Jeremiah 1:15
For, see, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, said the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) I will call.—Literally, I am calling. The evil is not merely future, but is actually begun.

All the families of the kingdoms of the north.—In the Hebrew the words are in apposition, all the families, even the kingdoms of the north. The words point chiefly to the Chaldæans and other inhabitants of Babylonia, but may probably include also the Scythians, who about this time spread like a deluge over Asia Minor and Syria, and penetrated as far as Ascalou (Herod. i. 105).

They shall set every one his throne.—i.e., shall usurp the administration of justice, and set up their thrones of judgment in the space near the gates in which kings usually sat to hear complaints and decide causes (2Samuel 15:2; Psalm 127:5). In Jeremiah 39:3 we have a literal fulfilment of the prediction.

Against all the walls.—As the previous words speak of a formal usurpation of power, so do these of invasion and attack, the storming of the lesser cities of Judah, while Jerusalem became the centre of the foreign government.

Jeremiah 1:15-16. For lo, I will call — Or, I am upon calling, or, about to call; all the families of the kingdoms of the north — By these seem to be meant the different nations who were subject to Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar, and who served in their armies, such as the Medes, Armenians, Chaldeans, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and Syrians. The kings of Assyria were formerly troublesome to the Jews, chiefly under Ahaz and Hezekiah; but they do not seem to be spoken of here, but only those people who, from the thirteenth year of Josiah, when Jeremiah had this vision, grievously harassed Judea, until the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, to whom the kings of the north were either tributaries or auxiliaries. And they shall set every one his throne, &c. — To set up a throne in, or over, any place, denotes taking full possession of it, as appears from Jeremiah 43:10; Jeremiah 49:38 : but, by thrones here, seats, pavilions, or tents pitched, may be intended; and so this prophecy was fulfilled when the city was taken by Nebuchadnezzar: see Jeremiah 39:3. And I will utter my judgments against them — Namely, against the Jews, for this is spoken of them, and not of the kings or people, mentioned in the foregoing verse; touching their wickedness — Then I will no longer speak unto them by my prophets, whose threatenings they have disregarded; but the judgments which I will bring upon them shall declare their wickedness, and the vengeance due unto them for it.1:11-19 God gave Jeremiah a view of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments. God also showed whence the intended ruin should arise. Jeremiah saw a seething-pot boiling, representing Jerusalem and Judah in great commotion. The mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, was toward the north; from whence the fire and fuel were to come. The northern powers shall unite. The cause of these judgments was the sin of Judah. The whole counsel of God must be declared. The fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. Better to have all men our enemies than God our enemy; those who are sure they have God with them, need not, ought not to fear, whoever is against them. Let us pray that we may be willing to give up personal interests, and that nothing may move us from our duty.I will call - I am calling. The judgment has begun. God is summoning His hosts to the war.

Families - The various races by which the provinces of the Babylonian empire were populated.

They shall set every one his throne - The chiefs of these various races come as God's ministers to hold solemn court, and give sentence in His name (see Jeremiah 25:9). They therefore set each one his throne in the usual place for administering justice, namely, the entering in of the gates, where a large open space was always left in cities for the purpose. Viewed in one light war is the boiling caldron of human passion, upset by hazard, and bringing only ruin in its course; in the other it is God sitting in judgment, with the kings of the earth as His assessors, solemnly pronouncing sentence upon the guilty.

Against all the walls ... - Sentence judicially pronounced, the nations come to execute judgment by mounting as enemies upon her walls and storming her cities.

15. families—the tribes or clans composing the various kingdoms of Babylon; the specification of these aggravates the picture of calamity (Jer 25:9).

throne at … gates—the usual place of administering justice. The conquering princes will set up their tribunal there (Jer 39:3, 5; 52:9). Or the reference is to the military pavilion (Jer 43:10) [Maurer].

I will call; or, I am upon calling, it is at hand, I am about to incline the northern countries to join together in this work, Jeremiah 6:22 10:22 25:9,26.

The families, or kindreds, viz. those divers countries and nations that were under one lord, as a chief ruler is called the father of his country.

The kingdoms, viz. the Babylonians and their assistants, the Medes also being in confederacy with them, whose king’s daughter Nebuchadnezzar married.

They shall set every one his throne; their seats, pavilions, or tents shall be pitched, which shall be as so many thrones, where I will see my judgments executed by the Chaldeans, Jeremiah 52:4.

At the entering of the gates; at the entering to the gates, or way leading to the gates, Judges 9:35 2 Kings 7:3 Jeremiah 43:9, which besiegers have always a special regard to, that there be no going in or coming out, Isaiah 22:7.

Against all the walls thereof round about; they shall begirt it round, noting the great multitude, power, and courage of the Chaldeans.

Against all the cities; there were none of them should fare any better than Jerusalem. For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord,.... Which belonged unto and were under the jurisdiction of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and the "call" of them, as Kimchi well observes, is no other than putting it into their hearts to come:

and they shall come; being influenced and directed by the providence of God, who had a principal concern in this matter:

and they shall set everyone his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem; meaning, not only that they should pitch their military tents, and encamp about Jerusalem, and place themselves at the entering of the gates, in order to get in; but that they should sit down there in great safety and security, and be very successful, victorious, and triumphant:

and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah; not only besiege Jerusalem, and take that, but also all the rest of the cities of the land.

For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. all the families of the kingdoms] Probably we should read (with LXX) all the kingdoms, “families” in that case being in the first instance an explanatory gloss, afterwards taken into the text.

they shall set every one his throne] The chiefs of the invading army, having captured the city, will take their places to administer justice, and inflict punishment on the guilty. For this assemblage of nations against Jerusalem, cp. Isaiah 17:12 ff. The gate of the city, or rather a large space in its neighbourhood, was reserved free of buildings, and was the ordinary place at which trials were held and sentences declared. Cp. Deuteronomy 16:18; Deuteronomy 17:8; Ruth 4:1. For the word throne as used to denote the judgement-seat, see Psalm 9:4; Psalm 122:5; Proverbs 20:8. The general sense of the verse is that it is not without reason, or as the blind act of ambitious and more powerful nations, that Jerusalem is to be overthrown. That overthrow will take place as a judicial act, as a consequence of wickedness, and after the case had been duly weighed in the balances.

and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah] As the text now stands, the prophet mingles the two thoughts of a besieging army and of a judicial sentence and its execution. It is in point of fact by the scaling of the walls of Jerusalem and the capture of the other cities of the country that the sentence is to be carried out, and Jeremiah here as elsewhere (see Intr. iii. § 14 (d) and note) breaks off his simile or metaphor with abruptness and takes up anew the literal statement.Verse 15. - I will call; literally, I am calling; i.e. I am about to call. The kingdoms of the north; alluding possibly to the varied origin of the population of Assyria and Babylonia. But more probably it is simply a suggestive phrase, for the wide extent of the hostile empire referred to (comp. Jeremiah 25:9). They shall set every one his throne, etc. The kings, or. the, generals, representing "all the families, etc., shall set up the high seat of power and judicial authority at the broad space within the gate of the city, which constituted the Oriental forum (comp. Genesis 23:10; Joshua 20:4; Job 29:7; Job 31:21). Thither the besieged would have to come to surrender themselves (2 Kings 24:12) and to hear their fate. A similar prediction is made with regard to Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 43:9, 10). It is true the seat of authority is there said to be placed at the entrance of the palace, but this was in fact another place where justice was wont to be administered (Jeremiah 22:2, 3). Jerome's view, adopted by Rosenmüller and Nagelsbach, that "to set one's seat" means "to besiege" is against usage, and does not accord with the opening words of ver. 16. There is, however, an element of truth in it. The judgment executed ministerially by the northern kings or generals began with the siege of Jerusalem and the other cities, and hence the words with which the prophet continues. And against all the walls, etc. We should have expected something like "and shall set themselves in array against," etc. (comp. Isaiah 22:7 b); see, however, last note. The Consecration. - Jeremiah 1:9. "And Jahveh stretched forth His hand, and touched my mouth, and Jahveh said to me, Behold, I put my words into thy mouth. Jeremiah 1:10. Behold, I set thee this day over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root up and to ruin, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant." In order to assure him by overt act of His support, the Lord gives him a palpable pledge. He stretches out His hand and causes it to touch his mouth (cf. Isaiah 6:7); while, as explanation of this symbolical act, He adds: I have put my words in thy mouth. The hand is the instrument of making and doing; the touching of Jeremiah's mouth by the hand of God is consequently an emblematical token that God frames in his mouth what he is to speak. It is a tangible pledge of ἔμπνευσις, inspiratio, embodiment of that influence exercised on the human spirit, by means of which the holy men of God speak, being moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Peter 1:21 (Nδgelsb.). The act is a real occurrence, taking place not indeed in the earthly, corporeal sphere, but experienced in spirit, and of the nature of ecstasy. By means of it God has consecrated him to be His prophet, and endowed him for the discharge of his duties; He may now entrust him with His commission to the peoples and kingdoms, and set him over them as His prophet who proclaims to them His word. The contents of this proclaiming are indicated in the following infinitive clauses. With the words of the Lord he is to destroy and to build up peoples and kingdoms. The word of God is a power that carries out His will, and accomplishes that whereto He sends it, Isaiah 55:10. Against this power nothing earthly can stand; it is a hammer that breaks rocks in pieces, Jeremiah 23:29. What is here said of the word of Jahveh to be preached by Jeremiah is said of Jahveh Himself in Jeremiah 31:28. Its power is to show itself in two ways, in destroying and in building up. The destroying is not set down as a mere preliminary, but is expressed by means of four different words, whereas the building is given only in two words, and these standing after the four; in order, doubtless, to indicate that the labours of Jeremiah should consist, in the first place and for the most part, in proclaiming judgment upon the nations. The assonant verbs נתשׁ and נתץ are joined to heighten the sense; for the same reason להרוס is added to להאביד, and in the antithesis לנטוע is joined with לבנות.

(Note: The lxx have omitted להרוסa, and hence Hitz. infers the spuriousness of this word. But in the parallel passage, Jeremiah 31:28, the lxx have rendered all the four words by the one καθαιρεῖν; and Hitz. does not then pronounce the other three spurious.)

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