a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Restoration Promised for Israel and Judah


The word that came to Jeremiah from the L ord: 2Thus says the L ord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3For the days are surely coming, says the L ord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the L ord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it.

4 These are the words that the L ord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:


Thus says the L ord:

We have heard a cry of panic,

of terror, and no peace.


Ask now, and see,

can a man bear a child?

Why then do I see every man

with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor?

Why has every face turned pale?


Alas! that day is so great

there is none like it;

it is a time of distress for Jacob;

yet he shall be rescued from it.

8 On that day, says the L ord of hosts, I will break the yoke from off his neck, and I will burst his bonds, and strangers shall no more make a servant of him. 9But they shall serve the L ord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.



But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the L ord,

and do not be dismayed, O Israel;

for I am going to save you from far away,

and your offspring from the land of their captivity.

Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,

and no one shall make him afraid.


For I am with you, says the L ord, to save you;

I will make an end of all the nations

among which I scattered you,

but of you I will not make an end.

I will chastise you in just measure,

and I will by no means leave you unpunished.



For thus says the L ord:

Your hurt is incurable,

your wound is grievous.


There is no one to uphold your cause,

no medicine for your wound,

no healing for you.


All your lovers have forgotten you;

they care nothing for you;

for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy,

the punishment of a merciless foe,

because your guilt is great,

because your sins are so numerous.


Why do you cry out over your hurt?

Your pain is incurable.

Because your guilt is great,

because your sins are so numerous,

I have done these things to you.


Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,

and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;

those who plunder you shall be plundered,

and all who prey on you I will make a prey.


For I will restore health to you,

and your wounds I will heal,

says the L ord,

because they have called you an outcast:

“It is Zion; no one cares for her!”



Thus says the L ord:

I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob,

and have compassion on his dwellings;

the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound,

and the citadel set on its rightful site.


Out of them shall come thanksgiving,

and the sound of merrymakers.

I will make them many, and they shall not be few;

I will make them honored, and they shall not be disdained.


Their children shall be as of old,

their congregation shall be established before me;

and I will punish all who oppress them.


Their prince shall be one of their own,

their ruler shall come from their midst;

I will bring him near, and he shall approach me,

for who would otherwise dare to approach me?

says the L ord.


And you shall be my people,

and I will be your God.



Look, the storm of the L ord!

Wrath has gone forth,

a whirling tempest;

it will burst upon the head of the wicked.


The fierce anger of the L ord will not turn back

until he has executed and accomplished

the intents of his mind.

In the latter days you will understand this.

When God promised favor to the Jews, he referred to their enemies; for it would have been a grievous temptation, which would have otherwise not only disturbed and depressed their minds, but also extinguished all faith, to see their enemies enjoying all they could wish, and successful in everything they attempted, had not this consolation been granted them, — that their enemies would have at length to render an account for the wickedness in which they gloried. But now the main thing is here expressed, — that God, when reconciled to his people, would heal the wounds which he had inflicted; for he who inflicts wounds on us, can alone heal us. He exercises judgment in punishing, he afterwards undertakes the office of a Physician, to deliver us from our evils. It is, therefore, the same as though the Prophet had said, “When the right time shall pass away, which God has fixed as to his people, deliverance is to be hoped for with certainty; for the Lord has decreed to punish his people only for a time, and not wholly to destroy them.”

Iwill bring thee, he says, healing, and will heal thee of thy wounds And this admonition was very necessary, for the Jews had nearly rotted in their exile when God delivered them. They might have then been a hundred times overwhelmed with despair; but God bids them here to raise upwards their minds, so as to expect help from heaven, for there was none on earth. And he adds, because they called thee, Zion, an outcast whom no one seeketh; that is, of whom, or of whose welfare, no one is solicitous. He confirms what I have before said, — that the extreme evils of the people would be no hinderance when God came to deliver them, but, on the contrary, be the future occasion of favor and mercy. When, therefore, the people should become so sunk in misery as to make all to think their deliverance hopeless, God promises that he would then be their Redeemer. And this is what we ought carefully to notice: for we look around us here and there, whenever we hope for any help; but God shews that he will be then especially propitious to us, when we are in a hopeless state according to the common opinion of men. It follows, —

Jeremiah goes on with the same subject, and dwells on it more at large; for as it was difficult to lead the people seriously to repent, so it was difficult to raise up desponding minds after they had been subjected to a multitude of calamities. God then declares here again that he would come to restore his people from captivity.

Behold, he says, I restore, etc., as though he was already prepared with an outstretched hand to liberate his people. Let it be noticed, that the Prophet did not in vain represent God as present; but he, no doubt, had regard to the want of faith in the people, and sought to remove this defect. Since then the Jews thought themselves wholly forsaken, the Prophet testifies that God would be present with them, and he introduces him as speaking, Behold, I restore, etc., as though he was already the liberator of the people. He names the restoration of tents and habitations, because they had been long sojourners in Chaldea and other countries, where they had been scattered. As then they had their own dwellings, the Prophet reminds them that they were yet but strangers among the nations, for God would restore them to their own country, which was their real dwelling-place. This is the reason why he speaks of tents and habitations. He, at the same time, points out the cause of their redemption, even mercy, so that the Jews might at length learn to flee to this their sole asylum, and know that there was no other remedy for their calamities than this, — that God should look on them according to his mercy, for he might have justly destroyed them altogether. In short, the Prophet reminds them that they must have perished for ever, had not God at length shewed mercy to them.

He mentions a fuller display of his favor, — that he would again build Jerusalem upon its own heap, or hill, as some render it; for the situation of the city was high, and towered above other parts of Judea. But it seems to me that the Prophet means that the city would be built on its own foundations, for he calls here the ruins heaps, or piles. For the city had been destroyed in such a manner, that yet some ruins remained, and some vestiges of the walls. It is then the same as though he had said, that the city, however splendid and wealthy in former times, would yet be so restored, that its dignity would not be less than before. But he speaks of its extent when he says, that it would be built upon its heaps, that is, on its ancient foundations.

And this point is confirmed by what immediately follows, the palace shall be set in its own form or station, על משפטו al meshephthu. The word שפט shepheth, properly means judgment, but it means also form, measure, manner, custom. Here, no doubt, the Prophet means that the king’s palace would be equally splendid to what it had been, and in the same place. Some think that ארמון armun, means the Temple; and this sense I do not reject; but as the Hebrews for the most part understand by this term a splendid, large, or high building, I prefer the former sense, that is, that he speaks of the royal palace: stand then will the king’s palace in its own form or place, as though it had never been destroyed. 1414     The versions and the Targ. render the word for “palace,” temple; and as the former clause has “on its heap,” or, on its ruins, so in this the same preposition is used, and seems to require a similar construction, “on its former spot,” or, on its wonted place. The word משפט denotes what is customary or usual, as well as what is right and just. Then the two lines would read thus, —
   And built shall be the city on its ruins,
And the palace on its wonted seat shall be fixed, (or shall stand.)

   But the versions and the Targ. vary the meaning of the preposition. The Vulg., with which the rest essentially agree, is, “And the temple according to its order, shall be founded.” Blayney renders the line thus, —

   And the palace shall be established upon its (former) plan.

   As in the previous line, the place is designated, it is probable that the place also is meant here. — Ed.
In short, he promises such a restoration of the city and kingdom, that no less favor from God was to be expected in the second state of the Church, than it had formerly; for God would obliterate all memory of calamities when the Church again flourished, and the kingdom became so eminent in wealth, honor, power, and other excellencies, that it would evidently appear that God had only for a time been displeased with his Church.

The Prophet confirms what he had said. We have stated that the Jews, while any hope remained for them, were perverse towards God, but that, after they were brought to extremities, they became extremely dejected; for they lost all hope as to their state, and became so desponding that they would receive no consolation. It was not therefore enough, slightly, or in a few words, to promise them restoration; it was necessary that the promise should be repeatedly confirmed. This then is now the subject of the Prophet; he promises that praise and the voice of joy would proceed from them.

We ought to notice here the contrast between sighings, groanings, complaints, lamentations, and giving of thanks; for as long as they were detained in exile, no praise could have been heard among them. Sorrow is, indeed, no hinderance to prevent us to bless God in extreme misery; but we cannot with a full mouth, so to speak, bless God, except when some cause of joy is presented to us. Hence is that saying of James,

“Is any joyful among you? let him sing.” (James 5:13)

As then the Prophet speaks of thanksgiving, he intimates that God’s favor would be so great as to remove every sorrow and sadness from the Jews. But he indirectly exhorts the faithful to celebrate God’s kindness. Had he only said, “Go forth from them shall the voice of joy,” it would, indeed, have been a complete sentence; but it was also necessary to remind the faithful for what end God would deal so kindly with his people, even that they might proclaim his goodness; for this is the design for which we receive every good from God’s hand. Thanksgiving is then usually connected with joy, when mention is made of the Church.

But we have said that the faithful cannot with so much alacrity praise God, when they are pressed down by distresses, as when God makes their hearts to rejoice; for grief holds bound all the feelings of men; but joy, proceeding from a perception of God’s paternal favor, dilates as it were their souls; and hence also their tongues are set loose. For this reason it is said in Psalm 51:15,

“O Lord, open thou my lips,
and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.”

David there intimates that he had been for a time silent; when God hid from him his face, he could not taste of his paternal goodness. During that time David had his heart as it were bound and his mouth closed; but he prays the Lord to open his mouth, that is, to grant him joy that he might give him thanks.

We now perceive the meaning of the Prophet: he intimates, that though the Jews would be in sorrow for a time, would groan and mourn, yet this condition would not be perpetual; for God would at length comfort them, so that they would not only rejoice, but also proclaim his mercy when liberated.

He adds, I will increase them, and they shall not be lessened; I will adorn them, etc. Some render this also, “I will increase them:“ but the words are different; and כבדcebed, means sometimes to increase, and sometimes to adorn, to glorify, to honor. The words which follow are also different, מעת moth, and צער tsor. And though the Prophet meant to repeat nearly the same thing, yet there is no doubt but that he intended to set forth the favor of God by this variety, as though he had said, that so remarkable would be the mercy of God, that the Jews would acknowledge, that what had been promised to their father Abraham had been fillfilled to them,

“Thy seed shall be as the sand of the sea, and as the stars of heaven.” (Genesis 22:17)

The perpetuity also, or the continuity of his favor is denoted, when he says, they shall not be lessened, they shall not be made small. It is possible for a people to increase for a short time; but such a thing is often of no long duration, for the form of this world passeth away. God then promises stability and perpetuity to his Church, for he would manifest his favor to it from day to day, and from year to year. 1515     The meaning of the latter verbs in these clauses is to be ascertained by the preceding verbs: “I will multiply,” or increase “them;” then the opposite to this is, “and they shall not be lessened,” or decreased: and when it is said, “I will glorify,” or honor “them,” the corresponding contrast to this is, “they shall not be degraded,” or dishonored. The first clause refers to number, and the second to honor, dignity, or renown. Then the right version would be as follows, —
   And I will multiply them, and they shall not be lessened,
I will also honor them, and they shall not be degraded.

   — Ed.
This is the meaning. It follows —

This abundance of words which the Prophet employs is by no means useless; for we ought always to remember how hard were their temptations when no token of God’s favor appeared for seventy years. It was hence necessary to sustain minds overwhelmed with evils by many supports, so that they might not wholly faint; and he adds promises to promises, that the Jews might see as it were a spark of light from the deep abyss. And hence, also, we may gather a useful admonition: Though the Lord may favor us today, so that we are not exercised by very grievous trials, yet every one knows by his own experience, how prone we are to despond; and then when we once begin to faint, how difficult it is to be raised up to the confidence of hope. Let us then learn to join promises to promises, so that if one will not suffice, another may.

He now says that their children would be as from the beginning Some give this refined explanation, that the children of the Church would be as from the beginning, that is, before the Law; for the covenant of grace was made by God with Abraham before the Law was proclaimed: they hence think that the abrogation of the Law is here denoted, as though he had said, that the Church would be free when Christ came, and that the servile yoke of the Law would then be removed. But this kind of refinement I cannot approve; for I do not think that such a notion ever entered into the mind of the Prophet. I have then no doubt but that the reference here is to the kingdom of David, as though the Prophet had said, that the state of the Church would be no less prosperous and happy under Christ than formerly under David. Were any one to object and say, that Christ’s kingdom is much more happy than that of David: this I grant; but the prophets ever compare the kingdom of Christ with the kingdom of David, and they were content with this way of teaching, as it exceeded the hope of the people; for the Jews thought it not credible that they could ever attain their ancient renown. When, therefore, he says here, that the children of Judah would be as at the beginning, there is no doubt with me but that he had a regard to that promise, which declares that the seed of David would be for ever on his throne, as long as the sun and moon shone in the heavens. (Psalm 89:37)

The meaning is, that though the kingdom would through a dreadful ruin become extinct, together with all its dignity, the Jews would yet, through Christ, recover what they had lost through their sins, ingratitude, and perverseness.

He afterwards adds, His seed shall be established before my face, and I will visit all his oppressors Here again God confirms the promise concerning the perpetuity of his Church. He therefore says that the assembly of the people would be established before him, 1616     It would be better to observe the order of the original, “And his assembling before me shall be confirmed,” or according, to the Vulg. and Syr., “shall continue.” The reference is to the assembling at the stated festivals. The verb means to be confirmed, to be fixed, to be made certain; so that “continue” conveys the right idea: the assembling was to be made fixed, so as to become permanent; and it is said to be before God, in order to distinguish it from any other kind of assembling· — Ed. by which words he bids the Jews to look upwards, for in the world nothing was to be found but despair. God then calls the attention of the Jews to himself, when he says that the Church would be established before his face. And as the power of enemies was so great, that the faithful might justly object and say, that every avenue was closed up against God’s favor, he adds, that God on the other hand had sufficient power to destroy and to reduce to nothing all their enemies; and he mentions all, because the Chaldean monarchy was widely extended and consisted of many nations; and there was no part of it which was not most hostile to the Jews. As, then, the miserable exiles saw that not only the Chaldeans were inimical to them, but also other nations, so that they were hated almost by the whole world, God here comes to their aid, and declares that he had power enough to destroy all their enemies.

A useful doctrine may be hence deduced: The Church was in such a manner perpetual, that its condition was yet variable; for it often seemed good to God to break off the course of his favor before the coming of Christ. What then happened we may accommodate to our own time. As, then, the Prophet says here, that the children of the Church would be as at the beginning, we need not wonder when the Church happens at any time to be scattered, as indeed the case was under the Papacy. For the Church was not only dead, but also buried, and was not only as a putrid carcase, but like the dust it had wholly vanished; for what remnants could have been found fifty years ago? We hence see that what happened under the Law has also taken place under the kingdom of Christ; for the Church has sometimes been overwhelmed with troubles, and has been hid without any glory or beauty. But, in the meantime, we embrace this promise, that the children of the godly shall be as formerly; for as the kingdom of Christ in former times flourished, so we ought to feel assured that there is sufficient power in God to restore to the Church its glory, so that Christ’s kingdom may again rise up, and all God’s blessings shine forth in it. But as many enemies surround the Church on every side, and the Devil ever excites everywhere commotions and disturbances, let us know that there is another clause added, even that God will be the defender of his people; so that how much soever the whole world may attempt to tread under foot his favor, he will yet not suffer them to accomplish their fury; for he has the power not only to restrain their assaults, but also wholly to destroy them and to obliterate their memory; for this is what is implied in the word visiting. It then follows —

The Prophet, no doubt, explains here more at large what he had said of the restoration of the Church; for we know that the Jews had been so taught, that they were to place their whole confidence as to their salvation on David, that is, on the king whom God had set over them. Then the happiness and safety of the Church was always founded on the king; he being taken away, it was all over with the Church, as the Anointed is said to be the Lord, in whose spirit is our spirit. (Lamentations 4:20) Hence God has even from the beginning directed the attention of his people to their king, that they might depend on him, not that David was able by his own power to save the people, but because he typically personated Christ. We have not now an earthly king who is Christ’s image; but it is Christ alone who vivifies the Church. But it was at that time set forth figuratively, that the king was, as it were, the soul of the community; and we have before seen, that when the Prophet animated the Jews with hope, he set before them David, and afterwards the Son of David.

For the same reason, he says here, His valiant one, or, illustrious one, shall be from himself For we must remember the condition of that miserable and calamitous time when God took away every source of joy, by depriving the people of all the dignity with which they had been honored. It was the same then as though Jeremiah had promised the Jews a resurrection, for they were in their exile as dead men, as their hope of public safety had vanished when their king was destroyed. Here, then, he bids them to entertain good hope, because the Lord was able to raise them from death to life. And doubtless it was a wonderful resurrection when the Jews returned to their own country, a way having been opened for them; for they had been driven away, as it were, into another world. And who could have ever thought that so many obstacles could have been removed, when the Chaldeans extended their dominion even over Judea? The miserable exiles had certainly no refuge. It was not then to no purpose that Jeremiah testifies here, that the strong or valiant, that is, the king, would be from the people, and that there would come forth a Ruler from the midst of them. To come or go forth does not mean here to depart, as though the king would go elsewhere; but to go forth signifies here to proceed: Go forth then, or proceed, shall a Ruler from the midst of the people: how this took place it is well known.

But Isaiah had foretold what his successor here confirms, saying,

“Come forth shall a shoot from the root (or stem) of Jesse, and a rod shall spring up from the root of his tree.” (Isaiah 11:1)

He calls it there the house of Jesse, which was a private house: he would have dignified the favor with a more glorious name, had he mentioned David; but as there was then no kingdom, he refers to Jesse; for as David came forth as an unknown rustic from the folds of the sheep, so also the Lord would raise up a shoot from the stem of a tree that had been cut down. We hence see in what sense Jeremiah uses the expression, “Come forth;” for Christ rose up beyond the expectation of men, and rose up as a shoot when a tree is cut down, that is, when there was no resemblance of majesty among the people.

He afterwards adds, I will cause him to draw near, and he will come to me This may be either confined to the head or extended to the whole body; and the second idea is what I mostly approve; for the people were a long time removed from the presence of God, even as long as they were exiled from their country. Hence God adds, “I will cause them again to draw nigh, and they shall come to me.” If, however, any one prefers to explain this of the head, or of the king himself, I offer no objection.

Now, we are taught from this passage, that whenever God speaks of the restoration of the Church, he ever declares that he will be entreated by us; in short, that whenever he invites us to the hope of favor and salvation, we ought always to look to Christ; for except we direct all our thoughts to him, all the promises will vanish away, for they cannot be valid except through him; because in Christ only, as Paul says, they are yea and amen. (2 Corinthians 1:19, 20) But as this truth often occurs in the Prophets, it is enough here to touch on it by the way, as I have handled it more fully elsewhere.

As to the latter part of the verse, there is some ambiguity, — for who is he, this, etc There are two demonstrative pronouns, הוא זה hua, ze. Afterwards comes ערב oreb, fitting his heart. The verb ערב oreb, means to be a surety, and also to fit, to adapt, to accommodate, or to form, and sometimes to render sweet or pleasant; and on this account some have thus translated, “Who will allure his heart?” He then adds, that he may come to me, saith Jehovah? I have said that this passage is obscure, and it has hence been turned into various meanings by interpreters. Some apply the words to Christ, that he alone has of his own accord come to the Father. Others consider a negative to be understood, as though it was said, that no one prepares his heart to come to God. But there are some who regard the passage as an exhortation, “Who is he who will apply his heart that he may come to me?” Now, if we read it as expressing astonishment or wonder, it would be, in my view, its real meaning. I am not aware that any one has mentioned this; but the Prophet, I have no doubt, intended his words to be so understood.

He said before, “I will cause him to draw nigh; that he may come to me.” I have already explained this of the people, who had been long rejected. God then promises here a gathering, as though he had said, “For a time I scattered the people here and there like chaff; I will now gather them again together, and they shall be under my care and protection as formerly.” Having said this, he now touches on the ingratitude of the people by this question, “Who is there who comes to me? who will frame his heart that he may be reconciled to me?” It is, then, an expression of wonder, intended to make the Jews know that their hardness and insensibility are condemned; for when God kindly invited them, they rejected his favor, when he sought to embrace them, they fled far off from him.

But an objection may be here made, “Why then did God promise that he would cause the Jews to come to him?” To this I answer, that God performs or fulfils this promise in various ways: he might have called the Jews to himself by an outward invitation, as he did when the liberty of returning was given them: and then, indeed, a few of the Jews accepted his favor; but all the Israelites, already habituated to the pleasures and enjoyments of those countries, regarded as nothing what God had promised. Thus very few returned to their own country, and restoration was despised by them, though they had once been very anxious about it. God, however, even then made the people to draw nigh; for he stretched forth his hand as though he would gather them and cherish them under his wings. But as the greatest part despised his invaluable favor, God here justly complains of so great an impiety, and exclaims as through wonder or astonishment, Who is he who will form his heart, that, he may come to me?

Had it been simply said, “Who is he who comes to me?” the meaning, through brevity, would have been obscure. But God here clearly distinguishes between the two kinds of access: the first was, when liberty was given to the people, by the decree of Cyrus, and a permission given to build the city and the temple. God, therefore, caused them then to draw nigh that they might come to him; this was the first access. But he now adds, that the Jews did not form or prepare their heart. He indeed speaks of future time, but yet he charges them with ingratitude, which afterwards was fully manifested. Hence he says, “Who is this, that he may come to me?” that is, “I will contrive means that they may unite again in one body, call on me and enjoy their inheritance: this will I do that they may come to me; but many will still live in their own dregs, and prefer Chaldea and other countries to the temple and religion. Many, then, will be they who will not form their heart to come to me.”

We now understand the meaning of the Prophet. But we must at the same time bear in mind, that by saying above, “I will cause him to draw near that he may come to me,” God does not speak of the hidden working of his Spirit; for it is in his power, as we shall presently remark, to draw the hearts of men to himself whenever he pleases. But when he said, I will cause him to draw nigh, etc., he spoke only of an outward restoration; and now he adds a complaint, that the Jews would wickedly repudiate this favor, for no one would prepare his heart. We yet see that the whole fault is cast on the Jews, that they were to be deprived of their own country: for it was owing to nothing on God’s part that they were not restored, but to themselves, because they were devoted to their own pleasure, and regarded their return and to be counted God’s people as nothing. It was therefore the object of the Prophet to ascribe to the Jews the whole fault that God’s favor would not come to them, or that it would not be effectual as to the greatest part of them, even because they would not prepare or form their heart, that they might come to God, in order that they might be partakers of that invaluable privilege offered to them.

Now, the Papists lay hold on this passage to prove that there is a free-will in man to come to God; but to do so is indeed very absurd. For whenever God condemns the hardness of the people, he doubtless does not argue the question, what power there is in men, whether they can turn to do what is good, whether they can guide their own hearts. To hold this would be extremely foolish. When it is said in Psalm 45:8,

“To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as your fathers in the wilderness,”

shall we say that as they hardened their hearts they were capable of turning, so that they could by the power of free-will choose either good or evil? To say this would be puerile and extremely sottish. We hence see that the Papists are unworthy of being reasoned with, when they seek to prove free-will by such arguments. They would, indeed, adduce something plausible were their exposition adopted; for they render the words thus, “Who is this,” etc., as though God praised the promptitude of the faithful, who willingly offer themselves and prepare their hearts. But opposed to this view is the whole context. It hence appears that it was very far from the Prophet’s design to represent God as commending the obedience of the godly; but, on the contrary, he exclaims with wonder, as Isaiah does when he says,

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1)

He surely does not set forth the obedience of the faithful in receiving promptly and gladly the Gospel; but, on the contrary, (as though something monstrous terrified him) that the world would not believe the Gospel, when yet it offered to them salvation and eternal life. So also in this place, Who is he? etc. For what could have been more desirable than that God should at length, by outstretched arms, gather the Jews to himself? ”I wish you to draw nigh, ye have been for a time, as it were, banished from me, I had driven you to distant lands; but I am now ready to gather you.” As, then, God so sweetly and kindly allured them to himself, it was doubtless a most abominable and monstrous ingratitude for them to reject the offer and to turn their backs as it were on God, who so kindly invited them. As, then, the Prophet is here only condemning such insensibility and perverse wickedness in the Jews, there is no reason why we should be in quest of a proof in favor of free-will. 1717     The Vulg. favors the meaning advocated by Calvin, “For who is this (iste) that will apply his heart to draw nigh to me, saith the Lord?” The Sept. is nearly the same, “For who is this (οὕτος) who has given his heart to tuae to me, saith the Lord?” The Syr. is, “For I will turn his heart to me, saith the Lord.” The Targ. is as follows, “For who is this who will in his heart come to my worship, saith the Lord?”
   Many explanations have been given which are wholly inadmissible, having nothing in the context to support them, such as the application of these words to our Savior. They are evidently connected with the previous clause, being joined with it by “for:” they in a manner explain and qualify that clause, and may be deemed parenthetic, for the former clause and that which follows these words, are connected together, —

   And I will bring him nigh that he may come near to me,
(For who is he who pledges his heart To come near to me, saith Jehovah!)

   22. And ye shall be to me a people, And I will be to you a God.

   By “him” we are to understand “Jacob,” the subject of the whole passage, and not the “governor,” who was to come from “the midst of him,” i.e., Jacob, a name by which the whole nation is here called. The promise is to bring Jacob, or the people, nigh; and then to shew that this is alone God’s work, the words in the parenthesis are introduced, and by a question, which implies the negative in the strongest manner, as though he had said, “This work, to bring you nigh, is mine alone, for no one among you pledges or engages his heart to come near to me.”

   Both the Sept. and the Targ. render “him” in the first line in the plural number, “them,” i.e., the people. And the Syr., though the form of the expression is changed, yet gives the meaning of the words within the parenthesis, for the work of turning the heart is ascribed to the Lord. — Ed.

We may add, that David uses the same verb in Psalm 119:73, 125, when he says,

“Cause thy servant to approach thee, that he may learn thy commandments.” 1818     There is a mistake as to this reference, for the word is only found in Psalm 119:122. — Ed.

Some render the words, “Be a surety for thy servant,” etc.; for the verb: ערב, which is here, is found there also. Therefore the passage might be aptly turned against the Papists, who hold that it is in the power of man to form his own heart. But David testifies that this is peculiarly the office and work of God; for by asking this from him he doubtless confesses that it was not in his own power. It afterwards follows, —

As this verse and what occurs in the first verse of the next chapter are materially the same, they shall be both explained here. God then says that the Jews would become a people to him, and that he would become a God to them. This mode of speaking is what we meet with everywhere in the Prophets; and it is very expressive, and includes the whole of true happiness. For when have we life, except when we become the people of God? We ought also to bear in mind that saying of the Psalmist,

“Blessed are the people whose God is Jehovah.”
(Psalm 144:15)

It confirms what I have just said, that a happy life is complete in all its parts, when God promises to be a God to us and takes us as his people. The Prophets, therefore, do not without reason so often inculcate this truth; for though nothing else might be wanting to us that could be expected, yet until we feel assured that God is a Father to us, and that we are his people, whatever happiness we may have, it will only end in misery.

But the Prophet expresses himself more fully, when he says, At that time, that is, when God restored his Church, will I be a God to all the families of Israel They had been so scattered, that they were not one body; but God promises the gathering of that Church, from which the ten tribes had fallen off, when they revolted from the family of David. I cannot proceed farther now.

VIEWNAME is study