Jeremiah 32:18
Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name,
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(18) Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands . . .—The words are, in part, an echo from Exodus 20:6, yet more from the revelation of the Divine glory in Exodus 34:7. They recognise the laws of a righteous retribution, working even through the seeming injustice of that visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children which is inseparable from the continuity of family or national life, and which had been caricatured in the “sour grapes” proverb of Jeremiah 31:29. They recognise also a mercy which is wider than that retribution, and at last triumphant. In the “Mighty God” we have the reproduction of the name used by Isaiah in his great Messianic prediction (Isaiah 9:6).

32:16-25 Jeremiah adores the Lord and his infinite perfections. When at any time we are perplexed about the methods of Providence, it is good for us to look to first principles. Let us consider that God is the fountain of all being, power, and life; that with him no difficulty is such as cannot be overcome; that he is a God of boundless mercy; that he is a God of strict justice; and that he directs every thing for the best. Jeremiah owns that God was righteous in causing evil to come upon them. Whatever trouble we are in, personal or public, we may comfort ourselves that the Lord sees it, and knows how to remedy it. We must not dispute God's will, but we may seek to know what it means.Recompensest - The recompence is placed in the bosom, because, in the East, the garments are so arranged as to form a pocket there. Thus then, men must receive and carry with them God's requital for their deeds. 18. (Ex 34:7; Isa 65:6). This is taken from the decalogue (Ex 20:5, 6). This is a second consideration to check hasty judgments as to God's ways: Thou art the gracious and righteous Judge of the world. Thou shewest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: this is the name which God gave himself, Exodus 34:7 Deu 5:9,10, and of this latter clause, declarative of the vengeance of God in punishing children for their parents’ sins, are many instances in Scripture, Joshua 7:24 1 Samuel 2:33,34 1 Kings 14:10,11 21:24.

Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands,.... Not to thousands of persons only, but to a thousand generations, even such that love, fear, and serve him; see Exodus 20:6; this is very properly added, for the further strengthening of faith; for though the omnipotence of God assures us that there is nothing but what he can do, yet it gives us no certain encouragement he will do this, or that, or the other, in a favourable and gracious manner; but this his loving kindness, experienced by a multitude of persons in all ages, gives reason to hope for:

and recompensest the iniquities of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them; it is added in the decalogue, from whence these words are taken, "of them that hate me", Exodus 20:5; and here the Targum adds,

"when they go on to sin after them;''

when they imitate their fathers in their wickedness, and commit the same sins they have done, and continue in them; wherefore, having tilled up the measure of their fathers' sins, they receive a just and full recompence of them into their bosom; which denotes both the certainty of it and the fulness of it: the prophet formed in his mind just notions and ideas of the divine Being, as being not only gracious and merciful, but holy, just, and righteous; and it may be he strikes at the Jews, who might complain of God, as they sometimes did, for being punished for their fathers' sins, as if they themselves were innocent and guiltless:

the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts is his name: "great" in all the perfections of his nature, and greatly to be praised, loved, and feared; "mighty" to do whatsoever he pleases; and who, agreeably to his name, has all the hosts and armies of heaven and earth at his command; and what is it that he cannot do?

Thou shewest lovingkindness to thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their {i} children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, JEHOVAH of hosts, is his name,

(i) Because the wicked are subject to the curse of God, he shows that their posterity who by nature are under this malediction will be punished both for their own wickedness and that the iniquity of their fathers which is likewise in them, will be also avenged on their head.

18. recompensest the iniquity of the fathers] an allusion to the Decalogue (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9). See on Jeremiah 31:29.

into the bosom] The Eastern garment formed at the bosom numerous folds, which served as a pocket. Cp. Ruth 3:15; Proverbs 17:23, and for the phrase itself Psalm 79:12; Isaiah 65:6.

Verse 18. - Into the bosom, etc. The ample dress of an Eastern rendering a bag or basket unnecessary (comp. Ruth 3:15). Jeremiah 32:18The prayer of Jeremiah. - Although Jeremiah has declared, in the words of the Lord, Jeremiah 32:14., the meaning of the purchase of the field to the witnesses who were present at the transaction, yet the intimation that houses, fields, and vineyards would once more be bought, seemed so improbable, in view of the impending capture and destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, that he betakes himself to the Lord in prayer, asking for further disclosures regarding the future of the people and the land, less for his own sake than for that of the people, who could with difficulty rise to such confidence of faith. The prayer runs thus, Jeremiah 32:17 : "Ah, Lord Jahveh! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and Thine outstretched arm; to Thee nothing is impossible. Jeremiah 32:18. Thou showest mercy unto thousands, and repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, Thou great and mighty God, whose name is Jahveh of hosts. Jeremiah 32:19. Great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of men, to give unto every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works: Jeremiah 32:20. Thou who didst signs and wonders in the land of Egypt until this day, both in Israel and among [other] men, and madest for Thyself a name, as it is this day; Jeremiah 32:21. And didst lead Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, and with strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror, Jeremiah 32:22. And didst give them this land, which Thou hast sworn to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; Jeremiah 32:23. And they came and took possession of it, but they hearkened not to Thy voice and walked not in Thy law: all that Thou commandedst them to do they did not, therefore didst Thou cause all this evil to come against them. Jeremiah 32:24. Behold, the besiegers' mounds are come to the city, to take it, and the city will be given into the hands of the Chaldeans, who fight against it, because of the sword, hunger, and pestilence; and what Thou didst speak is come to pass, and, behold, Thou seest it. Jeremiah 32:25. Yet Thou hast said to me, O Lord Jahveh, 'Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses,' while the city is being delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans."

This prayer contains a laudation of the omnipotence of the Lord and the justice of His dealing among all men (Jeremiah 32:17-19), and especially in the guidance of the people Israel (Jeremiah 32:20-23), with the view of connecting with it the question, how the divine command to buy the field is to be reconciled with the decreed deliverance of the city into the power of the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 32:24, Jeremiah 32:25). Jeremiah 32:17. God proclaims His omnipotence in the creation of the heaven and the earth, cf. Jeremiah 27:5. From this it is plain that nothing is too wonderful for God, i.e., is impossible for Him, Genesis 18:14. As Creator and Ruler of the world, God exercises grace and justice. The words of Jeremiah 32:18 are a reminiscence and free imitation of the passages Exodus 20:5. and Jeremiah 34:7, where the Lord so depicts His dealings in the guidance of men. To "recompense iniquity into the bosom" (see Isaiah 65:6, cf. Psalm 79:12), i.e., to pour into the bosom of the garment the reward for iniquity, so that it may be carried away and borne; cf. Ruth 3:15; Proverbs 17:23. "The great and mighty God," as in Deuteronomy 10:17. On "Jahveh of hosts is His name," cf. Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 31:35. שׁמו is to be explained thus: "O Thou great God, whose name is Jahveh of hosts."

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