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This and the following chapter must relate to a still future restoration of the posterity of Jacob from their several dispersions, as no deliverance hitherto afforded them comes up to the terms of it; for, after the return from Babylon, they were again enslaved by the Greeks and Romans, contrary to the prediction in the eighth verse; in every papistical country they have labored under great civil disabilities, and in some of them have been horribly persecuted; upon the ancient people has this mystic Babylon very heavily laid her yoke; and in no place in the world are they at present their own masters; so that this prophecy remains to be fulfilled in the reign of David, i.e., the Messiah; the type, according to the general structure of the prophetical writings, being put for the antitype. The prophecy opens by an easy transition from the temporal deliverance spoken of before, and describes the mighty revolutions that shall precede the restoration of the descendants of Israel, Jeremiah 30:1-9, who are encouraged to trust in the promises of God, Jeremiah 30:10, Jeremiah 30:11. They are, however, to expect corrections; which shall have a happy issue in future period, Jeremiah 30:12-17. The great blessings of Messiah‘s reign are enumerated, Jeremiah 30:18-22; and the wicked and impenitent declared to have no share in them, Jeremiah 30:23, Jeremiah 30:24.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord - This prophecy was delivered about a year after the taking of Jerusalem; so Dahler. Dr. Blayney supposes it and the following chapter to refer to the future restoration of both Jews and Israelites in the times of the Gospel; though also touching at the restoration from the Babylonish captivity, at the end of seventy years. Supposing these two chapters to be penned after the taking of Jerusalem, which appears the most natural, they will refer to the same events, one captivity shadowing forth another, and one restoration being the type or pledge of the second.
Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book - The book here recommended I believe to be the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters; for among the Hebrews any portion of writing, in which the subject was finished, however small, was termed ספר (sepher), a Book, a treatise or discourse.
The days come - First, After the conclusion of the seventy years. Secondly, Under the Messiah.
That I will bring again the captivity of Israel - The ten tribes, led captive by the king of Assyria, and dispersed among the nations.
And Judah - The people carried into Babylon at two different times; first, under Jeconiah, and, secondly, under Zedekiah, by Nebuchadnezzar.
We have heard a voice of trembling - This may refer to the state and feelings of the people during the war which Cyrus carried on against the Babylonians. Trembling and terror would no doubt affect them, and put an end to peace and all prosperity; as they could not tell what would be the issue of the struggle, and whether their state would be better or worse should their present masters fall in the conflict. This is well described in the next verse, where men are represented as being, through pain and anguish, like women in travail. See the same comparison Isaiah 13:6-8.
Alas! for that day is great - When the Medes and Persians with all their forces shall come on the Chaldeans, it will be the day of Jacob‘s trouble - trial, dismay, and uncertainty; but he shall be delivered out of it - the Chaldean empire shall fall, but the Jews shall be delivered by Cyrus. Jerusalem shall be destroyed by the Romans, but the Israel of God shall be delivered from its ruin. Not one that had embraced Christianity perished in the sackage of that city.
I will break his yoke - That is, the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar.
Of him - Of Jacob, (Jeremiah 30:7), viz., the then captive Jews.
But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their King - This must refer to the times of the Messiah and hence the Chaldee has, “They shall obey the Lord their God, וישת מאון למשיחה בר דוד (veyishta meun limschicha bar David), and they shall obey the Messiah, the Son of David.” This is a very remarkable version; and shows that it was a version, not according to the letter, but according to their doctrine and their expectation. David was long since dead; and none of his descendants ever reigned over them after the Babylonish captivity, nor have they since been a regal nation. Zerubbabel, under the Persians, and the Asmoneans, can be no exception to this. They have been no nation since; they are no nation now; and it is only in the latter days that they can expect to be a nation, and that must be a Christian nation.
Christ is promised under the name of his progenitor, David, Isaiah 55:3, Isaiah 55:4; Ezekiel 34:23, Ezekiel 34:24; Ezekiel 37:24, Ezekiel 37:25; Hosea 3:5.
Though I make a full end of all nations - Though the Persians destroy the nations whom they vanquish, yet they shall not destroy thee.
Thy bruise is incurable - אנוש (anush), desperate, not incurable; for the cure is promised in Jeremiah 30:17, I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds.
There is none to plead thy cause - All thy friends and allies have forsaken thee.
Thy sorrow is incurable - אנוש (anush), desperate. See Jeremiah 30:12.
They that devour thee - The Chaldeans.
Shall be devoured - By the Medes and Persians.
All that prey upon thee will I give for a prey - The Assyrians were destroyed by the Babylonians; the Babylonians, by the Medes and Persians; the Egyptians and Persians were destroyed by the Greeks, under Alexander. All these nations are now extinct, but the Jews, as a distinct people, still exist.
The city shall be builded upon her own heap - Be re-edified from its own ruins. See the book of Nehemiah, passim.
And the palace shall remain - Meaning, the king‘s house shall be restored; or, more probably, the temple shall be rebuilt; which was true, for after the Babylonish captivity it was rebuilt by Nehemiah, etc. By the tents, distinguished from the dwelling-places of Jacob, we may understand all the minor dispersions of the Jews, as well as those numerous synagogues found in large cities.
I will multiply them - They shall be very numerous; even where at present they have but tents.
I will also glorify them - I will put honor upon them every where, so that they shall be no longer contemptible. This will be a very great change, for they are now despised all over the earth.
Their children also - They shall have the education of their own children as formerly.
And their congregation - Their religious assemblies.
Shall be established - Being, in the latter days, incorporated with those “who serve the Lord their God, and worship the Messiah, the son of David.”
Their nobles shall be of themselves - Strangers shall not rule over them; and -
Their governor shall proceed from the midst of them - Both Nehemiah and Zerubbabel, their nobles and governors after the return from Babylon, were Jews.
Ye shall be my people - The old covenant shall be renewed.
The whirlwind of the Lord - A grievous tempest of desolation, -
Shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked - On Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans.
In the latter days ye shall consider it - By the latter days the Gospel dispensation is generally meant; and that restoration which is the principal topic in this and the succeeding chapter refers to this time. Had the Jews properly considered this subject, they would long ere this have been brought into the liberty of the Gospel, and saved from the maledictions under which they now groan. Why do not the Jews read their own prophets more conscientiously?