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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 15:11

11. The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.

11. Et dixit Jehova, si non reliquiae tuae in bonum, si non occurrere fecero tibi in tempore mali, et in tempore afflictionis (vel, angustim) hostem.

God at the beginning of this verse no doubt intimates that he would be propitious to his servant, and grant him what he asked. We then conclude that the Prophet's prayer was heard; and hence also becomes manifest what I have stated, that the Prophet was not so led away by the force of grief, but that he chiefly regarded the benefit of the people. God then was so propitious to his request, that he said that it would be well with his remnant, that what remained would be blessed.

Interpreters differ as to the second clause: some apply what is said to the people, I will make the enemy to meet thee in the time of evil, and in the time of trouble: and so they take this view, that God at the beginning of the verse answers the Prophet, and intimates that his request was accepted, so that there would be a better and happier end than what then appeared; and they think that God then turns his discourse to the people, |With regard to you, I will make the enemy to meet you in the day of affliction.| But this explanation seems forced. I prefer to regard the whole verse as addressed to the Prophet. God promises first that his remnant would be prosperous; and by remnant he means the remaining time or the end of life, as though he had said, |I will at length have pity on thee, so that the things which cause thee the greatest grief shall turn into joy: thine end then shall be more prosperous than thou thinkest.| Then the words which follow confirm the previous sentence: for the Prophet might have objected and said, |Then either the people shall be delivered from all trouble, or I shall not escape a part of the calamity.| To this God replies and says, |Thou and others nmst suffer many things, but I will make the enemy to meet thee, that is, I will make the enemy to be propitious to thee, and even of his own accord to anticipate thee.

Interpreters differ still farther respecting the verb hphgty epegoti; some regard it in a transitive sense, |To meet thee will I make the enemy;| others render the sentence thus, |I will meet the enemy for thee,| or, |I will cause the enemy to ask for thee.| The verb, phg pego, means sometimes to meet, either in a good or bad sense; as when one goes as an enemy against another, he is said to meet him; or, when one offers help and shews kindness to another, he is said to meet him. But the word has another meaning, and signifies sometimes to ask, and so some take it here, |I will cause the enemy to ask for thee.| But this is far -- fetched: God did not send messengers to pacify the Babylonians towards his servant Jeremiah. I prefer to render the words thus, |I will meet the enemy for thee,| or, |I will cause the enemy to meet thee;| that is, |I will pacify him by my secret influence, so that he will of himself spare thee and treat thee kindly.| And we know that it so happened; for Jeremiah was loosed from his chains and was allowed his liberty, so that he was permitted to go wherever he wished. As then the enemies treated him with so nmch kindness, it appears evident that what God had before promised was fulfined.

As to the main thing intended, there is no ambiguity in the words: God promised that the latter end of Jeremiah would be happy, and that though he was to suffer somewhat in the common calamity of the whole people, yet the enemy would treat him kindly, so that his condition would be better and more desirable than that of others.

But why did Jeremiah make this public? why did he give this description? why did he commit it to writing? even that the Jews might understand that they who harassed him, when he had done them no injury, dealt unjustly with him. They had indeed been excited by him, but it was through what his office required, for he could not deny obedience to God. Jeremiah then made public what God only knew before, that he might produce an impression on them, provided any hope of repentance yet remained. And for the same reason also was the promise of God added; for the Jews ought to have been terrified, when they saw that such an end was promised by God to the Prophet; for what must have happened to them, except the curse of God to the utter-most? We hence see, that in the complaint of the Prophet, and in the answer given by God, the salvation of the people was regarded; for the complaint contains a most severe reproof and the answer of God threatens a most dreadful judgment to the rebellious people. It follows --

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