Jeremiah 1:18
For, behold, I have made you this day a defended city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
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(18) I have made thee . . . a defenced city . . .—Images of strength are heaped one upon another. The prophet is represented as attacked by kings, princes, priests, and people, as the cities of Judah are by the invading armies. But the issue is different. They fall: he will hold out. The iron pillar is that which, rising in the centre of an Eastern house or temple (as, e.g., in Judges 16:25; 1Kings 7:21), supports the flat roof, and enables it to be used as a terrace or platform on which men may meet. The “brasen walls” probably refer to the practice of fastening plates of copper over the brick or stonework of a fortification.

Jeremiah 1:18-19. For I have made thee this day a defenced city — That is, from this day I will so defend thee that they shall be no more able to hurt thee than they would be if thou wast in a strongly-fortified and impregnable city. And brazen walls — Which cannot be broken or battered down with any force. Against the whole land, against the kings, &c. — All its inhabitants in general; intimating that, though men of all degrees should set themselves against him, yet God would support him against them all, and would carry him through his work, although his troubles would not only be great, but long, extended through several kings’ reigns. And they shall fight against thee — Shall oppose thee, and manifest much hostile hatred against thee; but they shall not prevail — They shall not be able, by all their devices, to shorten thy days, or to prevent thy executing the charge given thee. For I am with thee, to deliver thee — I will show my power in protecting and delivering thee out of all thy troubles, when thy adversaries shall become a prey to their enemies. 1:11-19 God gave Jeremiah a view of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments. God also showed whence the intended ruin should arise. Jeremiah saw a seething-pot boiling, representing Jerusalem and Judah in great commotion. The mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, was toward the north; from whence the fire and fuel were to come. The northern powers shall unite. The cause of these judgments was the sin of Judah. The whole counsel of God must be declared. The fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. Better to have all men our enemies than God our enemy; those who are sure they have God with them, need not, ought not to fear, whoever is against them. Let us pray that we may be willing to give up personal interests, and that nothing may move us from our duty.Metaphorically the walls and fortifications of the city represent the prophet's power of patiently enduring the attacks of his enemies; while the iron pillar, supporting the whole weight of the roof Judges 16:29; 1 Kings 7:21), signifies that no trials or sufferings would crush his steadfast will. 18. defenced city, &c.—that is, I will give thee strength which no power of thine enemies shall overcome (Jer 6:27; 15:20; Isa 50:7; 54:17; Lu 21:15; Ac 6:10).

walls—plural, to express the abundant strength to be given him. De Rossi's'S manuscripts read singular, "wall."

people of the land—the general masses, as distinguished from the princes and priests.

For, behold; Heb. For I, lo: q.d. For my part, I will not fail to do what I have promised, to stand by thee.

A defenced city, Heb. city of defence, impregnable, which the two following expressions do import; it should be supported with pillars, not of wood, but of iron, and encompassed with walls, not of stone, but of brass, noting hereby both great uprightness and also strength.

Against the whole land, i.e. all its inhabitants in general, none to be spared, as he doth particularly rank them in their several degrees in the following words, intimating hereby, that though men of all degrees should set themselves against him, yet God would support him against them all, and that he would carry him through his work, though his troubles and trials would be not only great, but long, viz. passing through several kings’ reigns, therefore possibly said kings here, in the plural. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city,.... Or, "as" one; so read the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions; which is inexpungible, and cannot be taken:

and an iron pillar; which cannot be removed out of its place:

and brasen walls; which cannot be broken down. All these metaphors show the safety and security of the prophet, being surrounded by the power of God; his constancy, immovableness, and invincibleness in the work of the Lord, having such a spirit of power, fortitude, and of a sound mind, that nothing was able to move and shake him, or to deter him from the execution of his office; and that he should stand inflexible

against the whole land; of Judea, and all the inhabitants of it:

against the kings of Judah; in successive reigns, as Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, or Jechonias, and Zedekiah:

against the princes thereof; who desired he might be put to death, Jeremiah 38:4,

against the priests thereof; who all of them dealt falsely, and were given to covetousness, Jeremiah 8:10,

and against the people of the land; who were grievously addicted to idolatry, and all manner of wickedness.

For, behold, I have made thee this day a fortified city, and an {r} iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against her princes, against her priests, and against the people of the land.

(r) Signifying on the one hand that the more that Satan and the world rage against God's ministers, the more present will he be to help them, Jos 1:5, He 13:5 and on the other hand, that they are utterly unfit to serve God in his Church, who are afraid and do not resist wickedness, whatever danger depend on it, Isa 50:7, Eze 3:8.

18. a defenced city, and an iron pillar; and brasen walls] Jeremiah was to be fortified by divine strength against the attacks which he would have to confront throughout his prophetic life. The assaults would be severe, and hence the force of the figures under which he is described. Jeremiah would need a pre-eminent degree of strength. Cp. Ezekiel 3:9. The words “and an iron pillar” are probably to be omitted (with LXX), as inconsistent with the idea of a siege. If we retain them, we may explain the sentence as expressing in the strongest manner what is impregnable and cannot be overthrown.

against the kings of judah] Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah.Verse 18. - Brasen walls. The plural is used instead of a collective term for the whole circle of fortifications. In the parallel passage (Jeremiah 15:20) the singular occurs; the same alternation of plural and singular as in 2 Kings 25:10; 1 Kings 3:1. The combination of figures strikingly expresses the invincibility of one whose strength is in his God. The kings of Judah. Why the plural? Most reply, Because Jeremiah would have to do with successive sovereigns. But this meaning would have been just as well conveyed by the singular: "the king of Judah," without any name being added - would moan the king who from time to time happened to be reigning. "Kings of Judah" in Jeremiah seems to have a special meaning, and to include all the members of the royal family, who formed a numerous and powerful class (see on Jeremiah 17:20).

The Confirmatory Tokens. - The first is given in Jeremiah 1:11 and Jeremiah 1:12 : "And there came to me the word of Jahveh, saying, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, I see an almond rod. Then Jahveh said to me, Thou hast seen aright: for I will keep watch over my word to fulfil it." With the consecration of the prophet to his office are associated two visions, to give him a surety of the divine promise regarding the discharge of the duties imposed on him. First, Jeremiah sees in spirit a rod or twig of an almond tree. God calls his attention to this vision, and interprets it to him as a symbol of the swift fulfilment of His word. The choice of this symbol for the purpose given is suggested by the Hebrew name for the almond tree, שׁקד, the wakeful, the vigilant; because this tree begins to blossom and expand its leaves in January, when the other trees are still in their winter's sleep (florat omnium prima mense Januario, Martio vero poma maturat. Plin. h. n. xvi. 42, and Von Schubert, Reise iii. S. 14), and so of all trees awakes earliest to new life. Without any sufficient reason Graf has combated this meaning for שׁקד, proposing to change שׁקד into שׁקד, and, with Aquil., Sym., and Jerome, to translate מקּל שׁקד watchful twig, virga vigilans, i.e., a twig whose eyes are open, whose buds have opened, burst; but he has not even attempted to give any authority for the use of the verb שׁקד for the bursting of buds, much less justified it. In the explanation of this symbol between the words, thou hast seen aright, and the grounding clause, for I will keep watch, there is omitted the intermediate thought: it is indeed a שׁקד. The twig thou hast seen is an emblem of what I shall do; for I will keep watch over my word, will be watchful to fulfil it. This interpretation of the symbol shows besides that מקּל is not here to be taken, as by Kimchi, Vatabl., Seb. Schmidt, Ngelsb., and others, for a stick to beat with, or as a threatening rod of correction. The reasons alleged by Ngelsb. for this view are utterly inconclusive. For his assertion, that מקּל always means a stick, and never a fresh, leafy branch, is proved to be false by Genesis 30:37; and the supposed climax found by ancient expositors in the two symbols: rod-boiling caldron, put thus by Jerome: qui noluerint percutiente virga emendari, mittentur in ollam aeneam atque succensam, is forced into the text by a false interpretation of the figure of the seething pot. The figure of the almond rod was meant only to afford to the prophet surety for the speedy and certain fulfilment of the word of God proclaimed by him. It is the second emblem alone that has anything to do with the contents of his preaching.
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