9. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
9. Quare prophetasti in nomine Jehovae, dicendo, Tanquam Silo erit domus haec, et urbs haec perdetur, ut non sit habitator? (congregatus autem totus populus ad Jeremiam in templo Jehovae.) (Hoc per parethesin legendum est, et refertur ad sequentem contextum, ut suo loco dicemus.)
Here is added the cause of Jeremiah's condemnation, that he had dared to threaten with so much severity the holy city and the Temple. They did not inquire whether God had commanded this to be done, whether he had any just cause for doing so; but they took this principle as granted, that wrong was done to God when anything was alleged against the dignity of the Temple, and also that the city was sacred, and therefore nothing could be said against it without derogating from many and peculiar promises of God, since he had testified that it would be ever safe, because he dwelt in the midst of it. We hence see by what right, and under what pretense the priests and the prophets condemned Jeremiah.
And by saying, in the name of Jehovah, they no doubt accused him as a cheat, or a false pretender, because he had said that this had been commanded by God, for they considered such a thing impossible and preposterous. God had promised that Jerusalem would be his perpetual habitation; the words of Jeremiah were, |I will make this city like Shiloh.| God seemed in appearance to be inconsistent with himself, |This is my rest for ever,| |this shall be a desert.| We hence see that the priests and the prophets were not without some specious pretext for condemning Jeremiah. There is therefore some weight in what they said, |Dost thou not make God contrary to himself? for what thou denouncest in his name openly and directly conflicts with his promises; but God is ever consistent with himself; thou art therefore a cheat and a liar, and thus one of the false prophets, whom God suffers not in his Church.| And yet what they boasted was wholly frivolous; for God had not promised that the Temple should be perpetual in order to give license to the people to indulge in all manner of wickedness. It was not then God's purpose to bind himself to ungodly men, that they might expose his name to open reproach. It is hence evident that the prophets and priests only dissembled, when they took as granted what ought to have been understood conditionally, that is, if they worshipped him in sincerity as he had commanded. For it was not right to separate two things which God had connected; he required piety and obedience from the people, and he also promised that he would be the guardian of the city, and that the Temple would be safe under his protection. But the Jews, having neither faith nor repentance, boasted of what had been said of the Temple, nay, they bragged, as we have seen elsewhere, and spoke false things; and hence the Prophet derided them by repeating three times,
|The Temple of Jehovah, the Temple of Jehovah, the Temple of Jehovah,| (Jeremiah 7:4)
as though he had said, -- |This is your silly talk, you ever cry boastingly, The Temple of God;' but all this will avail you nothing.|
It then follows, that the people were assembled Here Jeremiah passes to another part of the narrative, for he reminded the princes and the king's councillors that they were not without reason roused to go up to the Temple.
If the dispute had been between few, either Jeremiah would have been slain, or in some way intercepted, or it might have been that the princes would have circumvented the king and his councillors, and thus the holy man would have been privately crushed. But here he introduced these words, that the whole people were assembled against him. Hence it was that the report, reached the king's court; and so the princes and councillors were commanded to come. In short, Jeremiah shews the reason why the princes came unto the Temple; it was because the city was everywhere in a commotion, when the report spread that something new and intolerable had been announced. The king therefore could not neglect this commotion; for it is a dangerous thing to allow a popular tumult to prevail. And therefore Jeremiah thus adds, --