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at home; to build and plant, not fearing that their masters would deprive them of their possessions ; and to encourage themselves with an assurance that they or their children should see better days. This is an important lesson to us. Our situations and circumstances in life are of God's ordering, v, 4. We are not to overlook, or be untbankful for, the comforts we have, because some are lost. If we are removed to a distance from our relations and friends, and grafted into new families and settlements, let us accommodate ourselves to them ; consult their peace and comfort ; and by that means we shall promote our own..
3. How reasonable is it that we should pray for the land of our nativity, v. 7. If the Israelites were to consult and pray for the peace of an heathen, tyrannical, and oppressive king and people, among whom they were settled ; it is much more our duty, by loyalty, subjection, and every other instance of good behaviour, to seek the peace of our native country, and the prosperity of the good government we live under ; to pray for our king, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead peaceable and quiet lives, in all godliness and honesty.
4. How happy are the people of God in their communion with him, and his thoughts of peace toward them! There was a way to the throne of grace in Babylon, as well as in Jerusalem. We have all access to God by prayer. Let us value this privilege, remembering the qualifications of acceptable devotion ; that it is seeking God, and searching for him with our whole heart, that is, with sincerity and fervency. His thoughts toward his people are thoughts of peace, even when he sees it best to correct them, and though they may imagine that they are thoughts of evil. There is an end which they expect, even their settlement in the heavenly Canaan, and everlasting rest there ; and of this they shall not be disappointed. But those who, like Shemaialı, rebel against God, forfeit the privileges of his people. God will do his people much good; more than they 'can ask or think : but those who are rebellious against his word and commandments shall never see it. The end of the righteous is peace ; but there is no freace, saith my God, to the wicked.
Contains gracious promises of God to Israel, and that he would remem.
ber the covenant made with their fathers,
I THE word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 1 Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write
thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book ; because they refer to distant events, viz, 10 the return of the Jews from captivity, and even to Christ's time ; they quill be encourage- ments to them in the mean while, and the events will be a proof of
3 my foreknowledge and providence. For, lo, the days come,
saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD : and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall
possess it. 4 And these [are] the words that the LORD spake concerning 5 Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the LORD : We
have heard the voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace, as 6 the false prophets foretold. Ask ye now, and see whether a man
doth travail with child ? Wherefore do I see, not one or two, but every man with his hands on his loins, as 'a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness ; they carry concern in their looks, and uneasiness in their behaviour, Alas! for that day, the day of the destruction of the city and temple, and the cafia tivity of the residue of the people, [is] great, so that none [is]
like it : it [is] even the time of Jacob's trouble ; but he shall 8 be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, that
distant period of signal and providential events, saith the Lord of hosts, [that] I will break his yoke, the king of Babylon's yoke, from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall
no more serve themselves of him, that is, of thy flossessions an! 9 labours : But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David
their king, whom I will raise up unto them ; they shall adhere faithfully to true religion, and serve the Messiah, here called David, because he was his son according to the flesh, the heir to his throne, and in whom the prophecies relating 10 David were
fulfilled, 10. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD;
neither be dismayed, O Israel : for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity ; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make (him) afraid ; thou shalt enjoy great quietness under the Persian monarchy, and still more in the latter day. Far I (am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee : though I make a full end of all nations, of the Assyrians and Chaldeans, whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee :* but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether
unpunished ; though I chastise, I will not utterly destroy thee, 12 For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise (is) incurable, (and) thy
wound [is] grievous ; it seems to be so, and is so, by human pos. 13 er. [There is) none to plead, or judge, thy cause, that thou
mayest be bound up : thou hast no healing medicines, but ott 14 like a distempered body, dying for want of help. All thy lovers,
or allies, have forgotten thee; they seek thee not ; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity ; [be. cause) thy sins were increased; I have treated thee with great
* This was remarkably fulfilled in the Jews being kept a distinct people, when these nations, once so populous and mighty, were quite lost.
15 severity because thine iniquities are great. Why criest thou for
thine affliction ? why dost thou lament and expostulate with me? thy sorrow [is] incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity :
(because) thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto 16 thee. Therefore, or ra'her, yet surely, all they that devour
thee shall be devoured ; and all thine adversaries, every one of
them, shall go into captivity ; and they that spoil thee shall be a 17 spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. For I
will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord ; because they called thee an outcast, [saying,] This [is] Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
Thus saith the LORD ; Behold, I will bring again the captir. ity of Jacob's tents, alluding 10 their formerly dwelling in tenis, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, or hill, and the palace shall remain
after the manner thereof, that is, the temple, God's palace, shall 19 be reestablished upon iis former plan. And out of them, the tem.
file and privale houses, shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry, that is, cheerfulness and thankfulness :
and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few ; I will also 20 glorify them, and they shall not be small, or broughi low. Their
children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me ; their children shall inherit their fathers' honours and estates, the church and the commonwealth shall
be restored as brfore,* and I will punish all that oppress them. 21 And their nobles, or, noble One, that is, the Alessiah,t shall be
of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them ; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shallapproach unto me; they shall have no foreign governor, but apo proach to God, consult him, and be judged by his law : for who [is] this that engaged his heart to approach unto me ? saith the
LORD ; without God's favourable interposition who could do so ? 22 And ye shall be my people again, and adhere to my instituted
worship, and I will be your God, 10 protect and bless you. Yet
in the mean time, 23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a
continuing whirlwind : it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked who will not repent, and it shall be a continual whirlwind, not like a common one, which is violent but short. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done [it,) and until he have performed the intents of his heart : in the latter days ye shall consider it ; when there shall be a general conversion of the Jews, then they shall fully understand the meaning of such prophecies as these.
• Some understand it of their children being taken into covenant rich Gojby baptism, on their conversion, as they formerly were by circumcision.
+ The word signifies, the migh:y One, and seems rather to refer to Christ, who should draw near to God 8 a priest, as well as a king. Then follows a note of admiration, It is wonderful it should be so! Who is so entirely devoted to my service, and can appioach to inc as mediator, but He?
1. TT is both our duty and happiness to serve the Lord. To ac
I knowledge God as our creator, preserver, and happiness ; and, by his appointment, to serve Jesus Christ, to whom he hath given the throne of David ! We are to reverence and honour him as a king ; to submit to his laws, and trust in his protection : and our deliverance from the power of spiritual enemies, is an unanswerable reason why we should serve him in holiness and righteousness all our days.
2. See the unreasonableness of anxious fear in God's servants, even when their circumstances are most distressing, v, 10. Israel is rebuked for their fears, (though they were punished with severity, and their wound seemed incurable) because they had so many promises to trust in. Under pressing dangers, or long and heavy affliction, we are ready to despair ; but God hath promised support and relief : and he is able to grant them, when earthly helps fail, and when, to human appearance, there is no hope. Our afflictions will have an happy issue ; let us then trust in the Lord for ever.
3. Let us rejoice in the mediation of Jesus Christ, our great high priest : he is not only our governor, but our intercessor also : he draws near to God on our behalf; God has appointed and caused him to do so, that we might have strong consolation : he engaged his own heart to do it ; voluntarily and resolutely undertook this service. As we hope for the benefit of his mediation, let us engage our hearts likewise ; and while in his name we come boldly to the throne of grace, let us approach it with seriousness, reverence, and godly fear.
CHAP. XXXI. 1—26.
In this chapter gracious promises to Israel are continued ; but it is hard to say, whether they refer to their return from captivity, or to gospel times : perhaps the former part of the chapter may refer to their return from Babylon, and the latter to their conversion in the last days.
1 A T the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of
o all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus saith the Lord, The people (which were) left of the
sword of Pharaoh, found grace in the wilderness ; [even] Israel, when I went to cause him to rest ; I led them through
the wilderness, and conducted them to their rest in Canaan, how 3 iherefore can they doubt of my favour? The Lord hath appeared
of old unto me, (saying,] Yea, I have loved thee Isract with an everlasting love : therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee; what I did for thy fathers was founded on covenant love,
4 therefore I will continue to be gracious to thee. Again I will
build thee, and thou shalt be built, o virgin of Israel; I will restore thee to thy former state, and thou shalt be reformed from idolatry, and become pure again like a virgin : thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of
them that make merry ; thou shall have all marks of civil and 5 religious joy. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains
of Samaria : the planters shall plant, and shall eat [them] as
common things ; their vines shall yield such plenty of fruit that 6 every one may eat of it without restriction. For there shall be a
day, [that] the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim, which was near Samaria, where there used to be the greatest opposition : he worship at Jerusalem, shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God; an allusion to centinels or watch
men calling the people together on particular occasions, especially at 7 festivals.t For thus saith the LORD ; Sing with gladness for
Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations, when ye see the beginning of deliverance : publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel ; complete this good
work ; or rather, Thou hast saved them, and we firaise thee for 8 thy faithfulness. Behold, I will bring them from the north coun
try, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, [and] with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; those that are least able to
travel shall be inclined and enabled to come : a great company 9 shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with
supplications will I lead them ; godly sorrow for past sins shall mingle itself with all their joy : I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble ; I will provide for them, and protect them in their journey :
for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim (is) my firstborn, and 10 I will restore them to their former state. Hear the word of the
LORD, O) ye nations, and declare [it] in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd (doth] his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Ja
cob, and ransomed him from the hand of [him that was] stronger 12 than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of
Zion, and shall flow together in great multitudes, like the slreams of a river, to the goodness of the LORD, to share in the good things of the Lord, in the common supplies of life, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd ; and their soul shall be as a watered garden ; the influences of divine grace shall complete their joy; and they shall not
sorrow any more at all ; they shall have no such trouble again for 13 a long time, as they have lately experienced. Then shall the vir
• There was a law, that when a vine was planted the fruit should not be tonched for three years, the produce of the fourth was consecrated to God, and in theatitih it might be eaten as a connon thing.
This is customary still among the Turks, where the priests proclaim from the cops of their churches, that the hour of prayer is conne.