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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 3 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 29:18-19

18. And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them:

18. Et persequar (ad verbum est, post eos: persequar eos) gladio, fame et peste; et ponam eos in commotionem (vel, concussionem) cunctis regnis terrae, in execrationem, et in stuporem, et in sibilum, et in probrum inter cunctas gentes ad quas expulero eos (vel, quo expulero eos illuc:)

19. Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.

19. Propterea quod non audierunt sermones meos, inquit Jehovah, quos misi ad eos peer servos meos Prophetas, mane surgendo et mittendo; et non audistis, inquit Jehova.

He goes on with the same subject, -- that he would not cease to consume them with pestilence, famine, and the sword, until he wholly destroyed them, according to what we find in the twenty-fourth chapter. He repeats what is in that chapter; but the words are taken from the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, and from the twenty-ninth. The prophets, we know, drew the substance of their doctrine from the fountain of the Law, and, strictly speaking, brought forward nothing new, but accommodated the doctrine of Moses to the circumstances of the time in which each lived.

Hence we find among the curses of the Law these words, I will set them for a commotion, or a concussion. The word may be explained in two ways, -- either that the nations would tremble at such a sad spectacle, -- or that they would shake their head. The second view is to be preferred, according to what I have stated elsewhere, I will then set them for a commotion, that is, every one who shall see their miseries, will shake his head in contempt, as though he had said, |All will assent to the just vengeance of God, and ye shall be objects of reproach among all the heathens; for all will acknowledge that ye suffer most justly for your sins.|

He adds, for a curse The word 'lh, ale, is properly an oath, but is taken in many places for a curse, which is introduced or understood when we swear. But as men often expose themselves to punishment for perjury, the word means, frequently, a curse; and what is to be understood, as it has been explained elsewhere, is a pattern or formula of a curse; and we have seen in what sense the Prophet said this, that is, that every one who wished to curse himself or others, or to imprecate, as they say, some dire things, would take the Jews for an example, |May God curse thee as he did the Jews;| or, |May he draw forth his severity to thy ruin, as he did to the Jews.| He then says that they would be for a curse, that is, that they would be so miserable that they would be taken as an example in imprecations.

He afterwards adds, for an astonishment, as he had spoken of the shaking of the head, so now he mentions astonishment, which is something more grievous, that is, when such a spectacle presents itself as makes all men to stand astonished, as not knowing what it means. Hissing is mentioned; as it is said elsewhere that they would be a proverb, msl, meshel, and also a taunt, so Jeremiah says in this place, that they would be a hissing, as he has spoken of the shaking of the head.

And lastly he adds, that they would be a reproach even to all nations, for all would deem them worthy of their calamities, however grievous they were, when a comparison would be made between their iniquities and God's vengeance. The reason follows, because they hearkened not to God But I cannot now finish.

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