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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 29

 

 

Introduction

Jeremiah 27-29. Certain linguistic peculiarities (e.g. the incorrect spelling, Nebuchadnezzar) suggest that these three chapters may have circulated as a separate pamphlet, e.g. in Babylon. They deal with the rebuke of false hopes concerning a speedy return from exile.

Jeremiah 30-31. The Future of Israel and Judah.—These two chapters of prophecy, dealing with the future restoration of Israel and Judah, appear to be a later editorial insertion in the narrative scheme of Jeremiah 26-45, placed here perhaps because Jeremiah 32 and Jeremiah 33 contain narratives and prophecies dealing with the same subject (cf. also Jeremiah 29:10 ff.). In Jeremiah 30 and Jeremiah 31, there are numerous points of contact with Deutero-Isaiah, a fact which, with other features, has suggested to many scholars an exilic or post-exilic date for much that these chapters contain. The contrast with the general "pessimism" of earlier chapters is very noticeable. On the other hand, the internal evidence for Jeremiah 31:2-6, Jeremiah 31:15-22, Jeremiah 31:31-34 entitles us to regard these sections as Jeremianic.

Jeremiah 40-44. The next five chapters continue the biography of Jeremiah, including connected events, after the capture of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 46-51. The Foreign Prophecies.—These form the third principal division of the Book of Jeremiah. As already seen (Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 25:15), Jeremiah's prophetic horizon naturally included the surrounding nations; how far the prophecies that follow are his can be decided only by detailed criticism in each case. They refer, though in somewhat different order, to the several nations enumerated in Jeremiah 25:19-26 (which may be regarded as an introduction to them), except that an oracle on Damascus here replaces the reference to Tyre, Sidon, and the Mediterranean. (The LXX, which places this group of prophecies after Jeremiah 25:13, follows a third order.) It is generally admitted that the long prophecy on Babylon (Jeremiah 50 f.) is not by Jeremiah (see prefatory note). As to Jeremiah 46-49, there is considerable difference of opinion, ranging from Duhm's rejection of the whole, through Giesebrecht's acceptance of Jeremiah 47 (except towards end), with the nucleus of Jeremiah 46:2-12, Jeremiah 49:7-11, up to Cornill's acceptance of most of Jeremiah 46-49 (so also Peake). It is in any case natural to suppose that there are genuine prophecies by Jeremiah which underlie these chapters, though they have been worked over, or incorporated with other non-Jeremianic prophecies (e.g. Jeremiah 48) by later writers. For details, the larger commentaries must be consulted.

Jeremiah 26-45. These chapters, usually ascribed in the main to Baruch, chiefly narrate selected incidents in the life of Jeremiah, often with connected prophecies; they form a second main section of the book, in contrast with 1-25, which consist chiefly of prophecies, with little narrative.


Verses 1-32

Jeremiah 29. The Future of the Exiles in Babylon (c. 595).—Jeremiah sends a letter by royal messengers to tell the exiles in Babylon to settle down there for a lengthy stay, and not to be deceived by those who say otherwise (Jeremiah 29:1-9). After seventy years (see on Jeremiah 25:11), they shall be restored in accordance with Yahweh's declared purpose (Jeremiah 24:4-7) and goodwill (Jeremiah 29:1-13). At this point, an insertion seems to have been made in the original letter. Most of 14 (after "I will be found of you") is rightly omitted in LXX the reference to "all the nations" does not suit the destination of this particular letter. LXX also omits Jeremiah 29:16-20, threatening Zedekiah ("the king"), and those left in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 24:8, f.); this passage also has been added to the Hebrew text. Jeremiah 29:15, which is quite disconnected from its context where it now stands, will then fitly precede Jeremiah 29:21-23, its first word being rendered "because" instead of "for"; the sequel names two of these Babylonian prophets for condemnation. The remaining verses of the chapter (Jeremiah 29:24-32) are in some confusion. They begin as prophecy in a message to Shemaiah (Jeremiah 29:24 mg.), then pass (Jeremiah 29:26 ff.) into the quotation of a letter from him to Zephaniah, then break off abruptly into narrative in Jeremiah 29:29, and become prophecy again in Jeremiah 29:30. Shemaiah's letter, evidently prompted by Jeremiah's, urges Zephaniah to treat Jeremiah as Pashhur had done (Jeremiah 20:1 ff.), i.e. as a mad prophesier (cf. 2 Kings 9:11; Hosea 9:7, 1 Samuel 10:10 ff; 1 Samuel 19:20 ff.); but Zephaniah simply informs Jeremiah of this advice, with the result that a prophecy is uttered against Shemaiah and his descendants, in accordance with Hebrew ideas of "corporate" personality (cf., e.g., 2 Kings 5:27).

Jeremiah 29:3. Elasah: brother of Ahikam (Jeremiah 26:24) and of a Gemariah (Jeremiah 36:10) distinct from his present companion.

Jeremiah 29:18 as mg.; cf. Jeremiah 24:9.

Jeremiah 29:19. Read "they" for "ye", as in LXX of Lucian.

Jeremiah 29:22. Nothing further is known of these men or their fate, presumably assigned for treason.

Jeremiah 29:23. folly: "senselessness" (Driver); cf. 2 Samuel 13:12.

Jeremiah 29:25. Zephaniah: cf. Jeremiah 21:1, Jeremiah 37:3, Jeremiah 52:24. Omit, with LXX, "unto all the people that are at Jerusalem" and "and to all the priests".

Jeremiah 29:26. officers: read singular with VSS.

Jeremiah 29:32. After "seed", we should probably continue, with LXX, "there shall not be a man of them in the midst of you to see the good", etc. (omitting last clause).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-29.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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