|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:12-18 The prophet acknowledges the favour of God in setting up religion. There is fulness of comfort in God, overflowing, ever-flowing fulness, like a fountain. It is always fresh and clear, like spring-water, while the pleasures of sin are puddle-waters. He prays to God for healing, saving mercy. He appeals to God concerning his faithful discharge of the office to which he was called. He humbly begs that God would own and protect him in the work to which he had plainly called him. Whatever wounds or diseases we find to be in our hearts and consciences, let us apply to the Lord to heal us, to save us, that our souls may praise his name. His hands can bind up the troubled conscience, and heal the broken heart; he can cure the worst diseases of our nature.
Verse 13. - They that depart from me. The abrupt change of person is extremely harsh; the Vulgate, followed by Ewald and Olshausen, supposes that a final caph has dropped out, rendering, "they that depart from thee." Shall be written in the earth; a contrast to that which is recorded for all time "with a pen of iron" (ver. 1). The fountain, etc.; a favorite phrase of our prophet (see Jeremiah 2:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O Lord, the Hope of Israel,.... Of all true Israelites; such as are regenerate persons, and true believers in him; Christ is the author and giver of that hope that is in them; the door of it unto them; the object on which it is exercised; the ground and foundation of it, or what gives encouragement to it; and the person they are hoping for; Old Testament saints hoped, waited for, and expected his first coming; and New Testament saints are hoping for his second coming, and to be for ever with him (w):
all that forsake thee shall be ashamed; who forsake him as the Hope of Israel, and place their hope elsewhere; in the creature, in themselves, in their riches, in their righteousness, and profession of religion; such shall be ashamed of their vain hope; whereas a true hope, a hope upon the right object, on Christ the Hope of Israel, makes not ashamed; nor shall the man that has it be ashamed of that. The Targum paraphrases it,
"all who forsake thy worship shall be ashamed;''
for they forsake their own mercies, who forsake the house and ordinances of God, and the assembling of themselves together:
and they that depart from me; the prophet; refusing to hear the word of the Lord by him, which was all one as departing from the Lord. Some render it, "from thee", as the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions; and so the Targum,
"and the ungodly that transgress thy word;''
whose heart departed from the Lord, as in
Jeremiah 17:1 notwithstanding their show of devotion and religion. Some render the words, "that are chastised by me"; but repent not, and are not reformed thereby; reading not as the Masorites direct, and we, and many others, follow; but according to the letters, and retaining them, (x):
shall be written in the earth; have a name among earthly and carnal men, and be called so, being sensual and carnal, and minding nothing but earth and earthly things; and shall not be written among the living in Jerusalem, or have a name and a place among spiritual men: or they shall be of a short continuance; their memory shall rot; their names be put out for ever; and their memorial perish with them; for things written in the dust do not continue, but are presently destroyed by a puff of wind, or by the treading of the foot upon them; or they shall die, and return to the earth, and be laid in the grave, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; or shall perish eternally, die the second death, being not written in the Lamb's book of life. The Targum is,
"into hell shall they fall.''
The phrase is opposed to a being written, or having names written in heaven, Luke 10:20; which is the same as to be written in the book of life, or to be ordained unto eternal life, Philippians 4:3; and what is the case of such who are not written in heaven, but in earth, may be seen in Revelation 20:15;
because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters; See Gill on Jeremiah 2:13.
(w) the word here used, sometimes signifies a confluence or collection of waters, as in Genesis 1:10 and elsewhere, a place to bathe in; hence Fortunatus Scacchus, in Sacror. Eleaochr. Myrothec. l. 1. c. 23. col. 159. renders it here, "the bath of Israel", the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood is a fountain opened, in which sinners wash, and are cleansed from their sins, Zechariah 13.1. and this agrees with the latter part of the verse, where the Lord is called "the fountain of living water"; so De Dieu, on ch. xiv. 8, observes, the word is so used in Exodus 7.21. and so R. Akiba interprets the words, saying,
"what is "the meaning of it is that which cleanses the unclean; even so God cleanses Israel;''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. me—"Jehovah." Though "Thee" precedes. This sudden transition is usual in the prophetic style, owing to the prophet's continual realization of Jehovah's presence.
all that forsake thee—(Ps 73:27; Isa 1:28).
written in the earth—in the dust, that is, shall be consigned to oblivion. So Jesus' significant writing "on the ground (probably the accusers' names)" (Joh 8:6). Names written in the dust are obliterated by a very slight wind. Their hopes and celebrity are wholly in the earth, not in the heavenly book of life (Re 13:8; 20:12, 15). The Jews, though boasting that they were the people of God, had no portion in heaven, no status before God and His angels. Contrast "written in heaven," that is, in the muster-roll of its blessed citizens (Lu 10:20). Also, contrast "written in a book," and "in the rock for ever" (Job 19:23, 24).
living waters—(Jer 2:13).
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