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Jer 42:1-22. THE JEWS AND JOHANAN INQUIRE OF GOD, THROUGH JEREMIAH, AS TO GOING TO EGYPT, PROMISING OBEDIENCE TO HIS WILL. THEIR SAFETY ON CONDITION OF STAYING IN JUDEA, AND THEIR DESTRUCTION IN THE EVENT OF GOING TO EGYPT, ARE FORETOLD. THEIR HYPOCRISY IN ASKING FOR COUNSEL WHICH THEY MEANT NOT TO FOLLOW, IF CONTRARY TO THEIR OWN DETERMINATION, IS REPROVED.
2. Jeremiah--He probably was one of the number carried off from
Mizpah, and dwelt with Johanan
Hence the expression is, "came near"
3. They consulted God, like many, not so much to know what was right, as wishing Him to authorize what they had already determined on, whether agreeable to His will or not. So Ahab in consulting Micaiah (1Ki 22:13). Compare Jeremiah's answer (Jer 42:4) with Micaiah's (1Ki 22:14).
4. I have heard--that is, I accede to your request.
5. Lord be a true . . . witness-- (Ge 31:50; Ps 89:37; Re 1:5; 3:14; 19:11).
6. evil--not moral evil, which God cannot command (Jas 1:13), but what may be disagreeable and hard to us. Piety obeys God, without questioning, at all costs. See the instance defective in this, that it obeyed only so far as was agreeable to itself (1Sa 15:3, 9, 13-15, 20-23).
7. ten days--Jeremiah did not speak of himself, but waited God's time and revelation, showing the reality of his inspiration. Man left to himself would have given an immediate response to the people, who were impatient of delay. The delay was designed to test the sincerity of their professed willingness to obey, and that they should have full time to deliberate (De 8:2). True obedience bows to God's time, as well as His way and will.
10. If ye . . . abide--namely, under the Babylonian
authority, to which God hath appointed that all should be subject
(Da 2:37, 38).
To resist was to resist God.
12. show mercies--rather, I will excite (in him)
feelings of mercy towards you
16. sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you--The very evils we think to escape by sin, we bring on ourselves thereby. What our hearts are most set on often proves fatal to us. Those who think to escape troubles by changing their place will find them wherever they go (Eze 11:8). The "sword" here is that of Nebuchadnezzar, who fulfilled the prediction in his expedition to Africa (according to MEGASTHENES, a heathen writer), 300 B.C.
17. all the men--excepting the "small number" mentioned (Jer 44:14, 28); namely, those who were forced into Egypt against their will, Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., and those who took Jeremiah's advice and fled from Egypt before the arrival of the Chaldeans.
18. As mine anger, &c.--As ye have already, to your sorrow, found
Me true to My word, so shall ye again
(Jer 7:20; 18:16).
19. I have admonished--literally, "testified," that is, solemnly admonished, having yourselves as My witnesses; so that if ye perish, ye yourselves will have to confess that it was through your own fault, not through ignorance, ye perished.
20. dissembled in your hearts--rather, "ye have used deceit against your (own) souls." It is not God, but yourselves, whom ye deceive, to your own ruin, by your own dissimulation (Ga 6:7) [CALVIN]. But the words following accord best with English Version, ye have dissembled in your hearts (see on Jer 42:3) towards me, when ye sent me to consult God for you.
21. declared it--namely, the divine will.