« Prev Jeremiah 15:16 Next »

Jeremiah 15:16

16. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

16. Inventi sunt sermones tui, et comedi eos, et fuit sermo tuus mihi in gaudium et laetitiam cordis mei; quia invocatum est nomen tuum super me, Jehova Deus exereituum.

 

The Prophet had said in the last verse that he was loaded with reproach on God’s account; for in his intercourse with his own people he did not incur their hatred for any private affair, but for his faithfulness in the discharge of his duty: hence arose their reproaches and slanders. He now confirms the same thing in other words, and at the same time explains what might have appeared obscure on account of the brief statement which he had made. This verse, then, is explanatory; for the Prophet shews what he meant by saying that he was burdened with reproaches and calumnies on account of God’s name.

Found, he says, by me have been thy words, and I did eat them, and they turned to me for joy of heart Hence then it was that he was hated by the whole people, because he labored to obey from the heart and in sincerity the command of God, and to perform the office committed to him. But by saying that words had been found, he refers to his calling, as though he had said that he had not sought them as ambitious men are wont to do. We indeed see, with regard to many, that they busy themselves about many things, while they might be at ease and be troublesome to none; but a foolish ambition impels them to seek offices for themselves, and thus they excite against themselves the hatred of many. The Prophet therefore testifies here, that he did not ambitiously seek his office, but that it had been conferred on him from above. We may also take the word in another sense — that the Prophet felt assured that God had sent him; for the word, to find, is often thus taken in Scripture; that is, when anything is perceived and known it is said to be found. But the former view is what I approve, for it is more simple. Then the Prophet says that he was called and made a Prophet, when he expected no such thing; for when he in no way intruded himself, God met him, and in a manner anticipated him: and this we have seen in the first chapter; for he said, for the sake of excusing himself,

“Ah! Lord, I cannot speak.” (Jeremiah 1:8)

We hence see that the Prophet sought to decline the office rather than to desire it as a vocation of honor. So he now rightly declares that God’s words had been found by him, that is, that they had been gratuitously bestowed on him, according to what the Lord says by Isaiah,

“I have been found by them who sought me not, and I have manifested myself to them who asked not for me.” (Isaiah 65:1; Romans 10:20)

This indeed is to be applied to all; but as to the meaning of the term, to find, we see how suitable it is. the Prophet then did not hunt for this honor, nor did he desire any such thing, but the favor of God anticipated him.

He afterwards adds, I did eat them He here testifies that he from the heart, and with a sincere feeling, submitted to God’s command. We indeed know that many prattle about heavenly mysteries, and have the words of God on their tongues; but the Prophet says that he had eaten the words of God; that is, that he brought forth nothing from the tip of his tongue, as the proverb is, but spoke from the bottom of his heart, while engaged in the work of his calling. Well known and sufficiently common in Scripture is the metaphor of eating. When we are said to eat Christ, (Matthew 26:26) the reference no doubt is to the union we have with him, because we are one body and one spirit. So also we are said to eat the word of God, not when we only taste and immediately spew it out again, as fastidious men do, but when we receive inwardly and digest what the Lord sets before us. For celestial truth is compared to food, and we know by the experience of faith how fit the comparison is. Since then celestial truth is good to feed spiritually our souls, we are justly said to eat it when we do not reject it, but greedily receive it, and so really chew and digest it that it becomes our nourishment. This then is what is meant by the Prophet; for he did not act a fable on the stage when teaching the people, but performed in real earnest the office committed to him, not like an actor, is the case is with many who boast themselves to be ministers of the word, but he was a faithful and true minister of God. He then says, that the word of God had been to him the joy and gladness of his heart; that is, that he delighted in that word, like David, who compares it to honey. (Psalm 19:11; Psalm 119:103) The same manner of speaking is used by Ezekiel,(Ezekiel 2:8 and Ezekiel 3:1-3;) for the Prophet is there bidden to eat the volume presented to him; and then he says that it was to him like honey in sweetness, for he embraced the truth with ardent desire, and made privately such a proficiency in the school of God, that his labors became afterwards publicly useful. We hence see how similar was the case with Jeremiah and Ezekiel; for they not only recited, as is commonly done by those who seek to please the ear, what they had been taught, but they became the disciples of the holy Spirit before they became teachers to the people. 146146     The received text has “thy words.” Calvin has followed the Keri and the ancient versions, as well as our version; but “words” being mentioned in the previous line, the same thing being meant. It is more proper to use “words” here, —
   And thy words were to me for exultation, And (or, even) for the joy of my heart.

   It is no objection that the verb, which precedes in Hebrew the noun “words,” is in the singular number; it is the idiom of the language, which is exactly the same in Welsh. “Exultation” is the visible effect; “the joy of the heart” is the inward feeling, the hidden cause. It is common in Scripture to mention the effect first, and to go back to the cause. — Ed.

It may however be asked, how could the word of God be so sweet and pleasant to the Prophet, when yet it was so full of bitterness; for we have seen elsewhere that many tears were shed by the holy man, and he had expressed a wish that his eyes would flow, as though they were fountains of water. How then could these things agree — the grief and sorrow which the holy man felt for God’s judgments, and the joy and gladness which he now mentions? We have said elsewhere that these two feelings, though apparently repugnant, were connected together in the Prophets; they as men deplored and mourned for the ruin of the people, and yet, through the power of the Spirit, they performed their office, and approved of the just vengeance of God. Thus then the word of God became joy to the Prophet, not that he was not touched by a deep feeling for the destruction of the people, but that he rose above all human feelings, so as fully to approve of God’s judgments. Hosea says the same thing —

“Right are the ways of the Lord; the just will walk in them, but the ungodly will stumble and fall.” (Hosea 14:9)

The Prophet indeed speaks thus, not of the word itself, but of its execution; but yet the design is the same; for the Prophet Hosea checks the wantonness of the people, because they complained that God was too rigid and severe. Right, he says, are the ways of the Lord; the just will walk in them, that is, they will consent to God, and acknowledge that he acts rightly, even when he punishes for sins; but the ungodly will stumble, according to what the Lord says in another place —

“Are my ways perverse and not rather yours?”
(Ezekiel 18:25)

For they said that the Lord’s ways were crooked, because they, being soft and delicate, could not endure those severe rebukes, which their own wickedness forced from the holy Prophets. God answers them, and says, that his ways were not crooked, nor thorny, nor tortuous, but that the fault was in the people themselves.

We now then understand the real meaning of this passage. The Prophet knew that nothing was better than to receive whatever proceeded from God; and he testifies that he found sweetness in God’s word.

He afterwards adds, Because on me is called thy name, O Jehovah, God of hosts This mode of speaking occurs often in Scripture, but in a different sense. The name of God is indeed called indiscriminately on all, who are deemed his people. As it was formerly given to the whole seed of Abraham, so it is at this day conferred on all who are consecrated to his name by holy baptism, and who boast themselves to be Christians and the sons of the Church; and this belongs even to the Papists. We are called by his name, because he has favored us with his peculiar grace, for the purity of true and lawful worship exists among us; errors have been removed and his simple truth remains; yet many hypocrites are mixed with the elect of God, so that in a true and well ordered church, the reprobate are called by the name of God; but the elect alone are truly called by his name, as Paul says,

“Let every one who calls on the name of the Lord depart from iniquity,”
(2 Timothy 2:19)

There is in this case a mutual connection; for to call on the name of the Lord, and to have his name called on any one, amounts to the same thing. We hence see that the name of God is only truly and really called on those, who not only boast that they are the faithful, but who have been also regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

But the Prophet here refers to his office when he says, that the name of God was called on him; for he had been chosen to his office of teaching; he was not only dignified with the title, but was really approved by God. We now then perceive in what sense he says that God’s name was called on him, even because God had laid his hand on him and resolved to employ him in the work of teaching the people. But there are many mercenaries in the Church, and though they do not openly corrupt or adulterate the truth of God, they yet, as Paul says, preach it for gain, (2 Corinthians 2:17) It must be observed, that God’s name was called on Jeremiah, because he was known to God as being true and faithful; and he had not only proved himself to be so to men, but he had been chosen by God to be his faithful messenger. 147147     The connection of this clasue is variously understood. It cannot be considered as a reason for the previous clause. Gataker, Grotius, and others render כי, that, — “that thy name was called upon me,” regarding it as the cause of his joy, that he was called God’s prophet. Venema renders it when, which seems more suitable. But on viewing the whole passage, we may justly consider this as a reason for the prayer he offers in the previous verse, so that the latter part of that and the beginning of this verse are parenthetic. I would give this version, —
   15. Thou knowest, Jehonah; Remember me and visit me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors; Through thy long suffering towards them take me not away; (Know that I have been for thee borne reproach;

   16. Found have been thy words and I did eat them; And thy words were to me for exultation, Even for the joy of my heart;) Because called on me has been thy name, Jehovah thou God of hosts.

   — Ed.

There is emphasis in the words, O Jehovah, the God of hosts; for the Prophet no doubt refers here to the glory of God, that he might with an elevated mind look down, as it were, on so many adversaries, who proudly despised him, as it was difficult to carry on war with the whole people. This then was the reason why he spoke of God’s glory in terms so magnificent, by saying, O Jehovah, the God of hosts It follows: —


« Prev Jeremiah 15:16 Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |