EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) To be a reproach and a proverb.
—The language of the verse is coloured by that of Deuteronomy 28:25
; Deuteronomy 28:37
, from which most of the words are chosen.
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.
That dwell in the land of Egypt - Neither those carried captive with Jehoahaz into Egypt, nor those who fled there, are to share in these blessings. The new life of the Jewish nation is to be the work only of the exiles in Babylon.
9. removed, &c.—(Jer 15:4). Calvin translates, "I will give them up to agitation, in all," &c.; This verse quotes the curse (De 28:25, 37). Compare Jer 29:18, 22; Ps 44:13, 14.
The Lord by his prophet expresseth those tremendous judgments which he had designed to bring upon this wicked prince and people in the words of Moses the man of God; as well because the Jews had a great reverence (pretendedly at least) for Moses, how little soever they had for Jeremiah; as to let them see that what the Lord here threatened, and suddenly would bring to pass, was but in a just accomplishment of what he before had threatened in his law, by which they ought to have taken warning. The sum is, he would make them a common scoff and by-word, that their misery should be a common proverb, and when men would curse one another, they should wish them like Zedekiah and the Jews.
And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt,.... Jeconiah and the captives with him were only carried into Babylon; but these should be scattered one from another into the several parts of the world. The former were carried captive for their good, and it issued in that; but these were carried away for their hurt, to the injury of their persons and properties, and without having any effect upon them to the good of their souls: though this might begin to be fulfilled by the seventy years' captivity in Babylon, yet it had a more complete fulfilment in the destruction of this people by the Romans; to which these and the following words seem more particularly to refer:
to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them; their names to be used as a proverb for their riches ill gotten, their falsehood and tricking; and under the curse of God, and the reproach of man, as they are this day; see Deuteronomy 28:37. And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.