14. Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whether the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD'S house; and said to all the people,
14. Et venit (reversus est) Jeremias e Thopheth, quo miserat eum Jehova ad prophetandum; et stetit in atrio domus Jehovae, et dixit ad totum populum,
15. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.
15. Sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Deus Israel, Ecce ego adduco super urbem hanc et super omnes urbes ejus omne malum quod loquutus sum super eam, quia obduraverunt cervicem suam, ut non audirent sermones meos.
Jeremiah had been led to the very place, when he foretold the punishment, which was nigh at hand, on account of the superstitions of Tophet or of the valley of Hinnom. That his doctrine might be more efficacious, God intended that he should preach before the very altar and in the very valley, then well known for ungodly and false modes of worship. He says now that he went to the Temple and delivered there the same message. We hence learn how great must have been the stupidity and indifference of the people, for the repetition of the prophecy was not unnecessary. For as God knew that the Jews were extremely tardy and slow, he caused them to be warned twice by his servant, and in two different places.
Jeremiah, it is said, returned from Tophet, where God had sent him to prophesy; which last words were added, that we may not suppose that he without reason preached in the valley of Hinnom. God then commanded Jeremiah to denounce there, as it were in the very place, on the Jews their own destruction. And he stood, it is added, in the court of Jehovah's house. As it was not lawful for the people to enter into the Temple, they usually assembled in the court, which was a part of the Temple. Then Jeremiah stood there; for he had to speak, not to a few, or in a corner, but to the whole people, and to make them witnesses of his prophecy. But we read here nothing new; for, as it has been stated, he was bidden to declare twice the same thing -- the approaching calamity; and he was so bidden, because the Jews were so hardened, that they could not easily be moved. That he connects other cities with Jerusalem is not to be wondered at; he thereby intimates, that the whole land was guilty before God, and that therefore desolation was near at hand, as to all the towns and cities; as though he had said, |God will not spare Jerusalem, though it has been hitherto his sanctuary; but as lesser cities are not innocent, they shall also feel the hand of God together with Jerusalem.|
The reason is subjoined, Because they have hardened their neck. He again confirms what we have before observed, -- that they had fallen, not through ignorance, but through perverseness; for they had learned with sufficient clearness from the law what was right, and they had also been often warned by the prophets. Hence then their wickedness appeared and their untameable spirit, for they had heard the sound doctrine of the law, and had many to warn them.
Now this passage teaches us that there is no pardon left for us, when we, as it were, avowedly reject the yoke of God. And this ought to be carefully noticed, for we see how difficult it is to subdue men, even when they confess that the word of God is what they hear. Since then there is in all mankind an innate perverseness, that hardly one in a hundred allows himself to be ruled by God's word, it behoves us seriously to consider what is here said, -- that they are unworthy of mercy who harden their neck. Hence it is said in Psalm 95:8,
|Harden not your hearts like your fathers.|
And a clearer definition follows, That they might not hear my words. Though there be hardness in all mortals, yet when the doctrine of salvation is made known and not received, then a greater impiety and pride shew themselves; for in that case, men hear God speaking, and yet rob him of his authority. It then follows, that the more clearly God makes known his truth, the less ground of excuse there is; for then especially comes to light the impiety of men, and their disdain seems incapable of being subdued.