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Jeremiah 17:12

12. A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.

12. Soilum gloriae excelsum (vel, celsitudo; מרום enim tam adjective capitur, quam substantive) ab initio locus sanctuarii nostri.

 

No doubt the Prophet refers to the singular favor which God granted the Jews, when he chose for himself an habitation among them. It was an incomparable honor when God was pleased to dwell in the midst of that people. Hence, the Prophet exclaims, that the throne of glory and of loftiness was the place of his sanctuary, which God had chosen in that land. But we must understand the design of the Prophet; for the Holy Spirit sometimes commemorates the blessings of God, to raise the minds of men to confidence, or to rouse them to make sacrifices of praise. Here is then a twofold object, when the Scripture sets before us the blessings of God; it is first, that we may be fully persuaded, that he will be always a father to us, for he who begins is wont to bring his work to an end, according to what is said in Psalm 138:8,

“The work of thine hands thou wilt not forsake.”

And then, the Scripture sometimes encourages us to render thanks to God, when it shews how bountifully he has dealt with us. But here is a reproof when the Prophet says, that the glorious throne of God was among the Jews, as though God appeared there openly and in a visible form; for Judea, so to speak, was as it were a terrestrial heaven; for God had consecrated to himself mount Sion, that he might dwell there.

We now then understand why the Prophet here extols the dignity to which God had raised the Jews, when he had commanded a temple for himself to be built on mount Sion. Some will have a particle of comparison to be understood, “As a throne of glory;” that is, as heaven itself in height, so is the place of our sanctuary; but we may take the words simply as they are. We must at the same time repudiate the Rabbinical comment, — that God before the creation of the world had built the temple, as he had appointed the Messiah and other things. But these are foolish trifles. Yet this passage has afforded the Jews an occasion for labling; for it is said from the beginning, מראשון merashun. If the throne of God, that is, the sanctuary, [they say] was from the beginning, it then follows that it was created before heaven and earth. But this is disproved by this single consideration, — that he speaks not here of time but of the order of things, and that that order is; not according to the essence of things, but according to the providence of God. From the beginning, then was the throne of God glorious in Judea, even because God in his eternal counsel had determined to choose the race of Abraham, and then to raise up in that nation the throne of David, and from thence to extend salvation to the whole world. 179179     If we connect “from the beginning” with the following words, and not with “high,” which seems to give a better meaning, we shall get rid of the Rabbinical figment; and it seems also right to join with this verse the first words in the next, as it has been done by the Septuagint,
   A throne of glory on high, Is from the beginning the place of our sanctuary, —
The hope of Israel.

   Or we may render the first line thus, —

   The glorious throne of the most high.

   For so we find מרום rendered in Psalm 56:2. — Ed.
Predestination therefore is the antiquity of the throne of which the Prophet now speaks. Hence the most suitable view is this, — that God had honored the Jews with a singular privilege, because he had purposed to dwell among them, not otherwise than in heaven, so that their condition became more excellent than all human glory. It now follows, —


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