Jeremiah 3:17-18

17. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.

17. Tempore illo vocabunt Jerusalem solium Jehovae, et congregabuntur ad eam omnes gentes ad nomen Jehovae, Jerusalem dico; et non ambulabunt posthac (vel, amplius) post duriciem (alii vertunt, obstinationem; est etiam interdum cogitatio, twrrs, post duriciem) cordis sui malam.

18. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.

18. In diebus illis venient domus Jehudah cum domo Israel, venient simul e terra aquilonis ad terram, quam dedi in haereditatem patribus vestris (vel, quam dedi possidendam jure haereditario patribus vestris.)


We now understand more clearly what I have already said, -- that the Prophet promises here that there would be concord between the ten tribes and the kingdom of Judah, when both returned from exile; as though he had said, that their condition would be better than it ever had been; for the seed of Abraham had been torn as it were asunder; and the people whom God intended that they should continue in a holy union had become divided in the most shameful manner. We indeed know that there had been inveterate hatred between the Jews and the Israelites. As then there had been such disgraceful division for a long time between the children of Abraham, the Prophet now shews what would be the fruit of exile; for after having been for a time chastised by the Lord, they would return to their own country, not to entertain the same emulation as had existed, but to unite together in calling on God, in order that the Jews might be as brethren to the Israelites, and the Israelites might cultivate mutual concord with the tribe of Judah.


Grant, Almighty God, that as thou at this day mercifully sparest us, when yet in various ways we provoke thy displeasure, -- O grant, that we may not harden ourselves against thy chastisements, but that thy forbearance may lead us to repentance, and that also thy scourges may do us good, and that we may so truly turn to thee, that our whole life may testify that we are in our hearts changed; and may we also stimulate one another, that we may unite together in rendering obedience to thy word, and each of us strive to glorify thy name, through Christ Jesus our Lord. -- Amen.

Lecture Thirteenth

WE began yesterday to explain what the Prophet means, when he says, that there would be no more a remembrance of the Ark of the Covenant after the return of the Israelites into their country and their increase in it, even because there would be no discord among them as there had been before they were led into exile. For the ten tribes, we know, worshipped God after their own manner, as they had departed from the pure and simple teaching of the law. The Prophet then means, that they would all be the worshippers of the only true God, and that there would be among them such an unity of faith, that the Jew would not call God his God only, and that an Israelite would not desire for himself another God. Hence he adds, It shall not ascend on the heart; that is, such a thought shall no more come into their minds; and they shall not remember it; that is, no monuments of their ancient disunion shall exist any more among them; and they shall not visit it, which means, they shall no more come stealthily into Jerusalem who may wish to offer sacrifices to God; and in short, he says, No such thing shall be done.1

Then he says, At that time called shall be Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah. The Prophet may appear inconsistent with himself by saying that Jerusalem would be the throne of God, and yet that the Jews would make no mention of the Ark of the Covenant: but the two clauses wholly agree, for he means that Jerusalem would be the seat and habitation of the eternal God, without any dispute being raised among them. The Israelites before their exile boasted that they retained the worship of the true God, and so magnificent was the display, and so great the pomp, that Jerusalem was quite obscure as to any external splendor. But the Prophet says that this distinction would no longer exist, and that the Israelites would no more contend with the Jews, for all would allow Jerusalem to be the sanctuary of God; as though he had said, "Pure religion shall flourish among them all without exception, such as had not done before." And this passage he more clearly confirms by the words which follow: --

Assemble into it shall all nations to the name of Jehovah; or, on account of the name of Jehovah (l, lamed, is here instead of a causal particle) shall all nations assemble at Jerusalem.2 We see that there is nothing doubtful in these words, for the Prophet distinctly declares, that the worship of God, such as the Law required, would attain such esteem, that all nations would be ready to embrace whatever would be taught by the Jews. But by all nations we are to understand strictly the ten tribes, as they are called many nations in several places. If any one prefers to extend the meaning, let him enjoy his own opinion.

As I have said yesterday, the Jews think that the time of the Messiah is described here, because what Jeremiah promises has never been fulfilled; for there was no assembling of nations when the Jews returned from exile to their own country, as the Jews alone returned at that time. Hence they conclude that this passage can be explained in no other way than by referring it to the kingdom of Messiah; which, indeed, I confess to be true. But as that return and restoration of the people was a prelude of Christ's kingdom, the prophets ever begin at that time whenever they prophesy of the Church being renewed. It is indeed true, that the restoration of the whole world was to be looked for through the coming of Christ; yet God began to restore his Church, when he stretched forth his hand to the Jews, and when they built the city and the temple; which was necessary to be done before Christ came forth. But as to this passage, whether by nations we understand the ten tribes, or both kingdoms, or all nations indiscriminately, the meaning of the Prophet is equally clear, which is this, -- that the Church would become larger than before, when God restored the people, and that God would then cause true religion to flourish, unaccompanied with envy and strife.

What follows confirms the opinion, that the passage is to be explained of the two kingdoms, Walk, he says, shall they no more after the evil hardness of their own heart.3 It was not usual to speak thus of heathen nations, who had ever been strangers to the teaching of the Law. As this, then, can only be specifically applied to the Jews and Israelites, that explanation is the most to be approved, which makes all nations to mean the ten tribes, or the whole people.

Then is added, what is of the same meaning, In those days shall come the house of Judah with the house of Israel. It hence appears, that the Prophet speaks of the posterity of Abraham and not of other nations; for he adds this verse as explanatory. It might, indeed, have been asked, "What does this mean, All nations shall come?" To this he answers, "The house of Israel shall unite with the house of Judah;" that is, there shall be no more hatred between these two nations, for they shall acknowledge one another as brethren, and know that they have arisen from the same source, and that they ought to be one people. In short, the Prophet explains in this verse what he had said before. And we ought especially to notice what he adds, Come shall they together from the land of the north into the land which I have given to be possessed by their fathers. The Jews had not yet gone into exile; the Prophet said this to them while they were quiet, as it were, in their own nest at Jerusalem, and in the country around; nor could he convince them of what they afterwards found to be true to their great loss, -- that an exile was nigh them, like that which they then saw had happened to their brethren, the Israelites. But yet the Prophet spoke of them, as though they had been exiled and dwelt like the Israelites in the north country; Come together., he says, shall they from the land of the north.4

They might have objected and said, "We are as yet enjoying our own inheritance, and no one can drive us hence, for it cannot be that God shall be deprived of his own temple, as he has chosen for himself a perpetual habitation among us." Such words were no doubt clamorously spoken by them. But the Prophet here repels their vain confidence, and says, that their only hope of deliverance was in looking forward to the restoration which the Lord would grant them after they had been for a time banished from their country. Now the Prophet here sets forth to them the benefit which would arise from exile, in order that they might bear with more submission the punishment they were to endure: for they might have a hundred times despaired, had they no hope that this exile would be only for a time, and that they would again be gathered together with their brethren the Israelites. It now follows --

1 The literal rendering of this verse I conceive to be the following,-

16.And it shall be, that ye shall multiply And be fruitful in the land. In those days, saith Jehovah, they shall no more say,- " The Ark of the Covenant of Jehovah;" And it shall not come to their mind, Nor shall they mention it, nor visit it; And not made shall it be any more.

The two first lines seem connected with the former verse. There is a gradation in the three last lines,-It shall not be thought of, much less mentioned or named, as given by the Septuagint,-still less be visited,-and much less still, be made. This gradation is destroyed by Blayney by rendering the first line,

Nor shall it be the delight of their heart;

literally it is, "And it shall not ascend on the heart." The "heart" means often in Hebrew the mind; and "to come to mind" is the idea; it would not be thought of. The phrase occurs in this book in two other places, Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 44:21; and, not to think, or, not to come to mind, is the most suitable meaning, as it is given in our version. The purpose of this kind of gradation is to render the thing more certain and indisputable, so that there might be no room for doubt.-Ed.

2 This seems to be the best rendering. Blayney leaves out the word "Jerusalem;" but for no sufficient reason. The whole verse is as follows:-

In that day call shall they Jerusalem, " The throne of Jehovah;" And gathered into it shall be all the nations, For the name of Jehovah, even to Jerusalem; And they shall no more walk after the resolutions of their wicked heart.-- Ed.

3 "Evil" is connected with "hardness;" but it belongs properly to "their heart." The word rendered "hardness" is twrrs a plural noun, found eight times in Jeremiah; here, and in Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 11:8; Jeremiah 13:10; Jeremiah 16:12; Jeremiah 18:12; Jeremiah 23:17; and twice elsewhere, Deuteronomy 29:19; Psalm 81:12. It is so variously rendered by the Septuagint, that they evidently did not understand its specific meaning; ejnqumh>mata, thoughts, devices; ta< a]resta, things pleasing or agreeable; pla>nh, wandering. These words are used for it in Jeremiah. The Vulgate ever renders it "pravitas-pravity-wickedness." The Targum uniformly renders it "cogitatio-thought or imagination." The latter word is used in our version, (except in Psalm 81:12, "lust,") with a marginal reading "stubbornness." The Syriac and Arabic vary as much as the Septuagint, "appetites, lusts, will," etc. To "walk after" precedes it in most instances except in Jeremiah 18:12, where it is preceded by "doing." Now to "do the hardness of the heart," is no suitable expression; nor is "imagination" or "stubbornness" anything better. It can be derived from no verb which means to think or to imagine, or which has any connection with depravity or wickedness, or with appetites or lusts. Nor can we derive it from hrs, which those do who render it "stubbornness;" for that will suit the passage referred to in Jeremiah 18:12. It must then come from rs, to direct, to regulate, to rule, to exercise authority. It occurs three times in a reduplicate form; as a participial noun in Esther 1:22, and as a verb and a participle in Hithpael in Numbers 16:13, where it is applied in the sense of making oneself a prince or a tyrant. The literal meaning of the noun then is, in the plural number, predominances, domineerings, arbitraments; and it may be rendered determinations, resolutions, predominant influences or inclinations. "Walk shall they no more after the resolutions of their wicked heart." It is used in Jeremiah 7:24, in apposition with "counsels," being evidently a stronger word: it seems to mean resoluteness or resolvedness, a full determination, a willful decision. Parkhurst renders it, "the ruling principles."-Ed.

4 Calvin uses the verb "venient, "shall come, twice: but the first verb is to walk, and expresses the associating of Judah with Israel, or their union. The words are,-

In those days walk will the house of Judah with the house of Israel, And come shall they together from the land of the north, To the land which I made their fathers to inherit.

They would be first united, and then advance together to their own land.-Ed.