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Jeremiah 46:28

28. Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.

28. Tu ne timeas, serve mi Jacob, dicit Jehova, quia ego tecum, quia faciam consumptionem in cunctis gentibus ad quas te expulero illuc (est supervacuum שמה;) et tecum non faciam consumptionem; et castigabo te in judicio, et excidendo non excidam te (alii vertunt, non faciam te innocentem, sed male, ut postea dicemus.)

 

He repeats the same thing, and no wonder, for under circumstances so hopeless it was not easy to raise up and sustain the minds of the people, so that they might patiently wait for the time of their redemption. He had to raise them to light as it were from the lowest depths, for captivity was little short of death, according to what Ezekiel says, (Ezekiel 37) who shews that the common saying among them was,

“Can God raise the dead from their graves?”

Whenever the Prophets promised that God would become their Redeemer, they said, “Oh, will God raise us up again? It is all a fable.” For this reason God commanded dead and dry bones to rise and to assume their own skin and flesh, at least this was shewn to the Prophet in a vision.

We now then understand why the Prophet repeated twice what was in itself sufficiently clear, Fear not, my servant Jacob, even because they could not apprehend God’s mercy, except they looked off from their great difficulties, and further, because it was not enough for them once to embrace this promise, without recumbing on it constantly. Hence the Prophet, in order to encourage them firmly to hope, and at the same time to render them persevering, and to confirm them, says twice, Fear not, my servant Jacob He then adds, I am with thee And this promise, as it has been said, depends on gratuitous adoption, because God had chosen that people for himself, that they might be a priestly kingdom.

He afterwards adds, For I will make a consummation among all the nations, etc. By this comparison he softens and alleviates all sorrow: for however bitter the condition of the people might be, yet when they considered that fled would deal milder with them than with other mortals, it was a cause of ample consolation. The Prophet, then, seeing that the Jews, while their minds were embittered, could not accept God’s favor, shews here, that however severely God might chastise them, he yet would be more merciful to them than to other nations: how so? because, he says, I will make a consummation among other nations, that is, they shall be destroyed without any remedy; as though he had said, that the wound he would inflict on other nations would be deadly, but that he would not make a consummation as to his chosen people.

This seems not to agree with what he had said before, that Egypt should be again inhabited as in days of old. How can the restoration of Egypt be consistent with the words of the Prophet here? To this I answer, that when God mitigates his rigor towards the unbelieving, he is not yet propitious to them, nor is the indulgence shewn to them a proof of his paternal favor, as I have before observed. Though then there were Egyptians who remained alive after the ruin of their kingdom, yet God made a consummation in Egypt, for there his vengeance continued after that, time. Now, when we come to the chosen people, God says in many places, I will not make a consummation There seems to be here again some contrariety, when any one attends only to the words; for God is said to have made a consummation as to his elect people: but this was the case, when he destroyed the whole body of the people; and that consummation was external; there ever remained at the same time some hidden root.

In short, when God says, that he makes a consummation as to heathen nations, it ought to be understood, that God curses them from the root. As when a tree stands, when its root is dead; so also heathen nations, as it were, stand, but in the meantime they are consumed, for God has doomed them to eternal ruin. But consummation is said to be as to God’s children, when nothing appears on the surface, but perhaps a dry trunk; yet a living root remains, which will again grow up, and from it branches will arise. We hence see how God makes a consummation as to all the unbelieving, and yet does not make a consummation as to his chosen people.

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