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Jeremiah 31:28

28. And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.

28. Et erit, sicuti vigilavi super eos ad evellendum et conterendum, et ad confringendum et ad perdendum, et ad affligendum, sic vigilabo super eos ad aedificandum et ad plantandum, dicit Jehova.

 

By these words the Prophet confirms what he had said; for the Israelites and the Jews might have ever made this objection, “Why should God promise to be the liberator of his people, whom he had suffered to be oppressed with so great evils, for it would have been easier to prevent them?” The Jews then might have raised this clamor, “Thou givest us here the hope of a return, but why does God suffer us to be driven into exile? why then does he not apply the remedy in time; for now too late he declares that he will be a help to us after our ruin.” As then the Jews thought that a restoration was promised to them unseasonably, the Prophet says that it was God who chastised them and punished them for their sins, and that he could also relieve them whenever it pleased him. For had the Chaldeans, according to their own pleasure, ruled over the Jews, and had obtained the victory over them, who could have ever hoped that the miserable men, thus reduced, could have been delivered by God’s hand? But now the Prophet shews that there was no reason for the Jews to despair, as though it were difficult for God to free them from the tyranny of their enemies; for nothing had happened to them by chance, or through the power of their enemies, but through the righteous judgment of God.

We now then perceive the design of the Holy Spirit in what the Prophet says, As I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to break in pieces and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch, etc. 5050     The words here used are the very same with those in Jeremiah 1:10, except the addition, “to afflict;” and yet neither the Targ., nor the Versions, except the Syriac, render them alike, giving in some instances the meaning of one verb to another, — a proof that they are very loose versions. — Ed. God then sets himself forth as the judge who had punished them for their sins, in order that he might convince them that he would also become their Physician, as though he had said, “I who have inflicted the wound can therefore heal it,” according to what is said elsewhere,

“God is he who kills and brings to life, who leads down to the grave and brings up.”
(1 Samuel 2:6)

But he employs many words, for the great mass of so many evils might have plunged the Jews into the abyss of despair. Hence the Prophet anticipates them, and shews, that though they had been reduced to extremities, yet so many and so severe calamities could not prevent God from restoring them, when it seemed good to him. He yet reminds them, that it was not without cause that they suffered such grievous things; for God takes no delight in the miseries of his people. The people then ought to have learnt that they had been guilty of great sins from the fact, that they had been chastised with so much rigor and severity. He now adds, So will I watch over you to build and to plant

As for the verb destroy, if we read הרם erem, it ought to be rendered, and to take away The verb רם rem, as it is well known, means to elevate; but metaphorically, to take away. But the received reading, as I have said, is הרס eres. He says, that he would watch to build and to plant them, as he had watched to destroy them; as though he had said, that they had already been taught by experience, how great was the power of God’s hand to save as well as to destroy. They had disregarded threatenings as long as God had spared them, and they thought that they could sin with impunity; and we see how insolently they rejected all the Prophets. But God had at length shewed by severe proofs how his judgments oughf; to have been dreaded. He now then inspires them with hope, for his watching would no less avail for their preservation. It follows, —

 


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