Troubles which shall be before the restoration of Israel. (1-11) Encouragement to trust Divine promises. (12-17) The blessings under Christ, and the wrath on the wicked. (18-24)
Verses 1-11 Jeremiah is to write what God had spoken to him. The very words are such as the Holy Ghost teaches. These are the words God ordered to be written; and promises written by his order, are truly his word. He must write a description of the trouble the people were now in, and were likely to be in. A happy end should be put to these calamities. Though the afflictions of the church may last long, they shall not last always. The Jews shall be restored again. They shall obey, or hearken to the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of David, their King. The deliverance of the Jews from Babylon, is pointed out in the prophecy, but the restoration and happy state of Israel and Judah, when converted to Christ their King, are foretold; also the miseries of the nations before the coming of Christ. All men must honour the Son as they honour the Father, and come into the service and worship of God by him. Our gracious Lord pardons the sins of the believer, and breaks off the yoke of sin and Satan, that he may serve God without fear, in righteousness and true holiness before him all the remainder of his days, as the redeemed subject of Christ our King.
Verses 12-17 When God is against a people, who will be for them? Who can be for them, so as to do them any kindness? Incurable griefs are owing to incurable lusts. Yet, though the captives suffered justly, and could not help themselves, the Lord intended to appear for them, and to punish their oppressors; and he will still do so. But every effort to heal ourselves must prove fruitless, so long as we neglect the heavenly Advocate and sanctifying Spirit. The dealings of His grace with every true convert, and every returning backslider, are the same in effect as his proceedings to the Jews.
Verses 18-24 We have here further intimations of the favour of God for them after the days of their calamity have expired. The proper work and office of Christ, as Mediator, is to draw near unto God, for us, as the High Priest of our profession. His own undertaking, in compliance with his Father's will, and in compassion to fallen man, engaged him. Jesus Christ was, in all this, truly wonderful. They shall be taken again into covenant with the Lord, according to the covenant made with their fathers. "I will be your God:" it is his good-will to us, which is the summary of that part of the covenant. The wrath of God against the wicked is very terrible, like a whirlwind. The purposes of his wrath, as well as the purposes of his love, will all be fulfilled. God will comfort all that turn to him; but those who approach him must have their hearts engaged to do it with reverence, devotion, and faith. How will they escape who neglect so great salvation?
Jeremiah 30:1-24 . RESTORATION OF THE JEWS FROM BABYLON AFTER ITS CAPTURE, AND RAISING UP OF MESSIAH.
2. Write . . . in a book--After the destruction of Jerusalem Jeremiah is not ordered as heretofore to speak, but to write the succeeding prophecy ( Jeremiah 30:4 , &c.), so as thereby it might be read by his countrymen wheresoever they might be in their dispersion.
3. bring again . . . captivity of . . . Israel and Judah--the restoration not merely of the Jews (treated of in this thirtieth chapter), but also of the ten tribes ("Israel"; treated in the thirty-first chapter), together forming the whole nation ( Jeremiah 30:18 , Jeremiah 32:44 , Ezekiel 39:25 , Amos 9:14 Amos 9:15 ). "Israel" is mentioned first because its exile was longer than that of Judah. Some captives of the Israelite ten tribes returned with those of Judah ( Luke 2:36 ; "Aser" is mentioned). But these are only a pledge of the full restoration hereafter ( Romans 11:26 , "All Israel"). Compare Jeremiah 16:15 . This third verse is a brief statement of the subject before the prophecy itself is given.
5. We have heard . . . trembling--God introduces the Jews speaking that which they will be reduced to at last in spite of their stubbornness. Threat and promise are combined: the former briefly; namely, the misery of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity down to their "trembling" and "fear" arising from the approach of the Medo-Persian army of Cyrus against Babylon; the promise is more fully dwelt on; namely, their "trembling" will issue in a deliverance as speedy as is the transition from a woman's labor pangs to her joy at giving birth to a child ( Jeremiah 30:6 ).
6. Ask--Consult all the authorities, men or books, you can, you will not find an instance. Yet in that coming day men will be seen with their hands pressed on their loins, as women do to repress their pangs. God will drive men through pain to gestures more fitting a woman than a man ( Jeremiah 4:31 , 6:24 ). The metaphor is often used to express the previous pain followed by the sudden deliverance of Israel, as in the case of a woman in childbirth ( Isaiah 66:7-9 ).
paleness--properly the color of herbs blasted and fading: the green paleness of one in jaundice: the sickly paleness of terror.
7. great--marked by great calamities ( Joel 2:11 Joel 2:31 , Amos 5:18 , Zephaniah 1:14 ).
none like it . . . but he shall be saved--( Daniel 12:1 ). The partial deliverance at Babylon's downfall prefigures the final, complete deliverance of Israel, literal and spiritual, at the downfall of the mystical Babylon (Revelation 18:1-19:21').
8. his yoke . . . thy neck--his, that is, Jacob's ( Jeremiah 30:7 ), the yoke imposed on him. The transition to the second person is frequent, God speaking of Jacob or Israel, at the same time addressing him directly. So "him" rightly follows; "foreigners shall no more make him their servant" ( Jeremiah 25:14 ). After the deliverance by Cyrus, Persia, Alexander, Antiochus, and Rome made Judah their servant. The full of deliverance meant must, therefore, be still future.
9. Instead of serving strangers ( Jeremiah 30:8 ), they shall serve the Lord, their rightful King in the theocracy ( Ezekiel 21:27 ).
David, their king--No king of David's seed has held the scepter since the captivity; for Zerubbabel, though of David's line, never claimed the title of "king." The Son of David, Messiah, must therefore be meant; so the Targum (compare Isaiah 55:3 Isaiah 55:4 , Ezekiel 34:23 Ezekiel 34:24 , 37:24 , Hosea 3:5 , Romans 11:25-32 ). He was appointed to the throne of David ( Isaiah 9:7 , Luke 1:32 ). He is here joined with Jehovah as claiming equal allegiance. God is our "King," only when we are subject to Christ; God rules us not immediately, but through His Son ( John 5:22 John 5:23 John 5:27 ).
raise up--applied to the judges whom God raised up as deliverers of Israel out of the hand of its oppressors ( Judges 2:16 , 3:9 ). So Christ was raised up as the antitypical Deliverer ( Psalms 2:6 , Luke 1:69 , Acts 2:30 , 13:23 ).
10. from afar--Be not afraid as if the distance of the places whither ye are to be dispersed precludes the possibility of return.
seed--Though through the many years of captivity intervening, you yourselves may not see the restoration, the promise shall be fulfilled to your seed, primarily at the return from Babylon, fully at the final restoration.
quiet . . . none . . . make . . . afraid--( Jeremiah 23:6 , Zechariah 14:11 ).
11. though . . . full end of all nations . . . yet . . . not . . . of thee--( Amos 9:8 ). The punishment of reprobates is final and fatal; that of God's people temporary and corrective. Babylon was utterly destroyed: Israel after chastisement was delivered.
in measure--literally, "with judgment," that is, moderation, not in the full rigor of justice ( Jeremiah 10:24 , 46:28 , Psalms 6:1 , Isaiah 27:8 ).
not . . . altogether unpunished--( Exodus 34:7 ).
12. The desperate circumstances of the Jews are here represented as an incurable wound. Their sin is so grievous that their hope of the punishment (their exile) soon coming to an end is vain ( Jeremiah 8:22 , 15:18 , 2 Chronicles 36:16 ).
13. none to plead--a new image from a court of justice.
bound up--namely, with the bandages applied to tie up a wound.
no healing medicines--literally, "medicines of healing," or else applications, (literally, "ascensions") of medicaments.
14. lovers--the peoples formerly allied to thee, Assyria and Egypt (compare Lamentations 1:2 ).
seek thee not--have cast away all concern for thee in thy distress.
wound of an enemy--a wound such as an enemy would inflict. God condescends to employ language adapted to human conceptions. He is incapable of "enmity" or "cruelty"; it was their grievous sin which righteously demanded a grievous punishment, as though He were an "enemy" ( Jeremiah 5:6 , Job 13:24 , 30:21 ).
15. Why criest thou--as if God's severity was excessive. Thou hast no reason to complain, for thine affliction is just. Thy cry is too late, for the time of repentance and mercy is past [CALVIN].
16. Therefore--connected with Jeremiah 30:13 , because "There is none to plead thy cause . . . therefore" I will plead thy cause, and heal thy wound, by overwhelming thy foes. This fifteenth verse is inserted to amplify what was said at the close of Jeremiah 30:14 . When the false ways of peace, suggested by the so-called prophets, had only ended in the people's irremediable ruin, the true prophet comes forward to announce the grace of God as bestowing repentance and healing.
devour thee . . . be devoured . . . spoil . . . be a spoil . . . prey upon . . . give for a prey--retribution in kind Exodus 23:22 , Isaiah 33:1 ).
17. ( Jeremiah 8:22 , 33:6 ).
Outcast--as a wife put away by her husband ( Isaiah 62:4 , contrasted with Jeremiah 30:12 ).
Zion--alluding to its Hebrew meaning, "dryness"; "sought after" by none, as would be the case with an arid region ( Isaiah 62:12 ). The extremity of the people, so far from being an obstacle to, will be the chosen opportunity of, God's grace.
18. bring again . . . captivity--( Jeremiah 33:7 Jeremiah 33:11 ).
tents--used to intimate that their present dwellings in Chaldea were but temporary as tents.
have mercy on dwelling-places--( Psalms 102:13 ).
own heap--on the same hill, that is, site, a hill being the usual site chosen for a city (compare Joshua 11:13 , Margin). This better answers the parallel clause, "after the manner thereof" (that is, in the same becoming ways as formerly), than the rendering, "its own heap of ruins," as in Jeremiah 49:2 .
palace--the king's, on Mount Zion.
remain--rather, "shall be inhabited" Jeremiah 17:25 ). This confirms English Version, "palace," not as others translate, "the temple" (see 1 Kings 16:18 , 2 Kings 15:25 ).
19. thanksgiving--The Hebrew word includes confession as well as praise; for, in the case of God, the highest praises we can bestow are only confessing what God really is [BENGEL], ( Jeremiah 17:26 , Jeremiah 31:12 Jeremiah 31:13 , 33:11 , Isaiah 35:10 , 51:11 ).
multiply them--( Zechariah 10:8 ).
20. as aforetime--as flourishing as in the time of David.
21. their nobles--rather, "their Glorious One," or "Leader" (compare Acts 3:15 , Hebrews 2:10 ), answering to "their Governor" in the parallel clause.
of themselves--of their own nation, a Jew, not a foreigner; applicable to Zerubbabel, or J. Hyrcanus (hereditary high priest and governor), only as types of Christ ( Genesis 49:10 , Micah 5:2 , Romans 9:5 ), the antitypical "David" ( Jeremiah 30:9 ).
cause him to draw near--as the great Priest ( Exodus 19:22 , Leviticus 21:17 ), through whom believers also have access to God ( Hebrews 10:19-22 ). His priestly and kingly characters are similarly combined ( Psalms 110:4 , Zechariah 6:13 ).
who . . . engaged . . . heart to approach--literally, "pledged his heart," that is, his life; a thing unique; Messiah alone has made His life responsible as the surety ( Hebrews 7:22 , 9:11-15 ), in order to gain access not only for Himself, but for us to God. Heart is here used for life, to express the courage which it needed to undertake such a tremendous suretyship. The question implies admiration at one being found competent by His twofold nature, as God and man, for the task. Compare the interrogation ( Isaiah 63:1-3 ).
22. ye shall be my people, &c.--The covenant shall be renewed between God and His people through Messiah's mediation ( Jeremiah 30:21 , Jeremiah 31:1 Jeremiah 31:33 , 32:38 , Ezekiel 11:20 , 36:28 ).
23, 24. ( Jeremiah 23:19 ). Vengeance upon God's foes always accompanies manifestations of His grace to His people.
continuing--literally, "sojourning," abiding constantly; appropriately here in the case of Babylon, which was to be permanently destroyed, substituted for "whirling itself about" ("grievous" in English Version) where the temporary downfall of Judea is spoken of.