Jeremiah 15:20
And I will make you to this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you: for I am with you to save you and to deliver you, said the LORD.
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(20) I will make thee unto this people . . .—It is significant that the promise reproduced the very words which the prophet had heard when he was first summoned to his work (see Note on Jeremiah 1:18-19). Jehovah had not been unfaithful to His word, but, like all promises, it depended on implied conditions, and these the faint-hearted, desponding prophet had but imperfectly fulfilled. Let him “return” to the temper of trust, and there should be an abundant deliverance for him.

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.Jeremiah had questioned God's righteousness (see Jeremiah 12:1 note); he is told, "If thou return," if thou repent thee of thy doubts, and think only of thy duty, "then will I bring thee again, then will I cause thee again to stand before Me." To stand before a person means to be his chief officer or vicegerent. It implies therefore the restoration of Jeremiah to the prophetic office.

If thou take forth the precious from the vile - i. e., if thou cause the precious metal to come forth from the dross. Jeremiah was to separate in himself what was divine and holy from the dross of human passion. Let him abandon this mistrust, this sensitiveness, this idea that God did not deal righteously with him, and then "he shall be as God's mouth, i. e., as the organ by which God speaks.

Let them return ... - Rather, "they shall return unto thee, but thou shalt not return unto them." A flattering prophet perishes with the people whom his soft speeches have confirmed in their sin: but the truthful speaking of God's word saves both.

20, 21. The promise of Jer 1:18, 19, in almost the same words, but with the addition, adapted to the present attacks of Jeremiah's formidable enemies, "I will deliver thee out of … wicked … redeem … terrible"; the repetition is in order to assure Jeremiah that God is the same now as when He first made the promise, in opposition to the prophet's irreverent accusation of unfaithfulness (Jer 15:18). And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: these words are expounded by those that follow.

They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: look, as men may throw stones or strike at a brazen wall, but do it no hurt; so, saith God, though thou shalt have enemies that will be offering at thee, yet if thou continuest steady in the doing of thy duty, they shall do thee no harm; for thou shalt have my power engaged for thee, to deliver and save thee from their malice. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall,.... As he had promised him, when he first called him to his office, Jeremiah 1:18, and so would not be as a liar to him:

and they shall fight against thee; by words and blows, by menaces and imprisonment:

but they shall not prevail against thee; so as to cause him to call in his words, and contradict his prophecies; or so as to take away his life:

for I am with thee, to save thee, and deliver thee, saith the Lord; the presence of God with his ministers is sufficient to save and deliver them out of all their troubles, and to protect and defend them against all their enemies; see Matthew 28:20.

And I will make thee to this people a fortified brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not {y} prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

(y) I will teach you with an invincible strength and constancy, so that all the powers of the world will not overcome you.

20, 21. Cp. Jeremiah 1:18 f.

21 the terrible] The chief men in Jerusalem, probably meaning Jehoiakim and his counsellors. See note on ch. Jeremiah 12:7.Verse 20. - And I will make thee, etc.; a solemn confirmation of the promises in Jeremiah 1:18, 19. With this Jeremiah 15:13 and Jeremiah 15:14 are thus connected: This time of evil and tribulation (Jeremiah 15:10) will not last long. Their enemies will carry off the people's substance and treasures as their booty into a strange land. These verses are to be taken, with Umbr., as a declaration from the mouth of the Lord to His guilt-burdened people. This appears from the contents of the verses. The immediate transition from the address to the prophet to that to the people is to be explained by the fact, that both the prophet's complaint, Jeremiah 15:10, and God's answer, Jeremiah 15:11-13, have a full bearing on the people; the prophet's complaint at the attacks on the part of the people serving to force them to a sense of their obstinacy against the Lord, and God's answer to the complaint, that the prophet's announcement will come true, and that he will then be justified, serving to crush their sullen doggedness. The connection of thought in Jeremiah 15:13 and Jeremiah 15:14 is thus: The people that so assaults thee, by reason of thy threatening judgment, will not break the iron might of the Chaldeans, but will by them be overwhelmed. It will come about as thou hast declared to them in my name; their substance and their treasures will I give as booty to the Chaldeans. לא equals בּלא מחיר, Isaiah 55:1, not for purchase-money, i.e., freely. As God sells His people for nought, i.e., gives them up to their enemies (cf. Isaiah 52:3; Psalm 44:13), so here He threatens to deliver up their treasures to the enemy as a booty, and for nought. When Graf says that this last thought has no sufficient meaning, his reasons therefor do not appear. Nor is there anything "peculiar," or such as could throw suspicion on the passage, in the juxtaposition of the two qualifying phrases: and that for all thy sins, and in all thy borders. The latter phrase bears unmistakeably on the treasures, not on the sins. " bring it," lit., I cause them (the treasures) to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not, i.e., I cause the enemies to bring them, etc. Hitz. and Graf erroneously: I carry thine enemies away into a land; which affords no suitable sense. The grounding clause: for hire, etc., is taken from Deuteronomy 32:22, to show that the threatening of judgment contained in Moses' song is about to come upon degenerate Judah. "Against you it is kindled" apply the words to Jeremiah's contemporaries.

(Note: Jeremiah 15:11-14 are pronounced spurious by Hitz., Graf, and Ng., on the ground that Jeremiah 15:13 and Jeremiah 15:14 are a mere quotation, corrupted in the text, from Jeremiah 17:3-4, and that all the three verses destroy the connection, containing an address to the people that does not at all fit into the context. But the interruption of the continuity could at most prove that the verses had got into a wrong place, as is supposed by Ew., who transposes them, and puts them next to Jeremiah 15:9. But for this change in place there are no sufficient grounds, since, as our exposition of them shows, the verses in question can be very well understood in the place which they at present occupy. The other allegation, that Jeremiah 15:13 and Jeremiah 15:14 are a quotation, corrupted in text, from Jeremiah 17:3-4, is totally without proof. In Jeremiah 17:3-4 we have simply the central thoughts of the present passage repeated, but modified to suit their new context, after the manner characteristic of Jeremiah. The genuineness of the verses is supported by the testimony of the lxx, which has them here, while it omits them in Jeremiah 17:3-4; and by the fact, that it is inconceivable they should have been interpolated as a gloss in a wholly unsuitable place. For those who impugn the genuineness have not even made the attempt to show the possibility or probability of such a gloss arising.)

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