Thus said the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Again in this place.—The “place” includes, as in Jeremiah 33:10, “the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem.” The “habitation” for shepherds is translated sometimes by “sheepcote” (1Chronicles 17:7; 2Samuel 7:8), sometimes by “fold” (Isaiah 65:10; Ezekiel 34:14), sometimes by “dwelling” or “habitation.” It would seem here to answer to the “towns” of our old English speech, as meaning enclosed spaces, with the tower of the watchman (2Kings 17:9; Isaiah 1:8), in which, in times of average tranquillity, shepherds and their flocks found shelter, but which were abandoned when the land was overrun by an invading army. In Jeremiah 33:13 the eye of the prophet travels over such districts within the kingdom of Judah to the north and south of Jerusalem, and adds to the picture the vivid touch that the “sheep shall pass under the hands of him that telleth them,” the shepherd whose work it was to count the flock—in older English, “to tell his tale”—as it went out in the morning and returned at nightfall, should find that he had lost none of them.Jeremiah 33:12-13. Again in this place shall be a habitation for shepherds, &c. — See Jeremiah 50:19; Isaiah 65:10. In those places which were desolate, without man and beast, there should be flocks and herds of sheep and goats, which the shepherds should take care of as in former times. And in the cities of Judah shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them — Namely, so as to keep account of them, as they were wont to do, both morning and evening in those countries. Virgil alludes to the same custom, when he says, Ecclesiastes 3., Bisque die numerant ambo pecus, alter et hædos; Twice each day they count my goats and sheep. See Leviticus 27:32, where תחת חשׁבשׂ, passing under the rod, means their being numbered, the shepherds striking every sheep with his rod, or crook, as it passed out of the fold, and so counting them; and the expression here made use of, על ידי מונה, under the hand of him that numbers them, seems to signify the same thing.
again, in this place which is desolate; which was said to be so, Jeremiah 33:10; and indeed was so; and was near utter destruction, as to be
without man and without beast; both falling into the hands of the enemy; and that not in the city of Jerusalem only, but
in all the cities thereof; of the land of Judea; and from thence in other countries, even in Gentile ones:
shall be an habitation of shepherds, causing their flocks to lie down; which is expressive of great peace, no foreign enemy to make afraid or disturb the shepherds and their flocks; and of diligence and industry, plenty and prosperity; though this is to be understood not in a literal, but mystical sense. For by "shepherds" are meant the apostles of Christ, the first ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, that should be first raised up in the land of Judea, and then sent into and spread in all the world; shepherds under Christ, of his raising, qualifying, and calling; to whom he gives a commission to feed his sheep and lambs; assigns them their distinct flocks, and gives them food to feed them with, and to whom they are accountable for those under their care, and the gifts bestowed upon them; and whose business lies in feeding the flock with the solid doctrines of the Gospel, by faithfully administering the ordinances, and in all directing to Christ, where they may find pasture; as also in ruling and governing according to the laws of Christ; in watching over the sheep that they go not astray, and in protecting and defending them from beasts of prey. By the "habitation" of these shepherds is meant the house of God, where the word is preached, and ordinances are administered; here are the shepherds' tents, which, like the tents of Kedar, which were shepherds' tents also, are mean and coarse without, but rich and beautiful within; and are like tents, movable from place to place; and it is the glory and happiness of a country where they are. And by "flocks", or "flock", for it is in the singular number, are meant the church of Christ, which is but one, the general assembly and church of the firstborn written in heaven, and the several particular congregated churches; consisting of such persons as may be compared to sheep, being weak and timorous, meek and humble, harmless and inoffensive; of persons gathered out of the world, distinguished by the grace of God, and folded together in a Gospel church state; though but few, and despised of men, and persecuted, a little flock, and a flock of slaughter: these, by their shepherds, are made "to lie down" in a good fold at night, where they are safe and secure; these shepherds watch over them; angels encamp about them; salvation is walls and bulwarks to them; and God himself a wall of fire around them; and in the day they are made to lie down in the green pastures of the word and ordinances, where they have an abundance, a sufficiency of provisions; and at noon under the shadow of Christ, where they have rest, and where they are screened and sheltered from the heat of a fiery law, of Satan's fiery darts, and of the world's persecution.Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 12. - An habitation; rather, a pasture (including the idea of an encampment). The expression reminds us of Jeremiah 23:3, 4, but it is preferable to take the present passage in its literal sense rather than as metaphorical. Jeremiah 33:4. "For thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down because of the besiegers' mounds and because of the sword, Jeremiah 33:5. While they come to fight with the Chaldeans, and to fill them with the corpses of men, whom I have slain in my wrath and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hidden my face from this city: Jeremiah 33:6. Behold, I will apply a bandage to it and a remedy, and will heal them, and will reveal to them abundance of peace and truth. Jeremiah 33:7. And I will turn again the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel, and will build them up as at the first. Jeremiah 33:8. And I will purify them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against me, and will pardon all their iniquities, by which they have sinned and have transgressed against me. Jeremiah 33:9. And it (the city) shall become to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour among all the people of the earth that shall hear all the good which I do them, and shall tremble and quake because of all the good and because of all the prosperity that I show to it. Jeremiah 33:10. Thus saith Jahveh: Again shall there be heard in this place-of which ye say, 'It is desolate, without man and without beast,'-in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, which are laid waste, without men, and without inhabitants, and without beasts, Jeremiah 33:11. The voice of gladness and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, 'Praise Jahveh of hosts, for Jahveh is good, for His mercy is for ever,' who bring thank-offerings into the house of Jahveh. For I will turn again the captivity of the land, as in the beginning, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 33:12. Thus saith Jahveh of hosts: In this place, which is laid waste, without man and beast, and in all its cities, there will yet be pasture-ground for shepherds making their flocks lie down in. Jeremiah 33:13. In the cities of the hill-country, in the cities of the plain, and in the cities of the south, in the land of Benjamin, and in the environs of Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flock shall yet pass under the hand of one who counts them, saith Jahveh."
With Jeremiah 33:4 begins the statement concerning the great and incomprehensible things which the Lord will make known to His people; it is introduced by כּי, which marks the ground or reason - so far as the mere statement of these things gives reason for the promise of them. The word of the Lord does not follow till Jeremiah 33:6 and onwards. In Jeremiah 33:4 and Jeremiah 33:5 are mentioned those whom the word concerns - the houses of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:4), and the people that defend the city (Jeremiah 33:5). Corresponding to this order, there comes first the promise to the city (Jeremiah 33:6), and then to the people. Along with the houses of the city are specially named also the houses of the kings of Judah; not, perhaps, as Hitzig thinks, because these, being built of stone, afforded a more suitable material for the declared object - for that these alone were built of stone is an unfounded supposition - but in order to show that no house or palace is spared to defend the city. "Which are broken down" refers to the houses, not only of the kings, but also of the city. They are broken, pulled down, according to Isaiah 22:10, in order to fortify the walls of the city against the attacks of the enemy, partly to strengthen them, partly to repair the damage caused by the battering-rams directed against them. This gives the following meaning to the expression אל־הסּללות ואל־החרב: in order to work against the mounds, i.e., the earthworks erected by the enemy, and against the sword. The sword is named as being the chief weapon, instead of all the instruments of war which the enemy employs for reducing the city; cf. Ezekiel 26:9. It is against the laws of grammar to understand נתשׁים as referring to the destruction of the enemy by the siege material; for, on such a supposition, אל־ would require to designate the efficient cause, i.e., to stand for מפּני (cf. Jeremiah 4:26), but neither אל־ nor על can mean this. - The first half of Jeremiah 33:5 is difficult, especially בּאים, which the lxx have omitted, and which Movers and Hitzig would expunge, with the absurd remark, that it has come here from Jeremiah 31:38; this is an easy and frivolous method of setting aside difficulties. All other ancient translations have read בּאים, and have attempted to point out how its genuineness is ascertained on critical grounds.
(Note: The different attempts to solve the difficulty by conjectures are of such a nature as scarcely to deserve mention. Ewald would change החרב בּאים into החרבים otni , "that are broken down opposite the earthworks and the cannons." But the plural of חרב is חרבות, Ezekiel 26:21, and cannot possibly mean cannons. E. Meier would read החריב בּאים, "and for the destruction of those who are pressing in." Then בּאים must be the enemy who are pressing in; but how does this agree with what follows, "in order to fight with the Chaldeans"? Lastly, Ngelsbach would change את־ הכּשׂדּיםinto על־ירוּשׁלים, to obtain the idea that the earthworks and the sword come for the purpose of contending against Jerusalem (!).)
To connect בּאים closely with what precedes is impossible; and to understand it as referring to the houses, quae dirutae adhibentur ad dimicandum cum Chaldaeis (C. B. Michaelis), is incompatible with the idea contained in בּוא. Still more inadmissible is the view of L. de Dieu, Venema, Schnurrer, Dahler, and Rosenmller: venientibus ad oppugnandum cum Chaldaeis; according to this view, אּת־כּשׂדּים must be the nominative or subject to להלּחם את־הכּשׂדּים בּאים can only signify, "to contend with the Chaldeans" (against them); cf. Jeremiah 32:5. According to this view, only the Jews can be the subject of בּאים. "They come to make war with the Chaldeans, and to fill them (the houses) with the dead bodies of men, whom I((the Lord) slay in my wrath." The subject is not named, since it is evident from the whole scope of the sentence what is meant. We take the verse as a predication regarding the issues of the conflict - but without a copula; or, as a statement added parenthetically, so that the participle may be rendered, "while they come," or, "get ready, to fight." בּוא, used of the approach of an enemy (cf. Daniel 1:1), is here employed with regard to the advance of the Jews to battle against the besiegers of the city. The second infinitival clause, "to fill them," represents the issue of the struggle as contemplated by the Jews, in order to express most strongly its utter fruitlessness; while the relative clauses, "whom I have slain," etc., bring out the reasons for the evil consequences. Substantially, the statement in Jeremiah 33:5 is parallel to that in Jeremiah 33:4, so that we might supply the preposition על (ועל): "and concerning those who come to fight," etc. Through the attachment of this second predication to the first by means of the participle, the expression has become obscured. In the last clause, אשׁר is to be connected with על־רעתם.
In view of the destruction of Jerusalem now beginning, the Lord promises, Jeremiah 33:6, "I will apply to it (the city) a bandage (see Jeremiah 30:17) and a remedy," i.e., a bandage which brings healing, "and heal them" (the inhabitants); for, although the suffix in רפאתים might be referred to the houses, yet the following clause shows that it points to the inhabitants. Hitzig takes גּלּיתי in the meaning of גּלל, "I roll to them like a stream," and appeals to Amos 5:24; Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 66:12, where the fulness of prosperity is compared to a stream, and the waves of the sea; but this use of גּלה is as uncertain here as in Jeremiah 11:20. We keep, then, to the well-established sense of revealing, making known (cf. Psalm 98:2, where it is parallel with הודיע), without any reference to the figure of sealed treasure-chambers (Deuteronomy 28:12), but with the accessory notion of the unfolding of the prosperity before all nations (Jeremiah 33:9), as in Psalm 98:2. עתרת is here to be taken as a noun, "fulness, wealth," from עתר, an Aramaizing form for עשׁר, to be rich (Ezekiel 35:13). שׁלום ואמת does not mean "prosperity and stability," but "peace and truth;" but this is not to be toned down to "true peace," i.e., real, enduring happiness (Ngelsbach). אמת is the truth of God, i.e., His faithfulness in His promises and covenants, as in Psalm 85:11-12, where mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, are specified as the gracious benefits with which the Lord blesses His people.
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