Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Your ways and your doings.—“Ways,” as in Zechariah 1:6, of general habits, “doings” of separate acts.
I will cause you to dwell.—The English suggests the thoughts of something new, but what Jeremiah promises is simply the continuance of the blessings they had hitherto enjoyed. I will let you dwell.Jeremiah 7:3. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel — As creatures, we are all bound to regard the Lord of hosts; as members of the visible church, the God of Israel; what he said to them he says to us; and it is much the same with that which John the Baptist said to those whom he baptized, Matthew 3:8-9. Bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and think not to say, within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father. Amend your ways and your doings — This implies that there had been much amiss in their ways and doings, but it was a great instance of the goodness of God to them, that he gave them liberty to amend, showed them wherein and how they must amend, and promised to accept them upon their amendment. And I will cause you to dwell in this place — Namely, quietly and peaceably. You shall not go into captivity, but a stop shall be put to that which threatens your expulsion. Observe, reader, reformation is the only way, and a sure way to prevent ruin.Amend your ways and your doings, i.e. mend your manners. Amending signifies both to turn from our evil works, and make our good better.
I will cause you to dwell in this place; you shall not go into captivity, implying that otherwise they should; he will continue their habitations to them from age to age, as Jeremiah 7:7. The doing of a thing in Scripture often implies the continuance of it: Leviticus 26:11,
I will set my tabernacle, i.e. I will continue it.
amend your ways and your doings; or, "make them good" (l); which shows that they were bad, and were not agreeable to the law and will of God, to which they ought to have been conformed; and the way to amend them was to act according to the rule of the divine word they were favoured with:
and I will cause you to dwell in this place; to continue to dwell in Jerusalem, and in Judea, the land of their nativity, and in the temple, the house of God, and place of religious worship; but, if not, it is suggested that they should not continue here, but be carried captive into a strange land.Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. your ways and your doings] a frequent expression in this Book. See Intr. iii. § 14 (b), note. Cp. Ezekiel 14:22 f., Ezekiel 20:43, Jeremiah 36:17; Zechariah 1:4; Zechariah 1:6.Jeremiah 4:11; on "gird thee with sackcloth," cf. Jeremiah 4:8. To bestrew the head with ashes is a mode of expressing the greatest affliction; cf. Ezekiel 27:30; Micah 1:10. אבל as in Amos 8:10; Zechariah 12:10.
The closing verses of this discourse (Jeremiah 6:27-30) are regarded by Hitz. as a meditation upon the results of his labours. "He was to try the people, and he found it to be evil." But in this he neglects the connection of these verses with the preceding. From the conclusion of Jeremiah 6:30, "Jahveh hath rejected them," we may see that they stand connected in matter with the threatening of the spoiler; and the fact is put beyond a doubt when we compare together the greater subdivisions of the present discourse. The Jeremiah 6:27-30 correspond in substance with the view given in Jeremiah 5:30-31 of the moral character of the people. As that statement shows the reasons for the threatening that God must take vengeance on such a people (Jeremiah 5:29), so what is said in the verses before us explain why it is threatened that a people approaching from the north will execute judgment without mercy on the daughter of Zion. For these verses do not tell us only the results of the prophet's past labours, but they at the same time indicate that his further efforts will be without effect. The people is like copper and iron, unproductive of either gold or silver; and so the smelting process is in vain. The illustration and the thing illustrated are not strictly discriminated in the statement. בּחון is adject. verb. with active force: he that tries metal, that by smelting separates the slag from the gold and silver ore; cf. Zechariah 13:9; Job 23:10. מבצר creates a difficulty, and is very variously understood. The ancient comm. have interpreted it, according to Jeremiah 1:18, as either in a fortress, or as a fortress. So the Chald., changing בחון for בחור: electum dedi te in populo meo, in urbe munita forti. Jerome: datur propheta populo incredulo probator robustus, quod ebraice dicitur מבצר, quod vel munitum juxta Aquil., vel clausum atque circumdatum juxta Symm. et lxx sonat. The extant text of the lxx has ἐν λαοῖς δεδοκιμασμένοις. Following the usage of the language, we are justified only in taking מבצר as apposition to בּחון, or to the suffix in נתתּיך; in which case Luther's connection of it with עמּי, "among my people, which is so hard," will appear to be impossible. But again, it has been objected, not without reason, that the reference of "fortress" to Jeremiah is here opposed to the context, while in Jeremiah 1:18 it falls well in with it; consequently other interpretations have been attempted. Gaab, Maur., Hitz., have taken note of the fact that בּצר occurs in Job 36:19, like בּצר in the signification of gold; they take מבצר as a contraction for מן בצר, and expound: without gold, i.e., although then was there no gold, to try for which was thy task. To this view Graf has objected: the testing would be wholly purposeless, if it was already declared beforehand that there was no noble metal in the people. But this objection is not conclusive; for the testing could only have as its aim to exhibit the real character of the people, so as to bring home to the people's apprehension what was already well known to God. These are weightier considerations: 1. We cannot make sure of the meaning gold-ore for בּצר by means of Job 36:19, since the interpretation there is open to dispute; and בּצר, Job 22:24, does not properly mean gold, but unworked ore, though in its connection with the context we must understand virgin gold and silver ore in its natural condition. Here, accordingly, we would be entitled to translate only: without virgin ore, native metal. 2. The choice of a word so unusual is singular, and the connection of מבצר with עמּי htiw is still very harsh. Yet less satisfactory is the emendation defended by J. D. Mich., Dahl, Ew., and Graf, מבצּר: "for a trier have I made thee among my people, for a separater;" for בּצר has in Heb. only the meaning cut off and fortify, and the Pi. occurs in Isaiah 22:10 and Jeremiah 51:53 in the latter meaning, whereas the signif. separate, discriminate, can be maintained neither from Hebrew nor Arabic usage. The case being so, it seems to us that the interpretation acc. to Jeremiah 1:18 has most to be said for it: To be a trier have I set thee amid my people "as a strong tower;" and to this Ges., Dietr. in Lex. s.v., adhere.
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