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your doings, saith the Lord : and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it; your numerous stately buildings, which are like a forest, shall all be destroyed.
1 Chap. XXII. Thus saith the Lord ; Go down to the house
2 of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, And say, Hear the word of the Lord, О king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that
3 enter in by these gates: Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent
4 blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his
5 servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a
6 desolation. For thus saith the Lord unto the king's house, of Judah ; Thou [art] Gilead unto me,/or wealth andjilenty, [and] the head of Lebanon, for statcliness and magnificence: [yet] surely I will make thee a wilderness, [and] cities [which] are
1 not inhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons, that is, hewers ninth axes in their hands: and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast [them] into
8 the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this'great city? he once delighted in it, but
9 nota it is burned and destroyed. Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.
I. T TTF. must not complain when things are bad with us, beVV cause: they may mend. Jeremiah was in a very fretful« uneasy situation at the conclusion of the last chapter. Here w« find him applied to by the king; an honourable message was sent him, and great respect shown him. Let us therefore not despair when our troubles are greut and heavy, but hope for better days; continue to honour God, and then he will honour us.
2. Those who despise God's word and ministers in their prosperity, will Ik: glac! of their help in the day of affliction. This was the case with Zedekmh and his people. Jeremiah had preached to them in vain, and they had not humbled themselves at the word of the Lord; hut now they desire the prophet to inquire of God for them, and to pray for them; but the answer is a prediction of vengeance. Those who affront or forget Ciad, when all t;oes well ami smooth, will lie glad of his help, and fly to him in the day of troul-lc: especially those who put the evil day far from thon). Because be hath done wondrous works for others, they hope he will do the like for them: but yet they will not imitate their good example; and therefore they have no reason to expect it. Let us be ambitious to secure the divine friendship, by obeying his word and hearkening to his ministers; then will he make our prosperity safe and comfortable, and be our support when trouble comelh upon us.
3. See how vain all opposition to God is, and how necessary it ie that we submit to him. This people trusted in the strength of their city, and insolently said, 'Who shall enter our habitations?' but God threatens to set his face against them, and to be their enemy; and then no fortification nor power could save them. Thus confident are the hopes of sinners. But if men will rebel against the Most High, he will fight against them, г>. 5. and who can tell the power of his anger? Let us therefore taie hold (¡f his sirwgth, and be at peace with him. He sets before us the way of life and the way of death very plainly: let us then submit to him, obey his word, and live.
4. The great design of all these dispensations of Providence, was to promote righteousness. In all the messages of Jeremiah and the other prophets to the people, this is insisted on, that they put away their iniquities; the reigning vices of the times; that they execute judgment and righteousness; do no wrong, but behave in an upright conscientious manner. The intention of all God's precepts and threatenings is to promote righteousness. This shows of how much importance it is in his sight; how necessary to secure his favour, and the prosperity of the nation. Let us therefore fallow after rig/.teousness; for the righteous Lord loves it, and it shall f>e well with those who practise it.
CHAP. XXII. 10, to the end.
The judgment of SAallum, of Jehoiakim, and of Coniafi.
10 TTTEEP ye not for the dead, for ting Joxiah, who wan slain in
V V tattle, neither bemoan him: [but] weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his na
11 live country. For thus saith the Lord touching Shallum, or Jehoahaz, the son of Joslah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his fiither, which went forth out of this place;
12 He shall not return thither any more: But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land Do more.* ,
13 Wo unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; [that] useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work, but di
• Phamoh had carrieil him captive into Ivgyp* and made Jrhoi-.kiui hh brother Xtrig in
fc¡¡ .i'-v-l; to whom the ucxt wcivls belong.
14 frauds the workmen of their wages; That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows;
15 and [it is] ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign, because thou closest [thyself] in cedar? -will thy fine house be a fortress and a defence to thee? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, [and] then [it was] well with him? thy father lived in an honourable and comfortable
16 manner, suitably to his rank and character. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then [it was] well [with him: was] not this to know me? saith the Lord; this was the effect rf his piety, and an evidence of his good understanding, though he had not so
17 ßne a futíate. But thine eyes and thine heart [are] not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for op
18 pression, and for violence to do [it.] Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, They shall not lament for him, [saying,] Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, [saying,] Ah lord ! or, Ah his glory! they shall not lament for him as a near relation, nor as a peojile do for a goodfirince; all his glory is -vanished and de
19 parted. He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.* Л message is then sent to Jehoiakim, or Jeconiah his son, here called, by way of contempt, Conia/i, and to the people.
20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry ; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from the passages: for all thy lovers are destroyed;
21 thy allies, especially the Egyptians, have failed thee. I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; [but] thou saidst, I will not hear. This [hath been] thy manner from thy youth, that thou obey
22 edst not my voice. The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity ; thy civil and ecclesiastical governors shall be destroyed as fruit is by a blasting ivind: surely then shall thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wicked
23 ness. О inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious shall thou be, how humble and subminsive, when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail ¡t
24 [As] I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my light hand, (aproverbial expression for a thing that is very dear and valuable,) yet
25 would I pluck thee thence; And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand [of them] whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of
26 Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will casi thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country,
27 where ye were not born ; and there ye shall clie.J Lut to the
* Accoidinftly Josepbus tells us that he was bl.-iin in a sally, when the Chaldean» caroe against Jeius.ilcm; and lh.it his dead body being fouiid, was treated in this come mptuous manner.
•*• The. Jewish nation is here compared toa woman living in luxury, in a spltndtd palace, wamscoaten with oe<k»r; but, as the lines! house would not prtvcnr her ('inn when tr««vjil c:tn«e upon her, so Cud would bring sut h pains uponthtni, that all tl.cir ^landeur, magnificence* and pride should nut support their hearts under it.
Î As his mother y-,t* probably concerned in hardening him 3gauul tbc messages of CoJ, to they (hould be л grief of hcjrt to t*vh oilier.
land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not re
28 turn. [Is] this man Coniah a despised broken idol? [is he] a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure? though once he was worshipped like an idol, he sjiall be broken dawn, stripped of his royalty, trodden under foot, and despised as a broken pitcher: wherefore are they, cast out, ivho would have thought he should come to such a condition, he and his seed, that is, the royal family, or the children born to him in Babylon, (for he had none before the cafitivity) and are
29 cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, 0 50 land of Judah, hear the word of the Lord, Thus saith the
Lokd, Write ye this man childless, a man [that] shall not prosper in his day: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of Da\id, and ruling any more in Judah; that is, he shall have no child to be his successor in the kingdom•
I. TTTTIIEN good men die, and leave wicked children behind V V them, there is more reason to weep for the children than for the fathers, v. 10. Josiah was much lamented; yet there is little reason to lament the death of such men ; for they are gone to rest, are taken from the evil to come, and received to glory, beyond the reach of sin and sorrow ; but let us weep over their degenerate children, whose guilt is aggravated by the instructions and examples of their pious parents. They bring more dishonour on religion, and do more mischief to others, than those who have not such advantages; they are seldom reclaimed, but generally go on to treasure ufi to themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelat'on of the righteous judgment of God. Their case is indeed truly pitiable.
2. See the wickedness of injustice and oppression. The sources of it are pride and covetousness. Jehoiakim could not be content -with his father's palace, but must have a better. Yet he loved his money too well to part with it, and therefore never paid his workmen, or not so much as was their due. Thus many are fond of making a figure in life, who yet have not wherewith to support it: they get rich by the gains of oppression, and by screwing their workmen and servants, in order to increase their wealth, or support their extravagance. But we here see that Cod takes notice of and will punish the wrong which is done by rich and great men to their poor workmen and labourers ; for their cry cometh into the ears of t'le Lord God of hosts.
3. It would be more for the honour and happiness of children to imitate their fathers'virtues, than to exceed,them in wealth and grandeur. Jehoiakim is reminded of his father's piety and integrity, and of the prosperity and honour which attended him. There are many persons who, when they inherit their fathers' substance, de
• Zedekiah. his successor, being his ancle, none of his posterity tver sat npon thethrone: though bis grandson Zcrultbaixl was * governor, vet the royal power was pene ; apd h- cooid wot be said to ait oixrn the throne of David, as he was appointed by the king of Fusu.
spise their old notions, and fashions, and way of living ; while they are destitute of their excellencies. They make those inroads on justice and charily, which their fathers durst not have done : they are neither so just in their dealings, so charitable to the poor, nor so generous for the support of religion, as their ancestors were. Yet they think it is enough that they are richer than they. A sad exchange! Let us consider what was truly excellent in ourpredecesr sors, and imitate that; and if our circumstances are better than theirs, let us be more generous and charitable than they were. All the comfort they had in religion, should recommend it to us; and we should be followers of them, that it may be well with us now and for ever, as it undoubtedly is with those who lived and died under ils influence.
4. We are taught the danger of prosperity. These unhappy princes are melancholy instances how sadly wealth and power may be abused ; but the worst effect of prosperity is, that it puffs up men's minds, т». 21. They think themselves too wise to need ad^ vice; despise the word of God, and its preachers; and take fire at the most distant hint of reproof. It is a wretched thing when prosperity hardens the mind against religious impressions ; when men's hearts rise with their fortunes, and they proceed to contemn God, as well as man. The case may soon be altered with them; and they will then be as abject and mean, as they were before insolent, v. 23. It is well if adversity makes them truly humble and penitent. Let us take heed, brethren, lest we forget God and our duty in prosperous seasons; and therefore, not de high mind* td, but fear.
The firofihccy goes on to threaten the rulers and guides of the fieofile ¡ but concludes irit/i firomises of deliverances from cafiti-vity, of better times under the Messiah, and nf a future restoration of the Jeias ti their oiun land, v. l—8: the ninth verse begins another subject; Jerimiah cohorts the fieople not to listen to false firofi/iels, and threaten» the pretendere to iimftiiatian and the scojfers ct true •'trqftaccy.
1 "Т Д Т О be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the
VV sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord ; that is, to the
2 ecclesiastical and civil governor«. Then-fore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed, or should have Jed, my people; Yeliave scattered my flock, and driven them away by your ill exam/lie and want of care, sind have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the
3_Loi!D. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all
countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again
4 to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I