Jeremiah 15:17
I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.
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(17) In the assembly of the mockers.—Rather, of the mirthful. The word, which is the same as that found in Isaac (= laughter), does not necessarily imply an evil or cynical mirth, like that of the “scorner” of Psalm 1:1. What is meant is, that from the time of his consecration to his office the prophet’s life had not been as the life of other men, but had been marked by a strange loneliness, filled with the consuming wrath of Jehovah against the evils that surrounded him. The “hand” of Jehovah is used here, as in Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:22; Ezekiel 8:1, for the special overpowering consciousness of the fulness of inspiration.

Jeremiah 15:17-18. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers — Or, of those that make merry, as משׂחקים is elsewhere rendered: see Jeremiah 30:19; Jeremiah 31:4. Jeremiah soon found that the joy which he had conceived in being called to the prophetic office, and favoured with extraordinary communications from God, was turned into heaviness, God continually filling his mouth with dreadful messages, and his prophecies containing nothing but terrible denunciations of wrath against a sinful people. Hence his whole prophetical life was to him a time of sorrow and solitude, a time when he sat alone mourning and weeping, in secret, for the indignation of God, revealed to him against his people; nor rejoiced — I did not, with the deriders and scorners of thy word, give a loose to joy and mirth at a time when thy severe judgments were denounced, and when the most dreadful calamities hung over the country. Because of thy hand — God’s hand may be understood of his judgments, which, being denounced by the prophet, might be resembled to a hand stretched out, and just ready to strike; or else of the prophetical impulse which was strong upon Jeremiah, and, in a manner, forced him to be the messenger of evil tidings. God’s judgments, as they were represented to the prophets, often raised such dreadful ideas in their minds as affected them in an extraordinary manner, especially if their threatenings concerned their own country, or the church of God. Why is my pain perpetual, &c. — These seem evidently to be the words of Jeremiah, complaining of the hard task which God had put upon him, continually filling his mouth with such bitter words of evil against the people as exposed him to their most implacable rage, so that his misery seemed like an incurable wound, attended with excruciating pain, for which there was no remedy but patience. Wilt thou be altogether to me as a liar, and waters that fail? — No, I know thou wilt not. God is not a man that he should lie. The fountain of life will never be to his people as waters that fail. The sense is, “Thou hast promised to be my defence against mine enemies; and wilt thou altogether deceive me? like little brooks, which are dried up in summer, when they are most wanted, and so disappoint the thirsty traveller: see Job 6:15. The prophet here sets down the perplexities he laboured under, by reason of the opposition he continually met with from ungodly men, in the execution of his office; just as the psalmist relates the misgivings of his mind when he was under great troubles and temptations. But then presently he checks such thoughts, calls to mind God’s gracious promises, and encourages himself to rely upon him. And the like encouragements are recorded in the following verses of this chapter.” — Lowth.

15:15-21 It is matter of comfort that we have a God, to whose knowledge of all things we may appeal. Jeremiah pleads with God for mercy and relief against his enemies, persecutors, and slanderers. It will be a comfort to God's ministers, when men despise them, if they have the testimony of their own consciences. But he complains, that he found little pleasure in his work. Some good people lose much of the pleasantness of religion by the fretfulness and uneasiness of their natural temper, which they indulge. The Lord called the prophet to cease from his distrust, and to return to his work. If he attended thereto, he might be assured the Lord would deliver him from his enemies. Those who are with God, and faithful to him, he will deliver from trouble or carry through it. Many things appear frightful, which do not at all hurt a real believer in Christ.Rather, "I sat not in the assembly of the laughers, and was merry." From the time God's words came to Jeremiah he abstained from things innocent, and a gravity came over him beyond his years.

I sat alone because of thy hand - As a person consecrated to God he would also be "separated." See Jeremiah 1:5; compare Acts 13:2.

With indignation - The prophet thus taught of God sees the sins of the people as offences against God, and as involving the ruin of His Church.

17. My "rejoicing" (Jer 15:16) was not that of the profane mockers (Ps 1:1; 26:4, 5) at feasts. So far from having fellowship with these, he was expelled from society, and made to sit "alone," because of his faithful prophecies.

because of thy hand—that is, Thine inspiration (Isa 8:11; Eze 1:3; 3:14).

filled me with indignation—So Jer 6:11, "full of the fury of the Lord"; so full was he of the subject (God's "indignation" against the ungodly) with which God had inspired him, as not to be able to contain himself from expressing it. The same comparison by contrast between the effect of inspiration, and that of wine, both taking a man out of himself, occurs (Ac 2:13, 15, 18).

I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced, some, and those the most, interpret these words as an argument the prophet useth with God to obtain his favour, because though the country was full of wicked men, such as scoffed at the denouncings of God’s judgments, yet he had no share with them; therefore he desires he might have no share with those wicked men, in whose company he had no delight, and in whose profane contempt of God he had no share: but the learned author of our English Annotations thinks (and that very probably, if we consider what follows) that the words should rather be translated thus, I sat not in the assemblies of those that made merry; intimating, that though he rejoiced in his heart when God gave him commission to be his prophet, yet God had all along filled his mouth with such dreadful messages to be delivered to his people, that his whole prophetical life had been to him a time of mourning and solitude, a time when he sat alone, mourning and weeping in secret for the wrath of God revealed to him against his people, and by him to be revealed unto the people.

I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced,.... With them, the mockers; or, "those that make merry" (r); as the word is rendered in Jeremiah 30:19, and so the Targum,

"those that sing;''

and dance and live jovially; with these the prophet did not associate himself; such levity being unsuitable to his character as a prophet, and to those grievous messages he was charged with; and though he had joy, it was of another kind; it was not carnal, but spiritual; not outward, but inward; and what arose from the word of the Lord, being found and eaten by him. Moreover, there were some things which he was obliged by his office to deliver, that were very distressing to him, and made him very melancholy; so that he shunned all company and diversion, which might have been lawfully enjoyed: for this is not to be understood of the assembly or council of the wicked governors of the nation, and much less of the refuse of the people, that mocked at the word of God, and scoffed at the prophets and people of God; but of Jeremiah's friends and acquaintance, that met and made merry together; with whom he could not join, because of the sorrowful case in which he was, on account of the people he was sent unto:

I sat alone, because of thine hand; not because he was obliged to it, being deserted by men, but of choice; he withdrew from company, kept himself retired at home in his own house, there meditating upon the word of God, and mourning over the case of his people; and this he did, because the afflicting hand of God was upon him, or because the hand and spirit of prophecy was upon him, and he was charged to denounce very grievous things against the people; and because the hand of divine power and authority was over him, to which he ought to be subject, and was ready to obey:

for thou hast filled me with indignation; either with the indignation of the people against him, because of his prophecies; or with indignation against them, because of their sins; or with denunciations of wrath he was to deliver to them; and so the Targum,

"for thou hast filled me with a prophecy of cursing.''

(r) "ludentium", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "jocantium", Vatablus; "hilaria agentium", Gataker.

I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone {q} because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.

(q) I had nothing to do with the wicked contemners of your word, but lamented bitterly for your plagues: showing what the faithful should do when they see tokens of God's anger.

17. because of thy hand] Thy firm, compelling grasp. Cp. Isaiah 8:11; Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 37:1.

Verse 17. - In the assembly of the mockers; rather, of the laughers. The serious thoughts arising out of his sacred office restrained him from taking part in the festive meetings to which his youth would naturally incline him (comp. on Jeremiah 16:2). Because of thy hand. The Hand of Jehovah is a figurative expression for the self-revealing and irresistible power of Jehovah; it is, therefore, equivalent to the Arm of Jehovah (Isaiah 53:1), but is used in preference with regard to the divinely ordained actions and words of the prophets. Thus we are told, in the accounts of Elijah and Elisha, that "the hand of the Lord came upon" them (1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 3:15). Such a phrase was probably at first descriptive of a completely passive ecstatic state, and was retained when ecstasies had become rare, with a somewhat laxer meaning. Isaiah uses a similar expression but once (Isaiah 8:11); Ezekiel, however, who appears to have been unusually rifled with the overpowering thought of the supernatural world, is constantly mentioning "the hand of Jehovah" (see Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:22; Ezekiel 37:1; and especially Ezekiel 3:14; 8:3). We may infer from this variation in the practice of inspired writers that, though symbolical, anthropomorphic language is not always equally necessary in speaking of Divine things, yet it cannot be entirely dispensed with, even by the most gifted and spiritual teachers. Thou hast filled me with indignation; rather, thou hadst filled me. Jeremiah was too full of his Divine message to indulge in impracticable sentimentalities. There was no thought of self when Jeremiah received his mission, nor any bitterness towards those who up-posed him. His "indignation" was that of Jehovah, whose simple instrument he was (comp. Jeremiah 6:11, "I am full of the fury of the Lord"). Jeremiah 15:17To this calling he has devoted his whole life: has not sat in the assembly of the laughers, nor made merry with them; but sat alone, i.e., avoided all cheerful company. Because of Thy hand, i.e., because Thy hand had laid hold on me. The hand of Jahveh is the divine power which took possession of the prophets, transported their spirit to the ecstatic domain of inner vision, and impelled to prophesy; cf. Jeremiah 20:7; Isaiah 8:11; Ezekiel 1:3, etc. Alone I sat, because Thou hast filled me with indignation. זעם is the wrath of God against the moral corruptness and infatuation of Judah, with which the Spirit of God has filled Jeremiah in order that he may publish it abroad, cf. Jeremiah 6:11. The sadness of what he had to publish filled his heart with the deepest grief, and constrained him to keep far from all cheery good fellowship.
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