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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 3 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 22:10

10. Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: but weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country.

10. Ne fleatis (vel, ne lugeatis) super mortuum, et ne condoleatis ei; flete flendo super eum qui migrat, qui non revertetur amplius, et videbit (hoc est, ut videt) terram nativitatis suae.

They explain this verse of Jehoiakim and Jeconiah, but I consider it rather a general declaration, for the Prophet wished briefly to shew how miserable would be the condition of the people, as it would be better and more desirable at once to die than to protract life in continual languor. Of the kings he wilt afterwards speak, but reason compels us to extend these words to the whole people.

When a people flee away, being not able to resist their enemies, they may look for a restoration. In that case all dread death more than exile and all other calamities which are endured in this life, for they who remain alive may somehow emerge from their ills and troubles, or at least they may have them alleviated; but death cuts off all hopes. But the Prophet says here that death would be better than exile; and why? Because it would have been better at once to die than to protract a life of misery, weariness, and reproach, and at last to be destroyed. By saying, then, Weep ye not for the dead, nor bewail him, it is the same as though he had said, |If the destruction of this city be lamented, much more ought they to be lamented who shall remain alive than those who shall die, for death will be as it were a rest, it will be a harbor to end all evils; but life will be nothing else than a continual succession of miseries.| We hence conclude that this ought not to be confined to the two kings, but viewed as declared generally of the whole people.

It follows, For he shall return no more, that he may see the land of his nativity He shews that exile would be a sort of infection that would gradually consume the miserable Jews. Thus death would have been far better for them than to be in this manner long tormented and to have no relaxation. He then takes away the hope of a return, that he might shew that their exile would be as it were a dying languor, corroding them as a worm, so that to die a hundred times would have been more desirable than to remain in such a hard and miserable bondage. It now follows:

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