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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 33

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 1

Jeremiah received another message from the Lord while he was still confined in the court of the guard (cf. Jeremiah 32:2).

Verses 1-13

The restoration of Jerusalem and Judah confirmed 33:1-13

Verse 2

The Lord introduced Himself as the Creator and Establisher of the earth (cf. Jeremiah 32:17; Genesis 1). This was appropriate since He would say that He was going to do some things that required great power.

Verse 3

He commanded Jeremiah, and perhaps the people, to pray to Him with the promise that He would hear him and tell him inaccessible (Heb. besuroth) things that the prophet did not know (cf. Psalms 91:15). The Hebrew word besuroth describes something made inaccessible by fortifying or enclosing it, such as a city (cf. Numbers 13:28; Deuteronomy 3:5; Deuteronomy 28:52; Ezekiel 21:20). The Lord’s plans for Israel were inaccessible to most people, but He would unlock some of these secrets and share them with Jeremiah in answer to the prophet’s prayer. We must ask the Lord for some things before He will give them to us (cf. Matthew 7:7; James 4:2).

"While God is always ready to answer the cry of the human heart, man must first request assistance." [Note: Harrison, Jeremiah and . . ., p. 143.]

"In other words, although God can make himself heard, and has already done so in saying this, nevertheless to reveal all that he wants to say, he desires a hearer who is already reaching out to him. This is why prayer is never superfluous to the study of Scripture or the quest for guidance. God is then speaking to an upturned face, not a preoccupied back." [Note: Kidner, p. 114.]

We may assume that Jeremiah, and perhaps the faithful remnant, prayed this prayer. What follows are incredible promises concerning the restoration of the nation, its rulers, and its worship leaders.

Verse 4

The Lord would do something to the city, which at this time was full of houses that the Jerusalemites had demolished, in order to provide material to build up the city walls, so that the Chaldeans could not break through them. They had also used some of the palace wood and stone for this purpose (cf. Jeremiah 22:5).

Verse 5

The city was also full of Judahite corpses, people who had already died in the siege. Sadly, these people had died because the Lord was fighting against His people. He had not responded to their cries of help because of their wickedness.

Verse 6

All the same, the Lord promised to bring health and healing to the city and to restore His people (cf. Jeremiah 30:17). He would bless them with much peace and truth in the future.

Verse 7

He would restore the fortunes of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and would rebuild these nations as they had formerly existed.

Verse 8

He would cleanse them of their iniquities against Him, and He would pardon their sins and transgressions (cf. Jeremiah 31:34; Jeremiah 50:20; Ezekiel 36:25-26).

Verse 9

Jerusalem would become a city associated with joy, praise, and glory in the thinking of all the world when people heard of all the good things that Yahweh had done for her. The nations would fear and tremble because of all the good and the peace that He would make for her.

Verses 10-11

Presently desolate Jerusalem and the cities of Judah would experience joy and thank God because He will have restored their fortunes as they had been formerly. [Note: Jeremiah 33:11 is the closing part of the benediction used in the modern Jewish wedding ceremony.]

Verses 12-13

Judah would again become a quiet and secure place where shepherds pasture their flocks. This may refer to leaders of people, not just shepherds of sheep (cf. Jeremiah 23:1-3; Ezekiel 34:1-6; Luke 15:3-7; John 10:1-18). The Targum interpretation substituted the word "Messiah" for the phrase "the one who numbers them."

Verse 14

Future days would come, the Lord promised, when He would fulfill His promises concerning the restoration of all Israel.

"The predicted restoration (’the days are coming’) is not, however, to be looked for in the immediate time of the return from the Captivity. Only in a limited and preliminary way were these promises fulfilled in Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar after the Captivity (cf. Ezra 1:8; Ezra 2:2; also Ezra 2:40-54; Ezra 8:15-20). Ultimately, they are combined in the highest sense in Christ (cf. Psalms 110:4) and are yet to be fulfilled in the reign of Messiah on earth." [Note: Feinberg, p. 591. See also Kaiser, "Evidence from . . ." pp. 114-16; and Jensen, p. 93.]

"Days are coming" (Heb. hinneh yamim ba’im) has appeared 16 times so far in Jeremiah referring to coming judgment on Judah and the surrounding nations. In the remaining nine occurrences of the phrase in the book, it points to a time of future blessing for Israel. [Note: See Dyer, "Jeremiah," p. 1176.]

Verses 14-26

The restoration of David’s dynasty and the legitimate priesthood 33:14-26

This section consists of a small collection of messianic prophecies.

Verse 15

At that future time, Yahweh would cause a righteous Sprout from the Davidic line of kings to appear, a legitimate ruler. He would rule in justice and righteousness on the earth (not just in heaven; cf. Jeremiah 23:5-6). Other messianic passages in Jeremiah picture Him as the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13), the good Shepherd (Jeremiah 23:4; Jeremiah 31:10), the Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6), David the king (Jeremiah 30:9), and the Redeemer (Jeremiah 50:34).

Verse 16

Then Judah would enjoy salvation, and Jerusalem would dwell in safety. The name of the city would be "Yahweh our righteousness." Formerly this was to be the name of a ruler (Jeremiah 23:6), but it will also be the name of Jerusalem (cf. Ezekiel 48:35). Righteous Messiah would bring righteousness to the city and make its people righteous. [Note: Keil, 2:72.]

"The inference is that Jerusalem would so manifest the qualities of justice and righteousness (in contrast to her past bad record) that she would be worthy of such a name and exemplify the divine order for all the cities and all the people in Israel." [Note: Thompson, p. 601.]

Verse 17

From then on there would always be a Davidic king ruling over the nation of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 2:4; 1 Kings 8:25; 1 Kings 9:5). [Note: See Douglas K. Stuart, "The Prophetic Ideal of Government in the Restoration Era," in Israel’s Apostasy and Restoration: Essays in Honor of Roland K. Harrison, pp. 283-92.]

That King has appeared, but His subjects, the Israelites, refused to accept Him as their King. Therefore, He returned to heaven-but He will return to earth to restore and rule over Israel in the future, at the Second Coming. Christ’s present rule over the church today, from heaven, is not the same rule as the one promised here. The one promised here is a reign over the Israelites at the time of their future restoration.

Covenant premillennialists and "progressive" dispensationalists take a slightly different position. They believe that Christ’s present rule from heaven is the first phase of His reign as the Davidic King, and the second phase will begin with His return to the earth to rule over Israel and the whole world. [Note: For further discussion of this view, see Craig A. Blaising, "The Kingdom of God in the New Testament," in Progressive Dispensationalism, pp. 257-62, 282.]

Verse 18

Likewise, the Levitical priests would resume functioning and continue to do so forever. [Note: This verse and the ones that follow are the only references to the restoration of the legitimate priesthood in the book.] They would offer sacrifices of worship continually (in the millennial kingdom). The burnt and grain (or meal) offerings were primarily for worship rather than to remove the defilement of sin (cf. Leviticus 1-2). In Jeremiah’s day, the priesthood was corrupt, and it may even have included non-Levitical priests (cf. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 19:1; Jeremiah 26:10-11). The lack of legitimate priests was a problem in the early years of the restoration community (cf. Ezra 8:15).

In the Millennium there will be a restoration of Levitical priests, though instead of looking forward to the coming of the ultimate Sacrifice, the worshippers will look back to it. The Levitical priests will worship God under the New Covenant. The Old (Mosaic) Covenant came to an end at the Cross. A Davidic king, Jesus Christ, will also provide leadership under the New Covenant. Therefore, both the royal and priestly leadership of Israel, in the future, will resume what Israel formerly experienced under the Mosaic Covenant.

Verses 19-21

This promise of the restoration of a Davidic king and of Levitical priests would be as certain as the Lord’s promise that day will follow night forever (cf. Jeremiah 31:35-36; Genesis 1:5; Genesis 1:14-18; Genesis 8:22; Numbers 25:12-13; Deuteronomy 4:19; Psalms 19:1-6; Psalms 136:7-9).

Verse 22

Yahweh promised to multiply the descendants of David and the Levites as the stars of the heavens and as the sand grains of the sea (cf. Genesis 13:16; Genesis 15:5; Genesis 22:17).

"Just as the covenant with Noah (cf. Genesis 8:22) is kept, so the covenant with David (cf. 2 Samuel 7) and that with Levi (Numbers 17) will also be kept." [Note: Feinberg, "Jeremiah," p. 592. See also Leviticus 25:12-13.]

Verses 23-24

The Judahites had concluded that Yahweh had rejected the two families of the Israelites: the Northern and Southern Kingdoms (cf. Jeremiah 30:3). They were saying that there was no future for them as nations.

Verses 25-26

But Yahweh promised that He would restore the fortunes of Jacob’s seed and that a descendant of David would rule over all the Israelites in the future. This promise was as sure as God’s promise to provide day and night faithfully. The Lord’s compassion prevented Him from abandoning His chosen people, and gave them hope for their restoration.

"The greatest argument for the future restoration of Israel as a nation is the character of God. He made a series of covenants with the patriarchs, David, and the Levites; His character demands that He will ultimately fulfill these promises to their nation." [Note: Dyer, "Jeremiah," p. 1177.]

"The salvation announcements in chap. 33 answer at least two questions left from chap. 32 (and 30-31): (1) How can people who persistently rebelled and even offered their children to Molech, become covenant partners with God? The LORD will heal, cleanse, and forgive them (Jeremiah 33:6-8) out of mercy for them (Jeremiah 33:26). (2) What will life be like for the people whom God will plant in the land? Families will grow again (Jeremiah 33:11), worship will resume at the temple (Jeremiah 33:11; Jeremiah 33:18), and God will always provide a legitimate and righteous ruler (Jeremiah 33:14-26), so that people can live in safety (Jeremiah 33:16). All this will be accomplished by the Creator, for whom nothing is too difficult (Jeremiah 32:17; Jeremiah 32:26) and whose willingness and power to do good inspires awe among the nations (Jeremiah 33:9)." [Note: Scalise, p. 175.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 33". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/jeremiah-33.html. 2012.
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