Jeremiah 23:2 MEANING

Jeremiah 23:2
(2) Ye have scattered my flock.--The charge was true literally as well as spiritually. The dispersion of the people in Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldaea was the result of the neglect, the tyranny, the feebleness of their rulers. They had been led, not as the Eastern shepherd leads (John 10:4-5), but "driven"--not to the fold, but "away" into far lands.

Have not visited.--i.e., cared for and regarded. They were negligent, but God was not, and He therefore would "visit" them by reproof and chastisement.

Verse 2. - The Lord God of Israel; strictly, Jehovah the God of Israel. This national title of Jehovah suggests, in such a connection, that the crime of the kings is nothing short of sacrilege. Ye have scattered, etc.; i.e. been the cause of their scattering, Have not visited them. "To visit" often, by a natural association of ideas, means "to give attention to." By an equally natural association, it means "to fall upon, to punish." Hence, in the next clause, I will visit upon you. We have the same combination of meanings in Zechariah 10:3.

23:1-8 Woe be to those who are set to feed God's people, but take no concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to the neglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God's flock is left, he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former habitations. Christ is spoken of as a branch from David's family. He is righteous himself, and through him all his people are made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power of Satan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt and dominion of sin. In the days of Christ's government in the soul, the soul dwells at ease. He is here spoken of as the Lord our Righteousness. He is so our Righteousness as no creature could be. His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness of believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And their sanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience is the effect of their union with him, and of the supply of this Spirit. By this name every true believer shall call him, and call upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ has died, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for our Lord. This righteousness which he has wrought out to the satisfaction of law and justice, becomes ours; being a free gift given to us, through the Spirit of God, who puts it upon us, clothes us with it, enables us to lay hold upon it, and claim an interest in it. The Lord our Righteousness is a sweet name to a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in his conscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worth of it. This great salvation is far more glorious than all former deliverances of his church. May our souls be gathered to Him, and be found in him.Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel,.... The covenant God of that people, who are Called his sheep, and the sheep of his pasture; having made a covenant with their fathers, and provided a good pasture for them, the land of Israel, where they enjoyed all blessings, civil and religious, and appointed persons over them to feed them; but these did not do their duty, and therefore the Lord was against them, as follows:

against the pastors that feed my people; whose office it was to feed, rule, and defend them; and who pretended to do it, but did it not;

ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; they had been the means of their being driven out of their dwellings, and out of their own land, and of their being among the nations of the world, and took no care for the return of them, any more than they concerned themselves for their welfare when over them; or they suffered the enemy, like beasts of prey, to come in among them, which scattered them, and drove them from their pasture, as sheep are by bears, dogs, and wolves; and took no care to preserve them from them, or to gather them together again to their pasture. The people of the Jews, at the time when Christ came, hereafter prophesied of, were scattered as sheep without a shepherd, and are called the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 9:36;

behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord; that is, punish them for their iniquities; since they visited not the flock in a way of mercy and kindness, as the duty of their office required, the Lord would visit them in a way of justice, and punish them according to their deserts.

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