Good and bad figs represent the Jews in captivity, and those who remain in their own land.
- The prophet saw two baskets of figs set before the temple, as offerings of first-fruits. The figs in one basket were very good, those in the other basket very bad. What creature viler than a wicked man? and what more valuable than a godly man? This vision was to raise the spirits of those gone into captivity, by assuring them of a happy return; and to humble and awaken the proud and secure spirits of those yet in Jerusalem, by assuring them of a miserable captivity. The good figs represents the pious captives. We cannot determine as to God's love or hatred by what is before us. Early suffering sometimes proves for the best. The sooner the child is corrected, the better effect the correction is likely to have. Even this captivity was for their good; and God's intentions never are in vain. By afflictions they were convinced of sin, humbled under the hand of God, weaned from the world, taught to pray, and turned from sins, particularly from idolatry. God promises that he will own them in captivity. The Lord will own those who are his, in all conditions. God assures them of his protection in trouble, and a glorious deliverance in due time. When our troubles are sanctified to us, we may be sure that they will end well. They shall return to him with their whole heart. Thus they should have liberty to own him for their God, to pray to him, and expect blessings from him. The bad figs were Zedekiah and those of his party yet in the land. These should be removed for their hurt, and forsaken of all mankind. God has many judgments, and those that escape one, may expect another, till they are brought to repent. Doubtless, this prophecy had its fulfilment in that age; but the Spirit of prophecy may here look forward to the dispersion of the unbelieving Jews, in all the nations of the earth. Let those who desire blessings from the Lord, beg that he will give them a heart to know him.
Jeremiah 24:1-10 . THE RESTORATION OF THE CAPTIVES IN BABYLON AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THE REFRACTORY PARTY IN JUDEA AND IN EGYPT, REPRESENTED UNDER THE TYPE OF A BASKET OF GOOD, AND ONE OF BAD, FIGS.
1. Lord showed me-- Amos 7:1 Amos 7:4 Amos 7:7 , 8:1 , contains the same formula, with the addition of "thus" prefixed.
carried . . . captive Jeconiah--( Jeremiah 22:24 , 2 Kings 24:12 , &c. 2 Chronicles 36:10 ).
carpenters, &c.--One thousand artisans were carried to Babylon, both to work for the king there, and to deprive Jerusalem of their services in the event of a future siege ( 2 Kings 24:16 ).
2. figs . . . first ripe--the "boccora," or early fig first-fruits in the temple. The good figs represent Jeconiah and the exiles in Babylon; the bad, Zedekiah and the obstinate Jews in Judea. They are called good and bad respectively, not in an absolute, but a comparative sense, and in reference to the punishment of the latter. This prophecy was designed to encourage the despairing exiles, and to reprove the people at home, who prided themselves as superior to those in Babylon and abused the forbearance of God (compare Jeremiah 52:31-34 ).
5. acknowledge--regard with favor, like as thou lookest on the good figs favorably.
for their good--Their removal to Babylon saved them from the calamities which befell the rest of the nation and led them to repentance there: so God bettered their condition ( 2 Kings 25:27-30 ). Daniel and Ezekiel were among these captives.
6. ( Jeremiah 12:15 ).
not pull . . . down . . . not pluck . . . up--only partially fulfilled in the restoration from Babylon; antitypically and fully to be fulfilled hereafter ( Jeremiah 32:41 , 33:7 ).
7. ( Jeremiah 30:22 , 31:33 , 32:38 ). Their conversion from idolatry to the one true God, through the chastening effect of the Babylonish captivity, is here expressed in language which, in its fulness, applies to the more complete conversion hereafter of the Jews, "with their whole heart" ( Jeremiah 29:13 ), through the painful discipline of their present dispersion. The source of their conversion is here stated to be God's prevenient grace.
for they shall return--Repentance, though not the cause of pardon, is its invariable accompaniment: it is the effect of God's giving a heart to know Him.
8. in . . . Egypt--Many Jews had fled for refuge to Egypt, which was leagued with Judea against Babylon.
9. removed, &c.--( Jeremiah 15:4 ). CALVIN translates, "I will give them up to agitation, in all," &c.; This verse quotes the curse ( Deuteronomy 28:25 Deuteronomy 28:37 ). Compare Jeremiah 29:18 Jeremiah 29:22 , Psalms 44:13 Psalms 44:14 .