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Jeremiah 15 commentary


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A verse by verse commentary on Jeremiah 15 dealing with the declaration by God that even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him it would not make His heart go out to His people, and so they face only judgment.

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Jeremiah 15 commentary

  1. 1. JEREMIAH 15 COMMENTARY EDITED BY GLENN PEASE 1 Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go! BARNES, "Cast them out of my sight - Rather, “send them out of My presence, and let them go away.” The prophet is to dismiss them, because their mediators, Moses and Samuel, whose intercession had been accepted in old times (marginal references), would intercede now in vain. CLARKE, "Though Moses and Samuel - Moses had often supplicated for the people; and in consequence they were spared. See Exo_32:11 and following verses, Num_14:13. Samuel also had prayed for the people, and God heard him, 1Sa_7:9; but if these or the most holy men were now to supplicate for this people, he would not spare them. Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth - Do not bring them into my presence by your prayers; let them go forth into captivity. GILL, "Then said the Lord unto me,.... In answer to his expostulations and entreaties, Jer_14:19, though Moses and Samuel stood before me; to pray before me, as the Targum; to make intercession for the people. Standing is a prayer gesture. The Jews say there is no standing but prayer, or that is meant when it is mentioned; See Gill on Mat_6:5. Moses and Samuel were named, because they were eminent for prayer, and had success in it, for the people of Israel. Of Moses, see Exo_32:11 and of Samuel, see 1Sa_7:9 and of both, Psa_99:6. The Arabic version reads "Moses and Aaron", but wrongly. The Palmists make use of this text to prove the intercession of saints in heaven for those on earth; but the words are only a supposition, and not a fact. The meaning is, that supposing that Moses and Samuel were alive, and made intercession for the people, their prayers would not be regarded; and such a supposition, as it suggests that they were not alive, so that they did 1
  2. 2. not stand before him, and make intercession for Judah; wherefore this is against, and not for, the intercession of saints in heaven: yet my mind could not be towards this people; God could have no good will to them, no delight in them; could not be reconciled to them, or agree to it, that the favours asked for should be granted them, or that they should be continued in their own land; and therefore it was in vain for the prophet to solicit on their account; but, on the other hand, it is ordered as follows: cast them out of my sight; or presence; as persons loathsome and abominable, not to be borne; I cannot look upon them, or have anything to say to them, in a favourable way: and let them go forth; from my presence, from the temple, the city, and out of their own land; that is, declare that so it shall be. HENRY, "e scarcely find any where more pathetic expressions of divine wrath against a provoking people than we have here in these verses. The prophet had prayed earnestly for them, and found some among them to join with him; and yet not so much as a reprieve was gained, nor the least mitigation of the judgment; but this answer is given to the prophet's prayers, that the decree had gone forth, was irreversible, and would shortly be executed. 2. He will not admit any intercession to be made for them (Jer_15:1): “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, by prayer or sacrifice to reconcile me to them, yet I could not be prevailed with to admit them into favour.” Moses and Samuel were two as great favourites of Heaven as ever were the blessings of this earth, and were particularly famed for the success of their mediation between God and his offending people; many a time they would have been destroyed if Moses had not stood before him in the breach; and to Samuel's prayers they owed their lives (1Sa_12:19); yet even their intercessions should not prevail, no, not though they were now in a state of perfection, much less Jeremiah's who was now a man subject to like passions as others. The putting of this as a case, Though they should stand before me, supposes that they do not, and is an intimation that saints in heaven are not intercessors for saints on earth. It is the prerogative of the Eternal Word to be the only Mediator in the other world, whatever Moses, and Samuel, and others were in this. JAMISON, "Jer_15:1-21. God’s reply to Jeremiah’s intercessory prayer. Moses ... Samuel — eminent in intercessions (Exo_32:11, Exo_32:12; 1Sa_7:9; Psa_ 99:6). be toward — could not be favorably inclined toward them. out of my sight — God speaks as if the people were present before Him, along with Jeremiah. K&D 1-4, ""And Jahveh said unto me: If Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet would not my soul incline to this people. Drive them from my face, that they go forth. Jer_15:2. And if they say to thee: Whither shall we go forth? then say to them: Thus hath Jahveh said - Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the 2
  3. 3. sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity. Jer_15:3. And I appoint over them four kinds, saith Jahveh: the sword to slay and the dogs to tear, the fowls of the heaven and the cattle of the earth, to devour and destroy. Jer_15:4. And I give them up to be abused to all kingdoms of the earth, for Manasseh's sake, the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem. Jer_15:5. For who shall have pity upon thee, Jerusalem? and who shall bemoan thee? and who shall go aside to ask after thy welfare? Jer_15:6. Thou hast rejected me, saith Jahveh; thou goest backwards, and so I stretch forth mine hand against thee and destroy thee; I am weary of repenting. Jer_15:7. And I fan them with a fain into the gates of the land: bereave, ruin my people; from their ways they turned not. Jer_15:8. More in number are his widows become unto me than the sand of the sea; I bring to them, against the mother of the young man, a spoiler at noon-day; I cause to fall upon her suddenly anguish and terrors. Jer_15:9. She that hath borne seven languisheth, she breatheth out her soul, her sun goeth down while yet it is day, she is put to shame and confounded; and their residue I give to the sword before their enemies, saith Jahveh." The Lord had indeed distinctly refused the favour sought for Judah; yet the command to disclose to the people the sorrow of his own soul at their calamity (Jer_15:17 and Jer_ 15:18) gave the prophet courage to renew his supplication, and to ask of the Lord if He had in very truth cast off Judah and Zion (Jer_15:19), and to set forth the reasons which made this seem impossible (Jer_15:20 -22). In the question, Jer_15:19, the emphasis lies on the ָ‫תּ‬ ְ‫ס‬ ַ‫א‬ ָ‫,מ‬ strengthened as it is by the inf. abs.: hast Thou utterly or really rejected? The form of the question is the same as that in Jer_2:14; first the double question, dealing with a state of affairs which the questioner is unable to regard as being actually the case, and then a further question, conveying wonder at what has happened. ‫ל‬ַ‫ָע‬‫גּ‬, loathe, cast from one, is synonymous with ‫ס‬ ַ‫א‬ ָ‫.מ‬ The second clause agrees verbally with Jer_8:15. The reasons why the Lord cannot have wholly rejected Judah are: 1. That they acknowledge their wickedness. Confession of sin is the beginning of return to God; and in case of such return, the Lord, by His compassion, has vouchsafed to His people forgiveness and the renewal of covenant blessings; cf. Lev_26:41., Deu_30:2. Along with their own evil doing, the transgression of their fathers is mentioned, cf. Jer_2:5., Jer_ 7:25., that full confession may be made of the entire weight of wickedness for which Israel has made itself answerable. So that, on its own account, Judah has no claim upon the help of its God. But the Lord may be moved thereto by regard for His name and the covenant relation. On this is founded the prayer of Jer_15:21 : Abhor not, sc. thy people, for Thy name's sake, lest Thou appear powerless to help in the eyes of the nations; see on Jer_15:7 and on Num_14:16. ‫ל‬ ֵ‫בּ‬ִ‫,נ‬ lit., to treat as fools, see on Deu_32:15, here: make contemptible. The throne of the glory of God is the temple, where Jahveh sits enthroned over the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies, Exo_25:22, etc. The destruction of Jerusalem would, by the sack of the temple, dishonour the throne of the Lord. The object to "remember," viz., "Thy covenant," comes after "break not." The remembering or rememberedness of the covenant is shown in the not breaking maintenance of the same; cf. Lev_26:44. Lastly, we have in v. 22 the final motive for supplication: that the Lord alone can put an end to trouble. Neither the vain gods of the heathen (‫ים‬ ִ‫ל‬ ָ‫ב‬ֲ‫,ה‬ see Jer_ 8:19) can procure rain, nor can the heaven, as one of the powers of nature, without power from God. ‫ה‬ ָ‫תּ‬ ַ‫א‬ ‫,הוּא‬ Thou art (‫הוּא‬ is the copula between subject and predicate). Thou hast made all these. Not: the heaven and the earth, as Hitz. and Gr. would make it, 3
  4. 4. after Isa_37:16; still less is it, with Calv.: the punishment inflicted on us; but, as ‫ה‬ֶ‫לּ‬ ֵ‫א‬ demands, the things mentioned immediately before: caelum, pluvias et quidquid est in omni rerum natura, Ros. Only when thus taken, does the clause contain any motive for: we wait upon Thee, i.e., expect from Thee help out of our trouble. It further clearly appears from this verse that the supplication was called forth by the calamity depicted in Jer_15:2-5. Jer_15:1-4 Decisive refusal of the petition. - Jer_15:1. Even Moses and Samuel, who stood so far in God's favour that by their supplications they repeatedly rescued their people from overwhelming ruin (cf. Exo_17:11; Exo_32:11., Num_14:13., and 1Sa_7:9., Jer_12:17., Psa_99:6), if they were to come now before the Lord, would not incline His love towards this people. ‫ל‬ ֶ‫א‬ indicates the direction of the soul towards any one; in this connection: the inclination of it towards the people. He has cast off this people and will no longer let them come before His face. In Jer_15:2-9 this is set forth with terrible earnestness. We must supply the object, "this people," to "drive" from the preceding clause. "From my face" implies the people's standing before the Lord in the temple, where they had appeared bringing sacrifices, and by prayer invoking His help (Jer_14:12). To go forth from the temple = to go forth from God's face. Jer_15:2. But in case they ask where they are to go to, Jeremiah is to give them the sarcastic direction: Each to the destruction allotted to him. He that is appointed to death, shall go forth to death, etc. The clauses: such as are for death, etc., are to be filled up after the analogy of 2Sa_15:20; 2Ki_8:1, so that before the second "death," "sword," etc., we supply the verb "shall go." There are mentioned four kinds of punishments that are to befall the people. The "death" mentioned over and above the sword is death by disease, for which we have in Jer_14:12 ‫ר‬ ֶ‫ב‬ ֶ‫,דּ‬ pestilence, disease; cf. Jer_43:11, where death, captivity, and sword are mentioned together, with Eze_14:21, sword, famine, wild beasts, and disease (‫ר‬ ֶ‫ב‬ ֶ‫,)דּ‬ and Eze_ 33:27, sword, wild beasts, and disease. This doom is made more terrible in Jer_15:3. The Lord will appoint over them (‫ד‬ ַ‫ק‬ָ‫פּ‬ as in Jer_13:21) four kinds, i.e., four different destructive powers which shall prepare a miserable end for them. One is the sword already mentioned in Jer_15:2, which slays them; the three others are to execute judgment on the dead: the dogs which shall tear, mutilate, and partly devour the dead bodies (cf. 2Ki_9:35, 2Ki_9:37), and birds and beasts of prey, vultures, jackals, and others, which shall make an end of such portions as are left by the dogs. In Jer_15:4 the whole is summed up in the threatening of Deu_28:25, that the people shall be delivered over to be abused to all the kingdoms of the earth, and the cause of this terrible judgment is mentioned. The Chet. ‫זועה‬ is not to be read ‫ה‬ָ‫ָע‬‫ו‬ְ‫,ז‬ but ‫ה‬ָ‫ע‬ ‫,ז‬ and is the contracted form from ‫ָה‬‫ו‬ֲ‫ע‬ַ‫ז‬, see on Deu_28:25, from the rad. ַ‫,זוּע‬ lit., tossing hither and thither, hence for maltreatment. For the sake of King Manasseh, who by his godless courses had filled up the measure of the people's sins, so that the Lord must cast Judah away from His face, and give it up to the heathen to be chastised; cf. 2Ki_23:26; 2Ki_ 24:3, with the exposition of these passages; and as to what Manasseh did, see 2 Kings 21:1-16. CALVIN, "God again repeats what we have before observed, — that as the impieties and sins of the people had arrived at the highest pitch, there was no more 4
  5. 5. room for pardon or for mercy: and though God seems to have rejected altogether the prayer of his servant, we are not yet to think that it was without any benefit. Jeremiah wished indeed to deliver the whole people from destruction; but he did not thus pray inconsiderately and uselessly; for he distinguished between the titular church, as they say, and the chosen seed, for he knew that many were become the degenerated children of Abraham: nor was he unacquainted with what is said in the Psalms, “Who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, and who shall stand on the mount of thy holiness? He who is innocent as to his hands, and is of a pure heart.” (Psalms 15:1) The Prophet there distinctly shews that hypocrites glory in vain, because they had a free entrance into the Temple, and sacrificed together with the faithful; for a clean heart and pure hands are required. Jeremiah no doubt fully understood this. Though then he extended his solicitude to the whole body of the people, he yet knew that there was a chosen seed. So at this day, when we pray, we ought, according to the rule of charity, to include all, for we cannot fix on those whom God has chosen or whom he has rejected; and thus we ought, as far as we can, to promote the salvation of all; and yet we know, as a general truth, that many are reprobate for whom our prayers will avail nothing; we know this, and yet we cannot point out any one as by the finger. So then the prayer of Jeremiah was not useless; but in its very form, as they say, it was not heard, for he wished the whole people to be saved; but as God had resolved to destroy the ungodly, such as were beyond the reach of hope on account of their untamable obstinacy, Jeremiah obtained only in part what he prayed for, — that God would preserve his Church, which then was in a manner hidden. But it is now said, If stand before me did Moses and Samuel, (126) my soul would not be towards this people The meaning is, that though all intercessors came forth in their behalf, they could do nothing, for God had rejected them. Moses and Samuel are here mentioned, but in another place Job and Daniel are named, and for the same reason. (Ezekiel 14:14) Moses is mentioned here, because we find that he offered himself, and wished to be, an anathema for his people. “Blot me out of the book of life, or spare this people.” (Exodus 32:32) As then God’s wrath had been so often pacified by Moses, he is here mentioned; for when it was all over with the people, he delivered them as it were from eternal death, and this was well and commonly known to the Jews. As to Samuel, we know how celebrated he was, and that God had been often pacified by him for the preservation of the whole people; but at length, when he prayed for Saul, God did indeed restrain his immoderate zeal, and forbade him to pray any more, (1 Samuel 16:1) and yet he ceased not to pray. As then there was so great a fervor in Samuel, that he in a manner struggled with God, he is here joined with Moses: “If, then, 5
  6. 6. stand before me did these two, my soul, or my heart, would be alienated from this people, for I shall be no more pacified towards them.” But he speaks of the perverse multitude, which had so often wilfully sought their own destruction; for, as it has appeared elsewhere, the people had never been rejected; and yet we must distinguish between the chaff and the wheat. Judea was, as it were, the threshing — floor of God, on which there was a great heap of chaff, for the multitude had departed from true religion; and there were a few grains found hid in the rubbish. Hence the heart of God was not towards the people, that is, towards the degenerated children of Abraham, who were proud only of their name, while they were covenant — breakers; for they had long ago forsaken the true worship of God and all integrity. Therefore the heart of God was not towards them. At the same time he preserved, in a wonderful and in a hidden manner, a remnant. Now this passage teaches us what James also mentions, that the prayer of the righteous avails much with God; and he brings forward the example of Elijah, who closed heaven by his prayer, so that it rained not for a long time; and who afterwards opened heaven by his prayer, so as to obtain rain from God. (James 5:16) He hence infers that the prayers of the righteous avail much, not only when they pray for themselves, but also when they pray for others; for Elijah had no particular regard for himself, but his object was to gain relief for the whole people. It is indeed certain that the intercession of the saints is highly appreciated by God; and hence it is that we are bidden winingly and freely to make known to one another our necessities, so that we may mutually help and pray for one another. But we must at the same time observe, that they who think themselves to be commended to God by others in their prayers, ought not on that account to become more secure; for it is certain, that as the prayers of the faithful avail the members of Christ, so they do no good to the ungodly and the hypocrites. Nor does God indeed bid us to acquiesce in the confidence, that others pray for us, but bids every one to pray, and also to join their prayers with those of all the members of the ChurJeremiah Whosoever then desires to profit by the prayers of the saints must also pray himself. It is true, I allow, that the prayers of the saints sometimes benefit even the ungodly and aliens; for it was not in vain that Christ prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34) nor did Stephen pray in vain when he offered up a similar prayer, (Acts 7:60) and I am disposed to agree with what Augustine says, that Paul, among others, was the effect of Stephen’s prayer. (Serm. 1, de Sanctis) But I am speaking now of what we must do when we find that we are helped by the prayers of the saints, that is, that we are strenuously to perform our part, and strive to shew for our brethren the same solicitude and care as we expect from them. It is then certain beyond a doubt, that each is not only heard when he prays for himself, but that the prayers of the saints avail in behalf of others. 6
  7. 7. But extremely ridiculous are the Papists, who apply this passage to dead saints: Moses and Samuel, they say, were dead, when God declared what is here said; it is then true that they prayed. The inference is worthy of such teachers, which is as good as the braying of an ass. There is here a supposition made, as though God did say, “If Moses and Samuel were now alive and interceded for them, I would yet remain implacable.” But Ezekiel mentions Daniel, who was then living, and he names also Job. We hence see that he makes no distinction between the dead and the living. Therefore the Papists are extremely foolish and stupid when they thus idly prate that the dead pray for the living, on the ground of what is here said of Moses and Samuel. It is not then worthwhile to refute this ignorant assertion, as it vanishes almost of itself: a brief warning, lest ally one should be deluded by such a cavil, is sufficient. (127) He afterwards bids the Prophet to east away the people; cast them away, or banish them, he says, from my presence He doubtless speaks here in a strong manner, “Let them be gone from me.” But yet God shews what he had commanded his Prophet; as though he had said, “Fulfil thou thine office, remember what burden I have laid on thee.” Jeremiah had been ordered to denounce exile on the people? he was the herald of divine vengeance. As then he sustained this office, it was his duty to execute the commission which God had given him. We now then apprehend what these words mean, cast them away (128) But we must again notice here what we have before seen, — that God commends the efficacy of prophetic doctrine, according to what has been said, “I set thee over nations and kingdoms, to plant and to root up, to build and to destroy,” (Jeremiah 1:10) Then God intimates, that so great a power would be in the mouth of his servant, that though the Jews mocked at his predictions, as if they were vain threatenings to frighten children, they would yet be like thunderbolts; so that Jeremiah would drive away the people, as though he was furnished with a large army and great forces, according to what Paul declares, — that he had power given him to cast down every height that exalted itself against Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) As then God claims so great an authority for his prophetic doctrine, when threatening the unbelieving with punishment, let us know that the same extends to all the promises of salvation. Therefore, whenever God offers grace to us by the gospel, and testifies that he will be propitious to us, let us know that heaven is in a manner open to us; and let us not seek any other ground of assurance than his own testimony: and why? because as to the prophets was given the power of binding and loosing, so now the same power is given to the Church, that is, to invite all to be saved who are as yet healable, and to denounce eternal ruin on the reprobate and the obstinate in their wickedness, according to what is said by Christ, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye 7
  8. 8. shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19) For he gave his Apostles the power not only of binding, but also of loosing. And Paul, after having spoken in high terms of the former power, adds, “When your obedience shall be accomplished,” (2 Corinthians 10:6) as though he had said, that the gospel was not preached only for this end, to pronounce death on the reprobate, but that it was also a pledge of salvation to all the elect, to them who embraced by true faith the promises offered to them. (lang. cy) Pe savai Moses a Samuel o’m blaen. This is the Hebrew, word for word. Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate retain the singular number of the verb; but they are not grammatically correct. — Ed. “This passage fully proves that departed saints do not intercede for us; for it evidently implies that Moses and Samuel did not then stand before the Lord in behalf of Israel or of any in Israel.” — Ed. Send them from my presence, and let them go forth: 2.And it shall be, when they say to thee, “Where shall we go forth?” that thou shalt say to them — Thus saith Jehova, — “Those for death, to death; And those for the sword, to the sword; And those for the famine, to the famine; And those for captivity, to captivity.” It is observed by Venema and Blaney, that “death” was that by pestilence. See Jeremiah 14:12, Jeremiah 18:21. Some were destined for death by pestilence, to this they were to go forth: and so as to the other evils. The Rabbis say that there are gradations in the evils mentioned here: death by pestilence is the less grievous than the sword; the sword than the famine; the famine than captivity; the last being more grievous than all the other evils. See 2 Samuel 24:13; Lamentations 4:9; and Leviticus 26:39. The “sword” being the principal weapon, is put here for any violent death inflicted by enemies. — Ed. COFFMAN, "Verse 1 JEREMIAH 15 JEREMIAH'S SECOND PERSONAL LAMENT 8
  9. 9. Of course, the first nine verses of this chapter, especially the first four, continue the thought of the last chapter. Henderson suggested the following chapter divisions:[1] Judah had sinned beyond the possibility of God's averting their punishment (Jeremiah 15:1-4); continued prophecy of Judah's destruction (Jeremiah 15:5-9); beginning of Jeremiah's lament (Jeremiah 15:10-11); destruction of Judah inevitable (Jeremiah 15:12-14); Jeremiah's discouragement and denial of his commission (Jeremiah 15:15-18); God's command to Jeremiah with promises contingent upon his obedience (Jeremiah 15:19-21). Jeremiah 15:1-4 GOD'S NEGATIVE ANSWER TO JUDAH'S PLEA "Thus said Jehovah unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind would not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. And it shall come to pass when they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, thus saith Jehovah: Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity. And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith Jehovah: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth to destroy. And I will cause them to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem." "Moses and Samuel ..." (Jeremiah 15:1). These were historical heroes of the Jewish people, who, upon serious occasions of Israel's rebellion against the Lord, had interceded for them, praying for their forgiveness; and there were several examples of this in the Old Testament. (Exodus 32:11-14,30-34; Numbers 24:13-23; Deuteronomy 9:18-20,15-29; 1 Samuel 7:5-9; 12:19-25; and Psalms 99:6-8). However, the sad message here is that even the intercession of such intercessors as Moses and Samuel would be of no avail whatever in the present extremity of Judah's total apostasy and rebellion. We find no agreement with Thompson who thought that Jeremiah might have mentioned Moses and Samuel here, "because he saw in those two men a pattern of his own ministry; for he was in that succession of prophets `like unto Moses' (Deuteronomy 18:9-33)."[2] However, the Bible has no mention of a succession of "prophets" (plural) like unto Moses, but speaks of "The Prophet Like unto Moses," a reference to Jesus Christ and to no other! The perversion of this prophecy through Moses mentioned here is a favorite device of critics, but it stands upon no authority whatever. "Let them go forth ..." (Jeremiah 15:1). The meaning of this was extensive: "Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. Do not bring them into my presence by your prayers; let them go forth into captivity."[3] The meaning is further elaborated 9
  10. 10. in the next verse. Feinberg's rendition of Jeremiah 15:2-4 here is excellent: "Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity. I will send four kinds of destroyers against them, saith the Lord, The sword to kill, and the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the field to devour and destroy."[4] "Because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah ..." (Jeremiah 15:4). "The name of the pious father intensifies the horror at the wickedness of the son."[5] It might appear from this that the invasion and captivity of Judah were the consequences of Manasseh's wicked reign; but it was not that reign alone that resulted in such disasters. "It was because the people persevered in that wickedness."[6] They resented and disapproved of Josiah's reforms; as soon as Jehoiachim came to the throne, they heartily supported that wicked king's campaign to restore all of the idolatrous trappings of Manasseh's evil reign; and, when Jeremiah's magnificent prophecies appeared to be a hindrance to such a resurgence of paganism, they plotted to kill Jeremiah. It was all of that, plus the deliberate preference of the great majority of Israel for the licentious rites of idolatry far over above the righteous government of the Lord that led to their eventual destruction and the deportation of a remnant. COKE, "Jeremiah 15:1. Then said the Lord, &c.— This is the answer of the Lord to the fervent prayers of Jeremiah in the last chapter: "If Moses and Samuel," saith he, "could revive, and unite in their intercessions for this people, those two men, my faithful servants, heretofore so prevalent with me, could not change my resolution." Jeremiah may be here considered as in the temple, at the head of an humble people, asking mercy for them. The Lord dismisses them with a severity whereof we have few examples in Scripture. See Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:16. By death, in the next verse, is meant the mortality occasioned by the drought and dearth; and accordingly we may render it, Such as are for the mortality, to the mortality. WHEDON. "Verses 1-9 JEREMIAH’S PRAYER REFUSED, Jeremiah 15:1-9. Here again we have an example of unfortunate chapter division. The connexion between the last verses of the preceding chapter and the opening portion of the 10
  11. 11. present chapter is most intimate. To break it by one of the great chapter divisions is misleading. In the concluding portion of the preceding chapter the prophet’s prayer is urgent and importunate; here we have a still more emphatic refusal. TRAPP, "Verse 1 Jeremiah 15:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, [yet] my mind [could] not [be] toward this people: cast [them] out of my sight, and let them go forth. Ver. 1. Then said the Lord unto me.] In answer to my prayer he replied, Thou hast well prayed, sed stat sententia, I am set, I am inexorable. Though Moses.] That chancellor of heaven, as one calleth him; who not only "ruled with God," but overruled. [Exodus 32:11-14,Numbers 14:19-20] And Samuel.] A mighty man likewise in prayer. See 1 Samuel 7:9, called therefore Pethuel, as some think, [Joel 1:1] that is, a God persuader. These two were famous in their generations for hearty love to, and prayers for, that rebellious people, and did much for them. But, so the case now stood, if these favourites were alive, and should intercede their utmost for them, it should avail nothing. See Ezekiel 14:14. Yet my mind could not be to this people.] This is spoken after the manner of men - q.d., I am implacably enraged, I am unchangeably resolved against them. Cast them out of my sight.] Tell them that I have utterly rejected them, and I will ratify and realise thy speeches. See on Jeremiah 1:10. And let them go forth.] Or, Let them be gone - q.d., I am the worse to look upon them. ELLICOTT, " (1) Then said the Lord unto me.—With a bold and terrible anthropomorphism, the prophet again speaks as if he heard the voice of Jehovah rejecting all intercession for the apostate people. The passage reminds us of the mention of Noah, Daniel, and Job, in Ezekiel 14:14, as “able to deliver their own souls only by their righteousness.” Here Moses (Exodus 32:11; Numbers 14:13-20) and Samuel (1 Samuel 7:9; 1 Samuel 12:23) are named as having been conspicuous examples of the power of the prayer of intercession. Cast them out of my sight.—i.e., from my presence, from the courts of the Temple which they profane. That would be the answer of Jehovah, even if Moses and Samuel “stood before Him” (the phrase, as in Jeremiah 35:19, has a distinctly liturgical meaning), ministering in the Courts of the Temple. PETT, "Verses 1-9 11
  12. 12. YHWH’s Response To Jeremiah’s Plea Is Of The Absolute Certainty And Awfulness Of The Coming Judgment (Jeremiah 15:1-9). In the face of Jeremiah’s plea YHWH now makes clear that nothing can now stop His judgment from coming. Even though those two great intercessors Moses and Samuel were to pray for them it would be of no avail. (Compare for this Exodus 32:11-13; Numbers 14:13-20; 1 Samuel 7:8-9; 1 Samuel 12:23). Whatever is their allotted end must now come upon them, with the result that Judah will be ‘tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth’ as though they were a ball being tossed around in training. And all this was because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem. It must not, however be thought that it was all because of one man. The point is rather that the nation had responded to Manasseh gladly, following his lead assiduously. It was what resulted from the people as a result of what Manasseh did that was the root cause of the problem. Had Manasseh been alone in his sin the situation would not have arisen. That is why Jeremiah then makes clear that it is the people as a whole who have rejected YHWH, and because of whom this judgment is necessary. For as YHWH explains, although He had made every effort to bring them back to Himself by various methods, all had failed. Whatever He had done to them they had not returned from their ways. That is why wholesale death and captivity was the only possible answer. Jeremiah 15:1 ‘Then YHWH said to me, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, Yet my mind would not be toward this people, Cast them out of my sight, And let them go forth.” YHWH has twice told Jeremiah not to pray for good for Judah any more (Jeremiah 7:16; Jeremiah 14:11). Now He explains that even if Moses and Samuel were to intercede for them in His very Dwellingplace (to stand before God’ was to approach Him in His Dwelling place, either the Tabernacle or the Temple) His mind would not turn favourably towards His people. Jeremiah was thus, as it were, to cast them out of His sight (out of the Temple where they were no longer welcome), and to cause them to go forth from the land. Moses and Samuel were seen as the two great intercessors who had prevailed in prayer for God’s people when they had least deserved it (see Psalms 99:6): · Moses at the time of the worship of the golden calf when YHWH had proposed destroying the people and beginning again (Exodus 32:11-13) and then when the 12
  13. 13. people had rejected the advice of the two scouts, Joshua and Caleb, about obeying YHWH and going ahead with the invasion of Canaan, when His proposal had been the same. · Samuel in the face of the invasion by the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:8-9), and then when the people had rejected YHWH as their King because they wanted a human being to fight their battles for them (1 Samuel 12, especially Jeremiah 15:19-21). But even these great intercessors could not have helped Judah in their present predicament. Their corporate sin was a sin too far. YHWH’s mind had thus turned away from them and He wanted them cast out, both from the Temple and from the land, as He had warned would be the case in Numbers 18:25; Numbers 18:28. BI, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be towards this people. Righteousness, the strength of nations It is of great importance that we distinguish between communities, and the individuals of which communities are composed. When the whole human race shall be gathered before the tribunal of Christ, every man will receive the recompense due to his actions whilst on earth. But nations cannot be judged or punished as nations; so if God is to mark His sense of the evil wrought by communities in their collective capacity, it must be by present retribution. Accordingly we have full testimony given from Scripture and from experience, that although, in the ordinary course of Divine judgment, individuals are not in this life dealt with according to their actions, yet communities may expect to prosper or decline according as they resist or submit to the revealed will of God. The national character must be determined by the character of the majority; and when this character is so debased that the national punishment can no longer be delayed, there may be numbers influenced by a holy and unaffected piety, and warm love of God. And can these faithful ones be instruments in averting or mitigating wrath? Or if they cannot prevail for the deliverance of others, will they not at least be saved from all share in the coming disaster? These are interesting questions; and the best answer can be drawn from the words of our text. Moses and Samuel are supposed to stand forth as pleaders for the land; they are too late—pleading is in vain. Still it is evidently implied that at a less advanced stage in national guilt the intercession would have been of avail. Then, moreover, a distinction is evidently drawn between a guilty people and such advocates as Moses and Samuel. The people are to be “cast out”; but we are left to infer that such as Moses and Samuel would not share to the full extent in the national disaster. Let us look more closely into these points. Call to mind that remarkable portion of Holy Writ in which Abraham is represented as pleading for Sodom. If the city would have been spared had these ten righteous lived within its walls, there is incontrovertible proof that godly men are the salt of the earth, and may often be instrumental in preserving communities from utter desolation. It was not without a very emphatic meaning that Christ styled His disciples “the salt of the earth.” By their mere presence in the midst of ungodly men, and yet more, by their prayers and intercessions, may the righteous often arrest vengeance and prevent the utter ruin of a country. The wicked know nothing of their obligations to the righteous. In general, they despise or hate the righteous—either accounting them fools, or galled by the reproof conveyed by their example. If they had what they wish, 13
  14. 14. they would remove the righteous from amongst them, reckoning that they should then have greater freedom in pursuing their schemes, or enjoying their pleasures. And little do they think that these very objects of their scorn and dislike may be all the while their best guardians and benefactors; turning aside from them evils by which they might be otherwise rapidly overtaken, and procuring for them a lengthened portion of Divine patience and forbearance. Little do they think that the worst thing possible for their country and themselves is when there is a rapid diminution in the number of the righteous; every good man who dies and leaves no successor being as a practical withdrawal from that leaven which alone stays the progress of the universal decomposition. Now we have reached the point at which piety ceases to have power in averting evil from others. What does it, then, do for the pious themselves? Intercession time has gone—the judgment time has come; and every man must be dealt with according to his own character. But if righteousness then lose its power to avail with God for others, besides its possessors; and if on this account the righteous may well shrink from such seasons, yet it appears certain that righteousness is as acceptable as ever to God, and that therefore the righteous have nothing to fear individually for themselves. Come plague! come depopulation! if thou art indeed a devoted, consistent servant of God, they shall not touch thee till the time has come which has been fixed by thy merciful Father! “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” The funeral procession may wend often from their doors, bearing away (it is melancholy to think) those for whose salvation they have long prayed, and for whom they have daily sought a further day of grace; but they themselves shall be unassailed till the day which, in any case, God had fixed for their entry into rest; and thus shall the pestilence, whose ravages in their households did but fit them for higher glory, do only the part of common sickness in freeing them from a corruptible body. And, therefore, may those in whose hearts is “the fear of the Lord,” hear without trepidation what God says about bringing His sore judgments on a land. There are two very important considerations suggested by the subject we have thus endeavoured to discuss. 1. We wish you to observe that he who serves God, serves his country best. 2. We ask you to observe that whatever the advantages which a man derives from having pious relatives, there is a point at which those relatives can afford him no help. (H. Melvill, B. D.) Intercessory prayer I. Intercessory prayer is an exercise of great value. 1. As developing our love to man. Interesting ourselves in his trials, seeking to save him from his sins. 2. As carrying out the Divine precepts. In the spirit of Christ, in the fellowship of life. 3. As following after noble examples. 4. As obtaining great blessings for others. II. Intercessory prayer can be offered only by good men. 1. He must not be under the sin against which he prays. 14
  15. 15. 2. He should know by experience the value of the blessing he craves for another. 3. He must be willing to join effort with prayer. III. Intercessory prayer has some limitations even when offered by the best of men. This is evident— 1. From Scripture. 2. From observation. IV. Intercessory prayer is a grand distinction and provision of the Gospel. We have— 1. The best of intercessors (Heb_7:25). In office, sympathy, work, influence. 2. Praying for the best of blessings. Salvation, preservation, comfort, glory. 3. Taking up the ease of every soul that trusts Him. 4. Always successful. (W. Whale.) Intercession rejected The Hebrews had justly a very high opinion of Moses. How proudly they boasted, “We are the disciples of Moses!” As the late Dr. R.W. Dale has pointed out, “More than Luther is to Germany, more than Napoleon is to France, more than Alfred, or Elizabeth, or Cromwell, or William III. is to England, Moses was to the Jewish people—prophet, patriot, warrior, lawgiver, all in one.” Yet even so great a servant of God as Moses together with the famous seer Samuel, would avail nothing in intercession for the Jews at this time. My mind, saith the Lord, could not be toward this people. 2 And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: “‘Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.’ 15
  16. 16. CLARKE, "Whither shall we go forth? - Such as are for death, to death - Some shall be destroyed by the pestilence, here termed death. See Jer_18:21. Others shall be slain by the sword in battle, and in the sackage of cities. Others shall perish by famine, shall be starved to death through the mere want of the necessaries of life; and the rest shall go into captivity. There shall be different sorts of punishments inflicted on them according to the nature of their transgressions. Some shall be punished in one way, and some in another. GILL, "And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee,.... As doubtless they will, when this message is brought to them: whither shall we go forth? in a jeering scornful manner, not believing that this would be their case: then thou shall tell them, thus saith the Lord, such as are for death, to death; such as were appointed to death, or to die by the pestilence, which is often signified by death; they shall go forth unto it; or it shall meet them, and seize upon them, and take them away: and such as are for the sword, to the sword; who are appointed to die by the sword of the enemy, into whose hands they should fall by attempting to escape out of the city, shall perish by it: and such as are for the famine, to the famine; such as are appointed to die by that, shall die of it in the city, where they shall be besieged, and not be able to get out to fetch in any provisions, and where none can be brought, because of the enemy: and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity; such as are spared from the pestilence, sword, and famine, and are designed to be carried captive into a strange land, shall be taken and carried thither; nor will it be in their power, or in any other's, to hinder any of the above things, to which they are appointed of God. According to the Jews, the latter of these is more grievous than the former; as the sword than death, and famine than the sword, so captivity than them all (w). HENRY, "He condemns them all to one destroying judgment or other. When God casts them out of his presence, whither shall they go forth? Jer_15:2. Certainly nowhere to be safe or easy, but to be met by one judgment while they are pursued by another, till they find themselves surrounded with mischiefs on all hands, so that they cannot escape; Such as are for death to death. By death here is meant the pestilence (Rev_6:8), for it is death without visible means. Such as are for death to death, or for the sword to the sword; every man shall perish in that way that God has appointed: the law that appoints the malefactor's death determines what death he shall die. Or, He that is by his own choice for this judgment, let him take it, or for that, let him take it, but by the one or the 16
  17. 17. other they shall all fall and none shall escape. It is a choice like that which David was put to, and was thereby put into a great strait, 2Sa_24:14. Captivity is mentioned last, some think, because the sorest judgment of all, it being both a complication and continuance of miseries. That of the sword is again repeated (Jer_15:3), and is made the first of another four frightful set of destroyers, which God will appoint over them, as officers over the soldiers, to do what they please with them. As those that escape the sword shall be cut off by pestilence, famine, or captivity, so those that fall by the sword shall be cut off by divine vengeance, which pursues sinners on the other side death; there shall be dogs to tear in the field to devour. And, if there be any that think to outrun justice, they shall be made the most public monuments of it: They shall be removed into all kingdoms of the earth (Jer_15:4), like Cain, who, that he might be made a spectacle of horror to all, became a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth. JAMISON, "death — deadly plague (Jer_18:21; Jer_43:11; Eze_5:2, Eze_5:12; Zec_ 11:9). CALVIN, "He now confirms the previous sentence, If they shall say, Whither shall we go forth? then shalt thou say to them, Those for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for the famine, to the famine; those for exile, to exile; as though he had said, “In vain do they complain of their own miseries.” For God, no doubt, had in view the clamorous complaints which prevailed everywhere among the people on account of their very heavy calamities. Thus indeed were hypocrites wont to do; for whenever God spared them, they haughtily insulted the prophets, and boastingly alleged their subsidies and fortresses; but when God’s hand pressed hard on them, they became very eloquent in their complaints: “Alas! how far will God go at length? is there to be never an end? and what does all this mean? why does he so severely afflict us? and why does he not at least relieve us in some measure from our ntiseries?” As then the hypocrites were so querulous in their calamities, God anticipates all these expostulations, and says, “If they say to thee, ‘Where shall we flee?’ say to them, ‘Either to death, or to famine, or to the sword, or to exile;’ it is all one with God, and it matters not; for there is no hope of mercy for you any longer, since God has rejected you: know then that it is all over with you, for there is no deliverance for you from God: either the sword, or famine, or some other kind of death will overtake you; ye are in every way past hope.” TRAPP, "Jeremiah 15:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD Such as [are] for death, to death; and such as [are] for the sword, to the sword; and such as [are] for the famine, to the famine; and such as [are] for the captivity, to the captivity. Ver. 2. If they say unto thee.] As they will be apt enough to do in a jeer. Such as are for death,] i.e., For the pestilence commonly called mortality, because it is so deadly a disease. Those at Genoa have lately found it so. And yet it is here reckoned first, as the least and tightest of all the four threatened judgments, which must needs be bad enough when the pest is the best of them all. The Turks shun not 17
  18. 18. the company of those that have the plague, but pointing upon their foreheads, say it was written there at their birth when they should die, and of what disease. These in the text could as little avoid the deaths they were assigned to, as Aeschylus the tragedian could his being knocked on the head. For whenas he was foretold that he should die with a stroke coming from above, he shunned houses, and was wont to remain in the open air, but he was killed by a tortoise falling from the mouth of an eagle upon his bald head, mistaken for a stone. (a) PETT, "Jeremiah 15:2 “And it will come about that, when they say to you, ‘Where shall we go forth?’, then you will tell them,” “Thus says YHWH, Such as are for death, to death, And such as are for the sword, to the sword, And such as are for the famine, to the famine, And such as are for captivity, to captivity.” Nor was their casting out to be a pleasant experience, for it was intended to teach them a salutary lesson. Thus when they asked, ‘where will we go forth’ the reply was not in respect of their geographical destination, but in terms of the fates that awaited them. Those destined for a quick death through some means, would die. Probably pestilence was mainly in mind for pestilence, sword and famine are regularly mentioned together (Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 21:6-7; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 24:10; and often. See also Job 27:15). Those who were destined to die by the sword would die by the sword. Those who were destined to waste away in the famine, would waste away in the famine. And those who were destined for captivity would go into captivity. 3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” declares the Lord, “the sword to kill and the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild animals to devour and destroy. 18
  19. 19. BARNES, "Kinds - literally, as the margin, i. e., classes of things. The first is to destroy the living, the other three to mutilate and consume the dead. To tear - literally, “to drag along the ground.” It forcibly expresses the contumely to which the bodies of the slain will be exposed. CLARKE, "I will appoint over them four kinds - There shall appear four instruments of my justice. 1. The sword to slay. 2. The dogs to tear what is slain. 3. The fowls of the heaven to feed on the dead carcasses. And, 4. The wild beasts to destroy all that the fowls have left. GILL, "And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord,.... Or four families (x), and these very devouring ones; that is, four sorts of punishment; and so the Targum, "four evil punishments;'' which are after mentioned. These are represented as under God, and at his beck and command; servants of his, that go and come at his pleasure, and do his will; and as being over men, and having power and authority to kill and to destroy by a divine commission: the sword to slay: the first and chief of the four families or punishments, which had a commission from the Lord to sheath itself in his people, the Jews; even the sword of the enemy, the Chaldeans, drawn against them by a divine order and appointment: and the dogs to tear; the carcasses of those that are slain with the sword: or "to draw" (y); as the word signifies; it being the usual way of dogs to draw and drag the flesh about they are feeding on; this is another of the four families, and a very voracious one it is: and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy; or "to eat, and to corrupt", the bodies of those that are slain by the sword. The meaning is, that such should not have a burial, but should be the food of fowls and wild beasts: these are the other two destroying families, which have their commission from the Lord for such service. 19
  20. 20. JAMISON, "appoint — (Lev_26:16). kinds — of punishments. CALVIN, "Jeremiah proceeds with the same subject. He said yesterday that the people were no longer cared for by God, and so that nothing remained for them but in various ways to perish, and that the last punishment would be exile. He now confirms the same thing, and says, that God would prepare against them ravenous birds as well as wild beasts, the sword and dogs (129) as though he had said, that all animals would be hostile to them, and be the executioners of God’s vengeance. Some render the verb ‫,פקד‬pekod, to visit, but improperly, as I think; for they must give this version, “I will visit four families upon them;” but there is no sense in this, nor can any sense be elicited from it. The meaning most suitable here is to set over, (130) “I will set over them four kinds;” which he calls “four families.” And there is to be understood here a contrast: as they thought it hard to obey God, they were now to have over them dogs and wild beasts, and the birds of the air, and the sword. The meaning is, that there would be no end to God’s vengeance, and to various punishments, until the Jews were wholly destroyed. He further intimates, that he would have in readiness many to execute his wrath, as he had all creatures under his control. As then he would employ in his service dogs, and birds, and animals, as well as men, it behoved the Jews to feel assured that they in vain had recourse to this or that refuge. We indeed know that men impiously confine the power of God, both with regard to their salvation and the punishment of their sins, for when he passes by any evil they think that they have escaped, and promise themselves impunity, as though God indeed were not able every moment to inflict many and various scourges. This then is the reason why the Prophet speaks here of four kinds of judgments. It follows — And I will commission against them four species. But the best rendering is that of Calvin, which is also adopted by Venema. I give the following version — And I set over them four kinds, saith Jehovah, — The sword to kill, and dogs to drag about, And the bird of heaven and the beast of the earth To devour, and to pull to pieces. The “devouring” refers to “the beast of the earth,” and the “pulling to pieces” to the bird of heaven, according to the usual style of the Prophets, the order being reversed. — Ed. ELLICOTT, " (3) Four kinds.—The sword, as the direct instrument of death, is followed by those that follow up its work, the beasts and birds of prey that feed on the corpses of the slain. The latter feature has naturally been from the earliest stages of human history the crowning horror of defeat. So Homer, Il. i. 4 :— 20
  21. 21. “And many mighty souls of heroes sent To Hades, and their bodies made a prey To dogs and to all birds.” PETT, "Jeremiah 15:3 “And I will appoint over them four kinds, the word of YHWH, The sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, And the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth, To devour and to destroy.” Furthermore YHWH had appointed four kinds of executioners, the sword to slay, the dogs to tear at the carcasses (as they had that of Jezebel - 2 Kings 9:35-36), the scavenger birds to peck at the remains, and the beastly scavengers to finish off what was left. Nothing was seen as worse by people of that time than to have one’s body a prey to scavengers after death (see 2 Samuel 21:10; Ezekiel 39:17-20; compare 1 Samuel 31:12), but that was to be the fate of Judah. 4 I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem. BARNES, "To be removed - Rather, “to be a terror.” Because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah - The name of the pious father intensifies the horror at the wickedness of the son. CLARKE, "I will cause them to be removed into an kingdoms of the earth - This seems to have respect to the succeeding state of the Jews in their different generations; and never was there a prophecy more literally fulfilled; and it is still a standing monument of Divine truth. Let infidelity cast its eyes on the scattered Jews 21
  22. 22. whom it may meet with in every civilized nation of the world; and then let it deny the truth of this prophecy, if it can. The Jews are scattered through every nation, and yet are not a nation; nor do they form even a colony on any part of the face of the earth. Behold the truth and the justice of God! GILL, "And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth,.... Not only into Babylon, but into other countries; which has had its full accomplishment in this their last captivity by the Romans: or "I will give them for a commotion" (z); shaking and trembling; they shall be like Cain, fugitives and vagabonds, and be in fear and trembling everywhere, for what is, or is about to come upon them: or "for horror unto all kingdoms" (a); all that see the calamities and judgments that come upon them will be struck with dread and horror, plainly seeing the hand of the Lord in them: because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah; because of the idolatry and murder committed by him; and which were the more aggravated, by having so good a parent, and so religious an education, and by his high office and dignity as king of Judah; and though these sins were personally forgiven him, yet, being imitated and continued in by the Jews, captivity is threatened them. The Targum is, "because they turned not (or were not converted) as Manasseh;'' and so in the Talmud (b), because Manasseh repented, and they did not; but this sense the words will not bear, because of what goes before, of which these are a reason; and because of what follows after, which are connected with them: for that which he did in Jerusalem; the innocent blood he shed there, and the idolatrous worship he there set up; even where the temple was, the place of God's worship, and which was the metropolis of the nation, and so set an example, which must influence the whole country. HENRY 4-7, " What the sin was upon which this severe sentence was grounded. 1. It is in remembrance of a former iniquity; it is because of Manasseh, for that which he did in Jerusalem, Jer_15:4. What that was we are told, and that it was for it that Jerusalem was destroyed, 2Ki_24:3, 2Ki_24:4. It was for his idolatry, and the innocent blood which he shed, which the Lord would not pardon. He is called the son of Hezekiah because his relation to so good a father was a great aggravation of his sin, so far was it from being an excuse of it. The greatest part of a generation was worn off since Manasseh's time, yet his sin is brought into the account; as in Jerusalem's last ruin God brought upon it all the righteous blood shed on the earth, to show how heavy the guilt of blood will light and lie somewhere, sooner or later, and that reprieves are not pardons. 2. It is in consideration of their present impenitence. See how their sin is described (Jer_15:6): “Thou hast forsaken me, my service and thy duty to me; thou hast gone backward into the ways of contradiction, art become the reverse of what thou shouldst have been and of what God by his law would have led thee forward to.” See how the impenitence is described (Jer_ 15:7): They return not from their ways, the ways of their own hearts, into the ways of God's commandments again. There is mercy for those who have turned aside if they will 22
  23. 23. return; but what favour can those expect that persist in their apostasy? What the sentence is. It is such as denotes no less than an utter ruin. 1. God himself abandons and abhors them: My mind cannot be towards them. How can it be thought that the holy God should have any remaining complacency in those that have such a rooted antipathy to him? It is not in a passion, but with a just and holy indignation, that he says, “Cast them out of my sight, as that which is in the highest degree odious and offensive, and let them go forth, for I will be troubled with them no more.” JAMISON, "cause ... to be removed — (Deu_28:25; Eze_23:46). Rather, “I will give them up to vexation,” I will cause them to wander so as nowhere to have repose [Calvin]; (2Ch_29:8, “trouble;” Margin, “commotion”). because of Manasseh — He was now dead, but the effects of his sins still remained. How much evil one bad man can cause! The evil fruits remain even after he himself has received repentance and forgiveness. The people had followed his wicked example ever since; and it is implied that it was only through the long-suffering of God that the penal consequences had been suspended up to the present time (compare 1Ki_14:16; 2Ki_ 21:11; 2Ki_23:26; 2Ki_24:3, 2Ki_24:4). CALVIN, "Jeremiah speaks now of exile. He had hitherto spoken of the sword and famine, and mentioned also other punishments, that their carcases would be dragged about by dogs, and also devoured by wild beasts and ravenous birds; but he now refers to one kind of punishment only — that God would drive them into exile. And he seems to have taken these words from Moses, for so he speaks in Deuteronomy 28:0, except that ‫,ו‬ vau, is placed before ‫,ע‬ ain, in the word “commotion,” but such a change is common. In other respects there is a perfect agreement. I will set them, he says, for a commotion to all the kingdoms of the earth; that is, I will cause them to wander in constant fear and trembling. He amplifies the grievousness of exile by the circumstance that they should have no safe rest. They who leave their country for exile do at least find some corner where they take breath; but God declares that the Jews would be everywhere unsettled and wanderers, so that no place would receive them. And hence God’s vengeance became more fully manifest, for these miserable men never found an asylum when scattered through various countries. Though they had habitations in those parts allotted to them by the king of Babylon, they were yet everywhere without any rest. It was not therefore in vain that Moses threatened them with such a punishment, nor was it to no purpose that Jeremiah repeated what had been said by Moses. (131) He adds the cause, On account of Manasseh But Manasseh was now dead, why then did God transfer the vengeance which he merited to posterity? And this seems inconsistent with another passage found in Ezekiel, 23
  24. 24. “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:8) But doubtless God justly punished the wickedness of the people even after the death of that ungodly king, for they ceased not to accumulate evils on evils; as however their impiety appeared especially at that time, he particularly noticed it, that the Jews might understand that they had been long worthy of destruction, and that punishment was not delayed except through the great mercy of God, who had not immediately treated them as they deserved. The Prophet therefore commends the long forbearance of God because their ruin was suspended until that time. And, on the other hand, he shews that they were not so severely treated but that they were worthy of greater and more atrocious punishment; for such had been their obstinacy that they did all they could to draw upon themselves destruction many times. But another question arises: Manasseh pretended repentance, and God seemed to have forgiven him and the whole people, (2 Kings 21:0 :2 Chronicles 33:12) why does he now declare that he would take vengeance on sins which had been already buried? But the answer is evident, for the Jews from that time had been in no way better. As then they had continued to pursue the same sinful courses with Manasseh, it was right that they should at length be rewarded as they deserved; for, had they become really changed, there would have been a change in God’s dealings with them, but inasmuch as their impiety had ever remained the same, and as they gave themselves up to the same vices, a heavier judgment was nigh them, and justly so, because they had abused God’s forbearance, who had spared the king as well as themselves on the condition of receiving the pardon offered to them. But since they had hardened themselves, it was riglit to take such account of their ingratitude and perverseness as to treat them with greater severity. Farther, Manasseh is called the son of Hezekiah, and that for the purpose of enhancing his crime. For as religion had been reformed in the time of Hezekiah, and as that pious king, with great labor and toil, exerted all his powers to restore the true worship of God, it was the duty of Manasseh to follow his example. But he not only built altars to idols, and polluted the whole land with superstitions, but also defiled the very Temple of God. It was thus a horrible, and wholly a diabolical madness in the son, when the right way of worshipping God had been delivered unto him, to be of such a reprobate mind as immediately to overthrow what his father with great labor has so faithfully established. This then was the reason why Jeremiah mentioned to his dishonor the name of his father. And hence we learn that they are worthy of a heavier punishment, who have been religiously brought up from their childhood, and become afterwards degenerated, who, having had pious and godly parents, afterwards abandon themselves to every wickedness. Hence a heavier judgment awaits those who depart from the examples of godly fathers. And this we gather from the very words of the Prophet, who here, by way of reproach, calls Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, which yet would have been to his honor, had he been like his father and followed his piety. 24
  25. 25. And at the same time there is no doubt but that the Prophet indirectly condemns the whole people; for we know how great opposition pious Hezekiah met with, and how he contended for the faithful worship of God, as though he had been among the Assyrians or the Egyptians. But the perverseness of the people appeared then extreme, when he was put in jeopardy as to the kingdom, because he endeavored to cleanse the land of Judah from its filth and pollutions; their impiety and ingratitude then shewed, and openly discovered themselves. Afterwards Manasseh overturned as it were in an instant the worship of God, and they all, with great exultation, went immediately after superstition. We hence see that the mouths of the Jews were thus closed, so that they could not object and say, that they obeyed the command of their king; for they winingly followed wicked superstitions. They assented to the king of their own accord, while yet they hardly, and with great unwiningness, were led to obey when God’s worship was restored in the time of Hezekiah. But Manasseh added cruelties to superstitions; for we know that he not only covered the streets of the city with blood, but made it also to flow in streams, as sacred history relates. As, then, the Prophets were so cruelly treated in the time of Manasseh, and as he was not the sole author of this barbarity, but the true servants of God were persecuted to death by the consent of the people, it was hence evident that it was the crime of the whole community. And hence he mentions Jerusalem, in order that the Jews might know that the holy city, in which they gloried, had been for a long time the den of robbers, and that the Temple of God had been polluted by wicked superstitions, and even the whole city by unlawful and barbarous slaughters. It now follows — And I will render them a vexation to all the kingdoms of the earth. Literally it is, “I will give them for a vexation,” etc. And so they became, they were a trouble and a disquietudewherever they were; and hence they became, as it is said in Jeremiah 29:18, a curse, a hissing, and a reproach among all nations. Venema gives this rendering — And I will give them for a shaking to all the kingdoms of the earth. Which he understands to mean, that they would be given to be shaken, agitated, and disquieted in all the kingdoms of the earth. Blayney’s version is — And I will give them up to vexation in all kingdoms of the earth. But this is what the original will hardly bear; the preposition before “kingdoms” is not in, but to. — Ed. 25
  26. 26. TRAPP, "Jeremiah 15:4 And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for [that] which he did in Jerusalem. Ver. 4. Because of Manasseh.] Because of his sins, idolatry and bloodshed especially, wherein the people partook and persisted, and were therefore justly punished. The son of Hezekiah.] But altogether degenerate. He was therefore the worse, because he should have been better, and yet the worse again, because he was author publicae corruptelae, a ringleader of rebellion to others, as was Jeroboam. PETT, "Jeremiah 15:4 “And I will cause them to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.” Those who survived would also find themselves in trouble. They would be ‘tossed to and fro’ among the kingdoms of the earth. No one would want them (compare Deuteronomy 28:25 where they were to be ‘a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth’). And it would be because of the wholesale idolatry that Manasseh had introduced in Jerusalem. But the thought is not that they were being punished for the sins of Manasseh, but that they were being punished because they had connived with Manasseh in his sins. Hezekiah had sought to purify Jerusalem and Judah, but the people had been only too glad when Manasseh had led them back into the old ways. They had cooperated fully. 5 “Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem? Who will mourn for you? Who will stop to ask how you are? CLARKE, "Who shall go aside to ask how thou doest? - Perhaps there is not a more despised nor a more degraded people under the sun. Scarcely any one thinks himself called upon to do a kind office for a Jew. Their character is bad in society, and 26
  27. 27. they are not at all solicitous to redeem it. GILL, "For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem?.... The inhabitants of it; their sins being so many, and so heinous, and so aggravated, and so deserving of punishment, that none could pity their case, or have a heart of compassion towards them, or even spare reproaching them: or "who shall bemoan thee?" sympathize and condole with thee, or speak a comfortable word to thee, or seek to alleviate thy grief and sorrow: or "who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?" or "of thy peace?" (c) shall not think it worth their while to go a step out of their way, or turn into a house, and inquire of thy welfare, or salute thee. HENRY, "They shall fall without being pitied (Jer_15:5): “For who shall have pity on thee, O Jerusalem? When thy God has cast thee out of his sight, and his compassions fail and are shut up from thee, neither thy enemies nor thy friends shall have any compassion for thee. They shall have no sympathy with thee; they shall not bemoan thee nor be sorry for thee; they shall have no concern for thee, shall not go a step out of their way to ask how thou dost.” For, (1.) Their friends, who were expected to do these friendly offices, were all involved with them in the calamities, and had enough to do to bemoan themselves. (2.) It was plain to all their neighbours that they had brought all this misery upon themselves by their obstinacy in sin, and that they might easily have prevented it by repentance and reformation, which they were often in vain called to; and therefore who can pity them? O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself. Those will perish for ever unpitied that might have been saved upon such easy terms and would not. (3.) God will thus complete their misery. He will set their acquaintance, as he did Job's at a distance from them; and his hand, his righteous hand, is to be acknowledged in all the unkindnesses of our friends, as well as in all the injuries done us by our foes. JAMISON, "go aside ... how thou doest — Who will turn aside (in passing by) to salute thee (to wish thee “peace”)? K&D 5-9, "In Jer_15:5-9 we have a still further account of this appalling judgment and its causes. The grounding ‫י‬ ִ‫כּ‬ in Jer_15:5 attaches to the central thought of Jer_15:4. The sinful people will be given up to all the kingdoms of the earth to be ill used, for no one will or can have compassion on Jerusalem, since its rejection by God is a just punishment for its rejection of the Lord (Jer_15:6). "Have pity" and "bemoan" denote loving sympathy for the fall of the unfortunate. ‫ל‬ ַ‫מ‬ ָ‫,ח‬ to feel sympathy; ‫,נוּד‬ to lament and bemoan. ‫,סוּר‬ to swerve from the straight way, and turn aside or enter into any one's house; cf. Gen_19:2., Exo_3:3, etc. ְ‫ל‬ ‫ל‬ ַ‫א‬ָ‫שׁ‬ ‫ם‬ ‫ל‬ָ‫שׁ‬ ְ‫,ל‬ to inquire of one as to his health, cf. Exo_18:7; then: to salute one, to desire ְ‫ל‬ ‫ם‬ ‫ל‬ָ‫,שׁ‬ Gen_43:27; Jdg_18:15, and often. Not only will none show sympathy for Jerusalem, none will even ask how it goes with her welfare. 27
  28. 28. Jer_15:6 The reason of this treatment: because Jerusalem has dishonoured and rejected its God, therefore He now stretched out His hand to destroy it. To go backwards, instead of following the Lord, cf. Jer_7:24. This determination the Lord will not change, for He is weary of repenting. ‫ם‬ ֵ‫ָח‬‫נּ‬ ִ‫ה‬ frequently of the withdrawal, in grace and pity, of a divine decree to punish, cf. Jer_4:28, Gen_6:6., Joe_2:14, etc. Jer_15:7 ‫ם‬ ֵ‫ר‬ְ‫ז‬ ֶ‫ָא‬‫ו‬ is a continuation of ‫ט‬ ַ‫ָא‬‫ו‬, Jer_15:6, and, like the latter, is to be understood prophetically of what God has irrevocably determined to do. It is not a description of what is past, an allusion to the battle lost at Megiddo, as Hitz., carrying out his à priori system of slighting prophecy, supposes. To take the verbs of this verse as proper preterites, as J. D. Mich. and Ew. also do, is not in keeping with the contents of the clauses. In the first clause Ew. and Gr. translate ‫י‬ ֵ‫ֲר‬‫ע‬ַ‫שׁ‬ gates, i.e., exits, boundaries of the earth, and thereby understand the remotest lands of the earth, the four corners of extremities of the earth, Isa_11:12 (Ew.). But "gates" cannot be looked on as corners or extremities, nor are they ends or borders, but the inlets and outlets of cities. For how can a man construe to himself the ends of the earth as the outlets of it? where could one go to from there? Hence it is impossible to take ‫ץ‬ ֶ‫ר‬ ָ‫א‬ ָ‫ה‬ of the earth in this case; it is the land of Judah. The gates of the land are either mentioned by synecdoche for the cities, cf. Mic_5:5, or are the approaches to the land (cf. Nah_3:13), its outlets and inlets. Here the context demands the latter sense. ‫ה‬ ָ‫ָר‬‫ז‬, to fan, c. ְ‫בּ‬ loci, to scatter into a place, cf. Eze_ 12:15; Eze_30:26 : fan into the outlets of the land, i.e., cast out of the land. ‫ל‬ֵ‫כּ‬ ִ‫,שׁ‬ make the people childless, by the fall in battle of the sons, the young men, cf. Eze_5:17. The threat is intensified by ‫י‬ ִ‫תּ‬ ְ‫ד‬ ַ‫בּ‬ ִ‫,א‬ added as asyndeton. The last clause: from their ways, etc., subjoins the reason. Jer_15:8-9 By the death of the sons, the women lose their husbands, and become widows. ‫י‬ ִ‫ל‬ is the dative of sympathetic interest. "Sand of the sea" is the figure for a countless number. ‫ים‬ ִ‫ַמּ‬‫י‬ is poetic plural; cf. Psa_78:27; Job_6:3. On these defenceless women come suddenly spoilers, and these mothers who had perhaps borne seven sons give up the ghost and perish without succour, because their sons have fallen in war. Thus proceeds the portrayal as Hitz. has well exhibited it. ‫ל‬ַ‫ע‬ ‫ם‬ ֵ‫א‬ ‫חוּר‬ ָ‫בּ‬ is variously interpreted. We must reject the view taken by Chr. B. Mich. from the Syr. and Arab. versions: upon mother and young man; as also the view of Rashi, Cler., Eichh., Dahl., etc., that ‫ם‬ ֵ‫א‬ means the mother-city, i.e., Jerusalem. The true rendering is that of Jerome and Kimchi, who have been followed by J. D. Mich., Hitz., Ew., Graf, and Näg.: upon the mother of the youth or young warrior. This view is favoured by the correspondence of the woman mentioned in Job_6:9 who had borne seven sons. Both are individualized as women of full bodily vigour, to lend vividness to the thought that no age and no sex will escape destruction ‫ים‬ ַ‫ֳר‬‫ה‬ ָֽ‫צּ‬ ַ‫,בּ‬ at clear noontide, when one least looks for an attack. Thus the word corresponds with the "suddenly" of the next clause. ‫יר‬ ִ‫,ע‬ Aramaic form for ‫יר‬ ִ‫,צ‬ Isa_13:8, pangs. The bearer of seven, i.e., the mother of many sons. Seven as the perfect number of children given in blessing by God, cf. 1Sa_2:5; Rth_4:15. "She breathes to her life," cf. 28
  29. 29. Job_31:39. Graf wrongly: she sighs. The sun of her life sets (‫ה‬ ָ‫א‬ ָ‫)בּ‬ while it is still day, before the evening of her life has been reached, cf. Amo_8:9. "Is put to shame and confounded" is not to be referred to the son, but the mother, who, bereaved of her children, goes covered with shame to the grave. The Keri ‫א‬ ָ‫בּ‬ for ‫ה‬ ָ‫א‬ ָ‫בּ‬ is an unnecessary change, since ‫שׁ‬ ֶ‫מ‬ֶ‫שׁ‬ is also construed as fem., Gen_15:17. The description closes with a glance cast on those left in life after the overthrow of Jerusalem. These are to be given to the sword when in flight before their enemies, cf. Mic_6:14. CALVIN, "The Prophet shews here that the severe punishment of which he had spoken could not be deemed unjust, according to what those men thought who were querulous, and ever expostulated with God, and charged him with too much rigour. Lest, then, the Jews should complain, the Prophet says briefly, that all the evils which were nigh at hand were fully due, and so deserved, that they could find no pity, even among men. We know that the worst of men, when the Lord punishes them, have some to condole with them. There is no one so wicked that relatives do not favor him, and that some do not console him. But the Prophet shews that the Jews were not only inexcusable before God, but that they were undeserving of any sympathy from men. He first says, Who will pity thee? and then, Who will console with thee? The verb. ‫,נוד‬ nud, means properly to give comfort by words, as when relatives, and friends, and neighbors meet together for the purpose of mourning; they hear lamentations, and join in them. But he says that no one would perform this office towards Jerusalem. He adds, in the third place, And who will turn aside? or, strictly, change place — Who will change place to enquire? or, as some render it, to pray. The verb ‫שאל‬ shal, means properly to ask, and hence sometimes to pray. So, many give this meaning, that there would be no one to pray for the Jews. But if we consider the construction of the sentence, we shall see that the Prophet speaks of that duty of kindness which men cultivate and observe towards one another, by enquiring of their welfare, — “Are all things well with thee?” How dost thou do? Are all things well with thee and thine?” When we thus enquire of the state of any one we shew some concern for him, for love is always solicitous for the welfare of others. The Prophet then says, “Who will turn aside to thee to enquire of thy welfare?” that is, that he may know how thou art, and what is thy state and condition. We hence see that the Jews are here divested of every complaint, for the whole world would acknowledge them to be unworthy of any commiseration. But the Prophet does not mean that all would act cruelly towards Jerusalem, but rather shews, that such were their crimes that there was no room for courtesy, or for those acts of kindness which men of themselves perform towards one another. (132) Or who will turn aside to ask for peace for thee? or, in our language, “to bid thee peace.” 29
  30. 30. The word “turn aside” seems clearly to favor this meaning. In the other case its import does not appear. The intimation is, that no one would deem it worth his while to turn out of his way to express a good wish in behalf of Jerusalem. — Ed. COFFMAN, "Verse 5 FURTHER PROPHECIES OF JUDAH'S RUIN "For who will have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who will bemoan thee? or who will turn aside to ask of thy welfare? Thou hast rejected Jehovah, thou art gone backward: therefore have I stretched out my hand against thee, and destroyed thee; I am weary with repenting. And I have winnowed them with a fan in the gates of the land; I have bereaved them of children, I have destroyed my people; they returned not from their ways. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas; I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a destroyer at noonday: I have caused anguish and terrors to fall upon her suddenly. She that hath borne seven languisheth; she hath given up the ghost; her sun has gone down while it was yet day; she hath been put to shame and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith Jehovah." The consistent use of the past tense in this paragraph should not be misunderstood. "The first few verbs here (Jeremiah 15:5) and the last verb (Jeremiah 15:9) are in the imperfect tense; and most of the rest are perfects. They portray that which has not yet happened as though it had already transpired, so certain is the prophet that it is going to come about."[7] "Thou art gone backward ..." (Jeremiah 15:6). The whole nation had reverted to the gross paganism of the reign of Manasseh. "I am weary of repenting ..." (Jeremiah 15:6). Judah was aware of the great truth that when they repented God would turn and bless them again, as fully expounded by Jeremiah a little later in this prophecy (Jeremiah 18:7-10); but this stresses another fact that Judah had either forgotten or had never even known, that being the fact that "there is a point of no return" in the persistent wickedness of any man or of any nation. It was evident in the classical account of Balaam, who set out on a rebellious course, contrary to God's instructions; and when the going became really rough, he said, "I will get me back again" (Numbers 22:34); but God commanded him, saying, "Go with the men" (Numbers 22:35). There always comes the time in the career of rebellion against God that an angel with a drawn sword stands in the way and says, "Go on in the way you have chosen; you have made your bed, now lie in it; you have preferred to rebel, now abide by the consequences!" Even the forgiveness metered out to the repentant sinner in many cases can never nullify the physical consequences of a sinful life. "They returned not from their ways ..." (Jeremiah 15:7). "It was no different in the 30
  31. 31. seventh century from what it was in the eighth (Amos 4:6-11)";[8] and from this is seen the fact that a full century of God's forbearance with the rebellious Israelites had made no significant difference whatever. "The gates of the land ..." (Jeremiah 15:7). As Keil pointed out here, "`The gates of the land' is undoubtedly a reference to the land of Judah."[9] "Mother of the young men" (Jeremiah 15:7) This is a metaphor in which Jerusalem, or Judah, is represented as seeing her sons sacrificed to the sword. PETT, "Jeremiah 15:5 “For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem? Or who will bemoan you? Or who will turn aside to ask after your welfare?” In consequence no one will have pity on Jerusalem Their future isolation is emphasised threefold. None will have pity on Jerusalem and its people. None will be sad because of their fate. None would be concerned about their welfare. They would be ‘on their own’ with no one caring for them. 6 You have rejected me,” declares the Lord. “You keep on backsliding. So I will reach out and destroy you; I am tired of holding back. BARNES, "This verse gives the reason of the refusal of Yahweh to hear the prophet’s intercession. The punishment due has been delayed unto wearisomeness, and this seeming failure of justice has made Judah withdraw further from God. CLARKE, "I am weary with repenting - With repeatedly changing my purpose. I have often, after purposing to punish, showed them mercy. I will do it no longer; it is 31
  32. 32. useless. I took them often at their promise, and in every instance they have failed. GILL, "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord,.... His worship, as the Targum; and had set up idols, and idol worship; and this was the cause of the sword, pestilence, famine, and captivity, and of all the evils that befell them: thou art gone backward; from the law of the Lord, and from his pure worship and service, from his ways and from his ordinances; and therefore it was but just they should go into captivity; hence it follows: therefore will I stretch out mine hand against thee, and destroy thee; his hand of power and vengeance, which when stretched out, and falls with weight, whether on particular persons, or on a nation, brings inevitable ruin and destruction with it: I am weary with repenting; not that the Lord ever changes his mind, or the counsel of his will; in this sense he is without repentance; but the conduct of his providence, and the dispensations of it; not executing the threatenings denounced, but sparing them a little longer, showing mercy, and exercising patience and longsuffering; but now he was as one weary and tired out, and was determined to bear no longer with them, but stir up all his wrath against them, and destroy them. HENRY 6-9, " They shall fall without being relieved. Who can do any thing to help them? for (1.) God, even their own God (so he had been) appears against them: I will stretch out my hand against thee, which denotes a deliberate determined stroke, which will reach far and wound deeply. I am weary with repenting (Jer_15:6); it is a strange expression; they had behaved so provokingly, especially by their treacherous professions of repentance, that they had put even infinite patience itself to the stretch. God had often turned away his wrath when it was ready to break forth against them; but now he will grant no more reprieves. Miserable is the case of those who have sinned so long against God's mercy that at length they have sinned it away. (2.) Their own country expels them, and is ready to spue them out, as it had done the Canaanites that were before them; for so it was threatened (Lev_18:28): I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land, in their own gates, through which they shall be scattered, or into the gates of the earth, into the cities of all the nations about them, Jer_15:7. (3.) Their own children, that should assist them when they speak with the enemy in the gate, shall be cut off from them: I will bereave them of children, so that they shall have little hopes that the next generation will retrieve their affairs, for I will destroy my people; and, when the inhabitants are slain, the land will soon be desolate. This melancholy article is enlarged upon, Jer_15:8, Jer_ 15:9, where we have, [1.] The destroyer brought upon them. When God has bloody work to do he will find out bloody instruments to do it with. Nebuchadnezzar is here called a spoiler at noon-day, not a thief in the night, that is afraid of being discovered, but one that without fear shall break through and destroy all the fences of rights and properties, and this in the face of the sun and in defiance of its light: I have brought against the mother a young man, a spoiler (so some read it); for Nebuchadnezzar, when he first invaded Judah, was but a young man, in the first year of his reign. We read it, I have brought upon them, even against the mother of the young men, a spoiler, that is, against Jerusalem, a mother city, that had a very numerous family of young men: or that invasion was in a particular manner terrible to those mothers who had many sons fit for 32
  33. 33. war, who must now hazard their lives in the high places of the field, and, being an unequal match for the enemy, would be likely to fall there, to the inexpressible grief of their poor mothers, who had nursed them up with a great deal of tenderness. The same God that brought the spoiler upon them caused him to fall upon it, that is, upon the spoil delivered to him, suddenly and by surprise; and then terrors came upon the city. the original is very abrupt - the city and terrors. O the city! what a consternation will it then be in! O the terrors that shall then seize it! Then the city and terrors shall be brought together, that seemed at a distance from each other. I will cause to fall suddenly upon her (upon Jerusalem) a watcher and terrors; so Mr. Gataker reads it, for the word is used for a watcher (Dan_4:13, Dan_4:23), and the Chaldean soldiers were called watchers, Jer_4:16. [2.] The destruction made by this destroyer. A dreadful slaughter is here described. First, The wives are deprived of their husbands: Their widows are increased above the sand of the seas, so numerous have they now grown. It was promised that the men of Israel (for those only were numbered) should be as the sand of the sea for multitude; but now they shall be all cut off, and their widows shall be so. But observe, God says, They are increased to me. Though the husbands were cut off by the sword of his justice, their poor widows were gathered in the arms of his mercy, who has taken it among the titles of his honour to be the God of the widows. Widows are said to be taken into the number, the number of those whom God has a particular compassion and concern for. Secondly, The parents are deprived of their children: She that has borne seven sons, whom she expected to be the support and joy of her age, now languishes, when she has seen them all cut off by the sword in one day, who had been many years her burden and care. She that had many children has waxed feeble, 1Sa_ 2:5. See what uncertain comforts children are; and let us therefore rejoice in them as though we rejoiced not. When the children are slain the mother gives up the ghost, for her life was bound up in theirs: Her sun has gone down while it was yet day; she is bereaved of all her comforts just when she thought herself in the midst of the enjoyment of them. She is now ashamed and confounded to think how proud she was of her sons, how fond of them, and how much she promised herself from them. Some understand, by this languishing mother, Jerusalem lamenting the death of her inhabitants as passionately as ever poor mother bewailed her children. Many are cut off already, and the residue of them, who have yet escaped, and, as was hoped, were reserved to be the seed of another generation, even these will I deliver to the sword before their enemies (as the condemned malefactor is delivered to the sheriff to be executed), saith the Lord, the Judge of heaven and earth, who, we are sure, herein judges according to truth, though the judgment seem severe. JAMISON, "weary with repenting — (Hos_13:14; Hos_11:8). I have so often repented of the evil that I threatened (Jer_26:19; Exo_32:14; 1Ch_21:15), and have spared them, without My forbearance moving them to repentance, that I will not again change My purpose (God speaking in condescension to human modes of thought), but will take vengeance on them now. BI, "I am weary with repenting. The Almighty weary with repenting I. God repenting. God condescends to designate His conduct by that name. The expression may be inadequate and defective, but still language had nothing better to describe the idea, nor human experience to represent the fact. When God is pleased to 33
  34. 34. speak of Himself as pitying, repenting, grieving for man’s sake, what is evidently intended is, that so intense is His love for man, that were His infinite nature capable of these creature passions, His love would show itself in these very forms. II. God provoked to a degree that He can repent no more. He is “weary with repenting”: worn and tired out with having to cancel threatened sentences so often—as a potentate of earth might be at finding that every fresh display of patience in his subjects masked but deeper hatred to his rule, and every amnesty he declared was but a signal for raising the standard of rebellion anew. What can man do, to move the Author of his being to regard him in this way? We must not speculate; we must let the great God speak for Himself; we must try to gather out of other Scriptures what those things are which are said to weary God, wear out His patience, make Him tired of His forgivenesses, reprieves, and revoked sentences. 1. Among these provocations we may note hypocrisy and allowed formality in religious duty (Isa_1:13-14). 2. We may make God weary by presumptuous and unwarranted calculations upon His mercy (Mal_2:17). 3. Another thing Scripture teaches us wearies, puts God out of patience, is unbelief, a restoring to creature trust and dependencies, a want of simplicity and unreservedness in accepting His promises, as if we thought He would not pay them in full, or did not mean them to be taken by us, in all their length and breadth, and depth and worth. 4. The awful limit prescribed in the text may be reached, and the Divine forbearance tasked one step too far, by provocations after mercies. (D. Moore, M. A.) Jehovah weary with repenting The fact that God is “weary of repenting” shows— 1. That God had often turned from His threatenings, and dealt in mercy with the people. 2. That the Divine mercy had been frequently abused, and the people had gone back again to their sins. 3. That not a change in His being, but only a change of relationship, is expressed by the word “repent.” 4. That judgment is alien to God’s heart, whereas mercy is His delight. 5. That when God is met with persistent ingratitude, and men relapse continually into sin, He must eventually punish them. 6. That the operations of the Divine mind can only be expressed in human language with difficulty and limitation. 7. That we should be careful not to trifle with or abuse, the patient long-suffering of God. (W. Whale.) 34
  35. 35. Divine judgments and man’s relation to them Famine, pestilence, revolution, war, are judgments of the Ruler of the world. What sort of a ruler, we ask, is He? The answer to that question will determine the true sense of the term—the judgment of God. The heathen saw Him as a passionate, capricious, changeable Being, who could be angered and appeased by men. The Jewish prophet saw Him as a God whose ways were equal, who was unchangeable, who was not to be bought off by sacrifices but pleased by righteous dealing, and who would remove the punishment when the causes which brought it on were taken away; in other words, when men repented God would repent. That does not mean that He changed His laws to relieve them of their suffering, but that they changed their relationships to His law, so that, to them thus changed, God seemed to change. A boat rows against the stream; the current punishes it. So is a nation violating the law of God, it is subject to punishment, judgment. The boat turns and goes with the stream; and the current assists it. So is a nation which has repented and put itself into harmony with God’s law; it is subject to a blessing. But the current is the same; it has not changed, only the boat has changed its relation to the current. Neither does God change—we change; and the same law which executed itself in punishment now expresses itself in reward. (W. Brooke.) Jeremiah 15:6-9 Thou hast forsaken Me. God forsaking and God forsaken I. A God-forsaking people. Conviction by God Himself of this great folly and sin. In Jer_ 2:13, the charge is more complete. Creation is called upon to express surprise at a folly so conspicuous. 1. “Thou”—who oughtest to have been unto Me a loyal and loving people, testifying of My power and grace, and proving by separation from the nation your preference for the living and true God. 2. “Hast forsaken”—not simply forgotten, or disobeyed, but of deliberate choice hast taken other gods, and disregarded Jehovah. 3. “Me”—who called Abraham, etc. II. A God-forsaken people. 1. Always retrograde. Unless they repent and obey God, there is no way forward and upward. 2. Always in danger of destruction. If we forsake the mercy, we inherit the misery. 3. Always exposed to terrors and disasters. 4. Always drifting into languor, premature decline, shame, and death. (W. Whale.) How men forsake God A rule I have had for years is to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. It is not 35
  36. 36. a creed, a mere empty doctrine, but it is Christ Himself we have. The moment we receive Christ we should receive Him as a friend. When I go away from home I bid my wife and children good-bye; I bid my friends and acquaintances good-bye; but I never heard of a poor backslider going down on his knees and saying, “I have been near You for ten years. Your service has become tedious and monotonous. I have come to bid You farewell. Good-bye, Lord Jesus Christ!” I never heard of one doing this. I will tell you how they go away; they just run away. (D. L. Moody.) CALVIN, "Then follows the reason — For thou hast forsaken me, saith Jehovah Since, then, God had been rejected by the Jews, did not such a defection bring its deserved reward, when they were deprived of every human aid? He afterwards adds, Backward hast thou gone He intimates that there was a continuance in their wicked defection; for they not only forgot God for a time, but departed far from him, so as to become wholly alienated. It then follows — And I will stretch out, etc.; that is, “therefore will I stretch out,” etc.; for the copulative is to be taken here as an inative. This may be viewed as in the past or the future tense; for God had in a measure already afflicted the people; but heavier judgments awaited them. I am inclined to regard it as a prediction of what was to come, as it immediately follows, I am weary with repenting, that is, “I have so often repented that I cannot possibly be induced now to forgive; for I see that I have been so often deceived, that I camlot hear to be deceived any longer.” Some, indeed, give this version, — “I am weary with consoling myself,” and ‫,נחם‬ nuchem, means both; but the other sense seems to me the most suitable. I doubt not then but that the Prophet means repentance. We indeed know that God changes not his purpose; for men repent because their expectation often disappoints them, when things happen otherwise than they had thought; but no such thing can happen to God; and he is said to repent according to our apprehensions. God then repents of his severity whenever he mitigates it towards his people, whenever he withdraws his hand from executing his vengeance, whenever he forgives sins. And this had been often done to the Jews; but they had made a mock of such mercy, and the oftener God spared them the more audaciously did they provoke his wrath. Hence he says, “I am weary with repenting so often;” that is, that he had so often spared them and suspended his judgment. (133) In short, he deprives the Jews of every excuse, and shews that they acted impiously when they murmured against God, for they allowed no place to his mercy; nay, whenever they found him recentliable they abused his forbearance with extreme indignity and perverseness. It follows — 6.Thou hast broken loose from me, saith Jehovah; Backward dost thou walk; But I will stretch my hand over thee and destroy thee; I have become wearied with repenting. 36