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fore the word of the Lord, all ye of the captivity, whom si I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon: thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah, the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;
22 and he shall slay them before your eyes; and of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which are in Babylon, saying, The Lord make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire;
23 because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord.
the Jews have handed down from one to another the letter of the Scriptures. An obvious alteration would have been to turn this second person into the third, but it was retained. Jeremiah desires to shew that it was not merely other persons who had behaved wickedly, and by thus including the very people whom he was addressing, he prepared the way for the opening words of ver. 20.
20. This begins the second part of Jeremiah's answer to the objection supposed to be raised on the part of the exiles in ver. 15. The prophets, of whom they there speak, shall perish, and that by a cruel death.
21. Of these two prophets nothing further is known.
22. Kolaiah, curse (kelalah) and roasted (kalah) are three such similar words that a play on them as used in these verses seems intended. The son of Kolaiah was to be called Kelalah (a curse) because the king of Babylon kalah (roasted) him in the fire. That this form of punishment was not too cruel to be uncommon we learn as well from the Moloch rites so often spoken of, and the passing "through the brick kiln" (2 Sam. xii. 31), as from the case of Shadrach and his companions (Dan. iii. 20) and various references to the subject in Assyrian inscriptions deciphered in modern times.
23. / know] The Heb. is rather difficult. Probably the best literal rendering of it is / am one who knows.
24—32. Shemaiah The Nehelamite Rebuked And
On the arrival at Babylon of Jeremiah's letter, which ends with ver. 23, there is much indignation on the part of the false prophets, and one of them, Shemaiah by name, writes to Zephaniah the acting high-priest, urging upon him that he should take severe measures to silence Jeremiah as a madman. This suggestion however Zephaniah is so far from following that he shews the letter to the prophet, who writes again to 24—32. Shemaiah the Nehelamite rebuked and threatened.
Thus shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, *4 saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 2s saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that are at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, The 26 Lord hath made thee priest in the stead of Jehoiada the priest, that ye should be officers in the house of the Lord, for every man that is mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldest put him in prison, and in the stocks. Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Ana- *7 thoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you? For there-:3
Babylon, this time for the purpose of condemning Shemaiah's conduct in the severest terms, and announcing its penalty.
24. to] or, concerning, as the same preposition in the original is rendered in ver. 31. See also ver. 16.
the Nehelamite] named thus no doubt after a village not otherwise known. The alternative rendering dreamer suggested in the margin of the Eng. Vers. is very improbable.
25. lettersY The Heb. might mean a single letter, but the plural is probably right.
in thy name] The "thy " is probably to be emphasized. Shemaiah spoke in his own name, not as Jeremiah in the name of the Lord.
Zephaniah] mentioned xxi. 1 (which however belongs to a somewhat later time than this) as having been sent with Pashur by Zedekiah to Jeremiah. .He is also mentioned chap. lii. 24, 2 Kings xxv. 18 as "second priest" or the high-priest's deputy. He seems to have been put to death when the city was finally taken by the Chaldaeans.
26. This and the two following verses give us the words of Shemaiah's letter to Zephaniah, as quoted in Jeremiah's reply.
in the stead of jfehoiada] Some have referred this to Jehoiada the highpriest of the days of king Joash (2 Kings xi. 4, etc.). Against this view however are the words that follow, viz.:—that ye should be officers = p&kids=deputies. This shews that the Jehoiada here mentioned was himself but a deputy. He may well have come in between Pashur (xx. 1) and Zephaniah. There were doubtless many changes of this kind in such troublous times.
that is mad] Madness was looked on in the East as a sort of gift of prophecy perverted.
prison] the pillory. See note on chap. xx. 2, where the same word is rendered "stocks."
the stocks] rather, the collar. Another meaning suggested is a close prison house. The word however occurs in the former sense in the kindred Arabic, and may well denote that which confined the neck.
fore he sent unto us in Babylon, saying, This captivity is long: build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet. Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the Lord concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the Lord; because he hath taught rebellion against the Lord.
28. For therefore he sent] Because ye have allowed him to do as he likes at home, he has taken the same liberty with us. We may however render simply, Forasmuch as he hath sent, etc.
32. therefore thus saith the Lord] These and the following words come at length as the part of the sentence answering to "because thou hast sent," etc. of ver. 25. The intervening break has resulted from the long explanation and detail which was necessary. The punishment to be inflicted on Shemaiah was twofold, First, he was to leave no children behind him, and secondly, he should see no good come upon his people, either in the way of the speedy return which he had been promising them, or in the way of peace and comparative prosperity in exile.
Hitherto the general tone of Jeremiah's prophecies has been gloomy. Any gleams of brightness that have from time to time appeared (e. g. iii. 14, xvi. 14, 15, xxiii. 3) have borne but a very small proportion to the long stretches of melancholy foreboding and stern declaration of coming punishment, which have formed the gist of his prophecies. In chaps, xxx.—xxxiii. we have a marked change in this respect, and the whole tone here is that of hope. This is the more remarkable, as chaps. xxxii., xxxiii. were written in the tenth year of Zedekiah, and in the midst of the siege (xxxii. 1, compare xxxiii. 1), while it seems probable from the internal evidence that the two earlier chapters, connected so closely with these in subject-matter, were composed and committed to writing somewhere about the same date. The prophet was in prison, famine and pestilence held possession of the city, and the prospects of the nation were such as to create despair in every mind. It was at such a time as this, when humanly speaking the people most needed the comfort of hope, and yet the prophet, had he been speaking his own words, was least likely to be able or willing to afford it them, that it was announced Chap. XXX. 1—5. Introduction.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 30 Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee 2 all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. For 3 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. And these are the 4 words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord , 5
through Jeremiah that the people of God should not perish, that through them the Gentile nations should be led to a knowledge of the truth, and that the Righteous Branch should yet arise from the house of David and Zion's name be The Lord our Righteousness. We may divide the whole prophecy into three parts: (i) "The triumphal hymn of Israel's salvation" (Hengst.) xxx., xxxi.; (ii) The purchase by Jeremiah of a field in Anathoth with an explanation of the significance of this act; (iii) Promise of restoration of the nation with renewed glory conferred on the house of David and the Levitical priesthood.
Chap. XXX. 1—5. Introduction.
2. Write thee all the words] Jeremiah had already in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign adopted this method of securing that his words should have permanent effect upon the minds of his countrymen. It was now still more necessary that they should be committed to writing, as many had meanwhile been removed to Babylon and a second deportation of captives was imminent. Besides we are not sure how far he may at this time have possessed personal freedom. See chap. xxxiii. r.
that I have spoken unto thee] From a certain amount of similarity between these chaps, and iii.—vi. (especially iii. 17—25) it has been thought that the former are contemporary with the latter, i. e. that both are to be referred to the days of Josiah. This however is quite unsustained by the opinion of commentators generally or by the probabilities of the case.
3. For / will bring again the captivity] This verse shews that
"all the words" (ver. 2) are not to be taken as meaning all the revelations that God had ever made to Jeremiah, but that which He had declared to him upon the special subject of the restoration of the people.
4. concerning Israel and concerning Judah] Both divisions of the kingdom of David are thus mentioned, as they are to be spoken of separately in the prophecy which follows in chap. xxxi. (Israel 1—22, Judah 23—26).
5—g. When all is darkest, deliverance shall come.
6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with
Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins,
as a woman in travail,
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it:
But he shall be saved out of it.
8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of
That I will break his yoke from off thy neck,
And strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
6—9. When All Is Darkest, Deliverance Shall Come.
6. We have heard a voice of trembling] The prophet begins the prophecy which is to contain the promise of deliverance with a description which shall intensify the contrast that is coming. The restoration can only be effected by the overthrow of their oppressors in war, which of necessity involves 'trembling.'
Of fear, and not of peace] Fear and no peace. It is best to take the words thus, as those of the exiles themselves. The approaching capture of Babylon does not bring them unmixed joy. They must in common with their masters submit to the horrors and uncertainties of war and siege.
7. that day is great, so that none is like it] the day of the overthrow of Babylon. It is even greater than that of Nineveh, as described by Nahum (ii. 10—12, iii. 8, 10). The language here seems to be suggested by Joel ii. 2, 11.
he shall be saved out of it] Here we have the transition to the joyous note which dominates the rest of the prophecy.
8. his yoke] Does this mean (i) the yoke imposed by him (the king of Babylon) or (ii) borne by him (Israel)? To take it in the second sense might have seemed an intolerably harsh construction in the face of the instantaneous change of person 'from off thy neck' but for the frequency with which such a change occurs in Jeremiah, another instance presenting itself in the latter part of this same verse. If (ii) be right however, the change from 'his (yoke)' to 'thy (neck),' as occurring in the very same clause, is even harsher than from 'thy (bonds)' to '(of) him.'
bonds] The Heb. is the word rendered as here in the text of xxvii. 2, where however see note.
serve themselves of him] This phrase has been already used, in xxv. 14, xxvii. 7,