In those days, and in that time, said the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In those days, and in that time . . .—The formula is that which in prophetic language points to the far-off times of the Christ. Their restoration to their earthly homes was but a small thing. That which was to the prophet the great blessing of the future was that it would bring with it the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31, pardon and peace, iniquity and sin remembered no more.
I will pardon them whom I reserve.—The latter verb contains the root of the “remnant” which is so prominent in Isaiah (Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 7:3), and expresses the same thought. “The remnant,” the reserved ones, shall be pardoned.
Reserve - Or, permit to remain: hence, the remnant, a word pregnant with meaning in the language of the prophets. See Isaiah 8:18 note (2).
iniquity … none—not merely idolatry, which ceased among the Jews ever since the Babylonian captivity, but chiefly their rejection of Messiah. As in a cancelled debt, it shall be as if it had never been; God, for Christ's sake, shall treat them as innocent (Jer 31:34). Without cleansing away of sin, remission of punishment would be neither to the honor of God nor to the highest interests of the elect.
whom I reserve—the elect "remnant" (Isa 1:9). The "residue" (Zec 14:2; 13:8, 9).
iniquity to the idolatry of the Jews, which indeed was their great sin, which God did more especially punish them for; and after the captivity of Babylon we do not read of their offending in that kind, which was according to the prophecy of Isaiah 27:9, that when God should make the stones of the altar as chalk-stones that are beaten asunder, the groves and the images should not stand up. But the last words seem to guide us to a larger sense of the term
iniquity, and to point us to another sense of the whole former phrase, viz. that God would no longer punish the sins of the Jews; they should be sought for as to punishment, and not found. And those words and none must be understood as if none, they shall be punished no, more than if they had none.
For I will pardon them whom I reserve; for as to those whom I save from the captivity of Babylon,
I will pardon them: not that they were all excused from the obligation their sins laid them under as, to eternal death, but that their temporal punishment was remitted to the whole body of the Jews, and those that were truly penitent also should be discharged from their obligation to eternal death. The obligation that sin layeth the sinner under to eternal death may be remitted, and yet the temporal punishment due to them may remain, 2 Samuel 12:13,14, &c. And, on the other side, the punishment in this life may be suspended or remitted, and the obligation sin layeth the sinner under to eternal death may remain.
the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none;
and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; not that they will be wholly free from sin; or there will be none in them; or none committed by them; or that their sins are no sins; or that God has no sight or knowledge of them; but that they will not be found upon them, so as to be charged on them in a judicial way; having been removed from them to Christ, and satisfaction made for them by him; who has finished them, and made an end of them, so as that no condemnation or punishment can be inflicted on them for them; wherefore, should they be sought for by Satan, or by the law and justice of God, they will never be found, so as to be brought against them to their condemnation. The reason is,
for I will pardon them whom I reserve; the remnant, according to the election of grace, whom God has chosen in Christ, preserved in him, and reserved for himself, for his own glory, and for eternal happiness; these are pardoned freely for Christ's sake; and being pardoned, no sin is imputed to them; all is removed from them, as far as the east is from the west; covered out of the sight of God; hid from the eye of avenging justice; blotted out as a debt book, which is not legible, or as a cloud which is no more; cast by the Lord behind his back, and into the depths of the sea, and entirely forgotten; never remembered or seen more, but buried in everlasting oblivion and obscurity; see Romans 11:27.In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. In those days, and in that time, etc.] See on ch. Jeremiah 23:5 and cp. Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:18.
whom I leave] those who come forth at the end out of the long tribulation.Verse 20. - In those days, etc. An evangelical promise, reminding us of Jeremiah 31:34 and Jeremiah 33:8, and of the combination of spiritual with temporal blessings in the latter part of Isaiah. Isaiah 13:18, where the Medes are mentioned as archers. ידה is used only here, in Kal, of the throwing, i.e., the shooting of arrows, instead of ירה, which is elsewhere the usual word for this; and, indeed, some codices have the latter word in this passage. "Spare not the arrow," i.e., do not spare an arrow; cf. Jeremiah 51:3. הריע, to cry aloud; here, to raise a battle-cry; cf. Joshua 6:16. The effect and result of the cry is, "she hath given her hand," i.e., given herself up. נתן יד usually signifies the giving of the hand as a pledge of faithfulness (2 Kings 10:15; Ezekiel 17:18; Ezra 10:19), from which is derived the meaning of giving up, delivering up oneself; cf. 2 Chronicles 30:8. Cf. Cornelius Nepos, Hamilc. c. 1, donec victi manum dedissent. The ἁπ. λεγ. אשׁויתיה (the Kethib is either to be read אשׁויּתיה, as if from a noun אשׁוית, or to be viewed as an error in transcription for אשׁיותיה, which is the Qeri) signifies "supports," and comes from אשׁה, Arab. asâ, to support, help; then the supports of a building, its foundations; cf. אשּׁיּא, Ezra 4:12. Here the word signifies the supports of the city, i.e., the fortifications of Babylon, ἐπάλξεις, propugnacula, pinnae, the battlements of the city wall, not the foundations of the walls, for which נפל is unsuitable. "It (sc., the destruction of Babylon) is the vengeance of Jahveh." "The vengeance of Jahveh" is an expression derived from Numbers 31:3. "Avenge yourselves on her," i.e., take retribution for what Babylon has done to other nations, especially to the people of God; cf. 27f. and Jeremiah 51:11. The words, "cut off out of Babylon the sower and the reaper," are not to be restricted to the fields, which, according to the testimonies of Diod. Sic. ii. 7, Pliny xviii. 17, and Curtius Jeremiah 51:1, lay within the wall round Babylon, but "Babylon" is the province together with its capital; and the objection of Ngelsbach, that the prophet, in the whole context, is describing the siege of the city of Babylon, is invalid, because Jeremiah 50:12 plainly shows that not merely the city, but the province of Babylon, is to become a wilderness, desert, and steppe. The further threat, also, "every one flees to his own people from before the oppressing sword" (cf. Jeremiah 25:38; Jeremiah 46:16), applies not merely to the strangers residing in Babylon, but generally to those in Babylonia. Hitzig would arbitrarily refer these words merely to the husbandmen and field-workers. The fundamental passage, Isaiah 13:14, which Jeremiah had before his mind and repeats verbatim, tells decidedly against this view; cf. also Jeremiah 51:9, Jeremiah 51:44.
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