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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 2 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 17:4

4. And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.

4. Et derelinqueris et in te ab haereditate tua, quam dedi tibi, et servire to faciam inimicis tuis in terra quam non cognoscis: quia ignem succendistis in excandescentia mea (vel, in nare mea, vultu meo) in saeculum usque (id est, in perpetuum) ardebit.

Here, as it is a concise mode of speaking, there seems to be some obscurity; but as to the subject handled, the meaning of the Prophet is evident, that they would be dismissed from their inheritance, and as it were from their own bowels. Hence he says, You shall be dismissed from your inheritance; that is, though ye think yourselves to be beyond the reach of danger, because as yet the city remains safe, and ye continue in it; yet ye shall perish, as they say, living and seeing. There shall then be a dismissal from the inheritance even as to thee; that is, |Though the Lord should delay the time and suffer you to remain, yet ye shall be like the dead, for God will destroy you, though he may leave you a pining life.| It seems an emphatical expression when the Prophet says that there would be at length a dismissal even as to herself: he intimates, that though some of the people would remain alive, they would yet be given up to exile and dispersion. And it was a condition worse than death for the Jews to have their lives continued and to be scattered among their enemies.

And he says, From the inheritance which I gave to thee; and he says this that they might not expostulate with him, that their own was taken away from them. |How has the land,| he says, |become your inheritance? even because ye have obtained it through my bounty. And now, since ye are so ungrateful, why should I be blamed for taking away what I had given you? or what wrong is done to you? and what can ye object to me? for it has always been my heritage, though for a time I granted it to you. Had ye been thankful to me it would have been yours perpetually; but now when I deprive you of it, this you must ascribe to your own fault.|

For the same purpose he adds, I will make thee to serve thine enemies: and this was much more grievous than to serve their neighbors by whom they were not hated. But he shews here how dreadful would be their calamity, they being constrained to serve their enemies. He adds, In a land which thou knowest not. This is a repetition of what has been said before, and it requires no remark. He in the last place confirms what he had said of their wickedness; Burn, he says, shall fire in my nostril: but 'ph, aph, may be taken for God's countenance, though it often means anger. As however he says, |Ye have kindled a fire,| it seems better to render it here, In my face. Further, by the word I never, he intimates that God would be implacable to the Jews, for they had so deserved.

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