|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
50:1-7 The king of Babylon was kind to Jeremiah, yet the prophet must foretell the ruin of that kingdom. If our friends are God's enemies, we dare not speak peace to them. The destruction of Babylon is spoken of as done thoroughly. Here is a word for the comfort of the Jews. They shall return to their God first, then to their own land; the promise of their conversion and reformation makes way for the other promises. Their tears flow not from the sorrow of the world, as when they went into captivity, but from godly sorrow. They shall seek after the Lord as their God, and have no more to do with idols. They shall think of returning to their own country. This represents the return of poor souls to God. In true converts there are sincere desires to attain the end, and constant cares to keep in the way. Their present case is lamented as very sad. The sins of professing Christians never will excuse those who rejoice in destroying them.
Verse 6. - Lost sheep. Not merely with reference to the scattering of the Captivity (as in Isaiah 27:13, where the Authorized Version has "ready to perish"), but to the transgressions of the Law of God, of which the Jews had been constantly guilty (comp. Psalm 119:176; Isaiah 53:6). Their shepherds... mountains. This is the marginal correction in the Hebrew Bible; the text has, "Their shepherds have caused them to go astray upon the seducing mountains" - a strange expression, which is, however, defended by Naegelsbach on the ground of Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:2, 23; Jeremiah 17:2. Their resting place; literally, their couching place; i.e. their pasture, Jehovah, at once their Pasture (ver. 7) and their true Shepherd (Psalm 23:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My people hath been lost sheep,.... like lost sheep, without a shepherd, going astray the fold, wandering from place to place, having none to take care of them, guide and direct them, or to go in and out before them, and lead them into suitable pastures; so it was with the Jews in the Babylonish captivity, and so it is with them now, and yet the Lord's people still in some sense; he has a design of grace concerning them, a store of mercy for them, and thoughts of peace towards them, which will take place in due time; and such is the case of all God's elect in a state of nature, they are sheep, but lost sheep, and yet his people;
their shepherds have caused them to go astray; from God and his worship, from the true religion; so their civil and ecclesiastical governors, their kings, princes, priests, and prophets, were the causes of leading them into errors, by their laws, doctrines, and examples; so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of their kings; but the Targum seems to understand it of other kings, that carried them captive,
"kings carried them away, rulers spoiled them;''
so their priests and Rabbins now cause them to err from the true Messiah, his Gospel and ordinances, as their false Christs and false prophets have done in all ages since the times of Christ;
they have turned them away on the mountains; or, "to" them (e); where idols were worshipped, as Jarchi; this was their case before and at the Babylonish captivity, though never since: or, "from the mountains" (f); from the mountains of Israel, and the good pastures there; from the Gospel of Christ, and the ordinances of it;
they have gone from mountain to hill; from one religion to another, from duty to duty, seeking rest and happiness there, in the law of Moses, and traditions of the elders; or from kingdom to kingdom, wandering about from place to place, as they do to this day;
they have forgotten their resting place; either the land of Canaan, which was their rest, Deuteronomy 12:9; or rather God himself, the resting place of his people, Psalm 116:7; or the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose person, blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and fulness, is the true rest of his people; and which is forgotten when men rest in themselves and their duties, and seek elsewhere than in Christ for peace and comfort.
(e) "ad montes", Vatablus. So R. Jonah in Ben Melech. (f) "A montibus", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. (Isa 53:6).
on the mountains—whereon they sacrificed to idols (Jer 2:20; 3:6, 23).
resting-place—for the "sheep," continuing the image; Jehovah is the resting-place of His sheep (Mt 11:28). They rest in His "bosom" (Isa 40:11). Also His temple at Zion, their "rest," because it is His (Ps 132:8, 14).
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