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B. The Announcement of Deliverance for All Israel - Jeremiah 30-33
In view of the impending fall of the kingdom of Judah, Jeremiah seeks to present the godly with a strong anchor of hope in the realization of God's gracious promises, which were to be fulfilled after the appointed season of punishment had passed. For this purpose, after predicting the ills of exile times, the prophet gives a comprehensive statement concerning the deliverance which the Lord will vouchsafe to His people in the future, and gathers together the repeated briefer promises regarding the restoration and glorious condition of Israel and Judah, so as to give a full description of the deliverance intended for all the covenant people under the sceptre of the future David. This detailed announcement of the deliverance consists of a pretty long prophetic address (which Hengstenberg very properly designates "the triumphal hymn of Israel's salvation," Jer 30 and 31), and two pieces confirmatory of this address, viz.: (1) one recording a symbolical act performed by the prophet at God's command - the sale of a piece of hereditary property in land during the last siege of Jerusalem, shortly before the breaking up of the kingdom, which commenced with the taking of the city - together with a message from God explaining this act, Jer 32; and (2) another passage giving, in prophetic language, a renewed promise that Jerusalem and Judah would be restored with the blissful arrangements connected with the Davidic monarchy and the Levitical priesthood, Jer 33. According to the headings given in Jeremiah 32:1 and Jeremiah 33:1, these two latter pieces belong to the tenth year of Zedekiah's reign; the address contained in Jer 30 and 31, on the other hand, belongs to a somewhat earlier period, and was not uttered publicly before the people, but simply composed in writing, and meant to be preserved for future use. As regards the exact time of its composition, the views of modern expositors are very dissimilar. While Hengstenberg, with many others, places it in the same period with the allied chapters 32 and 33, viz., in the time when Jerusalem was being besieged, immediately before the capture and destruction of the city, Nהgelsbach reckons this address among the oldest portions of the whole book, and assigns its composition to the times of King Josiah, to which Jeremiah 3:11-25 belongs. But the arguments adduced in support of this view are quite insufficient to establish it. It does not by any means follow from the substantial agreement of the address with that in Jer 3, so far as it exists, that they were both composed at the same time; and if (as Nהgelsbach thinks) the fact that there is no mention made of the Chaldeans were taken as a criterion of composition before the fourth year of Jehoiakim, then, too, would the address in Jer 33 be put down as having been composed before that year, but in glaring contradiction to the inscription given Jeremiah 33:1. And as little reason is there for inferring, with Hengstenberg, from Jeremiah 30:5-7, that the final catastrophe of Jeremiah's time is represented as still imminent; for these verses do not refer at all to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. That learned writer is, however, quite correct in his remark, that the prophet takes his stand-point within the period of the catastrophe, as if it had already begun, but that this time is an ideal present, so that we must not allow ourselves to be deceived as to the time of composition by the circumstance that, generally, Judah no less than Israel appears to be already in a state of exile, far from the land of the Lord. The time of composition cannot be made out with perfect certainty. Yet there is nothing against the assumption that it is the tenth year of Zedekiah.
Israel's Deliverance and Glorious Condition in the Future - Jeremiah 30-31
A great day of judgment, before which all the world trembles, will bring to Israel deliverance from the yoke imposed on them. The Lord will bring them out of the land of their captivity (Jeremiah 30:4-11). He will bind up and heal the wounds which He inflicted on them because of their sins; will render to those who oppressed and chastised them according to their deeds (Jeremiah 30:12-17); will again build up His kingdom, and render His people glorious, both in temporal and spiritual respects (Jeremiah 30:18-22). The wrath of the Lord will be poured forth upon all evil-doers like a tempest, till He has performed the thoughts of His heart at the end of the days (Jeremiah 30:23, Jeremiah 30:24). At that time the Lord will become the God of all the families of Israel, and show them favour as His own people (Jeremiah 31:1-6); He will also gather the remnant of Israel out of the land of the north, lead them back into their inheritance, and make them glad and prosperous through His blessing (Jeremiah 31:7-14); the sorrow of Ephraim will He change to joy, and He will perform a new thing in the land (Jeremiah 31:15-22). In like manner will He restore Judah, and make want to cease (Jeremiah 31:23-26). Israel and Judah shall be raised to new life (Jeremiah 31:27-30), and a new covenant will be made with them, for the Lord will write His law in their heart and forgive their sins (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Israel shall for ever remain the people of God, and Jerusalem be built anew to the honour of the Lord, and, as a holy city, shall no more be laid waste for ever (Jeremiah 31:35-40).
This address forms a united whole which divides into two halves. In Jer 30:4-22 it is the deliverance of Israel in general that is set forth; while in the passage from Jeremiah 30:23 on to the end of Jer 31 it is deliverance, more especially in reference to Israel and Judah, that is portrayed. As there is no doubt about its unity, so neither is there any well-founded doubt regarding its genuineness and integrity. Hence the assertion of Hitzig, that, as a whole, it exhibits such a want of connection, such constant alternation of view-point, so many repetitions, and such irregularity in the structure of the verses, that there seems good ground for suspecting interpolation - such an assertion only shows the inability of the expositor to put himself into the course of thought in the prophetic word, to grasp its contents properly, and to give a fair and unprejudiced estimate of the whole. Hitzig would reject Jeremiah 31:38-40, and Nהgelsbach Jeremiah 30:20-24, as later additions, but in neither case is this admissible; and Kueper ( Jeremias, p. 170ff.) and Graf, in his Commentary, have already so well shown with what little reason Movers and Hitzig have supposed they had discovered so many "interpolations," that, in our exposition, we merely intend to take up in detail some of the chief passages.
Introduction, and Statement of the Subject - Jeremiah 30:1. "The word which came to Jeremiah from Jahveh, saying: Jeremiah 30:2 . Thus hath Jahveh the God of Israel said: Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book; Jeremiah 30:3 . For, behold, days come, saith Jahveh, when I shall turn the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith Jahve, and I shall bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it."
Jeremiah 30:1 contains the heading not merely of Jeremiah 30:2 and Jeremiah 30:3, as Hitzig erroneously maintains, but of the whole prophecy, in Jer 30 and 31. Jeremiah 30:2 and Jeremiah 30:3 form the introduction. Jeremiah is to write the following word of God in a book, because it refers to times still future, - regards the deliverance of Israel and Judah from exile, which will not take place till afterwards. In assigning the reason for the command to write down the word of God that had been received, there is at the same time given the subject of the prophecy which follows. From this it is further evident that the expression "all the words which I have spoken to thee" cannot, like Jeremiah 36:2, be referred, with J. D. Michaelis, to the whole of the prophecies which Jeremiah had up till that time received; it merely refers to the following prophecy of deliverance. The perfect דּבּרתּי is thus not a preterite, but only expresses that the address of God to the prophet precedes the writing down of the words he received. As to the expression שׁוּב שׁבוּת , see on Jeremiah 29:14.
The judgment on the nations for the deliverance of Israel. - Jeremiah 30:4 . "And these are the words which Jahveh spake concerning Israel and Judah: Jeremiah 30:5 . For thus saith Jahveh: We have heard a cry of terror, fear, and no peace. Jeremiah 30:6 . Ask now, and see whether a male bears a child? Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in childbirth, and every face turned to paleness? Jeremiah 30:7 . Alas! for that day is great, with none like it, and it is a time of distress for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:8 . And it shall come to pass on that day, saith Jahveh of hosts, that I will break his yoke from upon thy neck, and I will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more put servitude on him; Jeremiah 30:9 . But they shall serve Jahveh their God, and David their king, whom I shall raise up to them. Jeremiah 30:10. But fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith Jahveh, neither be confounded, O Israel; for, behold, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be at rest, and be secure, and there shall be none making him afraid. Jeremiah 30:11. For I am with thee, saith Jahveh, to save thee; for I will make an end of all the nations whither I have scattered thee, yet of thee will I not make an end, but I will chastise thee properly and will not let thee go quite unpunished."
With Jeremiah 30:4 is introduced the description of Israel's restoration announced in Jeremiah 30:3. This introduction is not absolutely necessary, but neither is it for that reason spurious and to be expunged, as Hitzig seeks to do; it rather corresponds to the breadth of Jeremiah's representation. The כּי in Jeremiah 30:5 is explicative: "Thus, namely, hath Jahveh spoken." With the lively dramatic power of a poet, the prophet at once transports the hearers or readers of his prophecy, in thought, into the great day to come, which is to bring deliverance to all Israel. As a day of judgment, it brings terror and anguish on all those who live to see it. קול חרדה , "A voice (sound) of trembling (or terror) we hear," viz., the people, of whom the prophet is one. פּחד does not depend on שׁמענוּ , but forms with ואין שׁלום an independent clause: "There is fear and not peace" (or safety). Jeremiah 30:6. What is the cause of this great horror, which makes all men, from convulsive pains, hold their hands on their loins, so as to support their bowels, in which they feel the pangs, and which makes every countenance pale? In Jeremiah 30:7 the cause of this horror is declared. It is the great day of judgment that is coming. "That (not hits) day" points to the future, and thus, even apart from other reasons, excludes the supposition that it is the day of the destruction of Jerusalem that is meant. The words "that day is great" refer to Joel 2:11, and "there is none like it" is an imitation of Joel 2:2; in the latter passage the prophet makes use of a judgment which he had seen passed on Judah - its devastation by locusts - and for the first time presents, as the main element in his prophecy, the idea of the great day of judgment to come on all nations, and by which the Lord will perfect His kingdom on this earth. This day is for Jacob also, i.e., for all Israel, a time of distress; for the judgment falls not merely on the heathen nations, but also on the godless members of the covenant people, that they may be destroyed from among the congregation of the Lord. The judgment is therefore for Israel as well as for other nations a critical juncture, from which the Israel of God, the community of the faithful, will be delivered. This deliverance is described more in detail in Jeremiah 30:8. The Lord will break the yoke imposed on Israel, free His people from all bondage to strangers, i.e., the heathen, so that they may serve only Him, the Lord, and David, His king, whom He will raise up. The suffix in עלּו is referred by several expositors (Hitzig, Nägelsbach) to the king of Babylon, "as having been most clearly before the minds of Jeremiah and his contemporaries;" in support of this view we are pointed to Isaiah 10:27, as a passage which may have been before the eyes of Jeremiah. But neither this parallel passage nor צוּארך (with the suffix of the second person), which immediately follows, sufficiently justifies this view. For, in the second half also of the verse, the second person is interchanged with the third, and מוסרותיך , which is parallel with עלּו , requires us to refer the suffix in the latter word to Jacob, so that "his yoke" means "the yoke laid on him," as in 1 Kings 12:4; Isaiah 9:3. It is also to be borne in mind that, throughout the whole prophecy, neither Babylon nor the king of Babylon is once mentioned; and that the judgment described in these verses cannot possibly be restricted to the downfall of the Babylonian monarchy, but is the judgment that is to fall upon all nations (Jeremiah 30:11). And although this judgment begins with the fall of the Babylonian supremacy, it will bring deliverance to the people of God, not merely from the yoke of Babylon, but from every yoke which strangers have laid or will lay on them.
Then Israel will no longer serve strangers, i.e., foreign rulers who are heathens, but their God Jahveh, and David the king who will be raised up to them, i.e., the Messiah, the righteous sprout that Jahveh will raise up to David; cf. Jeremiah 23:5. The designation of this sprout as "David their king," i.e., the king of the Israelites, points us back to Hosea 3:5.
Israel the servant of Jahveh, i.e., the true Israel, faithful and devoted to God, need thus fear nothing, since their God will deliver them from the land of their captivity, and stand by them as their deliverer, so that they shall be able to dwell in peace and undisturbed security in their own land. For Jahveh will make a complete end of all the nations among whom Israel has been scattered; Israel, on the other hand, He shall certainly chastise, but למּשׁפּט (according to what is right, in due measure), that they may be made better by their punishment. As to the expression יסּר למּשׁפּט , see on Jeremiah 10:24; for לא עשׂה כלה , see on Jeremiah 4:27 and Jeremiah 5:18 ( אתך for אתּך , Jeremiah 5:18); and lastly, on נקּה לא אנקּך , cf. Ex. 34:47, Numbers 14:18, Nahum 1:3.
Jeremiah 30:10 and Jeremiah 30:11 are repeated in Jeremiah 46:27-28, though with some slight changes.
(Note: The general strain of these verses is the same as that of the second portion of Isaiah; hence Hitzig, following Movers, views them as an interpolation made by the reviser. But this view is most incorrect, as Graf has already pointed out. The only expression which, besides the repetition made in Jeremiah 46:27, occurs nowhere else in Jeremiah, but frequently in the second Isaiah, is, "my servant Jacob;" cf. Isaiah 44:1-2; Isaiah 45:4; Isaiah 48:20 and Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 44:21; Isaiah 49:3. All the rest is not characteristic of Isaiah. "Thus, 'Fear not, I am with thee,' is certainly found in Isaiah 43:5, but also in Genesis 26:24; 'Fear not, neither be afraid,' is found in a like connection in Isaiah 51:7, but also in Jeremiah 23:24; Deuteronomy 1:21; Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 8:1; cf. Isaiah 44:2; Jeremiah 1:8, Jeremiah 1:17; Joshua 1:9. יעקוב occurs also in Jeremiah 30:7, Jeremiah 30:10, 25, Lamentations 2:3. For מושׁיעך , cf. Jeremiah 14:8; for מרחק , cf. Jeremiah 23:23; Jeremiah 31:3; Jeremiah 51:50. In the second part of Isaiah, שׁאנן occurs as seldom as ואין ; on the other hand, cf. Jeremiah 48:11; Jeremiah 7:33. The expressions found in Jeremiah 30:11 are as rare in the second part of Isaiah as they are frequent in Jeremiah. Thus, 'For I am with thee to save thee" is found in Jeremiah 15:20; Jeremiah 42:11; 'to make a full end' occurs also in Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10, Jeremiah 5:18; 'I shall certainly not let thee go unpunished,' which, like Nahum 1:3, seems to have been taken from Exodus 34:7 or Numbers 14:18, is not found at all in the second part of Isaiah; הפיץ , which is found in Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 13:24; Jeremiah 18:17; Jeremiah 23:1., appears only in Isaiah 41:16; and while יסּר is used in the same meaning in Jeremiah 10:24, יסּר occurs nowhere in the second part of Isaiah, and למּשׁפּט is found in Isaiah 41:1; Isaiah 54:17; Isaiah 59:11, in quite a different connection and meaning." (Graf.))
Because Israel has been severely chastised for his sins, the Lord will now punish his enemies, and heal Israel. - Jeremiah 30:12. "For thus saith Jahveh: It is ill with thy bruise, thy wound is painful. Jeremiah 30:13. There is none to judge thy cause; for a sore, healing-plaster there is none for thee. Jeremiah 30:14. All thy lovers have forgotten thee, thee they seek not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, the chastisement of a cruel one, because of the multitude of thine iniquity, [because] thy sins were numerous. Jeremiah 30:15. Why criest thou over thy bruise - [because] thy wound is bad? Because of the multitude of thine iniquity, [because] thy sins were numerous, have I done these things to thee. Jeremiah 30:16. Therefore all those who devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine oppressors, they shall all go into captivity; and they who spoiled thee shall become a spoil, and those that plundered thee I will give up for plunder. Jeremiah 30:17. For I will put a plaster on thee, and will heal thee of thy wounds, saith Jahveh; for they call thee an outcast, [and say], Zion is she [whom] none seeketh after."
This strophe is only a fuller expression of the idea set forth in Jeremiah 30:11, that the Lord certainly chastises Israel, but will not make an end of him. The chastisement has commenced. From the wounds and blows which Israel has received, he lies motionless and helpless, getting neither sympathy nor aid from his lovers. The feminine suffix and the mention of lovers show that the address turns to the daughter of Zion. On the expression אנוּשׁ , "it is ill with thy bruise," cf. Jeremiah 15:18. נחלה מכּה , "bad, incurable is the stroke which thou hast received," as in Jeremiah 10:19; Jeremiah 14:17. דּוּן דּין , "to execute justice;" cf. Jeremiah 5:28; Jeremiah 22:16. Hitzig well explains the meaning: "thy claims against thy heathen oppressors." למזור , although connected by the accents with what precedes, does not agree well with דּן דּינך ; for מזור has not the meaning which has been attributed to it, of a "bandage," but, as derived from the verb זוּר , "to press a wound," signifies the wound that has been pressed together; see on Hosea 5:13. Neither does the figure of the wound agree with the expression, "there is none to judge thy cause," so that we might, with Umbreit, render the passage, "No one gives thee thy due, in pressing thy wounds;" while, as Graf says, " רפאות dissociated from למזור forms a useless synonym with תּעלה ," and in Jeremiah 46:11, where the thought is repeated, it is separated from the latter word. Accordingly, with Hitzig and Graf, we connect למזור into one clause: "for the wound, there is no healing (or medicine)-no plaster." תּעלה is what is laid upon the wound, a plaster. "All thy lovers," i.e., the nations which were once allied with thee (cf. Jeremiah 22:20, Jeremiah 22:22), do not trouble themselves about thee, because I have smitten thee so heavily on account of the multitude of thy transgressions; cf. Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 13:22. עצמוּ still depends on the preposition על , which continues its force, but as a conjunction. The idea that the Israelites have richly deserved their sufferings is still more plainly presented in Jeremiah 30:15: "Why criest thou, because thou hast brought this suffering on thee through thy sins?" אנוּשׁ also depends on על , which continues to exert its power in the sentence as a conjunction.
Therefore (i.e., because Israel, although punished for his sins, is destitute of help) will the Lord take pity on him. He will recompense to his oppressors and spoilers according to their deeds, and will heal his wounds. The enemies of Zion will now meet the fate which they have prepared for Zion. Those who, like rapacious animals, would devour Israel (see on Jeremiah 2:3), shall be devoured, and all his oppressors shall go into captivity; cf. Jeremiah 22:22. The Kethib שׁאסיך is the Aramaic form of the participle from שׁאס for שׁסס ; the Qeri substitutes the Hebrew form שׁסיך , after Jeremiah 50:11, Isaiah 17:14. עלה ארכה , to put on a bandage, lay on a plaster. ארכה signifies, primarily, not a bandage, but, like the Arabic arîkah (according to Fleischer in Delitzsch on Isaiah 58:8), the new skin which forms over a wound as it heals, and (as is shown by the expression of Isaiah, ארכתך־תּצמח ) proves the healing of the wound. Against the direct transference of the meaning of the word in Arabic to the Hebrew ארכה , without taking into consideration the passage in Isaiah just referred to, there is the objection that the word is always used in connection with עלה , "to be put on" (cf. Isaiah 8:22; 2 Chronicles 24:13; Nehemiah 4:1), or העלה , "to put on" (here and in Jeremiah 33:6), which is not the proper verb to be used in speaking of the formation of a new skin over a wound after suppuration has ceased. Hence the word in Hebrew seems to have received the derived sense of "a healing-plaster;" this is confirmed by the employment of the word תּעלה , "plaster," in Jeremiah 30:13 and Jeremiah 46:11. - The second כּי , Jeremiah 30:17, is subordinate to the clause which precedes. "Because they called thee one rejected," i.e., because the enemies of Zion spoke of her contemptuously, as a city that has been forsaken of God, and the Lord will heal her wounds.
Further explanation of the deliverance promised to Zion. - Jeremiah 30:18. "Thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I will turn the captivity of the tents of Jacob, and will take pity on his dwellings; and the city shall be built again upon its own hill, and the palace shall be inhabited after its own fashion. Jeremiah 30:19. And there shall come forth from them praise and the voice of those who laugh; and I will multiply them, so that they shall not be few, and I will honour them, so that they shall not be mean. Jeremiah 30:20. And his sons shall be as in former times, and his congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress him. Jeremiah 30:21. And his leader shall spring from himself, and his ruler shall proceed from his midst; and I will bring him near, so that he shall approach to me; for who is he that became surety for his life in drawing near to me? saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 30:22. And ye shall become my people, and I will be your God."
The dwellings of Israel that have been laid waste, and the cities that have been destroyed, shall be restored and inhabited as formerly, so that songs of praise and tones of joy shall resound from them (Jeremiah 30:18.). "The captivity of the tents of Jacob" means the miserable condition of the dwellings of Jacob, i.e., of all Israel; for "to turn the captivity" has everywhere a figurative sense, and signifies the turning of adversity and misery into prosperity and comfort; see on Jeremiah 29:14. Hitzig is quite wrong in his rendering: "I bring back the captives of the tents of Jacob, i.e., those who have been carried away out of the tents." That "tents" does not stand for those who dwell in tents, but is a poetic expression for "habitations," is perfectly clear from the parallel "his dwellings." To "take pity on the dwellings" means to "restore the dwellings that have been destroyed" (cf. Jeremiah 9:18). The anarthrous עיר must not be restricted to the capital, but means every city that has been destroyed; here, the capital naturally claims the first consideration. "Upon its hills" is equivalent to saying on its former site, cf. Joshua 11:13; it does not mean "on the mound made by its ruins," in support of which Nägelsbach erroneously adduces Deuteronomy 13:17. ארמון in like manner stands, in the most general way, for every palace. על־משׁפּטו does not mean "on the proper place," i.e., on an open, elevated spot on the hill (Hitzig), neither does it mean "on its right position" (Ewald); both of these renderings are against the usage of the words: but it signifies "according to its right" (cf. Deuteronomy 17:11), i.e., in accordance with what a palace requires, after its own fashion. ישׁב , to be inhabited, as in Jeremiah 17:6, etc. "Out of them" refers to the cities and palaces. Thence proceeds, resounds praise or thanksgiving for the divine grace shown them (cf. Jeremiah 33:11), and the voice, i.e., the tones or sounds, of those who laugh (cf. Jeremiah 15:17), i.e., of the people living in the cities and palaces, rejoicing over their good fortune. "I will increase them, so that they shall not become fewer," cf. Jeremiah 29:6; "I will bring them to honour (cf. Isaiah 8:22), so that they shall not be lightly esteemed." - In Jeremiah 30:20. the singular suffixes refer to Jacob as a nation (Jeremiah 30:18). "His sons" are the members of the nation; they become as they were previously, in former times - sicut olim sub Davide et Salmonoe, florentissimo rerum statu . "The congregation will be established before me," i.e., under my survey ( תּכּון as in Ps. 102:29), i.e., they shall no more be shaken or moved from their position.
The expression "his prince will be out of him" is explained by the parallel clause, "his ruler will proceed from him." The meaning is, that the people will no longer be ruled or subdued by foreign masters, but be ruled by glorious princes, i.e., leaders endowed with princely glory, and these out of the midst of themselves. Herein is contained the truth, that the sovereignty of Israel, as restored, culminates in the kingdom of the Messiah. Yet the words employed are so general that we cannot restrict אדּירו and משׁלו to the person of the Messiah. The idea is to be taken in a more general way: As Israel was ruled by princes of the house of David, whom God had chosen, so will it again in the future have its own rulers, whom God will raise out of their midst and exalt gloriously. This is clear from the further statement, "I will cause him to approach, and he shall come near unto me." To affirm that these words do not refer to the ruler, but to the people, is a mistake that could be made only by those expositors who view the "ruler" as being none else than the Messiah. Yet the lxx and the Chaldee paraphrase understood the words as referring to the people; and in support of this view, it may be asserted that, in the Messianic period, Israel is to become a holy people (Jeremiah 3:17), and attain its destiny of being a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6), in reference to which it is called עם קרבו , Psalms 148:14. But the context evidently requires us to refer the words to the king, with regard to whom one here looks for a further statement. The verb הקריב is the regular expression employed in reference to the approach on the part of the priests to Jahveh, cf. Numbers 16:5; and נגּשׁ in Exodus 24:2 denotes the approach of Moses to Jahveh on Mount Sinai. The two verbs thus signify a bringing near and a coming near, which, under the old covenant, was the prerogative of those persons who were consecrated by the Lord to be servants in His sanctuary, but was denied the common people. As to the kings of Israel, in regard to this matter, the ordinance proclaimed concerning Joshua held good in reference to them also: "he shall stand before Eleazar, who shall inquire for him in a matter of Urim before Jahveh" (Numbers 27:21). Even a David could not approach into the immediate presence of the Lord to ask His will. This prerogative of the priests the Lord will, in the future, vouchsafe also to the princes of Israel, i.e., He will then put them in such a relation to Himself as no one may now presume to occupy, except at the risk of his life. This is shown by the succeeding sentence, which assigns the reason: "For who is there that stands surety for his heart, i.e., with his heart answers for the consequences of approaching me?" לב and not נפשׁ is named, as the seat of physical life, in so far as the heart is the place where the soul is alone with itself, and becomes conscious of all it does and suffers as its own (Oehler in Delitzsch's Psychology, p. 296 of Clark's Translation). The meaning is, that nobody will stake his spiritual-moral life on any attempt to draw near to God, because a sinful man is destroyed before the holiness of the Divine Being. Whoever approaches into the presence of Jahveh must die; Numbers 8:19; Exodus 19:21; Exodus 34:3, etc.
Then Israel shall really become the people of the Lord, and the Lord shall be their God; thus the end of their divine calling shall be attained, and the salvation of Israel shall be complete; see on Jeremiah 7:23.
The wicked shall be destroyed by the fire of God's anger. - Jeremiah 30:23. "Behold, a whirlwind of Jahveh - wrath goeth forth - a sweeping whirlwind; it shall hurl down on the head of the wicked. Jeremiah 30:24. The heat of Jahveh's anger shall not return till He hath done and till He hath established the purpose of His heart; in the end of the days ye shall consider it."
These two verses have been already met with in Jeremiah 23:19 and Jeremiah 23:20, with a few variations. Instead of מיחולל we have here מתגּורר , and אף־יהוה is here strengthened by prefixing חרון ; on the other hand, בּינה , which is added in the preceding passage to intensify התבּוננוּ , is here omitted. The first of these changes is more of a formal than a real kind; for by the substitution of מתגּורר for מיחולל , the play in the latter word on יחוּל is merely disturbed, not "destroyed," since ר and ל are kindred sounds. התגּורר has been variously rendered. The meaning of "abiding," which is founded on 1 Kings 17:20, is here unsuitable. Equally inappropriate is the meaning of "crowding together," or assembling in troops, which we find in Hosea 7:14. It is more correct to derive it from גּרר , either in the sense of sweeping away or that of blustering, which are meanings derived from the fundamental one of producing harsh sounds in the throat, and transferred to the rushing sound made by the storm as it carries everything along with it. The second and third changes affect the sense. For, by the addition of חרון to אף , the idea of a judgment in wrath is intensified; and by dropping בּינה , less is made of the acuteness of perception. Both of these variations correspond to differences in the context of both passages. In Jer 23, where the words are applied to the false prophets, it was important to place emphasis on the statement that these men would, by experience, come to a full knowledge of the reality of that judgment they denied; in this chapter, on the other hand, the idea of judgment in wrath must be expressly set aside. There is thus no good ground for considering these verses a later interpolation into the text, as Movers, Hitzig, and Nägelsbach think. Hitzig rejects these verses as spurious on the false ground that the judgment threatened in this chapter refers merely to the fall of the kingdom of Babylon, which Jeremiah could not have been able to know beforehand; Nägelsbach rejects them on the ground of other erroneous assumptions.
(Note: First, he holds the groundless opinion that this prophecy originated in the time of Josiah, and therefore could not have borrowed verses from the address given in Jer 23, which belongs to the time of Jehoiakim; secondly, with as little ground he affirms that these verses do not correspond with the character of the chapter, and seem like a jarring discord in the midst of the announcement of deliverance it contains; finally, he asks whence could come "the wicked" mentioned, in the times described by the prophet - as if he thought that when the captivity of the people was turned, all godless ones would suddenly disappear. - The doubts as to the genuineness of Jeremiah 30:22 are based by Nägelsbach merely on the fact that the same idea is repeated in Jeremiah 31:1.)
The only doubtful point regarding these verses is, whether they are to be connected, as Hengstenberg thinks, with what precedes, or with what follows, as Ewald supposes. In the former case, to the promise for the true Israel would be added a threat against those who only seemed to be Israel, - like the declaration in Isaiah, "There is no peace to the wicked:" this addition would thus be made, lest those for whom the promise was not intended should unwarrantably apply it to themselves. But, however well-founded the thought is, that every increasing manifestation of grace is invariably accompanied by an increased manifestation of righteousness, and though all the prophets clearly testify that the godless members of the covenant people have no share in the promised salvation, but instead are liable to judgment; yet there has not been such preparation made for the introduction of this thought as that we might be able at once to join these two verses to what precedes. The exclamation "Behold!" with which the words are introduced, rather form a sign that a new addition is to be made to the prophecy. We therefore view the threat in this verse as a resumption of the threat of judgment made in Jeremiah 30:5., to which is attached, in Jeremiah 31:1, the further development of the announcement of deliverance; but we refer the threat made in the verse not merely to the heathen as such, but to all "wicked ones," in such a way that it at the same time applies to the godless members of the covenant people, and signifies their exclusion from salvation.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Jeremiah 30". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany