Jeremiah 24:5
Thus said the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
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(5) So will I acknowledge.—The expected revelation came. The two baskets represented the two sections of the people. The captives who had been carried to Babylon were, as the list shows, for the most part of higher rank than those who were left behind. The workmen were the skilled labourers of the artisan class. There are many indications that under the teaching of Daniel and his companions, and of Ezekiel, they were improving morally under their discipline of suffering. Their very contact with the monstrous idolatry of Babylon made them more conscious than they had ever been before of the greatness of their own faith. The process which, at the end of the seventy years of exile, made them once more and for ever a purely monotheistic people had already begun.

Jeremiah 24:5-7. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel — Here the Lord explains the parable of the good figs, the figs first ripe. These represented the pious captives who were sent first into captivity, as if they had been first ripe for ruin; but who should prove first ripe for mercy, and their captivity should help to ripen them. Among these were Daniel and his companions, and also Ezekiel. The calamities inseparable from a state of captivity were calculated to humble them, and bring them to repentance, and it seems had that good effect: while those who escaped being carried away became more and more hardened in sin. Like these good figs so will I acknowledge them — Namely, for my people, and will favour them accordingly. “The Jews, who were left in their own country,” says Lowth, “thought themselves better beloved of God than their brethren who were carried away captive. To check this vain confidence, God promises to show the latter particular signs of his favour in a strange land, and to show distinguishing marks of his displeasure upon the former: see Jeremiah 29:17. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good — To order every thing for the best, that all the circumstances of the affliction may concur to the answering of the great intention of it. Accordingly we find that many of these, Daniel and his companions, for instance, found great esteem and honour during their captivity. And I will bring them again to this land — Some of them probably returned before the end of the captivity, some at the end of the seventy years. “They were sent abroad,” says Henry, “for improvement awhile under a severe discipline; but they shall be fetched back, when they have gone through their trial there, to their Father’s house.” And I will build them, and not pull them down, &c. — The meaning of these metaphorical expressions is, I will prosper them, and provide for them. And it may be understood, both of the prosperous estate God would give them in the land of their captivity, where they should both build houses and increase their families, (see Jeremiah 29:5-6,) and also of the blessings he would confer upon them and their posterity, after their return to their own land, ibid. Jeremiah 24:10. And he engages to prepare them for the temporal blessings which he designed for them, by conferring spiritual blessings upon them. It is this that would make their captivity for their good: this would be both the improvement of their affliction and their qualification for deliverance. I will give them a heart to know me — I, who at first commanded light to shine out of darkness, will shine into their hearts, to give them the knowledge of my glory; even that true and saving knowledge of me which is eternal life; which is always productive of faith in, and love to, me, 1 John 4:7-8; of obedience to my will, 1 John 2:3-4; and a conformity to mine image, 2 Corinthians 3:18. They shall become acquainted with me in a higher degree, and to a better purpose, than formerly; and shall learn more of me by my providences and grace in Babylon than they had learned by my oracles and ordinances in Jerusalem. Mark well the expression, reader, I will give them a heart to know me; not only the mind, but the heart; not only the understanding and judgment, but the will and affections are concerned in the true knowledge of God, which does not consist in mere notions and speculations, but implies the exercise of all spiritual graces and the practice of all divine virtues. And this knowledge is the supernatural gift of God, communicated by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, Ephesians 1:17. The mere natural and unenlightened man has it not: for God and divine things knoweth no man but by the Spirit of God, 1 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 2:14 : see also 1 John 5:20. And they shall be my people — I will own them for my people as formerly, as well in the discoveries of myself to them, as in my acceptances of their services, and my gracious appearance in their behalf. And I will be their God — They shall have liberty to own me for their God, both in their prayers and praises offered to me, and their expectations from me. For they shall return unto me with their whole heart — They shall be so thoroughly changed in heart and life that they shall make my will their rule, and my glory their end, in all their intentions, affections, and actions, and my service their chief and most delightful business from day to day. This follows upon the former: for they that have a heart to know God aright will not only turn to him, but turn with their whole heart: while those who are either lukewarm in their services, or formal and hypocritical in their religion, may be truly said to be unacquainted with him.24:1-10 Good and bad figs represent the Jews in captivity, and those who remain in their own land. - The prophet saw two baskets of figs set before the temple, as offerings of first-fruits. The figs in one basket were very good, those in the other basket very bad. What creature viler than a wicked man? and what more valuable than a godly man? This vision was to raise the spirits of those gone into captivity, by assuring them of a happy return; and to humble and awaken the proud and secure spirits of those yet in Jerusalem, by assuring them of a miserable captivity. The good figs represents the pious captives. We cannot determine as to God's love or hatred by what is before us. Early suffering sometimes proves for the best. The sooner the child is corrected, the better effect the correction is likely to have. Even this captivity was for their good; and God's intentions never are in vain. By afflictions they were convinced of sin, humbled under the hand of God, weaned from the world, taught to pray, and turned from sins, particularly from idolatry. God promises that he will own them in captivity. The Lord will own those who are his, in all conditions. God assures them of his protection in trouble, and a glorious deliverance in due time. When our troubles are sanctified to us, we may be sure that they will end well. They shall return to him with their whole heart. Thus they should have liberty to own him for their God, to pray to him, and expect blessings from him. The bad figs were Zedekiah and those of his party yet in the land. These should be removed for their hurt, and forsaken of all mankind. God has many judgments, and those that escape one, may expect another, till they are brought to repent. Doubtless, this prophecy had its fulfilment in that age; but the Spirit of prophecy may here look forward to the dispersion of the unbelieving Jews, in all the nations of the earth. Let those who desire blessings from the Lord, beg that he will give them a heart to know him.Acknowledge ... for their good - Specially their spiritual good. Put a comma after Chaldaeans.5. acknowledge—regard with favor, like as thou lookest on the good figs favorably.

for their good—Their removal to Babylon saved them from the calamities which befell the rest of the nation and led them to repentance there: so God bettered their condition (2Ki 25:27-30). Daniel and Ezekiel were among these captives.

Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; who have power to do what I please, and who yet am in covenant with Israel, and have a kindness for the seed of my servant Jacob. Look, as thou approvest of one of these baskets of figs, so I do approve of those that were carried away captive with Jeconiah, repenting of their sinful courses, and accepting of that punishment of their iniquity.

Whom I have sent; though Nebuchadnezzar carried them away, it was by commission from met so that though he carried, yet I sent them.

For their good; which words may either refer to the last-mentioned words, intimating that God in sending them away aimed at either their spiritual good, to bring them to repentance, and an acknowledgment of their sins; or their temporal good, they being only quietly led away, without the miseries of famine, fire, and sword, besides carrying away; which those who remained, and were afterwards carried away with Zedekiah, experienced: or else they may be referred to the former words. I will acknowledge them for their good; that is, I will show them favour, being of the number of those who were not leaders to sin, but led away by the ill example of others, and who being carried away grew sensible of their sins by which they provoked me, and so accepted of the punishment of their iniquities. Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel,.... Of all the tribes of Israel; of the ten tribes that had been carried captive long ago by the king of Assyria; and of the other two tribes, part of whom were in Babylon, and the other in Judea, who were not wholly cut off by the Lord; but he still had a regard for them; and therefore introduces what he was about to say in this manner:

like those good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah; that they are good men, and like those good rigs, even those that were; and though they are carried captive: or, "I will know them" (d); take notice of them; show an affectionate love to them, and care of them; make himself known unto them, and own them for his, in the furnace of affliction:

whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good; or "for good things", as the Septuagint and other versions; for their temporal good; some were raised to great honours, as Daniel, and his associates; others got and possessed estates in Babylon, and some returned with favours and riches: and this was also for their spiritual good; to bring them to a sense of their sins, to repentance for them, and acknowledgment of them; and particularly to cure them of idolatry, which it effectually did; so the Lord makes all "things to work together for good", to them that love him, Romans 8:28; and it may be observed, that though the Chaldeans carried the Jews captive out of their own land, and the city of Jerusalem, meant by "this place", into the land of Babylon, yet they were only instruments; it was the Lord's doing; he sent them thither. Jarchi connects the phrase "for good" with the word "acknowledge", supposing a transposition of the words, thus, "I will acknowledge them for good".

(d) "cognoscam", V. L. Gataker.

Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this {b} place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.

(b) By which he approves the yielding of Jeconiah and his company because they obeyed the prophet, who exhorted them to it.

5. so will I regard … for good] as one looks with pleasure on good fruit. Cp. Ezekiel 11:17 ff; Ezekiel 20:37 f. Ezekiel on the other hand condemns (as does Jeremiah) those who remained in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 12:1-28; Ezekiel 17:1-21; Ezekiel 21:25-27; Ezekiel 21:22).Verse 5. - Acknowledge them; or, rather knowledge (notice) of them (as Ruth 2:10, 19). In case they, in spite of the prohibition, persist in the use of the forbidden word, i.e., to not cease their mockery of God's word, then the punishment set forth in Jeremiah 23:33 is certainly to come on them. In the threat אתכם נשׁיתי there is a manifestly designed word-play on משּׂא. lxx, Vulg., Syr. have therefore rendered as if from נשׂיתי נשׂא (or נשׂאתי) instead: ἐγὼ λαμβάνω, ego tollam vos portans. One cod. gives נשׂא, and Ew., Hitz., Graf, Ng., etc., hold this reading to be right; but hardly with justice. The Chald. has expressed the reading of the text in its ארטושׁ יתכון מרטשׁ, et relinquam vos relinquendo. And the form נשׁיתי is explained only by reading נשׁא (נשׁה); not by נשׂא, for this verb keeps its א everywhere, save with the one exception of נשׂוּי, Psalm 32:1, formed after the parallel כסוּי. The assertion that the reading in the text gives no good sense is unfounded. I will utterly forget you is much more in keeping than: I will utterly lift you up, carry you forth. - With Jeremiah 23:40, cf. Jeremiah 20:11.
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