World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

20

And I will make you to this people

a fortified wall of bronze;

they will fight against you,

but they shall not prevail over you,

for I am with you

to save you and deliver you,

says the Lord.


Select a resource above

As Jeremiah might have objected and said, that the burden was too heavy for him, if he only attempted to break down the contumacy of the people, for he was alone, and we have seen how great was the ferocity and also the cruelty of his adversaries, — as he might have shunned his commission, it being too much for his strength, hence God comes to his aid and bids him to take courage, for he was fortified by a help from heaven, I have set thee, he says, for a brazen fortified wall to this people The word for “fortified” is from בצר, betsar; were it בצרה betsare, derived from צור tsur, to besiege, it would much better suit this place. I know not whether the passage has been corrupted: however, I will not depart from the common reading. As then interpreters agree in this, I will change nothing; and indeed the difference is not very material. 153153     All the ancient versions are in favor of the common reading, and there are no MSS. favorable to the proposed emendation. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Syriac, and the Targum, render it “strong;” and the Arabic “fortified.” “A strong wall of brass,” is the version of Blayney. — Ed.

We see then what God meant by these words: As the Prophet was almost alone, and God had bidden him to contend with many and powerful enemies, he promises to stand on his side; as though he had said, — “Though thou art defenceless and unarmed, and they are furnished with wealth and great power, thou shalt yet be like a well-fortified city; thou shalt indeed be impregnable, notwithstanding all their assaults and whatever they may attempt against thee.”

But God proceeds lay degrees; for he first declares that his Prophet would be like a brazen and a fortified wall, that is, like an invincible city: for by stating a part for the whole, a wall means a city that is impregnable. It then follows, They indeed will fight against thee. This warning was very necessary; for Jeremiah was doubtless willing to serve God in exercising authority over teachable and humble men, and in gently inducing them to render obedience to God; but he is reminded here that he would have many hard contests with a rebellious people, They will fight, he says, against thee We see how God does not promise ease to Jeremiah, nor gives him a hope of a better lot in future; but, on the centrary, he exhorts him to fight; and why? because the people would not bear the yoke of God, but kindled into rage against him. But another promise follows, They shall not prevail against thee, or overcome thee.

It was indeed necessary for Jeremiah of his own self to disturb the Jews; for nothing would have been more agreeable to them than his silence; and the object of all their attempts was to drive him to despair. But it is not without reason that they are said to fight with him; for it is contrary to nature for men to resist God and to set themselves against him when he invites them to himself; for what can be more natural than for the whole world to hasten to God? It is then something monstrous for men to oppose God, nay, furiously to rise up against hhn, when he kindly calls them to himself. Hence it is that God here makes the Jews the authors of all this disturbance. For since they loaded the Prophet with the most wicked calumnies, as we have seen, and said, that he was a turbulent man and confounded all things by his morosity, God here shews, on the other hand, that all the commotions and the rightings ought to be attributed to them, because they ought to have obediently received the doctrine set before them.

But though this was said only once to Jeremiah, yet the condition of all God’s servants is here set before us as in a mirror; for they cannot perform what God commands them without having to encounter many and grievous assaults; for the world is never so prepared to obey God, but the greater part furiously resists, and, as far as it can, stifles the word of God and checks his ministers.

He states the reason, For I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee 154154     The words here used are remarkably precise and significant. I render the verse thus, —
   20. And I will make thee to this people A wall of brass, fortified; And they will fight against thee, But they shall not prevail over thee; For with thee will I be, To save thee and to rescue thee, Saith Jehovah.

   To “save” was to preserve him from the hands of his enemies; but if he fell into their hands, he would rescue him. And this latter idea is more fully expressed in the following verse, —

   Yea, I will rescue thee from the hand of the malignant, And free thee from the grasp of the terrible.

   — Ed.
By these words God exhorts his Prophet to prayer; for we know how dangerous is self-security to all the children of God, and especially to teachers. As then they have at all times need of God’s aid, they are to be exhorted to have recourse to solitude and prayer. This is the import of the words which God uses, I am with thee; as though he had said, “Thou indeed wilt not stand by thyself, or through thine own painstaking, nor wilt thou be a conqueror by carrying on war thyself; but thou must learn to flee to me.” It afterwards follows —




Advertisements