The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD…
These are not to be understood of the opposite development of character in two sets of persons in slightly differing circumstances, but rather of the primary influence of Divine faith as contrasted with the want of it amidst the trials of life. The people left behind were disposed to felicitate themselves over their brethren who had been carried off into Chaldea, but this impression is corrected by Jeremiah. The exiles were the true people of God, and were to be under his constant supervision and loving care; the others were to be cast off, to become a prey to inner corruption and the unchecked destructive influences of the world.
I. THE MYSTERY OF THE DIVINE ELECTION. From comparatively similar circumstances to evolve distinct types of character and destiny. Out of the same clay to mold the saint and the sinner. It is the old lesson of the potter in another form. There is nothing in a man himself to account for God's favor. He chooseth whom he will and rejecteth whom he will. Yet is it true that he willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that all should come unto him and live.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH ELECTIVE GRACE MANIFESTS ITSELF.
1. Recalling. (Ver. 6.) How unlikely under the circumstances! Yet rendered credible by the remarkable individuality of the Jewish people from age to age. Reconstituting. (Ver. 6.) The figure is twofold - building and life-growth (cf. Ephesians 2:21, 22). Spiritually recreating. (Ver. 7.) The aim of the previous discipline; but the beginning of great national glory and blessedness. For connection of these processes, cf. Romans 8:28-30.
2. Circumstances are made to subserve a merciful purpose. The immediate condition of the Chaldean exiles might appear a harder one than that of their compatriots at home; but in the end this would turn to their salvation. Not only will God overrule all things for the good of his people, but he will use them for their spiritual education. The influence of circumstances is thus shown to depend for the most part upon the spiritual state of those who are surrounded by them.
3. Circumstances are appointed for the destruction of the obstinately impenitent. Moral reprobation and political annihilation were to come upon these. There would be no swerving or slackening in the execution of their sentence. This is agreeable with the character of him who hates sin with an eternal hatred. The climax of misery here indicated is but a faint suggestion of that which will follow upon rejection of the gospel. And yet how simple are the elements of such a punishment! God has but to withdraw his grace, and the inner depravity of nature will work unchecked its fearful consequences, accelerating and directing the external circumstances of life. And all this has another aspect, which is full of comfort to those who are spiritually inclined. The faintest dawn of repentance is the opening of the "door of hope;" and when the heart is changed the tendency of untoward circumstance at once is altered, and the positive blessings of God again return. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
WEB: Yahweh showed me, and behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of Yahweh, after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.