Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Kings and princes.—The plural is obviously used to give greater vividness and grandeur to the picture of revived majesty which would be the reward of faithfulness, perhaps also to express the idea that the majesty would be enduring.Jeremiah 17:25-27. Then shall there enter into the gates of this city, &c. — “From hence it appears,” says Lowth, “that the judgments denounced against Jerusalem, at least as far as they threatened the city with utter destruction, were not irreversible. And from Jeremiah’s advice to Zedekiah, Jeremiah 38:17, it may be concluded, that if the king had hearkened to that counsel, the city would not have been destroyed, and he himself might have continued a tributary king under Nebuchadnezzar. It is true, that in several other chapters of this prophecy, God, upon foresight of the Jews’ impenitence, pronounces a peremptory sentence upon them. See note on Jeremiah 4:28.” From the land of Benjamin — See notes on Jeremiah 1:1; Jeremiah 6:1. And from the plain, and from the mountain — “These divisions of the country belonging to the tribe of Judah may be found, Joshua 15:21; Joshua 15:33; Joshua 15:48; and these, together with the tribe of Benjamin, made up the whole kingdom of Judah, when taken separate from the kingdom of Israel, or of the ten tribes. See the same enumeration Jeremiah 32:44.” Bringing burnt-offerings and sacrifices, &c. — The sum of these three verses is, that if they would sanctify the Lord’s sabbath, observing also all the other parts of God’s law, which are doubtless included, they should either continue in, or be restored unto, their ancient, civil, and ecclesiastical state. Their city and temple should be preserved; they should have kings and princes in their former order and splendour, and men should come from all parts of the country bringing their usual sacrifices and offerings to the temple, and those of all sorts. But if you will not hearken unto me — Here the Lord denounces a threatening the reverse of the former promise, which should be executed upon their acting contrary to the duty to which that promise was annexed. God would destroy their city by fire; their highest and noblest structures should be burned down: and though the hand of the enemy should do this, yet God should order them to do it; so that it should be a fire of his kindling, and therefore should not be likely to be quenched till it had effected the purpose for which God appointed it.
remain—Hebrew, "be inhabited" (Jer 17:6; Isa 13:20).
kings and princes, sitting upon the throne of David; that is, kings, with the princes of the blood, or with their nobles, who shall be of the house and line of David; and in a continual succession shall sit upon his throne, and possess the kingdom of the house of Judah, and rule over them in great glory, peace, and prosperity:
riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; some riding in chariots, and some on horses; the king, with some of the princes of the blood, in one chariot; his nobles in others, or on horseback; with great numbers of the citizens of Jerusalem, and people from all parts, flocking to see them, and join in the procession, and so make it more grand and august:
and this city shall remain for ever; or, "be inhabited for ever" (h); a long time, and not be destroyed, as has been threatened, or its inhabitants carried captive.Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. then shall there enter] Prosperity, permanence, and religious devotion shall be the three characteristic features of the Jewish State, if only they will hallow the Sabbath.
and princes] a virtually certain example of a pre-Septuagintal insertion. Its spuriousness is shewn by the words “their princes,” which follow. The insertion has been suggested doubtless by parallel passages (Jeremiah 2:26, Jeremiah 25:18, Jeremiah 32:32, Jeremiah 44:17; Jeremiah 44:21). Cp. on the other hand (for absence of the addition) Jeremiah 13:13, Jeremiah 22:4.Verse 25. - Parallel passage, Jeremiah 22:4, where, however, we simply meet with "kings sitting upon the throne o f David," not, as hero, "kings and princes." Has the latter word come in by accident, owing to the frequent combination of kings and princes in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:18; 2:26; 25:18; 32:32; 44:17, 21)? Shall remain forever; rather, shall be inhabited forever. Jeremiah 17:19. "Thus said Jahveh unto me: Go and stand in the gate of the sons of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all gates of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 17:20. And say unto them: Hear the word of Jahveh, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all inhabitants of Jerusalem, that go in by these gates: Jeremiah 17:21. Thus hath Jahveh said: Take heed for your souls, and bear no burden on the Sabbath-day, and bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. Jeremiah 17:22. And carry forth no burden out of your houses on the Sabbath-day, and do no work, and hallow the Sabbath-day, as I commanded your fathers. Jeremiah 17:23. But they hearkened not, neither inclined their ear, and made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor take instruction. Jeremiah 17:24. But if ye will really hearken unto me, saith Jahveh, to bring in no burden by the gates of the city on the Sabbath-day, and to hallow the Sabbath-day, to do no work thereon, Jeremiah 17:25. Then shall there go through the gates of the city kings and princes, who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ad this city shall be inhabited for ever. Jeremiah 17:26. And they shall come from the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the hill-country and from the south, that bring burnt-offering and slain-offering, meat-offering and incense, and that bring praise into the house of Jahveh. Jeremiah 17:27. But if ye hearken not to me, to hallow the Sabbath-day, and not to bear a burden, and to come into the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath-day, then will I kindle fire in her gates, so that it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and not be quenched."
The introduction, Jeremiah 17:19, shows that this passage has, in point of form, but a loose connection with what precedes. It is, however, not a distinct and independent prophecy; for it wants the heading, "The word of Jahveh which came," etc., proper to all the greater discourses. Besides, in point of subject-matter, it may very well be joined with the preceding general reflections as to the springs of mischief and of well-being; inasmuch as it shows how the way of safety appointed to the people lies in keeping the decalogue, as exemplified in one of its fundamental precepts. - The whole passage contains only God's command to the prophet; but the execution of it, i.e., the proclamation to the people of what was commanded, is involved in the nature of the case. Jeremiah is to proclaim this word of the Lord in all the gates of Jerusalem, that it may be obeyed in them all. The locality of the gate of the sons of the people is obscure and difficult to determine, that by which the kings of Judah go and come. בּני עם seems to stand for בּני העם, as the Keri would have it. In Jeremiah 25:23 and 2 Kings 23:6, "sons of the people" means the common people as opposed to the rich and the notables; in 2 Chronicles 35:5, 2 Chronicles 35:7., the people as opposed to the priests and Levites, that is, the laity. The first sig. of the phrase seems here to be excluded by the fact, that the kings come and go by this gate; for there is not the smallest probability that a gate so used could have borne the name of "gate of the common people." But we might well pause to weigh the second sig. of the word, if we could but assume that it was a gate of the temple that was meant. Ng. concludes that it was so, on the ground that we know of no city gate through which only the kings and the dregs of the people were free to go, or the kings and the mass of their subjects, to the exclusion of the priests. But this does not prove his point; for we are not informed as to the temple, that the kings and the laity were permitted to go and come by one gate only, while the others were reserved for priests and Levites. Still it is much more likely that the principal entrance to the outer court of the temple should have obtained the name of "people's gate," or "laymen's gate," than that a city gate should have been so called; and that by that "people's gate" the kings also entered into the court of the temple, while the priests and Levites came and went by side gates which were more at hand for the court of the priests. Certainly Ng. is right when he further remarks, that the name was not one in general use, but must have been used by the priests only. On the other hand, there is nothing to support clearly the surmise that the gate יסוד, 2 Chronicles 23:5, was so called; the east gate of the outer court is much more likely. We need not be surprised at the mention of this chief gate of the temple along with the city gates; for certainly there would be always a great multitude of people to be found at this gate, even if what Ng. assumes were not the case, that by the sale and purchase of things used in the temple, this gate was the scene of a Sabbath-breaking trade. But if, with the majority of comm., we are to hold that by "people's gate" a city gate was meant, then we cannot determine which it was. Of the suppositions that it was the Benjamin-gate, or the well-gate, Nehemiah 2:14 (Maur.), or the gate of the midst which led through the northern wall of Zion from the upper city into the lower city (Hitz.), or the water-gate, Nehemiah 3:26 (Graf), each is as unfounded as another. From the plural: the kings of Judah (Jeremiah 17:20), Hitz. infers that more kings than one were then existing alongside one another, and that thus the name must denote the members of the royal family. But his idea has been arbitrarily forced into the text. The gates of the city, as well as of the temple, did not last over the reign of but one king, Jeremiah 17:21. השּׁמר בּנפשׁות, to take heed for the souls, i.e., take care of the souls, so as not to lose life (cf. Malachi 2:15), is a more pregnant construction than that with ל, Deuteronomy 4:15, although it yields the same sense. Ng. seeks erroneously to explain the phrase according to 2 Samuel 20:10 (נשׁמר בּחרב, take care against the sword) and Deuteronomy 24:8, where השּׁׁמר ought not to be joined at all with בּנגע. The bearing of burdens on the Sabbath, both into the city and out of one's house, seems to point most directly at market trade and business, cf. Nehemiah 13:15., but is used only as one instance of the citizens' occupations; hence are appended the very words of the law: to do no work, Exodus 12:16; Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14, and: to hallow the Sabbath, namely, by cessation from all labour, cf. Jeremiah 17:24. The remark in Jeremiah 17:23, that the fathers have already transgressed God's law, is neither contrary to the aim in view, as Hitz. fancies, nor superfluous, but serves to characterize the transgression censured as an old and deeply-rooted sin, which God must at length punish unless the people cease therefrom. The description of the fathers' disobedience is a verbal repetition of Jeremiah 7:26. The Chet. שׁומע cannot be a participle, but is a clerical error for שׁמוע (infin. constr. with (scriptio plena), as in Jeremiah 11:10 and Jeremiah 19:15. See a similar error in Jeremiah 2:25 and Jeremiah 8:6. On "nor take instruction," cf. Jeremiah 2:30.
In the next verses the observance of this commandment is enforced by a representation of the blessings which the hallowing of the Sabbath will bring to the people (Jeremiah 17:24-26), and the curse upon its profanation (Jeremiah 2:27). If they keep the Sabbath holy, the glory of the dynasty of David and the prosperity of the people will acquire permanence, and Jerusalem remain continually inhabited, and the people at large will bring thank-offerings to the Lord in His temple. Hitz., Graf, and Ng. take objection to the collocation: kings and princes (Jeremiah 2:25), because princes do not sit on the throne of David, nor can they have other "princes" dependent on them, as we must assume from the "they and their princes." But although the ושׂרים be awanting in the parallel, Jeremiah 22:4, yet this passage cannot be regarded as the standard; for whereas the discourse in Jeremiah 22 is addressed to the king, the present is to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or rather the people of Judah. The ושׂרים is subordinate to the kings, so that the sitting on the throne of David is to be referred only to the kings, the following ושׂריהם helping further to define them. "Riding" is to be joined both with "in chariots" and "on horses," since רכב means either driving or riding. The driving and riding of the kings and their princes through the gates of Jerusalem is a sign of the undiminished splendour of the rule of David's race.
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