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Jeremiah 50:19

19. And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.

19. Et reducam Israelem ad caulas suas, et pascetur in (monte) Carmel et Basan, et in monte Ephraim et Gilead; satiabitur anima ejus.

 

Jeremiah pursues here the same subject, and sustains the minds of the faithful in their miseries, lest they should wholly despond. It is then the same as though he stretched forth his hand to the shipwrecked, or gave support to those lying down as it were lifeless; for exile to God’s children was not only sad, but was like death, because they perceived the vengeance of God as though they had been wholly repudiated. It was therefore necessary to give them some consolation, that they might not altogether despair. The object, then, of our Prophet now is, to encourage the Jews to bear patiently their troubles, and not to think the stroke inflicted on them to be fatal. Hence God promises a restoration to their own country, which would be an evidence of pardon and of mercy; for when God gathered his people, it was the same as though he had openly showed that their adoption remained unchanged, and that the covenant which seemed for a time to fail was still valid.

We now then see why Jeremiah spoke of the restoration of the people; and then he adds, to their own folds, or to their own habitation. This mode of speaking, we know, is found everywhere in the Prophets, for they compare God to a shepherd, and the Church to a flock of sheep. This similitude then is sufficiently common, nor could God better express how much he was concerned for the welfare of his people, than by setting himself forth as their shepherd, and by testifying that he would take care of his flock. But as we said at the beginning of the book, Jeremiah had a special reason for using this similitude, because he was from a town of pastures, and had been from his childhood among shepherds: there is therefore no wonder that he often uses expressions to which he had been accustomed; for education in a great measure forms the language of men. Though then the Prophet speaks according to the usual phraseology of Scripture, there is yet no doubt but that he retained, as it has been said elsewhere, his own habitual mode of speaking.

He then says, that after the people had been gathered, they would inhabit, rich and fertile mountains, even Carmel and Bashan. The fruitfulness of these mountains is spoken of in many places, but it is not necessary to quote them. The meaning however is, that God, after having again gathered his chosen people, would be as it were a faithful shepherd to them, so that they might feel assured that there would be not only a free return to their own country, but that God would be also the guardian of their safety, so as ever to protect them, to exercise care over them, to defend them against their enemies.

But that God might more fully set forth his kindness, he adds, and satisfied shall be his soul Soul here is to be taken for desire, as in many other places. Now the former doctrine ought to be borne in mind, that God is never so angry or displeased with his Church but that he remembers his covenant. Then, as to the faithful, after they have undergone their temporary punishment, God at length stretches forth his hand to them; nor is he once only propitious to them, but continues his mercy, and so cherishes them, that he is not less solicitous for their welfare than a shepherd is, to whom his flock is not less dear than his own life, so that he watches in the night, endures cold and heat, and also exposes himself to many dangers from robbers and wild beasts in order that he might protect his flock. But the Prophet points out as by the finger the very fountain of all this when he adds, —

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