1. Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
1. Et fuit sermo Jehovae ad me, dicendo,
2. Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
2. Vade et clama ad aures Jerusalem, dicendo, Sic dicit Jehova, Recordatus sum tui propter misericordiam adolescentiae tuae et dilectionem desponsationis tuae, quum me sequuta es (quum venisti post me, profecta es post me) in deserto, in terra non seminata.
God now mentions to his servant the commands which he was to convey to the king and priests, and to the whole people; for by the
Some render the words, "I remember the piety or kindness of thy youth;" and
But the metaphor here used must be noticed. God compares himself here to a young bridegroom, who marries a youthful bride, in the flower of her age, and in the prime of her beauty: and it is a manner of speaking commonly adopted by the prophets. I will not now detain you with a long explanation, as the subject will be treated more at large in another place.
As God, then, had espoused the people of Israel, when he redeemed and brought them out of Egypt, he says now, that he
Now this is a remarkable passage; for God shews that his covenant, though perfidiously violated by the Jews, was yet firm and immutable: for though not all who derive their descent according to the flesh from Abraham, are true and legitimate Israelites, yet God ever remains true, and his calling, as Paul says, is without repentance. (Romans 11:29.) We may therefore learn this from the Prophet's words, -- that God was not content with one Prophet, but continued his favor, inasmuch as he would not render void his covenant. The Jews indeed had impiously departed from the covenant, and a vast number had deservedly perished, having been wholly repudiated; yet God designed really to shew that his grace depends not on the inconstancy of men, as Paul says in another place, for it would then presently fail, (Romans 3:4) and that were all men false and perfidious, God would yet remain true and fixed in his purpose. This we learn from the Prophet's words, when it is said, that God remembered the people on account of the kindness of their youth.
And the same thing is confirmed in other words:
1 Though most of modern commentators, Grotius, Gataker, Blayney, Scott, Adam Clarke, etc., give the same view of this verse with Calvin, yet the probability is, and something more than the probability, that the sense in which it was taken by the ancients is the correct one; which is the sense given in our version, and adopted by Henry. A literal rendering of the verse is sufficient to shew its meaning, -
2. Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith Jehovah,- I remember, with regard to thee, The kindness of thy youth, The love of thy espousals, Thy coming after me in the desert, Through a land not sown.
"Thy coming, or, walking after me, " stands in the same relation to " remember" as the two preceding words: this is plainly the construction; and this construction determines the meaning of the foregoing lines. Our version is quite wrong in rendering
What has led commentators, no doubt, to divert this passage from its right meaning was their impression that more is here ascribed to Israel than their history warrants. But this is not the only instance in which their former conduct is contrasted with their latter conduct. This is done in Malachi 2:5, as to the priests. The object here is to set forth the difference between the people when brought out of Egypt, and following God's guidance in the wilderness, and their conduct at the time of Jeremiah. They were indeed very far from being what they ought to have been in the first instance, but their deportment in Jeremiah's age was incomparably worse.-Ed.