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Jeremiah 1:8

8. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

8. Ne timeas a facie ipsorum, quia tecum ego (id est, ego sum tecum) ad eripiendum to, dicit Jehova.

 

We may learn from this verse that Jeremiah, when he observed the heavy and hard conflicts he had to undertake, was greatly disturbed; for he had not courage enough firmly and boldly to assail enemies so many and so violent. He indeed saw, that he had to do with a degenerated people, who had almost all departed from the law of God: and since they had for many years shaken off the yoke, and were petulantly exulting in their freedom, it was difficult to bring them back to obedience, and to a right course of life. It hence appears that the Prophet was restrained by this difficulty, so as not to venture to undertake the prophetic office. But God applied a suitable remedy to his fear; for what does he say? Fear not their face It appears, then, that when Jeremiah said that he was a child, he had in view, as I have already hinted, the difficulty of the undertaking; he could hardly bear to carry on contests so severe with that rebellious people, who had now become hardened in their wickedness. We hence see how he refused, in an indirect manner, the burden laid on him, for he ventured, not openly and ingenuously, and in plain words, to confess how the matter was; but God, who penetrates into the hearts of men, and knows all their hidden feelings and motives, heals his timidity by saying, Fear not their face. 1111     The proper rendering is, “Fear not before them,” or, on their account: סמני is invariably a preposition, before, from before, because of, on account of, for, by, through; Deuteronomy 2:21; Exodus 14:19; Deuteronomy 7:19; Jeremiah 6:13; and it is often, though not always, so rendered in our version. The very same phrase is found in Joshua 11:6, and rendered, “Be not afraid, because of them;” and also in this book, Jeremiah 41:18, “They were afraid of them.” It may, indeed, be rendered, “Fear them not,” or, “Be not afraid of them.” To introduce “face” or “faces” is by no means right. Gataker’s rendering is, “Fear not before them;” and Blayney’s, “Be not thou afraid because of them.” — Ed

Now this passage shews that corruptions had so prevailed among the chosen people, that no servant of God could peaceably perform his office. When prophets and teachers have to do with a teachable people, they have no need to fight: but when there is no fear of God, and no regard for him, yea, when men are led away by the violence of their lusts, no godly teacher can exercise his duty without being prepared for war. This, then, is what God intimates, when he bids his Prophet to be courageous; for he saw that there would be as many enemies as professed themselves to be the children of Abraham.

The reason, also, for boldness and confidence, that is added, ought to be noticed, For I am with thee to deliver thee By these words God reminds the Prophet, that there would be sufficient protection in his power, so that he had no need to dread the fury of his own nation. It was, indeed, at first, a formidable undertaking, when Jeremiah saw that he had to carry on war, not with a few men, but with the whole people; but God sets himself in opposition to all men, and says, I am with thee, 1212     “Earthly kings and sovereigns,” observes Gataker on this verse, “are not wont to go with those whom they send on embassage; God goeth along with those whom he sends, and is by his powerful protection, at all times and in all places, present with them.” — Ed. fear not. We hence see that due honor is then conceded to God, when being content with his defense we disregard the fury of men, and hesitate not to contend with all the ungodly, yea, though they may rise up in a mass against us: and were their forces and power the strongest, we ought yet to feel assured that the defense of God alone is sufficient to protect us. This is the full meaning of the passage. It now follows-


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