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NOW these are the words of the letter which Jeremias, the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the residue of the ancients that were carried into captivity, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people, whom Nabuchodonosor had carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:

Ver. 1.  Letter.  Lit. "book."  H.

 

--- It was probably sent at the beginning of the reign of Sedecias by his ambassadors, and is different from that sent by Baruch i. and C. lii. 28.

 

--- Prophets.  Chal. "scribes."  C.

 

--- Sept. "false prophets."  v. 8.  H.

 

--- Daniel had begun to prophesy, A. 3402.  Ezechiel commenced only five years after the captivity of Jechonias.  One prophet frequently instructs another, as Nathan did David.  Dan. ix. 2. and 1 Pet. i. 11.  C.

 

--- Jeremias declares that the captivity would continue long.  He comforts and rebukes to C. xl.  W.




2 After that Jechonias the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, and the princes of Juda, and of Jerusalem, and the craftsman, and the engravers were departed out of Jerusalem:

Ver. 2.  Queen.  Nohesta.

 

--- Eunuchs.  Real, (Heb.) or "Grandee."  Chal.

 

--- Engravers.  C. xxiv. 2.




3 By the hand of Elasa the son of Saphan, and Gamarias the son of Helcias, whom Sedecias king of Juda sent to Babylon to Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, saying:

Ver. 3.  Gamarias, the son of Saphan, is different.  These two are unknown.




4 Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, to all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:


5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them: and plant orchards, and eat the fruit of them.

Ver. 5.  Build.  Establish yourselves, as you must remain a long time in captivity.  We are exhorted not to be attached to the things of the world, to remind us that we shall not live long.  C. xvi. 2. and xxxv. 7. and 1 Cor. vii. 29.


6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters: and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, and let them bear sons and daughters: and be ye multiplied there, and be not few in number. 7 And seek the peace of the city, to which I have caused you to be carried away captives; and pray to the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall be your peace.

Ver. 7.  Peace.  We must submit to the magistrates, where we reside.  Bar. i. 11. and 1 Tim. ii. 1.


8 For thus saith the Lord of hoses the God of Israel: Let not your prophets that are in the midst of you, and your diviners deceive you: and give no heed to your dreams which you dream:

Ver. 8.  Prophets.  There were many false ones.  v. 21.  Ezec. xiii.

 

--- Dreams.  The prophets, or people.  They are vain.



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9 For they prophesy falsely to you in my name: and I have not sent them, saith the Lord.

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10 For thus saith the Lord: When the seventy years shall begin to be accomplished in Babylon, I will visit you: and I will perform my good word in your favour, to bring you again to this place.

Ver. 10.  Seventy.  Dating from the 4th of Joakim to the 1st of Cyrus, A. 3468.  C.  See C. xxv. 1. 11.  H.



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11 For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience.

Ver. 11.  An end.  Sept. "these things."  This version is much abridged.  From v. 15. to 21. is omitted in S. Jerom's and the Rom. edit.; but not in the Comp. or Theodoret.  C.

 

--- Grabe inserts what is wanting, and places the 15th at the end of our 20th verse.  H.


12 And you shall call upon me, and you shall go: and you shall pray to me, and I will hear you.
13 You shall seek me, and shall And me: when you shall seek me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found by you, saith the Lord: and I will bring back your captivity, and I will gather you out of all nations, and from all the places to which I have driven you out, saith the Lord: and I will bring you back from the place to which I caused you to be carried away captive. 15 Because you have said: The Lord hath raised us up prophets in Babylon:

Ver. 15.  Said.  Expressing your confidence in Providence; or rather, if we join this with what follows, he rebukes them for trusting in false prophets, who represented their condition as worse than that of their brethren, who were left behind; whereas it was really better.  v. 17. and C. xxiv. 2. 8.  C.

 

--- The deluded people suppose that the false prophets had been sent by God.  W.




16 For thus saith the Lord to the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and to all the people that dwell in this city, to your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity. 17 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Behold I will send upon them the sword, and the famine, and the pestilence: and I will make them like bad figs that cannot be eaten, because they are very bad.

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18 And I will persecute them with the sword, and with famine, and pith the pestilence: and I will give them up unto affliction to all the kingdoms of the earth: to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach to all the nations to which I have driven them out: 19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the Lord: which I sent to them by my servants the prophets, rising by night, and sending: and you have not heard, saith the Lord.

Ver. 19.  By night, or "early," de nocte, as soon as the night was over.  H.


20 Hear ye therefore the word of the Lord, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent out from Jerusalem to Babylon.


21 Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, to Achab the son of Colias, and to Sedecias the son of Maasias, who prophesy unto you in my name falsely: Behold I will deliver them up into the hands of Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon: and he shall kill them before your eyes.


22 And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Juda, that are in Babylon, saying: The Lord make thee like Sedecias, and like Achab, whom the king of Babylon fried in the fire:

Ver. 22.  Curse.  v. 18.  The malediction which has befallen the Jews, "overtake thee."  W.

 

--- Fire, in frying-pans, (see 2 Mac. vii. 5.) or cauldrons of boiling oil.  This death shews that these were not the infamous judges who tempted Susanna, (C.) as the Jews quoted by (H.) S. Jerom, Salien, &c. would infer from v. 23. and Dan. xiii. 57.  They were stoned to death by the people.  ib. lxii.  C.

 

--- Yet the king might order their dead bodies to be cut in two and burnt, to express his horror of their wicked conduct.  Dan. xiii. 55. 59.  H.




23 Because they have acted folly in Israel, and have committed adultery with the wives of their friends, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I commanded them not: I am the judge and the witness, saith the Lord.

Ver. 23.  Folly.  A crime.  Judge xix. 23. and 2 K. xiii. 12.

 

--- Witness, the sovereign truth.  C.


24 And to Semeias the Nehelamite thou shalt say:

Ver. 24.  And.  God orders his prophet what to say, to an accusation sent from Babylon, in consequence of the former letter.  v. 5. 28.  H.

 

--- Nehelamite, "torrent," (S. Jer.) or "dreamer."  We know of no place of this name.


25 Thus saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Because thou hast sent letters in thy name to all the people that are in Jerusalem, and to Sophonias the son of Maasias the priest, and to all the priests, saying:

Ver. 25.  The second priest, (4 K. xxv. 18.) a chief officer of the temple.  C. xxi. 1.




26 The Lord hath made thee priest instead of Joiada the priest, that thou shouldst be ruler in the house of the Lord, over every man that raveth and prophesieth, to put him in the stocks, and into prison.

Ver. 26.  Joiada, whose zeal had been conspicuous long before, under Joas, in persuading him to destroy the false prophets.  4 K. xi. 17.  Sophonias is exhorted to imitate him, by treating Jeremias in like manner.  C.

 

--- Thou.  Heb. "ye should be officers."  Prot.  H.

 

--- There were many chief priests.

 

--- Raveth.  Heb. "is possessed, and counterfeits the prophet."  Such were to be slain, being confined till sentence had been passed.  Deut. xviii. 20.  C.


27 And now why hast thou not rebuked Jeremias the Anathothite, who prophesieth to you? 28 For he hath also sent to us in Babylon, saying: It is a long time: build ye houses, and dwell in them: and plant gardens, and eat the fruits of them.

Ver. 28.  Time, before you will return.  H.

 

--- Sophonias read the letter, approving of its contents, (S. Jer.) though this is not certain.  He took no violent steps against Jeremias, as Phassur had done.  H.




29 So Sophonias the priest read this letter, in the hearing of Jeremias the prophet. 30 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremias, saying: 31 Send to all them of the captivity, saying: Thus saith the Lord to Semeias the Nehelamite: Because Semeias hath prophesied to you, and I sent him not: and hath caused you to trust in a lie: 32 Therefore thus saith the Lord: behold I will visit upon Semeias the Nehelamite, and upon his seed: he shall not have a man to sit in the midst of this people, and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, saith the Lord: because he hath spoken treason against the Lord.

Ver. 32.  Sit, in an honourable station, or they shall all die.  C.


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