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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Jeremiah 37:9-10

Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 37:9-10

9. Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart.

9. Sic dicit Jehova, Ne efferatis animas vestras (vel, cum puncto diverso, Ne decipiatis, quia duoe sunt lectiones,] ts'v aut, tsy'vNe ergo efferatis vos, vel, Ne decipiatis animus vestras) dicendo, Proficisicendo proficisicentur Chaldaei, quia non proficisicentur:

10. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.

10. Quia si percusscritis totum exercitum Chaldaeorum, qui praeliantur vobiscam (vol, qui vos oppugnant) et residui, fuerint ex illis viri transfixi (hoc est, vulnerati) quisque e tabernaculo suo consurgent (hoc est, singuli ex tabernacalo suo) et exurent hanc urbem igni.

The Prophet confirms the former verse, and it was indeed necessary that this should be added, for though Zedekiah might not have divested himself of all anxiety and fear, he must yet have been moved by that prophecy, and thus he might have become more hardened in his obduracy, as it is the case with hypocrites; who, when they find that they can gain nothing, become furious against God, and run on headlong in their course. This might then have been the case with Zedekiah and also the Jews; hence Jeremiah adds, by way of confirmation, Elate not your hearts, or, Deceive not yourselves; that is, on account of the report respecting the Egyptian army. Thus he told the Jews that they had no reason to expect any alleviation. And the reason is added, For if, he says, ye had smitten, the Chaldeans so that few remained, yet they would rise up every one from his tent, and burn this city

The Prophet shews how foolishly and absurdly the Jews acted, in casting their eyes on fortunate events, and thus forming their opinions. He therefore exhorts them to cease to rely on such a confidence as would deceive them; for he says, that though they gained many battles, and the war turned on their side, yet they could not escape final ruin, for they had to do with God. It was hence the same thing, as though he had said, that they were not to judge by their state at that time, as to what it would be, because God was at war with them; and therefore if God had resolved to destroy them, though there were no enemy, yet he could by one breath slay them all. And for the same reason he concludes that he could employ the Chaldeans, Though few in number remained, and even wounded, yet riley would rise up from their tents, and set the buildings of Jerusalem on fire. This city, therefore, shall be burnt; ask not by whom or when: God will in this work employ the Chaldeans, for he hath so determined.

We may hence conclude, that the Jews had been for a time victorious, at least had successfully repelled their enemies in their attacks on the city; for the Prophet would not have said this, had he not seen that the Jews entertained hope of deliverance on account of some success they had in the war. He therefore says, that all this was of no importance, for their city was to perish by fire. But the principle which I have mentioned must be borne in mind, for Jeremiah took it as granted that the destruction of the city Jerusalem was not to be effected by the forces of the King Nebuchadnezzar, neither by the power or number of his army, nor by the valor of his soldiers, but by the judgment of God. Since it is so, he says, though few remained, and they wounded, even lying as half dead, yet they will rise up every one from his tent, that is, not together, nor in a regular order, nor under a banner, as soldiers are wont to do, but each one, though no comrade were near, though scattered here and there, would yet rise up from his tent. He intimates, in short, that though the contest were only with shadows, they yet could not escape that extreme vengeance which God had threatened. Hence he says, they shall rise up every one from his tent, and burn this city

Now he says not that the Chaldeans would take possession of the city, he speaks not of the assault, but only of the burning, he hence intimates, that though the Chaldeans might have in themselves no power to hurt them, yet it was sufficient that they were armed by God, for the purpose of setting fire to the houses, like women and children, who often burn whole cities and villages; for in this case there is no need of valor or of any great skill. So then God declares, that though the Chaldeans might not be prepared to fight, yet they were strong enough, yea, even though they were lying down and half-dead after having been wounded. This is the meaning.

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