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The Good and the Bad Figs

24

The Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. This was after King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the artisans, and the smiths, and had brought them to Babylon. 2One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. 3And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.”

4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. 6I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

8 But thus says the Lord: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. 9I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth—a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. 10And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.


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Jer 24:1-10. The Restoration of the Captives in Babylon and the Destruction of the Refractory Party in Judea and in Egypt, Represented under the Type of a Basket of Good, and One of Bad, Figs.

1. Lord showed meAm 7:1, 4, 7; 8:1, contains the same formula, with the addition of "thus" prefixed.

carried … captive Jeconiah—(Jer 22:24; 2Ki 24:12, &c.; 2Ch 36:10).

carpenters, &c.—One thousand artisans were carried to Babylon, both to work for the king there, and to deprive Jerusalem of their services in the event of a future siege (2Ki 24:16).

2. figs … first ripe—the "boccora," or early fig (see on Isa 28:4). Baskets of figs used to be offered as first-fruits in the temple. The good figs represent Jeconiah and the exiles in Babylon; the bad, Zedekiah and the obstinate Jews in Judea. They are called good and bad respectively, not in an absolute, but a comparative sense, and in reference to the punishment of the latter. This prophecy was designed to encourage the despairing exiles, and to reprove the people at home, who prided themselves as superior to those in Babylon and abused the forbearance of God (compare Jer 52:31-34).

5. acknowledgeregard with favor, like as thou lookest on the good figs favorably.

for their good—Their removal to Babylon saved them from the calamities which befell the rest of the nation and led them to repentance there: so God bettered their condition (2Ki 25:27-30). Daniel and Ezekiel were among these captives.

6. (Jer 12:15).

not pull … down … not pluck … up—only partially fulfilled in the restoration from Babylon; antitypically and fully to be fulfilled hereafter (Jer 32:41; 33:7).

7. (Jer 30:22; 31:33; 32:38). Their conversion from idolatry to the one true God, through the chastening effect of the Babylonish captivity, is here expressed in language which, in its fulness, applies to the more complete conversion hereafter of the Jews, "with their whole heart" (Jer 29:13), through the painful discipline of their present dispersion. The source of their conversion is here stated to be God's prevenient grace.

for they shall return—Repentance, though not the cause of pardon, is its invariable accompaniment: it is the effect of God's giving a heart to know Him.

8. in … Egypt—Many Jews had fled for refuge to Egypt, which was leagued with Judea against Babylon.

9. removed, &c.—(Jer 15:4). Calvin translates, "I will give them up to agitation, in all," &c.; This verse quotes the curse (De 28:25, 37). Compare Jer 29:18, 22; Ps 44:13, 14.




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