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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jeremiah 45

 

 


Verses 1-5

Appendix to the Prophecies Relating to the Entire Theocracy

The Promise Given To Baruch (chap45)

While in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, according to Jeremiah 36, Jeremiah was dictating to his true friend and servant, Baruch, the revelations hitherto received, the latter appears to have been quite overpowered by a feeling of deep sorrow and anguish. Then Jeremiah receives a commission to address to him some words of consolation. This brief address doubtless formed the conclusion of the whole, of the original writing of which an account is given in Jeremiah 36. For it is incredible that Baruch was overcome with grief, when he had written the prophecies against the heathen, so far as these were extant in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, in their original position after Jeremiah 25. and before Jeremiah 27. (comp. rems, on Jeremiah 25:12-14 and the Introd. to chh46–51.); these being of relatively consolatory import to the Israelites (comp. especially Jeremiah 49:1 sqq.). But when he could survey at a glance the entirety of the threatening words pronounced against the theocracy, this may have been the moment when he broke out into the utterance recorded in Jeremiah 45:3. The word בְּכָתְנוֹ, Jeremiah 45:1, is not opposed to this. For it is not necessary to take the prefix in the sense of “whilst.” It merely expresses that Baruch received the revelation at a time when he was at work as an amanuensis, neither before nor after; but does not determine whether he received it at the beginning, in the midst, or at the end of this time. Even when the prophet had dictated to him his last words his work was not done: he had still to look over and revise what he had written. It is therefore not credible, that the great main work was interrupted by this personal communication. The present chapter is thus an appendix to the entire collection of Jeremiah’s prophecies. Its position at the close corresponds to the dignity and importance of Baruch, who as the faithful friend and amanuensis of the prophet was closely connected with the book as a whole, while Ebed-melech, for whom a similar word of promise is found in Jeremiah 39:15-18, came into contact with Jeremiah only at a single epoch. The revelation concerning him was therefore inserted at the corresponding place in the narrative.

Jeremiah 45:1-5

1The word that Jeremiah the prophet spake unto Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written [was writing] these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying,2, 3Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah], the God of Israel, unto thee,[FN1] O Baruch: Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the Lord hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted4[am weary][FN2] in my sighing, and I find no rest Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus: Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that 5 which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.[FN3] And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the Lord; but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Baruch, the son of Neriah, was writing out the prophecies of Jeremiah at his dictation ( Jeremiah 45:1-2), the proclamation is made to him, in answer to his expression of sorrow ( Jeremiah 45:3): that the Lord is intending to desolate the whole land ( Jeremiah 45:4), but Hebrews,, Baruch, without laying claim to greater things, should accept, as a reward of distinguished grace, that whithersoever he might be cast, he should everywhere escape with his life ( Jeremiah 45:5).

Jeremiah 45:1-3. The word … find no rest. After Baruch (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 32:12) had finished writing what was dictated to him, Jeremiah receives the command to address a prophecy to him, concerning only his own person.—Baruch was evidently powerfully affected by the total impression made by the prophecies upon him (comp. rems. on Jeremiah 36:1; Jeremiah 36:16). In addition to the sorrow, which he must have felt with every other Israelite, at the present disturbed condition of his native land, was the anxiety for the future, which had been awakened by the minatory predictions he had heard.—Grief Comp. Jeremiah 8:18; Jeremiah 20:18; Jeremiah 31:13.—I faint. The same thought as in Lamentations 5:5.

Jeremiah 45:4-5. Thus shalt them … thou goest. Two things are involved in these words: 1. Although the theocracy is the Lord’s creation, it is yet His fixed determination to destroy His work. With respect to the expression, comp. Jeremiah 1:10; Jeremiah 18:7; Jeremiah 18:9; Jeremiah 31:28.—Even this whole land. If we compare Jeremiah 25:15-26, we shall perceive that this determination to destroy is to be understood in a twofold degree, and accordingly ארץ is to be taken in the double sense of land and earth. The whole earth and the existence of all nations upon it is the Lord’s work, but the Lord will cause His judgment to issue on all this, His work. But Israel’s land and people is especially His sanctuary, the first fruits of His increase ( Jeremiah 2:3), His precious inheritance ( Jeremiah 3:19; Ezekiel 20:6; Ezekiel 20:15), and of course Baruch’s sorrow relates above all to the ruin threatening his own, the chosen nation. It is thus declared by the words, “this whole land,” that it is not a partial visitation, but a total devastation of the country, which is impending.—2. If now the whole (comp. Jeremiah 12:12; Jeremiah 25:31) is under sentence of total destruction, no single individual can claim a high degree of positive earthly prosperity. Even the best must be content, if only mere earthly existence, bare life, is guaranteed him. This is done herewith respect to Baruch. Thus a measure is given of the degree and extent of the calamity relating to the whole. Comp. Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 38:2; Jeremiah 38:17.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Baruch did not act as secretary for hire but for love. He esteemed it an honor and a happiness, that by his skill he could serve the Lord, to whom he owed it. Therefore a glorious reward is imparted to him unsought, so that his name and remembrance are immortalized in the sacred record by an oracle addressed specially to him. This honor is to be esteemed still higher than the assurance, that this wretched mortal life should not be taken by violence before its time.

2. On Jeremiah 45:3. “Non Stoicos nos esse convenit, qui ἀπάθειανcommendare atque asserere soliti, qualis etiam fuit Münzerus ejusque progenies Anabaptistæ.” Förster.

3On Jeremiah 45:4. Compare the remarks on Jeremiah 7:4. There is no delusion more ruinous than to suppose that the Lord cannot destroy His own work again. The destruction will certainly only come upon the bad. But it is the bad on the earth, among the chosen people, in the church and on the throne, who imagine themselves to be secure, in spite of their badness, by the fact of the divine appointment or choice, whereby they make God the servant of sin. God has created the earth. He will destroy it by fire. But a new earth and a new heaven will proceed from the conflagration. He has thrown down the holy city and temple and scattered the people of Israel. But the ’Ισραῆλ κατὰ πνεῦμα still lives and will one day permeate the ’Ισραὴλ κατὰ σάρκα with new life again ( Romans 11.). The Christian Church in the East has been devastated by Islam, and what guarantee then have Rome, Geneva and Wittenberg that it will not be with them as with Jerusalem? Princes too are not to understand the divine right of legitimacy as that God can appoint princes but cannot depose them. Yet even if all present Christian churches were to be destroyed and all thrones overthrown, neither the Church of the Lord would cease to be nor the magistracy, which is ordained of God ( Matthew 16.; Romans 13.).

4. On Jeremiah 45:5. “Felices frustra nobis promittimus annos semper enim curæ tristitiæque premunt.” Quotation by Förster.

5. On Jeremiah 45:5. Endeavor not after high things. Is it then not a great thing in this world, laden as it is with a curse ( Genesis 3:17-19), if one has sustenance and clothing? ( 1 Timothy 6:8). And is it not the greatest thing of all, if one knows that his soul is saved in heaven, even if he must take the place there, with which the prodigal son would have been content in his father’s house? ( Luke 15.).

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. On Jeremiah 45:2-5. A word of consolation and exhortation for all the tried children of God1. Let no one be surprised at the heat, which he encounters, as though something strange had happened to him2. Let every one be satisfied with the one thing needful: (a) for his body, (b) for his spirit.

2. On Jeremiah 45:4. God’s own institutions. We must distinguish in these: 1. the temporary form (not secured against decay and outward ruin); 2. the everlasting kernel (this is indestructible and bears in itself the guarantee of eternal duration and ever more glorious development).

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 45:2.—On עַל in עָלֶיךָ comp. rems. on Jeremiah 10:1.

FN#2 - Jeremiah 45:3.—The verb יָגַע found besides in Jeremiah only in Jeremiah 51:58.

FN#3 - Jeremiah 45:4.—As to the construction here, many are of opinion that the article is wanting before הִיא, as ex. gr. Genesis 32:23. But we should then have זֹאת. Others would take אֵת in the emasculated sense, in which it “approaches to” לְ=in respect to, as to (Ewald, § 277, d). But in the connection of this passage אֵת appears plainly as the sign of the accusative, governed by the preceding transitive verb. I therefore think that הִיא is used here simply with an emphatic significance, which we may express by inserting the word “even:” even the whole land, even this! Comp. Numbers 18:23; Isaiah 7:14. This is also the case with הוּא after a personal pronoun: אָנֹכִי אָנֹבִי הוּא, Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 49:12, etc.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 45:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-45.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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