Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
RESTORATION OF THE
2. Write . . . in a book--After the destruction of Jerusalem Jeremiah
is not ordered as heretofore to speak, but to write the succeeding
&c.), so as thereby it might be read by his countrymen wheresoever they
might be in their dispersion.
3. bring again . . . captivity of . . . Israel
and Judah--the restoration not merely of the Jews (treated
of in this thirtieth chapter), but also of the ten tribes ("Israel";
treated in the thirty-first chapter), together forming the whole nation
Am 9:14, 15).
"Israel" is mentioned first because its exile was longer than that of
Judah. Some captives of the Israelite ten tribes returned with
those of Judah
"Aser" is mentioned). But these are only a pledge of the full
"All Israel"). Compare
This third verse is a brief statement of the subject before the
prophecy itself is given.
5. We have heard . . . trembling--God introduces the
Jews speaking that which they will be reduced to at last in spite of
their stubbornness. Threat and promise are combined: the former
briefly; namely, the misery of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity
down to their "trembling" and "fear" arising from the approach of the
Medo-Persian army of Cyrus against Babylon; the promise is more fully
dwelt on; namely, their "trembling" will issue in a deliverance as
speedy as is the transition from a woman's labor pangs to her joy at
giving birth to a child
6. Ask--Consult all the authorities, men or books, you can, you will
not find an instance. Yet in that coming day men will be seen with their
hands pressed on their loins, as women do to repress their pangs. God
will drive men through pain to gestures more fitting a woman than a man
(Jer 4:31; 6:24).
The metaphor is often used to express the previous pain followed by the
sudden deliverance of Israel, as in the case of a woman in childbirth
paleness--properly the color of herbs blasted and fading: the
green paleness of one in jaundice: the sickly paleness of terror.
7. great--marked by great calamities
(Joe 2:11, 31;
none like it . . . but he shall be saved--
The partial deliverance at Babylon's downfall prefigures the final,
complete deliverance of Israel, literal and spiritual, at the downfall
of the mystical Babylon
8. his yoke . . . thy neck--his, that is, Jacob's
the yoke imposed on him. The transition to the second person is
frequent, God speaking of Jacob or Israel, at the same time
addressing him directly. So "him" rightly follows; "foreigners shall no
more make him their servant"
After the deliverance by Cyrus, Persia, Alexander, Antiochus, and Rome
made Judah their servant. The full of deliverance meant must,
therefore, be still future.
9. Instead of serving strangers
they shall serve the Lord, their rightful King in the theocracy
David, their king--No king of David's seed has held the scepter
since the captivity; for Zerubbabel, though of David's line, never
claimed the title of "king." The Son of David, Messiah, must
therefore be meant; so the Targum (compare
Isa 55:3, 4;
Eze 34:23, 24; 37:24;
He was appointed to the throne of David
He is here joined with Jehovah as claiming equal allegiance. God is our
"King," only when we are subject to Christ; God rules us not
immediately, but through His Son
(Joh 5:22, 23, 27).
raise up--applied to the judges whom God raised up as
deliverers of Israel out of the hand of its oppressors
(Jud 2:16; 3:9).
So Christ was raised up as the antitypical Deliverer
Ac 2:30; 13:23).
10. from afar--Be not afraid as if the distance of the places whither
ye are to be dispersed precludes the possibility of return.
seed--Though through the many years of captivity intervening, you
yourselves may not see the restoration, the promise shall be fulfilled
to your seed, primarily at the return from Babylon, fully at the
quiet . . . none . . . make . . . afraid--
11. though . . . full end of all nations . . . yet . . . not . . . of
The punishment of reprobates is final and fatal; that of God's people
temporary and corrective. Babylon was utterly destroyed: Israel after
chastisement was delivered.
in measure--literally, "with judgment," that is, moderation, not in
the full rigor of justice
(Jer 10:24; 46:28;
not . . . altogether unpunished--
12. The desperate circumstances of the Jews are here represented as
an incurable wound. Their sin is so grievous that their hope of the
punishment (their exile) soon coming to an end is vain
(Jer 8:22; 15:18;
13. none to plead--a new image from a court of justice.
bound up--namely, with the bandages applied to tie up a wound.
no healing medicines--literally, "medicines of healing," or else
applications, (literally, "ascensions") of medicaments.
14. lovers--the peoples formerly allied to thee, Assyria and Egypt
seek thee not--have cast away all concern for thee in thy distress.
wound of an enemy--a wound such as an enemy would inflict. God
condescends to employ language adapted to human conceptions. He is
incapable of "enmity" or "cruelty"; it was their grievous sin which
righteously demanded a grievous punishment, as though He were an
Job 13:24; 30:21).
15. Why criest thou--as if God's severity was excessive. Thou hast
no reason to complain, for thine affliction is just. Thy cry is too
late, for the time of repentance and mercy is past
16. Therefore--connected with
because "There is none to plead thy cause . . .
therefore" I will plead thy cause, and heal thy wound, by
overwhelming thy foes. This fifteenth verse is inserted to amplify what
was said at the close of
When the false ways of peace, suggested by the so-called prophets, had
only ended in the people's irremediable ruin, the true prophet comes
forward to announce the grace of God as bestowing repentance and
devour thee . . . be devoured . . . spoil . . . be a spoil . . . prey
upon . . . give for a prey--retribution in kind
(Jer 8:22; 33:6).
Outcast--as a wife put away by her husband
Zion--alluding to its Hebrew meaning, "dryness"; "sought after"
by none, as would be the case with an arid region
The extremity of the people, so far from being an obstacle to, will be
the chosen opportunity of, God's grace.
18. bring again . . . captivity--
(Jer 33:7, 11).
tents--used to intimate that their present dwellings in Chaldea were
but temporary as tents.
have mercy on dwelling-places--
own heap--on the same hill, that is, site, a hill being the usual site
chosen for a city (compare
Margin). This better answers the parallel clause, "after the
manner thereof" (that is, in the same becoming ways as formerly), than
the rendering, "its own heap of ruins," as in
palace--the king's, on Mount Zion.
remain--rather, "shall be inhabited"
This confirms English Version, "palace," not as others
translate, "the temple" (see
19. thanksgiving--The Hebrew word includes confession as well
as praise; for, in the case of God, the highest praises we can
bestow are only confessing what God really is
(Jer 17:26; 31:12, 13; 33:11;
Isa 35:10; 51:11).
20. as aforetime--as flourishing as in the time of David.
21. their nobles--rather, "their Glorious One," or "Leader" (compare
answering to "their Governor" in the parallel clause.
of themselves--of their own nation, a Jew, not a foreigner; applicable
to Zerubbabel, or J. Hyrcanus (hereditary high priest and governor),
only as types of Christ
the antitypical "David"
cause him to draw near--as the great Priest
through whom believers also have access to God
His priestly and kingly characters are similarly combined
who . . . engaged . . . heart to approach--literally, "pledged his
heart," that is, his life; a thing unique; Messiah alone has made His
life responsible as the surety
(Heb 7:22; 9:11-15),
in order to gain access not only for Himself, but for us to God.
Heart is here used for life, to express the
courage which it needed to undertake such a tremendous
suretyship. The question implies admiration at one being found
competent by His twofold nature, as God and man, for the task. Compare
22. ye shall be my people, &c.--The covenant shall be renewed between
God and His people through Messiah's mediation
(Jer 30:21; 31:1, 33; 32:38;
Eze 11:20; 36:28).
Vengeance upon God's foes always accompanies manifestations of His
grace to His people.
continuing--literally, "sojourning," abiding constantly; appropriately
here in the case of Babylon, which was to be permanently destroyed,
substituted for "whirling itself about" ("grievous" in English Version)
where the temporary downfall of Judea is spoken of.