behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed; not him only, but his posterity also: thus God sometimes visits the sins of parents on their children, they being, as it were, a part of themselves, and oftentimes partners with them in their iniquities:
he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; either at Babylon, or at Jerusalem, whither he had promised a speedy return:
neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the Lord; by returning them, after seventy years captivity, to their own land, and to the enjoyment of all their privileges, civil and religious:
because he hath taught rebellion against the Lord; or, "a departure (n) from him"; taught men to revolt from him, and not give heed to his prophets; to disbelieve what he said by them, concerning their continuance in Babylon; which is called a rebellion against him; and being so heinous a crime, deserved the punishment denounced on him and his; rebels and their offspring are punished among men.
(n) "apostasiam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "recessionem", Schmidt.
INTRODUCTION TO Jeremiah 30
This chapter contains a prophecy of the call and conversion of the Jews in the latter day; which being a matter of moment and importance, and that it might continue, and be read hereafter, it is ordered to be written in a book, Jeremiah 30:1; the thing itself is expressed by a return from captivity to their own land, Jeremiah 30:3; but previous to this there would be most dreadful times, as never were the like, Jeremiah 30:4; yet there would be a deliverance from them, and from the yoke of the oppressor; when the Jews should serve the Lord God, and the true Messiah, Jeremiah 30:8; of which deliverance and salvation they are assured in the strongest terms, though all other nations should be made an end of, among whom they were, Jeremiah 30:10; and though their ease might seem to be desperate, Jeremiah 30:12; nevertheless they should be brought into a very comfortable and happy estate; their city rebuilt; their offspring increased; and religious worship established; and, above all, the Messiah should be made known to them as their King and Priest, and they appear to be the Lord's covenant people, Jeremiah 30:18; and the chapter is concluded with threatening utter destruction to the wicked, Jeremiah 30:23.
saying; as follows:
saying, write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book; being things of consequence, that they might remain to after ages; and be read to the use, comfort, and edification of the Lord's people, in times to come; and be a support to their faith and hope, as well as be a testimony of the truth and faithfulness of God. Some think this charge refers to all the prophecies that go before, as well as follow after, to put them all together in a book or roll, that they might be preserved; though others think it refers only to the present prophecy; and so Kimchi interprets it, write all the words "that I am now speaking unto thee" (o) in a book; which should come to pass in the latter day. So John is bid to write in a book what he saw; the things that are, and shall be hereafter, Revelation 1:11.
(o) "quibus alloquor te", Junius & Tremellius; "quae locutus fuero ad te", Piscator.
that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah,
saith the Lord; which cannot be understood of their return from the Babylonish captivity; for, as Kimchi rightly observes, only Judah and Benjamin returned from thence; and though there were some few of the other tribes that came with them, especially of the tribe of Levi, yet not sufficient to answer to so great a prophecy as this, which refers to the same time as that in Hosea 3:5; as appears by comparing that with Jeremiah 30:9; and when, as the Apostle Paul says, "all Israel shall be saved", Romans 11:25;
and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it; the land of Canaan, given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and which shall be again by the Jews their posterity; for, without that the Jews upon their call and conversion shall return to their own land, in a literal sense, I see not how we can understand this, and many other prophecies.
and concerning Judah. Which follow in this chapter and the next; first concerning Israel, the ten tribes; and then concerning the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, even concerning all Israel; whereas, if this prophecy only respects the return from the captivity in Babylon, there is very little in it which concerns the ten tribes, or but a very few of them. The words may be rendered, "unto Israel, and unto Judah"; as being the persons to whom they were directed, as well as were the subjects of them.
we have heard a voice of trembling, ear, and not of peace; which is to be understood, of the fear and dread injected into them by the Babylonians when they besieged their city, and burned that, and their temple; nor of the fear and dread which came upon the Babylonians at the taking of their city by Cyrus, upon which followed the deliverance of the Jews. Kimchi interprets this of something yet future, the war of Gog and Magog, which he supposes wilt be when their Messiah comes; and Jarchi sans it is so understood in their Midrash Agadah. This distress, I think, refers to the slaying of the witnesses, and to that hour of temptation which shall come upon all the earth to try the inhabitants of it; and which will be followed with the destruction of antichrist; and that will make way for the call and conversion of the Jews.
(p) "Gentes dicturae sunt", Vatablus.
wherefore do I see every man with his hands his loins, as a woman in travail; the usual posture of women in such a condition, trying hereby to abate their pain, and ease themselves. This metaphor is made use of, both to express the sharpness and shortness of this distress; as the pains of a woman in travail are very sharp, yet short, and, when over, quickly forgotten; and so it wilt be at this time; it will be a sharp trial of the church and people of God; but it will last but for a short time; and the joy and happy times that will follow will soon cause it to be forgotten:
and all faces are turned into paleness? at the departure of the blood, through fear and trembling. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it "the yellow jaundice"; their faces were of the colour of such persons that have that disease upon them; or, as others, the green sickness. Some render it, "the king's evil" (q).
(q) "in speciem morbi regii", Junius & Tremellius; "in morbum regium", Piscator.
so that none is like it; such were the times of Jerusalem's siege and destruction by the Romans; and which was an emblem of those times of trouble from antichrist in the latter day; see Matthew 24:21;
it is even the time of Jacob's trouble: of the church and people of God, the true Israel of God; when Popery will be the prevailing religion in Christendom; when the outward court shall be given to the Gentiles; the witnesses shall be slain; antichrist will be "in statu quo"; and the whore of Rome in all her glory; though it shall not last long:
but he shall be saved out of it; shall come out of those great tribulations into a very happy and comfortable estate; the spirit of life shall enter into the witnesses, and they shall live and ascend to heaven; the vials of God's wrath will be poured upon the antichristian states; the kings of the earth will hate the whore, and burn her with fire; the Gospel will be preached everywhere; the Jews will be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in; and an end be put to all trouble; of which there will be no more, nor any occasion of it: or, "therefore he shall be saved out of it" (r); as the effect of the divine compassion to him in such great trouble.
(r) "ideo ex eo servabitur", Schmidt.
that I will break his yoke from off thy neck; not the yoke of the king of Babylon, but of antichrist, and of all the antichristian states, by whom the people of God have been oppressed; so the Targum,
"I will break the yoke of the peoples (the antichristian nations) from off your necks.''
Jarchi interprets it of the yoke of the nations of the world from off Israel; and Kimchi of the yoke of Gog and Magog, or of every nation:
and will burst thy bonds; by which they were kept in bondage, both with respect to civil and religious things; but now he that led into captivity shall go into captivity himself, Revelation 13:10;
and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him; this shows that this prophecy cannot be understood of deliverance from the Babylonish captivity; because, after this, strangers did serve themselves of the Jews, and they were servants unto them; as to the Persians, and Grecians, and especially the Romans, by whom they were entirely subdued and ruined; and to this day all nations almost serve themselves of them; but when they shall be called and converted, as they shall be free from the yoke of sin and Satan, and from the yoke of the ceremonial law, and the traditions of their elders, in a religious sense; so from the yoke of the nations of the world, in a civil sense.
and David their king; not literally, who shall be raised up from the dead, and reign over them, which Kimchi supposes possible, though he does not assert it; nor his successors called by his name, as the kings of Egypt were called Pharaohs and Ptolemies, and the Roman emperors Caesars, of which we have no instance; nor were there any kings of David's line upon the throne of Israel after the Babylonish captivity, until the Messiah came, and who is the Person here meant; and so the Targum paraphrases it,
"and they shall hearken to, or obey, Messiah the son of David their king;''
and Kimchi owns that it may be interpreted of Messiah the son of David, whose name is called David, as it is in many prophecies, Ezekiel 34:23; and this prophecy is understood of the Messiah by several Jewish writers (s); and in the Talmud (t) it is said,
"the holy blessed God will raise up unto thee another David; as it is said, "and they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them"; it is not said, "he hath raised up", but "I will raise up";''
and Christ is called David, not only because he is his son, but because he is his antitype. David was a type of Christ in his birth and parentage; the son of Jesse, born of mean parents, and at Bethlehem; in his outward form, ruddy and beautiful; in his inward character, a man of holiness, wisdom, and courage; in his offices of shepherd, prophet, and king; in his afflictions and sorrows, and in his wars and victories. The same Person is here meant as in the former clause, "the Lord their God"; since it is Jehovah that is here speaking; and he does not say "they shall serve me", but "the Lord their God"; and since the same service is to be yielded to David as to the Lord their God; and who is, in his divine nature, the Lord God, and so the object of all religious worship and service; and, in his human nature, of the seed of David; and by office a King, appointed by his Father, and owned by his people, as King of saints; so the words may be rendered, "they shall serve the Lord their God, even David their King"; see Titus 2:13;
whom I will raise up unto them; which is said of him in all his offices, Jeremiah 23:5; and is expressive of his constitution as Mediator; and includes the Father's pitching upon him, appointing him, calling him, fitting and qualifying him, and sending him in the fulness of time, under this character, as a Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour; all which was for the good of his people; as a favour to them, for their profit and advantage: his incarnation is for them; his obedience, sufferings, and death; his righteousness, and the salvation he wrought out; he is raised up, and sent to them to bless them, with all spiritual blessings that are in him, Acts 3:26.
(s) R. Albo in Sepher lkkarim, l. 2. c. 28. Abarbinel in loc. & in Mashmiah Jeshuab, fol. 35. 4. (t) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.
neither be dismayed, O Israel: the same thing in other words; for Jacob and Israel are the same; and to fear and be dismayed are much alike:
for, lo, I will save thee from afar; from a far country; not from Babylon only, but from all distant countries where they are dispersed, east, west, north, or south; distance of place should be no hinderance to their salvation, and so need be no objection in their minds to it:
and thy seed from the land of their captivity; their children should come forth with them: it seems to respect future times; that though this should not be accomplished in the persons of the Israelites then living, yet should be in their posterity:
and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid; which was not fulfilled upon the Jews' return from the Babylonish captivity; for they quickly met with much opposition and disturbance in the rebuilding of their city and temple; and afterwards from Antiochus, in the times of the Maccabees, by whom they were greatly disquieted; and at last by the Romans, by whom their nation was subdued and ruined; wherefore this respects the quiet and peaceable times they shall have when they are converted, and have embraced the Christian religion.
though I will make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee; a full end has been made of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians; these people and their names are no more; and of Rome Pagan, which, upon the opening of the sixth seal, departed as a scroll that is rolled together; and so will all the antichristian states be made a full end of, when the vials of God's wrath are poured out upon them; and yet the people of the Jews, a poor, mean, and despicable people, have been continued a distinct people, notwithstanding their dispersion so many hundreds of years; and will continue so until they are called and converted:
but I will correct thee in measure; or "in", or "according to judgment" (u); as in Jeremiah 10:24; wisely, moderately, and with clemency; which the Targum paraphrases "judgment remitted"; which is not strict and rigorous, but is abated of its rigour, and is mixed with mercy:
and will not leave thee altogether unpunished; or, "let thee go free"; from correction and chastisement in a merciful way. The Targum is,
"in destroying I will not destroy thee;''
or utterly destroy thee. And Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it of cutting off, from the use of the word in Zechariah 5:3.
(u) "in judicio", Pagninus, Montanus; "secundum, vel juxta judicium", Piscator, Schmidt.
and thy wound is grievous; an expression signifying the same as before: the metaphor is taken from a body wounded and bruised in such a manner, as to be past the skill of the most able surgeon to cure it.
thou hast no healing medicines; either of thine own, or of others, preparing for thee: the design of all these expressions is to show the helpless and hopeless state of the people of Israel, before their call, conversion, and restoration; by which it will appear to be the Lord's work, and his only; and since he was able to do it, and would do it, therefore Jacob and Israel had no reason to be afraid and dismayed, though their case might seem desperate.
(w) "compressioni", Junius & Tremellius; "ad compressionem", Gataker.
they seek thee not; to ask of thy welfare, as the Targum adds; they do not, visit thee, nor inquire after thine health, or how it is with thee, having no manner of care and concern for thee; this has been the case of the Jews for many ages:
for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one; so it might seem to be; and thus it might be interpreted by them, as if the Lord acted the part of an enemy, and a very cruel one, that had no mercy; though he corrected them, as in Jeremiah 30:11, in measure, moderation, and mercy: or else the meaning is, that he wounded them, when their nation, city, and temple, were destroyed, by the hand and means of an enemy, even a very cruel and merciless one, the Romans:
for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased; a very wicked people the Jews were, not only before they went into the Babylonish captivity, but after their return; and in the times of Christ and his apostles; who complain of their covetousness, hypocrisy, adultery, thefts, murders, and sacrilege; and particularly they were in the above manner chastised by means of the Romans, for their unbelief and rejection of the true Messiah, and the persecution of his followers.
thy sorrow is incurable, for the multitude of thine iniquity; such were the number of their iniquities, that they brought them into such a sorrowful and wretched estate and condition that there was no recovery of them, nor hope of recovery of them, by their own power, or by the help and assistance of others:
because thy sins were increased I have done these things unto thee; which shows the justice of God, and is a vindication of it under all the seeming severity of it. The Jews (x) acknowledge, that under the second temple there was a great increase of capital crimes, such as murders, adulteries, &c. for which, and other sins, wrath came upon them to the uttermost by the Romans; and they still continue under the visible marks of the divine displeasure.
(x) Misna Sota, c. 9. sect. 9.
and all thine adversaries, everyone of them shall, fro into captivity; or be conquered and subdued, as were the Assyrians, Egyptians, Chaldeans, Grecians, Romans; and not only Rome Pagan has been destroyed, but Rome Papal also will go into captivity; see Revelation 13:10;
and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey: they shall be used according to the law of retaliation; the same measure they have measured shall be measured to them again.
(y) "verumtamen, vel nihilominus", Gataker. So Kimchi and Abarbinel.
and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; pardon their sins, remove their afflictions, and bring them into a comfortable situation, into a Gospel church state, and into their own land:
because they called thee an outcast; as the Jews now are, cast out of their own land, rejected from being the people of God; so they are reckoned by the nations among whom they are:
saying, this is Zion, whom no man seeketh after: after their good, either temporal or spiritual; despised by most, pitied and prayed for by few; and fewer still they are that seek after, and are solicitous about, or take any methods, or make use of any means, for their conversion; but though man does not, God will, and his work will appear the more manifest.
(z) "adducam tibi emplastrum longum", so some in Gataker; "faciam ut ad justam constitutionem assurgas", Junius & Tremellius; "ut assurgat sanitas tibi", Piscator; "nam faciam ut ascendat tibi proceritas", Cocceius.
and have mercy on his dwelling places; by restoring Israel, or Jacob's posterity, to their dwelling places in Jerusalem, and other places rebuilt by them and for them. The Targum is,
"I will have mercy on his cities;''
and the city shall be builded upon her own heap; the city of Jerusalem, as the Targum expresses it, as it was in the times of Zerubbabel; it was built in its place, as the same Targum; upon the very spot of ground where it before stood, which was become by its desolation a heap of rubbish: or, "upon its hill" (a); Mount Moriah, on which some part of the city was built; so likewise in the latter day: though Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and is now in a desolate condition, yet it shall be rebuilt, as it seems by this prophecy, upon the very spot where it formerly stood;
and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof; which the Targum interprets of the house of the sanctuary, the temple; so Jarchi; and it was true of it in Zerubbabel's time: but as this prophecy has a further view to future times, something else seems intended. Kimchi says it is either the king's palace or the temple. The singular may be put for the plural, and design "palaces", noble and stately buildings; signifying that the city shall be rebuilt in a very grand manner: and so "shall remain after the manner of it"; or, "according to its right" or "judgment" (b); it shall be continued and established by or upon that justice and judgment that shall be done in it; for it shall be called a city of righteousness, and a faithful city, Isaiah 1:26.
(a) "colle suo", Vatablus. (b) "secundum jus suum", Vatablus; "ut oportet habitabitur", Cocceius.
and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; the Jews, at the time of their conversion, will be very numerous, Hosea 1:10; especially the number of God's spiritual Israel will then be very great; though Jacob is now small, he shall then arise and become a great multitude; the church's converts will be surprisingly many, Isaiah 49:18;
and I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small; numbers of converts add to the glory of the church; it will be a glorious time; and this is what will make a considerable part of the latter day glory; namely, the conversion of the nation of the Jews at once, and the bringing in the fulness and forces of the Gentiles. The Targum is,
"I will strengthen them, and they shall not be weak.''
It may be rendered, "I will honour them, and they shall not be little" (c); or "mean" and contemptible; they shall be honoured with temporal and spiritual blessings, and be in great esteem, especially among the Christian nations.
(c) "et honorabo eos, et non evilescent", Montanus; "neque parvi habebuntar aut vilescent", De Dieu.
and their congregation shall be established before me; the church, consisting of them; or their church state shall be settled and confirmed, and no more be destroyed, as it formerly was:
and I will punish all that oppress them; or rather, have oppressed them; all the antichristian nations, who will now suffer the wrath of God; and after this there will be no more oppressors and persecutors of the church of God.
"their King shall be anointed from them, and their Messiah shall be revealed from the midst of them.''
And so it is applied to him in the Talmud (e), and in other writings of the Jews (f). Kimchi on the place says,
"it is known that the King Messiah shall be of Israel.''
He may be called a "noble One", as he is a Nobleman in Luke 19:12; because he descended from illustrious persons; from David king of Israel, and from a race of kings in his line, as the genealogy of Matthew shows. Or, "his glorious One" (g), as it may be rendered; he is glorious in his nature, being the brightness of his Father's glory; glorious in his perfections, which are the same with his divine Father's; glorious in his names and titles, the King and Lord of glory; glorious in his works and worship, which are the same that are ascribed to God the Father; glorious in his office as Mediator, which he has so well performed; glorious when he was raised from the dead, and had a glory given him; and when he ascended on high, and sat down at his Father's right hand, crowned with glory and honour; glorious in the eyes of God, and of all his people; and, when his kingdom shall be in a more glorious condition, he will reign before his ancients gloriously; and when he comes a second time, he will come in exceeding great glory. Or, his "mighty One" (h); Christ is the mighty God, the mighty Mediator, the mighty Saviour; he is the most Mighty, he is the Almighty. Now, as man, his descent was from them, the Israelites; from Abraham, from Jacob, from Judah, from Jesse and David, and from the people of the Jews; see Romans 9:4;
and their Governor shall proceed from the midst of them; meaning the King Messiah, as before; who has the government of the church upon his shoulders; is worthy of all power and authority and has received it; has a power of making laws, and of obliging men to keep them; has a power of pardoning, justifying, and saving men; is the lawgiver that is able to save, and to destroy; and can subject all to his feet, as he will in a short time. This seems to refer to a law in Israel, that not a stranger, but one of their brethren, should be set as king over them, Deuteronomy 17:15; which is true of the Messiah;
and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; expressive of his priestly office; it being the business of a priest to draw nigh to God with the sacrifices of the people, and to intercede for them, Leviticus 10:3. Christ in eternity drew nigh to his Father, and offered himself as a surety for his people, and became one; and the Greek word for surety, has the signification of being "near": he drew nigh and interposed between them and his father, and became a Mediator for them; he proposed to do everything for them law and justice required, and whatsoever was his Father's will should be done: he drew nigh and struck hands, stipulated and agreed with him, about the salvation of his people; he asked them of him, and all blessings of grace and glory for them: he drew nigh in time, having assumed their nature, and offered himself a sacrifice unto God, made satisfaction to his justice for them, and redeemed them unto God by his blood; by which means they are made nigh to God, and draw near to him with humble boldness; and now he is gone to heaven, and has taken his place at the right hand of God, where he appears in the presence of God, and makes intercession for them, presenting himself, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice. Now this is ascribed unto God, as causing him to draw nigh; because he chose, appointed, and called him to be a priest, Mediator, and surety, to which he was entirely free of himself; and therefore it follows,
for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord; his drawing to God in the council and covenant of grace, to be the surety of his people, and his undertaking for them, were quite free and voluntary; he came of himself, and surrendered himself into the hands of justice at the time of his sufferings and death; and his intercession in heaven flows from his hearty love to his people; his heart has been, and is, engaged in every branch of his mediatorial work, which is a very singular and wonderful thing. No mere man could have engaged his heart to draw nigh to God, who is a consuming fire; no angel in heaven could have presumed to have done it on the behalf of sinful men; none but Christ himself could, and which is owing to the dignity of his person, and to his wondrous love; for this is a marvellous event. Now, though this is a prophecy of Christ's incarnation and priesthood, yet it is suitably introduced here; because, at the time of the Jews' conversion, he will be made known unto them, as being come of them, and as their Prophet, Priest, and King.
(d) "praestans ejus", Montanus. (e) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.((f) Midrash Tillim apud Galatin. de Cathot. Ver. l. 10. c. 1. p. 648. (g) "Magnificus ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "dux ejus", V. L. "magnificus dux ejus", Munster, Tigurine version; "Rex eorum", Syr. (h) "Fortis ejus", Pagninus; "potens ejus", Schmidt.
and I will be your God; will manifest his love to them, bestow his favours upon them, and take them under his care and protection. This is a summary of the covenant of grace, which will visibly take place when those people shall turn to the Lord, Romans 11:26.
a continuing whirlwind; whirlwinds, as they come suddenly, are generally soon over; but this will continue very boisterous and terrible, until it has done all the execution designed by it:
it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked; according to some, the wicked Jews, that do not repent and turn to the Lord; but rather the wicked of the nations, as Jarchi; not the Gentiles in general, as distinguished from the Jews, which is his sense, but the antichristian states; for the ruin of antichrist, and the conversion of the Jews, will be much about the same time; and the vials of God's wrath, which will be poured upon them, and fall upon their heads, will give them much pain, both in body and mind; see Revelation 16:10; and which wrath and ruin are expressed by a tempest of thunder, lightning, and hail, and by an earthquake, Jeremiah 30:18.