Lecture Ninety-Sixth

Jeremiah 25:20

20. And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,

20. Et promiscuae multitudini, et cunctis regibus terrae Uz, et cunctis regibus terrae Philistim et Ascalon et Gazae et Echron, et reliquiis Azoth,


Jeremiah, after having spoken of his own nation and of the Egyptians, now mentions other nations who were probably known by report to the Jews; for we see in the catalogue some who were afar off. He then does not only speak of neighboring nations, but also of others. His object, in short, was to shew that God's vengeance was near, which would extend here and there, so as to include the whole world known to the Jews.

We stated yesterday the reason why he connected the Egyptians with the Jews; but now nothing certain can be assigned as a reason with regard to each of these nations; only it may be said in general, that the Jews were thus reminded, not only to acknowledge God's judgment towards them as an evidence of his wrath, but also to extend their thoughts farther and to consider all the calamities, which would happen to nations far as well as nigh, in the same light, so that they might know that human events revolve, not by chance, but that God is a righteous judge, and that he sits in heaven to chastise men for their sins.

It is a common proverb, that it is a solace to the miserable to see many like them; but the Prophet had something very different in view; for it was not his object to alleviate the grief of his people by shewing that no nations would be free from calamities; but his intention was to shew them in due time that whatever happened would proceed from God; for if it had not been predicted that the Chaldeans would have the whole of the east under their dominion, it would have been commonly said, that the world was under the rule of blind fortune, and thus men would have become more and more hardened in their impiety; for it becomes the cause of obstinacy, when men imagine that all things happen by chance. And for this reason God severely reproves those who acknowledge not that he sends wars, famine, and pestilence, and that nothing adverse takes place except through his judgment. Hence the Jews were to learn before the time, that when God afflicted them and other nations, they might know that it had been predicted, and that therefore God was the author of these calamities, and that they might also examine themselves so as to acknowledge their sins; for they who dream that the world as to its evils is governed at random by fortune, do not perceive that God is displeased with them; and so they regard not what they suffer as a just punishment.

Many indeed confess God as the inflicter of punishment, and yet they complain against him. But these two things ought to be remembered, -- that no adversity happens fortuitously, but that God is the author of all those things which men regard as evils, -- and that he is so, because he is a righteous judge; which is the second thing. God then in claiming for himself the disposal of all events, and in declaring that the world is governed at his will, not only declares that the chief power and the supreme government is in his hand, but goes farther and shews, that things happening prosperously are evidences of his goodness and justice, and that calamities prove that he cannot endure the sins of men, but must punish them. To set forth this was the Prophet's design.

He says that God threatened all the promiscuous multitude.1 The word bre, means a swarm of bees; and it means also any sort of mixture; and hence, when Moses said that many went up with the people, he used. this word. (Exodus 12:38.) Nehemiah also says that he separated such mixtures from the people of God, lest they who had become degenerated, should corrupt true religion. (Nehemiah 13:3.) That the Church, then, might remain true and faithful, he says that he took away bre, oreb, or this mixture. Now as to this passage, I have no doubt but that the Prophet speaks thus generally of the common people; and I extend this name to all the kingdoms, of which he will hereafter speak. He then adds, And all the kings of the land of Uz. We know that this was an eastern land. I know not why Jerome rendered it "Ausitis," and not as in the Book of Job, for the same word is found there, (Job 1:2) and we find that Job was born in the eastern part of the world, for he was plundered by his neighbors, who were men of the east. Some think that it was Armenia; but it could hardly be a country so far off, for Cilicia was, with regard to Judea, in the middle between them. I, then, rather think that Uz was directly east to Judea.

He adds, And all the kings of the land of the Philistines. Whether Palestine had then many kings is uncertain; it seems indeed probable; but what seems doubtful to me, I leave as such. It is no objection that he mentions all the kings, since he afterwards speaks of all the kings of Tyre and Sidon, though neither Tyre nor Sidon had many kings; for they were only two cities. There is then no doubt, but that the Prophet in speaking of all the kings of the land, meant that though they succeeded one another, it was yet decreed in heaven, that all these nations should perish. He therefore intended to obviate every doubt; for the prophecy was not immediately fulfilled; but the nations, of whom he now speaks, retained for a time their state, so that the Prophet might have appeared false in his predictions. Hence he distinctly mentions all the kings, so that the faithful might suspend their judgment until the appointed time of God's vengeance came.

He afterwards mentions Ashkelon; which was not a maritime city, though not far from the sea. Then he adds hze, oze, which we call Gaza, for the Greek translators have so rendered it. But what the Greek and Latin writers have thought, that it was called Gaza, because Cyrus deposited there his treasures while carrying on war here and there, is wholly absurd; and it was a frivolous conjecture which occurred to their minds, because Gaza means a treasure, and the Greek translators rendered Oze, Gaza; but it was entertained without much thought. The situation of the city is well known. He then mentions Ekron, a neighboring city, not far from Azotus, which is also named. The Prophet says Ashdod, which the Greeks have rendered Azotus, and the Latins have followed them. We hence see that the Prophet refers to that part of the country which was towards Syria.

But it may be asked, why he names the remnant of Ashdod? Some think that he refers to neighboring towns, not so much known, as Gath, which is elsewhere named, but less celebrated. But this exposition seems to me forced and absurd. The probability is, that Ashdod had been conquered, but that owing to its advantageous locality it was not wholly forsaken. For tyras, sharit, means what is left or remains after a slaughter. What remained then in Ashdod, he delivered up to God's sword, that it might be destroyed. It follows, --

1 Venema and Blayney connect these words with the former verse, and consider that the mixed people in Egypt are meant; and this is most probable. So the Sept. "and all that are mixed with them." The Syr. is, "and all the borders of it," that is Egypt. The Vulg. is a paraphrase, "and the whole generally." -- Ed.