Jeremiah 26:3
If so be they will listen, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do to them because of the evil of their doings.
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(3) If so be they will hearken . . .—The threat that follows in Jeremiah 26:6 is a very terrible one, but it is uttered in order that it may not be realised. So in the same spirit St. Paul warns men of his power to inflict a supernatural punishment, yet prays that he may have no occasion to use it (2Corinthians 13:3-10).

26:1-6 God's ambassadors must not seek to please men, or to save themselves from harm. See how God waits to be gracious. If they persisted in disobedience, it would ruin their city and temple. Can any thing else be expected? Those who will not be subject to the commands of God, make themselves subject to the curse of God.Jeremiah 26 is a narrative of the danger to which Jeremiah was exposed by reason of the prophecy contained in Jeremiah 7 and should be read in connection with it. Jeremiah 26:4-6 contain a summary of the prediction contained in Jeremiah 7, and that again is but an outline of what was a long address. 3. if so be—expressed according to human conceptions; not as if God did not foreknow all contingencies, but to mark the obstinacy of the people and the difficulty of healing them; and to show His own goodness in making the offer which left them without excuse [Calvin]. Not that God was ignorant of their obstinacy and the hardening of their hearts, which was the future event; but to let us know that their destruction would be of themselves, he would give them both a time and space, and also means, for repentance, and the prevention of the judgments of God coming on them. He did give them time, for it was after this eleven years before the captivity of Jehoiakim, and two and twenty before that of Zedekiah; and for means, God afforded them the ministry of this prophet. Repentance applied to man signifieth a change of heart and counsels, as well as of his course of actions: in the unchangeable God it only signifieth the turning of the course of his providence, not bringing that evil upon them for the evil of their doings which, supposing their progress and obstinacy in their sinful courses, he had fully resolved to bring upon them. If so be they will hearken,.... And obey; which is expressive not of ignorance and conjecture in God, but of his patience and long suffering, granting space and time for repentance, and the means of it; which disregarded, leave without excuse:

and turn every man from his evil way; his series and course of life, which was evil, and was the case of everyone; so that as their sin was general, the reformation ought to be so too:

that I may repent me of the evil which I purpose to do unto them; or "am thinking", or "devising (d) to do unto them"; which repentance must be understood not of a change of mind, but of the course of his providence towards them, which, by his threatenings, and some steps taken, portended ruin and destruction; yet, in case of repentance and reformation, he would change his method of action agreeably to his will:

because of the evil of their doings; this was the reason why he had threatened them with the evil of punishment, because of the evil of their actions; which were breaches of his law, and such as provoked the eyes of his glory.

(d) "quod ego (sum) cogitans", Schmidt.

It may be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may {c} repent of the evil, which I purpose to do to them because of the evil of their doings.

(c) See Geneva Jer 7:12

3. repent] See on Jeremiah 18:8.Verse 3. - That I may repent; literally, and I will repent; the idea or object is derived from the context. (On the Divine repentance, see note on Jeremiah 18:8.) No rank is spared. This is intimated in the summons to howl and lament addressed to the shepherds, i.e., the kings and rulers on earth (cf. Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 22:22, etc.), and to the lordly or glorious of the flock, i.e., to the illustrious, powerful, and wealthy. With "sprinkle you," cf. Jeremiah 6:26. Your days are full or filled for the slaughter, i.e., the days of your life are full, so that ye shall be slain; cf. Lamentations 4:18. וּתפוצותיכם is obscure and hard to explain. It is so read by the Masora, while many codd. and editt. have וּתפוּצותיכם. According to this latter form, Jerome, Rashi, Kimchi, lately Maur. and Umbr., hold the word for a substantive: your dispersions. But whether we connect this with what precedes or what follows, we fail to obtain a fitting sense from it. Your days are full and your dispersions, for: the time is come when ye shall be slain and dispersed, cannot be maintained, because "dispersions" is not in keeping with "are full." Again: as regards your dispersions, ye shall fall, would give a good meaning, only if "your dispersions" meant: the flock dispersed by the fault of the shepherds; and with this the second pers. "ye shall fall" does not agree. The sig. of fatness given by Ew. to the word is wholly arbitrary. Hitz., Gr. and Ng. take the word to be a Tiphil (like תהרה, Jeremiah 12:5; Jeremiah 22:15), and read תּפיצותיכם, I scatter you. This gives a suitable sense; and there is no valid reason for attaching to the word, as Hitz. and Gr. do, the force of פּצץ or נפץ, smite in pieces. The thought, that one part of the flock shall be slain, the other scattered, seems quite apt; so also is that which follows, that they are scattered shall fall and break like precious, i.e., fine, ornamental vases. Hence there was no occasion for Ew.'s conjectural emendation, כּכרי, like precious lambs. Nor does the lxx rendering: ἥωσπερ οἱ κριοὶ οἱ ἐκλεκτοί, give it any support; for כּרים does not mean rams, but lambs. The similar comparison of Jechoniah to a worthless vessel (22:28) tells in favour of the reading in the text (Graf). - In Jeremiah 25:35 the threatening is made more woeful by the thought, that the shepherds shall find no refuge, and that no escape will be open to the sheep.
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