Do not abhor us, for your name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of your glory: remember, break not your covenant with us.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Do not abhor us . . .—Even in the English, and yet more in the Hebrew, we seem to hear the broken accents, words and sobs intermingled, of the agony of the prayer. “Abhor us not . . . disgrace not . . . remember, break not.” The prophet can make no plea of extenuation, but he can appeal to the character of God, and urge, with a bold anthropomorphism, that mercy is truer to that character than rigorous justice, and that His covenant with Israel pledges Him to that mercy.
The throne of thy glory.—This is, of course, the Temple (see Jeremiah 17:12). Shall that become a bye-word of reproach, scorned (so the word means) as a fool is scorned?Deuteronomy 32:15 - "not the throne of thy glory! Remember! Break not etc. with us!" The throne of Yahweh's glory is Jerusalem.
throne of thy glory—Jerusalem, or, the temple, called God's "footstool" and "habitation" (1Ch 28:2; Ps 132:5).
thy covenant—(Ps 106:45; Da 9:19).Do not abhor us; noting to us that the love of God to a people is the root of all good which they can expect, and his hatred and displeasure the root of all the evil that can betide them. Here are divers arguments brought to back this petition.
1. For thy name’s sake; that is, thine honour and glory sake; an argument often made use of in holy writ, in the prayers of God’s people, Joshua 7:9, &c., and upon a very good foundation, whether we consider God’s concern for his own glory, or the tenure of God’s promises, promising mercy for his own name’s sake. He also argueth with God from his former love and kindness to this people, which he had made
the throne of his glory. The words are either to be understood of the throne of the house of David, called the Lord’s throne, 1 Chronicles 29:23, or else the temple, and the ark in it, the more special symbol of God’s presence: hence he is said to have dwelt betwixt the cherubims, Psalm 80:1; so Jeremiah 17:12, the prophet saith, A glorious high throne from the beginning is our sanctuary. Lord, (saith the prophet,) we have deserved all the disgrace thou canst throw upon us, but do not thou disgrace the throne of thine own glory.
Remember, break not thy covenant with us. Did not Jeremiah then know that God could not break his covenant?
Answ. He did know it; but he also knew that it is our duty to pray to God to fulfil it; or possibly he would extend it a little further, and for God’s covenant’ sake made with the faithful in Israel he would have obtained mercy for the whole body of the nation.
Do not disgrace the throne of thy glory; either Jerusalem, as Kimchi, which was the city of the great King, where he had his throne and palace, and which is called the throne of the Lord, Jeremiah 3:17 or the house of the sanctuary, the temple, as Jarchi; see Jeremiah 17:12, respect seems to be had to the mercy seat upon the ark, over which were the cherubim of glory, between which the Lord dwelt; and they pray, that though they were worthy of disgrace themselves, and to be taken and carried captive into a strange land, yet they entreat that the Lord would not disgrace his own glorious habitation, by suffering the city and the temple, and the ark in it, to be destroyed:
remember; thy people, Zion, as before; or the promises made to them, the covenant, as follows:
break not thy covenant with us: God never breaks his covenant, though man does; it may sometimes seem to be broken, when his church and people are in distress and affliction; but he will never break the covenant he has made, or suffer his faithfulness to fail; yet, though he does not, it is proper and necessary oftentimes to pray in this manner to God, for the encouragement of faith in him, and expectation of good things from him.Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. the throne of thy glory] Jerusalem, or more particularly the Temple, where the visible glory was enthroned above the Ark.Verse 21. - The throne of thy glory; i.e. the temple (Jeremiah 17:12; Ezekiel 43:7), or Jerusalem (Jeremiah 3:17). It is the same conception where Jehovah is said to "dwell between" [or, 'sit upon'] "the cherubim" (Isaiah 37:16; Psalm 80:1; Psalm 99:1). Jeremiah 14:10. "Thus saith Jahveh unto this people: Thus they loved to wander, their feet they kept not back; and Jahveh hath no pleasure in them, now will He remember their iniquities and visit their sins. Jeremiah 14:11. And Jahveh hath said unto me: Pray not for this people for their good. Jeremiah 14:12. When they fast, I hear not their cry; and when they bring burnt-offering and meat-offering, I have no pleasure in them; but by sword, and famine, and pestilence will I consume them. Jeremiah 14:13. Then said I: Ah Lord Jahveh, behold, the prophets say to them, Ye shall see no sword, and famine shall not befall you, but assured peace give I in this place. Jeremiah 14:14. And Jahveh said unto me: Lies do the prophets prophesy in my name: I have not sent them, nor commanded them, nor spoken to them; lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and deceit of their heart they prophesy to you. Jeremiah 14:15. Therefore thus saith Jahveh concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, when I have not sent them, who yet say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land: By sword and famine shall these prophets perish. Jeremiah 14:16. And the people to whom they prophesy shall lie cast out upon the streets of Jerusalem, by reason of the famine and of the sword, and none will bury them, them and their wives, their sons and their daughters; and I pour their wickedness upon them. Jeremiah 14:17. And thou shalt say to them this word: Let mine eyes run down with tears day and night and let them not cease; for with a great breach is broken the virgin-daughter of my people, with a very grievous blow. Jeremiah 14:18. If I go forth into the field, behold the slain with the sword; and if I come into the city, behold them that pine with famine; for prophet and priest pass into a land and know it not."
To the prophet's prayer the Lord answers in the first place, Jeremiah 14:10, by pointing to the backsliding of the people, for which He is now punishing them. In the "thus they love," etc., lies a backward reference to what precedes. The reference is certainly not to the vain going for water (Jeremiah 14:3), as Chr. B. Mich. and R. Salomo Haccohen thought it was; nor is it to the description of the animals afflicted by thirst, Jeremiah 14:5 and Jeremiah 14:6, in which Ng. finds a description of the passionate, unbridled lust after idolatry, the real and final cause of the ruin that has befallen Israel. Where could be the likeness between the wild ass's panting for breath and the wandering of the Jews? That to which the "thus" refers must be sought for in the body of the prayer to which Jahveh makes answer, as Ros. rightly saw. Not by any means in the fact that in Jeremiah 14:9 the Jews prided themselves on being the people of God and yet went after false gods, so that God answered: ita amant vacillare, as good as to say: ita instabiles illos esse, ut nunc ab ipso, nunc ab aliis auxilium quaerant (Ros.); for נוּע cannot here mean the waving and swaying of reeds, but only the wandering after other gods, cf. Jeremiah 2:23, Jeremiah 2:31. This is shown by the addition: they kept not back their feet, cf. with Jeremiah 2:25, where in the same reference the withholding of the feet is enjoined. Graf is right in referring huts to the preceding prayer: "Thus, in the same degree as Jahveh has estranged Himself from His people (cf. Jeremiah 14:8 and Jeremiah 14:9), have they estranged themselves from their God." They loved to wander after strange gods, and so have brought on themselves God's displeasure. Therefore punishment comes on them. The second clause of the verse is a reminiscence of Hosea 8:13. - After mentioning the reason why He punishes Judah, the Lord in Jeremiah 14:11. rejects the prayer of the prophet, because He will not hear the people's cry to Him. Neither by means of fasts nor sacrifice will they secure God's pleasure. The prophet's prayer implies that the people will humble themselves and turn to the Lord. Hence God explains His rejection of the prayer by saying that He will give no heed to the people's fasting and sacrifices. The reason of this appears from the context - namely, because they turn to Him only in their need, while their heart still cleaves to the idols, so that their prayers are but lip-service, and their sacrifices a soulless formality. The suffix in רצם refers not to the sacrifices, but, like that in רנּתם, to the Jews who, by bringing sacrifices, seek to win God's love. כּי, but, introducing the antithesis to "have no pleasure in them." The sword in battle, famine, and pestilence, at the siege of the cities, are the three means by which God designs to destroy the backsliding people; cf. Leviticus 26:25.
In spite of the rejection of his prayer, the prophet endeavours yet again to entreat God's favour for the people, laying stress, Jeremiah 14:13, on the fact that they had been deceived and confirmed in their infatuation by the delusive forecastings of the false prophets who promised peace. Peace of truth, i.e., peace that rests on God's faithfulness, and so: assured peace will I give you. Thus spoke these prophets in the name of Jahveh; cf. on this Jeremiah 4:10; Jeremiah 5:12. Hitz. and Graf propose to change שׁלום אמת into שׁלום ואמת, acc. to Jeremiah 33:6 and Isaiah 39:8, because the lxx have ἀλήθειαν καὶ εἰρήνην. But none of the passages cited furnishes sufficient ground for this. In Jeremiah 33:6 the lxx have rendered εἰρήνην καὶ πίστιν, in Isaiah 39:8, εἰρήνη καὶ δικαιοσύνη; giving thereby a clear proof that we cannot draw from their rendering any certain inferences as to the precise words of the original text. Nor do the parallels prove anything, since in them the expression often varies in detail. But there can be no doubt that in the mouth of the pseudo-prophets "assured peace" is more natural than "peace and truth." But the Lord does not allow this excuse. He has not sent the prophets that so prophesy: they prophesy lying vision, divination, falsehood, and deceit, and shall themselves be destroyed by sword and famine. The cumulation of the words, "lying vision," etc., shows God's wrath and indignation at the wicked practices of these men. Graf wants to delete ו before אליל, and to couple אליל with קסם, so as to make one idea: prophecy of nought. For this he can allege none other than the erroneous reason that קסם, taken by itself, does not sufficiently correspond to "lying vision," inasmuch as, he says, it has not always a bad sense attached to it; whereas the fact is that it is nowhere used for genuine prophecy. The Chet. אלוּל and תּרמוּת are unusual formations, for which the usual forms are substituted in the Keri. Deceit of their heart is not self-deceit, but deceit which their heart has devised; cf. Jeremiah 23:26. But the people to whom these prophets prophesied are to perish by sword and famine, and to lie unburied in the streets of Jerusalem; cf. Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 16:4. They are not therefore held excused because false prophets told them lies, for they have given credit to these lies, lies that flattered their sinful passions, and have not been willing to hear or take to heart the word of the true prophets, who preached repentance and return to God.
(Note: The Berleburg Bible says: "They wish to have such teachers, and even to bring it about that there shall be so many deceiving workers, because they can hardly even endure or listen to the upright ones. That is the reason why it is to go no better with them than we see it is." Calvin too has suggested the doubt: posset tamen videri parum humaniter agere Deus, quod tam duras paenas infligit miseris hominibus, qui aliunde decepti sunt, and has then given the true solution: certum est, nisi ultro mundus appeteret mendacia, non tantam fore efficaciam diaboli ad fallendum. Quod igitur ita rapiuntur homines ad imposturas, hoc fit eorum culpa, quoniam magis propensi sunt ad vanitatem, quam ut se Deo et verbo ejus subjiciant.)
To Hitz. it seems surprising that, in describing the punishment which is to fall on seducers and seduced, there should not be severer judgment, in words at least, levelled against the seducers as being those involved in the deeper guilt; whereas the very contrary is the case in the Hebrew text. Hitz. further proposes to get rid of this discrepancy by conjectures founded on the lxx, yet without clearly informing us how we are to read. But the difficulty solves itself as soon as we pay attention to the connection. The portion of the discourse before us deals with the judgment which is to burst on the godless people, in the course of which those who had seduced the people are only casually mentioned. For the purpose in hand, it was sufficient to say briefly of the seducers that they too should perish by sword and famine who affirmed that these punishments should not befall the people, whereas it was necessary to set before the people the terrors of this judgment in all their horror, in order not to fail of effect. With the reckoning of the various classes of persons: they, their wives, etc., cf. the account of their participation in idolatry, Jeremiah 7:18. Hitz. rightly paraphrases ושׁפכתּי: and in this wise will I pour out. רעתם, not: the calamity destined for them, but: their wickedness which falls on them with its consequences, cf. Jeremiah 2:19, Hosea 9:15, for propheta videtur causam reddere, cur Deus horribile illud judicium exequi statuerit contra Judaeos, nempe quoniam digni erant tali mercede (Calv.).
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