Jeremiah 1:18
For, behold, I have made you this day a defended city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
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Metaphorically the walls and fortifications of the city represent the prophet's power of patiently enduring the attacks of his enemies; while the iron pillar, supporting the whole weight of the roof Judges 16:29; 1 Kings 7:21), signifies that no trials or sufferings would crush his steadfast will. I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and, brazen walls - Though thou shalt be exposed to persecutions and various indignities, they shall not prevail against thee. To their attacks thou shalt be as an impregnable city; as unshaken as an iron pillar; and as imperishable as a wall of brass. None, therefore, can have less cause to apprehend danger than thou hast. The issue proved the truth of this promise: he outlived all their insults; and saw Jerusalem destroyed, and his enemies, and the enemies of his Lord, carried into captivity. Instead of חמות chomoth, walls, many MSS. and editions read חמת chomath, a wall, which corresponds with the singular nouns preceding. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city,.... Or, "as" one; so read the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions; which is inexpungible, and cannot be taken:

and an iron pillar; which cannot be removed out of its place:

and brasen walls; which cannot be broken down. All these metaphors show the safety and security of the prophet, being surrounded by the power of God; his constancy, immovableness, and invincibleness in the work of the Lord, having such a spirit of power, fortitude, and of a sound mind, that nothing was able to move and shake him, or to deter him from the execution of his office; and that he should stand inflexible

against the whole land; of Judea, and all the inhabitants of it:

against the kings of Judah; in successive reigns, as Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, or Jechonias, and Zedekiah:

against the princes thereof; who desired he might be put to death, Jeremiah 38:4,

against the priests thereof; who all of them dealt falsely, and were given to covetousness, Jeremiah 8:10,

and against the people of the land; who were grievously addicted to idolatry, and all manner of wickedness.

For, behold, I have made thee this day a fortified city, and an {r} iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against her princes, against her priests, and against the people of the land.

(r) Signifying on the one hand that the more that Satan and the world rage against God's ministers, the more present will he be to help them, Jos 1:5, He 13:5 and on the other hand, that they are utterly unfit to serve God in his Church, who are afraid and do not resist wickedness, whatever danger depend on it, Isa 50:7, Eze 3:8.

18. defenced city, &c.—that is, I will give thee strength which no power of thine enemies shall overcome (Jer 6:27; 15:20; Isa 50:7; 54:17; Lu 21:15; Ac 6:10).

walls—plural, to express the abundant strength to be given him. De Rossi's'S manuscripts read singular, "wall."

people of the land—the general masses, as distinguished from the princes and priests.

The Confirmatory Tokens. - The first is given in Jeremiah 1:11 and Jeremiah 1:12 : "And there came to me the word of Jahveh, saying, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, I see an almond rod. Then Jahveh said to me, Thou hast seen aright: for I will keep watch over my word to fulfil it." With the consecration of the prophet to his office are associated two visions, to give him a surety of the divine promise regarding the discharge of the duties imposed on him. First, Jeremiah sees in spirit a rod or twig of an almond tree. God calls his attention to this vision, and interprets it to him as a symbol of the swift fulfilment of His word. The choice of this symbol for the purpose given is suggested by the Hebrew name for the almond tree, שׁקד, the wakeful, the vigilant; because this tree begins to blossom and expand its leaves in January, when the other trees are still in their winter's sleep (florat omnium prima mense Januario, Martio vero poma maturat. Plin. h. n. xvi. 42, and Von Schubert, Reise iii. S. 14), and so of all trees awakes earliest to new life. Without any sufficient reason Graf has combated this meaning for שׁקד, proposing to change שׁקד into שׁקד, and, with Aquil., Sym., and Jerome, to translate מקּל שׁקד watchful twig, virga vigilans, i.e., a twig whose eyes are open, whose buds have opened, burst; but he has not even attempted to give any authority for the use of the verb שׁקד for the bursting of buds, much less justified it. In the explanation of this symbol between the words, thou hast seen aright, and the grounding clause, for I will keep watch, there is omitted the intermediate thought: it is indeed a שׁקד. The twig thou hast seen is an emblem of what I shall do; for I will keep watch over my word, will be watchful to fulfil it. This interpretation of the symbol shows besides that מקּל is not here to be taken, as by Kimchi, Vatabl., Seb. Schmidt, Ngelsb., and others, for a stick to beat with, or as a threatening rod of correction. The reasons alleged by Ngelsb. for this view are utterly inconclusive. For his assertion, that מקּל always means a stick, and never a fresh, leafy branch, is proved to be false by Genesis 30:37; and the supposed climax found by ancient expositors in the two symbols: rod-boiling caldron, put thus by Jerome: qui noluerint percutiente virga emendari, mittentur in ollam aeneam atque succensam, is forced into the text by a false interpretation of the figure of the seething pot. The figure of the almond rod was meant only to afford to the prophet surety for the speedy and certain fulfilment of the word of God proclaimed by him. It is the second emblem alone that has anything to do with the contents of his preaching. 1:11-19 God gave Jeremiah a view of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments. God also showed whence the intended ruin should arise. Jeremiah saw a seething-pot boiling, representing Jerusalem and Judah in great commotion. The mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, was toward the north; from whence the fire and fuel were to come. The northern powers shall unite. The cause of these judgments was the sin of Judah. The whole counsel of God must be declared. The fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. Better to have all men our enemies than God our enemy; those who are sure they have God with them, need not, ought not to fear, whoever is against them. Let us pray that we may be willing to give up personal interests, and that nothing may move us from our duty.Verse 18. - Brasen walls. The plural is used instead of a collective term for the whole circle of fortifications. In the parallel passage (Jeremiah 15:20) the singular occurs; the same alternation of plural and singular as in 2 Kings 25:10; 1 Kings 3:1. The combination of figures strikingly expresses the invincibility of one whose strength is in his God. The kings of Judah. Why the plural? Most reply, Because Jeremiah would have to do with successive sovereigns. But this meaning would have been just as well conveyed by the singular: "the king of Judah," without any name being added - would moan the king who from time to time happened to be reigning. "Kings of Judah" in Jeremiah seems to have a special meaning, and to include all the members of the royal family, who formed a numerous and powerful class (see on Jeremiah 17:20).

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1:18 This whole land - All its inhabitants in general; intimating, that though men of all degrees should set themselves against him, yet God would support him against their all, and would carry him thro' his work, tho' his troubles would not be only great, but long; passing thro' several king's reigns.
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