Chapter 42

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1 Then all the captaines of the forces, and Iohanan the sonne of Kareah, and Iezaniah the sonne of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least euen vnto the greatest, came neere,

2 And said vnto Ieremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for vs vnto the Lord thy God, euen for all this remnant (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eies do behold vs)

3 That the Lord thy God may shew vs the way wherein we may walke, and the thing that we may doe.

4 Then Ieremiah the prophet sayd vnto them, I haue heard you; behold, I will pray vnto the Lord your God, according to your words, and it shall come to passe that whatsoeuer thing the Lord shall answere you, I will declare it vnto you: I will keepe nothing backe from you.

5 Then they sayd to Ieremiah, The Lord be a true and faithfull witnesse betweene vs, if we doe not, euen according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to vs.

6 Whether it be good, or whether it be euill, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee, that it may be well with vs, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.

7 And it came to passe after tenne dayes, that the word of the Lord came vnto Ieremiah.

8 Then called hee Iohanan the sonne of Kareah, and all the captaines of the forces which were with him, and all the people, from the least, euen to the greatest,

9 And said vnto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, vnto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him:

10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you downe, and I will plant you, and not plucke you vp: for I repent mee of the euill, that I haue done vnto you.

11 Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom yee are afraid: be not afraid of him, saith the Lord: for I am with you to saue you, and to deliuer you from his hand.

12 And I will shew mercies vnto you, that he may haue mercy vpon you; and cause you to returne to your owne land.

13 But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the Lord your God,

14 Saying, No, but we will goe into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no warre, nor heare the sound of the Trumpet, nor haue hunger of bread, and there will we dwell:

15 (And now therefore heare the word of the Lord, yee remnant of Iudah, Thus saith the Lord of hostes the God of Israel, If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and goe to soiourne there:)

16 Then it shall come to passe, that the sword which yee feared, shall ouertake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine whereof yee were afraid, shall follow close after you in Egypt, and there ye shall die.

17 So shall it bee with all the men that set their faces to goe into Egypt to soiourne there, they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remaine or escape from the euil that I will bring vpon them.

18 For thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, As mine anger and my furie hath bene powred foorth vpon the inhabitants of Ierusalem: so shall my furie bee powred foorth vpon you, when yee shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproch, and ye shall see this place no more.

19 The Lord hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Iudah, Goe ye not into Egypt: know certainly, that I haue admonished you this day.

20 For ye dissembled in your hearts when ye sent me vnto the Lord your God, saying, Pray for vs vnto the Lord our God, and according vnto all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare vnto vs, and we wil doe it.

21 And now I haue this day declared it to you, but ye haue not obeied the voice of the Lord your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me vnto you.

22 Now therefore know certainly, that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to soiourne.

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Commentary for Jeremiah 42

Johanan desires Jeremiah to ask counsel of God. (1-6) They are assured of safety in Judea, but of destruction in Egypt. (7-22)1-6 To serve a turn, Jeremiah is sought out, and the captains ask for his assistance. In every difficult, doubtful case, we must look to God for direction; and we may still, in faith, pray to be guided by a spirit of wisdom in our hearts, and the leadings of Providence. We do not truly desire to know the mind of God, if we do not fully resolve to comply with it when we know it. Many promise to do what the Lord requires, while they hope to have their pride flattered, and their favourite lusts spared. Yet something betrays the state of their hearts.

7-22 If we would know the mind of the Lord in doubtful cases, we must wait as well as pray. God is ever ready to return in mercy to those he has afflicted; and he never rejects any who rely on his promises. He has declared enough to silence even the causeless fears of his people, which discourge them in the way of duty. Whatever loss or suffering we may fear from obedience, is provided against in God's word; and he will protect and deliver all who trust in him and serve him. It is folly to quit our place, especially to quit a holy land, because we meet with trouble in it. And the evils we think to escape by sin, we certainly bring upon ourselves. We may apply this to the common troubles of life; and those who think to avoid them by changing their place, will find that the grievances common to men will meet them wherever they go. Sinners who dissemble with God in solemn professions especially should be rebuked with sharpness; for their actions speak more plainly than words. We know not what is good for ourselves; and what we are most fond of, and have our hearts most set upon, often proves hurtful, and sometimes fatal.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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