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afar off] By the kings of the north that were near, the kings of Syria are probably meant. See Ch. xlix. 23. Those that are afar off may mean the Hyrcanians and Bactrians, who are reckoned in Xenophon's Cyropædia, Lib. i. among them that were subjected or oppressed by the king of Babylon; and perhaps others besides of the neighbouring nations that were compelled to submit to the Babylonian yoke. All these lay to the north of Judea, and at a great distance.
Ibib.-- all the kingdoms of the earth, which are upon the face of the ground] This must be understood with a limitation to that part of the continent which the Jews had any correspondence or acquaintance with; just as Пen oxun stands for the whole Roman empire, Luke ii. 1. The ambition of a prince like Nebuchadnezzar, who aimed at universal monarchy, could not help occasioning great distress and confusion, both among those who felt, and among those who dreaded the power
of his arms,
Ibid.---and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them] Here the speech of JEHOVAH is resumed, which was broken off at the end of ver. 16.---That Sheshach means Babylon, appears clearly from Ch. li. 41. But among the reasons that have been assigned for this name, I have met with none that I think satisfactory. w signifies to subside and sink down; hence ww may signify that which subsides and sinks down; and may perhaps allude to the low situation of Babylon, which did not derive its strength from being built, like many other great cities, upon the heights of a rock, but stood upon a large flat or plain, cowring, as it were, amidst the waters that surrounded it, and by which it was rendered in some parts inaccessible to an enemy. Accordingly she is said, Ch. li. 13. to" dwell upon many waters."
30. Against all the inhabitants of the earth.] Two MSS. both of them respectable ones, for x ready.
31.---the whole race of the wicked---] w- of itself is sometimes put for "all mankind ;" but Job xii. 10. we read wx wab “all flesh of man," that is, "the whole race of man ;" and in like manner I conceive, should be joined with wa, and the whole rendered together, "the whole race of the wicked."
34. And roll yourselves in ashes] 1982 must here be understood as it is expressed Ch. vi. 26. Ezek. xxvii. 30.
Ibid. And ye shall fall like a precious vessel.] That is, Ye who are esteemed above the common rank shall undergo the fate of a precious vessel, made of a chrystal or gem, which being let fall is shattered to pieces; its original value being no security against such disasters.---Į cannot however help thinking, that possibly for the original reading may have been on, of clay, or earth. To be "dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel" denotes irreparable ruin.
Ps. ii. 9.
38. By means of the fierceness of the oppressor] ancient edition with the LXX. and Chald. for 1 Syr. seems to have read instead of reading of the text at present seems preferable; for if
Ten MSS. and one
read 27. The p. But the "the op
pressor" be referred to "the lion," which JEHOVAH is compared to, then I conceive will be much more suitable than 2777.
THE preceding Chapter is dated in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, but ascribed with probability to the early part of that year. This Chapter is dated in the beginning of the same reign. Hence it has been concluded, that this must have preceded the former in order of time. But the conclusion will not hold, if we consider that Ch. xxviii. 1. the beginning of Zedekiah's reign is expressly declared to mean the fourth year and the fifth month. The same therefore may be the case here, and may thus be accounted for. In a reign which lasted eleven years, as did both Jehoiakim's and Zedekiah's, the word n'w," the beginning" or "early part," need not be restrained to the first year of it; but supposing the whole divided into three equal parts, a beginning, a middle, and an end, the first of these may compre hend and denote the three first years, and some part of the fourth also. This Chapter therefore may on such a supposition be allowed to stand next to the foregoing one.
JEREMIAH is directed to foretel the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, without a speedy repentance and reformation; v. 1—6. On this account he is apprehended and accused before the council of a capital offence; he enters upon his defence, and is acquitted; his advocates urging the precedent of Micah in the reign of Hezekiah; v. 7-19. But from a contrary precedent it appears his life would have been in great danger, had he not met with a powerful protector.
2.-unto all the cities of Judah] Here it is evident that "cities" are put for their inhabitants; and we may conjecture from hence that this transaction passed at one of the great festivals, when the people of Judah were assembled out of all their cities to worship at Jerusalem.
5-rising up early-.-] Thirteen MSS. and the oldest Edition of the Heb. Bible read without the prefixed; nor does the conjunction appear in the LXX. Chald. or Vulgate versions.
Ibid.---even as ye have not hearkened] The particle is thus used 1 Sam. xii. 15. Job v. 7. &c.
See Ch. vii. 12, 14.
Ibid.this city] Instead of in the Masoretes read n which is the reading also of thirty five MSS. some of them the most ancient, and three editions.
7.the prophets---] The prophets, as is manifest from many passages in Scripture, were an order of men among the Jews devoted to sacred literature, and qualified by their attainments in religious knowledge to advise and instruct the people, who came to consult them in cases of doubt and difficulty. They appear to have been trained in seminaries and schools under the direction of some prophet eminent for wisdom and piety; as those mentioned 1 Sam. xix. 20, were under Samuel, and
those 2 Kings ii. 3. vi. 1. under Elijah and Elisha. That they were numerous, appears from this circumstance, that when Jezebel slew all the prophets of JEHOVAH whom she could meet with, Obadaiah hid an hundred of them, and saved their lives: 1 Kings xviii. 4. And afterwards there appeared no less than four hundred of them prophesying in that character before Ahab and Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings xxii. 6. It is not to be supposed, that these were all of them, or at all times, divinely inspired, but ordinarily gave their advice as men versed in the law and in the other Scriptures. Sometimes however they were enabled to answer those that consulted them by immediate revelation from God. And out of this body God generally perhaps chose those, whom he sent as his ambassadors and messengers extraordinary, to notify the designs of his providence, and to warn his people to repent and turn from the ways which displeased him. I say, generally, but not always; for Amos expressly says of himself, that he was "neither a prophet," meaning by profession, "nor a prophet's son," one bred up in the schools of the prophets; but an illiterate herdman, when JEHOVAH sent him to prophesy unto Israel. Amos vii. 14. But neither did the sacredness of their character secure them from bearing a part in the general corruption of the times; on the contrary, Jeremiah in particular complains bitterly of them for having prostituted themselves to the worst of purposes, deceiving the people by false pretences, and being greatly instrumental in promoting the cause of impiety and wickedness. See Ch. v. 31. xiv. 13,14. xxiii. 14, &c. xxviii. 15. xxix. 8, 9. &c. &c. See also Ezek. xiii. 2, &c. Micah iii. 5, 11. Zeph. iii. 4. After the total cessation of prophecy, the Scribes, who are often mentioned in the Gospels, seem to have stepped into the place of the prophets, and by their acquired skill in the sacred writings, without any claim to supernatural gifts, to have taught the people, and instructed them in all matters of religious concernment. See Mat. xxiii. 2, 3.
9.---hast thou prophesied---] For 's fifteen MSS. and two editions read n, which is indeed the regular form; but as was observed in note on Ch. xxiii. 39. the verbs quiescent in &, the 3d radical, often assume the form of those quiescent in 7.
10.---the princes of Judah---] This was no doubt the great court of the Sanhedrim, first instituted Num. xi. 16. and revived by Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xix. 8. Before this court we find Baruch afterwards brought to read the roll; Ch. xxxvi. 12, &c.
Ibid.---gate of the house of JEHOVAH] Twenty, perhaps twenty one, MSS. and one edition read '; and the Syr. Chald. Arab. and Vulgate render conformably to this reading.
12---unto all the princes, and to all the people] is omitted before
wn in four MSS. and in the version of the LXX.---We may observe that this verse, compared with ver. 16, 17. seems to savour strongly of a democratical form of government; as if the people in general were appealed to, and had a voice in judicial proceedings.
and four editions, read
the Masoretes, with twenty_nine MSS. , conformably to Mic. i. 1. There is ano.
ther similar mistake in this verse in the word, which in one hundred and two, perhaps 105, MSS. and two editions is written
Ibid.---Sion shall be plowed, &c.] See Mic. iii. 12.
20. But there was also a man, &c.] There are three different opinions respecting the words that follow. The first ascribes them to an opposite party, who by a contrary precedent to the foregoing urged the condemnation of Jeremiah. But against this it is objected, that such a transition in the speakers would have had some mark of distinction prefixed. Others suppose that this instance was adduced by the same persons as the former, and with intent to mark the different consequences that had ensued; but that they forbore to draw their inference at large, partly out of a decent respect to the reigning prince, who was chiefly concerned in the transaction; and partly because all their hearers were of themselves sufficiently sensible of the present calamitous state of the kingdom. But this implies a more refined system of manners than was consistent with the practice of the times: besides that the nation was not at that season in circumstances singularly calamitous, whatever might be the case soon after. But the least exceptionable opinion seems to be, that the elders concluded their speeches, ver. 19. and that the writer of the narrative goes on to observe in his own person, that notwithstanding the precedent of Micah, there had been a later precedent in the present reign, which might have operated very unfavourably to the cause of Jeremiah, but for the influence and authority of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, which was exerted to save him.
21.---and was afraid---] For N thirty three MSS. and five editions read ""; which is more right.
22.---adversaries---] It is scarcely probable that should here signify Egypt, as follows immediately after, and the tautology would be intolerable. But either may be the participle in Hiphil, and signify "distressers," or perhaps then may have been repeated from the end of the preceding word, and we should read ny
This is certainly as common a ground of mistake in transcribers as any that occurs, and the pleonasm of the word wax is a well known Hebrew idiom. So D'ON DIVIN signifies "brethren," Gen. xiii. 8. By "distressers" or "adversaries," words of nearly the same import, may probably be understood persons whose business it was by crimination and solicitation to prevail upon the governors of Egypt to give up the man, who had fled for refuge into their territories. For it is hardly to be supposed that Jehoiakim would have dared to send a party of men into the dominions of a powerful neighbour, to seize by force one that had put himself under the protection of a foreign state; nor would the Egyptians have put up with the insult. But as the king of Egypt was in friendship with Jehoiakim, he may have been prevailed on by the pressing importunity of his agents to suffer them to carry off the obnoxious fugitive.
.אנשים מצרים adversaries, instead of " אנשים
23.—and cast his dead body into the burying-places of the children of the people] By "the children of the people" are meant the populace of the lowest order, who were buried in a public cemetery, having no distinct sepulchre to themselves, as all persons of rank and character, and especially of so honourable an order as that of the prophets, used to have. But the king's design was to brand his memory, as far as he could, by such an ignominious treatment of his remains. Maillet, speaking of the Egyptian repositories of the dead, says, that while some were inclosed in chests, and placed in niches," others " were put into those tombs without any embalming at all, or such a slight one, that there remains nothing of them in the linen in which they were wrapped but their bones, and those half rotten. It is probable," continues he, "that each considerable family had one of these burial-places to themselves; that the niches were designed for the bodies of the heads of the family, and that those of their domestics and slaves had no other care taken of them, than the laying them on the ground after having been embalmed, and even without that; which without doubt was also all that was done even to the heads of families of less distinction." See Harmer's Observ. Ch. vi. Osb. 59. Should we now suppose, and the supposition is not improbable, that the prophets had an appropriated burying-place of their own, the excluding of Urijah from it, and burying of him promiscuously among the common herd, could be regarded in those days in no better light, than the burying of a person now in the highway would be.
ALL the intermediate prophecies from Ch. xxvi. according to the Hebrew arrangement, belong clearly to the reign of Zedekiah; and consequently are posterior to this Chapter and the next, which are dated in the reign of Jehoiakim, together with Ch. xlv. which is closely connected with the latter of these two Chapters. The Rechabites appear to have retired within the walls of Jerusalem upon the hostile approach of Nebuchadnezzar and his army in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. Calmet indeed supposes that it was not till the latter end of Jehoiakim's reign that the Rechabites were driven into the city for shelter; grounding his opinion upon its being said ver. 11. that they entered it "for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army' of the Syrians," and comparing this with 2 Kings xxiv. 2. where "JEHOVAH" is said to have "sent bands of Chaldees, and of Syrians, &c. against Judah to destroy it." But this reasoning will not hold, for first Nebuchadnezzar might have been, and most probably was, joined by the Syrians in his first expedition against Jerusalem, after the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish, which brought on the submission of all Syria. And secondly, Nebuchadnezzar does not appear to have come in person a second time till after Jehoiakim was at least taken prisoner, and his generals had closely invested Jerusalem. See note on Ch. xxii. 19. But further, the title of Ps. Ixx. according to the LXX. speaks of the sons of Jonadab as among the first that were carried into captivity.