Jeremiah 30:21
And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the middle of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach to me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach to me? said the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Their nobles.—Literally, His glorious one, as pointing to some single ruler. The word is the same as the “excellent” of Psalm 8:1.

Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me?—The question points to the ruler of the house of David whom the prophet sees in visions—in other words, to the far-off Messiah. So in Isaiah we have a like introduction of the figure of the conqueror, “Who is this that cometh from Edom?” (Isaiah 63:1). As in Isaiah 11:1-3; Isaiah 42:1-4, the dominant thought is that of one who will not be treacherous or faithless, like the degenerate heirs of the house of David whom Jeremiah had known, but one who would “engage” (literally, pledge, or give as security) his heart and soul to the service of Jehovah. In the advent of such a king the true relation between God and His people (Hosea 1:10; Jeremiah 24:7) should yet be re-established. In the words “to approach unto me” we have the germ of the thought that the true King will also be a priest, and will enter, as others could not enter, into the Holy Place (see Note on Jeremiah 35:19, and Numbers 16:5); a priest, such as Psalm 110:4 had spoken of, after the order of Melchizedek.

30:18-24 We have here further intimations of the favour of God for them after the days of their calamity have expired. The proper work and office of Christ, as Mediator, is to draw near unto God, for us, as the High Priest of our profession. His own undertaking, in compliance with his Father's will, and in compassion to fallen man, engaged him. Jesus Christ was, in all this, truly wonderful. They shall be taken again into covenant with the Lord, according to the covenant made with their fathers. I will be your God: it is his good-will to us, which is the summary of that part of the covenant. The wrath of God against the wicked is very terrible, like a whirlwind. The purposes of his wrath, as well as the purposes of his love, will all be fulfilled. God will comfort all that turn to him; but those who approach him must have their hearts engaged to do it with reverence, devotion, and faith. How will they escape who neglect so great salvation?Translate, And his glorious one shall spring from himself, and his ruler shall go forth from his midst ... who is this that hath pledged his heart, i. e., hath staked his life, to dealt near unto Me? i. e., "Messiah shall be revealed to them out of their own midst." He can draw near unto God without fear of death, because being in the form of God, and Himself God, He can claim equality with God Philippians 2:6.21. their nobles—rather, "their Glorious One," or "Leader" (compare Ac 3:15; Heb 2:10), answering to "their Governor" in the parallel clause.

of themselves—of their own nation, a Jew, not a foreigner; applicable to Zerubbabel, or J. Hyrcanus (hereditary high priest and governor), only as types of Christ (Ge 49:10; Mic 5:2; Ro 9:5), the antitypical "David" (Jer 30:9).

cause him to draw near—as the great Priest (Ex 19:22; Le 21:17), through whom believers also have access to God (Heb 10:19-22). His priestly and kingly characters are similarly combined (Ps 110:4; Zec 6:13).

who … engaged … heart to approach—literally, "pledged his heart," that is, his life; a thing unique; Messiah alone has made His life responsible as the surety (Heb 7:22; 9:11-15), in order to gain access not only for Himself, but for us to God. Heart is here used for life, to express the courage which it needed to undertake such a tremendous suretyship. The question implies admiration at one being found competent by His twofold nature, as God and man, for the task. Compare the interrogation (Isa 63:1-3).

Their governor shall proceed from the midst of them: this promise was made good in Zerobabel, and other governors of the Jews after their return out of captivity, till they came to be subdued by the Romans. Some restrain this unto Christ, and make it a prophecy of Christ being born of the Jewish nation; it is he, they say, that was meant by David, Jeremiah 30:9: and it is not improbable that the sense of the text may reach unto Christ, but it seems literally to be understood of Zerobabel, and to be opposed to strangers ruling over them, which was no small piece of their calamity while they were in captivity.

He shall approach unto me; that is, he shall serve me, and I will favour him; or, this people shall serve me, and I will favour them, and not be as one at a distance or far off from them. Some understand this of the civil governor that should be after the captivity; some understand it of the people; some understand it of Christ. Those that understand it of the governor, make it to signify the special favour that governor should be in with God and his religion; those that understand it of the people, make it to signify the religion of the people, and the favour they should be in with God; those who understand it of Christ, interpret it of his favour with God, by whom also the saints have their access.

For who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? Interpreters are yet more divided about this phrase; some apply it to Christ, either as an admiration of his excellency, or as denoting that none but he could draw near to God in that manner as he did, nor had any such a delight in the sons of men as he, so as for him to be a Mediator betwixt offenders and an offended God; none but he durst look in the face of an angry God. Others understand it of God’s people, intimating that in the day when they should return out of captivity there would be but few that with any serious purpose of heart would apply themselves unto God, or signifying the impotency that is in man heartily to draw nigh to God, till (as it is before said) God causeth him so to do; and some think the words have a reference to the covenant mentioned in the next verse. And their nobles shall be of themselves,.... Or, "his noble One" (d); Jacob's noble One, the Messiah, in whom all the promises centre; and whose incarnation and priesthood are the foundation of all the things above predicted. The Targum interprets these words of him;

"their King shall be anointed from them, and their Messiah shall be revealed from the midst of them.''

And so it is applied to him in the Talmud (e), and in other writings of the Jews (f). Kimchi on the place says,

"it is known that the King Messiah shall be of Israel.''

He may be called a "noble One", as he is a Nobleman in Luke 19:12; because he descended from illustrious persons; from David king of Israel, and from a race of kings in his line, as the genealogy of Matthew shows. Or, "his glorious One" (g), as it may be rendered; he is glorious in his nature, being the brightness of his Father's glory; glorious in his perfections, which are the same with his divine Father's; glorious in his names and titles, the King and Lord of glory; glorious in his works and worship, which are the same that are ascribed to God the Father; glorious in his office as Mediator, which he has so well performed; glorious when he was raised from the dead, and had a glory given him; and when he ascended on high, and sat down at his Father's right hand, crowned with glory and honour; glorious in the eyes of God, and of all his people; and, when his kingdom shall be in a more glorious condition, he will reign before his ancients gloriously; and when he comes a second time, he will come in exceeding great glory. Or, his "mighty One" (h); Christ is the mighty God, the mighty Mediator, the mighty Saviour; he is the most Mighty, he is the Almighty. Now, as man, his descent was from them, the Israelites; from Abraham, from Jacob, from Judah, from Jesse and David, and from the people of the Jews; see Romans 9:4;

and their Governor shall proceed from the midst of them; meaning the King Messiah, as before; who has the government of the church upon his shoulders; is worthy of all power and authority and has received it; has a power of making laws, and of obliging men to keep them; has a power of pardoning, justifying, and saving men; is the lawgiver that is able to save, and to destroy; and can subject all to his feet, as he will in a short time. This seems to refer to a law in Israel, that not a stranger, but one of their brethren, should be set as king over them, Deuteronomy 17:15; which is true of the Messiah;

and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me; expressive of his priestly office; it being the business of a priest to draw nigh to God with the sacrifices of the people, and to intercede for them, Leviticus 10:3. Christ in eternity drew nigh to his Father, and offered himself as a surety for his people, and became one; and the Greek word for surety, has the signification of being "near": he drew nigh and interposed between them and his father, and became a Mediator for them; he proposed to do everything for them law and justice required, and whatsoever was his Father's will should be done: he drew nigh and struck hands, stipulated and agreed with him, about the salvation of his people; he asked them of him, and all blessings of grace and glory for them: he drew nigh in time, having assumed their nature, and offered himself a sacrifice unto God, made satisfaction to his justice for them, and redeemed them unto God by his blood; by which means they are made nigh to God, and draw near to him with humble boldness; and now he is gone to heaven, and has taken his place at the right hand of God, where he appears in the presence of God, and makes intercession for them, presenting himself, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice. Now this is ascribed unto God, as causing him to draw nigh; because he chose, appointed, and called him to be a priest, Mediator, and surety, to which he was entirely free of himself; and therefore it follows,

for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord; his drawing to God in the council and covenant of grace, to be the surety of his people, and his undertaking for them, were quite free and voluntary; he came of himself, and surrendered himself into the hands of justice at the time of his sufferings and death; and his intercession in heaven flows from his hearty love to his people; his heart has been, and is, engaged in every branch of his mediatorial work, which is a very singular and wonderful thing. No mere man could have engaged his heart to draw nigh to God, who is a consuming fire; no angel in heaven could have presumed to have done it on the behalf of sinful men; none but Christ himself could, and which is owing to the dignity of his person, and to his wondrous love; for this is a marvellous event. Now, though this is a prophecy of Christ's incarnation and priesthood, yet it is suitably introduced here; because, at the time of the Jews' conversion, he will be made known unto them, as being come of them, and as their Prophet, Priest, and King.

(d) "praestans ejus", Montanus. (e) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.((f) Midrash Tillim apud Galatin. de Cathot. Ver. l. 10. c. 1. p. 648. (g) "Magnificus ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "dux ejus", V. L. "magnificus dux ejus", Munster, Tigurine version; "Rex eorum", Syr. (h) "Fortis ejus", Pagninus; "potens ejus", Schmidt.

And their {o} nobles shall be from themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach to me: for who is this that engaged his {p} heart to approach to me? saith the LORD.

(o) Meaning, Zerubbabel, who was the figure of Christ in whom this was accomplished.

(p) Signifying that Christ willingly submits himself to the obedience of God his father.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. The Jews shall again be placed under a Prince of their own. This Prince shall draw near to God without a go-between, in other words he shall be Priest as well as King.

their prince] lit. his (Jacob’s) mighty one.

that hath had boldness to approach] rather, as mg. that hath been surety for his heart to approach, i.e. no one would venture upon such a step, unless he were fully conscious of authorisation. None but the priests were permitted to enter the Lord’s presence, and the Holy of Holies was open but once a year to the high-priest himself. To all others this was a profanity to be punished with death.Verse 21. - The future rulers of Israel shall be of the native stock, not foreign tyrants. Their nobles; rather, his noble one, a synonym for "his ruler," i.e. the (earthly) king of Israel. It is remarkable that no reference is made here to the Messiah, who, in fact, is not as conspicuous a figure in the prophecies of Jeremiah as in those of Isaiah. And yet even in Isaiah there is one striking prophecy in which the inspired seer uses language not (in the hands of a literalist) reconcilable with the prospect of the personal Messiah. The Messiah appears, as it were, in a lightning flash, and then disappears for a time. The prophecy of Isaiah referred to is Isaiah 32:1, 2 (comp. Jeremiah 33:17), in which the prospect of a truly God-fearing king, with princes of the same high character, entirely occupies the mind of the writer. "Nothing indicates that the Messiah is intended; king and princes are placed quite on a level, in accordance with the actual state of things under the so called monarchy." And I will cause him to draw near. It is doubtful whether Israel or Israel's ruler is referred to. A priestly relation (such as "drawing near" implies, see Numbers 16:5) might be predicated of either, at any rate in the regenerate form of the Israelitish commonwealth; but it is more natural to suppose the ruler to be here indicated, for it is scarcely descriptive enough to say that he shall belong to the chosen people. Who is this that engaged his heart; rather, that pledgeth his heart (or, courage); i.e. that ventureth. The rejection of thee old line of Davidic kings might well raise the thought that the intimate relation between Jehovah and his earthly representative for Israel, promised of old to David (2 Samuel 7.), could no longer be hoped for. But with this renewed promise the kings of the new Davidic line may venture to "draw near;" otherwise - who is he that ventureth? Because Israel has been severely chastised for his sins, the Lord will now punish his enemies, and heal Israel. - Jeremiah 30:12. "For thus saith Jahveh: It is ill with thy bruise, thy wound is painful. Jeremiah 30:13. There is none to judge thy cause; for a sore, healing-plaster there is none for thee. Jeremiah 30:14. All thy lovers have forgotten thee, thee they seek not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, the chastisement of a cruel one, because of the multitude of thine iniquity, [because] thy sins were numerous. Jeremiah 30:15. Why criest thou over thy bruise - [because] thy wound is bad? Because of the multitude of thine iniquity, [because] thy sins were numerous, have I done these things to thee. Jeremiah 30:16. Therefore all those who devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine oppressors, they shall all go into captivity; and they who spoiled thee shall become a spoil, and those that plundered thee I will give up for plunder. Jeremiah 30:17. For I will put a plaster on thee, and will heal thee of thy wounds, saith Jahveh; for they call thee an outcast, [and say], Zion is she [whom] none seeketh after."

This strophe is only a fuller expression of the idea set forth in Jeremiah 30:11, that the Lord certainly chastises Israel, but will not make an end of him. The chastisement has commenced. From the wounds and blows which Israel has received, he lies motionless and helpless, getting neither sympathy nor aid from his lovers. The feminine suffix and the mention of lovers show that the address turns to the daughter of Zion. On the expression אנוּשׁ , "it is ill with thy bruise," cf. Jeremiah 15:18. נחלה מכּה, "bad, incurable is the stroke which thou hast received," as in Jeremiah 10:19; Jeremiah 14:17. דּוּן דּין, "to execute justice;" cf. Jeremiah 5:28; Jeremiah 22:16. Hitzig well explains the meaning: "thy claims against thy heathen oppressors." למזור, although connected by the accents with what precedes, does not agree well with דּן דּינך; for מזור has not the meaning which has been attributed to it, of a "bandage," but, as derived from the verb זוּר, "to press a wound," signifies the wound that has been pressed together; see on Hosea 5:13. Neither does the figure of the wound agree with the expression, "there is none to judge thy cause," so that we might, with Umbreit, render the passage, "No one gives thee thy due, in pressing thy wounds;" while, as Graf says, " רפאות dissociated from למזור forms a useless synonym with תּעלה," and in Jeremiah 46:11, where the thought is repeated, it is separated from the latter word. Accordingly, with Hitzig and Graf, we connect למזור into one clause: "for the wound, there is no healing (or medicine)-no plaster." תּעלה is what is laid upon the wound, a plaster. "All thy lovers," i.e., the nations which were once allied with thee (cf. Jeremiah 22:20, Jeremiah 22:22), do not trouble themselves about thee, because I have smitten thee so heavily on account of the multitude of thy transgressions; cf. Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 13:22. עצמוּ still depends on the preposition על, which continues its force, but as a conjunction. The idea that the Israelites have richly deserved their sufferings is still more plainly presented in Jeremiah 30:15 : "Why criest thou, because thou hast brought this suffering on thee through thy sins?" אנוּשׁ also depends on על, which continues to exert its power in the sentence as a conjunction.

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