17. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.
17. Et erit spes novissimo tuo, dicit Jehova; et redibunt filii ad terminum suum (hoc est, in regionum suam)
He indeed explains in a few words, but with sufficient plainness, what he had said. We must always bear in mind the order which I have pointed out, -- that he first placed before the Jews their calamity, that they might humble themselves before God; and then he gave them the hope of return, that they might feel assured that God would be propitious to them. He now includes both in these few words, there shall be hope in thine end; for they embrace the two clauses, -- that the whole country would lament for a time, and then that their tears would be turned to laughter and their sorrow to joy: for had the happiness of the people flowed in one unbroken stream, the word, |end,| would not have been suitable; for it refers to what terminates. There is then to be understood a contrast between the end and the beginning. In short, Jeremiah teaches here, that the grievous time, during which God would afflict his people, was to be borne patiently. But after having bidden them to continue in a state of suspense, he sets before them a happy issue.
Now this passage contains a useful doctrine, -- that we are not to measure God's favor by present appearances, but learn to keep our minds and thoughts in suspense, while the Lord seems to be angry with us, and only disheartening terrors meet us, so that we may cherish in our hearts the hope which the Prophet exhorts us to entertain, and distinguish between our present state and the end. And on this account it is that the Apostle, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, while exhorting the faithful to patience, says that the rod is always at the time grievous to children, but that correction appears useful, when the end is regarded. (Hebrews 12:11) So when we perceive that God is displeased with us, we cannot but feel a dread, and we desire at the same time to escape from his chastening hand; but, as I have just said, we ought to direct our thoughts to the end or the issue, according to what we are taught here: there shall then be hope in thine end
But a question may be here moved, Was there no hope for the intermediate time, while God was punishing the Jews? the answer is obvious, -- the Prophet takes hope here for hope accomplished. If any one calls it actual hope or hope effected, I do not object. But he doubtless intimates that all the calamities which the Jews would have to endure would at last end in their deliverance, and would be for their good. We thus see that hope here, as we have said, is to be taken for hope accomplished. And the Prophet explains himself, they shall return to their own border Here by stating a part for the whole he mentions border for the whole country, as though he had said, |Ye are now far off from your country, but you shall again return to that land which has been marked out by certain limits, even by Euphrates, Egypt, the sea and Arabia;| for these were the four borders. It afterwards follows, --