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hold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. 3. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. 5. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a branch the Righteous One; and a king shall reign, and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness. 7. Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, As the Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8. But, As the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north-country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.
This prophecy, like the preceding one, speaks of the general restoration of all Israel. The pastors, who are said to destroy and scatter the sheep of God's pasture instead of feeding them, I take to be, not spiritual, but political, pastors; shepherds of the people. They are the same as those, whom Jeremiah had already described as destroying the Lord's vineyard, and treading his portion under foot *: that is to say, they are the different Gentile sovereigns, who at sundry times have conquered Palestine, and afflicted the children of Israel t. All these, notwithstanding their temporary success, are to be visited in their turn for the evil of their doings. The prediction, so far as it relates to the oppressing pastors, has already been in part accomplished. "The Egyptians
Jerem. xii. 10.
When the whole tenor of prophecy is considered, I cannot but think it somewhat unnatural to suppose, with Dr. Blayney, that these pastors mean the latter wicked kings of David's race, particularly Zedekiah. I doubt likewise, whether this prediction, any more than the preceding one, relates at all to the return from Babylon.
much afflicted the nation of the Hebrews, and detained them in bondage several years. The Assyrians carried away captive the ten tribes of Israel; and the Babylonians afterwards, the two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Syro-Macedonians, especially Antiochus Epiphanes, cruelly persecuted them: and the Romans utterly dissolved the Jewish state, and dispersed the people so that they have never been able to recover their city and country again. And where are now these great and famous monarchies, which in their turns subdued and oppressed the people of God? Are they not vanished as a dream; and not only their power, but their very names, lost in the earth? The Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians, were overthrown, and entirely subjugated, by the Persians: and the Persians (it is remarkable) were the restorers of the Jews, as well as the destroyers of their enemies. The Syro-Macedonians were swallowed up by the Romans: and the Roman empire, great and power ful as it was, was broken into pieces by the incursions of the northern nations; while the Jews are subsisting as a distinct people at this day. And what a wonder of Providence is it, that the vanquished should so many ages survive the victors; and the former be spread all over the world, while the latter are no more *." The prediction however will be yet more amply fulfilled at the era of the final restoration of Israel, when the sovereigns of the Romish apostasy, who are now rapidly sinking into the state of mere vassals to Antichrist, shall be overthrown, along with their tyrannical chief and their false prophet, in the land of Palestine, in the region between the two seas.
Their destruction will be the prelude to a new and happy order of things. The Messiah, at his second advent (for his second advent is here manifestly spoken of), will reign over his people Israel, either personally, or by the instrumentality of other righteous shepherds. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and their restoration from the different countries of their dispersion shall then be as much celebrated, as their deliverance out of the land of Egypt was in the days of yoret.
* Bp. Newton's Dissert. v111. 2.
Compare with this prophecy Jerem. xxxiii,
The general restoration of Israel-The restoration of Judah in a time of great trouble-The overthrow of Antichrist-The certainty of the restoration of Israel, and his happy state subsequent to it.
Jeremiah xxx. 1. The word, that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2. Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words which I have spoken unto thee in a book. 3. For lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel and Judah*, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4. And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. 5. For thus saith the Lord: We hear a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6. Ask ye now, and see, whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, I will break his yoke from off his neck, and his bands † will I burst asunder; and strangers shall no more exact service of him‡:
* Israel and Judah.] "Israel and Judah, having been carried away by two distinct captivities into different parts of the world, several prophecies of the Old Testament not only foretell the restoration of each of them, but likewise their re-union after their restoration. Now, though it be granted that some of every tribe did return to their own country under Cyrus and Artaxerxes, and are therefore called by the name of all Israel (Ezra. ii. 73. vi. 17. vii. 13. x. 5. Nehem. xii. 47.); yet the far greater part of these were of Judah and Benjamin, together with the Levites (Ezra. i. 5.). So that it is a great question, what is become of the main body of the ten tribes, which Salmanasar carried away into Assyria and the neighbouring countries. From all which we may infer, that this and the like prophecies of the Old Testament refer to a further restoration of the Jews that is yet to come." Mr. Lowth in loc.
His neck his bands.] See Dr. Blayney in loc.
Strangers shall no more exact service of him.] "This promise has not yet received its accomplishment; since, after the return of the Jews under Cy rus, they were reduced into servitude by the Greeks and Romans; and at
9. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king* whom I will raise up unto them. 10. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity † ; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. 11. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in exact measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished16. All they, that devour thee, shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey. 17. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee, An outcast, this Zion, no man seeketh after her. 18. Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon its own ruinous heap, and the temple shall stand after the measure thereof. 19. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving, and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be a few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. 20. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. 21. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them: and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me for who is he that engaged his heart to approach
present there is no place in the world where they can be said to be their own masters." Mr. Lowth in loc.
*David their king.] "That is, the Messiah, who is often called by the name of David in the prophets, as the person in whom all the promises made to David were to be fulfilled." Mr. Lowth in loc.
I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity.] “I will deliver thee from thy captivity, though thou shouldest be dispersed into the most distant countries. And this, though it be not accomplished in the Jews of the present age, shall be made good to their posterity, who are beloved for their fathers' sake, as St. Paul speaks." Mr. Lowth in loc.
‡ I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in exact measure.] Compare this with Isaiah xxvii. 7, 8, 9. in Prophecy v11.
unto me? saith the Lord. 22. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
23. Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a violent whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. 24. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the end of days * ye shall clearly understand it.
xxxi. 1. In that time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people-3. The Lord hath appeared from afar unto me, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. 4. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. 5. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria § ; the planters shall plant, and shall sing praises-7. For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the head of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people the remnant of Israel. 8. Behold, I will bring them from the north-country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. 9. They shall come with weeping, and
*In the end of days.] Compare this with Dan. xi. 40—45. xii. 1---10.
+ Virgin of Israel.] "The virgin of Israel is of the same extent with all the families of Israel (ver. 1.). For the blessings here promised shall receive their utmost completion, when Israel and Judah shall again be united into one people." Mr. Lowth in loc.
Thou shalt be adorned.] Or, as the passage ought perhaps more properly to be translated, thou shalt pass over, that is, thou shalt trip along the path. Vide infra Note on Proph. xxxiv.
§ Samaria.] "Samaria, being the metropolis of the ten tribes, seems to be put for the kingdom of Israel, as it was distinct from that of Judah---Taking Samaria in this sense, it implies, that the deliverance here spoken of shall extend to Israel as well as Judah." Mr. Lowth in loc.
The head of the nations.] Israel shall, after his restoration, become the joy of the whole earth, the first of all nations; not in the carnal sense which the Jews expected at the first advent of our Lord, but in a sublime and spiritual sense. "This term," says Dr. Blayney, "I look upon to be synonymous with Jacob or Israel, who, being the peculiar people of God, was thereby exalted to a pre-eminence above other nations. The privileges of primogeniture are asserted to belong to him (Ver. 9.), which is equivalent to calling him the chief or head of the nations; the first-born being commonly entitled to the rank of chief or head among many brethren.”