Jeremiah 11:5
That I may perform the oath which I have sworn to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD.
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(5) A land flowing with milk and honey.—The description appears for the first time in Exodus 3:8; Exodus 3:17. It rapidly became proverbial, and is prominent in Deuteronomy 6:3 and Joshua 5:6. It points primarily, it may be noticed, to the plenty of a pastoral rather than an agricultural people (see Note on Isaiah 7:22), and so far to the earlier rather than the later stages of the life of Israel.

So be it, O Lord.—The Amen of the liturgies and litanies of Israel, brought probably into fresh prominence by Deuteronomy 27:15-26, and uttered by princes and people in the solemn ceremonial of 2Kings 23:3.

11:1-10 God never promised to bestow blessings on his rational creatures, while they persist in wilful disobedience. Pardon and acceptance are promised freely to all believers; but no man can be saved who does not obey the command of God to repent, to believe in Christ, to separate from sin and the world, to choose self-denial and newness of life. In general, men will hearken to those who speak of doctrines, promises, and privileges; but when duties are mentioned, they will not bend their ear.As it is this day - God had kept the terms of the covenant. Whether the promised land would permanently remain the property of the Jews would depend upon their observance of their part of the covenant.

So be it, O Lord - Or, "Amen, Yahweh." The prophet was literally obeying the command given in Deuteronomy 27:14-26, and the same word should be kept in both places.

5. oath—(Ps 105:9, 10).

a land flowing with milk and honey—(See on [908]Nu 14:8).

as it is this day—These are the concluding words of God to the Israelites when formerly brought out of Egypt, "Obey … that I may at this time make good the promise I made to your fathers, to give," &c. [Maurer]. English Version makes the words apply to Jeremiah's time, "As ye know at this time, that God's promise has been fulfilled," namely, in Israel's acquisition of Canaan.

So be it—Hebrew, Amen. Taken from De 27:15-26. Jeremiah hereby solemnly concurs in the justice of the curses pronounced there (see Jer 11:3).

I required their obedience for their own good; I had sworn to their fathers that I would give their posterity a land abounding with plenty of all good things, the best and choicest things, upon supposition of their obedience. I have performed that oath, I have brought them into such a land, and showed myself faithful to them. So be it, O Lord: God having ended his speech, the prophet saith, Amen, either asserting the truth of what God had said, or wishing that the people would do according to their covenant, or assenting to the curse according as God had commanded, Deu 27:26. That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers,.... Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:

to give them a land flowing with milk and honey: that is, abounding with plenty of all kind of provisions; see Exodus 3:8,

as it is this day; the land of Canaan continued to those times a very fruitful country; it was as it was promised it should be, and which was a clear thing; their eyes saw it, and the day bore witness to it:

then answered I, and said; that is, the Prophet Jeremiah, to whom the above order was given:

so be it, O Lord; or, "Amen, Lord" (f); either agreeing to publish what the Lord commanded him; or as wishing that the land of Canaan might continue the same fruitful land it was, and the people of the Jews in it, they keeping the words of this covenant; or else as assenting that the curse might fall upon the men that did not observe them, alluding to Deuteronomy 27:15. This is the sense of Abarbinel; Jarchi and Kimchi observe, that the word "Lord" is vocative, and in the language of prayer.

(f) "Amen, Domine", Pagninus: Montanus; "Amen, O Jehovah", Schmidt, Cocceius.

That I may perform the oath which I have sworn to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered {b} I, and said, So be it, O LORD.

(b) Thus he speaks in the person of the people, who agreed to the covenant.

5. your fathers] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as ancestors of those who entered upon the enjoyment of the land.

flowing with milk and honey] For the expression cp. Jeremiah 32:22; Exodus 3:8; Exodus 3:17, and elsewhere.Verse 5. - The oath which I have sworn (so Deuteronomy 7:8; comp. 8:18). As it is this day; a Deuteronomic formula (see e.g. Deuteronomy 2:30; Deuteronomy 4:20), appealing to the test of experience. So be it, O Lord. The-Hebrew has "Amen, Jehovah." "Amen" equivalent to "true, faithful, trustworthy;" or used in this way as a formula of asseveration, "may it be verified by facts" (the Septuagint has γένοιτο); comp. Jeremiah 28:6. The cause of this calamity is that the shepherds, i.e., the princes and leaders of the people (see on Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 3:15), are become brutish, have not sought Jahveh, i.e., have not sought wisdom and guidance from the Lord. And so they could not deal wisely, i.e., rule the people with wisdom. השׂכּיל is here not merely: have prosperity, but: show wisdom, deal wisely, securing thus the blessed results of wisdom. This is shown both by the contrasted "become brutish" and by the parallel passage, Jeremiah 3:15. מרעיתם, their pasturing, equivalent to "flock of their pasturing," their flock, Jeremiah 23:1.

The calamity over which the people mourns is drawing near, Jeremiah 10:22. Already is heard the tremendous din of a mighty host which approaches from the north to make the cities of Judah a wilderness. קול שׁמוּעה is an exclamation: listen to the rumour, it is coming near. From a grammatical point of view the subject to "comes" is "rumour," but in point of sense it is that of which the rumour gives notice. Graf weakens the sense by gathering the words into one assertory clause: "They hear a rumour come." The "great commotion" is that of an army on the march, the clattering of the weapons, the stamping and neighing of the war-horses; cf. Jeremiah 6:23; Jeremiah 8:16. From the land of midnight, the north, cf. Jeremiah 1:14; Jeremiah 4:6, etc. "To make the cities," etc., cf. Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 9:10. - The rumour of the enemy's approach drives the people to prayer, Jeremiah 10:23-25. The prayer of these verses is uttered in the name of the congregation. It begins with the confession: Not with man is his way, i.e., it is not within man's power to arrange the course of his life, nor in the power of the man who walks to fix his step (וbefore הכין merely marking the connection of the thought: cf. Ew. 348, a). The antithesis to לאדם and לאישׁ is ליהוה, with God; cf. Psalm 37:23; Proverbs 16:9 : Man's heart deviseth his way, but Jahveh establisheth the steps. The thought is not: it is not in man's option to walk in straight or crooked, good or evil ways, but: the directing of man, the way by which he must go, lies not in his own but in God's power. Hitz. justly finds here the wisdom that admits: "Mit unserer Macht ist nichts getan," - man's destiny is ordained not by himself, but by God. Upon this acquiescence in God's dispensation of events follows the petition: Chasten me, for I have deserved punishment, but chasten בּמשׁפּט, acc. to right, not in Thine anger; cf. Psalm 6:2; Psalm 38:2. A chastening in anger is the judgment of wrath that shall fall on obstinate sinners and destroy them. A chastening acc. to right is one such as is demanded by right (judgment), as the issue of God's justice, in order to the reclamation and conversion of the repentant sinner. "Lest Thou make me little," insignificant, puny; not merely, diminish me, make me smaller than I now am. For such a decrease of the people would result even from a gentle chastisement. There is no comparative force in the words. To make small, in other words, reduce to a small, insignificant people. This would be at variance with "right," with God's ordained plan in regard to His people. The expression is not equivalent to: not to make an utter end, Jeremiah 30:11, etc. The people had no call to pray that they might escape being made an utter end of; thus much had been promised by God, Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10. - God is asked to pour forth His fury upon the heathen who know not the Lord nor call upon His name, because they seek to extirpate Jacob (the people of Israel) as the people of God, at this time found in Judah alone. The several words in Jeremiah 10:25 suggest the fury with which the heathen proceed to the destruction of Israel. The present verse is reproduced in Psalm 79:6-7, a psalm written during the exile, or at least after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; but in the reproduction the energetic expansion of the "devoured" is omitted.

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