Jeremiah 7:16

16. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

16. Et tu ne ores pro populo hoc, et ne eleves pro ipsis clamorem et precationem, et ne occurras (intercedas; est enim translativum verbum, nam enp significat obviam ire, sed accipitur pro intercedere, ne ergo intercedas) apud me, quia non exaudiam to.


God, in order to exonerate his servant from every ill -- will, forbids him to pray for the people. This might have been done for the sake of the Prophet, as well as of the whole people; for no doubt Jeremiah regarded the ruin of his own nation with great grief and sorrow: as we shall see elsewhere, he had not divested himself of all human feelings. He was doubtless anxious for the safety of his brethren, and he condoled with the miserable, when he saw that they were already given up to destruction. But God strengthens him, that he might courageously discharge his office; for pity has often melted the hearts of men so as not to be able, as they ought, to perform their office. Jeremiah might have been more tardy or more temperate in denouncing God's vengeance, had not all impediments, which checked his alacrity, been removed. Hence then he is bidden to divest himself of sympathy, so that he might rise above all human feelings, and remember that he was set a judge over the people, or a herald to denounce their final doom. There is yet no doubt but that God had respect to the people also, -- to make it known to them that Jeremiah was constrained to perform his part, however unpleasant it might be to him. Hence, as I have said, he was thus relieved from the charge of ill-will, lest he should exasperate his own nation while treating them with so much severity.

Pray not, he says, for this people; and then, Raise not up a prayer. Some read, "Take not up a prayer." The verb asn, nesha, properly means to raise up. We have spoken of this phrase elsewhere; for there are two different ways of speaking when prayer is the subject. The Scripture sometimes says of the faithful, that they cast a prayer before God; and thus is set forth their humility, when they come as suppliants, and dare not lift upwards their eyes, like the publican, of whom Christ speaks. (Luke 18:13.) We are then said to cast a prayer before God, when we humbly seek pardon, and stand before him with shame and self -- reproach. We are also said, for another reason, to raise up a prayer; for when our hearts sink and ascend not to God in faith, it is certain that our prayers are not real: hence the faithful, on account of the fervor of their desire, are said to raise up their prayers. Even so the meaning is here, Raise not up for them a cry and a prayer.

Then he says, Intercede not, for I will not hear thee.1 There is yet no doubt but that the Prophet, as we shall see, continued in his prayers; but still as one knowing that the safety of the city and kingdom would no longer be granted by God: for he might have prayed for two things, -- that God would reverse his decree; and this he was forbidden to do; -- and, that God would be mindful of his covenant in preserving a remnant; and this was done; for the name of the people, though the city and the Temple were destroyed, has never been obliterated. Some people then survived, though without any distinction or renown. And hence at the restoration of the Church God calls its subjects a new people, as in Psalm 102:19,

"A people who shall be created," that is, a new people,
"shall praise the Lord,"

as though he intimated that the Babylonian exile would be the ruin of his ancient people. God has, however, preserved a remnant, as Paul says in Romans 10 and Romans 11. So for the whole body of the people, and for the kingdom, the Prophet was not to pray, because he knew that it was all over with the people. But on this subject we shall speak more at large in another place. It follows --

1 There are here three things forbidden; their distinctive character is not correctly given in our version nor by Calvin. I render the verse thus,-

And thou, be not an intercessor for this people, Nor raise for them a cry and a supplication, Nor make an entreaty to me, For I will not hear thee.

That is, "Undertake not their cause as one who intercedes or mediates between a judge and a criminal, nor cry suppliantly for mercy, nor entreat me to be favorable to them." He was not to be for them an intercessor, nor a deprecator of evils, nor a solicitor of favors. All the versions render the passage loosely.-Ed.