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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 16:14-15

14. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

14. Propterea ecce dies veniunt, dicit Jehova, et non dicetur amplius (hoc est, quibus non dicetur amplius) vivit Jehova, qui eduxit (ascendere fecit, ad verbum) filios Israel e terra Egypti;

15. But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

15. Quin potius, vivit Jehova, qui ascendere fecit filios Israel e terra Aquilonis, et ex omnibus regionibus, ad quas expulerat eos; et reducam ad terram eorum quam dedi patribus vestris.

Jeremiah seems here to promise a return to the Jews; and so the passage is commonly expounded, as though a consolation is interposed, in which the faithful alone are concerned. But I consider the passage as mixed, that the Prophet, in part, speaks in severe terms of the dreadful exile which he foretells, and that he in part blends some consolation; but the latter subject seems to me to he indirectly referred to by the Prophet. I therefore think this to be an amplification of what he had said. This is to be kept in mind. He had said, |I will expel you from this land, and will send you to a land unknown to you and to your fathers.| Now follows a circumstance which increased the grievousness of exile: they knew how cruel was that servitude from which God had delivered their fathers. Their condition was worse than hundred deaths, when they were driven to their servile works; and also, when all justice was denied them, and when their offspring were from the womb put to death. As then they knew how cruelly their fathers had been treated by the Egyptians, the comparison he states more fully shewed what a dreadful punishment awaited them, for their redemption would be much more incredible.

We now perceive what the Prophet meant, as though he had said, |Ye know from what your fathers came forth, even from a brazen furnace, as it is said elsewhere, and as it were from the depth of death, so that that redemption ought to be remembered to the end of the world; but God will now cast you into an abyss deeper than that of Egypt from which your fathers were delivered; and when from thence he will redeem you, it will be a miracle far more wonderful to your posterity, so that it will almost extinguish, or at least obscure the memory of the first redemption: It will not then be said any more, Live does Jehovah, who brought the children of Israel from Egypt, for that Egyptian captivity was far more endurable than what this latter shall be; for ye shall be plunged as it were into the infernal regions; and when God shall rescue you from thence, it will be a work far more wonderful.| This I consider to be the real meaning of the Prophet.

Yet his object was at the same time indirectly to give them some hope of their future redemption; but this he did not do avowedly. We ought then to regard what the Prophet had in view, even to strike the Jews, as I have said, with terror, so that they might know that there was an evil nigh at hand more grievous than what their fathers suffered in Egypt, who yet had been most cruelly oppressed. Then their former liberation would be rendered obscure and not celebrated as before, though it was nevertheless an evidence of the wonderful power of God.

But, it will be rather said, Live does Jehovah, for he has brought his people from the land of the north; and for this reason, because there will be less hope remaining for you, when the Chaldeans shall subdue and scatter you like a body torn asunder, and when the name of Israel shall be extinguished, when the worship of God shall be subverted and the Temple destroyed. When therefore all things shall appear to be past remedy, this captivity shall be much more dreadful than that by which your fathers had been oppressed. Therefore, when God restores you, it will be a miracle much more remarkable. And that the Prophet took occasion to give thom some hope of God's favor, may be gathered from the end of the verse, when he says, And I will make them to return to their own land: but the copulative ought to be rendered as a conditional particle, as though he had said, When I shall restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers It now follows --

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