Jeremiah 22:27

27. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.

27. Et in terram ad quam ipsi levant animum suum, ut revertantur illuc, non revertentur illuc.


The Prophet again changes the person, and yet not inelegantly, for he speaks here as one indignant, and after having addressed a few words to King Jeconiah, he turns aside from him and declares what God would do. Thus, when we think one hardly worthy to be addressed, we change our discourse; and after having spoken a few words to him, we take another mode of speaking. In the same manner, the Prophet spoke very indignantly when he addressed Jehoiakim, and then he declared how God would deal with him: he passed by him as though he was deaf or unworthy of being noticed. We thus see the design of the Prophet in the change he makes in this passage.

Into the land, he says, to which they raise up their mind that they may return, there they shall not return. He had said before that both the king and his mother would die in a foreign land, and he now confirms the same thing; for the foolish notion, that the king of Babylon would be at length propitious to them, could not but with great difficulty be eradicated from their minds: nor is there a doubt but that such thoughts as these were entertained, -- "When Nebuchadnezzar shall see us coming suppliantly to him, he will be turned to mercy, for what more does he require? He does not mean to fix here his royal palace; it; will satisfy him to have the people tributary to him; and when he shall find that I am a man of no courage, he will prefer having me a king, rather than to appoint a new one." Such, then, was the reasoning which the king had with his courtiers. Hence this vain persuasion is what the Prophet now demolishes: They raise up their mind to the land, that is, they think of a free return at length into their own country; for to raise up the mind is to apply the mind or thought to any thing. They raise up, then, their mind to the land, that is, the land of Judah; but they shall never return thither, whatever they may promise to themselves.1


Grant, Almighty God, that as thou promisest to us rest nowhere except in thy celestial kingdom, we may never suffer ourselves, while travelling on the earth, to be allured and driven here and there; but may we in the meantime call on thee with resigned minds, and thus carry on our warfare, that; how much soever thou mayest he pleased by various contests to try and prove us, we may still continue to be thy faithful soldiers, until we shall enjoy that rest which has been obtained for us by the blood of thine only-begotten Son. -- Amen.

1 The phrase, "to raise or lift up the mind," or the soul, is to set the heart on a thing. The Vulg. has adopted the Hebrew idiom, "to which they lift up their soul." The Sept. leaves out "return," and have only, "which they wish in their souls." Our version retains the true idea, though it be not literal, "whereunto they desire to return;" literally, "where they are lifting up their soul to return there:" the two adverbs of place are given, the relative adverb and the pronoun adverb, if we may so call them. It is the same sort of idiom as when a relative and a pronoun are used, one before and the other after the verb, as in Jeremiah 22:25, "whom thou fearest (or dreadest) their face," rightly rendered in our version, "whose face thou fearest:" but the Welsh is literally the Hebrew; the idiom is exactly the same. -- Ed.