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Now the first captivity was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Daniel and his companions with several others were transported to Babylon. If any stress then is to be laid upon this title, the date of this prophecy is decided. I pretend not indeed to say of what authority the titles in general are ; nor is this recognised in the Hebrew copies. But its being found in all the copies of the LXX. affords reason to conclude, that there was such a tradition at least concerning the sons of Jonadab, when this version of the Psalms was made.
Jeremiah is sent unto the Rechabites upon their coming to Jerusalem, and for a trial of their obedience offers them wine to drink. They refuse it, and object the express prohibition of their father, v. 1-11. The Jews are hereupon upbraided with their disobedience to the divine commands, and menaeed with vengeance, v. 12–17. A bles. sing is promised to the Rechabites for their dutiful behaviour, v. 18, 19.
2.- the house of the Rechabites - The Rechabites, as may be collected from ver. 7. were not of the children of Israel, but strangers
of another race that dwelt among them. From i Chron. ii. 55. they appear to have been Kenites, a people originally settled in that part of Arabia Petræa, which was called the land of Midian ; and most probably the descendents of Jethro; the father in law of Moses, or of Hobab, (whom some look upon to have been Jethro's son, others Jethro himself) who is called a Kenite, and said to have severed himself from the rest of his countrymen, and to have dwelt among the people of Israel. Compare Nunıb. X. 29–32. with Judg. i. 16. iv. 11. At what time Rechab lived, who gave his name to the family, is not certain, nor whether he was the immediate father, or the remote ancestor of Jonadab; for the word son often denotes nothing more than a lineal descendent. But it is most likely, that the Jonadab here spoken of, as having dictated a rule of living to the Rechabites, was the same person of whom mention is made 2 Kings I. 15. For that this latter was a man of considerable éminence is manifest from the respect shewn him by Jehu ; and his being taken along with him by that prince to witness his zeal for the honour of the true God, shews him to have been a man of right and religious principles. The institutions he left with his posterity bespeak a principal concern for the purity of their morals, which he might rightly suppose would be less liable to be corrupted, whilst they adher. ed to the simplicity of their ancient usages, than if they adopted the refinements of modern luxury. He therefore enjoined them not only to abstain from the use of wine, but to live, as the patriarchs did of old,
of their countrymen, the Scenite Arabs, coritinue to do ať this day, without any fixed habitations or possessions, far from the society of cities, in the open country, feeding their flocks, and maintaining themselves by the produce of them.
4.--a man of God-] This name usually imports a propher one who had been employed upon a divine commission ; nor do I ever find it used
Otherwise I might have been induced to think, that it here denoted an officer in waiting upon the magistrates or rulers, (so '047x07 is sometimes used, as also a wax for those in
and as many
in agreement חוקס and the singular verb ; את-דברי ,position before it
attendance upon a great man's person ; see 1 Kings x. 8.) and entitled to a chamber in the temple in right of his office ; his chamber being said to be next to that, in which the princes, or Sanhedrim, used to assemble.
6. But they said-] One MS. of note and antiquity adds 1278, M unto me.”
14. The words of Jonadab - - . have been punctually performed] There is no doubt but this is the sense of the words here made use of. There is however a peculiarity in the construction that deserves notice. Two anomalies are generally supposed, the nominative case with a pre
, ; with a plural subject. But I much question whether this is the case ; and I submit whether it is not more probable, that the idiom consists in the passive verb being used in the 3d person singular impersonally, with an accusative after it according to the construction of the active verb. “ It hath been performed," or, " there hath been a performance of, (or, according to) the words of Jonadab.” Other passages of the like form may be accounted for in the same manner. See Ch. xxxvi. 32.
19. There shall be no failure of one in the line of Jonadab, &c.] The meaning of this promise in its full extent seems to be, not only that the race of Jonadab should never fail or be extinct, but that some of the family should ever be found among the worshippers of the true God. For to stand in the presence of a prince implies an attendance in some degree upon his person and service. So the queen of Sheba, speaking of Solomon's court, says, Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee." 1 Kings x. 8. And therefore to “stand before God” must denote at least the privilege of treading his courts, and of worshipping him among the train of his chosen servants and followers. Some have carried the matter still further, and have supposed that in yirtue of this promise the Rechabites were admitted to bear a part in the temple service; and this opinion seems to have dictated the Vulgate translation of i Chron. ii. 55. Coge nationes quoque
scribarum habitantium in Jabes, canentes, atque resonantes, et in tabernaculis commorantes. Hi sunt Çinçi, qui venerunt de calore patris domus Rechab, But besides that there is no other authority for believing that the Levites were set aside from the functions of singers and porters, which belonged exclusively to them, and which in this translation seems to be given to the Kenites, I am of opinion that not
are the proper וכתיס תועתים שמעתיס ,only these words
names of distinct families, but that the same is the case of and also, which should be rendered Sopharites instead of scribes; and that the text does not represent them as Rechabites, but as collateral branches descended from Hemath, a common ancestor of those families, and of the house of Rechab. So that the verse may properly be translated thus, " Also the families of Sopharites dwelling in Jabetz, Tirha“thites, Shimeathites, Suchathites : these were Kenites, descended from “ Hemath, an ancestor of the house of Rechab.” Should Jabetz have keen a city built by an eminent man of that name mentioned i Chron. iv. 9. (which Kimchi not unreasonably supposes) this would be another circumstance to distinguish these people from the Rechabites : for it is most natural to conclude, that the Rechabites, who had already found their obedience to their father's commands turn out so much to their honour and advantage, would not have departed from it in this article of dwelling in tents without an apparent necessity.
BY divine appointment Jeremiah causeth Baruch to write all his
preceding prophecies on a roll, and to read them to the people on a fast day; v.1-10. The princes are informed of it, and send for Baruch, who readeth the roll before them ; at the contents of which they are greatly alarmed; and advise Jeremiah and Baruch to hide themselves ; v. 11, ---19. They acquaint the king, who sendeth for the roll, and having heard a part of it read, he cutteth it in pieces, and burneth it; v. 20--26. Jeremiah is commanded to write it anew, and to denounce the judgments of God against king Jehoiakim ; v. 27---31. Baruch writeth a new copy with additions ; v. 32.
It was the opinion of both Archbishop Usher and Dean Prideaux, that the roll was twice read by Baruch in the temple, and that the first reading was on the tenth day of the seventh month, being the great day of atonement, in the fourth year of king Jehoiakim. But this, I am persuaded, is a mistake ; and the reasons urged by the latter of those two learned men in support of his hypothesis are by no means satisfactory and conclusive. He says (Connexion of Old and New Testament, Part I. B. i.) that “the reading of the roll in the temple is twice related in this Chapter,” and that “ in the first relation it is said to be done in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and in the second relation it is said to be done in the fifth ; which plainly denotes different times.” The conclusion is unquestionable, if the premises were but just. But no such double relation do I sec in fact, nor is it any where asserted in this Chapter, that the roll was read in Jehoiakim's fourth year. It is said indeed ver. 1. that the word of JEHOVAH came to Jeremiah in the fourth
year of Jehoiakim, but not at what time of the year; and we may allow too, that Baruch received his instructions from Jeremiah immediately, concerning both the writing and the reading of the roll. With respect to the latter his instructions were, that he should read the roll on a fast day, when the people of Jerusalem and out of all the cities of Judah were assembled in the house of JEHOVAH. But it is presumed only, and not with much probability neither, that the fast day intended was the tenth day of the seventh month, which in the Old Testament is known only by the name of " the day of atonement;" and had it been designed under another name here, it would methinks at least have been distinguished by prefixing the article 17, as in
, the day of THE FAST;" in like manner as in the New Testament, where it is supposed to be : spoken of, Acts xxvii. 9. it is stiled şi unsese, THE FAST, by way of eminence, it being the only one enjoined on the Jews by divine authority. It is however simply said
here, by 12, “ on a fast day," which would suit any day, that the people should agree among themselves to observe as such. Accordingly after its being said in general terms, ver. 8. that Baruch did as Jeremiah commanded in regard to reading the roll in the temple, the 9th and 10th verses proceed to specify the particular circumstances of time and place ; namely, that it was in the ninth month of the fifth year of king Jehoiakim, on a fast day which all the people of Jerusalem and of all the cities of Judah had appointed, and were met to observe, on account, as it is believed, of the city having been taken by Nebuchadnezzar on that very day, in the preceding year; and in a certain chamber belonging to the house of JEHOVAH, distinctly described, most probably from the window or balcony of it, that looked into the higher court, where the people were gathered together in crowds below; that Baruch read in their hearing the words which Jeremiah had dictated to him. Here then is but one single relation, and as far as appears hitherto, of one single reading only in the audience of the people. Nor is any more proved by the second argument adduced ; namely, that " in the first relation Jeremiah is said to be shut up in prison when the roll was read; but in the second relation it plainly appears he was out of prison, for he was then at full liberty to go out of the way
and hide himself.” Here also the matter labours for want of proof, and the whole proceeds upon a misconstruction of the text. For it is not said, that she was shut up in prison,” when he gave the directions to Baruch, but barely that he was “ shut up," or confined,” 1987, ver. 5. or taken as it should be in connexion with the context that follows, under some such confinement or restraint, as precluded him from going to the house of JEHOVAH. Now this he might have been in a variety of ways, without being shut up in a prison, a species of persecution which does not otherwise appear to have befallen him about this time. We read indeed, Ch. xxvi. that in the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, that is, as has been already explained in the introductory note on that Chapter, in the early part of this same fourth year, Jeremiah was arrested and brought to a capital trial before the princes and people for the predictions he had uttered; but he was then acquitted, though not, as may be concluded from the last verse of the Chapter, without difficulty, and by the influence of a powerful friend. It is not improbable however, that though he escaped with his life, he might upon this occasion have received a prohibition, like that which the San-, hedrim gave to the Apostles, Acts iv. 18. v. 40. or might even have been obliged to give security not to enter the temple, or to speak in it by way of prophesying, for a certain time. This would be sufficient to justify the expression made use of; and might even extend to restrain him from going in person to the temple at the time the roll was actually read, though long after the directions were given ; and yet not prevent him from hiding himself with Baruch where the king's officers could not find them. Upon the whole I see no good reason for concluding that the roll was read publicly in the temple more than once ; nor does Josephus, who speaks of its being read in the ninth month of the fifth year, (Ant. Lib. x. Cap. 6. Edit. Hudson) give the least hint of its having been done before ; which if it had been, I think we might naturally have expected to haye been informed, how it was received by those who heard it the first time, as well as by those who heard it the second. From the utter silence on this head the contrary may be presumed, and we may fairly conjecture the case to haye been pretty nearly as follows. Towards the latter end of Jehojakim's fourth year,
after Nebuchadnezzar had replaced him on the throne, and had left the city, it is possible that both king and people, freed from former apprehensions began again to indulge their wicked inclinations and fancies; and there, fore Jeremiah was ordered to lay before them at once all the evils that still threatened them in future, and from which nothing but speedy repentance and amendment could protect them. In consequence of this charge Jeremiah caused Baruch to write a collection of all his prophecies, and to have them in readiness to read at a fit opportunity. Per, haps the collection was not fully completed before the fifth year was already begun; but the season pitched on as most convenient for reading this tremendous publication was the day, on which the people had assembled themselves to deplore before God the calamity with which he had visited them just a twelvemonth before, Accordingly at that time Baruch read openly in the temple what he had written, and the immediate consequences of such reading are related at large.--I have been more particular in discussing this matter, as thinking it necessary by way of apology or justification of myself, for opposing my opinion to two sạch very respectable authorities.
7.--they may prostrate themselves in supplication] Literally, “ their supplication may fall," which undoubtedly respects the humble posture of the supplicant in presenting it. See again Ch. xxxvii. 20.- In the subsequent part of the verse " the anger and the indignation” is put by metonymy for the effects of it, the heavy judgments which in consequence thereof JEHOVAH denounced against his people.
9.-all the people in Jerusalem, and all the people that came out of the cities of Judah, proclaimed a fast-] This is the natural construction, as the text stands at present, and so the LXX, Chald. and in part the Syr. render. But the Yulgate and our English translators render, " they proclaimed a fast to all the people," as if for brny they had read bos, which is indeed found in one Ms. But the text, I am persuaded, is right; and meant to indicate that the fast was enjoined by human authority, by the authority of the people themşelves, and not of God. See 1 Kings xxi. 12. The ancient Bodl. MS. No. 1. omits the word '8977, according to which the translation should be," and all the people of (or, belonging to the cities of Judah."
10.- in the higher court, at the entrance of the new gate of the house of JEHOVAH---] It may hardly be necessary to observe, that by " the house of JEHOVAH” is meant all that is included within the sacred precincts ; not only the sanctuary, or house, properly so called, but all the outbuildings, and the courts around, the inner court of the priests, and the outer court, which was open to all the people. Neither of these courts should be called "the higher” because of the elevation of