Jeremiah 18:9
And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Jeremiah 18:9-10. If I shall speak concerning a nation to build and to plant — That is, To advance and establish all the true interests of it; if it do evil in my sight, &c. — If it lose its piety and virtue, and become profane and vicious; then will I repent of the good, &c. — I will not proceed with the good work which I was performing in its behalf, but it shall be intermitted; and what favours were further designed it shall be withheld. Thus God changed his purpose concerning Eli’s house, 1 Samuel 2:30; and hurried Israel back into the wilderness, when he had brought them within sight of Canaan; and thus he rejected those lost sheep of the house of Israel who refused to embrace the gospel, notwithstanding the general promises he had made to that people, and even after he had sent his Son to seek and save them. In like manner neither can any particular Christians, nor Christian churches, lay any claim to God’s general promise of preserving and finally saving them, any further than they keep close to that rule of faith and manners which he hath prescribed to them in the New Testament.

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).

No text from Poole on this verse.

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,.... By way of promise on the other hand: or, "and the moment I shall speak", &c. as in Jeremiah 18:7; in favour to a people; signifying, that if they do that which is right and good, and continue therein, it may be expected that I will appear for and among such a nation and kingdom:

to build and to plant it; to build up its fences that have been broken down, and to plant it with pleasant plants, and make it prosperous and flourishing, and protect and defend it, and keep it safe, and in a secure condition; so that it shall be in very thriving circumstances, and be out of the power of its enemies to hurt it.

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Jeremiah 18:9In 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...now, 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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