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REFLECTIONS.

THIS short chapter is exceeding useful, as it gives us a ker

I to some of the most mysterious dispensations of Providence. We learn,

1. That one event in this respect happens to all. The good and the bad alike are carried captive ; there is no knowing good or evil by any thing that happens under the sun. Therefore we must not censure or judge our brethren, when they meet with great calamities, nor reckon their sufferings to be divine judgments.

2. We see how differently the same afflictions work upon the good and bad. These first captives seemed to be in very deplorable circumstances; they were driven from their country ; lost their estates, their substance, and liberty; and were carried into a heathen land, among strangers, enemies, and oppressors ; far from their friends, and the house and ordinances of God. Yet this was all for their good ; to cure them of idolatry, and bring them to know and serve the God of Israel : while their countrymen, though spared for a time, were at length carried away for their hurt and ruin. Thus afflictions are still different in their effects on the righteous and on the wicked. God's intentions to his people are most kind when his judgments seem most severe : but to his enemies they are not the correction of a father, but the sword of an executioner.

3. We are here taught the design of aflictions, v. 7. viz. to bring us to know God, to return to him with our whole heart, and so become his people. Though afflictions are adapted to answer this end, yet they will not do it without divine agency ; therefore God promises, I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord. This therefore should be the subject of our prayers, especially in seasons of distress, that God would give us such an heart : and then will he fulfil that glorious promise, that all things shall work together for our good.

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This chanter contains a profihecy of the destruction of Judea and the

neighbouring countries by Nebuchadnezzar.

T

THE word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the peo

1 ple of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, when he reigned with his father, that (was]

the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and then the 2 seventy years of captivity began ; The which Jeremiah the pro

phet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabi3 tants of Jerusalem, saying, From the thirteenth year of Josiah

the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that [is] the

three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking ; but 4 ye have not hearkened. And the LORD hath sent unto you all

his servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them ;] but 5 ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. They

said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD

hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever : 6 And go not after other gods to serve them; and to worship

them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your 7 hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened

unto me, saith the LORD ; that ye might provoke me to anger

with the works of your hands to your own hurt. 8 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts ; Because ye have not 9 heard my words, Behold, I will send and take all the families

of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, whom I will make use of as a scourge ufion the nations, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round

about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an aston10 ishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I

will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride,

the sound of the milstones, and the light of the candle ; theu Il shall have neither trade nor pleasure. And this whole land shall

be a desolation, (and) an astonishment; and these nations shall 12 serve the king of Babylon serenty years. And it shall come to

pass, when seventy years are accomplished, [that] I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for

their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it 13 perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my

words which I have pronounced against it, [even] all that is

written'in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all 14 the nations. For many nations and great kings shall serve •

themselves of them also ; or, for of them, even of these, shall many nations and great kings exact service ; that is, Cyrus and Darius, the Medes and Persians, and their allies : and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to

the works of their own hands. 15 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me ; Take the

wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to

whom I send thee, to drink it, that is, prophesy against them. 16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, they shall be

intoxicated, lose their understanding, and act like madmen, be17 cause of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I

the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink, to whom the LORD had sent me ; an allusion to the custom of

drinking round in company ; and the prophets are said to do 18 that which they foretold God would do : [To wit,] Jerusalem, and

the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes there

of, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and

a curse ; as [it is] this day ; the judgment is already begun in 19 Judea, and some are carried captive; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and 20 his servants, and his princes, and all his people; And all the

mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, or Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, a mingled peo

pole near the Rea sea, governors of little states, and heads of clans, 21 22 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, And all the • kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the

isles which [are] beyond the sea, or, regions by the sea side, 93 which lay on the midland sea, what we call the Levant, Dedan, and

Tema, and Buz, and all (that are) in the utmost corners, that

have their coast insulated, or their hair polled, that is, the Arabia 74 clars, And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the ming. 25 led people that dwell in the desert, And all the kings of Zimri, 26 and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, And

all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which (are] upon the face of the earth ; the whole empire of Nebuchadnezzar, who had conquered , almost all the earth : and the king of Sheshach, that is, Babylon, 27 shall drink after them. Therefore thou shalt say unto them,

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel ; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spew, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you ; that is, ye shall do 80, and

be so confounded, that ye shall not be able to do any thing, either by 28 skill or force. And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at

thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith 29 the LORD of hosts, Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to

bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should re be utterly unpunished ? Ye shall not be unpunished : for I will

call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the ! LORD of hosts, for learning your idolatry, and therefore certainly 30 ufron you who taught them. Therefore prophesy thou against

them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation ; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation ; he shall give a shout, as they that tread [the grapes.] against all the inhabitants of the

earth ; that is, he shall inake himself known by denouncing and er. 31 pculling dreadful judgments. A noise shall come [even) to the

ends of the earth ; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will judge them and sel

himself against them; he will give them (that are] wicked to the 32 sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Be

hold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great 33 whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And

the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from (one) end of the earth even unto the (other) end of the earth : they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried ; they shall be dung upon the ground.

34 Howl, ye shepherds, ye firinces and magistrates, and cry ;

and wallow yourselves in the ashes,] ye principal of the flock, ye great men: for the days of your slaughter and of your disper

sions are accomplished ; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel 35 that is broken, and no longer valued or regarded. And the shep

herds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to 36 escape. A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of

the principal of the fock, (shall be heard :) for the Lord hath 37 spoiled their pasture. And the peaceable habitations, or, the

habitations of Salem, or Jerusalem, its palaces and houses, are cut 38 down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. He hath forsak

en his covert, as the lion; quho is come abroad to range for firey : for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.

REFLECTIONS.

1. M OD keeps an exact account what religious advantages we

U have been favoured with, and how long we have enjoyed them, v. 3, 4. He reminds the Jews of this, to shame their ignorance and disobedience. An awful thought: which it becomes us to enter into, that we may consider what improvement we have made of our advantages, and what account we shall give of them, when for all these things God shall bring us into judgment,

2. See what use God makes of the princes of the earth ; to execute his purposes, v.9. Nebuchadnezzar was pursuing his ambitious, covetous ends; but God was fulfilling his own designs by him. Those who are most troublesome to God's people, are but his rod : the tyrants and conquerors of the earth are but fulfilling his pleasure : and at length their time shall come to fall, their ambition and cruelty shall be punished. It is not what men do, but the temper and principle from which they do it, that render's them acceptable to God : let us therefore judge nothing before the time.

3. See what it is that provokes God to punish, viz. disobedience, v. 6. Let sinners take warning, and return to God and their duty; then they will escape final hurt. Let God's people be careful to behave in an holy, regular manner; then, though he may chasten them for the trial and improvement of their graces, it will be all for their good.

4. If God afflicts his own people, what have not his enemies to fear ? v. 29. If Judah, that had some good people among them, suffered so much, surely the idolatrous nations about them would suffer more. If good men are afficted, what must the wicked expect? For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at 118, what shall the end be of them tha: obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ?

5. Let us observe and lament the miseries and desolations of war. The nations are here described as all drunken and intaluated; which, by the way, shows us what a beastly, detestable vice drunkenness is. God makes use of this emblem to show how they should stagger in their counsels ; be all in perplexity and confusion, and totally incapable of defending themselves ; the strongest and greatest men should be thrown into hurry and consternation ; the peaceable habitations destroyed ; and the quiet in the land suffer, as well as others. This is a case much to be lamented ; and the continuance of the divine displeasure on the nations deprecated. But whatever the times are, let the wicked remember, that in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture, and the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

CHAP. XXVI.

This chapter gives on account of the danger which Jeremiah was

brought into for delivering his message from the Lord faithfully.

i TN the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah

1 king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD ; Stand in the court of the Lord's house,

probably at one of the solemn feasts, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them ; diminish

not a word, as you may be tempted to do, the message being so likely 3 to provoke them : If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which

I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4 And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD ; If ye

will not hearken to me to walk in my law, which I have set be5 fore you : To hearken to the words of my servants the pro

phets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending 6 (them,] but ye have not hearkened; Then will I make this

house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the na

tions of the earth ; when a curse is denounced upon a city, it ng shall be, "God make it like Jerusalem.' So the priests and the

false prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord, that is, in one of the courts,

which were all called the house, or temple. 8 Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of

speaking all that the Lord had commanded įhim] to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die, because thou hast

disturbed the government, and discouraged the people from defendo 9 ing their country. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant ? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, and

laid an information against him before the princes, in the courts of 10 justice. When the princes of Judah heard these things, then

they came up froin the king's house unto the house of the

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