Jeremiah 17:26
And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, to the house of the LORD.
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(26) They shall come . . .—The verse has a special interest (1) as a topographical description of the country about Jerusalem, and (2) as a summary of the chief forms of sacrifice under the Mosaic Law. (1) The “plain” (Shephelah) is the lowland country of Philistia, stretching to the Mediterranean; the “mountain” the hill-country of Judah; the “south” (Negeb) the region lying to the south of Hebron, and including Beersheba (comp. Joshua 15:21; Joshua 15:28). Each name, though descriptive in meaning, was used in almost as definite a sense as that in which we speak of the “Campagna” of Rome or the “Weald” of Kent. (2) The list includes the burnt offerings,” in which the flesh of the victim was consumed entirely on the altar; the “sacrifices,” in which the flesh of the victim was eaten partly by the priest and partly by the worshipper; the “meat offerings,” which were of meal and salt, not of flesh, and were always accompanied by incense (Leviticus 2:1); and, lastly, praise—the word “sacrifice” not being found in the Hebrew—the utterance of prayer and psalm, which the Psalmist had named as more acceptable than the flesh of bulls and goats (Psalm 50:14).

17:19-27 The prophet was to lay before the rulers and the people of Judah, the command to keep holy the sabbath day. Let them strictly observe the fourth command. If they obeyed this word, their prosperity should be restored. It is a day of rest, and must not be made a day of labour, unless in cases of necessity. Take heed, watch against the profanation of the sabbath. Let not the soul be burdened with the cares of this world on sabbath days. The streams of religion run deep or shallow, according as the banks of the sabbath are kept up or neglected. The degree of strictness with which this ordinance is observed, or the neglect shown towards it, is a good test to find the state of spiritual religion in any land. Let all; by their own example, by attention to their families, strive to check this evil, that national prosperity may be preserved, and, above all, that souls may be saved.The reward for keeping the Sabbath day holy consists in three things;

(1) in great national prosperity,

(2) in the lasting welfare of Jerusalem, and

(3) in the wealth and piety of the people generally, indicated by their numerous sacrifices.

Bringing sacrifices of praise - Rather, "bringing praise." This clause covers all that precedes.

The verse is interesting as specifying the exact limits of the dominions of the Davidic kings, now confined to Judah and Benjamin. These two tribes are divided according to their physical conformation into

(1) the Shefelah, or low country lying between the mountains and the Mediterranean;

(2) the mountain which formed the central region, extending to the wilderness of Judah, on the Dead Sea; and

(3) the Negeb, or arid region, which lay to the south of Judah.

26. plain mountains … south—(Jos 15:1-4). The southern border had extended to the river of Egypt, but was now much curtailed by Egyptian invasions (2Ch 35:20; 36:3, 4). The Hebrew for "south" means dry; the arid desert south of Judea is meant. The enumeration of all the parts of Judea, city, country, plain, hill, and desert, implies that no longer shall there be aught wanting of the integrity of the Jewish land (Zec 7:7).

sacrifices—As in Jer 17:22, one constituent of Judea's prosperity is mentioned, namely, its kings on David's throne, the pledge of God being its guardian; so in this verse another constituent, namely, its priests, a pledge of God being propitious to it (Ps 107:22).

The sum of all these three verses is, that if they would sanctify the Lord’s sabbath, they should either continue in, or be restored unto, their ancient, civil, and ecclesiastical order, they should have kings and princes in their former order and splendour, and men should come from all parts of the country bringing their usual sacrifices and offerings to the temple, and those of all sorts. Some think this promise is to be understood synecdochically, one principal part of the law of God, and such a one as was in their power to obey, being put for the whole law of God. Those who desire to be satisfied in the niceties as to the terms and places here mentioned, may find satisfaction in the English Annotations upon this verse. The general sense is no more than that both their city and their temple, their civil and ecclesiastical state, should continue and flourish in that order wherein it was. And they shall come from the cities of Judah,.... That is, men shall come from all parts of the land of Judea to the city of Jerusalem, and to the temple; especially at the times of their solemn feasts, three times a year, as the law directed:

and from the places about Jerusalem; and from all the towns and villages adjacent to it, such as Bethany and Bethphage, and many others:

and from the land of Benjamin; which tribe continued with the tribe of Judah when the rest revolted, and was now with it, and still would continue with it, and join with it in religious worship, were they careful to observe what the Lord commanded them:

and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south; these respect the several parts of the land of Judah, which, the Jews (i) say, was divided into three parts, the mountain, plain or champaign country, and the valley: the "plain" was that part where Lydda and other cities were; the "mountain" is the same with the hill country of Judea, Luke 1:39; and the "south" the southern part of the land, that which is called the wilderness of Judea, of which see Joshua 15:20. The above Jewish writers say (k), that from Bethhoron to Emmaus was the mountain or hill country; from Emmaus to Lydda the plain; and from Lydda to the sea the valley; now, from all these places should persons come to the temple:

bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, and meat offerings and incense; sacrifices and offerings of all sorts, according to the law; hereby signifying, that if the sabbath was observed, as it would go well with the kings and princes of Judah, they would keep a splendid court, and have a numerous retinue, so it would be well with the priests that served at the altar; sacrifices would be brought to them; of which they would have their part, as well as God have glory by an obedience to his laws; and, besides these, other sacrifices would also be brought, as follows:

and bringing sacrifices of praise unto the house of the Lord; thank offerings for mercies received and deliverances wrought, as well as sacrifices for sins committed; and this was one sort of the peace offerings, Leviticus 7:11.

(i) Misna Sheviith, c 9. sect. 2.((k) Hieros. Sheviith, foI. 38. 4.

And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.
26. Cp. for this kind of enumeration Jeremiah 32:44, Jeremiah 33:13.

the land of Benjamin] lying north of Judah.

the lowland] the low hills and flat valley-land stretching down towards the Philistine plain on the W. and S.W. of Judah.

the mountains] the loftier part S. of Jerusalem in the neighbourhood of Hebron.

the South] See on Jeremiah 13:19. The cities in these three districts are enumerated in Joshua , 15, viz. 33–44; 48–60; 21–32.

burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and oblations, and frankincense] Three sorts of offerings are here mentioned, two bloody and one unbloody. The “oblations” (mg. “meal offerings”) consisted of flour and oil, and had (Leviticus 2:1) frankincense (see on Jeremiah 6:20) strewn upon them.

sacrifices of thanksgiving] thanksgiving. The word “sacrifices,” omitted here and in Jeremiah 33:11, is supplied in the directions given in Leviticus 7:12.Verse 26. - Parallel passage for the catalogue of the districts of Judah, Jeremiah 32:44. Three divisions are mentioned.

(1) The neighborhood of Jerusalem (including the "cities of Judah");

(2) the land of Benjamin, i.e. the northern part of the kingdom; and

(3) the tribe of Judah, with its three subdivisions - the Shefela or lowland country by the Mediterranean Sea, the hill country, and the Negeb or "dry" south country (comp. Joshua 15:21-62). The sacrifices are described with equal explicitness; they fall into two classes, the bloody (burnt offerings and other sacrifices) and the unbloody (the vegetable offering or minkhah, and the incense which was strewed upon the min-khah, Leviticus 2:1). And bringing sacrifices of praise. This was, no doubt, the title of a particular variety of sacrifices (Leviticus 7:12; Leviticus 22:29); here, however, it seems as if all the preceding sacrifices were summed up under this designation. St. Paul says, "In everything give thanks;" and this seems to have been the prophet's ideal of the sacrifices of the future.

Of the hallowing of the Sabbath. - Jeremiah 17:19. "Thus said Jahveh unto me: Go and stand in the gate of the sons of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all gates of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 17:20. And say unto them: Hear the word of Jahveh, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all inhabitants of Jerusalem, that go in by these gates: Jeremiah 17:21. Thus hath Jahveh said: Take heed for your souls, and bear no burden on the Sabbath-day, and bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 17:22. And carry forth no burden out of your houses on the Sabbath-day, and do no work, and hallow the Sabbath-day, as I commanded your fathers. Jeremiah 17:23. But they hearkened not, neither inclined their ear, and made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor take instruction. Jeremiah 17:24. But if ye will really hearken unto me, saith Jahveh, to bring in no burden by the gates of the city on the Sabbath-day, and to hallow the Sabbath-day, to do no work thereon, Jeremiah 17:25. Then shall there go through the gates of the city kings and princes, who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ad this city shall be inhabited for ever. Jeremiah 17:26. And they shall come from the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the hill-country and from the south, that bring burnt-offering and slain-offering, meat-offering and incense, and that bring praise into the house of Jahveh. Jeremiah 17:27. But if ye hearken not to me, to hallow the Sabbath-day, and not to bear a burden, and to come into the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day, then will I kindle fire in her gates, so that it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and not be quenched."

The introduction, Jeremiah 17:19, shows that this passage has, in point of form, but a loose connection with what precedes. It is, however, not a distinct and independent prophecy; for it wants the heading, "The word of Jahveh which came," etc., proper to all the greater discourses. Besides, in point of subject-matter, it may very well be joined with the preceding general reflections as to the springs of mischief and of well-being; inasmuch as it shows how the way of safety appointed to the people lies in keeping the decalogue, as exemplified in one of its fundamental precepts. - The whole passage contains only God's command to the prophet; but the execution of it, i.e., the proclamation to the people of what was commanded, is involved in the nature of the case. Jeremiah is to proclaim this word of the Lord in all the gates of Jerusalem, that it may be obeyed in them all. The locality of the gate of the sons of the people is obscure and difficult to determine, that by which the kings of Judah go and come. בּני עם seems to stand for בּני העם, as the Keri would have it. In Jeremiah 25:23 and 2 Kings 23:6, "sons of the people" means the common people as opposed to the rich and the notables; in 2 Chronicles 35:5, 2 Chronicles 35:7., the people as opposed to the priests and Levites, that is, the laity. The first sig. of the phrase seems here to be excluded by the fact, that the kings come and go by this gate; for there is not the smallest probability that a gate so used could have borne the name of "gate of the common people." But we might well pause to weigh the second sig. of the word, if we could but assume that it was a gate of the temple that was meant. Ng. concludes that it was so, on the ground that we know of no city gate through which only the kings and the dregs of the people were free to go, or the kings and the mass of their subjects, to the exclusion of the priests. But this does not prove his point; for we are not informed as to the temple, that the kings and the laity were permitted to go and come by one gate only, while the others were reserved for priests and Levites. Still it is much more likely that the principal entrance to the outer court of the temple should have obtained the name of "people's gate," or "laymen's gate," than that a city gate should have been so called; and that by that "people's gate" the kings also entered into the court of the temple, while the priests and Levites came and went by side gates which were more at hand for the court of the priests. Certainly Ng. is right when he further remarks, that the name was not one in general use, but must have been used by the priests only. On the other hand, there is nothing to support clearly the surmise that the gate יסוד, 2 Chronicles 23:5, was so called; the east gate of the outer court is much more likely. We need not be surprised at the mention of this chief gate of the temple along with the city gates; for certainly there would be always a great multitude of people to be found at this gate, even if what Ng. assumes were not the case, that by the sale and purchase of things used in the temple, this gate was the scene of a Sabbath-breaking trade. But if, with the majority of comm., we are to hold that by "people's gate" a city gate was meant, then we cannot determine which it was. Of the suppositions that it was the Benjamin-gate, or the well-gate, Nehemiah 2:14 (Maur.), or the gate of the midst which led through the northern wall of Zion from the upper city into the lower city (Hitz.), or the water-gate, Nehemiah 3:26 (Graf), each is as unfounded as another. From the plural: the kings of Judah (Jeremiah 17:20), Hitz. infers that more kings than one were then existing alongside one another, and that thus the name must denote the members of the royal family. But his idea has been arbitrarily forced into the text. The gates of the city, as well as of the temple, did not last over the reign of but one king, Jeremiah 17:21. השּׁמר בּנפשׁות, to take heed for the souls, i.e., take care of the souls, so as not to lose life (cf. Malachi 2:15), is a more pregnant construction than that with ל, Deuteronomy 4:15, although it yields the same sense. Ng. seeks erroneously to explain the phrase according to 2 Samuel 20:10 (נשׁמר בּחרב, take care against the sword) and Deuteronomy 24:8, where השּׁׁמר ought not to be joined at all with בּנגע. The bearing of burdens on the Sabbath, both into the city and out of one's house, seems to point most directly at market trade and business, cf. Nehemiah 13:15., but is used only as one instance of the citizens' occupations; hence are appended the very words of the law: to do no work, Exodus 12:16; Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14, and: to hallow the Sabbath, namely, by cessation from all labour, cf. Jeremiah 17:24. The remark in Jeremiah 17:23, that the fathers have already transgressed God's law, is neither contrary to the aim in view, as Hitz. fancies, nor superfluous, but serves to characterize the transgression censured as an old and deeply-rooted sin, which God must at length punish unless the people cease therefrom. The description of the fathers' disobedience is a verbal repetition of Jeremiah 7:26. The Chet. שׁומע cannot be a participle, but is a clerical error for שׁמוע (infin. constr. with (scriptio plena), as in Jeremiah 11:10 and Jeremiah 19:15. See a similar error in Jeremiah 2:25 and Jeremiah 8:6. On "nor take instruction," cf. Jeremiah 2:30.

In the next verses the observance of this commandment is enforced by a representation of the blessings which the hallowing of the Sabbath will bring to the people (Jeremiah 17:24-26), and the curse upon its profanation (Jeremiah 2:27). If they keep the Sabbath holy, the glory of the dynasty of David and the prosperity of the people will acquire permanence, and Jerusalem remain continually inhabited, and the people at large will bring thank-offerings to the Lord in His temple. Hitz., Graf, and Ng. take objection to the collocation: kings and princes (Jeremiah 2:25), because princes do not sit on the throne of David, nor can they have other "princes" dependent on them, as we must assume from the "they and their princes." But although the ושׂרים be awanting in the parallel, Jeremiah 22:4, yet this passage cannot be regarded as the standard; for whereas the discourse in Jeremiah 22 is addressed to the king, the present is to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or rather the people of Judah. The ושׂרים is subordinate to the kings, so that the sitting on the throne of David is to be referred only to the kings, the following ושׂריהם helping further to define them. "Riding" is to be joined both with "in chariots" and "on horses," since רכב means either driving or riding. The driving and riding of the kings and their princes through the gates of Jerusalem is a sign of the undiminished splendour of the rule of David's race.

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