Jeremiah 24 commentary

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Information about Jeremiah 24 commentary

Published on November 14, 2016

Author: glenndpease


1. JEREMIAH 24 COMMENTARY EDITED BY GLENN PEASE Two Baskets of Figs 1 After Jehoiachin[a] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. BARNES, "Omit “were.” “Set before,” i. e put in the appointed place for offerings of firstfruits in the forecourt of the temple. Carpenters - “Craftsmen” (see the marginal reference). CLARKE, "The Lord showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs - Besides the transposition of whole chapters in this book, there is not unfrequently a transposition of verses, and parts of verses. Of this we have an instance in the verse before us; the first clause of which should be the last. Thus: - “After that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah, the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord.” Jer_24:2 - “One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.” This arrangement restores these verses to a better sense, by restoring the natural connection. This prophecy was undoubtedly delivered in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah. 1

2. Under the type of good and bad figs, God represents the state of the persons who had already been carried captives into Babylon, with their king Jeconiah, compared with the state of those who should be carried away with Zedekiah. Those already carried away, being the choice of the people, are represented by the good figs: those now remaining, and soon to be carried into captivity, are represented by the bad figs, that were good for nothing. The state also of the former in their captivity was vastly preferable to the state of those who were now about to be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon. The latter would be treated as double rebels; the former, being the most respectable of the inhabitants, were treated well; and even in captivity, a marked distinction would be made between them, God ordering it so. But the prophet sufficiently explains his own meaning. Set before the temple - As an offering of the first-fruits of that kind. Very good figs - Or, figs of the early sort. The fig-trees in Palestine, says Dr. Shaw, produce fruit thrice each year. The first sort, called boccore, those here mentioned, come to perfection about the middle or end of June. The second sort, called kermez, or summer fig, is seldom ripe before August. And the third, which is called the winter fig, which is larger, and of a darker complexion than the preceding, hangs all the winter on the tree, ripening even when the leaves are shed, and is fit for gathering in the beginning of spring. Could not be eaten - The winter fig, - then in its crude or unripe state; the spring not being yet come. GILL, "The Lord showed me,.... A vision, or in a vision, what follows; for by this it appears that what was seen was not real, but what was exhibited in a visionary way by the Lord, and represented to the mind of the prophet: and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord; or "pots", as Jarchi; these do not signify the law and Gospel, or the synagogue and church, or the Jews and Christians, or hell and heaven, as some have interpreted it, observed by Jerom; but the Jews that were in captivity with Jeconiah, and those that remained in Jerusalem with Zedekiah, as it is explained in some following verses. These baskets are said to be "set before the temple of the Lord", not to be sold there, but to be presented to the Lord; in allusion to the baskets of firstfruits, which, according to the law, were thither brought for that purpose, Deu_26:2; and signify, that the two people represented by them were before the Lord, in his sight, were known to him, and judged by him; after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon: this was done when Jeconiah had reigned but little more than three months, and in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, 2Ki_24:8. This is mentioned, not only to show the time of this vision, which was a little after this captivity, in the beginning of Zedekiah's reign; but to let us know who the captives were, signified by the good figs. The "carpenters" and "smiths" were carried away with the king and the princes, partly that they might be serviceable to the king of Babylon in his country; and partly that they might not be assisting to their own country in repairing their fortifications, and making 2

3. instruments of war for them. There were a "thousand" of this sort carried captive, 2Ki_ 24:16; where the former of these are called "craftsmen". Jarchi interprets both of the scholars of the wise men; and Kimchi, of counsellors and wise men. The word for "carpenters" is used both of carpenters and blacksmiths; and that for "smiths" may be rendered "enclosers", or "shutters up"; which the Targum understands of porters or shutters of gates; and some think goldsmiths are meant, that set or enclose precious stones in gold; and others are of opinion that masons are intended, so called from the building of walls for the enclosing of places. The Syriac version renders it "soldiers"; but those are distinguished from them, 2Ki_24:14. The Septuagint version translates it "prisoners"; but so all the captives might be called; and it adds, what is not in the text, "and the rich"; and the Arabic version following that; though it is true they were carried captive; for it is said, "none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land", 2Ki_24:14. This, according to Bishop Usher (x), was in the year of the world 3405, and before Christ 599; and so the authors of the Universal History (y) place it; and Mr. Whiston (z) also; and Mr. Bedford (a) a year later; and in the same year that this captivity began was Cyrus the Persian born, who was the deliverer of the Jews from it. HENRY 1-4, "This short chapter helps us to put a very comfortable construction upon a great many long ones, by showing us that the same providence which to some is a savour of death unto death may by the grace and blessing of God be made to others a savour of life unto life; and that, though God's people share with others in the same calamity, yet it is not the same to them that it is to others, but is designed for their good and shall issue in their good; to them it is a correcting rod in the hand of a tender Father, while to others it is an avenging sword in the hand of a righteous Judge. Observe, I. The date of this sermon. It was after, a little after, Jeconiah's captivity, Jer_24:1. Jeconiah was himself a despised broken vessel, but with him were carried away some very valuable persons, Ezekiel for one (Eze_1:12); many of the princes of Judah then went into captivity, Daniel and his fellows were carried off a little before; of the people only the carpenters and the smiths were forced away, either because the Chaldeans needed some ingenious men of those trades (they had a great plenty of astrologers and stargazers, but a great scarcity of smiths and carpenters) or because the Jews would severely feel the loss of them, and would, for want of them, be unable to fortify their cities and furnish themselves with weapons of war. Now, it should seem, there were many good people carried away in that captivity, which the pious prophet laid much to heart, while there were those that triumphed in it, and insulted over those to whose lot it fell to go into captivity. Note, We must not conclude concerning the first and greatest sufferers that they were the worst and greatest sinners; for perhaps it may appear quite otherwise, as it did here. II. The vision by which this distinction of the captives was represented to the prophet's mind. He saw two baskets of figs, set before the temple, there ready to be offered as first-fruits to the honour of God. Perhaps the priests, being remiss in their duty, were not ready to receive them and dispose of them according to the law, and therefore Jeremiah sees them standing before the temple. But that which was the significancy of the vision was that the figs in one basket were extraordinarily good, those in the other basket extremely bad. The children of men are all as the fruits of the fig-tree, capable of being made serviceable to God and man (Jdg_9:11); but some are as good figs, than which nothing is more pleasant, others as damaged rotten figs, than which nothing is more nauseous. What creature viler than a wicked man, and what more valuable than a godly man! The good figs were like those that are first ripe, which are 3

4. most acceptable (Mic_7:1) and most prized when newly come into season. The bad figs are such as could not be eaten, they were so evil; they could not answer the end of their creation, were neither pleasant nor good for food; and what then were they good for? If God has no honour from men, nor their generation any service, they are even like the bad figs, that cannot be eaten, that will not answer any good purpose. If the salt have lost its savour, it is thenceforth fit for nothing but the dunghill. Of the persons that are presented to the Lord at the door of his tabernacle, some are sincere, and they are very good; others dissemble with God, and they are very bad. Sinners are the worst of men, hypocrites the worst of sinners. Corruptio optimi est pessima - That which is best becomes, when corrupted, the worst. III. The exposition and application of this vision. God intended by it to raise the dejected spirit of those that had gone into captivity, by assuring them of a happy return, and to humble and awaken the proud and secure spirits of those who continued yet in Jerusalem, by assuring them of a miserable captivity. 1. Here is the moral of the good figs, that were very good, the first ripe. These represented the pious captives, that seemed first ripe for ruin, for they went first into captivity, but should prove first ripe for mercy, and their captivity should help to ripen them; these are pleasing to God, as good figs are to us, and shall be carefully preserved for use. Now observe here, (1.) Those that were already carried into captivity were the good figs that God would own. This shows, [1.] That we cannot determine of God's love or hatred by all that is before us. When God's judgments are abroad those are not always the worst that are first seized by them. [2.] That early suffering sometimes proves for the best to us. The sooner the child is corrected the better effect the correction is likely to have. Those that went first into captivity were as the son whom the father loves, and chastens betimes, chastens while there is hope; and it did well. But those that staid behind were like a child long left to himself, who, when afterwards corrected, is stubborn, and made worse by it, Lam_3:27. JAMISON, "Jer_24:1-10. The restoration of the captives in Babylon and the destruction of the refractory party in Judea and in Egypt, represented under the type of a basket of good, and one of bad, figs. Lord showed me — Amo_7:1, Amo_7:4, Amo_7:7; Amo_8:1, contains the same formula, with the addition of “thus” prefixed. carried ... captive Jeconiah — (Jer_22:24; 2Ki_24:12, etc.; 2Ch_36:10). carpenters, etc. — One thousand artisans were carried to Babylon, both to work for the king there, and to deprive Jerusalem of their services in the event of a future siege (2Ki_24:16). K&D, "The Two Fig Baskets-an emblem of the future of Judah's people. - Jer_24:1. "Jahveh caused me to see, and behold two baskets of figs set before the temple of Jahveh, after Nebuchadrezzar had carried captive Jechoniah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, and the work-people and the smiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. Jer_24:2. One basket had very good figs like the early figs, the other basket very bad figs, which could not be eaten for badness. Jer_24:3. And Jahveh said to me: What seest thou, Jeremiah? and I said: Figs; the 4

5. good figs are very good, and the bad figs very bad, which cannot be eaten for badness. Jer_24:4. Then came the word of Jahveh unto me, saying: Jer_24:5. Thus saith Jahveh, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so will I look on the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans, for good; Jer_24:6. And I will set mine eye upon them for good, and will bring them back again to this land, and build them and not pull down, and plant them and not pluck up. Jer_24:7. And I give them an heart to know me, that I am Jahveh; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they will return unto me with their whole heart. Jer_24:8. And as the bad figs, which cannot be eaten for badness, yea thus saith Jahveh, so will I make Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes and the residue of Jerusalem, them that are left remaining in this land and them that dwell in Egypt. Jer_24:9. I give them up for ill-usage, for trouble to all kingdoms of the earth, for a reproach and a by-word, for a taunt and for a curse in all the places whither I shall drive them. Jer_24:10. and I send among them the sword, the famine, and the plague, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave to them and to their fathers." This vision resembles in form and substance that in Amo_8:1-3. The words: Jahveh caused me to see, point to an inward event, a seeing with the eyes of the spirit, not of the body. The time is, Jer_24:1, precisely given: after Nebuchadnezzar had carried to Babylon King Jechoniah, with the princes and a part of the people; apparently soon after this deportation, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, the king set up by Nebuchadnezzar over Judah. Cf. 2Ki_24:14-17. - The Lord caused the prophet to see in spirit two baskets of figs (‫ים‬ ִ‫א‬ ָ‫,דּוּד‬ from ‫י‬ ַ‫,דּוּד‬ equivalent to ‫,דּוּד‬ Jer_24:2), ‫ים‬ ִ‫ֲד‬‫ע‬‫מוּ‬ (from ‫ד‬ַ‫ָע‬‫י‬) in the place appointed therefor (‫ד‬ֵ‫ע‬ ‫(מ‬ rofereh) before the temple. We are not to regard these figs as an offering brought to Jahveh (Graf); and so neither are we to think here of the place where first-fruits or tithes were offered to the Lord, Exo_23:19., Deu_26:2. The two baskets of figs have nothing to do with first-fruits. They symbolize the people, those who appear before the Lord their God, namely, before the altar of burnt-offering; where the Lord desired to appear to, to meet with His people (‫ד‬ַ‫ע‬ ‫,נ‬ Exo_ 29:42.), so as to sanctify it by His glory, Exo_29:43. ‫ים‬ ִ‫ֲד‬‫ע‬‫מוּ‬ therefore means: placed in the spot appointed by the Lord for His meeting with Israel. BI, "The princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths from Jerusalem. The nobility of work I. All labour becomes truly noble regarded as the service of God. To regard labour simply as a stern necessity of human life is to convert the workman into a slave, and his toil into drudgery. The glory of the angels is found in the fact they are messengers of God. And all the work of our hand attains its highest glory wrought out in the love and fear of God. The apostle gives us the true point of view (Eph_6:6-8). Here we have God the Taskmaster. “Doing the will of God.” Not only what we are pleased to call our highest work for Him, but our lowliest toil also, serving Him with two brown hands as Gabriel serves in the presence of the throne with two white wings. Here we have also God the Paymaster. “Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” God is a grand paymaster, He is a sure one, and rich beyond all hope are they who do His bidding. In the class-meeting a poor man said to me, “It was very strange, sir, but the other day, whilst I was looking after my horses, God visited me and wonderfully blessed me; it was very strange He should visit me like this in a stable.” “Not at all,” said 5

6. I, “it is a fulfilment of the prophecy: ‘In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses Holiness unto the Lord,’” &c. In an old book I was reading the other day the writer laughed at some commoner who had just been made a peer, because he had his coat of arms burned and painted even upon his shovels and wheelbarrows. In my reckoning, that was a very fine action, and full of significance. If a man is a true man he is a man of God, a prince of God; and he ought to pat the stamp of his nobility on the commonest things with which he has to do. II. All labour becomes truly noble regarded as a ministry to humanity. Few men, comparatively, realise the social bearing of their toil, and therefore know it as an insipid thing, when in truth it is their rich privilege to taste in all their work the joy of a good Samaritan, for all conscientious work is an essential philanthropy. With one hand we work for ourselves, with the other for the race, and it is one of the purest joys of life to remember this. Let us be blind workers no more, but consciously, lovingly, do our daily work, rejoicing in the social glory and fruitfulness of it. Princes, smiths, carpenters, let us not forget we too toil for the larger happiness of all men, so shall we prove in our toil some of the sublime pleasure Howard knew when he opened the door of the prison, that Wilberforce felt striking off the fetters of the slave, that Peabody tasted when he built homes for the poor. III. All labour becomes truly noble regarded as a discipline to our higher nature. Many, alas! sink with their work, but the Divine design in the duty of life was the perfection of the worker. Our toil is to develop our whole nature. Our physical being. Our work is neither to pollute nor destroy, but to purify and build up the temple of the body. Sweat does not mean blood, and there is a blessing in the curse. Our work should develop our intellectual self also. Much of our business may become a direct mental education, and it need never hinder the flowering of the mind. But chiefly the work of life ought to subserve our spiritual perfecting. In all true work the soul works and gains in purity and power by its work. The carpenter’s work tests his moral qualities, and Whilst he builds with brick and stone, timber and glass, he may build up also character with silver, gold, and precious stones; the smith fashions his soul whilst he shapes the iron on ringing anvil; the husbandman may enrich his heart whilst he adorns the landscape; and the weaver at the loom weave two fabrics at once, one that the moth shall fret, the other of gold and fine needlework, immortal raiment for the spirit. The King of glory has consecrated the workshop by His presence and glorified work by His example. (W. L. Watkinson.) CALVIN, "The meaning of this vision is, that there was no reason for the ungodly to flatter themselves if they continued in their wickedness, though God did bear with them for a time. The King Jeconiah had been then carried away into exile, together with the chief men and artisans. The condition of the king and of the rest appeared indeed much worse than that of the people who remained in the country, for they still retained a hope that the royal dignity would again be restored, and that the city would flourish again and enjoy abundance of every blessing, though it was then nearly emptied; for everything precious had become a prey to the conqueror; and we indeed know how great was the avarice and rapacity of Nebuchadnezzar. The city then was at that time almost empty, and desolate in comparison with its former splendor. They however who remained might indeed have hoped for a better state of 6

7. things, but those who had gone into exile were become like dead bodies. Hence miserable Jeconiah, who was banished and deprived of his kingdom, was apparently undergoing a most grievous punishment, together with his companions, who had been led away with him; and the Jews who remained at Jerusalem no doubt flattered themselves, as though God had dealt more kindly with them. Had they really repented, they would indeed have given thanks to God for having spared them; but as they had abused his forbearance, it was necessary to set before them what this chapter contains, even that they foolishly reasoned when they concluded, that God had been more propitious to them than to the rest. But this is shewn by a vision: the Prophet saw two baskets or flaskets; and he saw them full of figs, and that before the temple of God; but the figs in one were sweet and savory; and the figs in the other were bitter, so that they could not be eaten. By the sweet figs God intended to represent Jeconiah and the other exiles, who had left their country: and he compares them to the ripe figs; for ripe figs have a sweet taste, while the other figs are rejected on account of their bitterness. In like manner, Jeconiah and the rest had as it were been consumed; but there were figs still remaining; and he says that the lot of those was better whom God had in due time punished, than of the others who remained, as they were accumulating a heavier judgment by their obstinacy. For since the time that Nebuchadnezzar had spoiled the city and had taken from it everything valuable, those who remained had not ceased to add sins to sins, so that there was a larger portion of divine vengeance ready to fall on them. We now see the design of this vision. And he says that the vision was presented to him by God; and to say this was very necessary, that his doctrine might have more weight with the people. God, indeed, often spoke without a vision; but we have elsewhere stated what was the design of a vision; it was a sort of seal to what was delivered; for in order that the Prophet might possess greater authority, they not only spoke, but as it were sealed their doctrine, as though God had graven on it, as it were by his finger, a certain mark. But as this subject has been elsewhere largely handled, I shall now pass it by. Behold, he says, two baskets of figs set before the temple. (123) The place ought to be noticed. It may have been that the Prophet was not allowed to move a step from his own house; and the vision may have been presented to him in the night, during thick darkness: but the temple being mentioned, shews that a part of the people had not been taken away without cause, and the other part left in the city; for it had proceeded from God himself. For in the temple God manifested himself; and therefore the prophets, when they wished to storm the hearts of the ungodly, often said, “Go forth shall God from his temple.” (Isaiah 26:21; Micah 1:3.) The temple then is to be taken here for the tribunal of God. Hence, he says, that these two baskets were set in the temple; as though he said, that the whole people 7

8. stood at God’s tribunal, and that those who had been already cast into exile had not been carried away at the will of their enemies, but because God designed to punish them. The time also is mentioned, After Yeconiah the son of Jehohoiakim had been carried away; for had not this been added, the vision would have been obscure, and no one at this day could understand why God had set two baskets in the presence of Jeremiah. A distinction then is made here between the exiles and those who dwelt in their own country; and at the same time they were reduced to great poverty, and the city was deprived of its splendor; there was hardly any magnificence in the Temple, the royal palace was spoiled, and the race of David only reigned by permission. But though the calamity of the city and people was grievous, yet, as it has been said, the Jews who remained in the city thought themselves in a manner happy in comparison with their brethren, who were become as it were dead; for God had ejected the king, and he was treated disdainfully as a captive, and the condition of the others was still worse. This difference then between the captives and those who remained in the land is what is here represented. COFFMAN, "Verse 1 JEREMIAH 24 TWO BASKETS OF FIGS The approximate date of this vision is shortly after the deportation of Jeconiah and the nobles and craftsmen to Babylon following the first capture of Jerusalem by Babylon in 597 B.C. Keil considered the vision recounted here as symbolical of "the future of Judah's people."[1] Jamieson stated the purpose of the chapter a little more fully. "This chapter was designed to encourage the despairing exiles, and to reprove the people left in Jerusalem, who prided themselves as superior and more highly favored than the exiles."[2] The ones remaining in Judah had appropriated all of the possessions left behind by the exiles; and they were no doubt congratulating themselves on how lucky they were. The approximate date of this vision is shortly after the deportation of This little parable of the two baskets of figs was designed to show them how wrong they were. Jeremiah 24:1-3 "Jehovah showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of Jehovah, after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiachim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, and the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like figs that are first-ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said Jehovah unto me, 8

9. What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs very good; and the bad, very bad, that cannot be eaten, they are so bad." "Baskets of figs set before the temple ..." (Jeremiah 24:1) The great lesson here, which is missed by many of the commentators, has nothing whatever to do with "first-fruits"[3] The lesson that thunders from the parable is that "proximity to the temple" is no sign whatever of the holiness or acceptability of the people living in the vicinity of the Jewish temple. The people in Jerusalem were close to the temple, all right, but they were not close to God! They were exactly like that basket of rotten figs on the very steps of the temple. "The king ... the princes ... the craftsmen and smiths ..." (Jeremiah 24:1). The cream of the nation had already been deported. All of the skilled artisans and craftsmen and presumably all of the people with special skills. The meaning of "smiths" is uncertain; but the general import of the verse is plain enough. Both Ezekiel and Daniel were also in that first group of captives. See 2 Kings 24:10-17 of the Biblical record of who went to Babylon. The teaching of the parable is that the people left in Judah were inferior to the captives who went to Babylon. Barnes stated that, "Those left behind were not worth taking."[4] This estimate proved to be correct. Zedekiah surrounded himself with a group of citizens who persuaded him to form an alliance with Egypt and to resist any further submission to Babylon. That policy, of course, brought on the second siege of Jerusalem, the murder of the vast majority of the population, the destruction of the temple, and the reduction of the whole city to a ruin. In the long ran, the ones remaining in Judah would have by far the worst fate. The one and one half year siege they endured was one of the worst in history, the inhabitants even being reduced to cannibalism. "The good figs ... the bad figs ..." (Jeremiah 24:2-3) It seems that so simple a vision should not need much comment; but commentators always find something to write about. We are told that the good figs came from the early crop of a variety that produced two or three crops a year, the first one being far superior to the other two. The bad figs were described as "rotten" by Harrison, and probably the "sycamore fig" by Smith. That variety needed to be pricked during the ripening process; and the failure to provide that treatment made the figs inedible! This little parable is very much like that of the basket of summer fruit in Amos 8:1-3. We refer the reader to our exegesis of that parable in Vol. 1 of the Minor Prophets Series. ELLICOTT, " (1) The Lord shewed me . . .—The chapter belongs to the same period as the two preceding, i.e., to the reign of Zedekiah, after the first capture of Jerusalem and the captivity of the chief inhabitants. The opening words indicate that the symbols on which the prophet looked were seen in vision, as in Amos 7:1-4; Amos 7:7; Zechariah 1:8; Zechariah 2:1, and the symbols of Jeremiah 1:11; 9

10. Jeremiah 1:13; or, if seen with the eyes of the body, were looked on as with the prophet-poet’s power of finding parables in all things. The fact that the figs were set before the Temple of the Lord is significant. They were as a votive offering, first- fruits (Exodus 23:19; Deuteronomy 26:2) or tithes brought to the Lord of Israel. A like imagery had been used by Amos (Amos 8:1-2) with nearly the same formulæ. The carpenters and smiths.—See 2 Kings 24:14. The word for “carpenters” includes craftsmen of all kinds. The deportation of these classes was partly a matter of policy, making the city more helpless by removing those who might have forged weapons or strengthened its defences, partly, doubtless, of ostentation, that they might help in the construction of the buildings with which Nebuchadnezzar was increasing the splendour of his city. So Esar-haddon records how he made his captives “work in fetters, in making bricks” Records of the Past, iii. p. 120). So, from the former point of view, the Philistines in the time of Samuel either carried off the smiths of Israel or forbade the exercise of their calling (1 Samuel 13:19). The word for “smith” is found in Isaiah 24:22; Isaiah 42:7 in the sense of “prison,” but, as applied to persons, only here and in the parallel passage of 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16. It has been differently interpreted as meaning “locksmiths,” “gatekeepers,” “strangers,” “hod- carriers,” and “day-labourers.” Probably the rendering of the E.V. is right. TRAPP, "Jeremiah 24:1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs [were] set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. Ver. 1. The Lord showed me.] By showing as well as by saying, hath God ever signified his mind to his people; by the visible as well as by the audible word, as in sacrifices and sacraments, for their better confirmation in the faith. And, behold, two baskets.] Dodaim, so called from dodim, breasts, because these two baskets resembled two breasts. Were set before the temple.] Either visionally, or else actually there set; whether presented for firstfruits, {as Deuteronomy 26:2} or set to be sold in such a public place. Before the temple.] To show that the Jews of both sorts gloried in the same God, but were differently regarded by him, and accordingly sentenced. After that Nebuchadnezzar.] This then was showed to Jeremiah about the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign. Had carried away captive Jeconiah.] Who was therefore and thenceforth called Jeconiah Asir, [1 Chronicles 3:16] that is, Jeconiah the Prisoner. He was a wicked prince, and therefore written childless, and threatened with deportation. [Jeremiah 10

11. 22:30] Howbeit, because by the advice of the prophet Jeremiah he submitted to Nebuchadnezzar (who carried him away to Babylon, where, say the Rabbis, he repented, and was therefore at length advanced by Evilmerodah, as Jeremiah 52:31), he and his company are here comforted, and pronounced more happy, however it might seem otherwise, than those that continued still in the land; and this, say the Hebrews, (a) was not obscurely set forth also by those two baskets of figs, whereof that which was worst showed best, and the other showed worst, till they came to be tasted. With the carpenters,] Or, Craftsmen. [2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16] And smiths.] Heb., Enclosers - that is, say some, goldsmiths, whose work it is to set stones in gold; and these, thus carried away, are as a type of such, saith Oecolampadius, as are penitent and patient till the Lord shall turn again their captivity as the streams in the south. COKE, "Jeremiah 24:1. The Lord shewed me— This vision happened after the carrying away of Jeconiah, and under the reign of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. The prophet himself sufficiently explains the meaning of the vision, in which two such baskets of figs were presented to his view as used to be offered up for first- fruits at the temple. The good figs signified those who were already gone into captivity; and the bad figs those who remained and were exposed to the second famine and pestilence. PARKER, " Figs Good and Bad Jeremiah 24 There was an immense advantage in living in Old Testament times. The evidence of that advantage is to be found on every page of the Old Testament itself. Men had a living Lord then. They spoke with him in a very reverent familiarity; although they named his name every day, never does the familiarity go below the point of reverence. You could not speak to an Old Testament man without hearing something about "The Lord"; for he said, with a child"s frankness, The Lord said; The Lord told me; I saw the Lord; The Lord sent me; The Lord afflicted me; The Lord gave me deliverance; The Lord healed my diseases, and loaded me with benefits. There was nothing strained about the confession: it was simply, sweetly, gratefully uttered. Where is that Lord today? He was a great Lord; it required the Hebrew tongue to furnish epithets and descriptives by which he could be adequately set forth to the imagination. Is it language we are short of? or is the Lord God himself absent from our thinking? Is it possible to think much about him, and never mention his name? Is it possible to perform the miracle of being so absorbed in the claims of God as never to mention the King? Has it come to this crowning miracle, the devil the miracle-worker, that men can love Christ, and never acknowledge him? We are not insensible to the plea that we must beware of what is denominated for no known reason "cant." But love surely is inventive enough to find ways of self- 11

12. expression and self-revelation; surely love must now and then have courage enough to test a popular fear, and to lift itself up in noble testimony, notwithstanding those who would affright it into silence. We now have theories, hypotheses even—things so useless as hypotheses! we have laws, persistent forces, marvellous, all-grinding continuity: would God we had the living Father, the gentle, benignant, merciful, redeeming Saviour! It was better to be an old prophet, who even dreamed himself into this sublime association with motive, thought, and destiny eternal, than to be crammed, filled with notions we cannot understand, and theories we never think of applying. "What seest thou, Jeremiah?" "Two baskets of figs set before the temple." What is the meaning of these baskets? We cannot tell. Perhaps they were votive offerings. The people who set them there had some object in view. The same baskets are standing in the same place today. Did the Lord see only the baskets of figs? When does the Lord put a final meaning to anything? There is no final meaning to the humblest bird that flutters in the air; it is a minister of Providence, a minister of grace. There is no end to the meaning of a field of wild flowers. We can run past that marvellous display of power, Wisdom of Solomon , and goodness; but God himself is still there, nourishing every root, and filling every cup as with the wine of beauty. Things mean more than they seem to mean: it is the interpreter that is wanting. It is even so with the Bible. We do not want a new writing, we want a new reading; we do not want a new Bible, we simply need the old one to be properly read. The Bible is in the reader: you get out of the Bible what you bring to it. So it is with everything. If this were a philosophical law relating to the Bible only, we might question it because of its uniqueness and singularity, but this law holds good everywhere. We get what we give: our prayers are their answers; no man can pray above the answer he has already in his heart Why do we not see? To look is one thing; to see is another. We have not the same drapery that we find in Oriental narrative or parable, but that is an advantage rather than a disadvantage, because poor readers, superficial observers, never get further than the drapery. They never see the prodigal son; if they saw him they would fall upon his neck before he left his father"s house, and would have the battle out then. The drapery conceals, not reveals, unless we have the living, penetrating eye that pierces through all clothing and accident, and fixes itself intelligibly and critically upon the core, the meaning that roots in the heart. There are many who have seen nothing but clouds in the sky: there are some who have never seen the sky. There are some who have never seen their own children. There are blind hearts, blind understandings, that never see anything as it Isaiah , in all its outgoing of suggestion, poetry, apocalypse, possibility: what wonder that they have become the victims of monotony and complain cf commonplace and weariness and tedium, and are always sighing for something that will simply startle them out of the degradation into which they have brought every faculty? What is the abiding quantity? Remove the drapery, with all its amplitude and colouring, and get at the heart of things, and what is the permanent quantity, which the world might hold as stock to trade with? What is it which around this simple 12

13. fellowship gathers in order that it may wisely calculate, expend, record its accounts, and divide its balances? The central quantity is History,—events, actions, providence. The baskets are not here, the particular literal figs are not here, but all the meaning is present with us through enduring time. History must be read, events must be looked at; for now the world has grown a history; the world has grown a library. Jeremiah had none, Isaiah and Ezekiel had to look around at nature, and endeavour through nature to look telescopically upon infinite distances; in their day there was nothing of what we call with modern significance a literature, a history. Now God is taking shape in events, is robed with incidents, deliverances, interpositions—all the marvellous garment which we denominate by the name of Providence. We see only the detail, and therefore we are lost, and sometimes we are almost atheists. If we would see anything like an outline of the sum-total, we must pray, and fear, and trust, and love. We have a mischievous habit of breaking up our lives into little morsels, and looking only at the disintegration; we have not yet: learned the mystery of putting things together into all their meaning, and getting into the rhythm of the divine movement: otherwise there would be no atheists, there would be fewer agnostics, there would be a marvellous multiplication of worshippers; men would be brought to say, Explain it how you will, there are invisible fingers at work in all this machinery of things: history is an argument, history is a theology, history is a Bible: of another kind, yet rooted in the old Bible as to all its philosophies, possibilities, reverences, and divinest outlook and outcome. Thus through the vestibule of history men can walk arm-inarm a thousand strong, saying, Let us enter into the Temple, for it is the hour of prayer, and bless the God of history for the other Temple which he is building, and by which he is vindicating his throne and his providence. If men would read history, Christianity would be safe. If men would read their own history, there would be less need of argument. Some of us have come to a point at which we have perfect rest in God. There may be those who need to have an elaborate and irrational and unintelligible argument by which to prove the existence of God; but no man who has lived a reflective life can look back upon his yesterdays without saying, They came as links, but they have been welded or attached or connected into chains; each day came, it was taken up, looked at, used, laid down; but the days are now a thousand in number, multiplied by ten, and by fifty, and lo! they are not links but chains, golden, strong, and by a mysterious process they uplift themselves, and are hooked on to something stronger than rocks, something brighter than planets. Who then can wonder at the young being eccentric, having a tendency to intellectual vagary and vagabondage—who can wonder? A man cannot read other people"s history until he has read his own; we cannot understand biography until we understand autobiography. We hear the words: the eloquent lecturer expounds the ways historical, the mysteries of course and consequence, and we listen as students wonderingly—our principal wonder being why he ever began: but as we advance in life we see that there is an under-current, an under-building, an outer structure, and when we compare the outer with the inner, the material with the spiritual, history with the Bible, we say, All things are one; there is at the heart of all life"s wondrous mystery a Power, inspiring, guiding, shaping, refining, spiritualising,—call it by 13

14. what name you may, at last you will come to call it by the name divine. Why do men not read events? If they would read events they would be believers in providence. Events are divided. "What seest thou?" I see two kinds of events, one good, and the other vile: and there they are in life. It is so in families: how do you account for it that one son prays, and the other never saw the need of prayer? The one is filial; the other has a heart of stone. The one is always at home; the other never was at home in all his life—the meaning of that term in music he never understood. Look at life broadly. What seest thou, O prophet, O man of the piercing eyes, what seest thou? Two events, or series of events, one excellent, the other vile; one leading upward, the other downward. What seest thou? Heaven—hell. The vision is still before us; we need to have our attention called to it. He who deals in singularities, in isolations, never enters into the philosophy of providence, the method of the sublime organisation which is denominated the universe. We have perhaps been unjust to the idea of individualism. A man says he can read the Bible at home. We have denied this. He can read it there if he has no other opportunity of reading it; but let him come into the great fellowship, and he will find another reading, in another tone, and he will feel that he needed that marvellous, inexplicable thing called touch, sympathy, fellowship, in order to make him see himself, in the real quality and quantity of his being. We must have public prayer. We can pray alone and must pray there; but we can only pray there with sufficient profitableness for the holy exercise in proportion as we crowd our solitude with memories of the great congregation. How difficult it is for any man to see the intercessor in another man! When we listen to prayer in the public congregation we are not listening to one Prayer of Manasseh , we are not listening to a man confessing his own sins, we are not reduced to that contemptible relation to the universe; if the man who is praying be an intercessor, one to whom is given the gift of public expression, we hear in his voice a thousand voices—when he sobs it is because a thousand hearts have broken, when he cries for mercy it is because the world is on its knees. So with events, processes of events, marvellous action and interaction: we must see the whole if we would really say, How awful is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. In Old Testament times the Lord communicated his will to special men. Here we have Jeremiah as representing that whole thought. This would be peculiar, and would be open to a species of objection, if it did not hold good in all the relations of life. Here again we come upon the marvellous distribution of the figs, excellent and vile, full of noble meaning, and full of distressing suggestion. Jeremiah was called to interpret the symbols. Men are called today who have the faculty of interpretation. They do not speak from the point of information, else then they would be but articulate newspapers; they speak from the point of inspiration, consciousness, communion with the Eternal; therefore there is about their words an aroma not to be found otherwhere. One man is a poet, and another—not to put it offensively—is not a poet: how is that? One man weeps when he sees the morning come: the dawn is so tender, so condescending, so hospitable, so full of promise, and so full of that which cannot at once be apprehended: what is that dawn? Is it an opening 14

15. battlefield? is it a sick-bed? is it a bright opportunity for doing noble things? The poet cannot tell, but he says, God will be in the centre of it, and if he will reveal himself the day shall be a blessing, though it be full of battle, or though it be quiet with the spirit of peace. One man is a statesman, and another is not; one man can see the whole question, and the other can hardly see any part of it. The man who can only see one point gets credit for being very definite. Poor soul! he gets a reputation for being very clear. If he could see a horizon instead of a point, he would hesitate, he would look about for another and larger selection of words; he would be critical, he would pause between two competitive terms, not knowing which exactly held all the colour of his thought. Some heads are vacant temples. What then? Let us be thankful to God for the Isaiahs, Jeremiahs, Ezekiels, Pauls, and Johns, who have risen to tell us what the Lord meant. Who was it that saw the Lord first on that marvellous morning referred to in the fourth Gospel? It was John. There was a figure on the seashore, a mere outline, a spectre; the people in the boat wondered what it was, and John said, "It is the Lord." It required John to turn that figure into a Christ: but this is the faculty divine, this is the prophetic function, this is the inworking of that mystery which we call inspiration. It required God to see his own image and likeness in the dust; it required Christ in the very agony of his love to turn common supper wine into sacramental blood. Let us be thankful tor our teachers. Some of us are but echoes—we can only tell what we have heard other men say: but let us maintain our friends who have the gift of prayer; if we cannot join them we can listen to them, and say, Hear how he knows us, how he loves us, how he interprets our desires, how by some gift we: cannot understand he puts into words the very thoughts that have been burning in our hearts. These are the men who should lead the civilisation of the world. The Lord says he will send his people into captivity "for their good,"—"Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these: good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good." How marvellous is the action of love! The parent sends away the child he cannot live without for the child"s good; men undertake long and perilous and costly journeys that they may accomplish a purpose that is good. Jesus Christ himself said to his wondering disciples, "It is expedient for you that I go away." Who can understand this action of love? It would seem to us to be otherwise: that it would be best for Jesus to remain until the very last wanderer is home; it would seem to our poor reason, which has everything but wings, that it would be best for Jesus Christ to remain upon the earth until he saw the very last little lamb enfolded on the mountains of Israel—then he himself could come to be shepherd of the flock. Yet he was hardly here before he said, "It is expedient for you that I go away." Are we not sent away? have we not lost fortune, station, standing? have we not been punished in a thousand different ways—chastised, humiliated, afflicted? have we not been suddenly surrounded with clouds in which there was no light—yea, and clouds in which there was no rain, simply darkness, sevenfold night? Yet it was for our good; it was that our vanity might be rebuked, that the centre of dependence might be found, that the throne of righteousness might be seen and approached. "It was good for me that I was afflicted: before I was afflicted I went 15

16. astray." Let us look upon our afflictions, distresses, and losses in that light. Life is not easy; life is a sacrifice, an agony, a battle that ends only to begin again, a fight mitigated, not ended, by a night"s repose. Are we to live always the accidental life, the life of mere detail, the life that only happens? or are we to live the life that is governed by law, inspired by a purpose, riveted in God, and travelling through infinite circuits back again to the fountain of its origin? This is the religious life. What became of the evil figs? The Lord himself could not cure them. The only mercy that could be shown to them was to destroy them. How is it with ourselves? There would seem to be men who cannot be cured, healed, restored; God himself has wasted his omnipotence upon them. There are men who have resisted the Cross, who have gone to perdition over a place called Calvary. Did they see it on the road? Yes. Did they know who died upon that central cross? Yes. Did they hear his voice of love? Yes, outwardly. How have they come to perdition? By pressing their way past the Father, the Song of Solomon , and the Holy Ghost; if you go back all the miles they have travelled you will find that they crushed under their feet father, mother, home, pastor, friend, companion, wife, child, Bible, altar: what can become of them? God himself can do no more. He is at the gate of the vineyard now, saying, as he looks upon the wild grapes, What could I do for my vineyard more than I have done? Be just, be honest, and say in clear, articulate terms that your soul can hear, I am self-ruined, I am a suicide. But who can end here? who can turn aside and say, This is the end? May it not be that one more appeal will succeed? may not God himself be surprised by the returning prodigal? may not Omniscience be startled into a new consciousness? We are obliged to use these terms with human meanings: but may it not be that some who are thought to be lost are not lost after all? To be in God"s house is a proof that the loss is not complete. To have even intellectual attention bestowed upon an appeal is to show that life is not extinct. "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." If any man dies it will be because God cannot help it. PETT, "Verses 1-10 The Two Baskets of Figs - Zedekiah And Jerusalem Are Fated To Destruction And Exile (Jeremiah 24:1-10). The subsection opened with a report concerning the future of Zedekiah and Jerusalem, and it now closes with the same, the two forming an inclusio for the subsection. Jeremiah is shown two baskets of figs by YHWH, one containing good figs and the other bad figs. The good figs represent the cream of the people who had been carried off to Babylon (including Daniel and Ezekiel among others). The bad figs represent Zedekiah and those who had remained behind in Jerusalem. The good figs would one day be restored to the land and built up there, and would once again become His people with Him being their God. But the bad figs would be gathered up by Nebuchadrezzar and scattered among the kingdoms to become a reproach 16

17. wherever they were found, and prior to that would first suffer sword, famine and pestilence. In other words for Zedekiah and his ilk there was to be no future. Jeremiah 24:1 ‘YHWH showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of YHWH, after Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.’ The chapter commences with YHWH showing Jeremiah two baskets of figs which had been set before the Temple of YHWH, indicating either that they were being brought before YHWH for Him to pass judgment on them, or that they were an offering to YHWH, either as a firstfruit or a tithe (a remnant). Compare Amos 8:1-2. This took place after Nebuchadrezzar had carried Jehoiachin, together with the princes of Judah (the tribal and clan leaders) and the cream of the people away to Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-17). The inclusion of craftsmen of all kinds was an indication that these exiles were more than hostages. Nebuchadrezzar was stripping Jerusalem of all who could have contributed to its being built up again into a strong city, and at the same time assuring himself of a constant stream of craftsmen for his own building projects. Many would in fact settle in Babylon and not want to return. PULPIT, "Verses 1-10 EXPOSITION Again Jeremiah's ungrateful task is to take up an attitude of direct opposition to the king (comp. Jeremiah 22:13-30), though, indeed, Zedekiah personally is so weak and dependent on others that he neither deserves nor receives a special rebuke. He and all the people that are left are likened to very bad figs, the good figs—the exiles— having been picked out and sent to Babylon, whence they will one day be restored. The vision is purely an interior process. This is indicated, not only by the phrase, "Jehovah showed me" (comp. Amos 7:1, Amos 7:4, Amos 7:7; Amos 8:1), but by the contents of the vision. Jeremiah 24:1 Two baskets of figs were set before, etc. (comp. Amos 8:1-3). The description is apparently based on the law of firstfruits (comp. Deuteronomy 26:2), where the "basket" is mentioned, though not the word here used. The baskets were set down in readiness to be examined by the priests, who rigorously rejected all fruit that was not sound. The princes of Judah. A short phrase for all the leading men, whether members of the royal family or heads of the principal families (comp. Jeremiah 27:20). The carpenters and smiths; rather, the craftsmen and smiths ("craftsmen" 17

18. includes workers in stone and metal as well as wood; the Hebrew word is rendered "smith" in 1 Samuel 13:19). PULPIT, "Two baskets of figs. I. MORALLY MEN ARE DIVISIBLE INTO TWO DISTINCT CLASSES. The two baskets of figs represent two classes of Jews: the basket of good figs, Jeconiah and his followers; the basket of bad figs, Zedekiah and his party. The great distinction between these was moral. There were princes in both classes; yet the one stood far higher in the sight of God than the other. 1. The deepest line of cleavage which runs down through all sections of mankind is moral; all other separating marks are more superficial. 2. There are in the main but two classes—the good and the bad—though, of course, within each of these great varieties occur. 3. Both of these classes tend to grow extreme. The good figs are very good, the bad are very bad. Character is tendency. As character develops it moves further on along the lines on which it is founded. Good men incline to grow better and bad men worse. Like the rivers which flow down the two sides of a great watercourse, lives that begin in similar circumstances and are near together for a season, if they once diverge, are likely to separate more widely as the years pass. II. THE REST MEN MAY BE THE GREATEST SUFFERERS. The good figs represent the Jews who suffered most severely from the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, who were torn from their homes, robbed of their property, driven into captivity; the bad figs represent the seemingly more fortunate Jews over whose head the tide of invasion passes, leaving them still in their homes and in quiet, and also those who escaped from it entirely by a flight into Egypt. We may often notice that very good people are not only not spared, but suffer the most severe calamities. The sinless One was a "man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." No greater mistake can be made than that of the three friends of Job. Great misfortunes are certainly not indications of great guilt; often of the reverse. 1. High character may directly invoke trouble. It rouses the opposition of the wicked; it feels called to dangerous tasks and to a mission which excites enmity; it maintains a fidelity that excludes many avenues of escape which would be open to men of lower moral principles. 2. God may bless and honor his better children by sending to them the severer trials. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Therefore chastisement is an evidence of God's love. Good men should understand this, and not be surprised at the advent of trouble, but expect it; not be dismayed at the incongruity of it, but recognize its fitness; not despair of themselves, and think that they must be hypocrites after all, nor doubt and distrust God, but submit to what is clearly foretold and wisely 18

19. arranged. III. GOD LOOKS FAVORABLY ON THOSE WHO SUBMIT TO HIS CHASTISEMENTS. The good figs represent those Jews who obey the message of Jeremiah and submit to the invasion of the Chaldeans as to a Divine chastisement; the bad figs stand for those Jews who resist. It requires faith to recognize the wisdom and duty of submission. On the face of it such conduct would appear unpatriotic and cowardly, while resistance would seem noble and brave. It may take more courage, however, to submit than to resist. There is a yielding which is calm and reasonable and really brave, since it involves the curbing of instinctive combativeness and the pursuit of an unpopular course-one sure to be misunderstood and to provoke calumny. The sole guide must be sought in the question of what is right, what is God's will. We are not called to a fatalistic passiveness. There are circumstances in which self-defense or flight may be evidently right. What we are to submit to is not all opposition, all possible trouble, but God's will, the trouble which we know he has sanctioned. All the good fruit of chastisement will be lost if we rebel against it. No greater proof of faith in the goodness of God and loyalty to the majesty of God can be found than a quiet, unmurmuring acceptance of his harder requirements. IV. THE HARDEST SUFFERING MAY LEAD TO THE HAPPIEST RESULTS. The captives are to be restored. Those Jews who remain in the land are ultimately to be driven forth as "a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse." The short, sharp suffering will end in ultimate good. The temporary escape will be followed by final ruin. 1. God's chastisements are temporary; they will give place to lasting blessedness. The present affliction is light just because it endures "but for a moment" (2 Corinthians 4:17). Even if they outlast the present life, what is this brief span of earthly trial compared with the blessedness of an eternity? 2. God's chastisements work our good. They directly tend to produce the happier future. The tearful sowing is the cause of the joyful harvest. The spiritual improvement wrought in the soul by the discipline of sorrow is at once a source of future blessedness and a justification for it. "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." 3. A culpable avoidance of Divine chastisement is highly dangerous. The escape from temporary trouble must incur greater future trouble; for 2 One basket had very good figs, like those that 19

20. ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten. BARNES, "Fig-trees bear three crops of figs, of which the first is regarded as a great delicacy. GILL, "One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe,.... As there are some figs that are ripe sooner than others, and which are always the most desirable and acceptable; and such were they that were presented to the Lord, Mic_7:1; these signified those that were carried captive into Babylon with Jeconiah, among whom were some very good men, as Ezekiel, and others; and all might be said to be so, in comparison of those that were at Jerusalem, who were very wicked, and grew worse and worse: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad; as nothing is more sweet and luscious, and agreeable to the taste than a sound ripe fig, and especially a first ripe one; so nothing is more nauseous than a naughty rotten one: these signified the wicked Jews at Jerusalem indulging themselves in all manner of sin; so those who seemed to be the worst, through their being carried captive, were the best; and those who, seemed to be the best, by their prosperity, were the worst. This is to be understood in a comparative sense, as Calvin observes; though this does not so much design the quality of persons, as the issue of things, with respect unto them. The captivity of the one would issue in their good, and so are compared to good figs; when the sins of the other would bring upon them utter ruin and destruction without recovery, and therefore compared to bad figs that cannot be eaten. JAMISON, "figs ... first ripe — the “boccora,” or early fig (see on Isa_28:4). Baskets of figs used to be offered as first-fruits in the temple. The good figs represent Jeconiah and the exiles in Babylon; the bad, Zedekiah and the obstinate Jews in Judea. They are called good and bad respectively, not in an absolute, but a comparative sense, and in reference to the punishment of the latter. This prophecy was designed to encourage the despairing exiles, and to reprove the people at home, who prided themselves as superior to those in Babylon and abused the forbearance of God (compare Jer_52:31-34). K&D, ""The one basket very good figs" is short for: the basket was quite full of very good figs; cf. Friedr. W. M. Philippi, on the Nature and Origin of the Status constr. in Hebrew (1871), p. 93. The comparison to early figs serves simply to heighten the idea of very good; for the first figs, those ripened at the end of June, before the fruit season in August, were highly prized dainties. Cf. Isa_28:4; Hos_9:10. 20

21. BI 2-3, "One basket had very good figs. Two baskets of figs I. The same nation may contain two distinct characters, yet both may be equally involved in a national visitation. There are laws of retribution m operation in relation to nations which, so far as the outward condition is concerned-, are no respecters of persons. II. Submission to Divine chastisement will lead, in time, to deliverance from it, while resistance will bring ruin. Two members of a family may be suffering from the same disease; the physician will insist upon submission to his treatment from both his patients. If one refuses, he must not complain of the physician, supposing he grows worse. God desired to heal the Jewish nation of its idolatrous tendencies; for this purpose He had decreed that it should go into captivity. Those who submitted willingly are hem promised that the discipline should be “for their good,” and that they should be brought again to their own land; while those who resisted, would be “consumed from off the land that He gave unto them and their fathers.” III. Lessons, 1. In this life retribution to nations is more certain than to individuals. God can deal with individual characters in any world, therefore we sometimes find the greatest villains apparently unmarked by Him now. 2. Outward circumstance is no standard by which to judge God’s estimate of character. Job’s friends were not afflicted as he was, but God esteemed him far more highly than He did them. 3. Moral crime is commercial ruin to a nation. Israel lost God first, and then her national p

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