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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 3 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 22:4-5

4. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.

4. Quid si faciendo feceritis (alii vertunt, quin potius faciendo faciatis) ser-monem hunc (hoc est, obediatis sermoni huic,) et ingrediemini per portas domus hujus, reges sedentes pro Davide (vel, Davidi) super solium ejus, insidentes currui et equis, ipse, rex, et servi ejus et populus ejus.

5. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.

5. Quod si non obedieritis sermonibus istis, in me (hoc est, per me) juravi, dicit Jehova, quod in solitudinem (aut, vastitatem) erit domus haec.

The Prophet expresses more clearly what I have already stated, that if the Jews from the heart repented, there was yet a place for mercy; for he promises them that God would be reconcilable, if they sought to be reconciled to him; he allures them to repentance by words of kindness. We may, indeed, read ky'm, kiam, as one word, and render it, |But rather;| but I follow others who give this version, For if by doing ye will do this word, then ye shall enter in, etc.; and thus they turn the copulative into an adverb of time, which is often the case. Still the other meaning is not unsuitable, when the future verb, tsv, toshu, is taken in a hortative sense; for we know that the future tense in Hebrew is often to be understood as an imperative. As to the general meaning, there is not much difference; for what the Prophet designed to shew was this, that God would be reconciled to the Jews, if they were not wholly disobedient. |Only,| he says, |obey my word, and your safety shall be secured.| Not that impunity was to be expected, as I have said before, but, as they would have found, their reconciliation to God would not have been in vain, for their punishment would have been mitigated; in that case their exile would have been rendered more endurable, for God would have doubtless made their adversaries kind to them; in short, mercy would have been shewn to them in many ways. Moreover, the Prophet shews that he called them not in vain to repent; for he sets before them God's favor in mitigating their punishment.

And he adds, Ye shall enter through the gates of this house, both your kings and their counsellors; but the number is afterwards changed, he, that is, every king. The Prophet, seems, at the first view, to have retracted what he had said respecting exile; but the two things are to be connected together, that there was some hope remaining, if the Jews accepted the favor of God, and then that the punishment, once decreed, was to be borne by them. These two things do not disagree. For God had resolved to drive the Jews into exile; but all Judea would not doubtless have been reduced to solitude, as that happened through their irreclaimable obstinacy, according to what we read at the end of this Book; for they might have otherwise dwelt still in their own country. This is one thing; and then their condition after their exile would have been better and far more happy. But even at that time, the crown was trodden under foot, and all the dignity and power of the family of David were nearly abolished.

When, therefore, the Prophet says, |Enter shall kings in chariots and on horses,| and also |the people and he and his counsellors, through the gates of this city;| he does not mean that they would so escape as that God would not chastise them for their sins, as he had declared, but that there would still be some form of a kingdom, and that exile would be short, and also that there would be at length a restoration, so that the descendants of David would return to their former state, and that the city itself would be restored so as to abound in wealth as in all other blessings. Such is the promise. The Prophet further adds what would otherwise take place, If they will not hear, this place shall become a desolation. But this threatening shall be considered tomorrow.

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