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the prophets, rifing up early and sending (them ;] hut ye would not hear, saith the LORD, but rather gave ear
to false prophets. 20 Hear ye therefore the word of the LORD, all ye of
the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to
Babylon: Whersas ye have said, the Lord hath raised us 21 up prophets in Babylon; Thus faith the Lord of hosts,
the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name, prediEting your speedy return; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebu
chadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them 22 before your eyes; And of them shall be taken up a
curse by all the captivity of Judah which (are) in Babylon, saying, The Lord make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire ; a probably being incensed against them for persuad"ing the people not to settle according to his orders, or fowing 23 fedition; Because they have committed villany in Ifa
rael, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them ; even I know, and [am] a witness, saith the Lord, tho' men
cannot prove it against them. 24 [Thus) shalt thou also speak to Shemaiah the Nehe25 lamite, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the
God of Israel; saying, Because thou hast sent letters in thy name unto all the people that [are] at Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, in answer to the letter of Shemaiah,
which was brought to Jerusalem by those who carried Jere26 miah's letter to Babylon, saying, The Lord hath made
thee In all probability they were treated in the same manner as was intended for Shedrach, Methach, and Abed-ntgo, Dan. iii. 20, 21. One would think that it would impress them much to receive such a prophecy, and to see it so remarkably accom. plished.
o The jewish rabbins, as Grotius observes, have a tradition that these were the two elders who attempted the chastity of Susannah, the story of which they think to be true in part, tho' nor altogether fuch as is represented in the Apocrypha,
the priest in the stead of Jehoiadah the priest, the high priest who was carried captive, that ye should be officers in the house of the Lord, for every man, or, in the case of any one, (that is] mad, and maketh himself a prophet, that thou shouldst put him in prison, and in the stocks; telling him that he had
authority to punish every one pretending to be a prophet. 27 Now therefore why haft thou not reproved Jeremiah of
Anathoth, which maketh himfelf a prophet to you? 28 why haft thou not executed thy authority upon him? For
therefore, or rather, because he fent unto us (in) Babylon, saying, This [captivity is] long : build ye houses,
and dwell (in them;] and plant gardens, and eat the 29 fruit of them. And Zephaniah the priest read this
letter in the ears of Jeremiah the prophet, tho', being
a friend to him, he would not how it publickly. 30 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, 31 saving, Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus
faith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and
I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: 32 Therefore thus faith the LORD ; Behold, I will punish
Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his feed : he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people, faith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD; none of his posterity mall live to see the end of the captivity, nor the favour God will show his people both in and after their return.
I REFLECTIONS 1. UUE may infer from hence the usefulness of let.
VV ters; and how much we may ferve God, and instruct and comfort our friends, by writing to them, as well as conversing with them. The art of writing is an inestimable blessing to the world; friendly correspondence is very comfortable, and may be very useful, if our letters are seasoned with grace. This we should be careful of; fince, if idle words are to be accounted for, much more will idle letters, as so much more time is spent about them,
and the impression made by them, whether it be good or bad, may be more lasting.
2. It is our duty to bring our mind to our condition, whatever it is. The Israelites in Babylon are commanded to act as if they were at home; to build and plant, not fearing that their masters would deprive them of their possessions, and to encourage themfelves with an assurance that they or their children should see better days. This is an important lesson to us. Our situations and circumstances in life are of God's ordering, v. 4. We are not to overlook, or be unthankful for, the comforts we have, because some are loft. If we are removed to a distance from our relations and friends, and grafted into new families and settlements, let us accommodate ourselves to them; consult their peace and comfort; and by that means we shall promote our own.
3. How reasonable is it that we should pray for the land of our nativity, v.7. If the Israelites were to consult and pray for the peace of an heathen, tyrannical, and oppressive king and people, among whom they were settled; it is , much more our duty, by loyalty, subjection, and every other instance of good behaviour, to seek the peace of our native country, and the prosperity of the good government we live under; to pray for our king, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead peaceable and quiet lives, in all godliness and honesty.
4. How happy are the people of God in their commu. nion with him, and his thoughts of peace toward them! There was a way to the throne of grace in Babylon, as well as in Jerusalem. We have all access to God by prayer. Let us value this privilege, remembering the qualifications of acceptable devotion; that it is seeking God, and searching for him with our whole heart, that is, with fincerity and fervency. His thoughts toward his peo. ple are thoughts of peace, even when he sees it best to correct them, and tho' they may imagine that they are thoughts of evil. There is an end which they expect, even their fettlement in the heavenly Canaan, and everlasting reft there, and of this they shall not be disappointed. But those who, like Shemaiah, rebel against God, forfeit the privileges of his people. God will do his people much
good; good ; more than they can ask or think: but those who are rebellious against his word and commandments shall never see it. The end of the righteous is peace; but there is no peace, faith my God, to the wicked.
CHA P. XXX. Contains gracious promises of God to Israel, and that he would
remember the covenant made with their fathers. I T HE word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, 2 saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel,
saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book; because they refer to distant events, viz. to the return of the jews from captivity, and even to Christ's time ; they will be encouragements to them in the mean
while, and the events will be a proof of my foreknowledge § and providence. For, lo, the days come, faith the : LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my peo· ple Israel and Judah, săith 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 con5 cerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus faith
the Lord: We have heard the voice of trembling, of · fear, and not of peace, as the false prophets foretold. 6 Ask ye now, and fee whether a man doth travail with
child? Wherefore do I see, not one or two, but every · man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in tra
vail, and all faces are turned into paleness ; they carry
concern in their looks, and uneasiness in their behaviour. 7 Alas! for that day, the day of the destruction of the city
and temple, and the captivity of the residue of the people, [is great, so that none [is] like it: it [is] even the
time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of 8 it. For it shall come to pass in that day, that distant
period of signal and providential events, faith the Lord of hosts, [that] I will break his yoke, the king of Babylon's yoke, from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds,
is and strangers shall no more ferve themselves of him, 9 that is, of thy posesions and labours: But they shall serve
the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them; they fall adhere faithfully to true religion, and serve the Mefiah, here called David, because he was his son according to the flesh, the heir to his throne, and in whom the prophecies relating to David were
fulfilled. 10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, faith
the LORD; neither be dismayed, o Ifrael: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy feed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make [him]
afraid ; thou shalt enjoy great quietness under the Persian II monarchy, and still more in the latter day. For I [am]
with thee, faith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations, of the Allyrians and Chal
deans, whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not: - make a full end of thee: d but I will correct thee in
measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished; 12 tho' I chastise, I will not utterly destroy thee. For thus
faith the LORD, Thy bruise [is] incurable, [and] thy
wound [is] grievous; it seems to be fo, and is fo, by human 13 power. [There is none to plead, or judge, thy cause,
that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing
medicines, but art like a distempered body, dying for want 14 of help. All thy lovers, or allies, have forgotten thee;
they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the ...wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel
one, for the multitude of thine iniquity ; [because]
thy fins were increased; I have treated thee with great 15 feverity because thine iniquities are great. Why criest
thou for thine affliction? why dost thou lament and expostulate with me? thy forrow [is] incurable for the
multitude of thine iniquity: (because] thy sins were 16 increased, I have done these things unto thee. There
fore, cr rather, yet surely, all they that devour thee shall VOL. V.
be & This was remarkably fulfilled in the jews being kept a dillinct people, when these nations, once so populous and mighty, were quite loft.