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This is a short, but interesting Chapter; in which, the Lord commands his servant the Prophet, in looking forward to the times of the Captivity, to keep himself unconnected because of his judgments. The Lord pronounceth great evils; but the Chapter closeth in sweet promises, concerning the deliverance of his people; which he promiseth shall be even greater than that from Egypt.
I venture to read this precept given to Jeremiah concerning marriage while in Babylon, both with a national and spiritual view. No alliances were to be made by the people of God, with their idolatrous neighbours. And this, not only to keep them from idolatry; but to preserve the holy seed pure, distinct, and uncorrupt; and specially with an eye to Christ. Hence we find the genealogy of Christ, is so faithfully recorded by the Evangelists, Matthew 1:0 , and Luke 3:23 to the end. Whether my views in this passage be right or not, still the Reader will not find it unsuitable to the general idea of scripture; for the Lord hath himself dwelt largely upon the subject, in several places. Hosea 2:0 ; Isaiah 54:5-6 ; Jeremiah 3:14 . And I confess, that I am the more inclined to this view of the subject, in a spiritual point, from that solemn expression which is in the midst of it; in which the Lord saith, I have taken away my peace from this people: perhaps (for I do not presume to determine) it means, that the Lord hath taken away his people's views of peace in Christ, the promised seed, when they found themselves in captivity; and for a while their hopes were cut off. They had lost the faith of that peace, and joy in believing, which their fathers had in seeing, the day of Christ afar off. And of course it made their bondage yet more grievous. Hence the Church cried out; thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity: And I said, my strength and my hope is perished from the Lord, Lamentations 3:17-18 .
As the Lord prohibited the prophet from mourning in Babylon, so, from feasting; both were alike unsuitable, while the Comforter was far away. I pray the Reader to notice in both views the preciousness of Jesus, the peace and consolation of his people, to sweeten and sanctify all states.
There is a wonderful degree of condescension, implied on the part of God in what is here said. Where there is an enquiry seriously set up in the soul, concerning the ways and works of God, in his visitation; there the Lord will vouchsafe to explain. Reader! let this encourage in all dark seasons, to tell out your sorrows and exercises, and place them down before the throne!
Whether from the divine pleasure, which the Lord took in delivering his people in those instances, which most strongly represented their spiritual deliverance from sin and hell, by the Lord Jesus: or whether in the repeating that deliverance, in the case from Babylon, as the time drew nearer, when the thing represented in type, should be accomplished in reality; or whether from any other cause, which we know not, the Lord thought proper so to do; but the fact is so, that the Lord upon many occasions, speaks of a greater mercy in the Church's emancipation from Babylon than from Egypt. That both were eminently typical, is too plain to be doubted. But it is our duty to accept what the Lord hath said with implicit faith. See Jeremiah 23:7-8 . I cannot doubt, but that the pre-eminency in the case of being delivered from Babylon, arose from the nearness to which that event stood, to the glorious salvation by Jesus, compared to the distant age of Egypt.
Are not those fishers in allusion to what Christ said of his Apostles, Matthew 4:19-20 . And is not the recompense the Lord is here said to make to their sin, that wound of the spirit, which the Holy Ghost when convincing of sin, makes in the heart, in order to lead to Jesus? John 16:8 .
The prayer of the Prophet is a beautiful break in the subject; as if the man of God felt his mind instantly led out, so to look up and plead with the Lord, from what had been said. And the burden of his prayer seems to be taking hold of the Lord's promise, concerning the call of the Gentiles; which the Apostle Paul, in after ages, had it in commission to tell the Church, should provoke the jealousy of Israel. If so, it is a blessed illustration of this passage. Let the Reader consult the scripture, and then compare both Romans 11:11 to the end.
My soul! gather from the Lord's precept, to his servant the Prophet; not to marry, nor mingle with the nations of the captivity; how much it concerns thee, to sit aloof, and as much detached as possible, from all persons, and all things, which might have a tendency to draw thine affections from the Lord! Remember, that thy Maker is thine husband. And doth he not say to thee, as to the Church of old, thou shalt abide for me many days: thou shalt not play the harlot: and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. Precious Lord Jesus! blessed be thou, for thine infinite condescension. Oh! give me grace ever to keep it in view, and to call to mind; wherever I am, or however engaged, amidst the Babylons of this wilderness-state, that my indigence, Jesus neither overlooks, nor despiseth; but will keep me during the captivity, and at length bring me out of more than the Egyptian bondage. Neither in the house of mourning, or of feasting, would I lose sight of my Lord! And oh! grant, that I may constantly have the grace of faith in thee; that the peace in Jesus way be never lost sight of, no not for a moment. But oh! let my constant song in this house of my pilgrimage, be, the Lord liveth that hath brought the souls of his people, from the north, and from all lands whither they had been driven; and now brought them into the liberty, wherewith Jesus makes them free. Yea, they shall dwell in their own land, even Emmanuel's land, forever. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter