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Jeremiah 24:10

10. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.

10. Et mittam in ipsos gladium, famem et pestem, usque dum consumantur e superficie terrae, quam dedi ipsis et patribus ipsorum.

 

He confirms the former verse, — that God would then with extreme rigor punish them, by allowing the city and the inhabitants who remained, to be given up to the will of their enemies. And Jeremiah still speaks as from the mouth of Moses, that his prophecy might be more weighty, and that he might frighten those men who were so refractory. There are here three kinds of punishments which we often meet with, under which are included all other punishments. But as God for the most part punishes the sins of men by pestilence, or by famine, or by war, he connects these three together when his purpose is to include all kinds of punishment.

He adds, Until they be consumed from the face of the land; he says not “until they be consumed in the land,” but from the face of it, מעל, mol, from upon it: for the Jews were not consumed in their own country; but he consumed them by degrees elsewhere, so that they gradually pined away: they were driven into exile, and that was their final destruction. 127127     The “sword” means war, and by war they were led captive. But their consumption in captivity is not what is here related; but their removal from their own land, and the means employed for that purpose. He had spoken before of what they would become in exile; but here he goes back as it were to describe their misery at the time of their captivity; they would be removed from their own land either by captivity, signified by the sword, or by famine, or by pestilence. — Ed. What this clause means I have explained in another place.

The Prophet adds, which I gave to them and to their fathers. His object here was to shake off from the Jews that foolish confidence with which they were inebriated: for as they had heard of the land in which they dwelt, that it was the rest of God, and as they knew that it had been given to them by an hereditary right, according to what had been promised to their fathers, they thought that it could never be taken away from them. They therefore became torpid in their sins, as though God was bound to them. The Prophet ridicules this folly by saying, that the promise and favor of God would not prevent him from depriving them of the land and of its possession, and from rejecting them as though they were aliens, notwithstanding the fact, that he had formerly adopted them as his children.

We now see the meaning of both parts of this vision. For the Prophet wished to alleviate the sorrow of the exiles when he said, that their state at length would be better; and so he promised that God would be reconciled to them after having for a time chastised them. Thus it is no small comfort to us when we regard the end; for as the Apostle says to the Hebrews, when we feel the scourges of God, sorrow is a hinderance to a patient suffering, as chastisement is for the present grievous, bitter, and difficult to be endured. (Hebrews 12:11.) It is therefore necessary, if we would patiently submit to God, to have regard to the issue: for until the sinner begins to taste of God’s grace and mercy, he will fret and murmur, or he will be stupid and hardened; and certainly he will receive no comfort. Afterwards the Prophet shews, on the other hand, that though God may spare us for a time, there is yet no reason for us to indulge ourselves, for he will at length make up for the delay by the heaviness of his punishment: the more indulgently he deals with us, the more grievous and dreadful will be his vengeance, when he sees that we have abused his forbearance. Now follows —


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