Jeremiah 22 commentary

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JEREMIAH 22 COMMENTARY EDITED BY GLENN PEASE Judgment Against Wicked Kings 1 This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: BARNES, "Go down - i. e., from the temple to the king’s house. Compare 2Ch_ 23:20. CLARKE, "Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word - This is supposed by Dahler to have been published in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah. GILL, "Thus saith the Lord, go down to the house of the king of Judah,.... To the palace of Jehoiakim, who was now the reigning king; the prophet is bid to go down to it, because, as Kimchi thinks, he was now upon the mountain of the house, or in the temple, from whence to the king's house there was a descent: and speak there this word; of prophecy, relating to the several kings hereafter mentioned. This prophecy was delivered some years before that in the preceding chapter, though it stands here. It is indeed by some thought to be repeated here on occasion of what is before said, and for the confirmation of it, putting in mind of what he had prophesied in former times: and they render the words, with which it begins, "thus hath the Lord said" (x); so he said to me years ago; which agrees with what is now delivered. JAMISON, "Jer_22:1-30. Exhortation to repentance; Judgment on Shallum, Jehoiakim, and Coniah. Belonging to an earlier period than the twenty-first chapter, namely, the reigns of Shallum or Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jeconiah (Jer_22:10, Jer_22:13, Jer_22:20). 1

Transcript of Jeremiah 22 commentary


    Judgment Against Wicked Kings1 This is what the Lord says: Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there:

    BARNES, "Go down - i. e., from the temple to the kings house. Compare 2Ch_23:20.

    CLARKE, "Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word - This is supposed by Dahler to have been published in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah.

    GILL, "Thus saith the Lord, go down to the house of the king of Judah,.... To the palace of Jehoiakim, who was now the reigning king; the prophet is bid to go down to it, because, as Kimchi thinks, he was now upon the mountain of the house, or in the temple, from whence to the king's house there was a descent: and speak there this word; of prophecy, relating to the several kings hereafter mentioned. This prophecy was delivered some years before that in the preceding chapter, though it stands here. It is indeed by some thought to be repeated here on occasion of what is before said, and for the confirmation of it, putting in mind of what he had prophesied in former times: and they render the words, with which it begins, "thus hath the Lord said" (x); so he said to me years ago; which agrees with what is now delivered.

    JAMISON, "Jer_22:1-30. Exhortation to repentance; Judgment on Shallum, Jehoiakim, and Coniah.

    Belonging to an earlier period than the twenty-first chapter, namely, the reigns of Shallum or Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jeconiah (Jer_22:10, Jer_22:13, Jer_22:20). 1

  • Jeremiah often groups his prophecies, not by chronological order, but by similarity of subjects; thus Jer_22:3 corresponds to Jer_21:12. Grotius thinks that Jeremiah here repeats to Zedekiah what he had announced to that kings predecessors formerly(namely, his brother and brothers son), of a similar bearing, and which had since come to pass; a warning to Zedekiah. Probably, in arranging his prophecies they were grouped for the first time in the present order, designed by the Holy Spirit to set forth the series of kings of Judah, all four alike, failing in righteousness, followed at last by the King, a righteous Branch raised unto David, in the house of Judah, the Lord our righteousness (Jer_23:6). The unrighteousness of Zedekiah suggested the review of his predecessors failure in the same respects, and consequent punishment, which ought to have warned him, but did not.Go down The temple (where Jeremiah had been prophesying) was higher than the kings palace on Mount Zion (Jer_36:10, Jer_36:12; 2Ch_23:20). Hence the phrase, Go down.the king of Judah perhaps including each of the four successive kings, to whom it was consecutively addressed, here brought together in one picture: Shallum, Jer_22:11; Jehoiakim, Jer_22:13-18; Jeconiah, Jer_22:24; Zedekiah, the address to whom (Jer_21:1, Jer_21:11, Jer_21:12) suggests notice of the rest.

    K&D 1-9, "The king is warned against injustice, and the violent oppression of the poor and defenceless. - Jer_22:1. "Thus said Jahveh: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, Jer_22:2. And say: Hear the word of Jahveh, thou king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people, that go in by these gates. Jer_22:3. Thus hath Jahveh said: Do ye right and justice, and save the despoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; to stranger, orphan, and widow do no wrong, no violence; and innocent blood shed not in this place. Jer_22:4. For if ye will do this word indeed, then by the gates of this place there shall come in kings that sit upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. Jer_22:5. But if ye hearken not to these words, by myself have I sworn, saith Jahve, that this house shall become a desolation. Jer_22:6. For thus hath Jahveh said concerning the house of the king of Judah: A Gilead art thou to me, a head of Lebanon; surely I will make thee a wilderness, cities uninhabited; Jer_22:7. And will consecrate against thee destroyers, each with his tools, who shall hew down the choice of thy cedars and cast them into the fire. Jer_22:8. And there shall pass may peoples by this city, and one shall say to the other: Wherefore hath Jahveh done thus unto this great city? Jer_22:9. And they will say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of Jahveh their God, and worshipped other gods and served them."

    Go down into the house of the king. The prophet could go down only from the temple; cf. Jer_36:12 and Jer_26:10. Not only the king is to hear the word of the Lord, but his servants too, and the people, who go in by these gates, the gates of the royal castle. The exhortation: to do right and justice, etc., is only an expansion of the brief counsel at Jer_21:12, and that brought home to the heart of the whole people in Jer_7:6, cf. Eze_22:6. The form for Jer_21:12, occurs only here, but is formed analogously to , ,and cannot be objected to. is strengthened by "do no violence." On "kings riding," etc., cf. Jer_17:25. - With Jer_22:5 cf. Jer_17:27, where, however, the threatening is otherwise worded. , cf. Gen_22:16. introduces the contents of the oath. "This


  • house" is the royal palace. as in Jer_7:34, cf. Jer_27:17. The threatening is illustrated in Jer_22:6 by further description of the destruction of the palace. The royal castle is addressed, and, in respect of its lofty situation and magnificence, is called a Gilead and a head of Lebanon. It lay on the north-eastern eminence of Mount Zion (see on 1Ki_7:12, note 1), and contained the so-called forest-house of Lebanon (1Ki_7:2-5) and various other buildings built of cedar, or, at least, faced with cedar planks (cf. Jer_22:14, Jer_22:23); so that the entire building might be compared to a forest of cedars on the summit of Lebanon. In the comparison to Gilead, Gilead can hardly be adduced in respect of its great fertility as a pasturing land (Num_32:1; Mic_7:14), but in virtue of the thickly wooded covering of the hill-country of Gilead on both sides of the Jabbok. This is still in great measure clothed with oak thickets and, according to Buckingham, the most beautiful forest tracts that can be imagined; cf. C. v. Raumer, Pal. S. 82.

    (Note: In 1834 Eli Smith travelled through it, and thus writes: "Jebel 'Ajlun presents the most charming rural scenery that I have seen in Syria. A continued forest of noble trees, chiefly the evergreen oak, covers a large part of it, while the ground beneath is clothed with luxuriant grass and decked with a rich variety of wild flowers. As we went from el-Husn to 'Ajlun our path lay along the summit of the mountain; and we often overlooked a large part of Palestine on one side and the whole of Haurn." - Rob. Phys. Geog. p. 54.) is a particle of asseveration. This glorious forest of cedar buildings is to become a a treeless steppe, cities uninhabited. "Cities" refers to the thing compared, not to ,the emblem; and the plural, as being the form for indefinite generality, presents no difficulty. And the attachment thereto of a singular predicate has many analogies in its support, cf. Ew. 317, a. The Keri is an uncalled for emendation of the Chet. ,cf. Jer_6:5. - "I consecrate," in respect that the destroyers are warriors whom God sends as the executors of His will, see on Jer_6:4. With "a man and his weapons," cf. Eze_9:2. In keeping with the figure of a forest, the destruction is represented as the hewing down of the choicest cedars; cf. Isa_10:34. - Thus is to be accomplished in Jerusalem what Moses threatened, Deu_29:23; the destroyed city will become a monument of God's wrath against the transgressors of His covenant. Jer_22:8 is modelled upon Deu_29:23., cf. 1Ki_9:8., and made to bear upon Jerusalem, since, along with the palace, the city too is destroyed by the enemy.CALVIN, "The Prophet is again bidden to reprove the king and his counsellors; but the exhortation is at the same time extended to the whole people. It was necessary to begin with the head, that the common people might know that it was not a matter to be trifled with, as God would not spare, no, not even the king himself, and his courtiers; for a greater terror seized the lower orders, when they saw the highest laid prostrate. That what is here taught might then penetrate more effectually into the hearts of all, the Prophet is bid to address the king himself and his courtiers: he is afterwards bidden to include also the whole body of the people. And hence it appears, that there was some hope of favor yet remaining, provided the king and the whole people received the admonitions of the Prophet; provided their repentance and conversion were sincere, God was still ready to forgive them.We must at the same time observe, as I have already said, that they could not escape


  • the calamity that was at hand; but exile would have been much milder, and also their return would have been more certain, and they would have found in various ways that they had not been rejected by God, though for a time chastised. As then we now say, that a hope of pardon was set before them, this is not to be so understood as that they could avert the destruction of the city; for it had once for all been determined by God to drive the people into a temporary exile, and also to put all end for a time to their sacrifices; for this dreadful desolation was to be a proof that the people had been extremely ungrateful to God, and especially that their obstinacy could not be endured in having so long despised the Prophets and the commands of God. However the hope of mitigation as to their punishment was given them, provided they were touched by a right feeling, so as to endeavor to return into favor with God. But as Jeremiah effected nothing by so many admonitions, they were rendered more inexcusable.We now see the design of what is here said, even that the Jews, having been so often proved guilty, might cease to complain that they suffered anything undeservedly; for they had been often admonished, yea, almost in numberless instances, and God had offered mercy, provided they were reclaimable. I come now to the words Thus saith Jehovah, Go down (32) to the house of the king We see that the Prophet was endued with so great a courage that the dignity of the kings name did not daunt him, so as to prevent him to perform what was commanded him. We have seen elsewhere similar instances; but whenever such cases occur, they deserve to be noticed. First, the servants of God ought boldly to discharge their office, and not to flatter the great and the rich, nor remit anything of their own authority when they meet with dignity and greatness. Secondly, let those who seem to be more eminent than others learn, that whatever eminence they may possess cannot avail them, but that they ought to submit to prophetic instruction. We have before seen that the Prophet was sent to reprove and rebuke even the highest, and to shew no respect of persons. (Jeremiah 1:10.) So now, here he shews that he had, as it were, the whole world under his feet, for in executing his office, he reproved the king himself and all his princes. COFFMAN, "Verse 1JEREMIAH 22THE EARTHLY HOUSE OF DAVID TERMINATEDThis is a landmark chapter in God's Word. The beginning of the Jewish state had been contrary to God's will (1 Samuel 8:7). It was based entirely upon the people's rejection of God's will and their desire to be like the nations around them. Not surprisingly, that "sinful kingdom" became the scandal of antiquity, fully deserving the word of the Lord to Amos when he declared, "Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom; and I will destroy it off the face of the earth" (Amos 9:8). Hosea also was commanded to name his firstborn son Jezreel, which means, "I will


  • cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease" (Hosea 1:3). The details of that destruction are all evident in this chapter. (For those interested in a further study of this, see Vol. 1 of my commentaries on the minor prophets, pp. 231-235.) As Halley said, "In Jeconiah and Zedekiah, we have the end of the earthly kingdom of Judah."[1]The chapter naturally falls into four paragraphs: (1) Jeremiah 22:1-9, applicable to the early part of the reign of Jehoiachim; (2) Jeremiah 22:10-12 which speak of the days immediately after the deposition of Jehoahaz and his captivity in Egypt; (3) Jeremiah 22:13-19 applicable to the events near the close of Jehoiachim's wicked reign; and (4) Jeremiah 22:20-30 relating to the reign of Jeconiah (Coniah, or Jehoiachin).[2]Scholars are not unanimous in their opinions regarding the dates of specific verses in the chapter; but there seems to be no doubt that all of the prophecies in this section may be applied to terminal conditions in "the sinful kingdom." The terminal kings of Judah featured in this section are Josiah, Jehoahaz (Shallum), Jehoiachim (Eliakim), Jehoiachin (Coniah), and Zedekiah. Jehoiachim was actually the firstborn of Josiah; but his evil character was evidently well known in Judah, which probably accounts for the people's elevation of Jehoahaz to the throne instead of his older brother. This violated the principle of primogeniture. However, the strategy did not work. With the removal of Jehoahaz by the Egyptians, the last hope of Judah's having a decent king perished. "Jehoahaz (Shallum) lasted only three months. Eliakim (Jehoiachim) resented what was done, threw himself into the arms of the Egyptians; and Pharaoh-Necho deposed Jehoahaz (Shallum) and enthroned Eliakim (Jehoiachim) as his vassal king in Jerusalem. He deported Jehoahaz (Shallum) to Egypt; and from that time he was heard of no more."[3]The double names here should not be confusing. One name is the family name and the other one is the name assumed when the wearer came to the throne. It makes little difference which was which; but Shallum and Eliakim are usually identified as the family names.Jeremiah 22:1-5,8 are alleged to be "in the style of Deuteronomy";[4] but it would be far better to state that they are in the style of Moses; for it is the whole covenant of God with Israel that is referred to in these verses. There are actually more references in this writer's Cross-Reference Bible to Exodus, Leviticus, Genesis, and Numbers than there are to Deuteronomy. We should heed the wise words of J. A. Thompson in his analysis of the passage. "The protection of the orphan, the widow, and the stranger is a part of the covenant stipulation (Exodus 22:21-26; 23:9; Leviticus 19:33-34, and Deuteronomy 10:18-19; and 24:17). The king was as much under obligation to fulfill the words of the Sinai Covenant as were the people. The Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7 was no


  • different in this respect from the Mosaic Covenant."[5]Jeremiah 22:1-9"Thus said Jehovah; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word. and say, Hear the word of Jehovah, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates. Thus saith Jehovah: Execute ye justice and righteousness, and deliver him that is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the sojourner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent 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 servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith Jehovah, that this house shall become a desolation. For thus saith Jehovah concerning the house of the king of Judah: Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon; yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against thee, everyone with his weapons; and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall cry every man to his neighbor, Wherefore hath Jehovah done thus unto this great city? Then they shall answer, Because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah their God and worshipped other gods, and served them.""If ye will do this thing indeed ..." (Jeremiah 22:4) Thompson translated this clause, "If you scrupulously carry out this commission."[6]"They shall cut down thy choice cedars ..." (Jeremiah 22:7). "In keeping with the figure of a forest, the destruction of Jerusalem is represented as the hewing down of the choice cedars. The destroyed city will become a monument to God's wrath against the transgressors of his covenant."[7]Jeremiah 22:8 reflects the promise recorded by Moses in Deuteronomy 29:33ff. Along with the king's palace, the whole city will be destroyed."Because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah ..." (Jeremiah 22:9). The covenant in view here is the one commonly called the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, or the Sinaitic Covenant (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). "The covenant violated here was not the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7, but the initial covenant at Sinai, referred to recurringly in earlier portions of Jeremiah. The extensive devastation was a lesson to all nations on the perils of idolatry."[8]Although Jellie thought that these first nine verses were addressed to the early days of the reign of Jehoiachim, Harrison assigned them to the times of Zedekiah.[9] As we have frequently noted, if such distinctions were very important, God would have revealed the exact situation. Here it makes little or no difference, because the words


  • perfectly fit either one of the monarchs mentioned.COKE, "IntroductionCHAP. XXII.He exhorteth to repentance with promises and threats. The judgment of Shallum, of Jehoiakim, and of Coniah.Before Christ 598.THE prophesy which follows to ch. Jeremiah 23:9 was evidently delivered in the reign of Jehoiakim; for it speaks of his immediate predecessor as already gone into captivity, and foretels the death of Jehoiakim himself. It is likewise probable, that it followed immediately after what is said in the 19th and 20th chapters to have passed in the temple precincts; whence, as from higher ground, the prophet is ordered to go down to the house of the king of Judah. Compare ch. Jeremiah 36:12.The beginning of this prophesy is an address to the king of Judah, his servants, and people, recommending an inviolable adherence to right and justice as the only means of establishing the throne, and preventing the ruin of both prince and people; Jeremiah 21:1-9. The captivity of Shallum is declared to be irreversible; Jeremiah 21:10-12. Jehoiakim is severely reproved for his tyrannical oppressions, and his miserable end foretold; Jeremiah 21:13-14. His family is threatened with a continuance of the like calamities; the fall and captivity of his son Jeconiah are explicitly set forth, and the perpetual exclusion of his seed from the throne; Jeremiah 21-22. The name of Zedekiah is not mentioned, for obvious reasons; but he is, no doubt, principally intended in the two first verses of ch. 23. under the general character of those evil shepherds, who should be punished for dispersing, instead of feeding the flock. In the six following verses, with which the prophesy concludes, the people are consoled with gracious promises of future blessings; of their return from captivity, and of happier times under better governors; of the glorious establishment of the Messiah's kingdom; and of the subsequent restoration of all the dispersed Israelites to dwell once more in their own land.Verse 1Jeremiah 22:1. Thus saith the Lord This happened long before what is mentioned in the preceding chapter.EXPOSITORS BIBLE COMMENTARY, "INTRODUCTORY"I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."-Jeremiah 31:1IN this third book an attempt is made to present a general view of Jeremiahs teaching on the subject with which he was most preoccupied-the political and


  • religious fortunes of Judah. Certain (30, 31, and, in part, 33) chapters detach themselves from the rest, and stand in no obvious connection with any special incident of the prophets life. These are the main theme of this book, and have been dealt with in the ordinary method of detailed exposition. They have been treated separately, and not woven into the continuous narrative, partly because we thus obtain a more adequate emphasis upon important aspects of their teaching, but chiefly because their date and occasion cannot be certainly determined. With them other sections have been associated, on account of the connection of subject. Further material for a synopsis of Jeremiahs teaching has been collected from chapters 21-49, generally, supplemented by brief references to the previous chapters. Inasmuch as the prophecies of our book do not form an ordered treatise on dogmatic theology, but were uttered with regard to individual conduct and critical events, topics are not exclusively dealt with in a single section, but are referred to at intervals throughout. Moreover, as both the individuals and the crises were very much alike, ideas and phrases are constantly reappearing, so that there is an exceptionally large amount of repetition in the Book of Jeremiah. The method we have adopted avoids some of the difficulties which would arise if we attempted to deal with these doctrines in our continuous exposition.Our general sketch of the prophets teaching is naturally arranged under categories suggested by the book itself, and not according to the sections of a modern treatise on Systematic Theology. No doubt much may legitimately be extracted or deduced concerning Anthropology, Soteriology, and the like; but true proportion is as important in exposition as accurate interpretation. If we wish to understand Jeremiah, we must be content to dwell longest upon what he emphasised most, and to adopt the standpoint of time and race which was his own. Accordingly in our treatment we have followed the cycle of sin, punishment, and restoration, so familiar to students of Hebrew prophecy.NOTE SOME CHARACTERISTIC EXPRESSIONS OF JEREMIAHThis note is added partly for convenience of reference, and partly to illustrate the repetition just mentioned as characteristic of Jeremiah. The instances are chosen from expressions occurring in chapters 21-52. The reader will find fuller lists dealing with the whole book in the "Speakers Commentary" and the "Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges." The Hebrew student is referred to the list in Drivers "Introduction," upon which the following is partly based.1. "Rising up early": Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 7:25;, Jeremiah 11:7;, Jeremiah 25:3-4; Jeremiah 26:5;, Jeremiah 29:19;, Jeremiah 32:33;, Jeremiah 35:14-15; Jeremiah 44:4. This phrase, familiar to us in the narratives of Genesis and in the historical books, is used here, as in 2 Chronicles 36:15, of God addressing His people on sending the prophets.2. "Stubbornness of heart" (A.V. imagination of heart): Jeremiah 3:17;, Jeremiah 7:24;, Jeremiah 9:14;, Jeremiah 11:8;, Jeremiah 13:10;, Jeremiah 16:12;, Jeremiah


  • 18:12;, Jeremiah 23:17; also found Deuteronomy 29:19 and Psalms 81:15.3. "The evil of your doings": Jeremiah 4:4;, Jeremiah 21:12;, Jeremiah 23:2; Jeremiah 23:22;, Jeremiah 25:5;, Jeremiah 26:3;, Jeremiah 44:22; also Deuteronomy 28:20;, 1 Samuel 25:3;, Isaiah 1:16;, Hosea 9:15;, Psalms 28:4; and in slightly different form in Jeremiah 11:18 and Zechariah 1:4."The fruit of your doings": Jeremiah 17:10;, Jeremiah 21:14;, Jeremiah 32:19; also found in Micah 7:13."Doings, your doings," etc., are also found in Jeremiah and elsewhere.4. "The sword, the pestilence, and the famine," in various orders, and either as a phrase or each word ocurring in one of three successive clauses: Jeremiah 14:12;, Jeremiah 15:2;, Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 21:9;, Jeremiah 24:10;, Jeremiah 27:8; Jeremiah 27:13;, Jeremiah 29:17-18; Jeremiah 32:24; Jeremiah 32:36;, Jeremiah 34:17;, Jeremiah 38:2;, Jeremiah 42:17; Jeremiah 42:22;, Jeremiah 44:13."The sword and the famime," with similar variations: Jeremiah 5:12;, Jeremiah 11:22;, Jeremiah 14:13; Jeremiah 14:15-16; Jeremiah 14:18;, Jeremiah 16:4;, Jeremiah 18:21;, Jeremiah 42:16;, Jeremiah 44:12; Jeremiah 44:18;, Jeremiah 44:27. Cf. similar lists, etc., "death . . . sword . . . captivity," in Jeremiah 43:11 : "war . . . evil . . . pestilence," Jeremiah 28:8.5. "Kings . . . princes . . . priests . . . prophets," in various orders and combinations: Jeremiah 2:26;, Jeremiah 4:9;, Jeremiah 8:1;, Jeremiah 13:13;, Jeremiah 24:8;, Jeremiah 32:32.Cf. "Prophet . . . priest . . . people," Jeremiah 23:33-34. "Prophets . . . diviners . . . dreamers . . . enchanters . . . sorcerers," Jeremiah 27:9.Verses 1-9CHAPTER XXIXRUINJeremiah 22:1-9;, Jeremiah 26:14"The sword, the pestilence, and the famine,"- Jeremiah 21:9 and passim."Terror on every side."- Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 20:10;, Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:29; also as proper name, MAGOR-MISSABIB, Jeremiah 20:3.WE have seen, in the two previous chapters, that the moral and religious state of Judah not only excluded any hope of further progress towards the realisation of the Kingdom of God, but also threatened to involve Revelation itself in the corruption of


  • His people. The Spirit that opened Jeremiahs eyes to the fatal degradation of his country showed him that ruin must follow as its swift result. He was elect from the first to be a herald of doom, to be set "over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, and to destroy and to overthrow." [Jeremiah 1:10] In his earliest vision he saw the thrones of the northern conquerors set over against the walls of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. [Jeremiah 1:15]But Jeremiah was called in the full vigor of early manhood; he combined with the uncompromising severity of youth its ardent affection and irrepressible hope. The most unqualified threats of Divine wrath always carried the implied condition that repentance might avert the coming judgment; and Jeremiah recurred again and again to the possibility that, even in these last days, amendment might win pardon. Like Moses at Sinai and Samuel at Ebenezer, he poured out his whole soul in intercession for Judah, only to receive the answer, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of My sight and let them go forth." [Jeremiah 15:1] The record of these early hopes and prayers is chiefly found in chapters 1-20, and is dealt with in "The Prophecies of Jeremiah," preceding. The prophecies in Jeremiah 14:1 - Jeremiah 17:18 seem to recognise the destiny of Judah as finally decided, and to belong to the latter part of the reign of Jehoiakim, and there is little in the later chapters of an earlier date. In Jeremiah 22:1-5 the king of Judah is promised that if he and his ministers and officers will refrain from oppression, faithfully administer justice, and protect the helpless, kings of the elect dynasty shall still pass with magnificent retinues in chariots and on horses through the palace gates to sit upon the throne of David. Possibly this section belongs to the earlier part of Jeremiahs career. But there were pauses and recoils in the advancing tide of ruin, alternations of hope and despair; and these varying experiences were reflected in the changing moods of the court, the people, and the prophet himself. We may well believe that Jeremiah hastened to greet any apparent zeal for reformation with a renewed declaration that sincere and radical amendment would be accepted by Jehovah. The proffer of mercy did not avert the ruin of the state, but it compelled the people to recognise that Jehovah was neither harsh nor vindictive. His sentence was only irrevocable because the obduracy of Israel left no other way open for the progress of Revelation, except that which led through fire and blood. The Holy Spirit has taught mankind in many ways that when any government or church, any school of thought or doctrine, ossifies so as to limit the expansion of the soul, that society or system must be shattered by the forces it seeks to restrain. The decadence of Spain and the distractions of France sufficiently illustrate the fruits of persistent refusal to abide in the liberty of the Spirit.But until the catastrophe is clearly inevitable, the Christian, both as patriot and as churchman, will be quick to cherish all those symptoms of higher life which indicate that society is still a living organism. He will zealously believe and teach that even a small leaven may leaven the whole mass. He will remember that ten righteous men might have saved Sodom; that, so long as it is possible, God will work by encouraging and rewarding willing obedience rather than by chastising and


  • coercing sin.Thus Jeremiah, even when he teaches that the day of grace is over, recurs wistfully to the possibilities of salvation once offered to repentance. [Jeremiah 27:18] Was not this the message of all the prophets: "Return ye now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that Jehovah hath given unto your fathers"? [Jeremiah 25:5; Jeremiah 25:15] Even at the beginning of Jehoiakims reign Jehovah entrusted Jeremiah with a message of mercy, saying: "It may 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." [Jeremiah 26:3; Jeremiah 36:2] When the prophet multiplied the dark and lurid features of his picture, he was not gloating with morbid enjoyment over the national misery, but rather hoped that the awful vision of judgment might lead them to pause, and reflect, and repent. In his age history had not accumulated her now abundant proofs that the guilty conscience is panoplied in triple brass against most visions of judgment. The sequel of Jeremiahs own mission was added evidence for this truth.Yet it dawned but slowly on the prophets mind. The covenant of emancipation (Chapter 11) in the last days of Zedekiah was doubtless proposed by Jeremiah as a possible beginning of better things, an omen of salvation, even at the eleventh hour. To the very last the prophet offered the king his life and promised that Jerusalem should not be burnt, if only he would submit to the Chaldeans, and thus accept the Divine judgment and acknowledge its justice.Faithful friends have sometimes stood by the drunkard or the gambler, and striven for his deliverance through all the vicissitudes of his downward career; to the very last they have hoped against hope, have welcomed and encouraged every feeble stand against evil habit, every transient flash of high resolve. But, long before the end, they have owned, with sinking heart, that the only way to salvation lay. through the ruin of health, fortune, and reputation. So, when the edge of youthful hopefulness had quickly worn itself away, Jeremiah knew in his inmost heart that, in spite of prayers and promises and exhortations, the fate of Judah was sealed. Let us therefore try to reproduce the picture of coming ruin which Jeremiah kept persistently before the eyes of his fellow country men. The pith and power of his prophecies lay in the prospect of their speedy fulfilment. With him, as with Savonarola, a cardinal doctrine was that "before the regeneration must come the scourge," and that "these things wilt come quickly." Here, again, Jeremiah took up the burden of Hoseas utterances. The elder prophet said of Israel, "The days of visitation are come"; [Hosea 9:7] and his successor announced to Judah the coming of "the year of visitation." [Jeremiah 23:12] The long deferred assize was at hand, when the Judge would reckon with Judah for her manifold infidelities, would pronounce sentence and execute judgment.If the hour of doom had struck, it was not difficult to surmise whence destruction would come or the man who would prove its instrument. The North (named in


  • Hebrew the hidden quarter) was to the Jews the mother of things unforeseen and terrible. Isaiah menaced the Philistines with "a smoke out of the north," [Isaiah 14:30] i.e., the Assyrians. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both speak very frequently of the destroyers of Judah as coming from the north. Probably the early references in our book to northern enemies denote the Scythians, who invaded Syria towards the beginning of Josiahs reign; but later on the danger from the north is the restored Chaldean Empire under its king Nebuchadnezzar. "North" is even less accurate geographically for Chaldea than for Assyria. Probably it was accepted in a somewhat symbolic sense for Assyria, and then transferred to Chaldea as her successor in the hegemony of Western Asia.Nebuchadnezzar is first introduced in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; after the decisive defeat of Pharaoh Necho by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish, Jeremiah prophesied the devastation of Judah by the victor; it is also prophesied that he is to carry Jehoiachin away captive, and similar prophecies were repeated during the reign of Zedekiah. [Jeremiah 16:7; Jeremiah 28:14] Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldeans very closely resembled the Assyrians, with whose invasions the Jews had long been only too familiar; indeed, as Chaldea had long been tributary to Assyria, it is morally certain that Chaldean princes must have been present with auxiliary forces at more than one of the many Assyrian invasions of Palestine. Under Hezekiah, on the other hand, Judah had been allied with Merodach-baladan of Babylon against his Assyrian suzerain. So that the circumstances of Chaldean invasions and conquests were familiar to the Jews before the forces of the restored empire first attacked them; their imagination could readily picture the horrors of such experiences.But Jeremiah does not leave them to their unaided imagination, which they might preferably have employed upon more agreeable subjects. He makes them see the future reign of terror, as Jehovah had revealed it to his shuddering and reluctant vision. With his usual frequency of iteration, he keeps the phrase "the sword, the famine, and the pestilence" ringing in their ears. The sword was the symbol of the invading hosts, "the splendid and awful military parade" of the "bitter and hasty nation" that was "dreadful and terrible." [Habakkuk 1:6-7] "The famine" inevitably followed from the ravages of the invaders, and the impossibility of ploughing, sowing, and reaping. It became most gruesome in the last desperate agonies of besieged garrisons, when, as in Elishas time and the last siege of Jerusalem, "men ate the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and ate every one the flesh of his friend." [Jeremiah 19:9] Among such miseries and horrors, the stench of unburied corpses naturally bred a pestilence, which raged amongst the multitudes of refugees huddled together in Jerusalem and the fortified towns. We are reminded how the great plague of Athens struck down its victims from among the crowds driven within its walls during the long siege of the Peloponnesian war.An ordinary Englishman can scarcely do justice to such prophecies; his comprehension is limited by a happy inexperience. The constant repetition of


  • general phrases seems meagre and cold, because they carry few associations and awaken no memories. Those who have studied French and Russian realistic art, and have read Erckmann-Chatrain, Zola, and Tolstoi, may be stirred somewhat more by Jeremiahs grim rhetoric. It will not be wanting in suggestiveness to those who have known battles and sieges. For students of missionary literature we may roughly compare the Jews, when exposed to the full fury of a Chaldean attack, to the inhabitants of African villages raided by slave hunters.The Jews, therefore, with their extensive, firsthand knowledge of the miseries denounced against them, could not help filling in for themselves the rough outline drawn by Jeremiah. Very probably, too, his speeches were more detailed and realistic than the written reports. As time went on, the inroads of the Chaldeans and their allies provided graphic and ghastly illustrations of the prophecies that Jeremiah still reiterated. In a prophecy, possibly originally referring to the Scythian inroads and afterwards adapted to the Chaldean invasions, Jeremiah speaks of himself: "I am pained at my very heart; my heart is disquieted in me; I cannot hold my peace; for my soul heareth the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?" [Jeremiah 4:21] Here, for once, Jeremiah expressed emotions that throbbed in every heart. There was "terror on every hand"; men seemed to be walking "through slippery places in darkness," [Jeremiah 23:12] or to stumble along rough paths in a dreary twilight. Wormwood was their daily food, and their drink maddening draughts of poison. [Jeremiah 23:15]Jeremiah and his prophecies were no mean part of the terror. To the devotees of Baal and Moloch Jeremiah must have appeared in much the same light as the fanatic whose ravings added to the horrors of the Plague of London, while the very sanity and sobriety of his utterances carried a conviction of their fatal truth. When the people and their leaders succeeded in collecting any force of soldiers or store of military equipment, and ventured on a sally, Jeremiah was at once at hand to quench any reviving hope of effective resistance. How could soldiers and weapons preserve the city which Jehovah had abandoned to its fate? "Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: Behold I will turn back the weapons in your hands, with which ye fight without the walls against your besiegers, the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans, and will gather them into the midst of this city. I Myself will fight against you in furious anger and in great wrath, with outstretched hand and strong arm. I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they shall die of a great pestilence." (Jeremiah 21:3-6.) When Jerusalem was relieved for a time by the advance of an Egyptian army, and the people allowed themselves to dream of another deliverance like that from Sennacherib, the relentless prophet only turned upon them with renewed scorn: "Though ye had smitten the whole hostile army of the Chaldeans, and all that were left of them were desperately wounded, yet should they rise up every man in his tent and burn this city." [Jeremiah 37:10] Not even the most complete victory could avail to save the city.The final result of invasions and sieges was to be the overthrow of the Jewish state,


  • the capture and destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the people. This unhappy generation were to reap the harvest of centuries of sin and failure. As in the last siege of Jerusalem there came upon the Jews "all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zachariah son of Baraehiah," [Matthew 23:35] so now Jehovah was about to bring upon His Chosen people all the evil that He had spoken against them (Jeremiah 35:17; Jeremiah 19:15; Jeremiah 36:31)-all that had been threatened by Isaiah and his brother prophets, all the curses written in Deuteronomy. But these threats were to be fully carried out, not because predictions must be fulfilled, nor even merely because Jehovah had spoken and His word must not return to Him void, but because the people had not hearkened and obeyed. His threats were never meant to exclude the penitent from the possibility of pardon. As Jeremiah had insisted upon the guilt of every class of the community, so he is also careful to enumerate all the classes as about to suffer from the coming judgment: "Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes"; [Jeremiah 34:21] "the people, the prophet, and the priest." [Jeremiah 23:33-34] This last judgment of Judah, as it took the form of the complete overthrow of the State, necessarily included all under its sentence of doom. One of the mysteries of Providence is that those who are most responsible for national sins seem to suffer least by public misfortunes. Ambitious statesmen and bellicose journalists do not generally fall in battle and leave destitute widows and children. When the captains of commerce and manufacture err in their industrial policy, one great result is the pauperism of hundreds of families who had no voice in the matter. A spendthrift landlord may cripple the agriculture of half a county. And yet, when factories are closed and farmers ruined, the manufacturer and the landlord are the last to see want. In former invasions of Judah, the princes and priests had some share of suffering; but wealthy nobles might incur losses and yet weather the storm by which poorer men were overwhelmed. Fines and tribute levied by the invaders would, after the manner of the East, be wrung from the weak and helpless. But now ruin was to fall on all alike. The nobles had been flagrant in sin, they were now to be marked out for most condign punishment-"To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required."Part of the burden of Jeremiahs prophecy, one of the sayings constantly on his lips, was that the city would be taken and destroyed by fire. [Jeremiah 34:2; Jeremiah 34:22; Jeremiah 37:8] The Temple would be laid in ruins like the ancient sanctuary of Israel at Shiloh. (chapters 7 and 26.) The palaces [Jeremiah 6:5] of the king and princes would be special marks for the destructive fury of the enemy, and their treasures and all the wealth of the city would be for a spoil; those who survived the sack of the city would be carried captive to Babylon. [Jeremiah 20:5]In this general ruin the miseries of the people would not end with death. All nations have attached much importance to the burial of the dead and the due performance of funeral rites. In the touching Greek story Antigone sacrificed her life in order to bury the remains of her brother. Later Judaism attached exceptional importance to the burial of the dead, and the Book of Tobit lays great stress on this sacred duty. The angel Raphael declares that one special reason why the Lord had been merciful


  • to Tobias was that he had buried dead bodies, and had not delayed to rise up and leave his meal to go and bury the corpse of a murdered Jew, at the risk of his own life.Jeremiah prophesied of the slain in this last overthrow: "They shall not be lamented, neither shall they be buried; they shall be as dung on the face of the ground; their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth."When these last had done their ghastly work, the site of the Temple, the city, the whole land would be left silent and desolate. The stranger, wandering amidst the ruins, would hear no cheerful domestic sounds; when night fell, no light gleaming through chink or lattice would give the sense of human neighbourhood. Jehovah "would take away the sound of the millstones and the light of the candle." [Jeremiah 25:10] The only sign of life amidst the desolate ruins of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah would be the melancholy cry of the jackals round the travellers tent. [Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22]The Hebrew prophets and our Lord Himself often borrowed their symbols from the scenes of common life, as they passed before their eyes. As in the days of Noah, as in the days of Lot, as in the days of the Son of Man, so in the last agony of Judah there was marrying and giving in marriage. Some such festive occasion suggested to Jeremiah one of his favourite formulae; it occurs four times in the Book of Jeremiah, and was probably uttered much oftener. Again and again it may have happened that, as a marriage procession passed through the streets, the gay company were startled by the grim presence of the prophet, and shrank back in dismay as they found themselves made the text for a stern homily of ruin: "Thus saith Jehovah Sabaoth, I will take away from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride." At any rate, however, and whenever used, the figure could not fail to arrest attention, and to serve as an emphatic declaration that the ordinary social routine would be broken up and lost in the coming calamity.Henceforth the land would be as some guilty habitation of sinners, devoted to eternal destruction, an astonishment and a hissing and a perpetual desolation. [Jeremiah 25:9-10] When the heathen sought some curse to express the extreme of malignant hatred, they would use the formula, "God make thee like Jerusalem." [Jeremiah 26:6] Jehovahs Chosen People would become an everlasting reproach, a perpetual shame, which should not be forgotten. [Jeremiah 23:40] The wrath of Jehovah pursued even captives and fugitives. In chapter 29 Jeremiah predicts the punishment of the Jewish prophets at Babylon. When we last hear of him, in Egypt, he is denouncing ruin against "the remnant of Judah that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there." He still reiterates the same familiar phrases: "Ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence"; they shall be "an execration, an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach."


  • We have now traced the details of the prophets message of doom. Fulfilment followed fast upon the heels of prediction, till Jeremiah rather interpreted than foretold the thick coming disasters. When his book was compiled, the prophecies were already, as they are now, part of the history of the last days of Judah. The book became the record of this great tragedy, in which these prophecies take the place of the choric odes in a Greek drama.PARKER, " The Coming OneJeremiah 22 , Jeremiah 23The particular reference is to Josiah, on the occasion of whose death Jeremiah had composed a grand and pathetic dirge. It is supposed from 2 Chronicles 35:25 that this dirge was repeated annually in memory of Josiah"s death. The injunction of the text puts an end to this annual commemoration. The weeping is forbidden in the case of Josiah, but it is ordered to continue in the case of Jehoahaz (Jehovah sustains.) Jehoahaz was probably a name assumed by Shallum on his accession to the throne. It would seem that the word Shallum had a peculiar significance attached to it from the fact that the name had been borne by one of the later kings of Israel, whose reign lasted only one month. The point which is immediately before us is that men may often be weeping for the wrong object, and neglecting to shed tears over men and memories that deserve nothing but lamentation. The prophet says: Weep not for Josiah, but lor Jehoahaz. So we may often say: Weep not for the dead, but for the living; weep not for the afflicted, but for the evil-hearted; weep not for those who pass away out of sight into the immortal state, but weep for those who linger here, and whose day is turned into night by hopelessness. Men will always persist in weeping for the wrong thing, or weeping at the wrong point. Who does not cry over death? whereas, the probability Isaiah , if we understood the economy of nature better, it would be wiser to weep over birth. It is certain that birth introduces us into a sphere of trial, difficulty, where we have to absorb much that is bitter, and undergo much that is distressing; whereas it is possible that death may introduce us into immortal and ineffable blessedness. Jesus Christ said to the woman who followed him to the cross, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." Misspent tears exhaust or pervert the very emotion which they express. We are not to weep for the consequences of sin so much as for sin itself. If we were great enough in the realisation of our ideals and our aspirations, we should not so much weep that men are sent to perdition as that God"s holiness is dishonoured, and God"s law disobeyed, and the music of his creation thrown into discord by iniquity."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! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" ( Jeremiah 22:18-19).


  • The description of Jehoiakim really begins in the thirteenth verse. Jehoiakim had revived forced labour, such as was known in the days of Solomona labour which pressed not only on strangers, but on the Israelites themselves. Jehoiakim went on building palaces when his kingdom was threatened with ruin, and when his subjects were overborne by burdens which it was impossible to sustain. In the thirteenth verse the prophet begins a description of a man without naming him; a man who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by ruin; a man who useth his neighbour"s services without wages, and giveth him not for his work; a man who yields to the impulses of a foolish ambition, saying, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and who gratifies himself by cutting out windows, and deling his chambers with cedars, and painting his retreats with vermilion. It is not until we come to the eighteenth verse that the prophet specially indicates the man against whom this accusation is levelled. Jehoiakim was king, and yet not one word of thanks do we find, nor one word of love, nor one word of regret, expressed concerning his fate. We should learn from this how possible it is to pass through the world without leaving behind us one sacred or loving memory. He that seeketh his life shall lose it. A man that sacrifices daily to his own ambition, and never sets before himself a higher ideal than his own gratification, may appear to have much whilst he actually has nothing, may even appear to be winning great victories when he is really undergoing disastrous defeats. What is a grand house if there be not in it a loving heart? What are walls but for the pictures that adorn them? What is life but for the trust which knits it into sympathetic unity? What is the night but for the stars that glitter in its darkness? Jehoiakim had only a magnificent mausoleum; his palaces were mortuaries; his pretensions were nightmares. Jehoiakim was dragged in chains with the other captives who were carried off to Babylon. The disappointed and mortified king died on the journey. See to what we may come after all the whirl of our excitement, all the mad dance and tumult of our ambition. It is better to begin at the other end of life, so that we may realise the proverb which speaks of men being born mud and dying marble. We all know men who are born marble but who die mud. There is an awful process of retrogression continually operating in life. Experienced men will tell us that the issue of life is one of two things: either advancement, or deterioration; continual improvement, or continual depreciation: we cannot remain just where we are, adding nothing, subtracting nothing, but realising a permanence of estate and faculty. The powers we do not use will fall into desuetude, and the abilities which might have made life easy may be so neglected as to become burdens too heavy to be carried. It lies within a man"s power so to live that he may be buried with the burial of an ass: no mourners may surround his grave; no beneficiaries may recall his charities; no hidden hearts may conceal the tender story of his sympathy and helpfulness. A bitter sarcasm this, that a man should be buried like an ass! What may be honourable to the ass is an infinite dishonour to the man. We often do the animal creation injustice by comparison of wicked or foolish men with its creatures. We sometimes speak of a man as being "as drunk as a beast," a phrase in which we dishonour the beasts that perish. How mighty men may become, how noble, how helpful to his brother-men! How much of beauty and tenderness, purity and gentleness, may be brought within the limited scope of threescore years and ten; every year may be a gathering of jewels, every


  • moment may glitter like a diamond. Happy he who sits down to calculate how much good he can do, and how much of honest labour and genuine helpfulness he can crowd into the little space which he calls his life.PETT, "Verses 1-9The One Who Sits On The Throne Of David Is Called On To Ensure Justice And Freedom From Oppression For His People, Something Which If Accomplished Will Result In His Triumph, But Accompanied By The Warning Of The Consequences If He Does Not (Jeremiah 22:1-9).Once again we have a general vague reference to the son of David, this time as the one who sits on the throne of David. We are thus presumably to see that it applies to all the sons of David to whom Jeremiah will refer, and this is especially so as at the end of this chapter he refers to Shallum/Jehoahaz, the one who succeeded directly after Josiah, as being in recent memory. We do not therefore have to ask which son of David of the house of Josiah he is intending to refer to. The answer is all of them.Jeremiah 22:1Thus says YHWH, Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word,Jeremiah probably took this trip to each of the sons of David in their palaces as they ascended the throne, first Jehoahaz, then Jehoiakim, then Jehoiachin and then Zedekiah, although he probably did not receive an effusive welcome from any of them. But he was going down to the kings house, presumably from the Temple, to speak the word of YHWH so that his own feelings had to be ignored. It was necessary that each should receive their warning. It will in fact be noted that some of the ideas are paralleled in Jeremiah 1:12 (see Jeremiah 22:3), and some of them in Jeremiah 17:25 (see Jeremiah 22:4). They were thus repeated more than once.

    2 Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on Davids throneyou, your officials and your people who come through these gates. 18

  • CLARKE, "O king of Judah - thou, and thy servants - His ministers are here addressed, as chiefly governing the nation; and who had counselled Zedekiah to rebel.

    GILL, "And say, hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah,.... O Jehoiakim king of Judah, hear the word of the King of kings; listen to it, and obey it, as kings ought to do; and it is for their good, as well as it is their duty, so to do: that sittest upon the throne of David; whom he mentions, to put him in mind of his illustrious ancestor, whose successor he was, that he might be prompted to follow his example: thou, and thy servants, and that people that enter in by these gates; the king and his courtiers, his nobles and privy counsellors, that were continually waiting upon him, and were frequently passing and repassing the gates of the palace; for not the gates of the court in the temple are meant, as Kimchi suggests; and all other people, that either waited on or came to the king, upon business, with their suits, and to have their causes heard and tried.

    HENRY, "Here we have,I. Orders given to Jeremiah to go and preach before the king. In the foregoing chapter we are told that Zedekiah sent messengers to the prophet, but here the prophet is bidden to go, in his own proper person, to the house of the king, and demand his attention to the word of the King of kings (Jer_22:2): Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah!Subjects must own that where the word of the king is there is power over them, but kings must own that where the word of the Lord is there is power over them. The king of Judah is here spoken to as sitting upon the throne of David, who was a man after God's own heart, as holding his dignity and power by the covenant made with David; let him therefore conform to his example, that he may have the benefit of the promises made to him. With the king his servants are spoken to, because a good government depends upon a good ministry as well as a good king.

    JAMISON, "these gates of the kings palace.CALVIN, "But he speaks of the king as sitting on the throne of David; but not, as I have already said, for the sake of honor, but for the purpose of enhancing his guilt; for he occupied a sacred throne, of which he was wholly unworthy. For though God is said to sit in the midst of the gods, because by him kings rule, we yet know that the throne of David was more eminent than any other; for it was a priestly kingdom and a type of that celestial kingdom which was afterwards fully revealed in Christ.


  • As, then, the kings of Judah, the descendants of David, were types of Christ, less tolerable was their impiety, when, unmindful of their vocation, they had departed from the piety of their father David and became wholly degenerated. So the Prophet, by mentioning the house of Israel and the house of Jacob, no doubt condemned the Jews, because they had become unlike the holy patriarch. We now, then, understand the object of the Prophet when he says, Hear the word of Jehovah, thou king of Judah, who sittest on the throne of David.But that his reproof might have its just weight, the Prophet carefully shews that he brought nothing but what had been committed to him from above; this is the reason why he repeats, thou shalt say, Thus saith Jehovah, Go down, speak, and say. From the king he comes to the courtiers, and from them to the whole people. Thou, he says, and thy servants; by the kings servants the Scripture means, all those ministers who were his counsellors, who were appointed to administer justice and who exercised authority. But we must notice, that at last he addresses the whole people. We hence see that what he taught belonged in common to all, though he began with the king and his counsellors, that the common people might not think that they would be unpunished if they despised the doctrine to which even kings were to submit. PETT, "Jeremiah 22:2And say, Hear the word of YHWH, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates.These words are typical of what we might expect from a prophet of YHWH giving a coronation speech or as an official exhortation soon afterwards. They call on the one who, as king of Judah, has now taken the throne of David and will be sitting on it, that is, will continue ruling from it from then on, along with his courtiers and his people, to listen to the word of YHWH. Their failure to respond adequately to his words was probably the first step in their designation as those who had done evil in the eyes of YHWH, that is, as having no intention of commencing reforms. These gates probably refers to the gates of the palace complex.

    3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the 20

  • widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

    GILL, "Thus saith the Lord, execute ye judgment and righteousness,.... Judge righteous Judgment; give the cause to whom it belongs, without respect of persons, and without a bribe or corruption; do no unrighteousness to any, by withholding from them what is due unto them, which was what this prince was chargeable with, Jer_22:13; and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; that was robbed or wronged of his property by one superior to him in power or cunning; See Gill on Jer_21:12; and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow: who are not in a situation, and in such a condition and circumstances, as to defend themselves; and whom God has a peculiar regard unto; and therefore they who are his deputies and vicegerents, as kings and civil magistrates are, ought to protect such persons, and neither grieve and injure them themselves, nor suffer others to do it: neither shed innocent blood in this place; to grieve and wrong the above persons is a very great evil, but to shed the blood of innocent per tons is a greater still; and this is aggravated by being committed by such who are set over men to secure and preserve their properties and their lives; and such heinous sins as these the present reigning king of Judah was guilty of; which is the reason of their being mentioned; see Jer_22:17.

    HENRY, "Instructions given him what to preach.1. He must tell them what was their duty, what was the good which the Lord their God required of them, Jer_22:3. They must take care, (1.) That they do all the good they can with the power they have. They must do justice in defence of those that were injured, and must deliver the spoiled out of the hand of their oppressors. This was the duty of their place, Psa_82:3. Herein they must be ministers of God for good. (2.) That they do no hurt with it, no wrong, no violence. That is the greatest wrong and violence which is done under colour of law and justice, and by those whose business it is to punish and protect from wrong and violence. They must do no wrong to the stranger, fatherless, and widow; for these God does in a particular matter patronise and take under his tuition, Exo_22:21, Exo_22:22.JAMISON, "Jehoiakim is meant here especially: he, by oppression, levied the tribute

    imposed on him by Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt (2Ch_36:3), and taxed his people, and took their labor without pay, to build gorgeous palaces for himself (Jer_22:13-17), and shed innocent blood, for example, that of Urijah the prophet (Jer_26:20-24; 2Ki_23:35; 2Ki_24:4).


  • CALVIN, "He says, first, Do judgment and justice This belonged especially to the king and his judges and governors; for private individuals, we know, had no power to protect their property; for though every one ought to resist wrongs and evil doings, yet this was the special duty of the judges whom God had armed with the sword for this purpose. To do judgment, means to render to every one according to his right; but when the two words, judgment and justice, are connected together, by justice we are to understand equity, so that every one has his own right; and by judgment is to be understood the execution of due punishment; for it is not enough for the judge to decide what is right, except he restrains the wicked when they audaciously resist. To do judgment, then, is to defend the weak and the innocent, as it were, with an armed hand. (33)He then adds, Rescue the spoiled from the hand of the oppressor He repeats what we observed in the last chapter; and here under one thing he includes the duty of judges, even that they are ever to oppose what is wrong and to check the audacity of the wicked, for they can never be induced willingly to conduct themselves with moderation and quietness. As, then, they are to be restrained by force, he says, Rescue the spoiled from the hand of the oppressor. Of the word , gesul, we have spoken before; but by this form of speaking God intimates that it is not enough for the judge to abstain from tyranny and cruelty, and not to stimulate the wicked nor favor them, except he also acknowledges that he has been appointed by God for this end to rescue the spoiled from the hand of the oppressor, and not to hesitate to face hatred and danger in the discharge of his office.The Prophet now adds other things which he had not mentioned in the preceding chapter; defraud not, (34) he says, the stranger and the orphan and the widow It is what is often said in Scripture, that it is not right to defraud any one; for God would exempt all from wrong, and not only strangers, orphans, and widows; but as orphans have no knowledge or wisdom, they are exposed, as it were, to plunder; and also widows, because they are in themselves helpless; and strangers, because they have no friends to undertake their cause; hence God, in an especial mannel, requires a regard to be had to strangers, orphans, and widows. There is also another reason; for when their right is rendered to strangers, orphans, and widows, equity no doubt shines forth more conspicuously. When any one brings friends with him, and employs them in the defense of his cause, the judge is thereby influenced; and he who is a native will have his relations and neighbors to support his cause; and he who is rich and possessing power will also influence the judge, so that he dares not do anything notoriously wrong; but when the stranger, or the orphan, or the widow comes before the judge, he can with impunity oppress them all. Hence if he judges rightly, it is no doubt a conspicuous proof of his integrity and uprightness. This, then, is the reason why God everywhere enumerates these cases when he speaks of right and equitable judgments. He further adds, Exercise no violence, nor shed innocent blood in this place These things also were matters belonging to the judges. But it was a horribly monstrous thing for the throne of David to have been so defiled as to have become, as it were, a den of robbers. Wherever there is any


  • pretense to justice, there ought to be there some fear or shame; but as we have said, that tribunal was in a peculiar manner sacred to God. As, then, the king and his counsellors were become like robbers, and as they so occupied the throne of David that all impiety prevailed, and they hesitated not to plunder on every side, as though they lived in a house of plunder; this was, as I have said, a sad and shameful spectacle. (35)But we ought the more carefully to notice this passage, that we may learn to strengthen ourselves against bad examples, lest the impiety of men should overturn our faith; when we see in Gods Church things in such a disorder, that those who glory in the name of God are become like robbers, we must beware lest we become, on this account, alienated from true religion. We must, indeed, detest such monsters, but we must take care lest Gods word, through mens wickedness, should lose its value in our esteem. We ought, then, to remember the admonition of Christ, to hear the Scribes and Pharisees who sat in Moses seat. (Matthew 23:2.) Thus it behoved the Jews to venerate that royal throne, on which God had inscribed certain marks of his glory. Though they saw that it was polluted by the crimes and evil deeds of men, yet they ought to have retained some regard for it on account of that expression, This is my rest for ever.But we yet see that the king was sharply and severely reproved, as he deserved. Hence most foolishly does the Pope at the present day seek to exempt himself from all reproof, because he occupies the apostolic throne. (36) Were we to grant what is claimed, (though that is frivolous and childish,) that the Roman throne is apostolic, (which I think has never been occupied by Peter,) surely the throne of David was much more venerable than the chair of Peter? and yet the descendants of David who succeeded him, being types and representatives of Christ, were not on that account, as we here see, exempt from reproof.It might, however, be asked, why the Prophet said that he was sent to the whole people, when his doctrine was addressed only to the king and the public judges? for it belonged not to the people or to private individuals. But I have said already that it was easy for the common people to gather how Gods judgment ought to have been dreaded, for they had heard that punishment was denounced even on the house of David, which was yet considered sacred. When, therefore, they saw that those were summoned before Gods tribunal who were, in a manner, not subject to laws, what were they to think but that every one of them ought to have thought of himself, and to examine his own life? for they must at length be called to give an account, since the king himself and his counsellors had been summoned to do so. It now follows, Blayneys version can by no means be approved, Do right and justice, as the distinctive character of the two acts is not expressed. Do judgment and justice, are all the Versions and the Targum. Ed.We may render the passage as Gataker does, And the stranger, the orphan, and the widow oppress not, wrong not, or plunder not. A similar passage is in Jeremiah


  • 7:6. The word rendered there oppress is different, , and more general in its meaning, including the two ideas here oppression by denying them their rights, and by plundering them. Ed TRAPP, "Jeremiah 22:3 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 blood in this place.Ver. 3. Execute ye judgment and righteousness.] Make good laws, and see that they be well executed. This the prophet presseth quasi ad fastidium, ever and anon, over and over, as the likeliest means to prevent future judgments; so Phineas found it. See Jeremiah 21:12.PETT, "Jeremiah 22:3Thus says YHWH, deliver you justice and righteousness, and save him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor, and do no wrong, do no violence, to the sojourner, the fatherless, nor the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.His initial words are very similar to the opening exhortation in Jeremiah 21:13. The representative of the house of David is called on by YHWH to deliver (ensure the carrying out of) justice and righteousness to his people during his reign, and to save/deliver the one who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor. The word used here for delivering justice is a different one from that in Jeremiah 21:13. In Jeremiah 21:13 it was a technical legal word requiring justice in the kings court, here it is a more general word seeking justice and righteousness at all times. Furthermore he is to avoid all wrong, and is especially to prevent violent treatment of resident aliens, and those without parents or husbands, who because they had no one else to defend them were always of great concern to YHWH. It was always the sign of a great king that he was concerned for and took an interest in the weak and helpless, and one example of this is the reign of Hammurabi of Babylon a thousand years before, a king who was powerful enough to be able to show concern for the defenceless with no influence. Finally the son of David was to prevent the spilling of innocent blood. This would include both the innocent victims offered to Molech, and the faithful worshippers of YHWH who would be a target of the rich and powerful. When a kings rule was not firm and just, people began to take the law into their on, "Do no wrong.WrongThe meaning of the word wrong is, something that is twisted from the straight line. Do you say you have not done wrong? When you set yourself up as a pattern of goodness, and at the same time turn up your nose at your erring acquaintance, it leads one to think that your angelic profession may cover the filthy rags of human sin. Some people profess


  • too much. If they would acknowledge to some fault and confess that occasionally they are common metal like everybody else, we should respect them. People who will not permit you to think that they have ever done wrong, are often very unfeeling in their dealings with a person that has made a fool of himself. The man who feels himself to be a wrong-doer, is the most compassionately helpful to those that have fallen. When I hear anybody speaking harshly or ridiculing somebody who has done wrong and been found out, I fear that the only way to save them is for God to let them also fall into the mire of iniquity. Bear patiently with wrong-doers, and give them time to repent. Had they possessed your light, your education, your good parents and your virtuous surroundings, they might have lived a nobler life. When a man or a woman has done wrong, do not cast a stone at them; let us, if we can, lead them on to the path of right.1. Let me urge that you do no wrong in your intentions. Let us weigh well our motives. Before doing any act, we should consider its intent, and ask ourselves, What is my intention? Is it the glory of God, the good of man, or only my own advantagemy own indulgence? When the intention is wholly selfish it is pretty sure to cause disappointment and misery; but when the intention is unselfish, it is likely to result in happiness both to ourselves and others.2. It is also a matter of course that every true Christian should do no wrong in his practice. We profess much; let us seek to practise what we profess. I do not suppose that we are at present on such a high level as that shown in the spirit of the life of Christ; but let us aim at it, and though we fall, let us rise and try again. A farmer one day went to his landlord, Earl Fitzwilliam, saying, Please, your lordship, the horses and hounds last week quite destroyed my field of wheat. The earl said I am very sorry; how much damage do you think they did? The farmer replied, Well, your lordship, I dont think 50 would make it right. The earl immediately wrote out his order for 50 and handed it to the farmer, saying, I hope it will not be so bad as you think. So they parted. Months afterwards, the same old farmer came to the hall again, and when admitted into the library, said, Please, your lordship, I have brought back that 50. The earl exclaimed, Why, what for? The farmer said, Well, because I find that the trodden field of wheat has turned out to be a better crop than any of the others. So I have brought the money back. The earl exclaimed, This is as it should be; it is doing right between man and man. He tore up the order and wrote another, saying, Here, my good friend, is an order for a hundred pounds; keep it by you till your eldest son is twenty-one and then give it him as a present from me, and tell him how it arose. Now I think the honest farmer sets a good example to us all No doubt the tempter whispered in the ear of his soul, The earl will never miss that 50. Why, farmer, you dont mean to say you are going to give the morley back! But the honest old John Bull of a farmer replied, It would be wrong, you know, for me to keep that 50. Do no wrong to your neighbour, either in competition of business, or in your social and political relationship. Every man has a weak side to his character, and a tendency to do wrong in some direction. In other words, every man is a spiritual invalid who wants a heavenly prescription to restore him to health. Now, when your body is ill, you send for a doctor who counts your pulse and asks where your pain is, and how you feel. If you do not tell him all the truth, he does not know how to treat you. In the same way, when we are spiritually sick, we should confess all the symptoms of our sin-disease to the Great Physician of heaven. Let us be humble and honest enough to tell Him our sins. (W. Birch.)


  • 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on Davids throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people.

    GILL, "For if ye do this thing indeed,.... Or, "in doing do this word" (y); diligently and carefully attend to this word of exhortation, and constantly perform the duties required: then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David; or, upon the throne for David: in his room and stead, as successors of his; or of his lineage and descent, as the Vulgate Latin version. The meaning is, that should the kings of Judah do the duty of their office, before pointed at, there should never be any want of successors of the seed of David; but there should be a race of kings descending from him, and sitting on his throne in all after ages, who should dwell in the royal palace, and go in and out at the gates of it; and they should also live in great pomp and splendour, in royal dignity, answerable to their characters: riding in chariots, and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people; the king, his nobles, and other his attendants; some on one, and some on another, when they went out or came in; see Jer_17:25.

    HENRY, "He must assure them that the faithful discharge of their duty would advance and secure their prosperity, Jer_22:4. There shall then be a succession of kings, an uninterrupted succession, upon the throne of David and of his line, these enjoying a perfect tranquillity, and living in great state and dignity, riding in chariots and on horses, as before, Jer_17:25. Note, the most effectual way to preserve the dignity of the government is to do the duty of it.

    JAMISON, "upon the throne of David literally, or David on his throne (see on Jer_13:13). This verse is repeated substantially from Jer_17:25.

    his servants so the Keri. But Chetib, singular, his servant; that is, distributively, each with his servants; Jer_17:25, their princes.26

  • CALVIN, "The Prophet expresses more clearly what I have already stated, that if the Jews from the heart repented, there was yet a place for mercy; for he promises them that God would be reconcilable, if they sought to be reconciled to him; he allures them to repentance by words of kindness. We may, indeed, read , kiam, as one word, and render it, But rather; but I follow others who give this version, For if by doing ye will do this word, then ye shall enter in, etc.; and thus they turn the copulative into an adverb of time, which is often the case. (37) Still the other meaning is not unsuitable, when the future verb, , toshu, is taken in a hortative sense; for we know that the future tense in Hebrew is often to be understood as an imperative. As to the general meaning, there is not much difference; for what the Prophet designed to shew was this, that God would be reconciled to the Jews, if they were not wholly disobedient. Only, he says, obey my word, and your safety shall be secured. Not that impunity was to be expected, as I have said before, but, as they would have found, their reconciliation to God would not have been in vain, for their punishment would have been mitigated; in that case their exile would have been rendered more endurable, for God would have doubtless made their adversaries kind to them; in short, mercy would have been shewn to them in many ways. Moreover, the Prophet shews that he called them not in vain to repent; for he sets before them Gods favor in mitigating their punishment.And he adds, Ye shall enter through the gates of this house, both your kings and their counsellors; but the number is afterwards changed, he, that is, every king. (38) The Prophet, seems, at the first view, to have retracted what he had said respecting exile; but the two things are to be connected together, that there was some hope remaining, if the Jews accepted the favor of God, and then that the punishment, once decreed, was to be borne by them. These two things do not disagree. For God had resolved to drive the Jews into exile; but all Judea would not doubtless have been reduced to solitude, as that happened through their irreclaimable obstinacy, according to what we read at the end of this Book; for they might have otherwise dwelt still in their own country. This is one thing; and then their condition after their exile would have been better and far more happy. But even at that time, the crown was trodden under foot, and all the dignity and power of the family of David were nearly abolished.When, therefore, the Prophet says, Enter shall kings in chariots and on horses, and also the people and he and his counsellors, through the gates of this city; he does not mean that they would so escape as that God would not chastise them for their sins, as he had declared, but that there would still be some form of a kingdom, and that exile would be short, and also that there would be at length a restoration, so that the descendants of David would return to their former state, and that the city itself would be restored so as to abound in wealth as in all other blessings. Such is the promise. The Prophet further adds what would otherwise take place, If they will not hear, this place shall become a desolation. But this threatening shall be considered tomorrow.


  • 4.For if doing ye shall do this word, Then come through the gates of this house Shall kings, sitting for David on his throne, Who shall ride in a chariot and on horses, He, and his servant, and his people.The sitting belongs to the kings, but riding to the king, his servant, and his people. As he is in the singular number, so the servant is, though both are pluralized by the Sept., the Vulg., and the Arab., and indeed, the servant by the Syr. And the Targ. But the Hebrew is as rendered above, as to the word chariot, and servant; it is the idiom of the language. Ed. PETT, "Jeremiah 22:4For if you do this thing indeed, then will there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.And if they did walk in accordance with YHWHs instructions then the dynasty of David would continue, and it would continue in splendour. The idea is not that they will enter the palace or the Temple literally sitting on a portable throne, riding in a chariot, and astride a horse, but that the king will enter the palace or the Temple as one who, along with his courtiers and people, can do all three whenever he chooses because they are so plentiful, because of the affluence and strength of the country. On the other hand there may have been partly in mind a great cavalcade of chariots and horsemen sweeping in splendid procession in through the gates of the palace into the large palace complex. The gates of this house may in this case refer either to the kings palace or to the Temple.

    5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.

    GILL, "But if ye will not hear these words,.... Will give no attention, and yield no obedience to them:


  • I swear by myself, saith the Lord; and by a greater he cannot swear; and that is the reason why he swears by himself, Heb_6:13; and as, when he swears to a promise, it shows the immutability of it, the certainty of its performance, and that it is irreversible, and never repented of, nor revoked; so it is when he swears to a threatening. The Targum is, "by my word I swear:'' that this house shall become a desolation; meaning not the temple, nor the city, but the king's palace.

    HENRY, " He must likewise assure them that the iniquity of their family, if they persisted in it, would be the ruin of their family, though it was a royal family (Jer_22:5): If you will not hear, will not obey, this house shall become a desolation, the palace of the kings of Judah shall fare no better than other habitations in Jerusalem. Sin has often been the ruin of royal palaces, though ever so stately, ever so strong. This sentence is ratified by an oath: I swear by myself (and God can swear by no greater, Heb_6:13) that this house shall be laid in ruins. Note, Sin will be the ruin of the houses of princes as well as of mean men.

    JAMISON, "I swear by myself (Heb_6:13, Heb_6:17). God swears because it seemed to them incredible that the family of David should be cast off.

    this house the kings, where Jeremiah spake (Jer_22:4).CALVIN, "We explained yesterday the declaration of the Prophet, that the kingdom would again be restored by the Lord, if the king and his servants and the whole people repented. He now introduces a commination, that if they heard not, it was all over with the palace and the city. But the word house, or palace is often repeated; for though the defenses of the city gave courage to the people, yet what made them especially proud was the confidence they felt that the kingdom had been promised to be for ever. Hence, they thought, that the royal dignity could not possibly fall as long as the sun and moon continued in the heavens. (Psalms 89:38.) This false confidence is what the Prophet now meets, and he says, If ye will not hear these words, etc. He changes the number: he had said before this word, , at edeber eze; but he now says these words, ,at edeberim. But the singular number includes the whole of his doctrine; yet he now uses the plural number, because he had exhorted them to change their life. (39)And that they might not think that they were for no good reason terrified, he declares that God had sworn by himself We indeed know that when God makes an oath, either when he promises anything, or when he denounces punishment on sinners, it is done on account of mens sloth and dullness. For our hearts through unbelief will hardly receive a simple truth, unless God removes the impediments; and this is the design of making an oath, when God does not only speak, but in order to render us more certain of our salvation, he confirms his promise by introducing his own name as a pledge. The reason is similar as to threatenings; for


  • so great is the false security of sinners, that they are deaf until God, as it were, with force penetrates into their hearts. Hence he says, that God made an oath by himself; for it seemed incredible to the Jews, that the family which had been set apart by God from the world, would ever perish. It now follows: PETT, "Jeremiah 22:5But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, the word of YHWH, that this house will become a desolation.A warning is then given in a most solemn way (YHWH swears by Himself, because He has no greater to swear by) of what the consequence will be of not hearing and responding to YHWHs words. The consequence will be that this house (either the palace or the Temple) will become a desolation. The fact that the destruction of the Temple was an important factor to Jeremiah may suggest that that is what is in mind here. For the idea of YHWH swearing by Himself compare Jeremiah 49:13; Jeremiah 51:14; Genesis 22:16; Isaiah 45:23; Amos 6:8.

    6 For this is what the Lord says about the palace of the king of Judah:Though you are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon,I will surely make you like a wasteland, like towns not inhabited.

    BARNES, "Omit and. Thou art a Gilead unto me, a summit of Lebanon.Yet surely - literally, if not, the form of an oath with the imprecation omitted. For the full form see Num_14:23.A wilderness, and cities - Omit and. The meaning is: If the house of David does not hear Gods words, though it be now grand as Lebanon, God will make it a wilderness, even uninhabited cities; the house of David being regarded as equivalent to the kingdom of Judah.


  • CLARKE, "Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon - Perhaps in allusion, says Dahler, to the oaks of Gilead, and the cedars of Mount Lebanon, of which the palace was constructed. Lebanon was the highest mountain in Israel, and Gilead the richest and most fertile part of the country; and were, therefore, proper emblems of the reigning family. Though thou art the richest and most powerful, I, who raised thee up, can bring thee down and make thee a wilderness.

    GILL, "For thus saith the Lord unto the king's house of Judah,.... That is, to the family of the king of Judah; though it may be rendered, "concerning the house of the king of Judah" (z); and so refer to his palace as before: thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon; or, though like to Gilead (which was a very fruitful country) for wealth, riches, and all kind of valuable things; and like to the top of Mount Lebanon (a), being set with tall cedars, for stateliness. So the Targum is, "although thou art beloved before me more than the sanctuary, which is high upon the top of the mountains:'' or thou shall be as Gilead, and Mount Lebanon, which belonged to the ten tribes of Israel, and are put for the whole kingdom of Israel, which was wasted by the king of Assyria; and in like condition should the royal palace at Jerusalem be, notwithstanding all its riches and grandeur, and so the city and temple likewise; as follows: yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited; though as fruitful as Gilead, yet shall become like a barren desert; and though full of children, courtiers, princes, and nobles, yet shall be like cities quite depopulated: or, "if I do not make thee" (b), &c. it is in the form of an oath, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; and to be supplied thus, if I do not do as I have said, let me never be believed; let me be reckoned a liar, or not thought to be God, and the like. It shows the certain accomplishment of these things.

    HENRY, "He must show how fatal their wickedness would be to their kingdom as well as to themselves, to Jerusalem especially, the royal city, Jer_22:6-9. (1.) It is confessed that Judah and Jerusalem had been valuable in God's eyes and considerable in their own: thou art Gilead unto me and the head of Lebanon. Their lot was cast in a place that was rich and pleasant as Gilead; Zion was a stronghold, as stately as Lebanon: this they trusted to as their security. But, (2.) This shall not protect them; the country that is now fruitful as Gilead shall be made a wilderness. The cities that are now strong as Lebanon shall be cities not inhabited; and, when the country is laid waste, the cities must be dispeopled. See how easily God's judgments can ruin a nation, and how certainly sin will do it. When this desolating work is