Jeremiah 31 1 20 commentary

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Information about Jeremiah 31 1 20 commentary

Published on November 18, 2016

Author: glenndpease


1. JEREMIAH 31 1-20 COMMENTARY EDITED BY GLENN PEASE 1 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.” BARNES, "At the same time - literally, At that time, i. e., “the latter day.” mentioned in Jer_30:24. CLARKE, "At the same time - This discourse was delivered at the same time with the former; and, with that, constitutes the Book which God ordered the prophet to write. Will I be the God of all the families of Israel - I shall bring back the ten tribes, as well as their brethren the Jews. The restoration of the Israelites is the principal subject of this chapter. GILL, "At the same time, saith the Lord,.... The time of the Messiah, the Gospel dispensation, the latter days; when the Jews shall consider the prophecies of the Old Testament, and observe how they have been fulfilled in Jesus; and shall reflect upon their disbelief and rejection of him; and shall turn unto him, and serve the Lord their God, and David their king; see Jer_30:9; will I be the God of all the families of Israel; not of some few persons only, or of one of a city, and two of a family, but of every family; and this will be when "all Israel" shall be converted and saved, and a nation shall be born at once; then will God show himself to them as their covenant God, manifest his love to them, and bestow the blessings of his grace upon them: and they shall be my people; behave as such to him; own him to be their God, and serve and worship him. HENRY, "God here assures his people, 1

2. I. That he will again take them into a covenant relation to himself, from which they seemed to be cut off. At the same time, when God's anger breaks out against the wicked (Jer_30:24), his own people shall be owned by him as the children of his love: I will be the God (that is, I will show myself to be the God) of all the families of Israel (Jer_ 31:1), - not of the two tribes only, but of all the tribes, - not of the house of Aaron only, and the families of Levi, but of all their families; not only their state in general, but their particular families, and the interests of them, shall have the benefit of a special relation to God. Note, The families of good people, in their family capacity, may apply to God and stay themselves upon him as their God. If we and our houses serve the Lord, we and our houses shall be protected and blessed by him, Pro_3:33. JAMISON, "Jer_31:1-40. Continuation of the prophecy in the thirtieth chapter. As in that chapter the restoration of Judah, so in this the restoration of Israel’s ten tribes is foretold. At the same time — “In the latter days” (Jer_30:24). the God of — manifesting My grace to (Gen_17:7; Mat_22:32; Rev_21:3). all ... Israel — not the exiles of the south kingdom of Judah only, but also the north kingdom of the ten tribes; and not merely Israel in general, but “all the families of Israel.” Never yet fulfilled (Rom_11:26). K&D, "The Salvation for all the Families of Israel. - Ewald has well stated the connection of this chapter with the conclusion of the preceding, as follows: "In order that the old form of blessing, found in the books of Moses, and here given in Jer_31:22, may be fulfilled, the whirlwind of Jahveh, which must carry away all the unrighteous, will at last discharge itself, as has been already threatened, Jer_23:19; this must take place in order that there may be a fulfilment of that hope to all the tribes of Israel (both kingdoms)." Jer_31:1. announces deliverance for all the families of Israel, but afterwards it is promised to both divisions of the people separately - first, in vv. 2-22, to the ten tribes, who have been exiles the longest; and then, in a more brief statement, Jer_ 31:23-26, to the kingdom of Judah: to this, again, there is appended, Jer_31:27-40, a further description of the nature of the deliverance in store for the two houses of Israel. Jer_31:1-2 The deliverance for all Israel, and the readmission of the ten tribes. - Jer_31:1. "At that time, saith Jahveh, will I be a God to all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Jer_31:2. Thus saith Jahveh: A people escaped from the sword found grace in the wilderness. Let me go to give him rest, even Israel. Jer_31:3. From afar hath Jahve appeared unto me, and with everlasting love have I loved thee; therefore have I continued my favour towards thee. Jer_31:4. Once more will I build thee up, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel; once more shalt thou adorn [thyself] with thy tabrets, and go forth in the dance of those that make merry. Jer_31:5. Once more shalt thou plant vineyards on the ills of Samaria; planters will plant them, and apply them to common use. Jer_31:6. For there is a day [when] watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim: Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion, to Jahveh our God!" The expression "At that time" refers to Jer_30:24, "in the end of the days," which means the Messianic future. The announcement of deliverance itself is continued by resumption of the promise made in Jer_30:22; the transposition of the two portions of 2

3. the promise is to be remarked. Here, "I will be a God to them" stands first, because the restoration and perfection of Israel have their only foundation in the love of God and in the faithfulness with which He keeps His covenant, and it is only through this gracious act that Israel again becomes the people of God. "All the families of Israel" are the families of the whole twelve tribes - of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, separated since the death of Solomon. After this announcement of deliverance for the whole of Israel, the address turns first to Israel of the ten tribes, and continues to treat longest of them, "because, judging from appearances, they seem irrecoverably lost - for ever rejected by the Lord" (Hengstenberg). Jer_31:2 is variously explained. Ewald, following Raschi and others, refers the words '‫א‬ָ‫צ‬ ָ‫מ‬ ‫ן‬ ֵ‫ח‬ ‫וגו‬ to the leading of Israel out of Egypt: once on a time, in the Arabian desert, the people that had just barely escaped the sword of the Egyptians nevertheless found grace, when Jahveh, as it were, went to make a quiet dwelling-place for them. The love which He displayed towards them at that time He has since continued, and thus He will now once more bring back His people out of the midst of strangers. This view of the passage is supported by the use of the perfects in Jer_31:2 and Jer_31:3, in contrast with the imperfect, "again will I build thee," Jer_31:4, and the employment of the expression "in the desert;" cf. Jer_2:2; Hos_13:4-5. But "the people of those who have escaped the sword" is an expression that cannot be reconciled with it. Rashi, indeed, understands this as referring to the sword of the Egyptians and Amalekites; but the thought that Israel, led out of Egypt through the Arabian desert, was a people that had survived or escaped the sword, is one met with nowhere else in the Old Testament, and is quite inapplicable to the condition of the people of Israel when they were led out of Egypt. Although Pharaoh wished to exterminate the people of Israel through hard servile labour, and through such measures as the order to kill all male children when they were born, yet he did not make an exhibition of his wrath against Israel by the sword, neither did he show his anger thus at the Red Sea, where he sought to bring Israel back to Egypt by force. There God shielded His people from the attack of Pharaoh, as He did in the battle against the Amalekites, so that Israel was led through the desert as a whole people, not as a remnant. The designation, "a people escaped from the sword," unconditionally requires us to refer the words to the deliverance of the Israelites from exile; these were only a remnant of what they had formerly been, since the greater portion of them perished, partly at the downfall of the kingdom, and partly in exile, by the sword of the enemy. Hence the perfects in Jer_31:2 and Jer_31:3 are prophetic, and used of the divine counsel, which precedes its execution in time. By using the expression "in the desert," Jeremiah makes an allusion to Israel's being led through the Arabian desert. The restoration of Israel to Canaan, from their exile among the nations, is viewed under the figure of their exodus from Egypt into the land promised to their fathers, as in Hos_2:16.; and the exodus from the place of banishment is, at the same time, represented as having already occurred, so that Israel is again on the march to his native land, and is being safely conducted through the desert by his God. There is as little ground for thinking that there is reference here made to the desert lying between Assyria or Babylon and Palestine, as there is for Hitzig's referring ‫י‬ ֵ‫יד‬ ִ‫ר‬ ְ‫שׂ‬ ‫ב‬ ֶ‫ר‬ ֶ‫ח‬ to the sword of the Medes and Persians. - The inf. abs. ‫ל‬ ָ‫ה‬ is used instead of the first person of the imperative (cf. 1Ki_22:30), to express a summons addressed by God to Himself: "I will go." See Gesenius, §131, 4, b, γ. ] The suffix in ‫יע‬ִ‫גּ‬ ְ‫ר‬ ַ‫ה‬ points out the object (Israel) by anticipation: "to bring him to rest." ‫ַע‬‫ג‬ ָ‫ר‬ in the Hiphil usually means to be at rest, to rest (Deu_28:65); here, to give rest, bring to rest. 3

4. COFFMAN, "Verse 1 JEREMIAH 31 THE NEW COVENANT This is one of the most significant chapters in the entire Old Testament. However, we do not concur in the frequent scholarly attribution of the marvelous revelation herein to "the genius of Jeremiah," nor to the "superiority of his theology." God Himself, as frequently stated in this chapter, revealed these wonders to Jeremiah. The first part of the chapter is a promise to the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) that, due to their repentance and reformation they shall again be restored to their land and to their former favor in the eyes of God. These promises to Ephraim are recorded in Jeremiah 30:2-22; and the next large portion of the chapter applies the same marvelous prophecies of return, prosperity and favor to the Southern Kingdom. Some scholars seem to become almost ecstatic, reveling in the unification of the two ancient Israels, and in the restoration of their status as "the virgin Israel" (Jeremiah 30:4 and Jeremiah 30:21). It is the conviction of this writer that verses Jeremiah 30:2-26 of this chapter are nothing more than the recital of the blessings that will be ultimately available to the whole Israel, along with everyone else on earth, "in the times of the Messiah." It is impossible to construe these verses (Jeremiah 30:2-26) literally, because nothing even remotely resembling these predictions ever occurred in the historical racial Israel. The Northern tribes were never restored to "their land." They were never reunited with the Southern Israel. They never repented. They never returned to the literal Jerusalem to worship God. A few from the Northern tribes did return, as in the case of a few individuals from those tribes, who are mentioned in the New Testament, as for example Anna (Luke 2:36) of the tribe of Asher. Every one of the extravagant blessings mentioned here was nothing more than an agricultural symbol of some great spiritual reality that would be realized under the New Covenant. The proposition that we encounter in most of the current commentaries is that God Himself could hardly wait to marry the scandalous old Whore Israel; and that God actually calls her "The Virgin Israel" in Jeremiah 30:4,21; but we are absolutely certain that such expressions could not have been applied by a prophet of God to the old Racial Israel which historically became actually worse than Sodom and Gomorrah (Ezekiel 16) and which shamelessly broke the Old Covenant, nullifying it absolutely. Yes indeed, God did indeed marry the Virgin Israel in the New Covenant, but it was the New Israel! (See a full discussion of this in my commentary Vol. 2 of the minor prophets, pp. 49-67.) A total failure to understand the difference in the two Israels 4

5. has confused the writings of a great many scholars. The designation of the Israel intended in these verses as "the Virgin Israel" makes it absolutely certain that it is the Israel which constitutes the Messianic kingdom which is meant. It is the church of Jesus Christ which is the "pure virgin" which is married to God in the person of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:1-3). For these reasons, there is little reason to concern ourselves with any exhaustive explanations of the agricultural metaphors which abound in these first 26 verses. Their meaning is exactly the same as that of similar metaphors found so frequently in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 31:1 "At that time, saith Jehovah, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people." The first phrase here ties the whole chapter to the times of the Messiah. Both the Northern and Southern Israels will be accepted in the kingdom of Christ, as will everyone else on earth who desires to serve God. COKE, "Introduction The restoration of Israel. The publication thereof. Rachel mourning is comforted. Ephraim repenting, is brought home again. Christ is promised: his care over the church: his new covenant. The stability and amplitude of the church. Before Christ 606. Verse 1 Jeremiah 31:1. At the same time— This is a continuation of the discourse which was begun in the last chapter. "This second part (says Calmet) principally respects the return of the ten tribes. I have shewn in a particular dissertation, that not only Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, but all the twelve tribes, returned into their own country." Nothing is more expressly marked out in the prophets than this event; Jeremiah here foretels it in the clearest manner. But many great men have considered the return of the ten tribes here referred to, as an event which is to take place in the latter days of the Gospel. EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE COMMENTARY, "Verses 1-40 CHAPTER XXXIV RESTORATION V REVIEW 5

6. Jeremiah 30:1-24; Jeremiah 31:1-40; Jeremiah 32:1-44; Jeremiah 33:1-26 IN reviewing these chapters we must be careful not to suppose that Jeremiah knew all that would ultimately result from his teaching. When he declared that the conditions of the New Covenant would be written, not in a few parchments, but on every heart, he laid down a principle which involved the most characteristic teaching of the New Testament and the Reformers, and which might seem to justify extreme mysticism. When we read these prophecies in the light of history, they seem to lead by a short and direct path to the Pauline doctrines of Faith and Grace. Constraining grace is described in the words: "I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me." [Jeremiah 32:40] Justification by faith instead of works substitutes the response of the soul to the Spirit of God for conformity to a set of external regulations-the writing on the heart for the carving of ordinances on stone. Yet, as Newton’s discovery of the law of gravitation did not make him aware of all that later astronomers have discovered, so Jeremiah did not anticipate Paul and Augustine, Luther and Calvin: he was only their forerunner. Still less did he intend to affirm all that has been taught by the Brothers of the Common Life or the Society of Friends. We have followed the Epistle to the Hebrews in interpreting his prophecy of the New Covenant as abrogating the Mosaic code and inaugurating a new departure upon entirely different lines. This view is supported by his attitude towards the Temple, and especially the Ark. At the same time we must not suppose that Jeremiah contemplated the summary and entire abolition of the previous dispensation. He simply delivers his latest message from Jehovah, without bringing its contents into relation with earlier truth, without indeed waiting to ascertain for himself how the old and the new were to be combined. But we may be sure that the Divine writing on the heart would have included much that was already written in Deuteronomy, and that both books and teachers would have had their place in helping men to recognise and interpret the inner leadings of the Spirit. In rising from the perusal of these chapters the reader is tempted to use the prophet’s words with a somewhat different meaning: "I awaked and looked about me, and felt that I had had a pleasant dream." [Jeremiah 31:26] Renan, with cynical frankness, heads a chapter on such prophecies with the title "Pious Dreams." While Jeremiah’s glowing utterances rivet our attention, the gracious words fall like balm upon our aching hearts, and we seem, like the Apostle, caught up into Paradise. But as soon as we try to connect our visions with any realities, past, present, or in prospect, there comes a rude awakening. The restored community attained to no New Covenant, but was only found worthy of a fresh edition of the written code. Instead of being committed to the guidance of the ever-present Spirit of Jehovah, they were placed under a rigid and elaborate system of externals-"carnal ordinances, concerned with meats and drinks and divers washings, imposed until a time of reformation." [Hebrews 9:10] They still remained under the covenant "from Mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children." [Galatians 4:24-25] 6

7. For these bondservants of the letter, there arose no David, no glorious Scion of the ancient stock. For a moment the hopes of Zechariah rested on Zerubbabel, but this Branch quickly withered away and was forgotten. We need not underrate the merits and services of Ezra and Nehemiah, of Simon the Just and Judas Maccabaeus; and yet we cannot find any one of them who answers to the Priestly King of Jeremiah’s visions. The new growth of Jewish royalty came to an ignominious end in Aristobulus, Hyrcanus, and the Herods, Antichrists rather than Messiahs. The Reunion of long-divided Israel is for the most part a misnomer; there was no healing of the wound, and the offending member was cut off. Even now, when the leaven of the Kingdom has been working in the lump of humanity for nearly two thousand years, any suggestion that these chapters are realised in Modern Christianity would seem cruel irony. Renan accuses Christianity of having quickly forgotten the programme which its Founder borrowed from the prophets, and of having become a religion like other religions, a religion of priests and sacrifices, of external observances and superstitions. It is sometimes asserted that "Protestants lack faith and courage to trust to any law written on the heart, and cling to a printed book, as if there were no Holy Spirit-as if the Branch of David had borne fruit once for all, and Christ were dead. The movement for Christian Reunion seems thus far chiefly to emphasise the feuds that make the Church a kingdom divided against itself." But we must not allow the obvious shortcomings of Christendom to blind us to brighter aspects of truth. Both in the Jews of the Restoration and in the Church of Christ we have a real fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecies. The fulfilment is no less real because it is utterly inadequate. Prophecy is a guide post and not a milestone; it shows the way to be trodden, not the duration of the journey. Jews and Christians have fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecies because they have advanced by the road along which he pointed towards the spiritual city of his vision. The "pious dreams" of a little group of enthusiasts have become the ideals and hopes of humanity. Even Renan ranks himself among the disciples of Jeremiah: "The seed sown in religious tradition by inspired Israelites will not perish; all of us who seek a God without priests, a revelation without prophets, a covenant written in the heart are in many respects the disciples of these ancient fanatics" (ces vieux egares). The Judaism of the Return, with all its faults and shortcomings, was still an advance in the direction Jeremiah had indicated. However ritualistic the Pentateuch may seem to us, it was far removed from exclusive trust in ritual. Where the ancient Israelite had relied upon correct observance of the forms of his sanctuary, the Torah of Ezra introduced a large moral and spiritual element, which served to bring the soul into direct fellowship with Jehovah. "Pity and humanity are pushed to their utmost limits, always of course in the bosom of the family of Israel." The Torah moreover included the great commands to love God and man, which once for all placed the religion of Israel on a spiritual basis. If the Jews often attached more importance to the letter and form of Revelation than to its substance, and were more 7

8. careful for ritual and external observances than for inner righteousness, we have no right to cast a stone at them. It is a curious phenomenon that after the time of Ezra the further developments of the Torah were written no longer on parchment, but, in a certain sense on the heart. The decisions of the rabbis interpreting the Pentateuch, "the fence which they made round the law," were not committed to writing, but learnt by heart and handed down by oral tradition. Possibly this custom was partly due to Jeremiah’s prophecy. It is a strange illustration of the way in which theology sometimes wrests the Scriptures to its own destruction, that the very prophecy of the triumph of the spirit over the letter was made of none effect by a literal interpretation. Nevertheless, though Judaism moved only a very little way towards Jeremiah’s ideal, yet it did move, its religion was distinctly more spiritual than that of ancient Israel. Although Judaism claimed finality and did its best to secure that no future generation should make further progress, yet in spite of, nay, even by means of, Pharisee and Sadducee, the Jews were prepared to receive and transmit that great resurrection of prophetic teaching which came through Christ. If even Judaism did not altogether fail to conform itself to Jeremiah’s picture of the New Israel, clearly Christianity must have shaped itself still more fully according to his pattern. In the Old Testament both the idea and the name of a "New Covenant," superseding that of Moses, are peculiar to Jeremiah, and the New Testament consistently represents the Christian dispensation as a fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy. Besides the express and detailed application in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper as the Sacrament of His New Covenant-"This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood"; and St. Paul speaks of himself as "a minister of the New Covenant." [2 Corinthians 3:6] Christianity has not been unworthy of the claim made on its behalf by its Founder, but has realised, at any rate in some measure, the visible peace, prosperity, and unity of Jeremiah’s New Israel, as well as the spirituality of his New Covenant. Christendom has its hideous blots of misery and sin, but, on the whole, the standard of material comfort and intellectual culture has been raised to a high average throughout the bulk of a vast population. Internal order and international concord have made enormous strides since the time of Jeremiah. If an ancient Israelite could witness the happy security, of a large proportion of English workmen and French peasants, he would think that many of the predictions of his prophets had been fulfilled. But the advance of large classes to a prosperity once beyond the dreams of the most sanguine only brings out in darker relief the wretchedness of their less fortunate brethren. In view of the growing knowledge and enormous resources of modern society, any toleration of its cruel wrongs is an unpardonable sin. Social problems are doubtless urgent because a large minority are miserable, but they are rendered still more urgent by the luxury of many and the comfort of most. The high average of prosperity shows that we fail to right our social evils, not for want of power, but for want of devotion. Our civilisation is a Dives, at whose gate Lazarus often finds no crumbs. 8

9. Again Christ’s Kingdom of the New Covenant has brought about a larger unity. We have said enough elsewhere on the divisions of the Church. Doubtless we are still far from realising the ideals of chapter 31, but, at any rate, they have been recognised as supreme, and have worked for harmony and fellowship in the world. Ephraim and Judah are forgotten, but the New Covenant has united into brotherhood a worldwide array of races and nations. There are still divisions in the Church, and a common religion will not always do away with national enmities; but in spite of all, the influence of our common Christianity has done much to knit the nations together and promote mutual amity and goodwill. The vanguard of the modern world has accepted Christ as its standard and ideal, and has thus attained an essential unity, which is not destroyed by minor differences and external divisions. And, finally, the promise that the New Covenant should be written on the heart is far on the way towards fulfilment. If Roman and Greek orthodoxy interposes the Church between the soul and Christ, yet the inspiration claimed for the Church today is, at any rate in some measure, that of the living Spirit of Christ speaking to the souls of living men. On the other hand, a predilection for Rabbinical methods of exegesis sometimes interferes with the influence and authority of the Bible. Yet in reality there is no serious attempt to take away the key of knowledge or to forbid the individual soul to receive the direct teaching of the Holy Ghost. The Reformers established the right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures; and the interpretation of the Library of Sacred Literature, the spiritual harvest of a thousand years, affords ample scope for reverent development of our knowledge of God. One group of Jeremiah’s prophecies has indeed been entirely fulfilled. In Christ God has raised up a Branch of Righteousness unto David, and through Him judgment and righteousness are wrought in the earth. [Jeremiah 33:15] BI, "At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people. Religion in the home The family is a primal and universal institution, which stands alone distinct and apart from all others. Men voluntarily create States or Churches, but God putteth men in families. The relations of husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, are altogether different in origin and character from those of the ruler and the ruled, whether in civil or religious society. They began when men was created. They cannot and will not cease until the race ceases to exist. They are recognised, therefore, and they are the only associations which are so recognised in the announcement of those fundamental precepts of moral law, which we properly separate from all the other rules given to the children of Israel through Moses, and call the Ten Commandments. But it is not even in these solemn commands that the sacred and impressive character of these relations is best gathered. It is rather their frequent employment in one form or other to illustrate the relation which the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ sustain to us, which invest them with peculiar sanctity and suggestiveness. As we find the mother’s self- 9

10. oblivion and undying love to her babe used to set forth the yet more enduring tenderness of God to us; so is the pity with which the father regards even his sinful children made the type of that inexhaustible compassion which pardons all human transgressions. As we hear our blessed Lord addressing us as His brethren, and are taught that in order to make His brotherhood complete He was tempted in all respects like as we are, or have the ineffable love with which He regards His Church, and binds it to Himself in loving fellowship represented by the union of the bridegroom and the bride, so is the family the image of that glorious fellow-ship to which all true souls belong—the family in heaven and earth called after the name of Christ. I. The importance of the family relation. It is in the wise ordering of the home, the purifying of the affections in which all its relations and influences have their root, the upholding of the authority which ought ever to be maintained within it, that States and Churches alike have the best security for their peace and prosperity. 1. The feelings which are cultivated in well-regulated households and make men good sons, husbands, and fathers, are those which, when exercised in a different direction, make them good citizens and true patriots; whereas on the other side the selfishness which brooks no restraint, listens to no voice but that of its own passions, and seeks no end but their indulgence, is not more hostile to the peace and purity of the home than it is fatal to the order and progress of the nation. The most absolute collapse of a State which modern times has seen was preceded by a weakening of family ties and obligations, and the most extraordinary national development is that of a people whose loyalty to their country is not less remarkable than their devotion to their homes, and among whom, from the Emperor on the throne to the meanest of his subjects, attention to domestic duties is placed among the cardinal virtues, and the enjoyment of home happiness is esteemed one of the choicest blessings. 2. While the home is the best training-ground for the citizen, even more, if possible, ought it to be the best nursery for the Christian, and its teaching and discipline the right preparation for the Church. At all periods and in all countries where there has been any strong manifestation of the power of godliness, the family has been one of its centres It is not suggested that religious feelings can be transmitted. But it is manifest that the traditions, the associations, the beliefs and practices, and the reputation of a family may—where there is anything marked and distinctive— certainly will, materially affect each of its members. The piety of Lois and Eunice could not become the possession of Timothy, but who can doubt that he was affected by it? It must have done much, to say the least, towards creating the atmosphere by which his early life was surrounded, and so far have influenced his subsequent career. To be born into a family, where the love of God reigns is itself no small privilege. From the very dawn of intelligence one thus situated is in the midst of circumstances all tending to produce in him sentiments of reverence and devotion. He will not believe in Christ because father and grandfather believed before him, and if he were, on this account alone, to adopt a Christian creed and name, his faith would be as idle as the words in which it might be professed. He does not, caroler become a man eminent for goodness because the world or the Church looks to him thus to uphold the honour of the family name, and if he sought to do so inspired by no other motive, his life, with all the outward excellence he might discover, would be nothing more than a hollow pretence, himself no better than the whited sepulchres of the old Pharisaism. But with all this, who will undertake to deny the power which even the family traditions Of goodness, and still more the associations of the house 10

11. set apart to God, must, in many cases, exert? They are as a chain of forts, which defend the acid against the assaults of sin. They are influences which predispose a man to listen to the truth, and if they may be resisted, even if by some they are hardly felt at all, they must surely place a man in a more favourable position than, if his first ideas of religion were of a tyranny to be resisted, a fanaticism to be pitied, or an hypocrisy to be despised, in every case a power which the soul should steadily resist. They are voices speaking to the heart, and appealing to many of its strongest motives and best affections. II. The way in which family piety is to be cultivated. 1. Its foundation manifestly is parental influence. The influence which a parent exercises over his children may be composed of many elements, but the predominant one in the majority of cases must ye personal goodness. I met some time ago one, now himself the head of a household and the son of an excellent father, whose praise, as I personally know, had long remained in the church in which he was an office- bearer. As we were conversing of him, the son addressing me with strong feeling, said, “It was my father’s life which saved me from being drawn away from the faith. I was, while yet a youth, throw into the society of those who made a practice of sneering at religion as a folly or a delusion, and at all its professors as hypocrites. I thought I knew my father better, but they talked so confidently that I resolved to watch. For two years I did watch with an anxious and ever-observant care, and in what I saw of my father’s holy life I found an answer to the taunts and doubts of my companions.” It was a high testimony, and the truth of it was confirmed by the consecration of a large family to the service of Christ. The thought it suggests, indeed, may, in one aspect of it, be disquieting enough to parents. If the eyes of their household are thus continually upon them, and if its judgment on the Gospel be formed on the ground of what it sees in them, what reason is there for anxiety, even for trembling, lest the impression given be such as to prevent the truth from having its rightful power on the hearts of their children and servants! Children, of all others, are quick to detect a contrast, if such there be, between the outward deportment, especially in the presence of Christian friends or on religious seasons, and the predominant temper of the life; and the parent who thinks to atone for a prevailing worldliness by occasional outbursts of religious emotion, may at least be sure that his family will not be imposed on by these periodical fits of devotion. But if they will not give credit for a high degree of piety because of a few manifestations of spirituality which are out of accord with the general tenor of life, neither will they be led by occasional imperfections, and even inconsistencies, to ignore the evidence of spirit and character, supplied by daily conduct. 2. It must be manifested, however, in the whole conduct of the family, and perhaps in nothing more than in the ambitions which are cherished in relation to it and the means adopted for their realisation. Professions of supreme love to God, even though supported by many acts which are in accordance with them, will tell for very little if there is abundant proof that what a man desires, first and above all, for his children is not that they should be true Christians, but that they should be rich, or fashionable, or famous. Here is the secret of many failures, which at first seem almost unintelligible. There are parents who, to outward appearance, and to the best of their own belief, have trained their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; but the teaching has not been successful, and those who are disappointed in its results complain, or, at least, wonder, that the promise is not fulfilled. They have 11

12. given instruction in the doctrines of the Gospel; they have led their children to the house of God; they have sought by precept and entreaty to influence them on God’s behalf—but without success. What can be the cause? If they would look deeper and with less prejudiced eyes, it would not be hard to find. Their children are what they have made them. I have heard of some who have been more anxious about the manners and deportment of their children or pupils; others more concerned about the society into which they can get admittance; others more intent on their outward prosperity than their religion. Ought they to be surprised if the young learn the lesson and act accordingly? 3. I include under one point family influences, whether in the way of instruction, or discipline, or worship. Two remarks only will I throw out. (1) There should be a religion of the household; not only should the individual members personally recognise and seek to meet the claims of Christian duty, but there should be religious service rendered by the family as a whole. There should be the family gathering for daily worship, and the household, as a body, should present itself before God in His house. (2) There comes a time when the authority of the parent can be enforced only by moral suasion, but in those earlier and more tender years, when children are not simply to be advised, but ruled, the wise head of a household will feel that he is but exercising the right which God Himself has given, or rather, let us say, discharging the trust which God has committed to him as a steward, when he gathers his children around him, whether at the family altar or in the family pew. But this raises the question of that parental rule which it was never more necessary to maintain than at the present time. If the Son of God Himself learned obedience by the things which He suffered. He has, by that submission, taught a great lesson, which neither parents nor children should forget. (J. G. Rogers, D. D.) 2 This is what the Lord says: “The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.” BARNES, "The people which were left of the sword - A promise of the 12

13. restoration of the ten tribes to their land. The wilderness - Either the desert which lay between Assyria and Palestine; or more probably an allusion to the wilderness of Mount Sinai. Found grace ... rest - Rather, “shall certainly find grace; I will go to give Israel rest. CLARKE, "The people which were left of the sword - Those of the ten tribes that had escaped death by the sword of the Assyrians. Found grace in the wilderness - The place of their exile; a wilderness, compared to their own land. - Dahler. See Isa_40:3 GILL, "Thus saith the Lord, the people which were left of the sword,.... Which were not consumed by the sword of Pharaoh, who perished not through his cruel edicts, and by his sword, when drawn at the Red sea; nor by the sword of the Amalekites and Amorites; or of their own brethren, who sometimes, for their sins, were ordered to slay many, as on account of the molten calf, and joining to Baalpeor: but there was a remnant that escaped, who found grace in the wilderness; in the sight of God, who went before them, protected and defended them from their enemies; gave them his holy law, his statutes, and his judgments; fed them with manna and quails; clave the rocks, and gave them water to drink; and supplied them with everything necessary for them, Psa_78:5; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest; went before him in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; and in the ark, the symbol of his presence; and not only to search out a resting place for them for a few days, but to bring them to Canaan, the land of rest, which he had promised them, Exo_13:21; now this past instance of divine goodness is mentioned, to encourage faith in the fulfilment of the above promise. The whole is paraphrased by the Targum thus, "these things saith the Lord, who gave mercies to the people that came out of Egypt; he supplied their necessities in the wilderness, when they fled from before those who slay with the sword; he led them by his word, to cause Israel to dwell in a place of rest.'' Some render the words in the future, "shall find grace", &c. "shall go to his rest", &c. and so apply it to the Jews that escaped the sword of the Chaldeans, and found favour in the wilderness of the people into which they were brought, and as they returned into their own land from the captivity. And it, nay be also applied to the Jews that were left of the sword of the Romans in their last destruction, who have found much favour among the nations; as they do in ours, and others, now; and who in time will return to their own land, and be in rest, Jer_30:10. Yea, it is applicable enough to the church and people of God in their present state; who are left of the sword of the Papists, and are now in the wilderness, where they are nourished for a time, and times, and half a time; and before long will be brought into a state of settled rest and tranquillity. HENRY 2-3, "That he will do for them, in bringing them out of Babylon, as he had done for their fathers when he delivered them out of Egypt, and as he had purposed to do when he first took them to be his people. 1. He puts them in mind of what he did for 13

14. their fathers when he brought them out of Egypt, Jer_31:2. They were then, as these were, a people left of the sword, that sword of Pharaoh with which he cut off all the male children as soon as they were born (a bloody sword indeed they had narrowly escaped) and that sword with which he threatened to cut them off when he pursued them to the Red Sea. They were then in the wilderness, where they seemed to be lost and forgotten, as these were now in a strange land, and yet they found grace in God's sight, were owned and highly honoured by him, and blessed with wonderful instances of his peculiar favour, and he was at this time going to cause them to rest in Canaan. Note, When we are brought very low, and insuperable difficulties appear in the way of our deliverance, it is good to remember that it has been so with the church formerly, and yet that it has been raised up from its low estate and has got to Canaan through all the hardships of a wilderness; and God is still the same. 2. They put him in mind of what God had done for their fathers, intimating that they now saw not such signs, and were ready to ask, as Gideon did, Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us of? It is true, The Lord hath appeared of old unto me (Jer_31:3), in Egypt, in the wilderness, hath appeared with me and for me, hath been seen in his glory as my God. The years of ancient times were glorious years; but now it is otherwise; what good will it do us that he appeared of old to us when now he is a God that hides himself from us? Isa_45:15. Note, It is hard to take comfort from former smiles under present frowns. 3. To this he answers with an assurance of the constancy of his love: Yea, I have loved thee, not only with an ancient love, but with an everlasting love, a love that shall never fail, however the comforts of it may for a time be suspended. It is an everlasting love; therefore have I extended or drawn out lovingkindness unto thee also, as well as to thy ancestors, or, with lovingkindness have I drawn thee to myself as thy God, from all the idols to which thou hadst turned aside. Note, It is the happiness of those who are through grace interested in the love of God that it is an everlasting love (from everlasting in the counsels of it, to everlasting in the continuance and consequences of it), and that nothing can separate them from that love. Those whom God loves with this love he will draw into covenant and communion with himself, by the influences of his Spirit upon their souls; he will draw them with lovingkindness, with the cords of a man and bands of love, than which no attractive can be more powerful. JAMISON, "Upon the grace manifested to Israel “in the wilderness” God grounds His argument for renewing His favors to them now in their exile; because His covenant is “everlasting” (Jer_31:3), and changes not. The same argument occurs in Hos_13:5, Hos_13:9, Hos_13:10; Hos_14:4, Hos_14:5, Hos_14:8. Babylon is fitly compared to the “wilderness,” as in both alike Israel was as a stranger far from his appointed “rest” or home, and Babylon is in Isa_40:3 called a “desert” (compare Jer_50:12). I went to cause him to rest — namely, in the pillar of cloud and fire, the symbol of God’s presence, which went before Israel to search a resting-place (Num_10:33; Isa_ 63:14) for the people, both a temporary one at each halt in the wilderness, and a permanent one in Canaan (Exo_33:14; Deu_3:20; Jos_21:44; Psa_95:11; Heb_3:11). CALVIN, "I omit here any remarks on the first verse; for it was explained in connection, with the 22d verse of the last chapter (Jeremiah 30:22). The verb ‫הלוך‬ eluk, in the second verse, is in the infinitive mood, but it is to be taken as a preterite, and in this interpreters agree. But some apply it to God, that he is a leader to his people, until he brings them to rest; and as the verb, ‫,להרגיעו‬ laeregiou, to rest him, 14

15. so to speak, is in Hiphil, it seems that this ought to be ascribed to God. But we may take the words more simply, “until he betakes himself to rest;” added afterwards is the word “Israel;” and thus we may render the pronoun “himself,” and not “him,” — until then he betook himself to rest (21) Let us now come to the truth which the Prophet handles: he reminds the people, no doubt, of the ancient benefits of God, in order that the miserable exiles might entertain hope, and not doubt but that God would be their deliverer, though they were drowned, as it were, in Chaldea, and overwhelmed with a deluge of evils. This is the reason why he mentions the desert, and why Jeremiah also adds, that they who were then preserved had escaped from the sword For the people, though they dwelt in a pleasant and fertile country, were in a manner in a desert, when compared with their own country. As then the Israelites had been driven far away into foreign lands, all the regions where they then inhabited are compared to a desert. A similar mode of speaking is adopted by Isaiah when he says, “A voice crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight paths in the wilderness.” (Isaiah 40:3) What did he understand then by desert? even the most fertile regions, Chaldea, Assyria, and other neighboring countries. But with regard to the people, he thus calls these countries, because their exile was always sorrowful and miserable. So then in this place the Prophet, in order to animate the exiles with hope, says, that though they had been sent away to unknown regions, yet distance, or anything else which might seem opposed to their liberation, could not prevent God to restore them; for he formerly liberated their fathers when they were in Egypt.; Now as the Jews might again object and say, that they were few in number, and also that they were ever exposed to the sword, as they dwelt among conquerors the most cruel, he says, that their fathers were not preserved otherwise than by a miracle; they had been snatched, as it were, from the midst of death. We now perceive the design of the Prophet; and we may include in a few words the substance of what he says, — That there was no reason to fear, that God would not, in due time, deliver his people; for it was well known, that when he became formerly the liberator of his people, his power was rendered illustrious in various ways, nay, that it was inconceivably great, since for forty years he nourished his people in the desert, and also that their coming out was as though the dead arose from their graves, for the Egyptians might have easily killed the whole people; so that they were taken as it were from death, when they were led into the land which had been promised to Abraham. There was therefore no doubt but that God would again, in a wonderful way, deliver them, and manifest the same power in liberating them as was formerly exhibited towards their fathers. A profitable doctrine may hence be gathered: Whenever despair presents itself to our eyes, or whenever our miseries tempt us to despair, let the benefits of God come to our minds, not only those which we ourselves have experienced, but also those 15

16. which he has in all ages conferred on his Church, according to what David also says, who had this one consolation in his grief, when pressed down with extreme evils and almost overwhelmed with despair, “I remember the days of old.” (Psalms 143:5) So that he not only called to mind the benefits of God which he himself had experienced, but also what he had heard of from his fathers, and what he had read of in the books of Moses. In the same manner the Prophet here reminds us of God’s benefits, when we seem to be forsaken by him; for this one thought is capable of alleviating and comforting us. This is the import of the whole. It now follows — Thus saith Jehovah, — Find favor in the wilderness Did the people, the remnants of the sword, When proceeding to his rest was Israel. I take ‫הלוך‬ as a participle, the auxiliary verb being understood, as the case often is in Hebrew. Preceded by a preposition, and followed by a pronoun, ‫הרגיע‬ is a verb in the infinitive mood, used as a noun. Twelve MSS., says Blayney, have ‫הלך‬ a past tense in Kal: if so, then the meaning would be more striking, though somewhat elliptical, — Proceed (or advance) to his rest did Israel. As though he had said, “The people, who escaped the sword of Pharaoh and the slaughters which happened to them, found favor during their passage through the wilderness, and notwithstanding all opposition, Israel advanced forward to his promised rest.” — Ed. COFFMAN, "Verse 2 "Thus saith Jehovah, The people that were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel when I went to cause him to rest. Jehovah of old appeared unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: again shalt thou be adorned with thy tabrets, and shall go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit thereof. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the hills of Ephraim shall cry Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto Jehovah our God." "People that were left of the sword ..." (Jeremiah 31:2). Some see this as a reference to the deliverance from Egypt, and others suppose that it refers to the Israelites left after the destruction by Babylon. We prefer the latter understanding because, God did not call Israel to "rest" in the wilderness of Sinai, but commanded them to enter Canaan. Both explanations are acceptable. 16

17. The mention of Ephraim and Samaria in this paragraph show clearly that the Northern kingdom was meant. COKE, "Jeremiah 31:2. The people which were left, &c.— The first-fruits of salvation among the Jews are here specified, and that wilderness is meant, in which the Author of grace and his forerunner made their first appearance. The Jews were then a people left to the sword, namely, of the Chaldeans and Romans. Then the first Jews found a way to their rest, and guarded it for their posterity, to whom they left the example of their faith. The people left of the sword, and all the families of Israel, are different; as the beginning of salvation was with a few Jews, so the general salvation will take place in the whole nation. The prophet touches upon the first-fruits as a prelude to that complete and general salvation which will take place on the restoration of the Jews. Houbigant. Instead of, Even Israel, &c. Schultens reads, As Israel was marching to his glory. PETT, "Verses 2-6 As They Were Of Old Delivered From Egypt, So Israel Are Now Again To Be Redeemed And Delivered, So That They Might Find Rest Because Of YHWH’s Love For Them (Jeremiah 31:2-6). The reference back to the old deliverance from Egypt confirms that we are to see in what follows a reference to the whole of Israel. While at certain points Jeremiah will especially be emphasising the people of the northern kingdom, that is because he wishes to emphasise that they are included in YHWH’s saving activity. It might otherwise have been thought that they were excluded. But as with Isaiah Jeremiah sees the two nations as one. Both are seen as returning (Jeremiah 31:1; Jeremiah 31:27). Indeed, Israel will so much be one with Judah that they will once more seek to Zion (Jeremiah 31:12). Jeremiah 31:2 ‘Thus says YHWH,’ As usual this phrase opens up a new passage. YHWH speaks, and what He says comes about. Jeremiah 31:2 “The people who were left from the sword, Found favour in the wilderness, Even Israel, When I went to cause him to rest.” 17

18. As in Jeremiah 2:1-6 current Israel are paralleled with the Israel that came out of Egypt. Those who were left from the sword (i.e. had escaped from the swords of Pharaoh’s advancing troops) had found favour in the wilderness’ ‘Found favour’ is a typical Exodus phrase relating to YHWH being with His people (see Exodus 33:16), and the tenses of the verbs employed also support the idea. In Jeremiah 31:2-3 perfects are used, whilst in Jeremiah 31:4 we have the imperfect, ‘again I will build you’. The use of the phrase ‘in the wilderness’ (compare Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 13:4-5) further supports a reference to the Exodus. The reference to ‘escaping from the sword’ was deliberately in order to make the parallel with the Babylonian and Assyrian exiles. These exiles were truly those who had escaped from the sword which had devoured their fellow-countrymen. And these exiles too are often portrayed as returning through the wilderness (e.g. Isaiah 43:19-21; Isaiah 48:21). The aim in both cases was to ‘give them rest’ or ‘cause them to settle’. This is the opposite of Deuteronomy 28:65 where they would ‘find no rest’, and indicates a reversing of the curse. So they too will be delivered as Israel had been of old. It is probable therefore that at this stage ‘Israel’ is intended to include all the tribes as it did in the wilderness. PULPIT, "Jeremiah 31:2 The people which were left of the sword, etc.; literally, the people of those left of the sword. The expression clearly implies that the Jews at the time spoken of had escaped, or were about to escape, in some great battle or some other kind of slaughter. Hence the finding grace in the wilderness cannot refer to the sequel of the passage through the Red Sea, and we must perforce explain it of the second great deliverance, viz. from the Babylonian exile. This view is strongly confirmed by Jeremiah 51:50, where the Israelites who escape the predicted slaughter at Babylon are called "escaped ones from the sword," and exhorted to remember Jehovah and Jerusalem "afar off." The "wilderness" of the present passage, like the "afar off" of Jeremiah 51:1-64. (and of the next verse) seems to mean Babylon, which was, by comparison with the highly favoured Judah, a "barren and dry land" (comp. Psalms 63:1), a spiritual Arabia. It may be objected that the tense here is the perfect; but there is abundance of analogy for explaining it as the prophetic perfect. The restoration of the chosen people to favour is as certain in the Divine counsels as if it were already an event past. Even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest; rather, when I went to cause Israel to rest (literally, to cause him—Israel—to rest; but the pleonastic pronoun need not be represented in the English). Another possible and perhaps preferable rendering is, I will go to cause, etc. "Rest" could only be had in the consciousness of God's favor. With all the outward property of many of the Jews in Babylon, there was no true "rest." Comp. Jeremiah 16:1-21, "Ask for the old paths.; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (the same verbal root in the Hebrew for "rest" in both passages). 18

19. 3 The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. BARNES, " CLARKE, " GILL, " HENRY, " JAMISON, " K&D, "Jer_31:3 The people already see in spirit how the Lord is accomplishing His purpose, Jer_31:2. "From afar (the prophet speaks in the name of the people, of which he views himself as one) hath Jahveh appeared unto me." So long as Israel languished in exile, the Lord had withdrawn from him, kept Himself far off. Now the prophet sees Him appearing again. "From afar," i.e., from Zion, where the Lord is viewed as enthroned, the God of His people (Psa_14:7), sitting there to lead them back into their land. But the Lord at once assures the people, who have been waiting for Him, of His everlasting love. Because He loves His people with everlasting love, therefore has He kept them by His grace, so that they were not destroyed. ַ‫שׁ‬ ָ‫,מ‬ to draw, keep, restrain; hence ַ‫שׁ‬ ָ‫מ‬ ‫ד‬ ֶ‫ס‬ ֶ‫,ח‬ prolongare gratiam, Psa_36:11; Psa_109:12, but construed with ְ‫ל‬ of a person; here, with a double accusative, to restrain any one, to preserve him constantly by grace. CALVIN, "The last part is commonly rendered, “I have therefore drawn thee in mercy;” but the sense is frigid and unsuitable. I therefore doubt not but that he, on the contrary, means, that the mercy of God would not be evanescent, but would follow the people from year to year in all ages. At the beginning of the verse the Prophet introduces the Jews as making a clamor, as the unbelieving are wont to do, who, while they reject the favor of God, yet wish to appear to do so with some reason. Then, in the first place, is narrated the blasphemy of the people. These impious and diabolical words were no doubt everywhere heard at that time, “He! God has appeared to us, but it was a long while ago:” as profane men say at this day, when we bring forward examples of God’s favor from the Law or from the Prophets, or from the Gospel, He! c’est du temps jadis. Thus, they facetiously deride whatever God has at any time testified in his word, as though it were obsolete, 19

20. because it is ancient. It is the same when we announce any terrors according to ancient examples, “He! it happened formerly, but a long time ago.” They then always return to that impious common saying, Le temps jadis. And the same thing Jeremiah meant to express here, At a remote time Jehovah appeared to us; that is, “Thou indeed speakest in high terms of the redemption by which the fathers were liberated, but what is that to us? why dost not thou rather shew us plainly what God intends to do? and why dost thou not bring forward some ground for present joy? why dost thou not really prove that God is propitious to us? but thou speakest of the ancient deliverance, while that narrative is now as it were obsolete.” We hence see, that men have been always from the beginning ungrateful to God; for as far as they could, they buried the kind acts of God; nor by this only was their impiety discovered, but because they treated with scorn all ancient histories, which have yet been preserved for us, in order that our salvation might be promoted. “Whatsoever is written,” says Paul, “has been written for our instruction, that through the patience and the consolation of the Scripture we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) He there shews that we are to learn patience from the examples contained in the Scripture, and that we have there a ground for strong consolation, so that we may cherish hope until God delivers us from all miseries. But what say the profane?” He, thou tellest us what has been written, but this is remote from us, and through length of time has vanished away: what is antiquity to us?” But though the Jews used this sacrilegious language, let us yet learn to embrace whatever is set before us in Scripture, while God invites us to hope for mercy, and at the same time exhorts us to patience; nor let this blasphemy ever fall from our mouths; nay, let not this thought ever creep into our hearts, “God appeared a long while ago.” Let us then abominate the ingratitude of those who would have God to be always present, and yet pay no regard to his ancient benefits. Hence the Prophet answers, But, etc.: the copulative ‫ו‬ is here an adversative, as though he had said, Nay, or Yea, for it may also be taken for ‫,גם‬ gam, “Yea, I have loved thee with perpetual love.” Then God answers the ungodly, and shews, that he having become once the liberator of his people, did not undertake this office through a momentary impulse, but because he had so promised to Abraham, and had adopted the people. Since then God’s covenant was perpetual, he thus refutes here the impious calumny, that God acted bountifully only for a moment towards his people, and had regard only once for their miseries, so as to help them. Yea, he says, I have loved thee with perpetual love God then here shews, that the redemption, by which he had exhibited a remarkable proof of his mercy, was founded on the gratuitous adoption which was not for one year, but perpetual in its duration. We thus see that he reproves the detestable blasphemy of the people, and intimates that adoption was the cause of their redemption. And this passage ought to be carefully noticed: for these false imaginations come 20

21. immediately to our minds, when we read or hear how God had in various ways and degrees been merciful towards his people, “He! that happened formerly, but we know not whether God’s purpose remains the same; he, indeed, conferred this favor on his ancient people, but we know not whether the same can or will be extended to us.” Thus the devil, by his craft, suggests to us these false imaginations, which impede the flow of God’s favor, that it may not come to us. So the grace of God is stopped in its course, when we thus separate ourselves from the fathers, and from all his servants towards whom he has been so merciful. It is, therefore, a doctrine especially useful, when the Prophet shews, that whatever blessings God has at any time conferred on his ancient people, they ought to be ascribed to his gratuitous covenant, and that that covenant is eternal: and hence there is no doubt but that God is at this day prepared to secure the salvation of all the godly; for he remains ever the same, and never changes; and he would also have his fidelity and constancy to shine forth in the covenant which he has made with his Church. Since, then, the covenant of God is inviolable and cannot fail, even were heaven and earth brought into confusion, we ought to feel assured that God will ever be a deliverer to us: how so? because his covenant remains the same; and, therefore, his power to deliver us will remain the same. This is the use we ought to make of this clause. A confirmation afterwards follows, Therefore have I prolonged towards thee my mercy I have already said, that this clause is otherwise rendered and explained. But nothing can be more diluted when we read thus, “I have drawn thee in mercy.” What has this to do with the perpetuity or the continued course and progress of love? But the other meaning is very suitable, that God would prolong his mercy to Israel. There is understood only one letter, but this does not interfere with the sense; and such forms of speech are elsewhere often found, he then says, that as he had embraced Israel with perpetual love, he had, therefore, drawn out or extended his mercy; for from the time he delivered his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh, and fed them forty years in the desert, he had bestowed on them many benefits. For with what victories favored he them? and then how often had he pitied them? God then ceased not from continuing his mercy to them from the time he had stretched forth his hand to them. And according to this view it is very appropriately said, that he had prolonged his mercy; for not only for one day or one year did he shew himself propitious to the Israelites, but he had exhibited himself the same for four hundred, five hundred, six hundred years. And thus also is best confuted that impiety and blasphemy of the people, that God had formerly appeared to them; “Nay,” he says, “except thou suppressest most wickedly my benefits, thou must perceive that the benefits I conferred on thy fathers have been long extended to thee, and have been perpetual and manifold.” (22) We now perceive the real meaning of the Prophet. Were any to prefer turnin

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