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to Jehoiakim's days. The result of the work was negative, as in the time of their fathers (ver. 9 ff). The Lord found a conspiracy among His people. At first, indeed, no open opposition was ventured on; but a secret agreement was come to constantly to resist the divine word, and this was done. Idolatry continued. Thus God withdrew from this people, forbids the prophet to intercede (ver. 14, see on vii. 16), and declares their worship of Yahveb null and void (ver. 15, cf. ch. vii.). The nation which, in agreement with its divine destiny, should he a flourishing olive-tree, full of sap and fruit, will fall victim to the fire of doom like a dry log (ver. 16). In ver. 18 ff. there is appended an account of the conduct of the inhabitants of Anathoth, where hostility to the word of the Lord took personal shape in a conspiracy against the life of His messenger. Jeremiah, appearing as the herald of his God in this his native town, like Jesus of Nazareth (Luke iv. 16 ff., 24), met with the most hostile reception. Only the Lord's warning saved him from an attack on his life. Therefore heavy judgment hangs over the people of Anathoth.
b. Ch. xii. follows up the previous discourse. The opposition, so painfully felt by Jeremiah, moves him to seek an explanation from God of His dark ways. He is distressed for the poor land, which must bear so much calamity on account of the wilful, obdurate enemies of God, who themselves suffer least by it, and seem to be safe from revenge. Jeremiah has here before him a similar riddle as in Job xii. 6, xxi. 1 ff. That God is righteous, he, indeed, assumes as unquestionable, xii . 1. Only he cannot refrain from making known to the Lord his torturing suspicions of His dealings. God's first answer (vv. 5-7) gives him no comfort, but, on the contrary, assures him that the inequity already suffered will increase still more. Until now he has not understood the hostility to God in its full bitterness and hatefulness; this he will only see by experiencing how his own brethren and kinsmen at Anathoth will forsake and betray him, nay, incite the mob against him. He must thus prepare for far more hateful resistance and worse attacks, as he is taught by two figurative oracles, ver. 5.
Nevertheless nothing takes place against God's will and purpose. It is His hand that now presses so heavily on the land and gives it over to judgment. He will also at last gloriously carry out His plan of salvation, vv. 8-17. This section first gives the answer to the prophet's complaint at the beginning of the chapter. It is therefore a complete mistaking of the connection to sever vv. 8-17 from this chapter, or to ascribe it to another author. God the Lord explains (ver. 7) the misfortune of the land by His having dissolved His covenant-relation to the faithless, nay, hostile nation, and delivered it over to the enemy. It is therefore with His permission that it is attacked on every side, traversed by foreign robber-hordes, and plundered by arrogant neighbours. This was actually the case, according to 2 Kings xxiv. 1 f., after the first three years of Jehoiakim, and in this time accordingly we must put the discourse. The land now mourns for the Lord (ver. 11); it is the Lord's sword that sweeps away the inhabitants (ver. 12); the Lord's failure to bless makes all the husbandman's toil fruitless. Though no one lays it to heart, the nation already lies under the fiery wrath of God, who will yet complete the judgment (ver. 13). But this less comforting statement is followed by an oracle, which brings into view the happy end, and sets in glorious light the rule of grace, vv. 14-17. First of all, the arrogant neighbours—Moab, Ammon, Edom, etc., who wreak their spite on weak, oppressed Judah—will share the same lot of uprooting or banishment as Judah itself, since the Lord will not leave attacks on His possession unpunished (ii. 3). Then the Lord will again have mercy on the Jews and heathen, and bring them back to their own land. Even the heathen will not be delivered over to judgment without mercy; there is a future for them. But the greatest promise is given in ver. 16: the heathen shall learn the true God through Judah, and be then incorporated with God's people. Thus the exile has in God's counsel a salutary, blessed purpose for both Jews and heathen. There the Jews shall not disappear in heathenism, when they adopt foreign idolatry (cf. x. 2), as they often enough did, but heathen nations shall be absorbed in God's people, learning from Judah the name of the true, living God; for even for them there is no salvation except in this name (ver. 17). This wonderful enlargement of the community of the Jewish Church, in which a community of heathen nations is to obtain a footing and be built up, i.e. continued, goes far beyond the Old Testament limits, and requires of itself a spiritualizing of the idea of the Church. Cf. on the thought, Ezek. xvi. 53-63.
Judgment On The Incorrigible, Ch. Xiii.
XIII. 1. Thus said Yahveh to me: Go and buy thee a girdle of linen and put it on thy loins, and put it not into water. 2. Then I bought me a girdle, according to the word of Yahveh, and put it on my loins. 3. And the word of Yahveh came to me the second time, saying: 4. Take thy girdle, which thou hast bought, which is on thy loins, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a cleft of the rock. 5. Then I went and hid it in the Euphrates, as Yahveh had bidden me. 6. And it came to pass after the lapse of many days that Yahveh said to me: Arise, go to the Euphrates and fetch thence the girdle which I bade thee hide there. 7. Then I went to the Euphrates and dug and took the girdle from the place where I had hidden it, and, behold, the girdle was spoilt, it was good for nothing more. 8. And the word of Yahveh came to me, saying: 9. Thus says Yahveh: In like manner I will cause the pride of Judah and the pride of Jerusalem,
Ver. 1. "Thou shalt not put it into water," to be explained (ver. 11) thus: the girdle is not to be taken off, and so not to be washed. This last clause would not so run, unless the opposite course were to be taken afterwards. Ver. 4. By mt nothing else is to be understood than the Euphrates (so all ancient versions) = mB inJ, xlvi. 2, 6, 10, not a "fresh water" near Jerusalem (Ewald), and just as little Ephrathah=Bethlehem (Bochart, Hitzig, Cheyne), where, apart from the absence of K, there is no sign of water, and the significance of the locality would be quite inexplicable. The epithet mJ can the more easily be dispensed with, as ver. 1 already hinted at water. p^3 or p"i?J, rent, cleft (xvi. 16). The girdle is to be concealed in the river-bed, so indeed that it may not be carried away; hence this addition: in a cleft of the rock. It is to be made moist. iBnKi (ver. 7) shows that it was weighted with stones the mighty (pride), to be spoilt. 10. This evil nation—who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart and run after other gods to serve them and fall down before them—this shall be like this girdle, which is good for nothing more. 11. For like as the girdle lies on the loins of a man, so I bound closely to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, is Yahveh's oracle, that it might be to me a people, and a name, and a praise, and a glory; but they heard not.
12. And thou shalt utter this message to them: Thus has Yahveh, the God of Israel, said: Every jar shall be filled with wine. And if they say to thee: Do we not know full well that every jar is filled with wine? 13. thou shalt say to them: Thus says Yahveh: Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, and the kings who sit on David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14. And I dash them one on another, and the fathers along with the sons, is Yahveh's oracle; I will not spare, nor have pity, nor show mercy, in not destroying them.
15. Hear ye and attend! Be not haughty, for Yahveh has spoken. 16. Give ye glory to Yahveh, before he makes dim, and before your feet stumble on the mountains of gloom and you Wait for light, but he turns it into darkness, he
and earth. Ver. 12. bli, skin-bag, thenar for fluids, especially wine, made of clay (ver. 14, DVlvWl). Ver. 13. The vessels, contemplated in the prophet's oracle, are all the several members of the nation, especially the leaders. That with which they are to be filled is indicated indefinitely by drunkenness: a stupefying drink rendering them powerless. Ch. xxv. 15 speaks more definitely of the wine of God's wrath. The kings in the plural, because the period of the judgment stretches over a series of reigns. "Those who for David (belonging to him as successors) sit on his throne;" more simple form, xvii . 25. Ver. 14. Continuation of the figure: I will dash them together like an earthen vessel (Ps. ii . 9). Ver. 16. To give glory to the Lord; this is to be done, according to the prophet's meaning, not merely by rendering praise, but by every one confessing his wrong and turning from his wandering to God, whose glory was outraged by sin. Cf. Josh. vii. 19; Mal. ii. 2.