7. The difficulting of establishing the order. The frequent ὕστερον πρότερον, hysteron proteron, in it. The five parts of the book are set forth. I. Prophecies, sermons, and Histories concerning the Jewish people (Jeremiah 1-36). II. History of the captivity and ruin of the people, the interpreter of the Prophecies of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 37-44). III. The speech of Jeremiah to Baruch (Jeremiah 45). IV. Prophecies against the nations (Jeremiah 46-51). V. Recapitulation of the history of Zedekiah, the destruction of the city, and the captivity of the people (Jeremiah 52). A Synoptic Table of the book, and its Interpreters, ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Hebrew.
Now, this work is so diverse that in it a certain order is hardly able to be observed. Of which matter the reason is the same as that which above we fetched from the mind of Calvin in the Prolegomena on Isaiah. Abarbanel in his Proœmia in Jeremiam not incorrectly observed, that in his words is discovered a מוקדם מאוחר והמאוחר קודם, πρότερον ὕστερον, καὶ ὕστερον πρότερον, the former latter, and the latter former: and that it obtains more rarely among the other prophets, but frequently in Jeremiah. Whence others busy themselves in writing chronotaxis, or a description of the prophesies corresponding more exactly to the progress of time. Nevertheless, because we have promised a sort of aid for memory, and it is something to have made a start, if it is not granted to go further, we institute a sort of order, in which, although in distinct parts, things shall appear commingled by frequent repetitions, and the prophecies and histories shall appear conjoined; being about to enter upon a division organized into five parts, in which are related, First, sermons, Prophecies, and histories concerning the Jews (Jeremiah 1-36); Second, the fulfillment of certain prophecies in the history of the Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 37-44); Third, the word of GOD to Baruch (Jeremiah 45); Fourth, Prophecies against the nations (Jeremiah 46-51); Fifth and finally, the history of the destruction of the people repeated (Jeremiah 52).
I. Prophecies, sermons, and histories concerning the Jewish people, Chapters 1-36. Now, it is resolved both into various sermons and Prophecies, and into histories: it will be helpful to elicit them in that order in which they lie in the text. See, then:
1. The Prologue, and in it, both the calling of Jeremiah, vainly attempting to evade the prophetic office (verses 1-10); and the signs set before the same, namely, the visions of the almond rod and the pot seething toward the North, wherein the sum of the prophecy against the Jews is represented to him (verses 11-16); and the confirmation of Jeremiah in the prophetic office (verses 17-19): chapter 1.
2. Prophetic sermons before the captivity, under King Josiah, chapters 2-19, which are:
a. Simple, chapters 2-12. See:
α. Sermon I, penitential and Prophetic, chapters 2-6, in which GOD:
א. With His blessings toward the people enumerated, convicts the Priests and Prophets of defection, hypocrisy, and idolatry (verses 1-13), and also of obstinacy against punishments, the shedding of innocent blood, harlotry with the Egyptians, as also previously with the Assyrians (verses 14-37): chapter 2.
ב. Recalls the people, put away from Himself on account of fornication with idols, to repentance (verses 1-11), and creates hope of a return to Zion, a gift of pastors according to His own heart, grace in Christ, the conversion of the nations, and υἱοθεσίας/adoption (verses 12-25): chapter 3.
ג. With the character of true repentance and circumcision delineated (verses 1-4), foretells destruction to the Jews, which the Prophet, foreseeing it in the Spirit and being present, as it were, and mourning with pathos, magnifies (verses 5-31): chapter 4.
ד. Exhibiting the people’s passive corruption, perjury, contumacy, even of their great men (verses 1-8), and announcing the punishment of destruction, makes the words of Jeremiah a fire, and the people fuel (verses 9-14); indicates the coming of Chaldea (verses 15-19); and again hammers upon the people’s crimes, neglect of the fear of God, deceit, and universal injustice (verses 20-31): chapter 5.
ה. Denounces against the tribe of Judah most terrible calamities, about to come upon them from the Chaldeans (verses 1-7), enumerates and magnifies the cause of so great an evil, even their most grievous crimes (verses 8-17), and by an ἐπάνοδον/recapitulation returns to the declaration of the Babylonian war, and depicts the state of the Jewish people with some incredibly apt images (verses 18-30): chapter 6.
β. Sermon II, penitential and Prophetic, delivered in the gate of the house of Jehovah to those entering, chapters 7-9, in which God:
א. Exhorting to straight paths (verses 1-3), rebukes the people’s vain confidence in the temple and ceremonial worship (verses 4-29), and orders a definitive sentence to be passed against the same refractory people bring abominations into the Temple and building shrines in Tophet (verses 30-34): chapter 7.
ב. Denouncing coming evils, the unearthing of bodies, to be exposed to the Sun and the Moon (verses 1-4), accuses them of obstinacy, stupor in observing the judgments of God, the corruption of God’s law by the pen of the forger, presumption of peace, etc. (verses 5-15); and adumbrates their coming consternation, with the Prophet weeping much and exhausting himself (verses 16-22): chapter 8.
ג. With the Prophet continuing in that weeping and magnifying the depravity of the people (verses 1-6), God reveals His own decree concerning the kindling of the people, and the devastation of the land; rouses the wise to observe the reasons for the judgments; threatens dispersion (verses 7-16); commands the women hired for weeping to be called; explains true glorying in Jehovah (verses 17-24); finally, denounces upon the uncircumcised circumcised (verses 25, 26): chapter 9.
γ. Sermon III, in which, with the unity of God demonstrated, the idolatry and astrology of the nations are prohibited (verses 1-16); the sad fates of the inhabitants of the land and merchants are revealed (verses 17, 18): whence the Prophets, testifying of his commiseration, charges the brutishness of the Pastors (verses 19-22), and, seeking for a moderated punishment, asks God to pour out His anger upon the nations (verses 23-35): chapter 10.
δ. Sermon IV, in which,
א. The Prophet, requiring the observance of the covenant entered into with the Fathers (verses 1-8), accuses the people of defection to other Gods, and denounces evils against them, with no one interceding for them (verses 9-17); finally, he sets up the men of Anathoth as an example of malice (verses 18-23): chapter 11.
ב. The Prophet disputes concerning the judgments of God, to whom, asking concerning the happiness of the wicked (verses 1-4), God responds, that thus consideration is shown to the pious, when the impious are endured: that the unpunished sins are not released by God, who chastens His people (verses 5-13); that Judah is to be restored, with the neighboring nations devoted to destruction, and, if it learn to swear in His name, is to be planted in the midst of His people (verses 14-17): chapter 12.
b. Sermons formed with types and dialogues, chapters 13-19. See:
α. Sermon V, wherein God, by a twofold type, the girdle of the Prophet (verses 1-11), and an adage, every skin shall be filled with wine (verse 12), adumbrates the corruption and dashing together of the people as if drunken (verses 13, 14), appoint humility for the people and the King, even on account of the ruin of the flock because of their sin (verses 15-22), and finally foretells their impenitence and destruction (verses 23-27): chapter 13.
β. Sermon VI, in which,
א. With famine rising (verses 1-6), the Prophet implores faithfulness and mercy of God (verses 7-9), and sets forth His implacable wrath (verses 10-12), argues the vanity of the Prophets promising peace, and, denouncing destruction against them and the people, weeps (verses 13-18), and finally petitions God for a gracious shower (verses 19-22): chapter 14.
ב. Is the response of God, in which He reveals the decreed punishment of the people, and its reasons (verses 1-9): but the Prophet, turning back to doleful lamentation, receives God’s consolation, and sentence concerning himself (verses 10-14), and, finally, with his faith set forth, and complaining of his misery (verses 15-18), is admonished concerning the performing of his office, and is confirmed against all evils (verses 19-21): chapter 15.
γ. Sermon VII, in which,
א. The Prophet, having been commanded to abstain from marriage, mourning, and feasting, renders the cause of it, namely, the wrath of God (verses 1-9), and the cause of the wrath of God, namely, the disobedience of the people (verses 10-13); consoles the pious with a promised renewal of the Church of the remnants of the Jews and the Gentiles (verses 14-18); glorifies God on account of the conversion of the Gentiles (verse 19); and declares the manifestation of divine power (verses 20, 21): chapter 16.
ב. He amplifies the sin of the Jews, the worship of idols, and its punishment (verses 1-4), demonstrating by antithesis, that those that trust in human helps are cursed, but those that truse in God alone are blessed (verses 5-8): He extols the wisdom of God in searching the heart of man (verses 9-11); celebrates the true sanctuary far above the former (verses 12-18); and, finally, calls the King and people to the commandment and covenant (verses 19-27): chapter 17.
δ. Sermon VIII, in which God, by the example of a potter remaking a broken vessel, shows that the right belongs to Him to scatter the impenitent, and to restore the penitent (verses 1-10), whence He commands the Prophet to exhort to repentance, but to denounce punishment against the obstinate (verses 11-17), with the Jews for this reason plotting against the Prophet, against whom He gravely imprecates (verses 18-23): chapter 18.
ε. Sermon IX, delivered before the East gate in Tophet and the valley of Ben Hinnom, in which, both with the type of the shattering of an earthen bottle, and with a speech delivered to the Priests and Elders, threatening evils are again predicted (verses 1-13); and in the court of the house of God similar things are denounced against the people (verses 14, 15): chapter 19.
3. A history of Jeremiah, smitten on account of the preceding sermon by Pashur the Priest, and thrust into prison, against whom, under the name מָגוֹר מִסָּבִיב, Magor-missabib, fear all around, he gives a presentiment of terrible things (verses 1-6), and, complaining to God, that the word to him resulted in abuse, yet not being able to execute his intention of remaining silent for the future, because the word in his heart was a burning fire (verses 7-9), he glories in the the help of God against enemies (verses 10-13), and, meditating upon the gravity of divine vengeance, curses the day of his birth (verses 14-18): chapter 20.
4. Sermon X, delivered with Nebuchadnezzar besieging Jerusalem. In which the Prophet, prophesying the captivity of Zedekiah and the burning of the city (verses 1-7), urges flight from the city to the camp of the Chaldeans (verses 8-10), commends justice to the King (verses 11, 12), and denounces the burning of the city against the people trusting in their fortifications (verses 13, 14): chapter 21.
5. Sermon XI, delivered earlier, when the affairs of Judah were yet in good repair, chapters 22, 23. In which:
a. The Prophet, at the command of God, exhorting the King, Princes, and people to repentance, mixes promises and threats (verses 1-9), foretells evils to King Jehoahaz or Shallum (verses 10-12), and denounces most grievous calamities upon Jehoiakim building presumptuously (verses 13-23), and upon Jeconiah (verses 24-30): chapter 22.
b. Threatening punishment against the pastors and aristocrats (verses 1-3), he promises the re-gathering of the people, with the agreement of Pastors, a righteous Branch, Jehovah our righteousness (verses 4-8), threatens the Prophets and Priests with a slippery path, and the drinking of wormwood and gall, on account of hypocrisy (verses 9-15), imploring the people not to follow them (verses 16-32); in consulting the Prophet, or in relating the word of God, he prohibits the use of the term מַשָּׂא, burdensome Prophecy (verses 33-40): chapter 23.
6. Sermon XII, under Zedekiah, wherein the Prophet, with two baskets of figs seen, both wholesome and inedible (verses 1-3), declares that God delights in Jeconiah and those carried off with him to Babylon, as good figs (verses 4-7), but is averse to Zedekiah and those remaining with him at Jerusalem (verses 8-10): chapter 24.
7. Sermon XIII, delivered in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, wherein, indicating to the King and the Jews the causes and duration of the Babylonian calamity (verses 1-11), he also foretells the end of the Babylonian Kingdom after seventy years (verses 12-14); enumerates the nations to which, after the chastisement of the people of God, the cup of divine wrath is to be given (verses 15-29); and finally, foretelling the deluge of divine judgments on the whole world (verses 30-33), imposes weeping on the Pastors (verses 34-38): chapter 25.
8. Sermon XIV, delivered near the beginning of the Kingdom of Jehoiakim, wherein, exhorting the Jewish people to repentance with the threat of great evils, unless they obey (verses 1-6), and having been seized by the Prophets and Priests, he is accused (verses 7-11), is acquitted in public trial, and is defended by the authority of Ahikam (verses 12-24): chapter 26.
9. Sermon XV, and its aftermath, chapters 27, 28. See:
a. The sermon, wherein, with the power of Nebuchadnezzar magnified by the Symbol of a yoke and bonds worn, and transferred to the neighboring Kings (verses 1-11), he exhorts Zedekiah to submit his neck willingly to the Chaldeans (verses 12, 13), and dehorts from believing the Prophets promising the restoration of the vessels of the Temple (verses 14-22): chapter 27.
b. The aftermath, wherein is the contradiction of the Prophet Hananiah (verses 1-4), whom, presaging to the Jews and their neighbors good things, and to the Chaldeans bad things, Jeremiah refutes, until, with he violently breaking the yoke from his neck, he withdraws (verses 5-11); but he, soon returning, amplifies his Prophecy, and foretells the death of Hananiah, soon confirmed by the event (verses 12-17): chapter 28.
10. Sermons delivered under Zedekiah, chapters 29-34. See:
a. Two epistles, both of Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, wherein he urges that they might be overspread with a calm spirit until the end of the captivity, with the end promised after seventy years; but he foretells calamities to Zedekiah remaining in Jerusalem, and also to the False Prophet Ahab, son of Kolaiah, and companion of Zedekiah (verses 1-23): and of Shemaiah, written against Jeremiah to Zephaniah the High Priest, with whom he expostulates concerning Jeremiah left unreproved (verses 24-29), with Jeremiah then denouncing against him a deadly destruction (verses 30-32): chapter 29.
b. Sermon XVI, pertaining to the Gospel, wherein,
α. The Prophet, having been commanded to write the Prophecy in a book, with mention of the evils wherewith Judah is pressed set before (verses 1-7), foretells the future, that not only would the exiles of Judah, having been brought back from Babylon, be restored to their former condition, but also the elect children of God would be freed from the servitude of sin through Christ (verses 8-22); on the other hand, a storm would fall upon the head of the wicked, and continue unto the time of the end (verses 23, 24): chapter 30.
β. God, persisting in the consolation of the pious, declares that grace is going to come to the Jews (verses 1-14), both showing the signs of the appearance of Christ (verses 15, 16), and the return of the children driven away, the repentance of Ephraim, the blessing of Israel as the fruit of the death of Christ, the multiplication of the seed, the non-imputation of the sins of the Fathers, the blessings of the New Testament (verses 17-34); He promises the preservation of Israel and the rebuilding of the city (verses 35-40): chapter 31.
c. Sermon XVII, delivered in the tenth year of King Zedekiah, wherein the Prophet, buying a field, sealing the bill of purchase, and hiding it in an earthen vessel through Baruch, confirming his own promise concerning the inhabiting of the land (verses 1-15), then expostulates with God, because the present siege and coming captivity does not appear to answer to the promise (verses 16-25). After which God denounces approaching judgment, and promises the regathering of the people and an effusion of grace (verses 26-44): chapter 32.
d. Sermon XVIII, pertaining to the Gospel, in which the Prophet repeats the oracle concerning the destruction of the city (verses 1-5); distinctly explains that grace is to be furnished to the city and its inhabitants for the future, promising redemption, the forgiveness of sins, the calling of the Gentiles (verses 6-9), and, with the city restored again, an exhibition of Christ, the Branch of righteousness, and of salvation through Him, and the eternal stability of the throne of David and of the seed of the Levites (verses 10-18); and confirms the same promise with examples from nature against the murmuring of the people (verses 19-26): chapter 33.
e. Sermon XIX, in which he, not only denouncing the destruction of the city, but also Zedekiah’s captivity and sorrowful end, yet not without the consolation of an honorable burial (verses 1-7), threatens the men of Jerusalem, with a covenant entered into concerning the setting of Hebrew slaves free, perfidiously bringing the same slaves back into servitutde, that it is going to happen that God is going to deliver those free men to the sword, pestilence, and famine, but th city unto burning by the Chaldeans (verses 8-22): chapter 34.
11. Sermon XX, delivered during the reign of Jehoiakim, wherein God instructs by the obedience of the Rechabites set forth to the Jews (verses 1-11), and complains that human precepts are more religiously observed than Divine (verses 12-15), and so, threatening the refractory Jews with punishment, promises blessing to the Rechabites (verses 16-19): chapter 35.
12. History of the Prophecies of Jeremiah, written down by Baruch, with Jeremiah dictating, and gathered into one scroll, and read to the people (verses 1-10); after which the princes summon Baruch, hear him read, and advise him to hide with Jeremiah (verses 11-20): but the King, with a part of the scroll heard, orders it to be burned, and Jeremiah and Baruch to be seized (verses 21-26), with Jeremiah afterwards pronouncing evils upon the King and Kingdom, and taking care that the scroll be written in its entirety (verses 27-32): chapter 36.
II. History of the captivity and ruin of the people, the interpreter of the Prophecies of Jeremiah, Chapters 37-44. See:
1. The Antecedents of the captivity, chapters 37, 38.
a. The straits of Zedekiah, vainly soliciting through messengers the intercession of Jeremiah (verses 1-10), after which, with the siege broken up, the Prophet, having been smitten, is thrust into prison (verses 11-15); he, having been set at liberty by the King, persists in denouncing captivity to him, and at the command of the King is kept more mildly in the courtyard of the prison (verses 16-21): chapter 37.
b. The thrusting of Jeremiah, preaching in the prison, down into a worse prison (verses 1-6); having been brought forth from there by the effort of Ebed-melech, a pious courtier, he is consulted by the King, to whom he reveals an oracle of God (verses 7-23), and is instructed by the King how he ought to respond to the questions of the Princes, and is detained in a broader prison (verses 24-28): chapter 38.
2. Concomitants: the occupation of Jerusalem; the punishment of Zedekiah by Nebuchadnezzar, inflicted on his sons and nobles; the carrying away of the people; the burning of the Palace and houses of the city (verses 1-10): on the other hand, the liberation of Jeremiah by Nebuzaradan, who commits him to the care of Gedaliah (verses 11-14); finally, the deliverance of Ebed-melech because of his confidence in the words of Jeremiah (verses 15-18): chapter 39.
3. The Consequences of the destruction, chapters 40-44. See:
a. The humanity of Nebuzaradan towards Jeremiah now liberated, to whom he gives the option of remaining or departing, with Jeremiah going unto Gedaliah at Mizpah (verses 1-6), with the remnant gathering itself to the same, to which he urges confidence towards Babylon (verses 7-12), and with the plots of Baalis, the King of the Ammonites, detected by Johanan, to whom Gedaliah refused to give confidence (verses 13-16): chapter 40.
b. The treacherous murder of Gedaliah and his associates, perpetrated by Ishmael at Mizpah (verses 1-7), and the deportation of the rest by the same Ishmael (verses 8-10), who are liberated by Johanan (verses 11-15), taking counsel with the remnant to migrate to Egypt (verses 16-18): chapter 41.
c. The counsel of Jeremiah, solicited by the princes of the people departing into Egypt, that he might consult God concerning the journey, presented in the name of God, that they should remain in the land, and await the blessing of God in it (verses 1-12); He denounces ruin upon those despising this counsel (verses 13-22): chapter 42.
d. The departure of the princes of the people and the rest unto Egypt, carrying Jeremiah also away captive, together with Baruch (verses 1-7); Jeremiah in Egypt, in the city of Tahpanhes, foretells destruction to the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar (verses 8-13): chapter 43.
e. The sermon of Jeremiah to the Jews dwelling in Egypt, wherein he dehorts them from idolatry by the induction of previous examples (verses 1-14), and upon those persisting in idolatry upon pretext of prosperity (verses 15-19) he threatens a frightfully sever judgment from God (verses 20-28), and confirms the whole prophecy by the sign of the ruin of the King of Egypt (verses 29, 30): chapter 44.
III. A word of Jeremiah to Barach, who, with Jeremiah dictating to him the calamities of the people, was pierced with excessive sorrow (verses 1-3), from which Jeremiah recalls him, too accustomed to prosperity, to adversity, when God destroys what He had built; and confirms the same with the promise of life (verses 4, 5), Chapter 45.
IV. Prophecies against the nations, Chapters 46-51. See the Prophecies:
1. Against the Egyptians, against whom he foretells both defeat at the Euphrates (verses 1-12), and also the coming occupation and devastation of their land by Nebuchadnezzar, with a hope of restoration added (verses 13-26), and, finally, a subjoined consolation for Israel and a promise of tranquility, but not without chastisement (verses 27, 28): chapter 46.
2. Against the Philistines, Tyrians, Sidonians, and Syrians, against whom he proclaims defeats at the hands of the Chaldeans (verses 1-5); and the advancing of the sword is indicated, with the Prophet interceding in vain (verses 6, 7): chapter 47.
3. Against the Moabites, against whom is denounced destruction at the hands of the Chaldeans on account of the worship of idols, pride, faith in riches, blasphemy against God, and a most bitter hatred of the Chaldeans (verses 1-46); and liberation from captivity is promised in the latter days (verse 47): chapter 48.
4. Against the Ammonites (verses 1-6), the Edomites (verses 7-22), the Syrians (verses 23-27), the Arabs (verses 28-33), and the Elamites (verses 34-38), with liberation promised to the Elamites at the end of days (verse 39): chapter 49.
5. Against the Babylonians, or Chaldeans, against whom,
a. He threatens desolation from a Northern nation (verses 1-3), and foretells to the men of Judah and of Israel a return to their fatherland afterwards (verses 4-8), portending the destruction of the Empire (verses 9-18), promising the return of Israel and the assigning of sin unto oblivion (verses 19-21); he against denounces destruction by the Medes and the Persians, and depicts at lenth their coming journeys, arrival, siege, occupation, and losses (verses 22-46): chapter 50.
b. He again announces the fanning, extreme slaughter, and a sudden fall, with the cause alleged, namely, the violent oppression of the people of God, to whom redemption is promised (verses 1-58). Then the prophecy itself is sent to Babylon, first to be publicly read by Seraiah, and afterwards to be submerged in the river Euphrates (verses 59-64): chapter 51.
V. Recapitulation of the history of Zedekiah, the destruction of the city, and the captivity of the people (verses 1-30), in which also is the restoration of Jehoiachin by Evil-merodach, setting him free, and treating him with liberality (verses 31-34), Chapter 52.