Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
The prison - The guard.
Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name;
Or, Thus saith Yahweh the doer of it, Yahweh who formeth it, that He may establish it, Yahweh is His name. The word "it" means whatsoever Yahweh wills.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Mighty things - Or, as in the margin. The words are probably a quotation from Isaiah 48:6.
For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;
By ... by - Rather, against ... against. As the works of the enemy approached the walls, houses were pulled down to build inner fortifications. Swords are mentioned in Ezekiel 26:9 (translated, axes), as used for breaking down the towers in the walls. See Jeremiah 5:17, note.
They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.
Render, They, i. e., the Jews come to fight with the Chaldaeans, and to fill them, i. e., the houses, with the dead bodies etc.
Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.
I will bring it health and cure - I will lay upon it a bandage and healing, i. e., a healing bandage, a plaster with healing medicines.
And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
At the first - i. e., before their sins had provoked God to anger.
And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.
It - The city, Jerusalem.
They shall fear and tremble - With terror, because of the eternal opposition between right and wrong, truth and error. The nations of the earth as opposed to Israel represent the world as opposed to the Church.
Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
Which ye say shall be desolate - Of which ye say, It is desolate ... The prophet first sees Judaea silent and desolate during the 70 years' captivity: and then describes the two things, men and cattle, without which land is valueless.
The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.
Praise the Lord ... - The customary formula of thanksgiving in many of the later Psalms, and from its occurrence in 2 Chronicles 5:13; 2 Chronicles 7:3, 2 Chronicles 7:6 ff probably a regular part of the liturgical service of the temple.
Shall say ... shall bring the sacrifice of praise - Or, say ... as they bring praise, i. e., a thank-offering (see the marginal reference) into the house of the Lord
At the first - Before the captivity, and when still unpolluted by the sins which have brought upon it so heavy a chastisement.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
An habitation - "A shepherd's encampment." The words, "causing their flocks to lie down," mean gathering them into the fold at night.
In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.
Telleth - i. e., counts the number of his sheep.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
That good thing - Better, the good word Jeremiah 29:10, with reference to the promise already given Jeremiah 23:5-6.
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
Compare the marginal reference. When the good word was spoken, the name Yahweh our Righteousness was given to the righteous Sprout: here it is given to Jerusalem, i. e., to the Church, because it is her business mediately to work on earth that righteousness which Christ works absolutely. Compare Ephesians 1:23.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
Read literally, these verses promise the permanent restoration of the Davidic throne and (of the Levitical priesthood. As a matter of fact Zedekiah was the last king of David's line, and the Levitical priest-hood has long passed away. Both these changes Jeremiah himself foretold Jeremiah 22:30; Jeremiah 3:16. In what way then is this apparent contradiction (compare Isaiah 66:20-23; Ezekiel 40-48) to be explained? The solution is probably as follows. It was necessary that the Bible should be intelligible to the people at the time when it was written, and in some degree to the writer. The Davidic kingship and the Levitical priest-hood were symbols, which represented to the Jew all that was most dear to his heart in the state of things under which he lived. Their restoration was the restoration of his national and spiritual life. Neither was so restored as to exist permanently. But that was given instead, of which both were types, the Church, whose Head is the true prophet, priest and King.
Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,
Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
This promise also has been not literally, but spiritually fulfilled, for in this sense only have the seed of David and the Levites been multiplied.
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,
Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
Considerest thou not - literally, Hast thou not seen, i. e., noticed?
This people - i. e., the Jews.
Thus ... - Or, and "My people they have despised," so that they are "no more a nation" in their sight. They say that God has rejected Judah as well as Israel: and thus they despise themselves in their relation to God as His covenant-people, by regarding their national existence as about immediately to cease forever.
Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
The ordinances of heaven and earth - i. e., the whole order of nature Nature is not more firmly established than God's purposes in grace.
Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.