IV An invitation to true repentance, by promises, ver. 1-4. And judgments coming on them by the Babylonians, contrary to the predictions of their false prophets, for their sins, ver. 5-18. A grievous lamentation for the miseries of Judah, ver. 19-31.
Verse 1. If - If thou wilt return, return; make no longer delay. Remove - Thou shalt not go out of thine own land into exile.
Verse 2. Swear - This is put here for the whole worship of God, acknowledging an& owning God as the only God; which is strongly exprest by this act. In truth - That the matter and substance of it be true. In judgment - Deliberately, advisedly, and reverently. In righteousness - That none be injured by it, that the things we engage be both lawful and possible, and that we look to the performance. The nations - This shall be a means to work upon the Heathen nations, to come into the same way of worship. They shall think themselves happy to be incorporated with thee, that it may be with them according to that promise, Gen. xii, 3. Glory - Whereas before they gloried in their idols, they shall glory in God alone.
Verse 3. For - The Lord turns now his speech from Israel to Judah. Break up - Prepare your hearts by making them soft, tender, and pliable, fit to embrace my word. A metaphor taken from plow- men. Thorns - Rid your hearts and hands of what may hinder you of embracing my word.
Verse 4. Circumcise - Put away your corruptions. Heart - Let it be inward, not outward in the flesh only.
Verse 5. The trumpet - The Lord being now about to bring enemies upon them, speaks in martial language, warning them of the nature of their approaching judgment.
Verse 6. Retire - Make haste away.
Verse 7. The lion - Nebuchadnezzar, so called from his fierceness and strength.
Verse 9. The heart - They shall have no heart to do any thing, they shall not be able to help their people, either by their counsel or arms. Prophets - False prophets that had nothing but visions of peace for them.
Verse 10. Deceived - Hast suffered them to be deceived by their false prophets. Whereas - To persuade them it should be well with them, when the sword is at the door, not only ready to take away the comforts of life, but even life itself.
Verse 11. At that time - There shall be tidings brought both to the country and city. A drywind - A dryingwind, such as shall blast and scorch where it comes, without any rain or moisture. It points at the stormy and furious irruption of the Babylonian army. In the plain - Where there is no stop in the way to break its fury. Toward - Directly, and designedly, coming in the way leading to my people. Not - Not such a gentle wind, as is made choice of to separate the chaff from the wheat; but so boisterous and violent, that it shall sweep away, and lay waste, all together.
Verse 12. Full - Hebrew. Fuller than they. A wind too strong for them. Shall come - It shall presently come to me, to receive my commission, and do my will.
Verse 13. As clouds - Denoting the suddenness of them, when not expected, clouds often rising on a sudden, and overspread the whole face of the heavens; or the great swiftness with which Nebuchadnezzar should march against them. As a whirlwind - Which, besides the swiftness, denotes also the confusion and amazement that they will cause.
Verse 14. Wash - As a means to prevent the judgments that are impending. Vain thoughts - Vain fancies of safety.
Verse 15. From Daniel - Daniel was the first place the Chaldeans came to, being the utmost boundary of Canaan northward. Ephraim was the innermost border of Israel in the north of Judea, intimating the march of the Babylonians thro' all Israel.
Verse 16. Make mention - These words are a proclamation, summoning the nations by the Chaldeans. Watchers - Chaldean soldiers, who shall so carefully encompass Jerusalem, that none shall escape. Give out - They give a shout, encouraging the soldiers to battle.
Verse 17. As keepers - They will watch that none relieve them, and that none get out to escape.
Verse 18. Bitter - Thy wickedness hath been the cause of bringing such a bitter enemy against thee, which hath reached unto thy very heart.
Verse 19. My bowels - Here begins the complaint of the prophet. My heart - Is disturbed within me. Because - I have heard in the spirit of prophecy; it is as certain, as if I now heard the trumpet sounding.
Verse 20. Destruction - Good Josiah slain, and four of his successors carried away, or slain. My tents - The enemy makes no more of overthrowing my stately cities, than if he were overturning tents made of curtains.
Verse 23. I beheld - I Jeremiah saw this in a vision. It - The land was squalid, and ruined, like the first chaos, for which reason possibly he calls Judah the earth, in allusion to Gen. i, 2. The heavens - He seems to proceed in his metaphor of the chaos. Every thing above and below seemed to be wrapped up in dismal blackness.
Verse 24. Trembled - He proceeds in his figurative expressions. Behold how the very mountains of Judea tremble! Moved - As easily as dust, or feathers in a whirl-wind.
Verse 25. No man - All being either slain, or carried captive, or fled.
Verse 27. Yet - In the midst of judgment he will remember mercy.
Verse 28. Mourn - Expressions to set forth the dreadfulness of the judgment; he makes the elements to personate mourners.
Verse 31. In travail - When the scripture would express any exquisite sorrow, it doth it by a woman in travail. First child - Which is usually the most painful. Spreadeth her hands - According to the use of persons in great anguish, clapping or wringing their hands together.