Jeremiah 33:24
Consider you not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD has chosen, he has even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24-26) Considerest thou not what this people have spoken . . .—The words that follow have been regarded by many commentators as the taunt of the heathen nations—Chaldæans, Egyptians, Edomites, and others—as they beheld what seemed to them the entire downfall of the kingly and the priestly orders, such as we find put into the lips of the heathen in Ezekiel 35:10; Ezekiel 36:20. The words “this people,” however, used as they are invariably of that to which the prophet himself belonged (Jeremiah 4:10; Jeremiah 5:14; Jeremiah 5:23; Jeremiah 6:19, and elsewhere), and indeed in the hundred or more passages in which the phrase occurs in the Old Testament, lead to a different conclusion. The prophet’s declaration of the steadfastness of God’s covenant was made in answer, not to the taunts of the heathen, but to the despair of Israel, such as had found utterance in the words recorded in Jeremiah 33:10 and Jeremiah 32:43. If the words “thus they have despised my people” seem to favour the former interpretation, it must be remembered that the subject of the verb is not necessarily the same as that of the previous clause, and that the scorn of other nations would be the natural outcome of the despondency into which Israel had fallen; or they might emphasise the fact that the despondency was itself, as it were, suicidal. Those who despised their own nation were despising the people of Jehovah. In contrast with this despondency, the prophet renews his assurance of the permanence of the kingly and priestly lines, and strengthens it by reference to the three great patriarchs of the race, with whom the truth of Jehovah’s promises was identified (Exodus 3:15), and by connecting it with the promise of a return from the captivity. When that return came, it would be the pledge and earnest of the yet greater blessings which were involved in the new and everlasting covenant.

Jeremiah 33:24-26. The two families which the Lord hath chosen — “It is plain from Jeremiah 33:26,” says Blaney,” that the two families here meant are those of Jacob and David, though some have supposed the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, others the royal and sacerdotal families of David and Levi, to be intended.” He hath even cast them off — The words are spoken by those unbelieving Jews who thought God would never restore them to their former condition, nor give them again a king of the seed of David, thus indirectly accusing him of a breach of promise. Thus they have despised my people, &c. — Thus, saith God, they have spoken in a reproachful and degrading manner of my people, as if they should never be a nation again, having rulers of themselves and a ministry. If my covenant be not with day and night, &c. — If I have not appointed the vicissitudes of day and night, and of summer and winter, upon which the seasons of the year and the fruitfulness of the earth depend; then will I cast away the seed of Jacob — Then will I finally, and for ever, abandon the body of the Jews and Israelites; and David my servant — Namely, the seed of David, all persons lineally descended from him, so that none of them shall ever hereafter reign over Israel and Judah. The sum of these verses is plainly this, that a restoration of them to their own land should as certainly succeed their captivity as the day succeeds the night, or summer follows winter. God had as certainly ordained the one as the other, and, would as certainly have mercy on his people as he would certainly continue the revolutions of the heavenly bodies. And in showing this mercy he would take care that one of the seed of David should be their ruler: which has been, and still more fully shall be, fulfilled in the Messiah, who shall always as certainly govern his church, whether consisting of converted Jews or Gentiles, as there will always be a church on earth to be governed. 33:14-26 To crown the blessings God has in store, here is a promise of the Messiah. He imparts righteousness to his church, for he is made of God to us righteousness; and believers are made the righteousness of God in him. Christ is our Lord God, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. But in this world prosperity and adversity succeed each other, as light and darkness, day and night. The covenant of priesthood shall be secured. And all true believers are a holy priesthood, a royal priesthood, they offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God; themselves, in the first place, as living sacrifices. The promises of that covenant shall have full accomplishment in the gospel Israel. In Ga 6:16, all that walk according to the gospel rule, are made to be the Israel of God, on whom shall be peace and mercy. Let us not despise the families which were of old the chosen people of God, though for a time they seem to be cast off.Considerest thou not - literally, Hast thou not seen, i. e., noticed?

This people - i. e., the Jews.

Thus ... - Or, and "My people they have despised," so that they are "no more a nation" in their sight. They say that God has rejected Judah as well as Israel: and thus they despise themselves in their relation to God as His covenant-people, by regarding their national existence as about immediately to cease forever.

24. this people—certain of the Jews, especially those who spoke with Jeremiah in the court of the prison (Jer 32:12; 38:1).

the two families—Judah and Israel.

before them—in their judgment. They suppose that I have utterly cast off Israel so as to he no more a nation. The expression, "My people," of itself, shows God has not cast off Israel for ever.

This people, that is, (say some,) the enemies of the Jews; but it may as well be interpreted either of the wicked Jews, wicked men being always full of groundless, presumptuous hopes, or sunk in despair; or of such amongst them as were better, but weak in faith, that knew not how to give any firm assent to promises, the fulfilling of which seemed to the eyes of sense and reason so improbable. By

the two families here mentioned, the prophet either meaneth the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, or, which seemeth to me much more probable, the families of David and Aaron, mentioned before. Thus, saith God, they have spoken scornfully of my people, as if they should never be a nation more, having rulers of themselves and a ministry. Considerest thou not what this people have spoken,.... The words are directed to the prophet by an interrogation, if he had not considered in his mind what he heard the people say; not the Chaldeans, with whom the prophet was not; but the unbelieving Jews, either the profane part of them, who had a wicked view in it, to accuse God, and discourage the godly; or the weaker sort of the good people, indulging unbelief and despondency:

saying, the two families which the Lord had chosen, he hath even cast them off? the kingdom and the priesthood, as Jarchi; the family of David and the family of Aaron, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; the, one with respect to the kingdom, and the other with respect to the priesthood; so Abarbinel, which seems right: though some interpret it of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and others of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; but since the covenant with David, and with the priests, are before spoken of, and the seed of David afterwards, it seems rather to regard the two houses of David and Aaron, which the Lord chose for the kingdom and priesthood to continue in; but by the captivity of the royal family, and of the priests in Babylon, just now about to take place, it was suggested that both were cast off by the Lord, and that there would be no more kings out of the one, nor priests out of the other:

thus they have despised my people: as being rejected of God, whom he would never more regard or restore to their former condition in church and state; so giving them up for lost, that they would be no more a nation and church, having kings to reign over them, or priests to minister for them:

that they should be no more a nation before them; either before their kings and priests, or in the sight of those persons who spoke the words before related.

Considerest thou not what {q} this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.

(q) Meaning, the Chaldeans and other infidels who thought God had utterly cast off Judah and Israel or Benjamin, because he corrected them for a time for their amendment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. this people] If the words be right, they must indicate the sceptical part of the nation. But the subsequent context, as it stands, rather requires the meaning to be hostile nations. The emendation which makes the best sense is that of Du. and Co.: “He hath cast them off and rejected His people, that they should be no more a nation before Him.”

The two families] Israel and Judah, as shewn by Jeremiah 33:26.Verse 24. - This people; i.e. not Egyptians or Babylonians (as some have supposed), but the people of Judah, regarded as alienated from Jehovah (hence the touch of disparagement), as elsewhere in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:10, 11; Jeremiah 5:14, 23; Jeremiah 6:19; Jeremiah 7:33, etc.). There were unworthy Jews, who, seeing their nation fallen from its high estate, despaired of its deliverance and regeneration. That they should be no more, etc.; rather, so that they are no more a people - no more an independent people The "two families," of course, are the "two houses of Israel" (Isaiah 8:14), i.e. the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah.



The re-establishment of the Davidic monarchy and of the Levitical priesthood. - Jeremiah 33:14. "Behold, days are coming, saith Jahveh, when I will perform the good word which I have spoken to the house of Israel, and concerning the house of Judah. Jeremiah 33:15. In those days and at that time will I cause to sprout unto David a sprout of righteousness, and he shall do judgment and righteousness in the land. Jeremiah 33:16. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is how she shall be called, 'Jahveh our righteousness.' Jeremiah 33:17. For thus saith Jahveh: David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. Jeremiah 33:18. Nor shall the Levitical priests want a man before me to offer a burnt-offering, to burn a meat-offering, or to perform sacrifice every day.

Jeremiah 33:19. "And the word of Jahveh came unto Jeremiah, saying: Jeremiah 33:20. Thus saith Jahveh, If ye shall be able to break my covenant (with) the day and my covenant (with) the night, so that there shall not be day and night in their proper time, Jeremiah 33:21. Then also shall my covenant with David my servant be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, my ministers. Jeremiah 33:22. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites who serve me.

Jeremiah 33:23. "And the word of Jahveh came to Jeremiah, saying: Jeremiah 33:24. Hast thou not seen what this people have spoken, saying, 'The two families which the Lord hath chosen, these He hath rejected?' and my people they have despised, so that they are no longer a nation before them. Jeremiah 33:25. Thus saith Jahveh: If my covenant with day and night doth not exist, if I have not appointed the laws of heaven and earth, Jeremiah 33:26. Then also will I reject the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so as not to take any of his seed as rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will turn their captivity, and take pity on them."

Jeremiah 33:14-21

Jeremiah 33:14-18 contain the promise of the restoration of the monarchy and the priesthood. Jeremiah 33:19-26 further present two special messages from God, in the form of supplements, which guarantee the eternal continuance of these institutions.

(Note: The portion contained within Jeremiah 33:14-26 is wanting in the lxx; for this reason, and chiefly because of the promise of the eternal duration, not merely of the royal house of David, but also of the Levitical priests, and their innumerable increase, J. D. Michaelis and Jahn have considered it spurious. To these must be added Movers, who takes Jeremiah 33:18, Jeremiah 33:21-25 as later interpolations, and Hitzig, who treats the whole passage as a series of separate additions made in a later age. On the other side, Kueper, Wichelhaus, and Hengstenberg (Christology, vol. ii. pp. 459-461 of Clark's Translation) have shown the utter worthlessness of these reasons, and Graf also has defended the genuineness of the passage. So too has Ewald, who says (Propheten, ii. 269), "Nothing can be so preposterous and unreasonable as to find in this passage, Jeremiah 33:19-26, or in Jeremiah 30-33 generally, additions by a later prophet.")

The promise in Jeremiah 33:14-16 has already been given in substance in Jeremiah 23:5-6, and in our verses it is only formally extended, and thereby made more prominent. In Jeremiah 33:14 it is designated as the establishment, i.e., the realization, of the good word which the Lord has spoken concerning Israel and Judah. "The good word" is, according to Deuteronomy 28:1-14, the blessing which the Lord has promised to His people if they obey His commands; cf. 1 Kings 8:56. Here also must "the good word" be taken in the same general meaning; for our verse forms the transition from the promise of the restoration and blessing of Israel in the future (Jeremiah 33:6-13) to the special promise of the renewal and completion of the Davidic monarchy (Jeremiah 33:15.). In Jeremiah 29:10, on the contrary, "the good word" is specially referred, by the following infinitival clause, to the deliverance of the people from Babylon. But it is unlikely that "the good word" refers to the "sprout" of David, which is expressly promised in Jeremiah 23:5., and repeated here, Jeremiah 33:15.; for here a like promise to the Levites follows, while there is none in Jeremiah 23, and it is here so closely linked with the promise regarding David, that it must be viewed as a portion of the "good word." In the change from אל to על in Jeremiah 33:14, we must not, with Hengstenberg, seek a real difference; for in Jeremiah these prepositions often interchange without any difference of meaning, as in Jeremiah 11:2; Jeremiah 18:11; Jeremiah 23:35, etc. The blessing promised to the people in the "good word" culminates in the promise, Jeremiah 33:15., that the Lord will cause a righteous sprout to spring up for David. On the meaning of this promise, see the remarks on Jeremiah 23:5-6. The difference made in the repetition of that promise is really unimportant. אצמיח instead of הקמתי does not change the sense. הצמיח, to cause to sprout of grow, corresponds to the figure of the צמח, under which the Messiah is represented in both passages. צמח צדקה is only a more sonorous expression for צמח צדּיק. The words "He shall rule as king and deal wisely," which in Jeremiah 23:5 bring into prominence the contrast between the kingdom of the Messiah and that of the godless shepherd of the people, were unnecessary for the connection of our passage. Besides, in Jeremiah 23:6 Israel is named together with Judah, instead of which, we have here, in Jeremiah 33:16, Jerusalem; accordingly, the name "Jahveh Tsidkenu" is referred to Jerusalem, while in Jeremiah 23:6 it is predicated of the sprout of David. The mention of Jerusalem instead of Israel is connected with the general scope of our prophecy, viz., to comfort the covenant people over the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 33:4.). But that, through the mention simply of Judah and its capital, the ten tribes are not to be excluded from participation in the coming prosperity, may be seen even from Jeremiah 33:14, where "the good word" is referred to Israel and Judah, and still more plainly from Jeremiah 33:24, Jeremiah 33:26, where this promise is made sure to the whole seed of Israel. The transference of the name Jahveh Tsidkenu from the sprout of David to the city of Jerusalem is connected with the fact, that the name only expresses what the Messiah will bring to the people (see Jeremiah 23:6); the righteousness which He works in and on Jerusalem may, without changing the substance of the thought, be attributed to Jerusalem itself, inasmuch as Jerusalem reflects the righteousness which is bestowed on her by the Messiah.

This promise is, Jeremiah 33:17, further confirmed by the renewal of that which the Lord had given King David, through Nathan the prophet, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and that, too, in the form in which David himself had expressed it in his address to Solomon, shortly before his death, 1 Kings 2:4, and in which Solomon had repeated it, 1 Kings 8:25 and 1 Kings 9:5. The formula לא יכּרת וגו, "there never will be cut off from David one sitting," etc., has the meaning, David will never want a descendant to occupy his throne; or, the posterity of David will possess the kingdom for ever. A temporary loss of the throne is not thereby excluded, but only such a permanent loss as would be caused by the family of David becoming extinct, or by the kingdom in Israel either passing over to some other family, or in some way or other coming to an end; see on 1 Kings 2:4. - The very same promise is given to the Levitical priests, i.e., the priests of the tribe or family of Levi (כּהנים as in Deuteronomy 17:9, Deuteronomy 17:18; Deuteronomy 18:1, etc.). They shall never want one to bring and prepare an offering before the Lord. Burnt-offering, meat-offering, and sin-offering are the three species of sacrifice which were to be brought, according to the law, as in Jeremiah 17:26. By means of the apposition "the Levites," the priests are designated as the legitimate priesthood, established as such in virtue of God's choice of the tribe of Levi, in contrast with priests such as Jeroboam appointed, out of the common people, for the worship set up by him. Not only shall Israel have priests, but priests out of the tribe of Levi, which was chosen by God for the sacerdotal office, as the medium of communicating His gracious gifts. The designation of the priests as "the Levites" corresponds, accordingly, to the kings of the family of David. Such a view explains this addition to our passage, to which critics such as Hitzig have taken objection. The Davidic kingdom and the Levitical priesthood were the two pillars and bases of the Old Testament theocracy, on which its existence and continuance depended. The priesthood formed the medium of approach for the people into divine favour. The kingdom assured them of the divine guidance.

(Note: Continebatur autem salus populi duabus istis partibus. Nam, sine rege, erant veluti corpus truncum aut mutilum; sine sacerdote mera erat dissipatio. Nam sacerdos erat quasi medius inter Deum et populum, rex autem representabat Dei personam. - Calvin.)

Both of these pillars were broken with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple; the theocracy the appeared to have ceased to exist. At this time, when the kingdom, with its ordinances of justice and of grace, bestowed by God, was being dissolved, the Lord, in order to keep His people from despair, declares that these two institutions, in accordance with His promise, shall not fall to the ground, but shall stand for ever. By this, God's own people received a pledge for the re-establishment and renovation of the kingdom of God. Such is the object of this promise. - As to the kind and mode of reinstitution of both of these ordinances, which were abolished when the state came to ruin, the prophecy now before us gives no explanation; but in the emphatic confirmation of the prophecy which follows, we find brief indications which clearly show that the restoration spoken of will not be a reinstitution of the old form which is now perishing, but a renovation of it, in its essential features, to a permanent existence.

The confirmations of these promises, which follow them in Jeremiah 33:19-26, are each introduced by separate headings, perhaps not merely to render them more prominent, but because the Lord revealed them separately to the prophet; but it by no means follows from this that they are later additions, without any connection. Jeremiah 33:20. "If ye shall break my covenant with the day,...then also will my covenant with David...be broken." This if betokens the impossible; man cannot alter the arrangement in nature for the regular alternation of day and night. היום and הלּילה are in apposition to בּריתי, "my covenant the day - the night," for "my covenant with regard to the day and the night, which is this, that day and night shall return at their appointed times." The ו before לבלתּי is explanatory. יומם־ולילה are adverbs, "day and night," for "the regular alternation of day and night." These divine arrangements in nature are called a covenant; because God, after the flood, gave a pledge that they should uninterruptedly continue, in a covenant made with the human race; cf. Genesis 9:9 with Genesis 8:22. As this covenant of nature cannot be broken by men, so also the covenant of grace of the Lord with David and the Levites cannot be broken, i.e., annulled. The covenant with David consisted in the promise that his kingdom should endure for ever (see Jeremiah 33:17); that with the Levites, in the eternal possession of the right to the priesthood. The institution of the priesthood is certainly not represented in the law as a covenant; it consisted merely in the choice of Aaron and his sons as priests by God, Exodus 28:1. But, inasmuch as they were thereby brought into a peculiar relation to the Lord, and thus had vouchsafed to them not merely privileges and promises, but also had laid on them duties, the fulfilment of which was a condition of receiving the privileges, this relation might be called a covenant; and indeed, in Numbers 25:11., the promise given to Phinehas, that he should have the priesthood as an eternal possession, is called a covenant of peace and an eternal covenant of priesthood. This promise concerned the whole priesthood in the person of Phinehas, and the Levites also, inasmuch as the Levites were given to the priests; hence there is mention made in Malachi 2:4, Malachi 2:8, of a covenant with Levi. In this prophecy, too, mention is made of the priests alone. The general idea contained in the words "the Levites," placed first, is more clearly defined by the apposition "the priests," and restricted to the priests of the tribe of Levi.

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