|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:1-21 The ruin of Judah and Jerusalem came on by degrees. The methods God takes to call back sinners by his word, by ministers, by conscience, by providences, are all instances of his compassion toward them, and his unwillingness that any should perish. See here what woful havoc sin makes, and, as we value the comfort and continuance of our earthly blessings, let us keep that worm from the root of them. They had many times ploughed and sowed their land in the seventh year, when it should have rested, and now it lay unploughed and unsown for ten times seven years. God will be no loser in his glory at last, by the disobedience of men. If they refused to let the land rest, God would make it rest. What place, O God, shall thy justice spare, if Jerusalem has perished? If that delight of thine were cut off for wickedness, let us not be high-minded, but fear.
Verse 21. - The word of the Lord. Note marginal references (Jeremiah 25:9-12; Jeremiah 29:10). The three score and ten years of desolateness may probably best be dated from Nebuchadnezzar's first taking of Jerusalem, B.C. 606-5. Although this date does not tally exactly with the B.C. 538 of Cyrus's conquest of Babylon, yet the discrepancy is easily explained on more than one sufficiently natural supposition (e.g. that Cyrus's reign was not exactly synchronous in the beginning of it with his conquest of Babylon, etc.). Enjoyed her sabbaths (see Leviticus 26:34, 35, 43-46).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah,.... That is, the Jews were so long servants in Babylon, as in the preceding verse, to accomplish Jeremiah's prophecy of it, 2 Chronicles 25:12.
until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths; the sabbatical years, or seventh year sabbaths, which, according to the law of the land, was to rest from being tilled, Leviticus 25:4, which law had been neglected by the Jews, and now, whether they would or not, the land should have rest for want of persons to till it:
for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years; as threatened in Leviticus 26:34 on which text Jarchi observes, that at the destruction of the first temple the law concerning the sabbath, or rest of the land had been neglected four hundred and thirty years, in which space were sixty nine sabbatical years; and, according to Maimonides (d), it was at the end of a sabbatic year that the city and temple were destroyed, and so just seventy years had been neglected, and the land was tilled in them as in other years, and now it had rest that exact number of years; but of this we cannot be certain, though it is probable.
(d) Hilchot Shemitah Veyobel, c. 10. sect. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths—The return of every seventh was to be held as a sabbatic year, a season of rest to all classes, even to the land itself, which was to be fallow. This divine institution, however, was neglected—how soon and how long, appears from the prophecy of Moses (see on Le 26:34), and of Jeremiah in this passage (see Jer 25:9-12), which told that for divine retribution it was now to remain desolate seventy years. As the Assyrian conquerors usually colonized their conquered provinces, so remarkable a deviation in Palestine from their customary policy must be ascribed to the overruling providence of God.
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