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JEREMIAH.*

CHAPTER I.

Contains the profihet's general commission^ and the promises of divine

assistance.

1 r I^HE words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests

X that [were] in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, about

2 three miles from Jerusalem: To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in

* As Mr. Orton has said nothmg of Jeremiah/ nor of the time in which 4e lived, I have taken the liberty to prefix Dr. Smith's mtroduction to this prophet. It seems to be a iudicious abstract from Dr. Blayney's notes on Jeremiah.

'Jeremiah was a priest of the tribe of Beniamin, and called to the prophetic office when very young. He entered upon it about seventy years after the death of Isaiah, and exercised it for about forty two years, with great faithfulness and zeal, and in very unfavouranle circumstances. At the time that he began to prophesy, the sins of the Jews were come to their full measure. After a reformatinn had been in vain attempted by Josiah, to punish a nation, unworthy of such a sovereign, God called him carlv away. His two sons, who successively mounted the throne after htm, were as remarkable for vice, as the father was for virtue- The first, (Shallum, or Jehoahaz) after a reign of three months, was carried captive to Egypt, where he died: his brother Jehoiakim, on condition of paying a large sum ot money to the kina; of Egypt, was allowed to succeed him; but the Babylonians, about three years after, having made a descent on |udea, ami taken Jerusalem, he was obliged to swear fealty to the king of Babylon, who carried tum w ith a number of captives, among whom were many of the children of the first families, together with a great part of the sacred vessels of the temple. Jehoiakim however was left in possessinn of the throne, on condition of his paying a yearly trinute; but refusing to fulfil his promise after the first three years, the king ot Babylon sent florae forces. ioined by the Syrians and Ammonites, to commit depredations on his country. 'I his Uiey did for several years, always carrying off spoils and captives. Jehoiakim, in attempting to repel one of their invasions, was slain without the gates of the city, and his body* after having been treated with much ignominy, was cast into the fields without the honours of a burial. Hi? son Jeconiah, though very young, succeeded him; and in rebellion and vice followed his example. After a reign of only three months, Nebuchadnezzar, who had come to Judea in person, carried him. and almost all the people of any note in the country, captive to Babylon. The golden vessels, that had remained in the temple, were likewise carried off" at this time. Zedekiah, uncle to Jeconiah, was permitted to succeed him, on swearing allegiance and becoming tributary to the king of Babylon: but, reliing on the h«sistance of Egypt, he revolted soon after, and drew on himself and on his country the full vengeance of the Babylonian monarch, aa related in the fifty second chapter. The subsequent transaction* of the murder of Galaliah (who was left governor in the country) and the retreat of the remaining Jews into Egypt, (whithnr they were accompauied by Jeremiah, who is said to have been there put to death) may be seen from chapter forty to forty four inclusively. Soon after the taking of Jerusalem, and the carrying of Jtuhh into captivity, Nebuchadnezzar brought on the Tyri^ns, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Philistines, and other neighbouring natinns. That destructinn whi-h the prophets of God foretold and threatened; he likewise ravaged Egypt, and either killed or enslaved all the Jews who had fled thithtr for refuge. Thus matters stood, till,at the precise period foretold by Isaiah and the other prophets, the Babylonian monarchy was overturned, and the Jews restored to their libcrty and their country by Cyrus. This short view of the history of Jeremiah's times, may in some measure help us to understand his prophecies, of which the general suhiects are, the idolatry and other sins of rhe Jews ; the iudgu* nts tint were Impending on that account together with their future restoratinn and deliverance, interspersed with several intimations of the Messiah. From rtaif nrcwnt, however, we must except the forty fifth chapter, which relates to his disciple Baruch, and the six following, which respect rhe f.ite of other natinns.

The sryle of Jeremiah is beautiful and render to a hi^h degree ; especially when he haa occasion to excite the softer passions of yr'ief :»nd pity, which is not seldom the case in the first parts of the prophecy. It is likewise on many occasinns verv elegant and sublime, especially toward the end. (ch. xlv. li ) where this prophet approaches even ro the maiesty of Isaiah. 'Hie historical narratives which are occasionally introduced, arc written in a plain prosaic stvle. which is the fittest for narratives' \

The chapters are not now arranged according to the order of time in wtuih shay Wct« delivered: but of this notice wiil be taken in the com sc of the ixposltiou.

Vol. V. Nn

3 the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Je» hoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month, -when the city and temple were de»troyed; so that he prophesied about forty two years, and lived to see most of his prophecies fulfilled.

4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me in a vision, saying,

5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, I had thee in my view, and before thou eamest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, set thee afiartfor this office, [and] I ordained thee a prophet

6 unto the nations, to other nations as well as to the Jews.• Then said I, Ah, Lord God ! behold, I cannot speak: for I [am] a child; I cannot speak with due gravity and authority before great

7 fiersonages. But the Lord said unto me, Say not I [am] a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and what

8 soever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of thcir faces when they look big and angry: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. A necessary encouragement, as I war to refirove the firinces and priests for their faults, as well as the fieofile : and, to confirm me against my fears, he gave me a sign;

9 Then the Loud put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth ; I have given thee the gift of utterance, and instructed

10 thee in my will. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant ; / have commissioned thee to foretell the destruction of some kingdoms, and the preservation and restoration of othcrs.\

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou ? And I said, I see a rod of an almond

12 tree. Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen, or judged right: for I will hasten my word to perform it ; as an almond is one of the first trees that blossoms in the sfiring, and hastens as it were to seize the first opportunity to blossom, so Twill

13 hasten the accomplishment of thy predictions. And the word of tht Lord came unto me the second time, saying. What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot, a boiling pot, or furnace; and the face thereof [is] toward the north ; the mouth of the furnace, into which the fire was put, opened to the north ; or rather, (as in the margin of our bibles) from the face of the north, from

14 whence the evil was to come. Then the Lord said unto me, Out of the north, that is, from the Babylonians and Chaldeans, an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land ; they shalt throw the city and country into all the agitation and confusion ifa

15 boiling furnace. For, lo, I will call all the families of the king

• Thi* wn designed fur his encouragement, and is oxactly agreeable to the accormt StPaul tf'vcs of himself, Gat. i. 15, 16.

t The prophets .ire ,aid To do what thev deel tred rind wonld do; md is it was cmromi. rr with Goil to impr. 3> the mind, of the prophets and people- by cort;;iu, signs or rmMcms, 90 he docs here.

doms of the north, saith the Lord ; the king of Babylon and his allies, a numerous army; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates at Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah ; they shall encamp against and take possession of

16 their cities and palaces. And I will utter my judgments, pass sentence and execute judgment against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands; my judgments shall declare their wickedness, and my indignation con

17 firm the truth of thy prophecies. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, go about it vigorously and resolutely, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them ; lest I make thee ashamed of thy cowardice, and bring upon thee that ivhich thou fearest.

18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, I have viade thee like a city fortified ivith pillars of iron and wall* of brass, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, who shall batter thee with their power, against the priests thereof; who will thunder their church censures against thee, and against the people of the land, who will shoot out their arrows, even bitter

19 words. And they shall fight against thee ; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I [am] with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee; they shall not be able on the whole ta hurt thee.

REFLECTIONS.

1. T ~K 7HOMSOEVER God commissions for any service, he VV will qualify and help. He knows what use to make of every man; sees what services they are fit for; and if he calls them out to difficult work, they may expect, and, if they follow his*providence, may depend upon, peculiar assistance. Though a modest diffidence is very becoming in all, especially in young persons, yet there is a false modesty which ought to be avoided. This prevents many from praying in their families, or with their friends, and from speaking of divine things. Cut when God calls us out to difficult services, we must not make excuses, but cheerfully undertake them, in a dependence on that help of his Spirit which he has promised; so that as our day is, our strength shall be.

2. We see that courage and zeal becomes the Lord's prophetsand ministers. They are to speak all that he commands; and not nhun to declare the whole counsel of Cod They are to reprove and admonish faithfully and tenderly ; and this requires great resolution. If they shun their duty for fear of the reproach and contempt of men, God will make them contemptible. If they are faithful, he will bear them up, and make them honourable in the eyes of all that are wise and good.

3. The fear of man bringeth a xnare. This was the prophet Jeremiah's infirmity, znl it prevails upon many to neglect their duty. and to comply with sinful, dangerous customs. The fear of being reproached or laughed at, leads many young persons in particular, into guilt, shame, and ruin. The best preservative against this snare is the fear of God ; a reverence of his authority, a sense of his presence, and a dread of being confounded and condemned by him. It is therefore excellent advice of our Lord, which we should always remember and act Opon, fear not them who can kill the body; but fear him, who can kill the body and cast the soul into Ml; I say unto you, fear him.

CHAP. II. 1—20.

We had the prophet'» commission in the former chapter; here he entera on his work i and in this fiart of the chapter represents to the Jews their ingratitude to God, their unparalleled wickedness, and the dishonour and ruin they were bringing on themselves by it.

1 TV/TOREOVER the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

2 _LV-L Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land [that was] not sown; / remember thy obedience and subjection, when thou wast first formed into a people, and entered into a covenant with Godât mount Sinai, when thoufblfow

3 edst the cloud, and attendedst the service of the tabernacle.* Israel [was] holiness unto the Lord, [and] the nrst fruits of his increase; like the first fruits, they are fieculiarly valuable in his sight: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall cotne upon them, saith the Lord ; I will severely punish all tha: shall attack

4 them. Hear ye the word of the Lord, О house of Jacob, and

5 all the families of the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity hare your fathers found in me, what injustice, unfaithfulness, or unkindness, that they are gone far from me, and

have walked after vanity, and are become vain? that they have

6 practised idolatry and are become like the heathen? Neither said they, Where [is] the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, they format the kindness I showed to their fathers, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?

7 -where, there ivas no thoroughfare, no dwelling? And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination by your sins, especially idol

8 airy. And it is no mander you did so, fur The priests said not, Where [is] the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me

• Or rather, »ccordin^ to Dr. BUyncy, / !ia-x called tt mind in f*v Selulf the kindnen ihmn thu in tiiyyntlh, trc.

not , they took no pains to learn and preach my will: the pastors also, the governors and magistrates, transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, in the name cf Baal, and walked after [things that] do noi profit; that were extremely 9 hurtful; this was the sourer of their degeneracy. Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children's children will I plead: / will lay before you your fngrati

10 tude and sin, both by prophets and judgments: For pass over the isles of Chittim, the politer nations of Europe, and see; and send unto Kedar, the barbarous nations that lay south cast, and con

11 sider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. Math a nation changed [their] gods, which [are] yet no gods? they keep to the religion of their forefathers, though it be false, absurd, and impious: but my people have changed their glory, their relation to God, and his presence among them, for [that which] doth not

12 profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lor D; it is such a thing, that the sun might veil his face at the sight, and the lights cf heat

13 en shrink away and vanish from their places; For my people have committed two evils ; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water; by worshipping idols and forming alliances with idolatrous princes, they have acted as foolishly as a man would do who should forsake a pure running stream, for a little muddy water in a cistern, and th-it a broken cistern, out of which the water, such as it was, would quickly run.

14 [Is] Israel a servant? [is] he a homeborn [slave ?] why is he spoiled? Why is Israel a slave to his enemies? was he born such a one? No: but he is spoiled as if he were, and this is owing

15 to his sin. The young lions roared upon him, [and] yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhab

16 itant, by the tyrannical kings of the neighbouring countries. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes, two principal cities of Egypt, have broken the crown of thy head ; the Egyptians have devoured the best part of thy country, and sunk thee into contempt.

17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way? when he was leading thee, and would have been thy help and insured thy

18 prosperity? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor, or the Nile? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river Eu

19 phrates, that is, to form alliances toith Egypt and Assyria? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that [it is] an evil [thing] and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear [is] not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts; thy sin shall be thy punishment; the princes thou hast cnurted shall be a scourge to thee; and thy cclumities shall convince thee, what a foolish, wicked part thou hast acted, in forsaking God.

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