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Lecture One Hundred and Fiftieth

We, were obliged yesterday to break off where the Prophet said to King Zedekiah that women would be his judges, and that for a heavier reproach to him, because he refused to believe the oracles of God. Though the Prophet had often exhorted him to repent, he had yet refused all his admonitions. Therefore Jeremiah here declares that he would have to bear the punishment he had deserved, even that the very women would openly speak of his folly and of the perfidy of all the princes. They shall then say, They have persuaded or seduced thee, as some read, and others, “have driven thee,” which I should prefer, were it the common meaning, for it immediately follows, and have prevailed over thee; but we may simply take it in its proper sense, because they had perfidiously persuaded the king.

He calls them the men of peace, from whom acts of kindness might have been expected. We indeed know that friends and associates were thus called by the Hebrews. Peace does not only mean unity, but what is more, even friendship, such as ought to be between a king and his counselors. Jeremiah, no doubt, sought in this case to try whether Zedekiah was yet capable of being recovered; for he foretells that women would announce this as from a judicial throne; but as I have said yesterday, and as we shall hereafter see, he spoke to the deaf.

It is then added, Fixed are thy feet in the mire This is to be taken metaphorically. He might have secured his own life, had he passed over to the enemy, and thus a willing surrender might have been, as it were, the price for his liberation; but he chose rather to live in his own nest: and the Prophet says that this torpor would be like clay, in which he would he fixed. What follows, turned are they backward, is, in my judgment, improperly applied to the princes. I read the words in connection with the former, Fixed are thy feet in the clay, turned backward; for everything happened to the king contrary to what he hoped. 113113     Both the Sept. and the Vulg. take “fixed” in a transitive sense, “They have fixed” or caused to sink; and the last words are made to refer to the princes. As to the Vulg. the two clauses are, “They have sunk thy feet in the mire and in a slippery place, and have departed from thee.” The Syriac. as to the last clause is the same.
   The whole matter is related as seen in a vision, given to the Prophet as he says in the previous verse, —

   21. This is the thing which Jehovah made me to see; and (he said) Behold the women, who have remained in the house of Judah, going forth to the princes of the king of Babylon, and behold them saying, — They have roused thee and prevailed over thee, even thy friends; sunk have they in the mire thy feet, they have run away from thee.

   The scene, as seen in the vision, is presented to the king, the women going out and then speaking tauntingly to him. The princes roused or excited Zedekiah to break faith with the king of Babylon, and prevailed on him to do so. By so doing they sunk him as it were in the mire, that is, brought him to difficulties, and then ran away from him. And then in the next verse the Prophet confirms and explains the vision. — Ed.
It follows —

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