|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:12-20 See God's readiness to pardon sin, and the blessings reserved for gospel times. These words were proclaimed toward the north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. They are directed how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive them. These promises are fully to come to pass in the bringing back the Jews in after-ages. God will graciously receive those that return to him; and by his grace, he takes them out from among the rest. The ark of the covenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of that dispensation was to be done away, which took place after the multitude of believers had been greatly increased by the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scattered among them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He can teach all to call him Father; but without thorough change of heart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have no security for not departing from Him.
Verse 17. - Jerusalem's spiritual glory. With Jeremiah's description, comp. that of Ezekiel," The name of the city from that day shall be, "The Lord is there" (Ezekiel 48:35). This gives us the positive aspect of the Messianic period (comp. on ver. 16). Jerusalem shall be the spiritual center of the universe, because it is pervaded by the presence of the Most High (comp. Isaiah 4:5). May we explain with Dr. Payne Smith, "Jerusalem, i.e. the Christian Church?" Only if the provisional character of the existing Church be kept well in view. All the nations; i.e. all except the chosen people. The word for "nations" (goyim) is that often rendered "heathen." To the name; or, because of the name, i.e. because Jehovah has revealed his name at Jerusalem. The phrase occurs again with a commentary in Joshua 9:9, "Thy servants are come because of the name of Jehovah thy God, for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt." But we must not suppose that "name" is equivalent to "revelation;" rather, there is here an ellipsis - "because of the name" is equivalent to "because of the revelation of the name," or better still, "... of the Name." The "Name of Jehovah" is in fact a distinct hypostasis in the Divine Being; no mere personification of the Divine attributes (as the commentators are fond of saying), but (in the theological sense) a Person. The term, "Name of such and such a God,:' is common to Hebrew with Phoenician religion. In the famous inscription of Eshmunazar, King of Zidon, Ashtoreth is called "Name of Baal;" and to whichever proper name the religious term Name may be attached, it means a personal existence in the Divine nature, specially related to the world of humanity; or, to use the language of Hengstenberg, the bridge between the latter and the transcendent heights of God as he is in himself. In short, the Name of Jehovah is virtually identical with the Logos of St. John, or the second Person in the blessed Trinity. Hence the personal language now and again used of this Name in the Old Testament, e.g. Isaiah 30:27, "The Name of Jehovah cometh from far... his lips are full of indignation;" Isaiah 26:8," The desire of our soul was to thy Name;" Isaiah 59:19, "So shall they fear the Name of Jehovah from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun." Comp. also Proverbs 18:10; men do not run for safety to an abstract idea. Nor will all nations in the latter days resort either to a localized or to a spiritually diffused Jerusalem in the future, to gratify a refined intellectual curiosity. Neither shall they walk, etc.; i.e. the Israelites of the latter days; not the "nations" before mentioned (as Hengstenberg). The phrase occurs eight times in Jeremiah, and is always used of the Israelites. The word rendered "imagination" is peculiar (sheri-ruth). As Hengstenberg has pointed out, it occurs independently only in a single passage (Deuteronomy 29:18); for in Psalm 81:13, it is plainly derived, not from the living language, from which it had disappeared, but from the written. (The close phraseological affinity between the Books of Deuteronomy and Jeremiah has been already indicated.) The rendering of the Authorized Version, which is supported by the Septuagint, Peshito, Targum, is certainly wrong; the Vulgate has pravitatum; the etymological meaning is "stubbornness." The error of the versions may perhaps have arisen out of a faulty inference from Psalm 81:13, where it stands in parallelism to "their counsels."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord,.... That is, the Gospel church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Jerusalem above, that is free, and the mother of us all; which is Christ's kingdom, where he has his throne and subjects, and where he sits and reigns as King of saints; and where they yield a cheerful and ready subjection to him, signified by calling the church his throne:
and all the nations shall be gathered unto it: which shows that Jerusalem, literally understood, cannot be meant, but the church of Christ; to which the Gentiles, being converted, should join themselves in great numbers in all nations, as they have done; and which will be more largely accomplished and verified in the latter day, Isaiah 2:2.
to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; to name his name, to trust in his name, to call upon it, and to worship him in Jerusalem, in his church, and among his people; and so the Targum,
"and all nations shall give themselves to worship in it the name of the Lord, in Jerusalem:''
neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart; for the Gospel being preached to all nations, according to Christ's commission, by the pastors he promises, and that being blessed to the turning of the Gentiles from their idols to serve the living God, they shall no more worship the gods they chose for themselves, and their evil hearts devised.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. Jerusalem—the whole city, not merely the temple. As it has been the center of the Hebrew theocracy, so it shall be the point of attraction to the whole earth (Isa 2:2-4; Zec 2:10, 11; 14:16-21).
throne of … Lord—The Shekinah, the symbol of God's peculiar nearness to Israel (De 4:7) shall be surpassed by the antitype, God's own throne in Jerusalem (Ps 2:6, 8; Eze 34:23, 24; Zec 2:5).
imagination—rather, as Margin, "the obstinacy" or stubbornness.
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