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3. Observe how easily God can disappoint the designs which are formed against his people. Jeremiah had been threatened by the men of Anathoth ; but when that had no effect to silence him, they confederated against his life. Of this God informed him, and so the mischief was prevented. Had they succeeded, they would have triumphed over him as a false prophet ; because, while he foretold the ruin of his country he could not foresce his own danger. God knows every design the wicked have to destroy or injure his people ; and he can reveal it to them, that they may guard against it, or by his providence he can disappoint them. Let us therefore be bold and resolute in the way of our duty ; leaving our lives and comforts in his hands. The way of duty is the way of safety ; and none that trust in the Lord shall be desolate. . .
The six first verses of this chapter refer to the close of the foregoing,
concerning Jeremiah's danger from the men of Anathoth ; the remainder relates to God's intentions of mercy toward his people, notwithstanding their desolations.
THE delay of the judgments God had threatened against his - persecutors led Jeremiah to say, Righteous (art) thou, ( LORD, when I plead with thee : yet let me talk with thee of [thy) judgments : Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper ? (wherefore) are all they happy that deal very treacher
ously? that is, seemingly happy, as happy as earthly things can 2 make them : Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken
root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit; they make some pro
fession of religion : thou (art] near in their mouth, that is, of the 3 priests, and far from their reins ; they are hypocrites. But thou,
O Lord, knowest me : thou hast seen me, seen that I am sincere, and tried mine heart toward thee : pull them out like sheep for
the slaughter, as victims of divine justice, and prepare them, set 4 them apart, for the day of slaughter, or erreuriòn. How long
shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein ? the beasts are consumed, and the birds ; because they said, He shall not see our last end ; referring to the famine in the latter end of Josiah's time, when they derided God's threatening, and said that Jeremiah should never live to see his prophecies fulfilled. The prophet is then reproved, for being discouraged and unwilling 10 prophesy,
on account of what he had already suffered. *5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied
thee, then how canst thou contend with horses ? and [if] in the land of peace, (wherein) thou trustedst, [they wearied thee,) then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan, when it overnows its banks suddenly, overtakes thee unawares, driving out tions and wild beasts from its banks or thickets? If thou canst not bear the opposition of thy townsmen and neighbours, how wilt
thou bear to stand before the king and the great men at Jerusalem, 6 to be put into the dungeon, and otherwise ill treated ? For even
thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee ; yea, they have called a multitude, that is, the mob, after thee : believe them not, though they speak
fair words unto thee. 7 I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage ; I
have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hands of her & enemies. Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest ; it crieth out against me ; it is very fierce in opposing me, and ireal
ing my prophets with cruelty and rage, therefore have I hated it. 9. Mine heritage (is) unto me (as] a speckled bird, I have given
it to be fallen upon as a prey, the birds round about (are) against her ; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to de vour ; because they have been full of cruelty. I will bring rapacious enemies against them, that shall tear them in pieces as they have corn the servants and worshippers of God ; their case shall be like that of a ravenous bird, which when wounded and disabled by fight
ing in the air with other birds, falls to the ground and is devoured 10 by wild beasts. Many pastors, the princes and governors of the
Chaldeans, have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my
portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a deso11 late wilderness. They have made it desolate, (and being] deso
late it mourneth unto me ; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth [it] to heart ; it seems to complain of its
ruined condition, because its inhabitants were not humbled under 12 God's hand. The spoilers are come upon all high places through
the wilderness : for the sword of the Lord shall devour from the
(one) end of the land even to the (other) end of the land : no 13 flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but shall reap.
thorns: they have put themselves to pain, (but] shall not prcfit'; and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce
anger of the LORD ; they hawe laboured in vain, their foreign al14 liances and idolatrous confidence's skill disappoint them. Thus
saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch theinheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit, against the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, that took possession of the land ; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them, that is, the Jews who were carried captive, or fled into these countries, before the general caftivity. And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will roiurn, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every nian to
his land ; their captivity shall be terminaled by Cyrus af er spe' 16 venty years, as the Jewish cantivity ras. And it shall come to
pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The Lord liveth ; as they taught my people to swear by Baal, if they will become proselyies to the Jewish rol
gion, then shall they be built in the midst of my people ; thoughi
they have defiled and corrupted them, yet they shall partake of their 17 privileges. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up,
and destroy that nation, saith the LORD, though they return, they shall soon be destroyed. Some understand it of the conversion of the heathen enemies of the Jews to christianity in the latter day.
THE prosperity of the wicked has been a stumbling block
1 to good men in former ages ; to David and Asaph ; and particularly to Jeremiah. He reasons the case with God : but very justly and piously lays it down as a first principle, that God is righteous. It is no uncommon thing to see the wicked prosperous, easy, and happy ; even those who, with the appearance of piety, are guilty of injustice and cruelty. When we observe this, let it not move us ; remembering and owning that the Lord is righteous, and that he has wise and holy ends in permitting it. While clouds and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment have their habitation in his throne. Let us endeavour to have our hearts right with him ; then we may be sure that every thing will go right with us, and all things work together for our good.
2. Instead of sinking under present troubles, it is good to expect and prepare for future and greater. Such we must expect, and it is needful to habituate our minds to patience and submission. Let us not raise our expectations too high from any thing to be enjoyed upon earth ; but remember that this is a state of trouble, because a state of trial ; that changes and death are before us; and that future afflictions will be lighter in proportion to the pains we take, under present evils, to possess our souls in patience.
3. See what is necessary in order to our being owned as God's people, viz. that we diligently learn their ways ; the ways of sobriety, righteousness, and godliness. These are to be learned by observing their walk, especially by studying the word of God : and this requires great diligence, because it is a way contrary to the bent of corrupt nature and the course of this world. Let it be our care to walk in the way of good men : then shall we be built up in holiness and comfort with them, and at length share their everlasting joys.
This chapter contains an entire prophecy. Under the symbol of a liner girdle, left to rot near Euphrates, it foretells the manner in which the glory of the Jews shall be marred during their long captivity in Chaldea.
I THUS saith the Lord unto me, Go and get thee a linen
1 girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water ; do not wash it, let it be soiled ; to intimate how the Jews had de2 filed themselves. So I got a girdle according to the word of the 3 LORD, and put [it] on my loins. And the word of the LORD 4 came unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that
thou hast got, which [is] upon thy loins, and arise, go to Eu5 phrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So I went, and 6 hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. And it
came to pass after many days, that the Lord said unto me,
Arise, go to Euphrates and take the girdle from thence, which 7 I commanded thee to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates,
and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.
All this was transacted in a vision, the more strongly to impress 8 the mind of the prophet and the people. Then the word of the 9 Lord came unto me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem : they shall be carried captive beyond Euphrates, and
all their finery shall be defaced ; thus will I bring down the pride 10 of the countrymen and the citizens. This evil people, which re.
fuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship
them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I
caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD ; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory : but they would not hear; they have been my peculiar people, have entered into covenant with me; they have been honoured with my name, and a special relation to me, that I might be glorified by their showing forth my truth and praise to the world : but by their wickedness they are no more a glory to me, than a rollen, dirty girdle is to him that weareth it.
Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word ; Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine, (probably a common proverb) and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine ? they will make a jest of it, saying, Who does not know this ?
But the prophet is ordered to give them a terrible explanation of ir. 13 Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Behold,
I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the hings that sit VOL. V.
upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all
the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenixss; I will turn 14 them all 10 confusion, and put them to their wila end. And I will
dash them one against another like bottles, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD : I will not pity, nor spare,
nor have mercy, but destroy them. 15 Hear ye, and give ear ; be not proud, so as to despise what is 16 said to you : for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the
LORD your God, by confession, humiliation, and returning to him, before he cause darkness, that is, trouble and great affliction, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, when flying over the mountains by night from the sword of the Chaldeans, and,
while ve look for light, and wish for the morning, he turn it into 17 the shadow of death. (and make [it] gross darkness. But if ye
will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for (your) pride ; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears,
because the Lord's flock is carried away captive, for that will be 18 the end of your pride and obstinacy. Say into the king and to
the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down as mourners : for your principalities shall come down, (even) the crown of your glory; or, he will cause to full from your heals the diadem of your glory :
probably referring to Jehoiakim and his mother, (2 Kings xxiv. 19 12.) who were carried captive by the king of Babylon. The cities
of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open [them :) Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly
carried away captive ; all the cities shall be besieged or forsaken. 20 Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north,
that is, the Chaldeans, (this is addressed to the king and gover. nor's :) where [is] the flock (that) was given thee 10 take care
of; thy beautiful llock, which ihou hast negleciad? wat is become 21 of them ? 10 chat state are they reduced? What wilt thou say
when he, thut is, God, shall punish thee? for thou hast'taught them to be captains, (and) as chief over thee ; thy regard to
thy neighbours, shall be thy ruin : shall not sorrows take thee, as 22 a woman in travail ? And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore
come trese things upon me? For the greatness of thine ini. quity are thy skirts discovered, (and) thy heels made bare ; for
this thou art carried away captive, stripped of thy upper garments, 23 and burefoot. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard
his spots ? (then) may ye also do good, that are accustomed to
do evil ; 80 uccustomed to it that it is almost imhossible to reclaim 24 you, there is no prospect of it. Therefore will I scatter them as
the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. 25 This [is] thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith
the LORD ; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in false
hood ; in allics that deceived thee, and disappointed thu presum20 tuous hopes. Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face,
that thy shame may appear ; an allusion to the way of punishing 27 lewd women, by publiciy exposing them. I have seen thine adul
teries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, [and]