Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying,

Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them. For I earn• estly protested unto your fathers in the day [that] I brought

them up out of the land of Egypt, [even]untothis day,rising early 8 and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor

inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart : therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this

covenant, all the threatenings denounced in it, which I commanded 9 [them) to do ; but they did [them not. And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalemi, to introduce idolatry and banish true

religion : some steps toward a reformation were taken in Josiah's 10 time, but they are now relapsed into their former idolatry : They

are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them : the house of Israel and the house of Judalı hare

broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. 11 Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil

upon them, which they shall not be able to escape ; and though 12 they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Then

shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and

cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense : but they shall 13 not save them at all in the time of their trouble. For (accord

ing to the number of thy cities were thy gods, 0 Judah, and [according to) the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set

up altars to [that] shameful thing, [even) altars to burn incense 14 unto Baal. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift

up a cry or prayer for them : for I will not hear [them] in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble ; I am determincd

not to hear ; I see they are incorrigible, therefore I would not have 15 thy prayers be lost. What hath my beloved to do in minc house,

(seeing] she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? thy sacrifices shall not be acceptable ; or rather, Shall vows and holy flesh be allowed to come from

thee ?'* when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest ; when thou 16 ari malignant, shalt thou then rejoice? The LORD called thy

name, A green olive tree, fair, [and] of goodly fruit; he Erpected fruit from thee, but as thou art unfruitful, therefore with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the

branches of it are broken ; thou shalt be utierly ruined by the 17 Chaldeans. For the LORD of hosts, that planted thce, hath pro,

nounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal. The tivo

following ver808 contain an account of the prophet's ocun case. 18 And the LORD hath given me knowledge (of it,) and I know it :)

then thou showedst me their doings ; the men of Anathoth (a priest's city) had carried on a design against my life, so secretly,

[ocr errors]

that I knew nothing of it till God was pleased to discover it to me 19 by revelation. But I (was like a lamb (or) an ox [that] is

brought to the slaughter, insensible of my danger ; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, (saying,] Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remem

bered; let us utterly destroy the prophet and his prophecy together. 20 But 0 LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the

reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them : for

unto thee have I revealed my cause ; l appeal 10 the righteous 21 God, who will punish them as the king of Israel.* Therefore

thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life,

saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die pot 22 by our hand :t Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold,

I will punish them : the young men shall die by the sword; 23 their sons and their daughters shall die hy famine : And there

shall be no remnant of them : for. I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, (even) the year of their visitation.

REFLECTIONS,

1. L'ROM hence observe the necessity there is of a due atten

T tion to the words of God's covenant. In order to correct the errors and irregularities of the Jews, the prophet attempts to bring them back to the original constitution of their church and government. The great command of the covenant with them was, 10 obey God's voice, and the promise, that he would be their God. The same is required of us under the covenant of grace, with which God hath favoured us. It is the business of ministers often to remind their hearers of this, and to be examples of obedience ; and those especially who have solemnly engaged themselves to God in covenant, and have been often warried and encouraged to continue obedient, will be notoriously guilty and ungrateful if they break it. Let us then be ever mindful of our covenant transactions ; otherwise all the threatenings of the covenant will be executed upon us.

2. See the vanity of external privileges, while obedience is wanting. How just is that expostulation of God with the Jews, v. 15. What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many ? and so he may address us ; what have you to do to call Christ your saviour, or to boast of your relation to God and his church ? What will your prayers and sacraments avail, while you defile yourselves and dishonour religion ? Such sacrifices will be unacceptable ; your relation to God will stand you in no stead. May we be convinced of the necessity of real purity of heart, and of obedience as its fruit, in order to render our religious services and our common actions pleasing in his sight.

• This the Jews had a right to do by their constitution, if subordinate governors did not protect theni.

✓ They first threatened the prophet, if he continned to prophesy : bus perceiving that he was not terrified lry that, they form.d a secret conspiracy of which they give him no warn. ing; but God revealed it to him.

.

3. Observe how easily God can disappoint the designs which are formed against his people. Jeremiah had been threatened by the men of Anathoth ; but when that had no effect to silence him, they confederated against his life. Of this God informed him, and so the mischief was prevented. Had they succeeded, they would have triumphed over him as a false prophet ; because, while he foretold the ruin of his country he could not foresee his own danger. God knows every design the wicked have to destroy or injure his people ; and he can reveal it to them, that they may guard against it, or by his providence he can disappoint them. Let us therefore be bold and resolute in the way of our duty ; leaving our lives and comforts in his hands. The way of duty is the way of safety ; and none that trust in the Lord shall be desolate.

CHAP. XII.

The six first verses of this chapter refer to the cluse of the foregoing,

concerning Jeremiah's danger from the men of Anathoth ; the remainder relates to God's intentions of mercy toward his people, notwithstanding their desolations.

THE delay of the judgments God had threatened against his I persecutors led Jeremiah to say, Righteous (art) thou, O

LORD, when I plead with thee : yet let me talk with thee of [thy] judgments : Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper ? (wherefore) are all they happy that deal very treacher.

ously? that is, seemingly happy, as happy as earthly things can 2 make them : Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken

root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit; they make some pro

fession of religion : thou (art) near in their mouth, that is, of the 3 priests, and far from their reins ; they are hypocrites. But thou,

O Lord, knowest me : thou hast seen me, seen that I am sincere, and tried mine heart toward thee : pull them out like sheep for

the slaughter, as victims of divine justice, and prepare them, set 4 them apart, for the day of slaughter, or execution. How long

shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein ? the beasts are consumed, and the birds ; because they said, He shall not see our last end ; referring 10 the famine in the latter end of Josiah's time, when they derided God's threatening, and said that Jeremiah should never live to see his prophecies fulfilled. The prophet is then reproved, for being discouraged and unwilling to prophesy,

on account of what he had already suffered. 5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied

thee, then how canst thou contend with horses ? and [if] in the land of peace, (wherein) thou trustedst, (they wearied thee,) then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan, when it overflows its barts suddenly, overtakes thee unawares, driving out

kons and wild beasts from its banks or thickets? If thou cans! not bear the opposition of thy townsmen and neighbours, how wilt

thou bear to stand before the king and the great men at Jerusalem, 6 to be put into the dungeon, and otherwise ill treated ? For even

thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee ; yea, they have called a multitude, that is, the mob, after thee : believe them not, thouglı they speak

fair words unto thee. 7 I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage ; I

have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hands of her 8 enemies. Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest ; it crieth out against me ; it is very fierce in opposing me, and treal.

ing my prophets with cruelty and rage, therefore have I hated it. 9 Mine heritage [is? unto me (as) a speckled bird, I have given

it to be fallen upon as a prey, the birds round about (are) against her ; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour ; because they have been full of cruelty I will bring rapacious enemies against therr, that shall tear them in pieces as they have torn the servants and worshippers of God; their case shall be like

ing in the air with other birds, falls to the ground and is devoured 10 by wild beasts. Many pastors, the firinces and governors of the

Chaldcans, have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my

portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a deso11 late wilderness. They have made it desolate, (and being] deso

late it mourneth unto me ; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth [it] to heart ; it seems to complain of its

ruined condition, because its inhabitants were not humbled under 12 God's hand. The spoilers are come upon all high places through

the wilderness : for the sword of the Lord shall devour from the

[one) end of the land even to the other) end of the land : no 13 flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but shall reap

thorns : they have put themselves to pain, (but) shall not profit; and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce

anger of the LORD ; they have laboured in vain, their foreign al. 14 liances and idolatrous confidences shall disappoint them. Thus

saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit, against the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, that took possession of the land; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them, that is, the Jews who were

carried captive, or fied into these countries, before the general cali15 tivity. And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked

them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every nian to

his land ; their captivity shall be terminated by Cyrus afier 8016 venty years, as the Jewish cațiivity was. And it shall come to

pass, if they will diligently learn the ways cf my people, to swear by my name, The Lord liveth ; as they taught my people 10 swear by Baal, if they will become piruseli;tes to the Jewish reli

gion, then shall they be built in the midst of my people ; thoug

they have defiled and corrupted them, yet they shall partake of their 17 privileges. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up,

and destroy that nation, saith the LORD, though they return, they shall soon be destroyed. Some understand it of the conversion of the heathen enemics of the Jews to christianity in the latter day.

REFLECTIONS.

THE prosperity of the wicked has been a stumbling block

I to good men in former agés; to David and Asadh ; and Particularly to Jeremiah. He reasons the case with God: but very justly and piously lays it down as a first principle, that God is rightcous. It is no uncommon thing to see the wicked prosperous, easy, and happy; even those who, with the appearance of piety, are guilty of injustice and cruelty. When we observe this, let it not more us ; remembering and owning that the Lord is righteous, and that he has wise and holy ends in permitting it. While clouds and darkness are round about him, justice and judgment have their habitation in his throne. Let us endeavour to have our hearts right with him ; then we may be sure that every thing will go right with us, and all things work together for our good.

2. Instead of sinking under present troubles, it is good to expect and prepare for future and greater. Such we must expect, and it is needful to habituate our minds to patience and submission. Let us not raise our expectations too high from any thing to be enjoyed upon earth ; but remember that this is a state of trouble, because a state of trial ; that changes and death are before us; and that future afflictions will be lighter in proportion to the pains we take, under present evils, to possess our souls in patience.

3. See what is necessary in order to our being owned as God's people, viz. that we diligently learn their ways ; the ways of sobri. ety, righteousness, and godliness. These are to be learned by observing their walk, especially by studying the word of God : and this requires great diligence, because it is a way contrary to the bent of corrupt nature and the course of this world. Let it be our care to walk in the way of good men : then shall we be built up in holiness and comfort with them, and at length share their everlasting joys.

« PreviousContinue »