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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 3 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 22:11-12

11. For thus saith the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more:

11. Quia sic dicit Jehova ad Sallum (vel, super Sallum) filium Josliae, regis Jehudah, qui regnat pro Josia patre suo, quando (rs', est quidem relativum, sed non dubito quin, sumatur hic pro adverbio temporis; et ideo obscuerant sensum interpretes, dum vertunt, qui egressus est, et coguntur deinde mutare sensum verbi; sed hoc optime fluit et soepe occipitur pro quando) egressus fuerit ex hoc loco, non revertetur amplius:

12. But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.

12. Quoniam in loco ad quem transtulerint ipsum, illic morietur, et terram hanc non videbit amplius.

What he had before said generally he now applies distinctly and especially to the person of the king, that the people in general might know that they could not escape that punishment from which even the king would not be exempt. They, no doubt, when they heard that such a hard and bitter lot would happen to a king, regarded it as a thing incredible; but Jeremiah intended to shew in his person that what we have just seen was nigh them all, that is, that it would be better for them at once to die than to pine away for a long time.

We must at the same time notice, that what these two verses contain respecting the king is not said as though it applied to him alone, but rather that every one might apply it to himself what the Prophet said of the king alone.

As to the word Shallum, it is thought that Jehoiakim was so called, who had also the name of Jeconiah, and who had of his own accord given up the kingdom and died in exile. But as he is called the son of Josiah, a doubt has arisen. But if we duly consider what sacred history relates, the probable conjecture is, that he was not his son but his grandson, for the chosen successor of his father was Jehoiakim, called also Eliakim. Yet Matthew calls him the son of Josiah, and that he was born to him together with his brethren. (Matthew 1:11.) But we know that it was a common thing with the Hebrews to call descendants sons, especially when the family of David was spoken of; that the order of succession might be preserved, those who next followed their predecessors were called sons. Thus, according to this custom, Elialdm might have been deemed his son, who was really his brother. As, then, he was the successor of Josiah, he is called his son.

There is yet no doubt but that God shews here that a pious king would not be a patronizer either to his own son, or to his grandson, or to others; for hypocrites are wont to form a defense for themselves from the holiness of their fathers. And as king Josiah had faithfully served God, his sons thought that God was in a manner bound to themselves, as though all this had not proceeded from the mere bounty of God, that Josiah had been so sincerely religious. But hypocrites, as I have just said, seek ever to render God bound to them. Hence the Prophet checks this false confidence, and declares that though Josiah was approved of God, yet his memory would not be of such an account as to shield his posterity from punishment. God, indeed, promises in his Law to be merciful to the thousandth generation, even to them who love him, (Exodus 20:6) but the ungodly very absurdly lay hold on this, as though they held God bound to them; for they thus imagine that they can deprive him of his power, and judgment, and authority over the world. The meaning then is, that Shallum in vain promised safety to himself because he had descended from the holy king Josiah, who had been a patron of eminent piety, for this could not be the means of lessening his punishment, inasmuch as he had degenerated from his father, whom he ought to have imitated, knowing that he was approved by God. And this also was the reason for the repetition, for he not only calls him the son of Josiah, but also adds, that he reigned instead of his father Josiah. Though, then, he succeeded so pious a king, he yet became degenerated and departed from the example of his father.

When he shall have gone forth from this place, he shall not return here any more As, then, the king was precluded from returning, what would become of the common people and the dregs of society? Could their condition be better? How then could the Jews dare flatter themselves when they perceived so dreadful an evidence of God's wrath in the king himself, on whom depended their safety? A confirmation follows, For he shall die in the place to which they shall have led him away He intimates that he was to be by force carried away; he doubtless did not surrender himself until he saw that he was under the necessity of yielding. Then the Prophet in effect says that he would be a miserable exile, driven into banishment against his own will. It is then added, that he would see no more the land of his nativity, so that his lot would be nothing better than that of any one of the common people. It follows, --

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