Jeremiah 18:10
If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
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18:1-10 While Jeremiah looks upon the potter's work, God darts into his mind two great truths. God has authority, and power, to form and fashion kingdoms and nations as he pleases. He may dispose of us as he thinks fit; and it would be as absurd for us to dispute this, as for the clay to quarrel with the potter. But he always goes by fixed rules of justice and goodness. When God is coming against us in judgments, we may be sure it is for our sins; but sincere conversion from the evil of sin will prevent the evil of punishment, as to persons, and to families, and nations.I will repent of the evil ... I will repent of the good - All God's dealings with mankind are here declared to be conditional. God changeth not, all depends upon man's conduct. 8. their evil—in antithesis to, "the evil that I thought to do."

repent—God herein adapts Himself to human conceptions. The change is not in God, but in the circumstances which regulate God's dealings: just as we say the land recedes from us when we sail forth, whereas it is we who recede from the land (Eze 18:21; 33:11). God's unchangeable principle is to do the best that can be done under all circumstances; if then He did not take into account the moral change in His people (their prayers, &c.), He would not be acting according to His own unchanging principle (Jer 18:9, 10). This is applied practically to the Jews' case (Jer 18:11; see Jer 26:3; Jon 3:10).

Speaking, Jeremiah 18:9, and repenting, Jeremiah 18:10, must be understood in the same sense as in the two former verses. The reason of this is, because in all God’s threatenings and promises of this nature there is a condition either expressed or understood. God’s threatenings of evil must be understood with this condition, Unless men and women repent and turn from their evil ways; and his promises of good must be understood with this condition. If those to whom they are made be a willing and obedient people, and keep in the way of the Lord’s statutes.

If it do evil in my sight,.... What is sinful, contrary to the law and will of God, openly and publicly, in a bold and daring manner:

that it obey not my voice: in my word, and by my prophets, but turn a deaf ear to them, and slight and despise all instructions, admonitions, and reproofs:

then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them; or, "do them good" (t); that is, withhold it from them, and not bestow it on them; but, on the contrary, correct or punish them according to their deserts. Thus, though God is a sovereign God, yet, in the dispensations of his providence towards kingdoms and nations, he deals with them in such a merciful and equitable manner, that there is no just reason to complain of him; and yet he maintains and keeps up his power and authority, such as the potter exercises over the clay.

(t) "ad benefaciendum ei", Montanus; "ut benefacerem ei", Valablus, Pagninus; "benefacturum ei", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
Jeremiah 18:10In Jeremiah 18:6-10 the Lord discloses to the prophet the truth lying in the potter's treatment of the clay. The power the potter has over the clay to remould, according to his pleasure, the vessel he had formed from it if it went wrong; the same power God possesses over the people of Israel. This unlimited power of God over mankind is exercised according to man's conduct, not according to a decretum absolutum or unchangeable determination. If he pronounces a people's overthrow or ruin, and if that people turn from its wickedness, He repeals His decree (Jeremiah 18:7.); and conversely, if He promises a people welfare and prosperity, and if that people turn away from Him to wickedness, then too He changes His resolve to do good to it (Jeremiah 18:9.). Inasmuch as He is even now making His decree known by the mouth of the prophet, it follows that the accomplishment of Jeremiah's last utterances is conditioned by the impression God's word makes on men. רגע, adv., in the moment, forthwith, and when repeated equals, now...again. Ng. maintains that the arrangement here is paratactic, so that the רגע does not belong to the nearest verb, but to the main idea, i.e., to the apodosis in this case. The remark is just; but the word does not mean suddenly, but immediately, and the sense is: when I have spoken against a people, and this people repents, then immediately I let it repent me. נחם על as in Joel 2:13, etc. With "to pluck up," etc., "to build," etc., cf. Jeremiah 1:10. "Against which I spake," Jeremiah 18:8, belongs to "that people," and seems as if it might be dispensed with; but is not therefore spurious because the lxx have omitted it. For הרעה the Keri has הרע, the most usual form, Jeremiah 7:30, Numbers 32:13; Judges 2:11, etc.; but the Chet. is called for by the following הטּובה and מרעתו. להיטיב הטּובה, to show kindness, cf. Numbers 10:32.

The emblematical interpretation of the potter with the clay lays a foundation for the prophecy that follows, Jeremiah 18:11-17, in which the people are told that it is only by reason of their stiffnecked persistency in wickedness that they render threatened judgment certain, whereas by return to their God they might prevent the ruin of the kingdom.

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