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to know my hand and my might, and they shall know that my name is Jehovah.
Jeremiah commences with predicting, that, after the children of Israel had been cast out of their own land, they should serve, in a land which they knew not, other gods day and night. This part of the prophecy has been accomplished in the case of Judah by means of the diabolical tyranny of Popery. The fear of the inquisition has compelled many of the Jews to worship the gods of modern Rome, and to bow to stocks and stones rather than their effects should be seized and confiscated. According to Basnage, that iniquitous court reduces them to the dilemma of being either hypocrites or burnt “ The number of these dissemblers,” says he,“ is “ very considerable; and it ought not to be con“ cluded, that there are no Jews in Spain or Por“ tugal, because they are not known. They are “ so much the more dangerous, for not only being “ very numerous, but confounded with the eccle« siastics, and entering into all ecclesiastical dig?“ nities *,” Norʻis this the only tyranny to which the Jews have been exposed : in order that their children may be trained up to idolatry from their very youth, they have, in several countries, in Spain and Portugal particularly, been taken from
• Bp. Newton's Dissert. vii. 15.
them by order of governinent to be éducated in the popish religion * The prophecy has beeni equally accomplished in the case of the ten tribes. Such of them as mingled with the nations fell into their idolatrous practices; and the Afghans; if they be descendants of the Israelites, are at the present day Mohammedansti.
Yet, notwithstanding their dispersion and apostasy, the tiine should come, when their deliverance out of Egypt should be no more regarded, in comparison with their still greater restoration from the land of the north and from all the lands into which they had been scattered. In due season, God should first send many fishers, to fish them; and afterwards many hunters, to hunt them out of all their hiding places. Throughout the whole prophecy, we are to observe, the restoration, not Inerely of Judah, but of the whole people of Israel, is evidently spoken of. In this part of it therefore we have a manifest allusion to the two-fold return, first of Judah, and afterwards of Israel. Since a considerable part of the first division, or Judah, namely such of the Jews as shall be converted previous to their return into their own
* Bp. Newton's Dissert. "II. 13. t I have already noticed the manner, in which prophecies that foretell the idolatry of the Jews during their dispersion, and prophecies that declare they should not relapse into idolatry, have alike been accomplished, however apparently inconsistent with each other. · vide supra Note on Proph. vi.
country, is to be restored by a great maritime nation, Jeremiah aptly borrows an image from maritime life, and styles the restoring people fishers; and, since the second division, or Israel, is to be restored by continental powers, he similarly borrows an image from land life, and styles the restoring nations hunters. Both these images are exquisitely chosen in another point of view likewise: as the exercise of fishing partakes little of that laborious search and investigation which characterises the exercise of hunting, so Judah will be much more easily collected together, than Israel.
The one will readily be allured by the bait of the metaphorical fishermen j. the other, lost in the widely extended regions of Asia, must be huoted by the metaphorical hunters from every inountain, and from every hill, and from all the holes of the rocks. 2. Nevertheless, though all Israel shall be restored,
the Jews at least shall a'ssuredly be restored through much tribulation. God will visit upon them their former abominations, and will first recompense their iniquity and their sin double. But, when their restoration and that of Israel is fully accomplished; then shall the Gentiles come unto the Lord from the ends of the earth, and they shall jointly forin one fold under one shepherd *. . .
* I much doubt whether, this prophecy can have even a primary relation to the return from the Babylonian captivity.
A denunciation against those who have tyrannised
óver Israel-The restoration and conversion both of Israel and Judah.
Jeremiah xxiii. 5. Wo be unto the pastors. that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord. 2. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye liave scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. 3. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. 5. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a branch the Righteous One; and a king shall reign, and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness. 7. Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, As the Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of
the the land of Egypt; 8. But, As the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north-country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
COMMENTARY. This prophecy, like the preceding one, speaks of the general restoration of all Israel. The pastors, who are said to destroy and scatter the sheep of God's pasture instead of feeding them, I take to be, not spiritual, but political, pastors; shepherds of the people. They are the same as those, whom Jeremiah had already described as destroying the Lord's vineyard, and treading his portion under foot*: that is to say, they are the different Gentile sovereigns, who at sundry times have conquered Palestine, and afflicted the children of Israel t. All these, notwithstanding their temporary success, are to be visited in their turn for the evil of their doings. The prediction, so far as it relates to the oppressing pastors, has already been in part accomplished. “The Egyptians much
* Jerem. xii. 10. t. When the whole tenor of prophecy is considered, I cannot but think it somewhat unnatural to suppose, with Dr.. Blayney, that these pastors mean the latter wicked kings of David's race, particularly Zedekiah. I doubt likewise, whether this prediction, any more than the preceding one, relates at all to the return from Babylon. yol. I.
• 66 afflicted