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Jeremiah 18:19

19. Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me.

19. Attende, Jehova, ad me, et audi vocem litigatorum meorum (hoc est, rixantium mecum.)


As the Prophet saw that his labor as to men was useless, he turned to God, as we find he had done often before. This way of speaking, no doubt, had more force than if he had continued to address the people. He might indeed have said, “Miserable men! where are you rushing headlong? what means this madness? what at last do ye think will be the end, since ye are resisting God, being obstinate against his Spirit? for ye cannot extinguish the light by your perverseness or by your effrontery.” The Prophet might have thus reproved them; but it betokens more vehemence, when he leaves men and addresses God, himself. This apostrophe then ought to be carefully noticed, for we hence gather that the madness of the Jews was reprobated, inasmuch as the Prophet did not deign to contend with them. But he notwithstanding said, “As they do not attend, attend thou, Jehovah, to me.” He saw that he was despised by God’s enemies, and by this prayer he intimates, that his doctrine was in force before God, and retained its own importance and could not fail. Hence he says, Jehovah, regard me, and hear the voice of those who contend with me.

Here Jeremiah asks two things, — that God would undertake his cause, and that he would take vengeance on the wantonness of his enemies. And this passage deserves especial notice, for it is a support which can never fail us, when we know that our service is approved by God, and that as he prescribes to us what to say, so what proceeds from him shall ever possess its own weight, and that it cannot be effected by the ingratitude of the world, that any portion of the authority of celestial truth should be destroyed or diminished. Whenever then the ungodly deride us, and elude or neglect the truth, let us follow the example of the Prophet, let us ask God to look on us; but this cannot be done, except we strive with a sincere heart to execute what he has committed to us. Then a pure conscience will open a door for us, so that we may be able confidently to call on God as our guardian and defender, whenever our labor is despised by men.

He asks, in the second place, that God would hear the voice of those who contended with him. 206206     “The voice of my justification,” is the Septuagint, “the voice of my adversaries,” the Vulgate; “the voice of my oppression,” the Syriac, “the voice of my strife,” the Arabic. But the best is our version and that of Calvin. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the Syriac are wholly wrong: for the verb ריב never means any one of the ideas which they convey. — Ed. We hence conclude, that the wicked gain nothing by their pride, for they provoke God more and more, when they thus oppose his pure doctrine and contend against his prophets and faithful teachers. Since then we see that the ungodly effect nothing, except that they kindle God’s wrath the more, we ought to go on more courageously in the discharge of our office; for even when for a time they suppress by their great clamours the truth of God, he will yet check them, and so check them, that the doctrine, which is now subverted by unjust calumnies, may shine forth more fully. He afterwards adds —

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