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Contains Jeremiah's letter to the captives in Babylon ; and the fearful
end of Ahab and Zedekiah, two lying prophets. N O W these [are] the words of the letter that Jeremiah TV the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and
to the false prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnez2 zar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon ; (Af
ter that Jeconiah the king, and the queen mother, and the
eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpen3 ters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem ;) By the
hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, to renew his promise of fideli4 ty, and to pay his tribute,) saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Baby
lon ; a message that implied encouragement, as it was an evidence 5 that God had not cast them off ; Build ye houses, and dwell [in 6 them ;] and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them ; Take ye
wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters ; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished ; think not of a speedy return, but accommodate yourselves to your condition, and make no atlempts to shake off the yoke :
consider Babylon as your country, and endeavour to be happy there. * 7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be
carried away captives, by your loyalty and submission, and pray unto the Lord for it : for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, for if you exfiect soon to return you will not take pains to make your settlements comfortable, neither hearken
to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed, encouraging them 9 to foretell these things, because ye love to hear them. For they
prophesy falsely unto you in my name : I have not sent them, saith the LORD.
For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, at the very instant of, or immediately upon, the completion of seventy ycars, I will visit you, and perform my
good word toward you, in causing you or your posterity to re11 turn to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward
you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, though
• It is to be remembered that these Israelites were not absolute slaves, but were settled as a colony to cultivate some particolar part of the country; as the ten tribes and other con quered nations were, whom they brought to their land: this was wise policy, to keep them in subjection
I seem to have cast you off, to give you an expected end, such as 12 you look for and desire. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye 13 shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And
ye shall seek me, and find [me,] when ye shall search for me with all your heart; I will g'ir up a spiric of prayer among you ;
ye shall call upon me, and I will answer you, according 10 the prome 14 ises of the law, Deut. iv. 29. And I will be found of you, saith
the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD ; and I will bring you again into the
place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. 15 Because ye have said, The LORD hath raised us up prophets
in Babylon, who have foretold different things from what Jeremia 16 ah foretold ;* [Know] that thus saith the LORD of the king that
sitteth upon the throne of David, that is, Zedekiah, and of all the .
people that dwelleth in this city, (and) of your brethren that are 17 not gone forth with you into captivity ; Thus saith the LORD of
hosts; Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot
be eaten, they are so evil; they shall come to you, and not you 10 18 them, and shall perish among you. And I will persecute them
with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a
reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them : 19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD,
which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending [them ;] but ye would not hear, saith the
LORD, but rather gave ear to false prophets. 20 Hear ye therefore the word of the Lord, all ye of the cap.
tivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon : Whereas
ye have said, the Lord hath raised us up prophets in Babylon ; 21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the
son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name, predicting your speedy return; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand Nebuchadrez
zar king of Babylon ; and he shall slay them before your eyes ; 22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of
Judah which (are) in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Abab, whom the king of Babylon roast. ed in the fire ;t probably being incensed against them for persuad
ing the people not to settle according to his orders, or sowing 23 sedition ; Because they have committed villany in Israel, and
have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives,t and
• This verse seems to be transposed, it should have come in after 5.20.
+ In all probability they were treated in the same manner as was intended for Shedrach, Mesh uch, and Abednego, D.:n iii 20, 21. One woulil think that it would impress them inuca so receive such a prophecy, and to see it so remarkably accomplished.
I The Jewish rabbins, as Grotias observes, have a tradition that three avere the two ellers who attempted the chasrity of Susannah, the story of which they think to be true iu part, though not altogether such as is represented in the Apocrypha
have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them ; even I know, and (am) a witness, saith the
Lorn, though men cannot prove it against them. 24 [Thus) shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, 25 saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel ;
saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that [are] at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, in answer to the letter
of Shemaiah, which was brought to Jerusalem by those who carried 26 Jeremiah's leller to Babylon, saying, The Lord hath made thee
priest in the stead of Jehoiada, the priest, the high firiest who was carried captive, that ye should be officers in the house of the Lord, for every man, or, in the case of any one, (that is mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldst put
him in prison, and in the stocks; telling him that he had authori. 27 ty to punish every one pretending to be a prophet. Now there.
fore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which
maketh himself a prophet to you? why hast thou not executed 28 thy authority upon him? For therefore, or rather, because he
sent unto us [in] Babylon, saying, This [captivity is) long :
build ye houses, and dwell [in them ;] and plant gardens, and 29 eat the fruit of them. And Zephaniah the priest read this let
ter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet, though, being a friend to
him, he would not show it publicly. 30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, 31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD
concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite ; Because that Shemaiah
hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you 32 to trust in a lie: Therefore thus saith the LORD ; Behold, I
will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell anong this people ; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, saith the LORD ; because he bath taught rebellion against the LORD ; none of his posterily shall live 10 sec the end of the captivity, nor the favour God will show his people both in and aficr their return,
1. U E may infer from hence the usefulness of letters; and
VV how much we may serve God, and instruct and comfort our friends, by writing to them, as well as conversing with them. The art of writing is an inestimable blessing to the world ; friendly correspondence is very comfortable, and may be very useful, if our letters are seasoned with grace. This we should be careful of ; since, is idle words are to be accounted for, much more will idle let. ters, as so much more time is spent about them, and the impression made by them, whether it be good or bad, may be more lasting.
2. It is our duty to bring our mind to our condition, whatever it is. The Israelites in Babylon are commanded to act as if they were at home ; to build and plant, not fearing that their masters would deprive them of their possessions ; and to encourage themselves with an assurance that they or their children should see better days. This is an important lesson to us. Our situations and circumstances in life are of God's ordering, v. 4. We are not to overlook, or be unthankful for, the comforts we have, because some are lost. If we are removed to a distance from our relations and friends, and grafted into new families and settlements, let us accommodate ourselves to them ; consult their peace and comfort; and by that means we shall promote our own.
3. How reasonable is it that we should pray for the land of our nativity, v. 7. If the Israelites were to consult and pray for the peace of an heathen, tyrannical, and oppressive king and people, among whom they were settled ; it is much more our duty, by loyalty, subjection, and every other instance of good behaviour, to seek the peace of our native country, and the prosperity of the good government we live under ; to pray for our king, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead peaceable and quiet lives, in all godliness and honesty.
4. How happy are the people of God in their communion with him, and his thoughts of peace toward them! There was a way to the throne of grace in Babylon, as well as in Jerusalem. We have all access to God by prayer. Let us value this privilege, remember. ing the qualifications of acceptable devotion ; that it is seeking God, and searching for him with our whole heart, that is, with sincerity and fervency. His thoughts toward his people are thoughts of peace, even when he sees it best to correct them, and though they may imagine that they are thoughts of evil. There is an end which they expect, even their settlement in the heavenly Canaan, and everlasting rest there ; and of this they shall not be disappointed. But those who, like Shemaiah, rebel against God, forfeit the privileges of his people. God will do his people much good; more than they can ask or think : but those who are rebellious against his word and commandments shall never see it. The end of the righteous is peace; but there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
Contains gracious promises of God to Israel, and that he would remem
ber the covenant made with their fathers. THE word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 1 Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write
thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book ; because they refer to distant events, viz. to the relurn of the Jews from captivity, and even to Christ's time ; they will be encouragements to them in the mean while, and the events will be a proof of 3 my foreknowledge and providence. For, lo, the days come,
saith-the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD : and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall
possess it. 4 And these [are] the words that the Lord spake concerning 5 Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the LORD : We
have heard the voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace, as - 6 the false prophets foretold. Ask ye now, and see whether a man
doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see, not one or two, but every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail,
and all faces are turned into paleness ; they carry concern in 7 their looks, and uneasiness in their behaviour. Alas! for that
day, the day of the destruction of the city and temple, and the cafitivity of the residue of the people, [is] great, so that none [is]
like it : it [is] even the time of Jacob's trouble ; but he shall 8 be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, that
distant period of signal and providential events, saith the Lord of hosts, [that] I will break his yoke, the king of Babylon's yoke, from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall
no more serve themselves of him, that is, of thy possessions an! 9 labours : But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David
their king, whom I will raise up unto them; they shall adhere faithfully 10 true religion, and serve the Messiah, here called David, because he was his son according to the flesh, the heir to his throne, and in whom the prophecies relating to David were
fulfilled, 10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD;
neither be dismayed, O Israel : for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity ; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall
make (him] afraid ; thou shalt enjoy great quietness under the 11 Persian monarchy, and still more in the latter day. For I am
with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee : though I make a full end of all nations, of the Assyrians and Chaldeans, whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee :* but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether
unpunished ; though I chastise, I will not utterly destroy thee. 12 For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise [is] incurable, [and] thy
wound [is] grievous ; it seems to be so, and is so, by human pow13 er. [There is) none to plead, or judge, thy cause, that thou
mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines, but art 14 like a distempered body, dying for want of help. All thy lovers,
or allics, have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity ; [be. cause] thy sins were increased ; I have treated thee with great
* This was remarkably fulfilled in the Jews being kept a distinct people, when these nations, once so populous and mighty, were quite lost.