Jer 42:1-22. The Jews and
Johanan Inquire of God, through Jeremiah, as to Going to Egypt,
Promising Obedience to His Will. Their Safety on Condition of Staying
in Judea, and Their Destruction in the
Event of Going to Egypt, Are Foretold. Their Hypocrisy in Asking for
Counsel Which They Meant Not to Follow,
if Contrary to Their Own Determination, Is Reproved.
2. Jeremiah—He probably was one of the
number carried off from Mizpah, and dwelt with Johanan (Jer 41:16). Hence the expression is, "came near"
42:1), not "sent."
Let … supplication be
accepted—literally, "fall" (see on Jer
36:7; Jer 37:20).
pray for us—(Ge
20:7; Isa 37:4; Jas 5:16).
thy God—(Jer 42:5). The Jews use this form to express
their belief in the peculiar relation in which Jeremiah stood to
God as His accredited prophet. Jeremiah in his reply reminds them that
God is their God ("your God") as well as his as being the
covenant people (Jer 42:4).
They in turn acknowledge this in Jer 42:6, "the Lord our God."
few of many—as had been foretold
3. They consulted God, like many, not so much
to know what was right, as wishing Him to authorize what they had
already determined on, whether agreeable to His will or not. So Ahab in
consulting Micaiah (1Ki 22:13).
Compare Jeremiah's answer (Jer 42:4)
with Micaiah's (1Ki 22:14).
4. I have heard—that is, I accede to
your God—Being His by adoption, ye are
not your own, and are bound to whatever He wills (Ex 19:5,
6; 1Co 6:19, 20).
answer you—that is, through me.
keep nothing back—(1Sa 3:18; Ac
5. Lord be a true … witness—(Ge 31:50; Ps 89:37; Re 1:5; 3:14; 19:11).
6. evil—not moral evil, which God cannot
command (Jas 1:13),
but what may be disagreeable and hard to us. Piety obeys
God, without questioning, at all costs. See the instance defective in
this, that it obeyed only so far as was agreeable to itself (1Sa
15:3, 9, 13-15, 20-23).
7. ten days—Jeremiah did not speak of
himself, but waited God's time and revelation, showing the reality of
his inspiration. Man left to himself would have given an immediate
response to the people, who were impatient of delay. The delay was
designed to test the sincerity of their professed willingness to obey,
and that they should have full time to deliberate (De 8:2). True obedience bows to God's time, as
well as His way and will.
10. If ye … abide—namely, under
the Babylonian authority, to which God hath appointed that all should
be subject (Da 2:37, 38). To resist was to resist God.
build … plant—metaphor for, I
will firmly establish you (Jer 24:6).
I repent … of the evil—(Jer
18:8; De 32:36). I am
satisfied with the punishment I have inflicted on you, if only you
add not a new offense [Grotius]. God is
said to "repent," when He alters His outward ways of dealing.
12. show mercies—rather, I will
excite (in him) feelings of mercy towards you [Calvin].
cause you to return—permit you to
return to the peaceable enjoyment of the possessions from which you are
wishing to withdraw through fear of the Chaldeans. By departing in
disobedience they should incur the very evils they wished thereby to
escape; and by staying they should gain the blessings which they feared
to lose by doing so.
13. if ye say, &c.—avowed rebellion
against God, who had often (De 17:16),
as now, forbidden their going to Egypt, lest they should be entangled
in its idolatry.
14. where we shall see no war—Here they
betray their impiety in not believing God's promise (Jer 42:10, 11), as if He were a liar (1Jo 5:10).
15. wholly set your faces—firmly
resolve (Lu 9:51) in
spite of all warnings (Jer 44:12).
16. sword, which ye feared, shall overtake
you—The very evils we think to escape by sin, we bring on
ourselves thereby. What our hearts are most set on often proves fatal
to us. Those who think to escape troubles by changing their place will
find them wherever they go (Eze 11:8).
The "sword" here is that of Nebuchadnezzar, who fulfilled the
prediction in his expedition to Africa (according to Megasthenes, a heathen writer), 300 B.C.
17. all the men—excepting the "small
number" mentioned (Jer 44:14, 28); namely, those who were forced into
Egypt against their will, Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., and those who took
Jeremiah's advice and fled from Egypt before the arrival of the
18. As mine anger, &c.—As ye have
already, to your sorrow, found Me true to My word, so shall ye again
shall see this place no more—Ye shall
not return to Judea, as those shall who have been removed to
19. I have admonished—literally,
"testified," that is, solemnly admonished, having yourselves as My
witnesses; so that if ye perish, ye yourselves will have to
confess that it was through your own fault, not through ignorance, ye
20. dissembled in your hearts—rather,
"ye have used deceit against your (own) souls." It is not God, but
yourselves, whom ye deceive, to your own ruin, by your own
dissimulation (Ga 6:7) [Calvin]. But the words following accord best
with English Version, ye have dissembled in your hearts (see on
Jer 42:3) towards me, when ye sent me to
consult God for you.
21. declared it—namely, the divine
I … but ye—antithesis. I
have done my part; but ye do not yours. It is no fault of mine
that ye act not rightly.
22. sojourn—for a time, until
they could return to their country. They expected, therefore, to be
restored, in spite of God's prediction to the contrary.