Jeremiah 42:10
If you will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done to you.
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(10) Then will I build you, and not pull you down . . .—We note the characteristic recurrence of the formulæ with which Jeremiah’s work as a prophet had begun (Jeremiah 1:10). The word for “repent” does not imply regret for the past, as men repent of their sin, but, as in Jeremiah 18:8; Jeremiah 26:3, a change of purpose from what had been the mind of judgment to one of mercy. The prophet’s counsel is, as it had been all along, that the people should accept the punishment which God had inflicted on them, that they should stay where they were and as they were, and not in terror or suspicion seek safety in plans of their own devising.

42:7-22 If we would know the mind of the Lord in doubtful cases, we must wait as well as pray. God is ever ready to return in mercy to those he has afflicted; and he never rejects any who rely on his promises. He has declared enough to silence even the causeless fears of his people, which discourge them in the way of duty. Whatever loss or suffering we may fear from obedience, is provided against in God's word; and he will protect and deliver all who trust in him and serve him. It is folly to quit our place, especially to quit a holy land, because we meet with trouble in it. And the evils we think to escape by sin, we certainly bring upon ourselves. We may apply this to the common troubles of life; and those who think to avoid them by changing their place, will find that the grievances common to men will meet them wherever they go. Sinners who dissemble with God in solemn professions especially should be rebuked with sharpness; for their actions speak more plainly than words. We know not what is good for ourselves; and what we are most fond of, and have our hearts most set upon, often proves hurtful, and sometimes fatal.I repent me - As punishment had been inflicted, the divine justice was satisfied. 10. If ye … abide—namely, under the Babylonian authority, to which God hath appointed that all should be subject (Da 2:37, 38). To resist was to resist God.

build … plant—metaphor for, I will firmly establish you (Jer 24:6).

I repent … of the evil—(Jer 18:8; De 32:36). I am satisfied with the punishment I have inflicted on you, if only you add not a new offense [Grotius]. God is said to "repent," when He alters His outward ways of dealing.

That is, if you will not go into the land of Egypt, as you are thinking, but abide where you are, or in any part of Judah, under subjection to the king of Babylon, into whose power I have given you, then I will see to your security and prosperity, and make you a happy people. The happiness and prosperity of people is in Scripture often set out under the notion of building and planting, as on the contrary their misery or destruction is expressed under the metaphorical notions of pulling down and plucking up.

For I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you; for I am satisfied with the punishment your nation hath undergone; and as to the remainder, if they do not destroy themselves by new disobedience, I will change the course of my providence. If ye will still abide in this land,.... In the land of Judea, their native country, where they had always lived, and where they continued when their brethren were carried captive; and yet they thought of going out of it, which the Lord knew; and therefore to encourage them to abide in it, and not think of departing into Egypt; that if they would take up their residence in it, and determine to continue there, he thus promises them:

then will I build you, and not pull you down: and I will plant you,

and not pluck you up; that is, they should be firm and stable, happy and prosperous; and abound with all kind of blessings, and increase in numbers, wealth, and riches. The metaphors are taken from building houses, and planting fields and vineyards:

for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you; not that he had done any unjust thing to them; or that he changed his mind concerning them; but that he had compassion on them, and would change his way and course of providence towards them, according to his unchangeable will.

If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I {d} repent of the evil that I have done to you.

(d) See Geneva Jer 18:8

10. then will I build you, etc.] Cp. Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 24:6 for these figures.

I repent me] an anthropomorphic figure. I change my conduct towards you, which with men is commonly caused by change of purpose.Verse 10. - Build you, and not pull you down, etc. Some of Jeremiah's favourite phrases (see on Jeremiah 24:6). I repent me. And yet in 1 Samuel 15:29 we read that "Israel's Trust... is not a man that he should repent." The key to the discrepancy may be found in Psalm 18:25, 26, "With the pious thou showest thyself pious... and with the froward thou showest thyself froward." There is no change in the nature or purpose of God, but only in his conduct towards man. The term "repent" is, therefore, only used analogically. Jeremiah replies: "I have heard (i.e., acceded to your request); behold, I will pray to Jahveh your God, according to your words; and it shall come to pass that whatever Jahveh answers you I will tell you, I will not keep anything from you." Jeremiah 42:5. They said further: "Let Jahveh be a true and faithful witness against us, if we do not just according to all the word which Jahveh thy God shall send thee (to declare) unto us. Jeremiah 42:6. Whether it be good or bad, we shall obey the voice of Jahveh our God, to whom we send thee, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of Jahveh our God." עד, Proverbs 14:25, and נאמן, Isaiah 8:2; Psalm 89:38. Both predicates occupy emphatic positions. God is to be a faithful witness, not in regard to the truth of what they say, but as regards the fulfilment of their promise, so that, if they would not obey His word, He might come forward to punish them. ישׁלחך is construed with a double accusative: to send away a person with something, i.e., to give him a commission. After "whether it be good or evil," there is no need for supplying "in our eyes" (בּעינינוּ), as Hitzig and Graf allege: "whether it please us or not;" the subject is הדּבר: "we will obey the word, whether it be good or evil," i.e., whether it announce good or evil to come (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:14). The Kethib אנוּ occurs only in this passage in the Old Testament; the Qeri accordingly substitutes אנחנוּ: the former, however, is taken from the vulgar tongue, and should not be altered here. כּי נשׁמע does not mean "because we obey," but "when we obey." The hearing is the condition, not the cause of the prosperity.
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