but plainly demonstrate to them their insufficiency and nothingness, if they measure themselves by Him. Though Zedekiah had spoken so superficially, Jeremiah answered him without hesitation, definitely and positively, and accustomed him to a different manner of dealing with the Lord.” Zinzendorf. “When the ungodly desire God’s help, they commonly appeal not to His saving power to heal them, but to His miraculous power to save them, while they persist in their impenitence.” Starke.

2. On Jeremiah 21:8. “It is pure grace on the part of God, when He leaves to man the choice between the good and the evil; not that it is permitted him to choose the evil, but that he may choose freely the good, which he is under obligation to do, Deuteronomy 30:19.” Starke. “God lays before us the way of life and the way of death. The way of life is however always contrary to human reason, and that on which it sees merely death and shame. … If thou wilt save thyself thou must leave the false Jerusalem, fallen under the judgment, and seek thy life where there seems to be only death. He who would save his life must lose it, and he who devotes it for the sake of the truth will save it.” Diedrich.

3. On Jeremiah 21:11-14. “To be such a king is to be an abomination to the Lord, and severe judgment will follow. God appoints magistrates for His service and for the use of men; he who only seeks his own enjoyment in office, is lost. Jerusalem, situated on rocks in the midst of a plain, looks secure; but against God neither rocks avail nor aught else. The fire will break out even in them, and consume all around, together with the forest of cedar-houses in the city. The corruption is seated within, and therefore proceeds from within outwards, so that nothing of the former stock can remain. What shall a government do which no longer bears the sword of justice? What shall a church do which is no longer founded on God’s truth as its only power?” Diedrich. Comp. moreover on the whole of Jeremiah 24. the extended moral reflections of Cyrillus Alex. περὶ τῆς ἐν πνεύματι καὶ ἀληθ. προσκυνήσεως. Lib. I.

4. On Jeremiah 22:1. “Jeremiah is to deliver a sermon at court, in which he reminds the king of his office of magistrate, in which he is to administer justice to every man.” Cramer.

It was no easy task for Jeremiah to go into the lions’ den and deliver such an uncourtly message to him. We are reminded of the prophet Jonah. But Jeremiah did not flee as he did.

5. On [“But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in God’s church things in such disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become on this account alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, desert such monsters, but we must take care lest God’s word, through men’s wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought then to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses’ seat ( Matthew 23:2).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

6. On [“Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. And so dismal perhaps the prospect of the times may be, that tears even for a Josiah, even for a Jesus, must be restrained, that they may be reserved for ourselves and our children ( Luke 23:28).” Henry.—S. R. A.]

Nequaquam gentilis plangendus est atque Judæus, qui in ecclesia non fuerunt et simul mortui sunt, de quibus Salvator dicit: dimitte mortuos sepelire mortuos suos ( Matthew 8:22). Sed eos plange, qui per scelera atque peccata egrediuntur de ecclesia et nolunt ultra reverti ad earn damnatione vitiorum.” Hieron. Epist. 46 ad Rusticam. “Nolite flere mortuum, sed plorate raptorem avarum, pecuniæ sitientem et inexplebilem auri cupidinem. Cur mortuos inutiliter ploramus? Eos ploremus, qui in melius mutari possunt.” Basilius Seleucensis. Comp. Basil, Magn. Homil. 4de Gratiarum actione post dimid.—Ghislerus.

7. On Jeremiah 22:6-9. “God does not spare even the authorities. For though He has said that they are gods, when they do not rightly administer their office they must die like men ( Psalm 82:6) … No cedars are too high for God, no splendor too mighty; He can destroy all at once, and overturn, and overturn, and overturn. Ezekiel 21:27,” Cramer.

Another passage from which it is seen how perverse and unjustifiable is the illusion that God’s election is a surety against His anger, and a permit to any wilfulness. The individual representatives of the objects of divine election should never forget that God can march over their carcases, and the ruins of their glory, to the fulfilment of His promise, and that He can rebuild on a higher stage, what He has destroyed on a lower. Comp. remarks on Jeremiah 22:24.

8. On Jeremiah 22:13-19. It is blasphemy to imagine that God will be frère et compagnon to all princes as such, and that He has a predilection for them as of His own kind. Does He not say to his majesty the king of Judah, with whom, in respect of the eminence of his dynasty and throne no other prince of earth could compare, that he should be buried like an ass, dragged and cast out before the gates of Jerusalem? This Jehoiakim was however an aristocrat, a heartless, selfish tyrant, who for his own pleasure trampled divine and human rights under foot. If such things were done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

“He who builds his house with other people’s property, collects stones for his grave.” Cramer.

9. On [“It was a proof of luxury when men began to indulge in superfluities. In old times the windows were small; for use only was regarded by frugal men; but afterwards a sort of madness possessed the minds of many, so that they sought to be suspended as it were in the air. And hence they began to have wider windows. The thing in itself, as I have said, is not what God condemns; but we must ever remember, that men never go to excesses in external things, except when their hearts are infected with pride, so that they do not regard what is useful, what is becoming, but are carried away by fondness for excess.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

10. On Jeremiah 22:15. “God may grant the great lords a preference in eating and drinking and the splendor of royal courts, but it is not His will that these be regarded as the main things, but that true religion, right and justice must have the precedence;—this is the Lord’s work. But cursed is he who does the Lord’s work remissly. Jeremiah 48:10.” Cramer.

11. On Jeremiah 22:17. “Description of haughty, proud, magnificent, merciless and tyrannical lords and rulers, who are accomplices of thieves.” Cramer.

12. On [“God would have burial a proof to distinguish us from brute animals even after death, as we in life excel them, and as our condition is much nobler than that of the brute creation. Burial is also a pledge as it were of immortality; for when man’s body is laid hid in the earth, it is as it were a mirror of a future life. Since then burial is an evidence of God’s grace and favor towards mankind, it is on the other hand a sign of a curse, when burial is denied.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

13. On Jeremiah 22:24. “Great lords often imagine that they not only sit in the bosom of God, but that they are a pearl in His crown; or as the prophet says here, God’s signet-ring. Therefore, it is impossible that they should not succeed in their designs. But God looks not on the person of the princes, and knows the magnificent no more than the poor. Job 34:19.” Cramer.

14. On [“What is idolized will, first or last, be despised and broken, what is unjustly honored will be justly contemned, and rivals with God will be the scorn of man. Whatever we idolize we shall be disappointed in, and then shall despise.” Henry.—S. R. A.]

“The compliment is a very poor one for a king, who thinks somewhat of himself, and to whom it in a certain measure pertains that he be honored….But here it is the word of the Lord, and in consideration of these words it is declared in 2 Chronicles 36:12, to be evil on the part of Zedekiah, that he did not humble himself before Jeremiah. Teachers must be much on their guard against assuming such purely prophetic, that Isaiah, extraordinary acts. It cost the servants of the Lord many a death, who were obliged thus to employ themselves, and when it is easy for one to ape it without a divine calling he thus betrays his frivolity and incompetence, if not his pride and delusion.” Zinzendorf.

15. On Jeremiah 22:28-30. Irenæus (Adv. Hær. 3:30) uses this passage to prove that the Lord could not have been Joseph’s natural Song of Solomon, for otherwise he would have fallen under the curse of this passage, and appear as one not entitled to dominion (“qui eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum et in eo habere spem, abdicatos se faciunt a regno, sub maledictione et increpatione decidentes, quæ erga Jechoniam et in semen ejus est”). Basil the Great (Epist. ad Amphilochium) endeavors to show that this passage, with its declaration that none of Jeconiah’s descendants should sit on David’s throne, is not in contradiction to the prophecy of Jacob ( Genesis 49:10), that a ruler should not be lacking from Judah, till He came for whom the nations were hoping. Basil distinguishes in this relation between dominion and royal dignity.—The former continued, the latter ceased, and this period of, so to speak, latent royalty, was the bridge to the present, in which Christ rules in an invisible manner, but yet in real power and glory as royal priest, and at the same time represents Himself as the fulfilment of the hope of the nations. In like manner John of Damascus concludes that according to this passage there could be no prospect of the fulfilment of the promise in Genesis 49:10, if Mary had not virgineo modo borne the scion of David, who however was not to occupy the visible throne of David. (Orat. II. in Nativ. B. Mariæ p. med.)—Ambrose finally (Comment. in Ev. Luc. L. III. cap. ult.) raises the question how Jeremiah could say, that ex semine Jechoniæ neminem regnaturum esse, since Christ was of the seed of Jeconiah and reigned? He answers: “Illic ( Jeremiah 22:30) futuros ex semine Jechoniæ posteros non negatur et ideo de semine ejus est Christus (comp. Matthew 1:11), et quod regnavit Christus, non contra prophetiam Esther, non enim seculari honore regnavit, nee in Jechoniæ sedibus sedit, sed regnavit in sede David.” Ghislerus.

16. On Jeremiah 23:2. “Nonnulli præsmles gregis quosdam pro peccato a communione ceiciunt, ut pæniteant, sed quali sorte vivere debeant ad melius exhortando non visitant. Quibus congrue increpans sermo divinus comminatur: pastores, qui pascunt populum meum, vos dispersistis gregem meum, ejecistis et non visitastis eum.” Isidor. Hisp. de summo bono she LL. sentt. Cap. 46. Ghislerus.

17. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. Eusebius (Dem. Ev. VII:9) remarks that Christ among all the descendants of David is the only one, who rules over the whole earth, and everywhere not only preaches justice and righteousness by His doctrine but is Himself also the author of the rising [of the Sun] of righteousness for all, according to Psalm 72:7 : ἀνατελεῖ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ πλῆθος εἰρήνης ἕως οὗ ἀνταναιρεθῇ σελήνη (LXX.) Cyril of Alex. (Glaphyr. in Gen. I. p133) explains Ἰωσεδέκ as justitia Dei, in so far as we are made righteous in Him, not for the sake of the works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His great mercy. Romans 3:24; Titus 3:5.

18. On [“If we regard God in Himself, He is indeed righteous, but not our righteousness. If we desire to have God as our righteousness, we must seek Christ; for this cannot be found except in Him. … Paul says that He has been given or made to us righteousness,—for what end? that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. ( 1 Corinthians 1:30). Since, then, Christ is made our righteousness, and we are counted the righteousness of God in Him, we hence learn how properly and fitly it has been said that He would be Jehovah, not only that the power of His divinity might defend us, but also that we might become righteous in Him, for He is not only righteous for Himself, but He is our righteousness.” Calvin. See also a long note in Wordsworth, to show that Jehovah our Righteousness refers to Christ;—S. R. A.]

“The character of a true church is when the Lytrum, the ransom-money of Jesus Christ, is known and valued by all, and when they have written this secret, foolish and absolutely inscrutable to reason, in the heart with the finger of the living God: that Jesus by His blood has taken away the sins of the world. ‘O let it ne’er escape my thought, at what a price my soul was bought.’ This is the evening and morning prayer of every church, which is a true sister from above.” Zinzendorf.

19. On Jeremiah 23:5-8. “The return under Ezra was also a fulfilment of this promise, but inferior and preliminary: not all came, and those who did come brought their sins back with them. They were still under the Law and had to wait for Righteousness; still in their return they had a pledge that the Messiah was yet to come and prepare the true city of peace. Now, however, all has been long fulfilled and we can enjoy it perfectly, if we have the mind for it. We have now a country of which no tyrant can rob us; our walk and citizenship is in heaven. We have been delivered from all our suffering, when we sit down at the feet of Jesus to hear His word. Then there is a power of resurrection within us, So that we can fly with our souls beyond the world and laugh at all our foes. For Christ has made us righteous by His daily forgiveness, so that we may also bring ourselves daily into heaven. Yea verily, the kingdom of heaven is come very nigh unto us! Jeremiah then longed to see and hear this more nearly, and now we can have it.” Diedrich.

20. On Jeremiah 23:9. “Great love renders God’s servant so ardent, that he deals powerful blows on the seducers. He does not think that he has struck a wasp’s nest and embittered his life here forever, for he has a higher life and gives the lower one willingly for love. Yet all the world will hold him for an incorrigible and mad enthusiast, who spares no one. He says himself that he is as it were drunk with God and His word, when he on the other hand contemplates the country.” Diedrich.

21. On Jeremiah 23:11. “They are rogues. They know how to find subterfuges, and I would like to see him who accuses a false and unfaithful teacher, and manages his own case so that he does not himself come into the dilemma.” Zinzendorf.

22. On Jeremiah 23:13-14. “In the prophets of Samaria I see folly. This is the character which the Lord gives to error, false religion, heterodoxy. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I find abomination. This is the description of the or thodox, when they apply their doctrine, so that either the wicked are strengthened or no one is converted.” Zinzendorf.

23. On Jeremiah 23:15. “From the prophets of Jerusalem hypocrisy goes forth into all the land. This is the natural consequence of the superiority, which the consistories, academies, ministers, etc, have and in due measure ought to have, that when they become corrupt they communicate their corruption to the whole region, and it is apparent in the whole land what sort of theologians sit at the helm.” Zinzendorf.

24. On Jeremiah 23:16. Listen not to the words of the prophets, they deceive you. Luther says (Altenb. Tom. II. p330): “But a Christian has so much power that he may and ought to come forward even among Christians and teach, where he sees that the teacher himself is wanting,” etc.; and “The hearers altogether have the right to judge and decide concerning all doctrine. Therefore the priests and liveried Christians have snatched this office to themselves; because, if this office remained in the church, the aforesaid could retain nothing for their own.” (Altenb. Tom. II. p508).—The exercise of this right on the part of members of the church has its difficulties. May not misunderstanding, ignorance, even wickedness cause this to be a heavy and unjust pressure on the ministers of the word, and thus mediately tend to the injury of the church? Certainly. Still it is better for the church to exercise this right than not to do so. The former is a sign of spiritual life, the latter of spiritual death. It will be easier to find a corrective for some extravagances than to save a church become religiously indifferent from the fate of Laodicea ( Revelation 3:16).

25. On [“But here a question may be raised, How can the common people understand that some speak from God’s mouth, and that others propound their own glosses? I answer, That the doctrine of the Law was then sufficient to guide the minds of the people, provided they closed not their eyes; and if the Law was sufficient at that time, God does now most surely give us a clearer light by His prophets, and especially by His Gospel.” Calvin—S. R. A.]

26. On Jeremiah 23:17. “The pastors, who are welcome and gladly seen at a rich man’s table, wish him in fact long life, good health, and all prosperity. What they wish they prophesy. This is not unnatural; but he who is softened by it is ill-advised.” Zinzendorf.

27. On [“There is a twofold call; one is internal, the other belongs to order, and may therefore be called external or ecclesiastical. But the external call is never legitimate, except it be preceded by the internal; for it does not belong to us to create prophets, or apostles, or pastors, as this is the special work of the Holy Spirit. … But it often happens that the call of God is sufficient, especially for a time. For when there is no church, there is no remedy for the evil, except God raise up extraordinary teachers.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

28. On Jeremiah 23:22. “If I knew that my teacher was a most abominable miscreant, personally, and in heart the worst enemy of God in his parish; so long as, for any reason, he preaches, expounds, develops, inculcates the word of God; even though he should betray here and there in his expressions, that this word was not dwelling in him; if only he does not ex professo at one time throw down what at another time he teaches of good and true quasi aliud agendo: I assure you before the Lord that I should fear to censure his preaching.” Zinzendorf.

29. On Jeremiah 23:23. “ God’s essential attribute is Omnipresence. For He is higher than heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? Longer than the earth and broader than the sea ( Job 4:8). And He is not far from every one of us ( Acts 17:27).” Cramer.—“We often think God is quite far from us, when He is yet near to us, has us in His arms, presses us to His heart and kisses us.” Luther.—“ When we think the Sun of righteousness, Jesus, is not risen, and is still behind the mountain, and will not come to us, He is yet nearest to us. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart. ( Psalm 34:19) ”—“Deus et omni et nullo loco “—” Cuncta Deus replens molem se fundit in omnem.” MS. notes to my copy of Cramer’s Bibel.—“ Si vis peccare, O homo, quære tibi locum, ubi Deus non videat.” Augustine.

30. On [“When any one rejects the wheat because it is covered with chaff, and who will pity him who says that he has indeed wheat on his floor, but that it is mixed with chaff, and therefore not fit for food? … If we be negligent, and think that it is a sufficient excuse for despising the Word of God, because Satan brings in his fallacies, we shall perish in our sloth like him who neglects to cleanse his wheat that he might turn it to bread.” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

He who cannot restrain his mouth or his ink let him expectorate. But let him say openly and honestly that they are his own dreams, which he preaches. The false prophets certainly know that mere falsehood is empty straw. They therefore always mingle some of the genuine word of God amongst it. An unavailing mixture! It is in this mingling that Satan’s highest art is displayed, so that he at the same time furthers his own work and testifies against himself. Comp. Genesis 3

31. On Jeremiah 23:29. God’s word is the highest reality, life and power, while the dreams of the false prophets are pretence, death and weakness. God’s word is therefore compared to a fire which burns, warms, and enlightens, so that it burns up the hardest flint, melts the thickest ice, illuminates the deepest obscurities. It is compared further to a hammer which crushes the hardest rocks into sand.—He who mingles God’s wheat among his straw, will find that the wheat will become fire and burn up the straw ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15). He Who handles the word of the Lord purely, let him not despair if he sees before him hearts of adamant ( Zechariah 7:12). He who seeks peace is not ashamed to bow beneath the hammer of the word. For the destructive power of the word applies to that in us which is opposed to God, while the God-related elements are loosed and set free by those very crushing blows.— Hebrews, however, to whom the peace of God is an object of derision, may feed on the straw of this world. But how will it be when finally the day comes that God will come upon him with fire and hammer? What then remains to him as the result of his straw-diet, which is in a condition to withstand the blows of the hammer and the fire?

Help, Lord, against Thy scornful foes,

Who seek our souls to lead astray;

Whose mockeries at mortal woes

Will end in terrible dismay!

Grant that Thy holy word may root

Deep in our hearts, and richer fruit

May ever bear to endless day.

“God’s word converts, all other doctrine befools.” Luther.

32. On Jeremiah 23:29. “God’s word in general is like a fire: the more it is urged the more widely and brightly it extends. God has caused His word to be proclaimed to the world as a matter, which they can dispense with as little as fire. Fire often smoulders long in secret before it breaks out, thus the power of the divine word operates in its time. God’s word can make people as warm as if glowing coals lay upon them; it shines as brightly upon them, as if a lamp were held under their eyes; it tells every one the truth and purifies from all vices. He who deals evilly with God’s word burns himself by it, he who opposes it is consumed by it. But the word of God is as little to blame as a lamp or a fire when an unskilful person is burned by it. Yet it happens that often it will not be suffered in the world, then there is fire in all the streets. That is the unhappy fire of persecution, which is kindled incidentally in the world by the preaching of the Gospel.” Jos. Conr. Schaller, Pastor at Cautendorf, Sermons on the Gospels, 1742.

33. On Jeremiah 23:30. “Teachers and preachers are not to steal their sermons from other books, but take them from the Bible, and testify that which they speak from their inward experience ( John 3:11). False teachers steal God’s word, inventing a foreign meaning for it, and using this for the palliation of their errors.” Starke—“Hinc illi ζῆλοι at auctions, who can obtain this or that good book, this or that manuscript? Here they are thus declared to be plagiarios; and they are necessarily so because they are not taught of God. But I would rather they would steal from true men of God than from each other.”—Zinzendorf.

34. On Jeremiah 23:33-40. “ When the word of God becomes intolerable to men, then men in their turn become intolerable to our Lord God; yea, they are no more than inutile pondus terræ, which the land can no more bear, therefore they must be winnowed out, Jeremiah 15:17.” Cramer.

35. On Jeremiah 24:5-7. “ He who willingly and readily resigns himself to the will of God even to the cross, may escape misfortune. But he who opposes himself to the hand of God cannot escape.” Cramer.—“The captives are dearest to God. By the first greater affliction He prepares their souls for repentance and radical conversion, so that He has in them again His people and inheritance. O the gracious God, that He allows even those who on account of sin must be so deeply degraded and rendered slaves, even in such humiliation to be His people! The captives are forgiven their opposition to God; they are separated from the number of nations existing in the world, politically they are dead and banished to the interior. Now, God will show them what His love can do; they shall return, and in true nearness to God be His true Israel.” Diedrich.

36. On [“Since He affirms that He would give them a heart to understand, we hence learn that men are by nature blind, and also that when they are blinded by the devil they cannot return to the right way, and that they cannot be otherwise capable of light than by having God to illuminate them by His Spirit. … This passage also shows, that we cannot really turn to God until we acknowledge Him to be the Judge; for until the sinner sets himself before God’s tribunal he will never be touched with the feeling of true repentance. … Though God rules the whole world. He yet declares that He is the God of the Church; and the faithful whom He has adopted He favors with this high distinction, that they are His people; and He does this that they may be persuaded that there is safety in Him, according to what is said by Habakkuk, ‘Thou art our God, we shall not die’ ( Habakkuk 1:12). And of this sentence Christ Himself is the best interpreter, when He says, that He is not the God of the dead, but of the living ( Luke 20:38).” Calvin.—S. R. A.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 21:8. This text may be used on all occasions when an important decision is to be made or on the entrance on a new section of life, as, e. g., at synods, diets, New Years, beginning of the church-year, at confirmations, weddings, installations, etc. What the present day demands and promises: I. It demands from us an important choice. II. It promises us, according as we choose, life or death.

2. On Jeremiah 22:2-9. In how far the divine election is conditional and unconditional. I. It is conditional with respect to individual elected men, places, things. For1, these become partakers of the salvation promised by the election only by behaviour well-pleasing to God; 2, if they behave in a manner displeasing to God, the election does not protect them from destruction. II. The election is unconditional with respect to the eternal ideas lying at the foundation of the single appearances, and their absolute realizations.

3. On [Payson:—“The punishment of the impenitent inevitable and justifiable. I. To mention some awful instances in which God has verified this declaration: (a), the apostate angels; (b) our first parents; (c) destruction of mankind by the flood; (d) the children of Israel; (e) Moses, David, the disobedient prophet, Christ. II. Some of the reasons for such a declaration. Not a disposition to give pain or desire for revenge. It is the nature and tendency of sin to produce misery.”—S. R. A.]

4. On Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Son of David. What the prophet declares of Him is fourfold: 1. He will Himself be righteous; 2. He will rule well as king and execute judgment and righteousness; 3. He will be our righteousness; 4. Under Him shall Judah be helped and Israel dwell safely.

5. On [Lathrop: “The horrible guilt of those who strengthen the hands of the wicked1. All sin is horrible in its nature2. This is to oppose the government of the Almighty3. It directly tends to the misery of mankind4. It supports the cause of the Evil Spirit5. It is to become partakers of their sins6. It is horrible as directly contrary to the command of God, and marked with His peculiar abhorrence.”—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 23:23-24. The Omnipresence of God. 1. What it means. God is everywhere present, (a). He fills heaven and earth; (b) there is no removal from Him in space; (c) nothing is hidden from Him2. There is in this for us (a) a glorious consolation, (b) an earnest admonition. [Charnock, Jortin, and Wesley have sermons on this text, all of very similar outline. The following are Jortin’s practical conclusions; “ This doctrine1. Should lead us to seek to resemble God’s perfections2. Should deter us from sin3. Should teach us humility4. Should encourage us to reliance and contentment, to faith and hope.”—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 23:29-30. God’s Word and man’s word. 1. The former is life and power (wheat, fire, hammer). The latter pretence and weakness (dream, straw). 2. The two are not to be mixed with each other. [Cecil: This shows1. The vanity of all human imaginations in religion, (a). What do they afford to man? (b). How much do they hinder? 2. The energy of spiritual truth. Let us entreat God that our estimate may be practical.—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 24:1-10. The good and bad figs an emblem of humanity well-pleasing and displeasing to God. 1. The prisoners and broken-hearted are, like the good figs, well-pleasing to God. For (a) they know the Lord and turn to Him; (b) He is their God and they are His people2. Those who dwell proudly and securely are displeasing to God, like the bad figs. For (a) they live on in foolish blindness; (b) they challenge the judgment of God.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 22:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-22.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology