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Jeremiah 33:9

9. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.

9. Et erit mihi in nomen, laetitiam (alii in constructione vertunt, in nomen laetitiae) in laudem et in decorem (vel, gloriam) apud omnes gentes terrae, quae audient omnem beneficentiam, quam ego exercuero erga ipsos (quam ego facio ipsis, ad verbum) et pavebunt et contremiscent super omni beneficentia, et super onmi pace, quam ego facio illi (mutat humerum; dixerat, אותם nunc dicit, עשה לה, et refertur hoc pronomen ad urbem ipsam)

 

Here God testifies that his favor would be such as to deserve praise in all the world, or, which is the same thing, that his bounty would be worthy of being remembered. Hence he says, that it would be to him for a name among all nations; but as he designed to extol the greatness of his glory, he adds, a praise and an honor, or a glory; and it is emphatically added, among all nations And this passage shews to us that the Prophet did not speak only of the people’s return, and that this prophecy ought not to be confined to the state of the city, such as it was before the coming of Christ; for though the favor of God was known among the Chaldeans and some other nations, it was not yet known through the whole world, for he says, among all the nations of the earth; and God no doubt included all parts of the world. We hence then conclude that the favor of which the Prophet speaks refers to the kingdom of Christ, for God did not then attain a name to himself among all nations, but, as it is well known, only in some portions of the east. When, therefore, he says that the favor he would shew to his people, would be to him a name, he promises no doubt that deliverance which was at length brought by Christ.

And in the same sense must be taken what follows, Because they shall hear, etc.; for the relative אשר asher, is here a causative, as the Prophet expresses here the way and manner in which glory and honor would come to God on account of the deliverance of his people, even because the nations would hear of this; and this has been done by the preaching of the Gospel, because then only was God’s goodness towards the Jews everywhere made known, when the knowledge of the Law and of prophetic truth came to aliens who had previously heard nothing of the true doctrine of religion. We now then understand the design of the holy Spirit.

Further, by these words God exhorts all to gratitude; for whenever the fountain of God’s blessings is pointed out to us, we ought not to be indifferent, but to be stimulated to give thanks to him. When therefore God declares that the redemption of his people would be a name to him among all nations, he thus shews to the godly that they ought not to be torpid, but to proclaim his goodness. And at the same time it serves for a confirmation, when God intimates that he would be the Redeemer of his people, in order that he might acquire to himself a name, for there is to be understood a contrast, that in this kindness, he would not regard what the Jews deserved, but would seek for a cause in himself, as it is expressed more fully elsewhere,

“Not on your account will I do this, O house of Israel,” (Ezekiel 36:22)

and the faithful sing in their turn,

“Not on our account, O Lord, but on account of thy name.”
(Psalm 79:9; Psalm 115:1)

We then see that God brings forward his own name, that the Jews might continue to entertain hope, however guilty they may have been, and own themselves worthy of eternal destruction.

If we read, “It shall be to me for a name of joy,” the sense would be, “for a name in which I delight.” If we read the words apart, “For a name and joy,” the sense would be still the same; nor ought it to be deemed unreasonable that God testifies that it would be to him for joy. For though he is not moved and influenced as we are, yet this mode of speaking is elsewhere adopted, as in Psalm 104:31,

“The Lord shall rejoice in his works.”

God then is said to take delight in doing good, because he is in his nature inclined to goodness and mercy.

He afterwards adds, they, shall fear and tremble for all the goodness, etc. The word כל cal, “all,” denotes greatness, and is to be taken emphatically. The words, however, may at first sight appear singular, “they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness,” etc.; for it seems not reasonable that men should fear, when they acknowledge God’s goodness, for this, on the contrary, is a reason for joy and confidence. This clause is sometimes applied to the ungodly, for they have no taste for God’s favor so as to be cheered by it, but on the contrary they fret and gnash their teeth when God appears kind to his people; for they are vexed, when they see that they are excluded from the enjoyment of those blessings, which are laid up, as it is said elsewhere, for them who fear God. But I have not the least doubt but the Prophet means the conversion of the Gentiles when he says, they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness, etc.; as though he had said, that not only the name of God would be known among the nations, so that they would proclaim that he had been merciful to his people, but that it would at the same time be the effect and influence of his grace, that the nations would become obedient to God. Moreover, it is a usual thing to designate the worship and fear of God by the words fear, dread, and trembling. For though the faithful do not dread the presence of God, but cheerfully present themselves to him whenever he invites them, and in full confidence call on him, there is yet no reason why they should not tremble when they think of his majesty. For these two things are connected together, even the fear and trembling which humble us before God, and the confidence which raises us up so as to dare familiarly to approach him. Here then is pointed out the conversion of the Gentiles; as though the Prophet had said, that the favor of deliverance to the Church would not only avail for this end, to make the Gentiles to proclaim God’s goodness, but would also have the effect of bringing them under his authority, that they might reverence and fear him as the only true God. He again adds the word peace, but in the same sense as before: he mentions goodness, the cause of prosperity, and then he adds peace or prosperity as its effect. It afterwards follows, —

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