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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 29

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


Appended to this history of the struggle with the false prophets at home is a letter addressed to the exiles at Babylon Jeremiah 29:0. There was at Babylon as at Jerusalem the same determination of the Jews never to submit quietly to a foreign rule. This Jeremiah sought to quell. His words found credence, but not without resistance on the part of the false prophets.

Verse 1

The residue of the ciders - i. e., such of the elders as were still alive.

Verse 2

The queen - The queen-mother.

Verse 3

Elasah - Probably brother of Ahikam Jeremiah 26:24, and therefore an acceptable person at the Chaldaean court. As Zedekiah had to go in person to Babylon in his fourth year Jeremiah 51:59, this embassy was probably sent two or three years earlier. Its date, however, was subsequent to the vision in Jeremiah 24:1-10. It is appended therefore to Jeremiah 28:0, not as later in point of time, but because of the similarity of subject.

Verses 4-7

As the exile was God’s doing for their good, they were to make the best of their position, and acquire wealth and influence; whereas if they were always restlessly looking out for the opportunity of returning home, they would rapidly fall into poverty and dwindle away.

Jeremiah 29:7

Seek the peace of the city ... - Not only because their welfare for seventy years was bound up with that of Babylon, but because it would have degraded their whole moral nature to have lived as conspirators, banded together against the country that was for the time their home.

Verse 8

Your prophets and your diviners - The evils from which the people had suffered so cruelly at home followed them in their exile.

Dreams which ye cause to be dreamed - As long as there was a market for dreams, so long there would be plenty of impostors to supply them.

Verse 10

After seventy years - literally, according to the measure of the fulfillment of 70 years for Babylon. The 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11 note) are primarily the length of the Babylonian empire, and only in a secondary sense that of the Jewish exile.

Verse 11

An expected end - Rather, a future and a hope. The nation shall not come to an end; the exile shall be followed by a restoration.

Verse 14

Turn away your captivity - Or, “restore your prosperity.”

Verses 16-20

These verses are not in the Septuagint. But the text of the Septuagint is here throughout so brief and confused as to be explicable only on the supposition, that it represents what was left behind in Egypt when Jeremiah died, copied probably with extreme haste, and with no opportunity of careful collation afterward. On the other hand the Hebrew text represents no hurried transcript, but the original manuscript, and is especially trustworthy in the case of these letters sent to Babylon (see also Jeremiah 51:0), because the originals of them would be available for collation with the text preserved by Jeremiah himself. The verses were probably intended to allay excitement in Babylon consequent upon the knowledge that the representatives of various kings were assembled at that very time at Jerusalem to form a coalition against Babylon Jeremiah 27:3.

Jeremiah 29:17

Vile - The word does not occur elsewhere, but comes from a root signifying to shudder, and thus has an intense meaning.

Verse 22

A curse - There is a play here of words. which probably was the cause why the death of these men passed into a proverb. One of them was named ben-Kolaiah; and they are to be made a curse (קללה qelâlâh), because Nebuchadnezzar had roasted (קלה qâlâh) them. Compare the marginal reference note.

Verse 23

Villany - Elsewhere folly, in the sense of lewdness Judges 20:6, unchastity.

Verses 24-29

A narrative showing the effects of Jeremiah’s letter. Shemaiah the leader of the false prophets wrote to Zephaniah, urging him to restrain the prophet’s zeal with the prison and the stocks.

Jeremiah 29:24

To Shemaiah - Rather, concerning.

The Nehelamite - Not as in the margin; but one belonging to the village of Nehlam (unknown).

Jeremiah 29:26

Officers - Deputy high priests who had the oversight of the temple.

Mad - See 2 Kings 9:11 note. Many of the symbolic actions of the prophets, such as that of Jeremiah going about with a yoke on his neck, would be mocked at by the irreverent as passing the line between prophecy and madness.

Prisons - Rather, the stocks Jeremiah 20:2.

The stocks - Rather, collar.

Jeremiah 29:28

This captivity is long - Rather, It is long. God’s anger, their punishment, the exile, the time necessary for their repentance - all is long to men who will never live to see their country again.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/jeremiah-29.html. 1870.
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