Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
SUPERSEDED BY THE
REIGN OVER THE
This forms the epilogue to the denunciations of the four kings, in
1. pastors--Shallum, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah
2. Ye have not . . . visited them . . . I will
visit upon you--just retribution. Play upon the double sense of
"visit." "Visit upon," namely, in wrath
3, 4. Restoration of Judah from Babylon foretold in language
which in its fulness can only apply to the final restoration of
both "Judah" and "Israel" (compare
also "out of all countries," in this verse and
also, "neither shall they be lacking," that is, none shall be missing
or detached from the rest: a prophecy never yet fully accomplished. It
holds good also of the spiritual Israel, the elect of both Jews and
(Mal 3:16, 17;
Joh 10:28; 17:12).
As to the literal Israel also, see
Isa 54:13; 60:21;
shepherds . . . shall feed them--
Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Maccabees were but typical of the
consummating fulfilment of these prophecies under Messiah.
5. As Messianic prophecy extended over many years in which many
political changes took place in harmony with these, it displayed its
riches by a variety more effective than if it had been manifested all at
once. As the moral condition of the Jews required in each instance, so
Messiah was exhibited in a corresponding phase, thus becoming more and
more the soul of the nation's life: so that He is represented as the
unto David--HENGSTENBERG observes that Isaiah dwells more on His
prophetical and priestly office, which had already been partly
Other prophets dwell more on His kingly office. Therefore here
He is associated with "David" the king: but in
with the then poor and unknown "Jesse."
righteous Branch--"the Branch of righteousness"
"The Branch" simply
(Zec 3:8; 6:12);
"The Branch of the Lord"
prosper--the very term applied to Messiah's undertaking
Righteousness or justice is the characteristic of Messiah
elsewhere, too, in connection with our salvation or
So in the New Testament He is not merely "righteous" Himself, but
"righteousness to us"
so that we become "the righteousness of God in Him"
(Ro 10:3, 4;
execute judgment and justice in the earth--
Isa 9:7; 32:1, 18).
Not merely a spiritual reign in the sense in which He is "our
righteousness," but a righteous reign "in the earth"
(Jer 3:17, 18).
In some passages He is said to come to judge, in others to
He is called "the King."
unites them. Compare
Da 7:22, 26, 27.
6. Judah . . . Israel . . . dwell safely--Compare
where "Jerusalem" is substituted for "Israel" here. Only Judah,
and that only in part, has as yet returned. So far are the Jews from
having enjoyed, as yet, the temporal blessings here foretold as the
result of Messiah's reign, that their lot has been, for eighteen
centuries, worse than ever before. The accomplishment must, therefore,
be still future, when both Judah and Israel in their own land shall
dwell safely under a Christocracy, far more privileged than even the
Isa 54:1-17; 60:1-22; 65:17-25;
shall be called, the Lord--that is, shall be
"Jehovah," God's incommunicable name. Though when applied to created
things, it expresses only some peculiar connection they have
yet when applied to Messiah it must express His Godhead
manifested in justifying power towards us
our--marks His manhood, which is also implied in His being a
Branch raised unto David, whence His human title, "Son of David"
Righteousness--marks His Godhead, for God alone can justify the
Isa 45:17, 24, 25).
7, 8. Repeated from
Jer 16:14, 15.
The prophet said the same things often, in order that his sayings might
make the more impression. The same promise as in
Jer 23:3, 4.
The wide dispersion of the Jews at the Babylonish captivity prefigures
their present wider dispersion
Their second deliverance is to exceed far the former one from Egypt.
But the deliverance from Babylon was inferior to that from Egypt in
respect to the miracles performed and the numbers delivered. The final
deliverance under Messiah must, therefore, be meant, of which that from
Babylon was the earnest.
9. because of the prophets--so the Masorites and Targum. But
Vulgate, Septuagint, &c., make this the inscription of the
prophecy, CONCERNING THE
PROPHETS: as in
Jer 46:2; 48:1; 49:1.
Jeremiah expresses his horror at the so-called "prophets" not warning
the people, though iniquity so fearfully abounded, soon to be followed
by awful judgments.
drunken--God's judgments are represented as stupefying like wine.
The effects of the Holy Spirit also are compared to those of wine
In both cases ecstasy was produced. This accounts for the denial of
wine to those likely to be inspired, Nazarites, &c.
It was necessary to put it out of men's power to ascribe inspired
ecstasy to the effects of wine.
because of . . . words of . . . holiness--because of Jehovah's holy
words, wherewith He threatened severe penalties, soon to be inflicted,
against the breakers of His law.
10. adulterers--spiritual, that is, forsakers of God, Israel's true
for idols, at the instigation of the false "prophets"
(Jer 23:9, 15).
Literal adultery and fornication, the usual concomitants of
idolatry, are also meant.
swearing--MAURER, &c., translate, "Because of the
curse (of God on it), the land mourneth"
(De 27:15-26; 28:15-68;
More than usual notoriety had been given to the curses of the law, by
the finding and reading of it in Josiah's time
Ho 4:2, 3,
favors English Version (compare
A drought was sent by God on the pastures ("pleasant places," oases) in
the desert, on account of the "profaneness" of the priests, prophets,
course . . . evil--They (both prophets and people) rush into wickedness
force . . . not right--Their powers are used not on the side of
rectitude, but on that of falsehood.
in my house--
They built altars to idols in the very temple
Compare as to covetousness under the roof of the sanctuary,
12. slippery ways in . . . darkness--Their "way" is their false
doctrine which proves fatal to them
I will bring evil . . . visitation--still more calamities than those
"visitation," namely, in wrath.
13. folly--literally, "insipidity," "unsavouriness"
not having the salt of godliness
in Baal--in the name of Baal; in connection with his worship (see
caused . . . to err--
14. "Jerusalem" and Judah were even worse than "Samaria" and the ten
tribes; the greater were the privileges of the former, the greater was
their guilt. They had the temple in their midst, which the ten tribes
had not; yet in the temple itself they practised idolatry.
strengthen . . . hands of evildoers--
15. gall--poison (see on
16. make you vain--They seduce you to vanity, that is, idolatry, which
will prove a vain trust to you
[GESENIUS]. Rather, "they delude you with vain
promises of security"
of their own heart--of their own invention
17. say still--Hebrew, "say in saying," that is, say
18. A reason is given why the false prophets should not be heeded:
They have not stood in the counsels of Jehovah (an image from
ministers present in a standing posture at councils of Eastern kings)
The spiritual man alone has the privilege
19. So far from all prosperity awaiting the people as the false
wrath is in store for them.
grievous--literally, "eddying," whirling itself about, a tornado.
"continuing" is substituted for "grievous."
fall grievously--it shall be hurled on.
20. in . . . latter days--that is, "the year of their visitation"
Primarily the meaning is: the Jews will not "consider" now God's
but when the prophecies shall be fulfilled in their Babylonish exile,
they will consider and see, by bitter experience, their sinful folly.
The ultimate scope of the prophecy is: the Jews, in their final
dispersion, shall at last "consider" their sin and turn to Messiah
Zec 12:5, 10-14;
21. sent . . . spoken--"sent" refers to the primary
call: "spoken" to the subsequent charges given to be
executed. A call is required, not only external, on the part of men,
but also internal from God, that one should undertake a pastor's office
22. stood in . . . counsel--
they should have turned them from their evil way--They would have
given such counsels to the people as would have turned them from their
and so would have averted punishment. Their not teaching the law in
which God's counsel is set forth proves they are not His prophets,
though they boast of being so
23. Let not the false prophets fancy that their devices
are unknown to Me. Are ye so ignorant as to suppose that I can only see
things near Me, namely, things in heaven, and not earthly things as
being too remote?
&c.; Am 9:2, 3).
fill heaven and earth--with My omniscience, providence, power,
and essential being
25. dreamed--I have received a prophetic communication by dream
De 13:1, &c.
26. prophets--a different Hebrew form from the usual one,
"prophesiers." "How long," cries Jeremiah, impatient of their impious
audacity, "shall these prophecy-mongers go on prophesying lies?" The
answer is given in
27. They "think" to make My people utterly to forget Me. But I will
oppose to those dreamers my true prophets.
fathers . . . for Baal--
(Jud 3:7; 8:33, 34).
28. God answers the objection which might be stated, "What, then,
must we do, when lies are spoken as truths, and prophets oppose
prophets?" Do the same as when wheat is mixed with chaff: do not reject
the wheat because of the chaff mixed with it, but discriminate between
the false and the true revelations. The test is adherence to, or
forgetfulness of, Me and My law
that hath a dream--that pretends to have a divine communication by
dream, let him tell it "faithfully," that it may be compared with "my
The result will be the former (both the prophets and their fictions)
will soon be seen to be chaff; the latter (the true prophets and
the word of God in their mouth) wheat
29. As the "fire" consumes the "chaff,"
so "My word" will consume the false prophets
"My word" which is "wheat"
that is, food to the true prophet and his hearers, is a consuming
"fire," and a crushing "hammer"
to false prophets and their followers
The Word of the false prophets may be known by its promising men
peace in sin. "My word," on the contrary, burns and
breaks the hard-hearted
The "hammer" symbolizes destructive power
30. steal my words--a twofold plagiarism; one steals from the other,
and all steal words from Jehovah's true prophets, but misapply them (see
31. use--rather, "take" their tongue: a second class (compare
require, in order to bring forth a revelation, nothing more than their
tongues, wherewith they say, He (Jehovah) saith: they bungle in
the very formula instead of the usual "Jehovah saith," being
only able to say "(He) saith."
32. Third class: inventors of lies: the climax, and worst of the three.
not profit--that is, greatly injure.
33. What is the burden--play on the double sense of the
Hebrew: an oracle and a burden. They scoffingly
ask, Has he got any new burden (burdensome oracle: for all his
prophecies are disasters) to announce
Jeremiah indignantly repeats their own question, Do you ask, What
burden? This, then, it is, "I will forsake you." My word is burdensome
in your eyes, and you long to be rid if it. You shall get your wish.
There will be no more prophecy: I will forsake you, and that
will be a far worse "burden" to you.
34. The burden--Whoever shall in mockery call the Lord's word "a
burden," shall be visited (Margin) in wrath.
35. The result of My judgments shall be, ye shall address the prophet
more reverentially hereafter, no longer calling his message a
burden, but a divine response or word. "What hath the
36. every man's word . . . his burden--As they mockingly call all prophecies burdens, as if calamities were the sole subject of
prophecy, so it shall prove to them.
God will take them at their own word.
living God--not lifeless as their dumb idols, ever living so as to
be able to punish.
39. I will . . . forget you--just retribution for
their forgetting Him
But God cannot possibly forget His children
Rather for "forget" translate, "I will altogether lift you up (like a
'burden,' alluding to their mocking term for God's messages) and cast
you off." God makes their wicked language fall on their own head
"every man's word shall be his burden."
40. not be forgotten--If we translate
as English Version, the antithesis is, though I forget
you, your shame shall not be forgotten.