18 Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.
18 Dic regi et dominae, humiliamini (descendite) sedete (hoc est, jacete) quia descendet a capitibus vestris corona decoris vestri (alii vertunt, sescendet altitudines vestrae, pro altitudo vestra; et appositive legunt quod sequitur, corona decoris vestri)
The Prophet is here bidden to address his discourse directly to King Jehoiakim and his mother; for the term lady is not to be taken for the queen, the wife of Jehoiakim, but for his mother, who was then his associate in the kingdom, and possessed great authority. And there is no doubt but that God thus intended to rouse more fully the community in general; that is, by shewing that he would not spare, no, not the king nor the queen. But we may hence also learn what has already been observed, that the truth announced by the prophets is superior to all the greatness of the world. For it was said before to Jeremiah, |Reprove mountains and rebuke hills;| and still farther,
|Behold, I have set thee over kingdoms and nations, to pull down and to pluck up,| etc., (Jeremiah 1:10)
This ought to be carefully noticed; for kings and those who are eminent in the world, think that they are not only, by a singular privilege, exempt from all laws, but also free from every obligation to observe modesty and to avoid shame. Hence it is, that they from their elevation despise God and his prophets. Here God shews, that he supplied the prophets with his word for this end, -- that they might close their eyes to all the splendor of the world, and shew no respect of persons, but pull down every height, and bring to order everything that is elevated in this world. Paul also teaches us, that ministers of the gospel are endued with this power;
|Given to us,| he says, |is power against every height that exalteth itself against Christ.|
(2 Corinthians 10:5)
And hence we must observe, that all who are chosen to the office of teaching, cannot faithfully discharge their duty except they boldly, and with intrepid spirit, dare to reprove both kings and queens; for the word of God is not to be restricted to the common people or men in humble life, but it subjects to itself all, from the least to the greatest. This prophecy was no doubt very bitter to the king as well as to the common people; but it behooved Jeremiah to discharge faithfully his office; and this was also necessary, for the king Jehoiakim and his mother thought that they could not possibly be dethroned.
He therefore bids them to descend and to lie down; that is, he bids them to forget their ancient greatness. He does not simply exhort them to repent, but shews, that as they had been so refractory in their pride, the punishment of disgrace was nigh at hand, for the Lord would with a strong hand lay them prostrate. It is not then an exhortation that the Prophet gives; but he only foretells what they little thought of, -- that they in vain flattered themselves, for the Lord would in a short time expose them to reproach by casting them down.
And this is evident from what is added, For descend shall the crown of your honor; that is, it shall be taken away from your highnesses, or from your eminencies, or from your heads; for the word r'sh, rashe, means sometimes the head. But some think that it means here eminencies, and that |the magnificent crown| is put here in apposition.
I have omitted, if I mistake not, to notice one thing; that is, the pride mentioned by the Prophet; except ye hear, weep will my soul in secret on account of pride Interpreters render it |your pride;| that is, the pride with which the Jews were filled; but I am inclined to take a different view, that the Prophet speaks here of the pride or the great power of those enemies whom the Jews then did not in any degree fear. |Since then,| says the Prophet, |ye are so secure, I will retire and weep by myself, and my soul by mourning shall mourn, yea, my eye shall flow down with tears, on account of the pride of the enemies, who are now so much despised by you;| Let us now proceed --