INTRODUCTION TO Jeremiah 33
This chapter is a continuation of prophecies of spiritual blessings on the church of Christ in Gospel times, of which the return of the Jews from captivity, and the benefits following on that, were types. The place where Jeremiah had this prophecy communicated to him, the prison, Jeremiah 33:1; the author of it, Jehovah, who describes himself, Jeremiah 33:2; encourages the prophet to pray unto him, promising an answer, and a discovery of great and hidden things, Jeremiah 33:3; not so much concerning the destruction of the city, and the rebuilding it, Jeremiah 33:4; as spiritual blessings to the church, signified by it; such as a healthful state and condition through Christ, the sun of righteousness, arising with healing in his wings, and a revelation of abundance of peace and truth by him, Jeremiah 33:6; a release of captives, and a rebuilding of the church, Jeremiah 33:7; free and full forgiveness of all sins, Jeremiah 33:8; the church a praise in the whole earth; much joy in it, and glory to God by it, Jeremiah 33:9; spiritual pastors or shepherds feeding their flocks, and taking very diligent care of them, Jeremiah 33:12; a promise of the Messiah as a righteous Branch; as the Saviour and safeguard of his people; and as the Lord their righteousness, Jeremiah 33:14; an assurance of the continuance of the kingly and priestly offices in him, whereby the covenant of God with David and the Levites would be for ever secured, Jeremiah 33:17; and the chapter is concluded with a promise of the perseverance of the saints and people of God; which is represented as certain as the covenant with day and night, and as the ordinances of heaven and earth, in opposition to a suggestion to the contrary, Jeremiah 33:23.
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time,.... Not that this was precisely the second time that the word of the Lord came to the prophet, for it had come to him many more times than those; but this was the second time on the same occasion and subject; for the subject of this chapter is the same with that of the former, concerning the Messiah, and the happiness of the church in his times:
(while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison): though the prophet could not go out from hence, and publish his prophecies, yet the Lord visits him again and again; and his presence made the prison a palace to him; and though his afflictions, abounded for the sake of him, his comforts abounded through him; and though he was bound, the word of the Lord was not; it had a free course, and ran, and was glorified; it found its way into the prison, and also out of it:
saying: as follows:
Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name;Thus saith the Lord, the Maker thereof,.... The Syriac version is, "that made thee"; the prophet. The Septuagint and Arabic versions are, "the Maker of the earth"; see Jeremiah 32:17. Kimchi interprets it of Jerusalem; rather it is to be understood of the New Jerusalem, or church of God in Gospel times. Jarchi seems to understand it of this prophecy or promise, and so others; the promise of restoring and rebuilding Jerusalem; which, if taken of the church of God, may be admitted;
the Lord that formed it, to establish it; who drew the scheme and model of this spiritual building, his church, in his eternal mind, and resolved upon its stability and glory; who forms it, and everyone in it, for himself, and for his praise, in order to establish it in the world; as it will be more especially in the latter day: we often read of the Lord's establishing his church and people in the world, Psalm 48:8;
the Lord is his name; Jehovah, the self-existing Being, the Being of beings; who is able to perform whatever he undertakes, and so is equal to this work, of settling and establishing his interest.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.Call unto me, and I will answer thee,.... This is spoken not to Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it; but to the prophet, encouraging him to seek the Lord by prayer, promising an answer to him. So the Targum,
"pray before me, and I will receive thy prayer:''
and show thee great and mighty things; or, "fortified ones" (p); which are like fortified cities, that cannot easily be come at, unless the gates are opened to enter into; and designs such as are difficult of understanding, which exceed human belief, and which reason cannot comprehend and take in; and such are the great things of the Gospel. Some copies read it, "things reserved" (q); as the Targum; and so Jarchi, who interprets it of things future, of things reserved in the heart of God, and which he purposed to do; and very rightly:
which thou knowest not; until revealed; and from hence it appears, that by these great and hidden things are not meant the destruction of Jerusalem, and the seventy years' captivity, and return from that, things which Jeremiah had been made acquainted with time after time, and had prophesied of them; but spiritual blessings hereafter mentioned, some of which the deliverance from Babylon were typical of Ben Melech interprets these of comforts great and strong.
(p) "munita", Vatablus, Paganinus, Montanus; "fortia", Tigurine version. (q) "abstrusa", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "recondita", so some in Vatablus.
For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword;For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel,.... The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, which was now fulfilling, is here mentioned as a pledge of the accomplishment of spiritual blessings after spoken of; and to assure the prophet, that as he would with his own eyes see the fulfilment of the prophecies he had delivered out in the name of the Lord concerning that, so likewise as certainly would the other be brought to pass:
concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which were thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; by "the mounts", which the Chaldeans raised without the city; or by the engines they placed there, by which they cast out stones into the city, to the demolishing of the houses in it; not in common only, but particularly the houses of the king and nobles, which they especially directed their shot at; and by "the sword", hammers, axes, and mattocks, for which sometimes this word is used, when they entered into the city. Though some render the words, "which are thrown down for mounts, and for the sword" (r); that mounts might be made of them within, on which the Jews might fight and defend themselves against the Chaldeans. So the Targum,
"which they pulled down, and threw up mounts to strengthen the wall, against those that kill with the sword;''
and so Jarchi interprets it.
(r) "ad aggeres et vastitatem", Tigurine version; "in missilia catapultaria, et in gladium", Junius & Tremellius; "ad catapultas, et ad gladium", so some in Calvin.
They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.They come to fight with the Chaldeans,.... Either the Jews out of the country, or their auxiliaries, their neighbours, to oblige them to break up the siege; but all to no purpose: or rather the Jews within; who, from the mounts erected, fight with the Chaldeans; or by sallying out upon them:
but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men; the mounts, made of their houses, or their houses themselves; it is only to make them graves, and fill them with these carcasses:
whom I have slain in mine anger, and in my fury; that is, suffered to be slain, being wroth and angry with them, for their sins, as follows:
and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from the city; had no pity for it, showed no mercy to it, gave it no help and assistance, or protection, having withdrawn his presence from it. So the Targum,
"I have caused my Shechinah to depart from this city, because of their wickedness.''
Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them,.... That is, the church of God, the members of it, typified by Jerusalem; and it is to be understood of the healing of their spiritual maladies, the diseases of sin, through the blood of the Messiah, who should arise with healing in his wings; that is, with remission of sin, which is often meant by healing in Scripture: Christ is the physician; his blood the balm in Gilead, which being applied to those that are diseased with sin, to sin sick souls, it makes an effectual cure of them; so that they shall not say they are sick, because their iniquities are forgiven them; see Psalm 103:3;
and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth; the same with "grace and truth", which are come by Christ, John 1:17; under the Old Testament, these were figured out by types and shadows; but not revealed clearly, as under the New Testament, to which this prophecy belongs. "Peace" may intend peace made with God by the blood of Christ; peace of conscience, which he gives, and arises from a sense of pardon and atonement by his blood, and justification by his righteousness; and all kind of spiritual welfare, prosperity, and happiness; of which there will be an abundance, especially in the latter days of the Messiah, Psalm 72:8. "Truth" may design the faithfulness of God, in fulfilling all his promises and prophecies concerning the Messiah, and salvation by him, and may stand opposed to the types and shadows of the old law; and include the Gospel, the word of truth, and all the doctrines of it; which are clearly and fully revealed by the spirit of truth, wisdom, and revelation, in the knowledge of Christ. Here begins the account of the great, mighty, and hidden things the Lord promised to show the prophet, Jeremiah 33:3. The Targum of this last clause is,
"and I will reveal the gate of repentance unto them, and I will show them, how they shall walk in the way of peace and truth;''
and the Syriac version is,
"I will reveal unto them the paths of peace and faith;''
but the word here used signifies abundance, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe.
And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return,.... Mention being made of the return of the captivity of Israel, or the ten tribes, as well as that of Judah, shows that this prophecy does not relate to the return of the Jews from their seventy years' captivity in Babylon; but is to be understood spiritually, of a release of the mystical and spiritual Israel of God from the captivity of sin, Satan, and the law, by the Messiah:
and will build them as at the first; in the latter day, as at the beginning or first times of the Gospel; when the temple of the Lord was built by Christ, as the chief master builder, and by his apostles under him, upon himself, the foundation of the apostles and prophets; he being the corner stone of it, whereby it became a habitation for God through the Spirit. Since that time, by means of heretics and false teachers, and especially by the man of sin, the tabernacle of David, or church of Christ, is greatly fallen into ruin, and needs rebuilding and repairing; and this will be done; and then it will be a beautiful structure, as at the first, or as it was in the times of the apostles; see Acts 15:16.
And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me,.... Even by the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin, of heart, lip, and life, in allusion to the purifications under the law, 1 John 1:7; see Ezekiel 36:25;
and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me; for Christ's sake, and through his stoning sacrifice, and upon the foot of full satisfaction made by him. A heap of words is here used, to express the fulness of pardoning grace through the blood of Christ, which reaches to all manner of sin; and this is the great and peculiar blessing of the new covenant; see Jeremiah 31:34.
And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour,.... That is, the church and people of God, being redeemed and rebuilt by Christ, and being cleansed from their sins in his blood, and all their iniquities forgiven for his sake, would be a cause of joy to themselves and others, and bring joy, praise, and honour unto God: so the church, in the latter day, will be an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, and a praise in the earth, Isaiah 60:15; and here they are said to be so,
before all the nations, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them; in redeeming them by the Messiah; calling them by his Spirit and grace; justifying them by the righteousness of Christ; pardoning their sins through his blood; making them meet for, and giving them a title to, eternal glory and happiness; all which would be made known, as it has been to the Gentiles, through the preaching of the Gospel; and which has occasioned joy and gladness among them, and praise and thanksgiving unto God, and which has redounded to his honour and glory:
and they shall fear and tremble, for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it; that is, they shall fear the Lord, and tremble at his word; not with a slavish, but filial fear, which is consistent with joy and gladness; and which fear will be influenced not by the terrors of the law, but by the goodness of God; being of the same nature with the fear of the converted Jews at the latter day, who will fear the Lord, and his goodness, Hosea 3:5; so the Gentiles, seeing and hearing of the goodness of God bestowed upon the believing Jews, will be solicitous for the same, and be encouraged to seek after it; and finding it, shall be engaged to fear the Lord, and worship him.
Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,Thus saith the Lord, again there shall be heard in this place,.... This is to be connected with the beginning of Jeremiah 33:11; and what follows to be put in a parenthesis:
which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast: as in Jeremiah 32:43; the destruction of it being now certain and inevitable; and by which such desolation would be made throughout the country, that very few men or cattle would be left:
even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate; as they were already, the country being in the hands of the enemy, and the city almost depopulated by the sword, famine, and pestilence, and just about to be delivered up: and so
without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast; neither inhabited by man or beast; which is an hyperbolical exaggeration of the miserable condition of the city, and country; expressing the unbelief and despair of the Jews, at least of some of them, ever seeing better times: whereas, be it so, that this was or would be the case; yet here should be heard again, in the times of the Messiah, when he should appear in Judea, and his Gospel be preached there, from whence it should go into all the world, what follows:
The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness,.... Such is the voice of the Gospel to all sensible sinners; whose eyes are opened to see their lost estate; whose ears are opened to hear the joyful sound: whose hearts are opened to attend to the things spoken in it; who are humble and contrite, wounded and broken in spirit, and have a spiritual understanding of things given them: to these the Gospel preached is glad tidings of great joy; since it contains in it the doctrines of peace and pardon through the blood of Christ; of justification through his righteousness; of rest in him, and salvation by him. It is a voice of joy and gladness to all believers in Christ; since hereby they hear of Christ whom they love; they hear of the love of God in him, and of the love of him to them; it is food to their souls; and when found, under the hearing of it, it is the joy and rejoicing of their hearts; and whereas they are continually sinning in thought, word, or deed, the doctrine of pardon must be joyful to them. Moreover, this may be meant of the voice of those that come to the church of God, with songs of joy and gladness, for electing, redeeming, calling, pardoning, and justifying grace; the voice of young converts, and of all them that rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; see Isaiah 35:10; and why may not the ordinance of singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, be included? since those are enjoined to be sung, and are sung in Gospel churches, Ephesians 5:19;
the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; which, literally understood, is expressive of great joy and happiness; as the contrary signifies great calamity and distress; see Jeremiah 7:34. It may be understood of such who are in such a natural relation to one another; and yet their voice may intend their joining together in spiritual praise to God. Moreover, by the "bridegroom" may be meant Christ, who has espoused his people to himself, and is their husband, and behaves as such towards them, in all tenderness, care, love, and affection; and his voice was heard in Judea's land as the bridegroom; John heard it, and rejoiced at it, and so did many others; see Matthew 9:15, John 3:29; and the Gospel indeed is no other than his voice; and a soul quickening, soul comforting, and soul alluring, and charming voice it is. And by the "bride" may be meant the church, who is the bride, the Lamb's wife, being married to him; whose voice of prayer and praise to Christ, and of encouragement to sensible sinners, is heard in Zion, and is very desirable, Sol 2:14;
the voice of them that shall say, praise the Lord of hosts; the husband of his church, and Redeemer of his people, and who is the sovereign Lord of all; the voice of such is heard, who stir up others to this work and service, and enforce it by the reasons following:
for the Lord is good; originally and essentially in himself, and the fountain of goodness to others; the good Head and Husband of his church; the good Samaritan: the good Shepherd of his sheep, and Saviour of his people:
for his mercy endureth for ever; it is from everlasting to everlasting; in his love and pity he has redeemed his church; and this is seen in his tender care of her, and will endure to eternal life: these words seem to be taken out of Psalm 106:1; and were used by the Jews at the laying of the foundation of the second temple, Ezra 3:11;
and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord; the church of the living God, the materials of which are lively stones, or true believers in Christ; into which none should enter without an offering; and this should be a spiritual one, the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; which God has enjoined as well pleasing to him, because it glorifies him. This shows that this prophecy belongs to Gospel times; since no other sacrifice is mentioned as brought into the house of God but the sacrifice of praise. And remarkable is the note of Kimchi on this passage;
"he does not say a sin offering, or a trespass offering, because at this time there will be no ungodly persons and sinners among them, for they shall all know the Lord. And so our Rabbins of blessed memory say, all offerings shall cease in time to come (the times of the Messiah) but the sacrifice of praise;''
for I will cause to return the captivity of the land as at the first,
saith the Lord: a release from spiritual captivity, or redemption by Christ; being the foundation of all solid joy, praise, and thanksgiving.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.Thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Which phrase, or what is answerable to it, is often repeated, to give authority to what is said, and to command a belief of it:
again, in this place which is desolate; which was said to be so, Jeremiah 33:10; and indeed was so; and was near utter destruction, as to be
without man and without beast; both falling into the hands of the enemy; and that not in the city of Jerusalem only, but
in all the cities thereof; of the land of Judea; and from thence in other countries, even in Gentile ones:
shall be an habitation of shepherds, causing their flocks to lie down; which is expressive of great peace, no foreign enemy to make afraid or disturb the shepherds and their flocks; and of diligence and industry, plenty and prosperity; though this is to be understood not in a literal, but mystical sense. For by "shepherds" are meant the apostles of Christ, the first ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, that should be first raised up in the land of Judea, and then sent into and spread in all the world; shepherds under Christ, of his raising, qualifying, and calling; to whom he gives a commission to feed his sheep and lambs; assigns them their distinct flocks, and gives them food to feed them with, and to whom they are accountable for those under their care, and the gifts bestowed upon them; and whose business lies in feeding the flock with the solid doctrines of the Gospel, by faithfully administering the ordinances, and in all directing to Christ, where they may find pasture; as also in ruling and governing according to the laws of Christ; in watching over the sheep that they go not astray, and in protecting and defending them from beasts of prey. By the "habitation" of these shepherds is meant the house of God, where the word is preached, and ordinances are administered; here are the shepherds' tents, which, like the tents of Kedar, which were shepherds' tents also, are mean and coarse without, but rich and beautiful within; and are like tents, movable from place to place; and it is the glory and happiness of a country where they are. And by "flocks", or "flock", for it is in the singular number, are meant the church of Christ, which is but one, the general assembly and church of the firstborn written in heaven, and the several particular congregated churches; consisting of such persons as may be compared to sheep, being weak and timorous, meek and humble, harmless and inoffensive; of persons gathered out of the world, distinguished by the grace of God, and folded together in a Gospel church state; though but few, and despised of men, and persecuted, a little flock, and a flock of slaughter: these, by their shepherds, are made "to lie down" in a good fold at night, where they are safe and secure; these shepherds watch over them; angels encamp about them; salvation is walls and bulwarks to them; and God himself a wall of fire around them; and in the day they are made to lie down in the green pastures of the word and ordinances, where they have an abundance, a sufficiency of provisions; and at noon under the shadow of Christ, where they have rest, and where they are screened and sheltered from the heat of a fiery law, of Satan's fiery darts, and of the world's persecution.
In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale,
and in the cities of the south,.... Into which three parts the land of Judea was divided; See Gill on Jeremiah 32:44;
and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah; in the cities of the two tribes, of which Jerusalem was the metropolis; and which returned from the captivity, and settled here, and were in being when the Messiah came, here prophesied of, the great Shepherd of the sheep:
shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord; alluding to the custom of shepherds telling their flocks, when they led them out of the fold in the morning, and when they put them in at evening (s); or to the tithing of them, Leviticus 27:32; this is not to be understood literally, but mystically. So Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abarbinel interpret it of the Israelites going in and out under the hands of their king, that goes at the head of them; and the Targum, of the King Messiah, and who is no doubt meant. The elect of God, who are intended by the "flocks", were in eternal election considered as sheep, and by that act of grace were distinguished from others; and so when an exact account was taken of them, their names were written in heaven, and in the Lamb's book of life; and had this seal and mark put upon them, "the Lord knows them that are his", 2 Timothy 2:19; also in the gift of them to Christ; in the covenant of grace, when they were brought into the bond of that covenant, they were likewise considered as sheep, distinct from others; and were told into the hands of Christ, where they are kept, and who has a most perfect knowledge of them; and in the effectual calling they will again pass under his hands; they are then as sheep that had gone astray, returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls; and when they are separated from others, and special knowledge is taken of them, and Christ's mark, the sanctification of the Spirit, is put upon them; and at the last day, when Christ shall deliver them up to the Father, he will say, lo, I and the children, or sheep, whom thou hast given me; and they will all be numbered, and not one will be wanting.
(s) "Bisque die numerant, alter pecus, alter et haedos". Virgil.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,.... Or, "are coming" (t); future times are respected; yet such as would quickly come; five or six hundred years more, and then would be fulfilled what is after promised. This is ushered in with a "behold", as being a matter of importance, and deserving attention, and even as calling for admiration. This is the principal of the great and mighty things the Lord promised to show to the prophet, Jeremiah 33:3; even the coming of the Messiah, and what concerns his person and office:
that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah; or, "that good word" (u); that gracious word concerning Christ and salvation by him; that mercy promised to the fathers; that good thing that came out of Nazareth: the good Shepherd that laid down his life for the sheep, preferable to the shepherds before spoken of: or rather, "that best word" (w); the positive used for the superlative, as frequent in the Hebrew language. Many good words or promises are made before, concerning the spiritual welfare and prosperity of the church; but this is the best of all; this is the better thing provided for saints under the Gospel dispensation, and promised to them, who are meant by the houses of Judah and Israel; for these phrases, as the Jews themselves allow, show that the words belong to the times of the Messiah; and which God, that is true and cannot lie, and who is faithful, that has promised, and is able to perform, will do.
(t) "venientes", Montanus, Schmidt. (u) "verbum bonum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius. (w) "Verbum optimum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt.
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.In those days, and at that time,.... In those very selfsame days before spoken of; in those days to come, and which were hastening on; in the fulness of time, agreed on between Jehovah and his Son; the appointed, fixed, determined time:
will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; not Zerubbabel, but the Messiah; who is not only a branch of David's family, and therefore said to grow up unto him, being of his seed, his son, and offspring; but a Branch of righteousness, or a righteous Branch; perfectly righteous in himself, and the author of righteousness unto others; which cannot be said of Zerubbabel, or of any other branch springing from David but the Messiah; and of him the Targum interprets it, paraphrasing it thus,
"the Messiah of righteousness;''
and Kimchi's note is,
"this is the King Messiah;''
and so it is by other Jewish writers (x) interpreted of him:
and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land; judgment upon the blind Pharisees given up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart; and upon the world, and the prince of it, who was cast out by him; and though he came not at first to judge the world and all the individuals of it, as he will do at his second coming; yet all judgment, rule, and government of his church, is committed to him by his Father; and he is on the throne to order and establish it with judgment, and to overrule all things for the good of it, and his own and his Father's glory: and he has "wrought" out an everlasting "righteousness", agreeably to law and justice, for the justification of his people; for which reason he and they have the name in Jeremiah 33:16.
(x) Abarbinel, Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 40. 2.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.In those days shall Judah be saved,.... The elect of God among the Jews; and all such who are Jews inwardly, who truly believe in Christ, and confess his name, and praise him, and give him the glory or salvation. Judah signifies one that confesses or praises the Lord; such shall be saved from sin, Satan, the law, wrath, hell, and damnation, by the Branch of righteousness, the Messiah; who was raised up and sent to be a Saviour; came into the world for this purpose; has obtained salvation for his people; is the Captain and author of it; nor is it in any other; hence his name is called Jesus; and this salvation is to be had from him at all times; as in those days in which it was first wrought out, so throughout the whole Gospel dispensation: for "now is the day of salvation", 2 Corinthians 6:2; and indeed this is to be understood, not as exclusive of the Old Testament dispensation, when believers were saved by the same Lord Jesus as we are; only this is expressive of the impetration of this salvation by the incarnate Saviour; and of the more clear discovery and revelation of it; and of the application of it to a greater number of persons; and which is sure to all the spiritual seed of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, who "shall be saved" with an everlasting salvation: it is not said they "may" be saved, but they "shall" be saved; not may be saved if they will; or, however, this is not left on such a precarious footing; but they are made willing to be saved by Christ in the day of his power, yea, they are already saved:
and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; the inhabitants of it; such who are come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; these being saved by Christ, are in the utmost safety; they have nothing to fear from the justice of God, that is satisfied; nor from the law, that is fulfilled; nor from their enemies, they are conquered and destroyed; God is pacified towards them; is the God of peace with them; and they have peace with him, and enjoy great serenity and tranquillity of mind; and must needs dwell safely, since Jehovah is around them as the mountains around Jerusalem; Christ is their strong hold, into which they run and are safe; the Holy Spirit within them is greater and mightier than their enemies in the world; angels encamp about them, and salvation is walls and bulwarks to them:
and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, the Lord our righteousness; the same with the Messiah's name, Jeremiah 23:6; he is Jehovah; and he is our righteousness; the author of it, by his obedience, sufferings, and death; and which becomes ours by being wrought out for us, bestowed on us, imputed and applied to us. The Targum renders it here, as in the other place,
"this is the name wherewith they shall call him;''
and so the Vulgate Latin version; but this is contrary to the Hebrew text, which has "her", and not "him". R. Joseph Kimchi reads it, "and this who calls her is the Lord our righteousness"; which is followed by some Christian writers (y). Some interpret it, who calls her by his Gospel to the salvation promised and performed; others, who calls her to dwell safely; others render it, "this is the name with which he the Lord shall call him, for her", for the sake of the church, the Lord our righteousness (z); but David Kimchi and Ben Melech take the sense to be this,
"the holy blessed God shall call Jerusalem the Lord our righteousness;''
and certain it is that this is the name imposed on the church here meant, as Hephzibah and Beulah, in Isaiah 62:4; and why may she not be as well called "Jehovah Tzidhenu", the Lord our righteousness, as "Jehovah Shammah", the Lord is there? Ezekiel 48:35. She is called "Jehovah", not as deified by him, but as united to him; and our "righteousness", as justified by him. Christ and his church are one, as head and members are; and therefore are called by the same name: hence the church is called Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12; they are in a marriage relation; Christ is the husband, and the church is his spouse; and as husband and wife bear the same name, so do Christ and his church; moreover, not only Christ is made righteousness to his people, but they are made the righteousness of God in him; his righteousness is put upon them, and imputed to them, so that they are righteous as he is righteous, 1 Corinthians 1:30.
(y) "et iste qui vocabit eam est Dominus nostra justitia", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "hic est ille qui vocabit eam, ad se, Jehova justitia nostra", Gussetius. (z) "Et hoc est nomen quo vocabit eum ille, Jehovah nostra justitia". So some in Vatablus.
For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;For thus saith the Lord,.... Confirming the above promise concerning the Messiah; giving a reason why his coming may be expected; and why the salvation, justification, and final perseverance of his church and people, are certain things, and to be depended upon:
David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; or, "there shall not be cut off unto David a man" (a); and this is not to be understood of the temporal kingdom of David, which has been at an end long ago: Jeconiah, that was carried captive into Babylon, was written childless, and left no issue; and Zerubbabel, the only one of David's seed that made any figure after the captivity, was not a king; this is only true of the man Christ Jesus, of the seed of David, and is his son, to whom has been given the throne of his father David; and who reigns over the house of Jacob for ever; and of whose kingdom there is no end, Luke 1:32; and as long as he is King of saints, which will be for ever, David will not want a man to sit upon his throne. David's earthly kingdom was but a typical and shadowy one; a type of Christ's spiritual kingdom, which has succeeded it, and in which Christ is David's son and successor, and whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
(a) "non exscindetur Davidi vir", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Schmidt.
Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me,.... The Levitical priesthood has been abolished long ago; that was typical of Christ's priesthood, and is succeeded by it; who is a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek; and who, having offered up himself a sacrifice here on earth for his people, ever appears in heaven, in the presence of God, on their behalf, making intercession for them; and as long as he continues to do so, which will be always, a man shall not be wanting before the Lord:
to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually; that is, to present that sacrifice before him, and plead the efficacy and virtue of it with him, which was typified by all those sacrifices, and has superseded them, being much better than they. Some understand this of a continuance of Gospel ministers unto the end of the world, who succeeded the priests and Levites; but as they are never called priests and Levites in the New Testament; nor were they properly the successors of the priests and Levites; rather it may be applied unto all believers now, who are priests unto God, and offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ; but the first sense is best.
And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying,And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah,.... For the further explanation and confirmation of what is before said; and which came at the same time as the other; this being not a new prophecy, but an illustration of the former:
saying; as follows:
Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;Thus saith the Lord, if you can break my covenant of the day,
and my covenant of the night,.... The same with the ordinances of the sun, moon, and stars, Jeremiah 31:35; the original constitution and law of nature, settled from the beginning of the world, and observed ever since, in the constant revolution of day and night; and which was formed into a covenant and promise to Noah, after the deluge, that day and night should not cease, as long as the earth remained, Genesis 8:22; and which has never been, nor can be, broken and made void: so
that there should not be day and night in their season; or turn; continually succeeding each other: this, as it would not be attempted, so could never be effected by any mortals, if it were.
Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant,.... A type of the Messiah, with whom the covenant of grace is made, stands fast, and will never be broken; see Psalm 89:3; for, as the other is impossible, the breaking of the covenant with day and night, or hindering the certain rotation of them; so likewise as impossible is the breaking of the covenant with David concerning the perpetuity of his kingdom in the Messiah:
that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; which he has in Christ, and ever will have; for he shall reign for ever and ever:
and with the Levites my priests, my ministers; of the line of Phinehas, to whom an everlasting priesthood was promised, and which has been fulfilled in Christ, who has an unchangeable priesthood; a priesthood that will never pass from him, and go to another; see Numbers 25:13, Hebrews 7:24.
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured,.... As the stars of heaven are innumerable, and the sand of the sea immeasurable:
so will I multiply the seed of David my servant; the Messiah; the son and antitype of David; and who is often called by his name; and as the son of David is the servant of the Lord, his spiritual seed are meant, which shall endure for ever; and in Gospel times, especially in the latter part of them, shall be very numerous; see Psalm 89:29;
and the Levites that minister unto me; meaning the same as before; not ministers of the Gospel, for they never were, or will be, so numerous as here expressed; but true believers in Christ, who are all priests unto God, and minister in holy things, offering up the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise through Christ: these Levites are the same with the seed of David, or Christ, in whom the kingdom and the priesthood are united.
Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah,.... Upon the same subject, concerning the continuance of David's seed; with a refutation of a calumny uttered against the Lord about the rejection of them:
saying; as follows:
Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.Considerest thou not what this people have spoken,.... The words are directed to the prophet by an interrogation, if he had not considered in his mind what he heard the people say; not the Chaldeans, with whom the prophet was not; but the unbelieving Jews, either the profane part of them, who had a wicked view in it, to accuse God, and discourage the godly; or the weaker sort of the good people, indulging unbelief and despondency:
saying, the two families which the Lord had chosen, he hath even cast them off? the kingdom and the priesthood, as Jarchi; the family of David and the family of Aaron, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; the, one with respect to the kingdom, and the other with respect to the priesthood; so Abarbinel, which seems right: though some interpret it of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and others of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; but since the covenant with David, and with the priests, are before spoken of, and the seed of David afterwards, it seems rather to regard the two houses of David and Aaron, which the Lord chose for the kingdom and priesthood to continue in; but by the captivity of the royal family, and of the priests in Babylon, just now about to take place, it was suggested that both were cast off by the Lord, and that there would be no more kings out of the one, nor priests out of the other:
thus they have despised my people: as being rejected of God, whom he would never more regard or restore to their former condition in church and state; so giving them up for lost, that they would be no more a nation and church, having kings to reign over them, or priests to minister for them:
that they should be no more a nation before them; either before their kings and priests, or in the sight of those persons who spoke the words before related.
Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;Thus saith the Lord,.... In answer to the above calumny:
if my covenant be not with day and night; that is, if it should not stand; if it should be broken; or there should be no longer a succession of day and night:
and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; concerning the course of the sun, moon, and stars, and the influence of the heavenly bodies; and concerning the fruits of the earth, the seasons of the year, seedtime and harvest, summer and winter; if these are not settled and fixed, and do not appear according to appointment and promise.
Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant,.... R. Jonah thinks that Jacob is put instead of Aaron, because of the two families of David and Aaron before mentioned; but in this latter part of the chapter no mention is made of priests at all; and by the "seed" is meant one and the same, the spiritual seed of Christ, the antitypical David, and servant of the Lord; and which are no other than the seed of Jacob, over whom the Messiah reigns; or the spiritual Israel of God, whether Jews or Gentiles, and whom the Lord never casts away, so as to perish; but they shall all be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: See Gill on Jeremiah 31:37; and even the seed of Jacob, and of David, who was of Jacob, in the line of Judah, shall not be in such sense rejected:
so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that is, any of the seed of David taken literally; from whom the Lord has taken one, or raised up one of his seed, even the Messiah, to be a ruler over all the spiritual seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; or of all that tread in their steps: but inasmuch as by the seed of Jacob and David may be meant the spiritual seed of Christ, by rulers taken from them may be intended spiritual rulers and governors of the church, or ministers of the Gospel:
for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them; not only their captivity from Babylon, and so the family of David restored and continued till the Messiah should spring out of it; but the spiritual captivity of the Israel of God, of which the other was a type, and would be brought about by the Messiah; who in his love and pity should redeem them, as he has, from sin, Satan, law, hell, and death.