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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Jeremiah 20

 

 

Verses 7-18

3. APPENDIX

Jeremiah 20:7-18

The Prophet’s Joy And Sorrow

This passage contains an outbreak of the deepest sorrow, called forth by the persecutions, whose object Jeremiah was, both in general and specially in the bad treatment just received ( Jeremiah 20:2-3; comp. Jeremiah 11:18; Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 18:18 sqq.). The close connection of the passage with the preceding context is evident, as it seems to me from the words Magor-missabib in Jeremiah 20:10. For the application of this expression to the prophet is certainly most easily explained by the application which he himself had made of it in so pregnant a manner and to so prominent a personage as Pashur. If we further consider that to pass a night in the stocks must have been a fearful torture, and that it was the first time that the prophet had had to suffer bodily ill-treatment, we must admit that the historical epoch was perfectly adapted for the production of such a lamentation. It should, moreover, be observed that there is no superscription or designation of this effusion asWord of the Lord.” From this it follows that the prophet himself ascribes to this passage only a subjective and private character. The passage may be divided into two parts: 1. Jeremiah 20:7-13. Here the prophet rises from his lament on account of the persecution which had come upon him against his will to the expression of the most joyful hope. 2. Jeremiah 20:14-18. Here the feeling of sorrow, nay of despair, gets the upper hand, and the prophet sinks into a state of the most utter grief and despondency.

A. THROUGH SORROW TO JOY

Jeremiah 20:7-13

7 Thou didst persuade me,[FN1] Jehovah, and I was persuaded:

Thou didst lay hold of me[FN2] and didst prevail over me.

I am become a derision daily; every one mocketh me.

8 For as often as I speak or cry,[FN3]

I must cry concerning violence and ill-treatment;

For the word of Jehovah is made to me a scorn and derision the whole day.

9 And if I say,[FN4] I will no more make mention of him,

Nor speak henceforth in his name,

It becomes in my heart like a burning fire, shut up[FN5] in my bones,

And I weary myself with refraining, and cannot.

10 For I hear the talking of many:

Terror round about! “Announce! We will announce it!”

All who are obligated to be at peace with me watch for my halting:—

“Perhaps he will allow himself to be taken!

Then we will overpower him and take our revenge on him.”

11 But Jehovah is with me as a mighty hero;

Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.

They shall be grievously put to shame, because they have effected nothing,

With eternal disgrace, which is not forgotten.

12 But Jehovah Zebaoth tries justly;[FN6] he sees reins and heart.

I shall see thy vengeance on them,

For on thee have I devolved my suit.

13 Sing to Jehovah, praise Jehovah,

For he has saved the soul of the poor from the hand of evil doers.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet first calls to mind that he had not thrust himself into the prophetic office, but undertaken it with reluctance ( Jeremiah 20:7 a). That his objections were well founded is shown by the result, for he has reaped nothing in return for his proclamation of the divine word but scorn and derision ( Jeremiah 20:7 b–8). But when he attempted to divest himself of the prophetic vocation, he found this impossible; there was an impulse from within, which burned like a fire and threatened to consume him unless he were relieved ( Jeremiah 20:9). And yet his ministry did not cease to be ruinous to him. He hears how the words of his prophecy, as “Terror round about” ( Jeremiah 20:3), are turned against him in derision, and used in denunciation of the prophet. Yea, even such as should be well disposed towards him watched curiously to spy out some false step, by which they might obtain the satisfaction of their feeling of revenge ( Jeremiah 20:10). He then consoles himself with the hope that everlasting shame will be the portion of his enemies ( Jeremiah 20:11), and that he will be avenged by God, the true knower of hearts ( Jeremiah 20:12). Finally in the anticipation of being heard, he breaks out into a summons to praise God as the Saviour of the poor ( Jeremiah 20:13).

Jeremiah 20:7-8. Thou didst persuade him … the whole day. On the subject-matter, comp. Jeremiah 1:5 sqq.

Jeremiah 20:9. And if I say … and cannot. The prophet describes his experience, when, having undertaken the prophetic calling, he attempts to escape from it. He had the feeling as if a fire were burning within him, which having no outlet would consume him, to which, therefore, he was obliged to give an outlet by expressing what was inwardly communicated to him. Comp. Jeremiah 6:11; Amos 3:8.—I weary myself. Comp. Jeremiah 9:4; Jeremiah 15:6.

Jeremiah 20:10-13. For I hear … evil-doers.כִּיFor in Jeremiah 20:10, cannot possibly refer immediately to Jeremiah 20:9. It rather presupposes a similar thought to that to which the parallel כִּי in Jeremiah 20:8 refers, and which is contained in Jeremiah 20:7 b. We must, therefore, supply after Jeremiah 20:9 a thought of this kind: since the cause remains, the effect also remains (namely, that indicated in7b). How far this is the case, is shown in the following sentence.—Talk, דִּבָּה is fama, rumor, public talk, report (comp. Genesis 37:2; Numbers 13:32; Numbers 14:36-37; Proverbs 10:18; Proverbs 25:10). That it is a secretly circulated, softly whispered rumor, neither follows from the etymology (which is pretty uncertain; comp. Fuerst’sConcordance with his Lexicon), nor from the connection of the passage where it occurs.—Terror, etc. Magor-missabib. The expression occurs in Jeremiah 6:25; afterwards also in Jeremiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:29 coll. Lamentations 2:22, besides Psalm 31:14. Since the discourse to which Jeremiah 6:25 belongs, is older than Jeremiah 19, 20, the prophet did not use the expression in Jeremiah 20:3 for the first time, but only as a repetition of one previously used. In this passage the expression may be understood as only an ironical quotation. For1. The form of the expression is not such that it can be designated as a popular form of threatening. מגור, magor, is not only a comparatively rare word, but one which belongs exclusively to poetic and prophetic phraseology; it occurs only eight times in the Old Testament, and except once in Isa. ( Isaiah 31:9 in another connection), only in the formula here used, six times in Jeremiah and in Psalm 31:14. 2. The expression is evidently one peculiar to Jeremiah, as is clear from what has been stated; in addition to which may be remarked, that Psalm 31. contains so many elements peculiar to the style of Jeremiah or related to it, that the question whether Jeremiah was not its author is fully justified. As it can scarcely be doubted that those scoffers applied his own phrase to the prophet, it is further in the highest degree probable that they did this from an occasion on which it had been used by the prophet not by the way, but in a pregnant manner. This latter was, however, the case when Jeremiah changed the name of so important a personage as Pashur into Magor-missabib. The question is of subordinate interest in what sense they applied the expression to the prophet; whether it was as a menace against him, or as a reproach for his hostile disposition towards the community. Probably they wished to unite both.—All who are obligated, etc. Comp. Jeremiah 22:22; Obadiah 1:8; Psalm 41:10.—Watch for my halting.צֶלַע in the meaning of “side,” according to which “who cover my side” would be in apposition.—Friends [literally: men of my peace], from the want of a predicate, gives no sense [though adopted by Schmid, Schnurrer, Eichhorn, and Gesenius]. Doubtless it Isaiah, as in Psalm 35:15, claudicatio, tottering, making a false step. For שָׁמַר in the sense of “to watch for, to lie in wait,” see Psalm 56:7; Psalm 71:10; Job 10:14; Job 13:27.—Overpower him. Comp. Jeremiah 1:19; Jeremiah 15:20.—My persecutors. Comp. Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:18.—Not prevail. Comp. Jeremiah 5:22; Jeremiah 3:5Effect nothing. Comp. Comm. on Jeremiah 10:21.—Eternal disgrace. Comp. Jeremiah 23:40.—But Jehovah ( Jeremiah 20:12). Comp. Jeremiah 11:20.—Justly, צַדִּיק might be accusative. But from the parallel with Jeremiah 11:20, we perceive that it is intended to define more particularly the action predicated. The sense is also more satisfactory, if it is not merely said, what the Lord sees, but also how He sees it.—Sing, etc. A hymn of the hopeful Prayer of Manasseh, who by faith possesses that which is still future ( Hebrews 11:1).

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Jeremiah 20:7.—פתיתני. The construction is like וַיהוָֹה הוֹדִיעַנִי וָאֵדָעָה, Jeremiah 11:18.

FN#2 - Jeremiah 20:7.—חזק, transitive as in 1 Kings 16:22; 1 Chronicles 28:20.

FN#3 - Jeremiah 20:8.—According to the Masoretic punctuation, אֶזֶעָק is connected as asyndeton with הָמָם וָשׁד,אֲדַּבֵּר depending on אֶקְרָא, as an accusative. This punctuation is supported on the fact that the latter phrase frequently occurs in this connection: Jeremiah 6:7; Amos 3:10; Ezekiel 45:9. In itself it would certainly be allowable and more in accordance with the sense to consider the later sentence as apodosis of the former.

FN#4 - Jeremiah 20:9.—On the form of the conditional sentence, comp. Naegelsb. Gr., § 85 a, etc.

FN#5 - Jeremiah 20:9.—עצר, being in apposition to אֵשׁ בֹּעֶרֶת, is to be rendered as neuter: inclusum aliquid. Comp. Naegelsb. Gr, § 60, 4.

FN#6 - Jeremiah 20:12.—[Henderson: The Trier of the righteous.—S. R. A.]

B. FOR THE PRESENT NOTHING BUT SORROW: THE PROPHET CURSES THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH

Jeremiah 20:14-18

14 Cursed be the day wherein I was begotten!

Let not the day, wherein my mother bare me, be blessed!

15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying,

A son is born to thee, a man child!—making him very glad.

16 And let that man be as the cities which the Lord overthrew without mercy,

And let him hear the cry in the morning and alarm of war at noontide,

17 Because he slew me not in the womb;

So that my mother might have been my grave,

And her womb have remained always gravid.

18 Wherefore came I forth from the womb,

To see labour and sorrow and my days consumed in shame?

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

The prophet curses the day of his begetting and the day of his birth ( Jeremiah 20:14). He further curses the Prayer of Manasseh, who brought to his father the first news of his birth ( Jeremiah 20:15). He wishes that this man may be like Sodom and Gomorrah ( Jeremiah 20:16), because he did not kill him in the womb and thus prevent his birth ( Jeremiah 20:17). Finally he breaks out again into a lamentation:—O why must I be born to a life of misery and shame ( Jeremiah 20:18)? Two questions here arise1. Is such a cursing in the mouth of a prophet to be justified? 2. Is it in place in this connection immediately after the hopeful words in Jeremiah 20:11-13? As to the first question, as a preliminary all those arbitrary interpretations are to be rejected, which understand by the day which Jeremiah curses, not the day of his birth, but some other day, especially some future day, as that of the destruction of Jerusalem (as according to Jerome the older Rabbins),—or which suppose that Jeremiah speaks not in his own name, but in the name of others (perditorum hominum),—or which suppose that Jeremiah complains here not of external but internal trials, or of the perversity of the people (Calvin), or that he gives an account of a trial which he had endured previously (in explanation of אֵבִיוֹן, Jeremiah 20:13, on account of whichאֲשֶׁר אָמַרִתִּי or אֹמֵר is to be supplied before Jeremiah 20:14. Seb. Schmidt). It should be observed that this entire passage from Jeremiah 20:7 onwards, is not proclaimed by the prophet as a word of Jehovah (Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:25). He gives us merely a true reflex of his human feeling. Who can dispute the possibility of a man like Jeremiah having such temptations of indignation and despair? Is it not human? Do the men of God cease to be men? Think of that man of God, Job, whose words evidently ( Jeremiah 3:3 sqq.) hovered before the mind of the prophet. It is further to be observed, that the cursing is merely a rhetorical form. It has no object. The long past day of his birth is as little an object, to which the curse might really attach itself as the man who announced to the father the birth of his Song of Solomon,—who in reality, probably, never existed. For were men witnesses of confinements? Is it not of purpose that the prophet speaks of a Prayer of Manasseh, and not of a woman? Therefore Chrysostom says concerning Job: “inanimatis facit injuriam” (Ghisl II, S. 523). Finally, however, it must be admitted, as Seb. Schmidt sets forth, that it manifests an infirmity on the part of the prophet. Förster even says: “Grande hoc et inexcusabile prophetæ peccatum est.” And indeed the sinfulness of it consists partly in the high degree of impatience and ill-humor, which is here manifested, and partly in the form in which it displays itself. If this may be regarded as rhetorical hyperbole, yet this mode of expression is not New Testament, Christian, evangelical. We find here, too, somewhat of the spirit of the Ben-Hargem, to whom Christ said: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of ( Luke 9:55). Comp. the Doctrinal and Ethical remarks on Jeremiah 18:20. The second question, whether this outbreak of indignation suits, the connection, or is supposable as following Jeremiah 20:11-13, is answered by many in the negative. Ewald even places Jeremiah 20:14-18 before Jeremiah 20:7. Graf regards it as an independent fragment, a further development of Jeremiah 15:10, which is placed here only on account of its agreement in purport with Jeremiah 20:7-10. Now it must certainly be admitted that an outbreak of ill-humor such as this, after Jeremiah 20:13, is in a high degree remarkable. But observe the following points: 1. It is not necessary to suppose that Jeremiah 20:14-18 contain the expression of a state of mind, which followed immediately on that joyous state described in the previous context. There may have been a pause, a transition. None the less does the prophet portray the occurrences in his own mind with perfect correctness. He gives us to understand that his stare of comfort did not long continue, but soon made way for its opposite2. This arrangement of the psychological tableaux corresponds also to the course of history: the prophet never attained in this life to the enjoyment of outward peace. If he had now and then a moment of rest and of hope, it was soon past. Jeremiah 20:18 corresponds only too exactly to the actual tenor of his life.

Jeremiah 20:14. Cursed be the day … be blessed. Even R. Salomo and Abarbanel, in order to avoid tautology took ילדתי in the sense of beget. They add that Jeremiah was begotten on the day that Manasseh killed the prophets of the Lord ( 2 Kings 21:16). Moreover comp. Jeremiah 15:10; Job 3:3 sqq.

[Eng. Vers. “from the east”—S. R. A]. נָם מִמֶּרְהָקhe flees into the distance. Isaiah 17:13; Proverbs 7:19; Naegelsb.Gr., § 112, 5 d. The man may be regarded equally well with Jehovah [Henderson], as the subject of slew, especially if we remember that the whole description is not of a historical but rhetorical character. Comp. Psalm 31:10. [“While destitute of the sublime imagery employed by Job, this passage is not surpassed in pathos; there is a unity and condensation throughout which heighten its poetical beauty.” Henderson.—S. R. A.].

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. On Jeremiah 18:2. “What is the prophet of God to learn in the house of the potter? How shall this be his Bible or his school? But God chooses the foolish things to confound human wisdom ( 1 Corinthians 1:27).” Cramer. [“An orator would never choose such an instance for the purpose of making an impression on his audience; still less for the purpose of exhibiting his own skill and liveliness. It must be for business, not for amusement, that such a process is observed.”—“What we want in every occupation is some means of preserving the continuity of our thoughts, some resistance to the influences which are continually distracting and dissipating them. But it is especially the student of the events of his own time, of the laws which regulate them, of the issues which are to proceed from them, who has need to be reminded that he is not studying a number of loose disconnected phenomena, but is tracing a principle under different aspects and through different manifestations. A sensible illustration, if we would condescend to avail ourselves of it, would often save us from much vagueness and unreality, as well as from hasty and unsatisfactory conclusions.” Maurice.—S. R. A.]

2. On Jeremiah 18:6 sqq. Omne simile claudicat. Man is not clay, though he is made of clay ( Genesis 2:7). Consequently in Jeremiah 20:8; Jeremiah 20:10 the moral conditions are mentioned, which by virtue of his personality and freedom must be fulfilled on the part of Prayer of Manasseh, in order that the divine transformation to good or bad may take place. If the clay is spoiled on the wheel, it cannot help it. It is probably only the potter’s fault. Nothing then is here symbolized but the omnipotence of God, by virtue of which He can in any given case suppress whole kingdoms and nations, and transform them with the same ease and rapidity as the potter rolls up the spoiled vessel into a ball of clay, and immediately gives it a new form. It would be well for all to convince themselves, by witnessing the process, of the wonderful ease with which the potter forms the clay on the wheel.

3. On Jeremiah 18:6-10. “Cogitet unusquisque peccata sua, et modo illa emendet, cum tempus est. Sit fructuosus dolor, non sit sterilis pœnitudo. Tanquam hoc dicit Deus, ecce indicavi sententiam, sed nondum protuli. Prœdixi non fixi. Quid times, quia dixi? Si mutaveris, mutatur. Nam scriptum Esther, quod pœniteat Deum. Numquid quomodo hominem sic pœnitet Deum? Nam dictum est: si pœnituerit vos de peccatis vestris, pœnitebit me de omnibus malis, quæ facturus eram vobis. Numquid quasi errantem pœnitet Deum? Sed pœnitentia dicitur in Deo mutatio sententiæ. Non est iniqua, sed justa. Quare justa? Mutatus est reus, mutavit judex sententiam. Noli terreri. Sententia mutata Esther, non justitia. Justitia integra manet, quia mutato debet parcere, quia justus est. Quomodo pertinaci non parcit, sic mutato parcit.” Augustin, Sermo 109. De Tem ad medium.

4. On Jeremiah 18:6-10. “Comminationes Dei non intelligendæ sunt absolute, sed cum exceptione pœnitentiæ et conditione impœnitentiæ. Promissiones itidem non sunt absolute sed circumscriptæ cum conditione obedientiæ, tum exceptione crucis. God stipulates everywhere for the cross.” Comp. Deuteronomy 28. Förster.

5. On Jeremiah 18:6-10. “Præscientia et prædictio Dei non injicit absolutam eventus necessitatem rebus præscitis ac prædictis.” Förster.

6. On Jeremiah 18:8. “O felix pœnitentium humilitas! Quam potens es apud omnipotentem.” Bernard of Clairvaux.

[On Jeremiah 18:8-10. “I apprehend that we shall learn some day that the call to individual repentance, and the promise of individual reformation, has been feeble at one time, productive of turbulent, violent, transitory effects at another, because it has not been part of a call to national repentance, because it has not been connected with a promise of national reformation. We may appeal to men by the terrors of a future state; we may use all the machinery of revivalists to awaken them to a concern for their souls; we may produce in that way a class of religious men who pursue an object which other men do not pursue (scarcely a lass selfish, often not a less outward object):—who leave the world to take its own course;—who, when they mingle in it, as in time they must do for the sake of business and gain, adopt again its own maxims, and become less righteous than other men in common affairs, because they consider religion too fine a thing to be brought from the clouds to the earth, while yet they do not recognise a lower principle as binding on them. But we must speak again the ancient language, that God has made a covenant with the nation, and that all citizens are subjects of an unseen and righteous King, if we would have a hearty, inward repentance, which will really bring us back to God; which will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and of the children to the fathers; which will go down to the roots of our life, changing it from a self-seeking life into a life of humility and love and cheerful obedience; which will bear fruit upwards, giving nobleness to our policy and literature and art, to the daily routine of what we shall no more dare to call our secular existence.” Maurice.—S. R. A.]

7. On Jeremiah 18:10. “God writes as it were a reflection in our heart of that which we have to furnish to Him. For God is disposed towards us as we are disposed towards Him. If we do well, He does well to us; if we love Him, He loves us in return; if we forsake Him, He for sakes us. Psalm 18:26.” Cramer. [“Sin is the great mischief maker between God and a people; it forfeits the benefits of His promises, and spoils the success of their prayers. It defeats His kind intentions concerning them ( Hosea 7:1), and baffles their pleasing expectations from Him. It ruins their comforts, prolongs their grievances, brings them into straits, and retards their deliverances. Isaiah 49:1-2.” Henry—S. R. A.]

8. On Jeremiah 18:12. “Freedom of the Spirit! Who will allow himself to be brought into bondage by the gloomy words of that singular Prayer of Manasseh, Jeremiah? Every one must be able to live according to his own way of thinking.” Diedrich, The prophet Jeremiah and Ezekiel briefly expounded. 1863, S. 59.—This is the watchword of impiety in all times. If in truth everyone bears the divinity within him, then it is justified. But since every man bears within him only a θεϊόντι, a divine germ or spark, a point of connection for the objectively divine, and at the same time a point of connection for the diabolical, it is a hellish deception when one supposes he must follow his ingenium. For the question Isaiah, whether the voice from within is the voice of God or the voice of the devil. Here it is necessary to try ourselves and to open an entrance to the divine sun of life, so that the divine life-germ in us may be strengthened, and enabled to maintain its true authority.

9. On Jeremiah 18:14. On the summits of the high mountains, even in tropical countries, the snow does not entirely melt, and therefore the mighty cool springs at their feet never dry up. With those men only does the pure white snow of divine knowledge and godly fear never melt, whose heads are elevated above the steam and vapor of earthly cares and passions, into the pure clear air of heaven. And they it Isaiah, from whose bodies flow streams of living water ( John 7:38).

10. On Jeremiah 18:18. Consult the treatise of Luther: How a minister should behave when his office is despised?

11. On Jeremiah 18:18. (Come and let us smite him with the tongue, etc.). “It is indeed uncertain whether this is said by the preachers or by the whole people; but this is certain, that such actions are performed daily by those teachers, who know no other way of stopping the mouth of a servant of Jesus. ‘And not give heed to any of his words.’ This is au pis aller. If we can do him no harm, we will stop our ears, and he shall not convince us.” Zinzendorf.

12. On Jeremiah 18:19. (Give heed to me, O Lord). “This takes place in two ways. A teacher is looked at by the eye which is as flames of fire. He is also guided by the same eye, which looks on all lands, to strengthen those whose hearts are towards the Lord. No child can rest more securely in the cradle, while the nurse is looking for any fly that might disturb it, than a servant of the Lord can, to whom God gives heed.” Zinzendorf.

13. On Jeremiah 18:20. “It is a pleasing remembrance, when a teacher considers that he has been able to avert divine judgments from his people. It is also an undeniable duty. The spirit of Job, Moses, Jeremiah,, Ezra,, Nehemiah, Paul in this respect is the true spirit of Jesus Christ. He is a miserable shepherd who can give up his sheep and look on with dry eyes, while the fold is being devastated. Not to mention that teachers are now-a-days, by the salaries which they receive from their congregations, brought into the relation of servitude, and besides the regular obligation of the head are laid under indebtedness, as hospitals and other institutions, to pray for their founders. They give themselves the name of intercessors and thus bind themselves anew to this otherwise universal duty of all teachers.” Zinzendorf. But when the servant of God receives “odium pro labore, persecutio pro intercessione,” this is “the world’s gratitude and gratuity.” Förster.

14. On Jeremiah 18:21-23. With regard to this prayer against his enemies Calvin remarks, “this vehemence, as it was dictated by the Holy Spirit, is not to be condemned, nor ought it to be made an example of, for it was peculiar to the Prophet to know that they were reprobates.” For the prophet, he says, was (1) “endued with the spirit of wisdom and judgment, and (2) zeal also for God’s glory so ruled in his heart, that the feelings of the flesh were wholly subdued, or at least brought under subjection; and farther, he pleaded not a private cause.—As all these things fall not to our lot, we ought not indiscriminately to imitate Jeremiah in this prayer: for that would then apply to us which Christ said to His disciples, ‘Ye know not what spirit governs you ( Luke 9:55).’ ” In general the older Comm. agree in this. Oecolampadius says tersely: “Subscribit sententiæ divinæ.” Förster also says that originally such a prayer is not allowed, but that to the prophet, who by the divine inspiration was certain of the “obstinata et plane insanabilis malitia” of his hearers, it was permitted as “singulare et extraordinarium aliquid.” The Hirschberger Bibel also explains the words as a consignment to the divine judgment, since God Himself has several times refused to hear prayer in their behalf ( Jeremiah 14:13-14), and they themselves could not endure it ( Jeremiah 20:18). Vide Neumann II. S. 15.—Seb. Schmidt says plainly, “Licet hominibus impiis et persecutoribus imprecari malum, modo ejusmodi imprecationes non fiant ex privata vindicta, et conditionatæ sint ad constantem eorum impietatem. Nisi enim ejusmodi imprecationes etiam piis essent licitæ, propheta non imprecatus esset persecutoribus gravissimam pœnam hanc.” I believe that it is above all to be observed that Jeremiah does not announce these words ( Jeremiah 20:18-18) as the word of Jehovah. It is a prayer to the Lord, like Jeremiah 20:7-18. That which was remarked on Jeremiah 20:14-18, on the Old Testament character of the prayer, applies here also and in a higher degree. For here as there we may set a good share of the harshness to the account of the rhetoric. The standard of judgment may be found in Matthew 5:43. Many ancient Comm. ex. gr. Jerome, who regard the suffering prophet as a type of the suffering Saviour, point out the contrast between this prayer of Jeremiah’s against his enemies and the prayer of Christ for His enemies ( Luke 23:34). The only parallel adduced from the New Testament is 2 Timothy 4:4. But there it is ἀποδώσει (according to the correct reading of Tischendorf) not ἀποδώῃ (Text. Rec., Knapp).

15. On Jeremiah 19:1. “If man were only a Platonic αὐτάνθρωπος, and did not dwell in the flesh, but were pure spirit and soul, as the Schwenkfelder dreamed a man might be, he would not need such visible signs.—But because man consists of body and soul, God uses, together with the Holy Ghost, the word and Sacrament and other signs.” Cramer.

16. On Jeremiah 19:6-9. Μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων μεγάλαι εἰσὶ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τὸν θεόν. Herodotus. Vide Förster, S. 106.

17. On Jeremiah 19:10-11. What is more easily broken in pieces than an earthen vessel? Equally easy is it for the hand of the Almighty to break in pieces the kingdoms of men. And if He spared not the kingdom of Judah, whose king was a son of David and the people the chosen nation, shall He spare the kingdoms of the heathen, none of which can point to any prophecy in its behalf, like that which we read in 2 Samuel 7:16? Comp. Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:14; Daniel 4:22; Daniel 4:29; Daniel 5:21; Sirach 10:4; Sirach 10:8; Sirach 10:10; Sirach 10:14.

18. On Jeremiah 19:11-13. This prophecy was not completely fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. For Jerusalem was restored after this destruction. The second destruction, by the Romans, must then be regarded as the definitive fulfillment. Comp. Jerome ad loc.—Tophet was used by the inhabitants of Jerusalem for idolatrous purposes. In consequence, the fires of Tophet set Jerusalem on fire, and again the corpses which filled Jerusalem extended even to Tophet, and by reciprocal calamity Tophet became like Jerusalem and Jerusalem like Tophet.

19. On Jeremiah 20:1-2. “ Ἡρώων τέκνα πήματα. Honores mutant mores.” Förster. “Quod hic fuit tormentum, illic erit ornamentum.” Augustin.

20. On Jeremiah 20:3-6. “ Mark, who is the stronger here: Pashur or Jeremiah? For1. Jeremiah overcomes his sufferings by patience, 2. He is firm in opposition to his enemy and does not allow himself to be terrified by his tyranny, but rebukes him to his face for his sins and lies.” Cramer.

21. On Jeremiah 20:3-6. Pashur’s punishment consists in this, that he will participate in the terrible affliction and be a witness of it, without being able to die.—He is a type of the wandering Jew.

22. On Jeremiah 20:7-12. The prophet could say with a good conscience that he had not pressed into this office. It was his greatest comfort that the Lord had persuaded and overpowered him, when resisting, and that afterwards the fire within kindled by the Lord compelled him to speak. Thus he at last becomes so joyful, that in the midst of his sufferings he sings a hymn on his deliverance.

Lord Jesus, for Thy work divine,

The glory is not ours, but Thine;

Therefore we pray Thee stand by those,

Who calmly on Thy word repose.

23. On Jeremiah 20:14-18. “When the saints stumble this serves to us; 1. for doctrine: we see that no man is justified by his own merits; 2. for ἔλεγχος, i. e. for the refutation of those, who suppose that there are ἀναμάρτητοι; 3. for ἐπανόρθωσις, if we follow Ambrose, who called to the emperor Theodosius: ‘Si Davidem imitatus es peccantem, imitare etiam pœnitentem;’ 4. for παιδεία, that he who stands take heed that he do not fall; 5. for παρηγορία, that he who has fallen may after their pattern rise again.” Förster.

24. On Jeremiah 20:17-18. “The question Isaiah, Does a man do right in wishing himself dead? Answer: He who from impatience wishes himself dead like Job, Elijah, Jonah, Tobias, and here Jeremiah, does wrong, and this is a piece of carnal impatience. But when we think of the wicked world and the dangerous times in which we live and on the other hand of the future joy and glory, and therefore desire with Simeon and Paul to be released, we are not to be blamed.” Cramer.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1. The 18 th homily of Origen has for its text Jeremiah 18:1-16 and Jeremiah 20:1-7. The 19 th has Jeremiah 20:7-12.

2. On Jeremiah 18:1-11. Comfort and warning, implied in the fact that the threatenings and promises of the Lord are given only conditionally: 1. The comfort consists in this, that the threatened calamities may be averted by timely repentance2. The warning in this, that the promises may be annulled by apostasy.

3. On Jeremiah 18:7-10. Comp. the Homiletical on Jeremiah 17:5-8.

4. On Jeremiah 18:7-11. “How we should be moved by God’s judgments and goodness: that each, 1. Should turn from his wickedness; 2. should reform his heart and life.” Kapff, Passion, Easter and Revival Sermons. 1866.

5. [On Jeremiah 18:12. “The sin, danger and unreasonableness of despair. The devil’s chief artifices are to produce either false security and presumption or despair. Despair Isaiah 1. sinful, (a) in itself, (b) because it is the parent of other sins, as is seen in the cases of Cain, Saul, and Judges 2. It is dangerous3. It is groundless, because (a) we still enjoy life and the means of grace, (b) of the long-suffering character of God, (c) of the universality of the scheme of redemption, (d) of the person, character and invitations of Christ, (e) of many instances of final salvation.” Payson.—S. R. A.]

6. On Jeremiah 18:18-20. Text for a Sermon on the Anniversary of the Reformation. Opposition of the office which has apparent authority to that which has true authority; 1. The basis of the opposition: the assertion of the infallibility of the former office2. The mode of the opposition; (a) in not being willing to hear, (b) in the attempt to destroy the latter by violence3. The result of the opposition is nugatory, for (a) the Lord hears the voice of the opposers to judge them, (b) He gives heed to His servants to protect them.

7. On Jeremiah 20:7-13. The trial and comfort of a true minister of the Word; 1. The trial: (a) scorn and derision; (b) actual persecution2. The comfort: (a) the Lord put him in office and maintains him in it; (b) that the Lord will interpose for His servants and. thus, (1) help His cause to victory, and (2) save their persons.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 20:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/jeremiah-20.html. 1857-84.

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