Jeremiah 22:3
Thus said the LORD; Execute you judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.
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(3) Execute ye judgment.—As the Hebrew verb is not identical with that in Jeremiah 21:12, and implies a less formal act, it might be better to render it, do ye judgment . . .

Do no wrong . . .—The Hebrew order connects both verbs with the substantives—to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, do no wrong, no violence—and gives the latter the emphasis of position. The whole verse paints but too vividly a reign which presented the very reverse of all that the prophet describes as belonging to a righteous king.

Jeremiah 22:3-5. Thus saith the Lord, Execute ye judgment, &c. — That is, administer justice to all your subjects. The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow are particularly named, as persons who have the fewest friends, and therefore are the most exposed to the tyranny, injustice, and oppression of the great. And do no wrong, do no violence, &c. — Compare Jeremiah 22:17, where we find Jehoiakim charged with these sins. For if ye do this thing indeed — If ye will, not in pretence, but reality, do what is just and right to every one, and see that inferior magistrates, acting under you do so too; then shall there enter, &c. — See the note on Jeremiah 17:25, where, instead of the gates of this house, the text reads, the gates of this city. And the context here shows, that the prophecy is directed, not only to the king’s court in particular, but likewise to the whole city of Jerusalem, one part of which was called the city of David; and the whole looked upon as a royal city, and the place of their king’s residence. Kings sitting upon the throne of David, &c. — There shall then be a succession of kings, and that uninterrupted, reigning in Judah, of David’s line, kings who shall enjoy a perfect tranquillity, and live in great state and dignity. But if ye will not hear these words — That is, if ye will not so hear as to obey them. I swear by myself, saith the Lord — That is, I resolve absolutely upon it; for God is not in Scripture said to swear, unless as speaking after the manner of men, and according to the actions of men; so that whenever this expression is employed, it is only to signify, that God would not revoke the thing spoken of, but that it should be immutable. Here, therefore, it implies that the sentence pronounced should certainly be executed, and that nothing could reverse it but the people’s sincere repentance, which condition is expressed in the foregoing part of the verse. See Hebrews 6:17. This house shall become a desolation — This palace, of the kings of Judah shall fare no better than other habitations in Jerusalem, sin as certainly effecting the ruin of the houses of princes as those of mean men.22:1-9 The king of Judah is spoken to, as sitting upon the throne of David, the man after God's own heart. Let him follow his example, that he may have the benefit of the promises made to him. The way to preserve a government, is to do the duty of it. But sin will be the ruin of the houses of princes, as well as of meaner men. And who can contend with destroyers of God's preparing? God destroys neither persons, cities, nor nations, except for sin; even in this world he often makes it plain for what crimes he sends punishment; and it will be clear at the day of judgement.Go down - i. e., from the temple to the king's house. Compare 2 Chronicles 23:20. 3. Jehoiakim is meant here especially: he, by oppression, levied the tribute imposed on him by Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt (2Ch 36:3), and taxed his people, and took their labor without pay, to build gorgeous palaces for himself (Jer 22:13-17), and shed innocent blood, for example, that of Urijah the prophet (Jer 26:20-24; 2Ki 23:35; 24:4). That is, Administer justice to all your subjects.

The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow are particularly named, as persons who have fewest friends, and so are most exposed to the lusts of great men, who have a power to oppress them. Two things are observable:

1. That the terms upon which God promiseth mercy to them are such as were in their power to perform.

2. They are the due performance of relative duties, to teach us how much lieth upon men’s just performance of the duties of their relations, and more particularly, how much God loveth justice and judgment, without the impartial execution of which no princes, no magistrates, can promise themselves security from temporal judgments; which much commendeth the love of God to human society, injustice being the greatest enemy to it, and justice the great foundation and pillar of it. Thus saith the Lord, execute ye judgment and righteousness,.... Judge righteous Judgment; give the cause to whom it belongs, without respect of persons, and without a bribe or corruption; do no unrighteousness to any, by withholding from them what is due unto them, which was what this prince was chargeable with, Jeremiah 22:13;

and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; that was robbed or wronged of his property by one superior to him in power or cunning; See Gill on Jeremiah 21:12;

and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow: who are not in a situation, and in such a condition and circumstances, as to defend themselves; and whom God has a peculiar regard unto; and therefore they who are his deputies and vicegerents, as kings and civil magistrates are, ought to protect such persons, and neither grieve and injure them themselves, nor suffer others to do it:

neither shed innocent blood in this place; to grieve and wrong the above persons is a very great evil, but to shed the blood of innocent per tons is a greater still; and this is aggravated by being committed by such who are set over men to secure and preserve their properties and their lives; and such heinous sins as these the present reigning king of Judah was guilty of; which is the reason of their being mentioned; see Jeremiah 22:17.

Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and {a} righteousness, and deliver him that is laid waste out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.

(a) This was his ordinary manner of preaching before the kings from Josiah to Zedekiah which was about forty years.

(Note: According to Hitz., Gr., and Ng., the passage Jeremiah 21:11-14 stands in no inner connection with the foregoing, and may, from the contents of it, be seen to belong to an earlier period than that of the siege which took place under Zedekiah, namely, to the time of Jehoiakim, because, a. in the period of Jeremiah 21:1. such an exhortation and conditional threatening must have been out of place after their destruction had been quite unconditionally foretold to Zedekiah and the people in Jeremiah 21:4-7; b. the defiant tone conveyed in Jeremiah 21:13 is inconsistent with the cringing despondency shown by Zedekiah in Jeremiah 21:2; c. it is contrary to what we would expect to find the house of the king addressed separately after the king had been addressed in Jeremiah 21:3, the king being himself comprehended in his "house." But these arguments, on which Hitz. builds ingenious hypotheses, are perfectly valueless. As to a, we have to remark: In Jeremiah 21:4-7 unconditional destruction is foretold against neither king nor people; it is only said that the Chaldeans will capture the city - that the inhabitants will be smitten with pestilence, famine, and sword - and that the king, with his servants and those that are left, will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, who will smite them unsparingly. But in Jeremiah 21:12 the threatening is uttered against the king, that if he does not practise righteousness, the wrath of God will be kindled unquenchably, and, Jeremiah 21:14, that Jerusalem is to be burnt with fire. In Jeremiah 21:4-7 there is no word of the burning of the city; it is first threatened, Jeremiah 21:10, against the people, after the choice has been given them of escaping utter destruction. How little the burning of Jerusalem is involved in Jeremiah 21:4-7 may be seen from the history of the siege and capture of Jerusalem under Jehoiachin, on which occasion, too, the king, with his servants and the people, was given into the hand of the king of Babylon, while the city was permitted to stand, and the deported king remained in life, and was subsequently set free from his captivity by Evil-Merodach. But that Zedekiah, by hearkening to the word of the Lord, can alleviate his doom and save Jerusalem from destruction, this Jeremiah tells him yet later in very plain terms, Jeremiah 38:17-23, cf. Jeremiah 34:4. Lastly, the release of Hebrew man-servants and maid-servants, recounted in Jeremiah 34:8., shows that even during the siege there were cases of an endeavour to turn and follow the law, and consequently that an exhortation to hold by the right could not have been regarded as wholly superfluous. - The other two arguments, b and c, are totally inconclusive. How the confidence of the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the strength of its fortifications (Jeremiah 21:13) is contradictory of the fact related in Jeremiah 21:2, does not appear. That Zedekiah should betake himself to the prophet, desiring him to entreat the help of God, is not a specimen of cringing despondency such as excludes all confidence in any earthly means of help. Nor are defiance and despondency mutually exclusive opposites in psychological experience, but states of mind that rapidly alternate. Finally, Ng. seems to have added the last argument (c) only because he had no great confidence in the two others, which had been dwelt on by Hitz. and Graf. Why should not Jeremiah have given the king another counsel for warding off the worst, over and above that conveyed in the answer to his question (Jeremiah 21:4-7)? - These arguments have therefore not pith enough to throw any doubt on the connection between the two passages (Jeremiah 21:8-10, and Jeremiah 21:11, Jeremiah 21:12) indicated by the manner in which "and to the house (וּלבית) of the king of Judah" points back to "and unto this people thou shalt say" (Jeremiah 21:8), or to induce us to attribute the connection so indicated to the thoughtlessness of the editor.)

The kingly house, i.e., the king and his family, under which are here comprehended not merely women and children, but also the king's companions, his servants and councillors; they are counselled to hold judgment every morning. דּין משׁפּט equals דּין דּין, Jeremiah 5:28; Jeremiah 22:16, or שׁפט, Lamentations 3:59; 1 Kings 3:28. לבּקר distributively, every morning, as Amos 4:4. To save the despoiled out of the hand of the oppressor means: to defend his just cause against the oppressor, to defend him from being despoiled; cf. Jeremiah 22:3. The form of address; House of David, which is by a displacement awkwardly separated from שׁמעוּ, is meant to remind the kingly house of its origin, its ancestor David, who walked in the ways of the Lord. - The second half of the verse, "lest my fury," etc., runs like Jeremiah 4:4.

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