Jeremiah 3:17
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
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(17) They shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord.—Up to Jeremiah’s time that title, “the throne of God,” though the language of the Old Testament had referred it to the “heavens” (Psalm 11:4; Psalm 103:19), had probably been applied, in popular language, to the ark where the Lord “dwelt between the cherubim” (1Samuel 4:4; 2Kings 19:15). The prophet extends it to the whole city, in that future of which he was doubtless thinking. To him, as to Micah (Micah 4:1-2) and Isaiah (Isaiah 2:1-3), there came a vision of the holy city as the centre of the divine Kingdom. It was not given to him to see what even the Apostles were slow to understand, that there is no holy city upon earth, and that his hopes would only be fulfilled in the heavenly Jerusalem which is the Church or family of God.

The imagination.—Better, stubbornness, as in the margin.

Jeremiah 3:17. At that time — Of reformation, διορθωσεως, emendation, (Hebrews 9:10,) when things should be put into a better state by the coming of the Messiah; they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord — Instead of the ark, the Christian Church, typified by Jerusalem, shall be the place of God’s special residence, power, and glory; where he will rule and act, and display his glory, in and by his word and ordinances, and especially in and by the Messiah. And all the nations shall be gathered unto it — Not only the Jews and Israelites, but many of all nations: many of the heathen shall be brought to worship the true God, and to embrace the Christian faith. To the name of the Lord — Which shall be both manifested and called upon in his church, as formerly at Jerusalem. Neither shall they walk, &c. — Both Jews and Gentiles shall now conform themselves to the will of God. The word שׁררות, here rendered imagination, is derived from a root that signifies to see, and is sometimes applied to the judgment, and sometimes to the affections. Here it may comprehend both: they shall neither follow their own corrupt judgment nor affection, but wholly the word of God.3:12-20 See God's readiness to pardon sin, and the blessings reserved for gospel times. These words were proclaimed toward the north; to Israel, the ten tribes, captive in Assyria. They are directed how to return. If we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive them. These promises are fully to come to pass in the bringing back the Jews in after-ages. God will graciously receive those that return to him; and by his grace, he takes them out from among the rest. The ark of the covenant was not found after the captivity. The whole of that dispensation was to be done away, which took place after the multitude of believers had been greatly increased by the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Israelites scattered among them. A happy state of the church is foretold. He can teach all to call him Father; but without thorough change of heart and life, no man can be a child of God, and we have no security for not departing from Him.The throne of the Lord - Yahweh's throne shall not be the ark, but Jerusalem, i. e., the Christian Church Revelation 21:2; Galatians 4:26.

To Jerusalem - The Septuagint and Syriac are probably right in omitting this word.

Imagination ... - Stubbornness (margin). A word always used in a bad sense, for "obstinacy."

17. Jerusalem—the whole city, not merely the temple. As it has been the center of the Hebrew theocracy, so it shall be the point of attraction to the whole earth (Isa 2:2-4; Zec 2:10, 11; 14:16-21).

throne of … Lord—The Shekinah, the symbol of God's peculiar nearness to Israel (De 4:7) shall be surpassed by the antitype, God's own throne in Jerusalem (Ps 2:6, 8; Eze 34:23, 24; Zec 2:5).

imagination—rather, as Margin, "the obstinacy" or stubbornness.

They shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; instead of the ark, whereon was the mercy-seat, now the church, typified by Jerusalem, Galatians 4:26 Revelation 21:2, shall be the place of God’s residence, where by his Spirit he will rule and act in his word and ordinances, and in special the Messias. See Jeremiah 14:21, and Jeremiah 3:16.

All the nations shall be gathered unto it; intimating both their readiness to come in, and their number, according to first prophecy of Jacob, Genesis 49:10. See Isaiah 2:2. By

nations here understand either the ten tribes, who are called many people, both Israel and Judah united, their distance being taken away; see Jeremiah 3:18; or rather some of all nations, that shall flock into the gospel church; for when the prophets foretell this state, they generally usher it in with the return of this people, at which time the church shall be greatly enlarged.

To the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, i.e. dwelling in Jerusalem, or where the Lord placed his name, viz. of old in Jerusalem, Psalm 122:2,3, &c., but now in the church, Revelation 21:2,3, without ark or temple, Revelation 21:22, where he will be known as it were by his proper name, Isaiah 60:9, or as manifest in the flesh.

Neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart; both Jew and Gentile shall now conform themselves to the will of God, Isaiah 2 3. The word

imagination here comes from a root that signifies to see, and thus it is sometimes applied to the judgment, Psalm 17:2, and sometimes to the affection, Psalm 66:18; here it may comprehend both, they will follow neither their own judgment nor affection, but wholly the word of God. The word is thus phrased Numbers 15:39 Ecclesiastes 11:9; some read it after the hardness, Deu 29:19. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord,.... That is, the Gospel church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Jerusalem above, that is free, and the mother of us all; which is Christ's kingdom, where he has his throne and subjects, and where he sits and reigns as King of saints; and where they yield a cheerful and ready subjection to him, signified by calling the church his throne:

and all the nations shall be gathered unto it: which shows that Jerusalem, literally understood, cannot be meant, but the church of Christ; to which the Gentiles, being converted, should join themselves in great numbers in all nations, as they have done; and which will be more largely accomplished and verified in the latter day, Isaiah 2:2.

to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; to name his name, to trust in his name, to call upon it, and to worship him in Jerusalem, in his church, and among his people; and so the Targum,

"and all nations shall give themselves to worship in it the name of the Lord, in Jerusalem:''

neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart; for the Gospel being preached to all nations, according to Christ's commission, by the pastors he promises, and that being blessed to the turning of the Gentiles from their idols to serve the living God, they shall no more worship the gods they chose for themselves, and their evil hearts devised.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem {r} the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

(r) Meaning, the Church, where the Lord will be present to the world's end, Mt 28:20.

17. all the nations] Gentile peoples shall be gathered into the Church of God, which shall thus become Universal. But see introd. note on Jeremiah 3:14-18.

stubbornness] a favourite word in this Book.Verse 17. - Jerusalem's spiritual glory. With Jeremiah's description, comp. that of Ezekiel," The name of the city from that day shall be, "The Lord is there" (Ezekiel 48:35). This gives us the positive aspect of the Messianic period (comp. on ver. 16). Jerusalem shall be the spiritual center of the universe, because it is pervaded by the presence of the Most High (comp. Isaiah 4:5). May we explain with Dr. Payne Smith, "Jerusalem, i.e. the Christian Church?" Only if the provisional character of the existing Church be kept well in view. All the nations; i.e. all except the chosen people. The word for "nations" (goyim) is that often rendered "heathen." To the name; or, because of the name, i.e. because Jehovah has revealed his name at Jerusalem. The phrase occurs again with a commentary in Joshua 9:9, "Thy servants are come because of the name of Jehovah thy God, for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt." But we must not suppose that "name" is equivalent to "revelation;" rather, there is here an ellipsis - "because of the name" is equivalent to "because of the revelation of the name," or better still, "... of the Name." The "Name of Jehovah" is in fact a distinct hypostasis in the Divine Being; no mere personification of the Divine attributes (as the commentators are fond of saying), but (in the theological sense) a Person. The term, "Name of such and such a God,:' is common to Hebrew with Phoenician religion. In the famous inscription of Eshmunazar, King of Zidon, Ashtoreth is called "Name of Baal;" and to whichever proper name the religious term Name may be attached, it means a personal existence in the Divine nature, specially related to the world of humanity; or, to use the language of Hengstenberg, the bridge between the latter and the transcendent heights of God as he is in himself. In short, the Name of Jehovah is virtually identical with the Logos of St. John, or the second Person in the blessed Trinity. Hence the personal language now and again used of this Name in the Old Testament, e.g. Isaiah 30:27, "The Name of Jehovah cometh from far... his lips are full of indignation;" Isaiah 26:8," The desire of our soul was to thy Name;" Isaiah 59:19, "So shall they fear the Name of Jehovah from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun." Comp. also Proverbs 18:10; men do not run for safety to an abstract idea. Nor will all nations in the latter days resort either to a localized or to a spiritually diffused Jerusalem in the future, to gratify a refined intellectual curiosity. Neither shall they walk, etc.; i.e. the Israelites of the latter days; not the "nations" before mentioned (as Hengstenberg). The phrase occurs eight times in Jeremiah, and is always used of the Israelites. The word rendered "imagination" is peculiar (sheri-ruth). As Hengstenberg has pointed out, it occurs independently only in a single passage (Deuteronomy 29:18); for in Psalm 81:13, it is plainly derived, not from the living language, from which it had disappeared, but from the written. (The close phraseological affinity between the Books of Deuteronomy and Jeremiah has been already indicated.) The rendering of the Authorized Version, which is supported by the Septuagint, Peshito, Targum, is certainly wrong; the Vulgate has pravitatum; the etymological meaning is "stubbornness." The error of the versions may perhaps have arisen out of a faulty inference from Psalm 81:13, where it stands in parallelism to "their counsels." Israel's return, pardon, and blessedness. - Jeremiah 3:11. "And Jahveh said to me, The backsliding one, Israel, is justified more than the faithless one, Judah. Jeremiah 3:12. Go and proclaim these words towards the north, and say, Turn, thou backsliding one, Israel, saith Jahveh; I will not look darkly on you, for I am gracious, saith Jahveh; I will not always be wrathful. Jeremiah 3:13. Only acknowledge thy guilt, for from Jahveh thy God art thou fallen away, and hither and thither hast thou wandered to strangers under every green tree, but to my voice ye have not hearkened, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 3:14. Return, backsliding sons, saith Jahveh; for I have wedded you to me, and will take you, one out of a city and two out of a race, and will bring you to Zion; Jeremiah 3:15. And will give you shepherds according to my heart, and they will feed you with knowledge ad wisdom. Jeremiah 3:16. And it comes to pass, when ye increase and are fruitful in the land, in those days, saith Jahveh, they will no more say, 'The ark of the covenant of Jahveh;' and it will no more come to mind, and ye will not longer remember it or miss it, and it shall not be made again. Jeremiah 3:17. In that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jahveh; and to it all peoples shall gather themselves, because the name of Jahveh is at Jerusalem: and no longer shall they walk after the stubbornness of their evil heart. Jeremiah 3:18. In those days shall the house of Judah go along with the house of Israel, and together out of the land of midnight shall they come into the land which I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers." In Jeremiah 3:11, from the comparison of the faithless Judah with the backsliding Israel, is drawn the conclusion: Israel stands forth more righteous than Judah. The same is said in other words by Ezekiel 16:51.; cf. (Ezek.) Jeremiah 23:11. צדק in Piel is to show to be righteous, to justify. נפשׁהּ, her soul, i.e., herself. Israel appears more righteous than Judah, not because the apostasy and idolatry of the Israelites was less than that of the people of Judah; in this they are put on the same footing in Jeremiah 3:6-10; in the like fashion both have played the harlot, i.e., stained themselves with idolatry (while by a rhetorical amplification the apostasy of Judah is in Jeremiah 3:9 represented as not greater than that of Israel). But it is inasmuch as, in the first place, Judah had the warning example of Israel before its eyes, but would not be persuaded to repentance by Israel's punishment; then again, Judah had more notable pledges than the ten tribes of divine grace, especially in the temple with its divinely-ordained cultus, in the Levitical priesthood, and in its race of kings chosen by God. Hence its fall into idolatry called more loudly for punishment than did that of the ten tribes; for these, after their disruption from Judah and the Davidic dynasty, had neither a lawful cultus, lawful priests, nor a divinely-ordained kingship. If, then, in spite of these privileges, Judah sank as far into idolatry as Israel, its offence was greater and more grievous than that of the ten tribes; and it was surely yet more deserving of punishment than Israel, if it was resolved neither to be brought to reflection nor moved to repentance from its evil ways by the judgment that had fallen upon Israel, and if, on the contrary, it returned to God only outwardly and took the opus operatum of the temple-service for genuine conversion. For "the measure of guilt is proportioned to the measure of grace." Yet will not the Lord utterly cast off His people, Jeremiah 3:12. He summons to repentance the Israelites who had now long been living in exile; and to them, the backsliding sons, who confess their sin and return to Him, He offers restoration to the full favours of the covenant and to rich blessings, and this in order to humble Judah and to provoke it to jealousy. The call to repentance which the prophet is in Jeremiah 3:12 to proclaim towards the region of midnight, concerns the ten tribes living in Assyrian exile. צפנה, towards midnight, i.e., into the northern provinces of the Assyrian empire the tribes had been carried away (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11). שׁוּבה, return, sc. to thy God. Notwithstanding that the subject which follows, משׁבה, is fem., we have the masculine form here used ad sensum, because the faithless Israel is the people of the ten tribes. לא אפּיל פּני, I will not lower my countenance, is explained by Genesis 4:5; Job 29:24, and means to look darkly, frowningly, as outward expression of anger; and this without our needing to take פּני for כּעסי as Kimchi does. For I am חסיד, gracious; cf. Exodus 34:6. As to אטּור, see on Jeremiah 3:5.
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