Jeremiah 23:5
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
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(5) Behold, the days come.—The words point to an undefined, far-off future, following on the provisional order implied in Jeremiah 23:4, when the kingdom should once more rest in one of the house of David.

A righteous Branch.—The idea is the same, though the word is different (here Zemach, and there Netzer), as in Isaiah 11:1. In both cases, however, the word means a “sprout” or “scion,” springing up from the root even after the tree had been cut down (Isaiah 6:13), and not a branch growing from the trunk. It is probably in reference to this prophecy that we find the name of “the Branch” (Zemach) so prominent in Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12. Here, it is obvious, the prophet speaks of the one great Shepherd.

A King shall reign.—Better, he shall reign as King, the Branch or Sprout being the subject of the sentence. As with all the Messianic prophecies of this class, the thoughts of the prophet dwell on the acts and attributes of a sovereignty exercised personally on earth. Such a sovereignty, “all power in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18), was indeed given to the Christ, but not after the fashion that men expected.

Jeremiah 23:5-6. I will raise unto David a righteous branch — The house of David seemed to be quite sunk and ruined by the threatening pronounced against Jeconiah, (Jeremiah 22:30,) that none of his seed should ever sit upon the throne of David: but here we have a promise which effectually secures the honour of the covenant made with David, notwithstanding that threatening; for by it his house will be raised out of its ruins to a greater lustre than ever, and shine brighter than it did even in the days of Solomon. We have not so many prophecies of Christ in this book as we had in that of the Prophet Isaiah. But here we have a very illustrious one. Of him, doubtless, the prophet here speaks, and of no other person. Even the Jewish doctors, as well as Christian interpreters, understand this as a prophecy of the Messiah, who is called the branch: Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 53:2; and the man the branch, Zechariah 3:8. And here he is termed the righteous branch, not only because he himself was righteous, but because he makes his people righteous; and a king that shall reign and prosper — Not like kings that now were of the house of David, going backward in all their affairs, but one that shall set up a kingdom in the world, which shall be victorious over all opposition; one to whose hands the good pleasure of the Lord shall be committed, and under whose care and management it shall prosper; one who shall execute judgment and justice in the earth — All the world over, Psalm 96:13. The present kings of David’s line were unjust and oppressive, and their affairs therefore did not prosper; but this king shall break the usurped power of Satan, institute a perfect rule of holy living, and in due time make all the world righteous. In his days — That is, under his dominion, when his kingdom shall be set up and established upon earth; Judah shall be saved, &c. — The people of God, typified by Judah and Israel, shall be saved with a spiritual and eternal salvation, a salvation from the guilt and power of sin, into the favour and image of God here, and into the kingdom of his glory hereafter. At which kingdom, till they arrive, God will be a special protection to them, their refuge and strength, and very present help in trouble; so that they shall dwell safely — Confiding in the care of their strong helper, and preserved in perfect peace. And this is his name whereby he shall be called — Namely, by his people, and by God; the name whereby he shall be known, and which shall at once be descriptive both of his person and office. THE LORD, Hebrew, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS — Though of the seed of David according to the flesh, he shall indeed be JEHOVAH, God in human nature, and OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS; namely, justifying us by his merits, sanctifying us by his Spirit, and directing us in every part of our duty by his doctrine and example; the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth in him with a faith that worketh by love.

23:1-8 Woe be to those who are set to feed God's people, but take no concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to the neglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God's flock is left, he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former habitations. Christ is spoken of as a branch from David's family. He is righteous himself, and through him all his people are made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power of Satan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt and dominion of sin. In the days of Christ's government in the soul, the soul dwells at ease. He is here spoken of as the Lord our Righteousness. He is so our Righteousness as no creature could be. His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness of believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And their sanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience is the effect of their union with him, and of the supply of this Spirit. By this name every true believer shall call him, and call upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ has died, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for our Lord. This righteousness which he has wrought out to the satisfaction of law and justice, becomes ours; being a free gift given to us, through the Spirit of God, who puts it upon us, clothes us with it, enables us to lay hold upon it, and claim an interest in it. The Lord our Righteousness is a sweet name to a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in his conscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worth of it. This great salvation is far more glorious than all former deliverances of his church. May our souls be gathered to Him, and be found in him.Even with the temporal kingship abolished, David's mercies are still sure.

A righteous Branch - Or, sprout, germ (see Isaiah 4:2 note). The sprout is that in which the root springs up and grows, and which, if it be destroyed, makes the root perish also.

And a king shall reign ... - Rather, and he shall reign as king. David's family is to be dethroned (temporally), that it may reign gloriously (spiritually). But compare Jeremiah 33:17, note; Jeremiah 33:25, note.

5. As Messianic prophecy extended over many years in which many political changes took place in harmony with these, it displayed its riches by a variety more effective than if it had been manifested all at once. As the moral condition of the Jews required in each instance, so Messiah was exhibited in a corresponding phase, thus becoming more and more the soul of the nation's life: so that He is represented as the antitypical Israel (Isa 49:3).

unto David—Hengstenberg observes that Isaiah dwells more on His prophetical and priestly office, which had already been partly set forth (De 18:18; Ps 110:4). Other prophets dwell more on His kingly office. Therefore here He is associated with "David" the king: but in Isa 11:1 with the then poor and unknown "Jesse."

righteous Branch—"the Branch of righteousness" (Jer 33:15); "The Branch" simply (Zec 3:8; 6:12); "The Branch of the Lord" (Isa 4:2).

prosper—the very term applied to Messiah's undertaking (Isa 52:13, Margin; Isa 53:10). Righteousness or justice is the characteristic of Messiah elsewhere, too, in connection with our salvation or justification (Isa 53:11; Da 9:24; Zec 9:9). So in the New Testament He is not merely "righteous" Himself, but "righteousness to us" (1Co 1:30), so that we become "the righteousness of God in Him" (Ro 10:3, 4; 2Co 5:19-21; Php 3:9).

execute judgment and justice in the earth—(Ps 72:2; Isa 9:7; 32:1, 18). Not merely a spiritual reign in the sense in which He is "our righteousness," but a righteous reign "in the earth" (Jer 3:17, 18). In some passages He is said to come to judge, in others to reign. In Mt 25:34, He is called "the King." Ps 9:7 unites them. Compare Da 7:22, 26, 27.

Though some interpreters think that Zorobabel may be here intended, who was descended from David, and ruled the people when they came out of Babylon, yet even the Jewish doctors themselves, as well as the Christian interpreters, understand this as a prophecy and promise of the Messiah; the prophecies and promises of whom are usually ushered in with this particle

behold to stir up people’s attention; and who also was the Song of Solomon of David, and who is called the Branch, Isaiah 4:2 53:2 Zechariah 3:8 Isaiah 11:1, where the reason is also given, he being there called a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, a Branch out of his root; besides that, the application to him of the name King, ordinarily applied to Christ, never given to Zerobabel, and the term righteous, make it evident. Jeremiah 33:15, he is called a Branch of righteousness, which is the same with the righteous Branch here mentioned. He is called the

righteous Branch, not only because himself was righteous, therefore called the righteous One, Acts 3:14 13:35, but because he maketh his people righteous, Isaiah 53:11 60:21. Jesus Christ, answering the type of Melchisedec the king of Salem, and who is the King of kings, 1 Timothy 6:15, shall reign spiritually, and shall not be like Jeconiah, of whom God said he should not prosper; but he shall prosper, and shall execute justice and judgment, protecting the innocent, and defending his people throughout the world, judging the prince of the world, and by his Spirit governing his people. So as the prophet relieveth the people of God, under their oppressions by these latter kings of Judah, with the promise of the kingdom of Christ, a usual argument made use of by the prophets to comfort the people of God in those days against any evils come or coming upon them.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,.... Or, "are coming" (d); and will soon be here, a few days, months, and years more; so it was usual with the prophets to represent the coming of Christ as near at hand, to comfort the saints, and keep up their faith and expectation of him, and especially the latter prophets; see Haggai 2:6, Malachi 3:1; as also to usher in their prophecies of this sort with a behold, as a note of admiration, attention, and asseveration; see Isaiah 7:14;

that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch; the Messiah; so it is explained by the Targum, which calls him the Messiah of the righteous; and by Kimchi and Ben Melech; and by the ancient Jews (e) also; who is frequently by the prophets spoken of as a branch, Isaiah 4:2, Zechariah 3:8; which respects his incarnation, his springing up and appearance in the earth, and the meanness and weakness of it; and here, his descent from the family of David, when that was in a low and mean condition, to be his successor in his throne and kingdom, not in a temporal, but in a spiritual sense; and is a branch and plant not of man's raising, but of the Lord's, his human nature being formed without the help of man; and is that tabernacle which God pitched, and not man; and is therefore elsewhere called the Branch of the Lord, and said to be brought forth by him, Isaiah 4:2; the epithet of "righteous" is given him, because righteous in himself, and the author of righteousness to others; a branch that brings forth and bears the fruits of righteousness, from whence all those that are ingrafted in him come to have righteousness;

and a King shall reign and prosper; the King Messiah, the same with David's righteous Branch, his son and offspring; who was appointed by God the Father "King" over Zion, the church, from all eternity; was always promised and spoken of as a King, and came as such, though his kingdom was not with observation, it being not of this world; and when he ascended to heaven, he was declared Lord and Christ; and now "reigns" on the same throne with his Father, and will till all enemies are put under his footstool: and as he prospered in his priestly office, by obtaining the redemption and salvation of his people, which is the "pleasure of the Lord" that was to "prosper in his hand", Isaiah 53:10; so likewise in his kingly and prophetic offices, by going forth in his Gospel conquering and to conquer; riding forth therein prosperously, and subduing his enemies, and causing his ministers to triumph in him: or, "shall deal prudently" (f), as the word is rendered in Isaiah 52:13; See Gill on Isaiah 52:13;

and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth: in his church, and among his people, by governing them with righteous laws, and by protecting and defending them from their enemies; for "all judgment is committed to the Son"; who will judge one day the whole world in righteousness; see John 5:22.

(d) "dies sunt venientes", Montanus, Schmidt. (e) Bemidbar Rabba, parash. 18. fol. 223. 2.((f) "et prudenter aget", Calvin, Tigurine version; "aget intelligenter", Montanus.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous {e} Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice upon the earth.

(e) This prophecy is of the restitution of the Church in the time of Jesus Christ, who is the true branch, read Isa 11:1,45:8, Jer 35:15, Da 9:24.

5. the days come] The phrase (first occurring in Amos 4:2), according to Jeremiah’s employment of it (cp. Jeremiah 23:7, Jeremiah 30:3, Jeremiah 31:27; Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah 31:38, Jeremiah 33:14), implies a special call to note the announcement thus introduced. In spite of the troubles which are now gathering round them there are none the less surely days of deliverance coming.

Branch] mg. Or, Shoot Or, Bud. While the word designating the Messiah in Isaiah 11:1 is rightly translated Branch, the Heb. substantive here (Ṣemach) can only mean shoot, that which springs immediately out of the ground. In Isaiah 4:2 the word is used in a more general sense, not as here of the individual Messianic Ruler, but of the produce of the soil in the blissful age of the Messiah. See further in Dr. p. 364 and on Isaiah 4:2 (Skinner) in C.B.

deal wisely] For mg. prosper see on Jeremiah 20:11.

execute judgement and justice] Cp. the same expression as used of David, the ancestor of the Messiah, in 2 Samuel 8:15.

5–8. Du. and others reject these vv., which are also viewed with suspicion by Co. The use of the term “the Shoot” for the Messiah by Zechariah (Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12) shews that in his time it was an established expression, and therefore might naturally be employed as early as pre-exilic times in connexion with Messianic expectations which were even then current. Moreover, there can be little doubt that “our righteousness” (Heb. Ṣidḳenu) is an appellation chosen by the prophet as hinting (see on Jeremiah 23:1-8) at the name of the reigning king, Zedekiah (Heb. Ṣidḳiyahu). “What Zedekiah’s name, received at his accession, set forth as an ideal, would be a realized fact in the time of the Messianic King” (Peake). Contrast the Messianic picture in Psalms 2 (specially Jeremiah 23:9) with that (so much more consonant with Jeremiah’s character) given here of a wise and just ruler over a nation united and at peace. We have a prophecy less plainly Messianic in Jeremiah 30:9, where see note.

Verses 5, 6. - (Comp. the parallel passage, Jeremiah 33:15, 16.) Verse 5. - Behold, the days come. The use of the analogous phrase, "And it shall come to pass in that day," would lead us to suppose that this verse describes a fresh stage in the progress of events, as if the faithful shepherds (ver. 4) were to precede the "righteous Branch" (ver. 5). Such a view, however, is not very plausible, for the Messtab, according to prophecy, is to appear in the darkest of times. The prophet simply means to impress upon us the greatness of the revelation which he is about to communicate. I will raise unto David. The promised Messiah, then, is certainly to be of the family of David (comp. Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:1; Micah 5:2). A righteous Branch; rather, a righteous Plant: the root means "to bud, or sprout." This is the first time in which the title the Plant is unmistakably applied to the Messianic King (possibly, but less probably, to the Messianic kings). It indicates that this great personage stands in connection with the divinely ordained and ancient royal family, but that he is in some way unique, and far surpasses his human ancestors. He "springs forth;" therefore he is not a sort of meteoric appearance, without any natural home among men, but rather the blossom of the Jewish nation, the embodiment of its highest qualities. And yet there is something extraordinary about him, for it is needful that Jehovah himself should "raise" this Plant from the almost worn-out stock of David. Note that the word rendered here in the Authorized Version "Branch" is not the same as that in the parallel passage in Isaiah (Isaiah 11:1). It is, however, the word employed in Isaiah 4:2, which is taken by many, especially the elder interpreters (but with very doubtful justice), to be a prophecy of the Messiah. It is also the word used by Zechariah (Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12), as a proper name of the Messiah, which is one strong reason for rejecting the view mentioned above that the word rendered "the Branch," or "the Plant," is to be taken collectively as equivalent to "branches," or rather "plants" (the article is not expressed in the Hebrew). In short, this passage and the prophecies referred to in Jeremiah are exceptions to the general Old Testament usage of the Hebrew word (cemakh), which is elsewhere a collective term equivalent to "plantation." It is true that in ver. 4 "shepherds," in the plural, are spoken of, but there is no reason why this title should be confined to kings - it may as fairly be extended to the chief rulers under a king as the term "king" itself (see on Jeremiah 17:20); and true, further, that ill Jeremiah 33:17 a continuous succession is promised of Davidic heirs to the throne, but this is not decisive in favor of the collective meaning, any more than Isaiah's later prophecy that "the [reigning Davidic] king shall reign in righteousness" disproves the strictly Messianic reference of his earlier promise in Isaiah 11:1. All prophecy is conditional; there may have been moral reasons why a continuance of the Davidic dynasty was held out by Jeremiah at one time as a possible prospect. (It is, however, extremely probable that Jeremiah 33:14-26 is the work of some other inspired writer; see ad loc.) The thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel, which is so closely parallel to this section, appears to interpret the prophecy of a single Messianic king (Ezekiel 34:23). And a King shall reign; rather, and he shall reign as king; i.e. he shall be the realized ideal of an Israelitish king - a second David. And prosper; or, and deal wisely. There is the same doubt as to the rendering of the verb in Isaiah 52:13 a. The radical idea is that of wisdom, and the analogy of Isaiah 11:2 favors the alternative rendering here. Shall execute judgment; in contrast to the neglectful conduct of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:3). Jeremiah 23:5When the Lord shall gather His people out of the dispersion, then will He raise up shepherds over them who will so feed them that they shall no longer need to fear or to be dismayed before enemies who might be strong enough to subjugate, slay, and carry them captive. The figurative expressions are founded on the idea that the sheep, when they are neglected by the shepherds, are torn and devoured by wild beasts; cf. Ezekiel 34:8. They shall not be lacking; cf. for נפקד with this force, 1 Samuel 25:7; in substance equals not be lost. לא יפּקדוּ is chosen with a view to לא פקדתּם אתם (Jeremiah 23:2): because the shepherds did not take charge of the sheep, therefore the sheep are scattered and lost. Hereafter this shall happen no more. The question as to how this promise is to be accomplished is answered by Jeremiah 23:5 and Jeremiah 23:6. The substance of these verses is indeed introduced by the phrase: behold, days come, as something new and important, but not as something not to happen till after the things foretold in Jeremiah 23:4. According to Jeremiah's usage throughout, that phrase does not indicate any progress in time as compared with what precedes, but draws attention to the weightiness of what is to be announced. There is also a suggestion of "the contrast between the hope and the existing condition of affairs, which does not itself justify that hope. However gloomy the present is, yet there is a time coming" (Hgstb.). The promise: I make to arise (raise up) to David a righteous branch, rests upon the promise, 2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Chronicles 17:12 : I raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons-which the Lord will hereafter fulfil to David. Graf tries to show by many, but not tenable arguments, that צמח has here a collective force. That he is wrong, we may see from the passages Zechariah 3:8 and Zechariah 6:12, where the same "branch" foretold by Jeremiah is called the man whose name is צמח; and even without this we may discover the same from the context of the present passage, both from "He shall reign as king," and still more from: they shall call his name Jahveh Tsidkenu. Neither of these sayings can be spoken of a series of kings. Besides, we have the passages Jeremiah 30:9 and Ezekiel 34:23., Ezekiel 37:24, where the servant to be raised up to David by Jahveh is called "my servant David." Although then צמח has a collective force when it means a plant of the field, it by no means follows that "it has always a collective force" in its transferred spiritual signification. And the passage, Jeremiah 33:17, where the promise is explained by: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of Israel (cf. Jeremiah 33:21), does not prove that the branch of David is a collective grouping together of all David's future posterity, but only that this one branch of David shall possess the throne for ever, and not, like mortal men, for a series of years only; 2 Samuel 7:16. צמח denotes the Messiah, and this title is formed from צמח, Isaiah 4:2 (see Del. on this passage). Nor does the mention of shepherds in the plural, Jeremiah 23:4, at all oppose this. An untenable rendering of the sense is: first I will raise up unto you shepherds, then the Messiah; or: better shepherds, inprimis unum, Messiam (Chr. B. Mich.). The two promises are not so to be joined. First we have the raising up of good shepherds, in contrast to the evil shepherds that have destroyed the people; then the promise is further explained to the effect that these good shepherds shall be raised up to David in the "righteous branch," i.e., in the promised "seed" of his sons. The good shepherds are contrasted with the evil shepherds, but are then summed up in the person of the Messiah, as being comprised therein. The relation of the good shepherds to the righteous branch is not so, that the latter is the most pre-eminent of the former, but that in that one branch of David the people should have given to them all the good shepherds needed for their deliverance. The Messiah does not correspond to the series of David's earthly posterity that sit upon his throne, in that He too, as second David, will also have a long series of descendants upon His throne; but in that His kingdom, His dominion, lasts for ever. In the parallel passage, Jeremiah 33:15, where the contrast to the evil shepherds is omitted, we therefore hear only of the one branch of David; so in Ezekiel 34, where only the one good shepherd, the servant of the Lord, David, stands in contrast to the evil shepherds (Jeremiah 23:23). Hence neither must we seek the fulfilment of our prophecy in the elevation of the Maccabees, who were not even of the race of David, nor understand, as Grot., Zerubbabel to be the righteous branch, but the Messiah, as was rightly understood by the Chald. He is צדּיק in contrast to the then reigning members of the house of David, and as He who will do right and justice in His realm; cf. Jeremiah 22:15, where the same is said of Josiah as contrasted with his ungodly son Jehoiakim. מלך is subjoined to מלך to bespeak His rule as kingship in the fullest sense of the word. Regnabit rex, i.e., magnifice regnabit, ut non tantum appareant aliquae reliquiae pristinae dignitatis, sed ut rex floreat et vigeat et obtineat perfectionem, qualis fuit sub Davide et Salomone ac multo praestantior (Calv.). השׂכּיל, deal prudently, rule wisely, as in Jeremiah 3:15, not: be fortunate, prosperous. Here the context demands the former rendering, the only one justified by usage, since the doing of right and justice is mentioned as the fruit and result of the השׂכיל. These words, too, point back to David, of whom it is in 2 Samuel 8:15 said, that he as king did right and justice to all his people.
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