Jeremiah 34:22
Behold, I will command, said the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.
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34:8-22 A Jew should not be held in servitude above seven years. This law they and their fathers had broken. And when there was some hope that the siege was raised, they forced the servants they had released into their services again. Those who think to cheat God by dissembled repentance and partial reformation, put the greatest cheat upon their own souls. This shows that liberty to sin, is really only liberty to have the sorest judgments. It is just with God to disappoint expectations of mercy, when we disappoint the expectations of duty. And when reformation springs only from terror, it is seldom lasting. Solemn vows thus entered into, profane the ordinances of God; and the most forward to bind themselves by appeals to God, are commonly most ready to break them. Let us look to our hearts, that our repentance may be real, and take care that the law of God regulates our conduct.Which are gone up from you - i. e., which have departed for the present, and have raised the siege. 22. I will command—Nebuchadnezzar, impelled unconsciously by a divine instigation, returned on the withdrawal of the Egyptians. I will put it into their hearts to return, saith the Lord, and they shall come back again to the siege, and shall rise up no more till they have taken the city, and burned it with fire, and made the whole country desolate. The motions of armies are under the government of Divine Providence, they are at God’s command; when he bids them come they come, what he bids them do they do, and shall certainly effect what God hath determined. When we come to Jeremiah 39, we shall read of the fulfilling of this prophecy. Behold, I will command, saith the Lord, and cause them to return to this city,.... The Lord of hosts, or armies, was "Generalissimo" of Nebuchadnezzar's army, had it at his command, and could direct if as he pleased, and order it to march and countermarch as he thought fit: it was under the direction of his providence that it departed from Jerusalem, to try the inhabitants of it; and now, by a secret instinct, he would so powerfully work upon it, and by the ordering of external causes so manage it, that it should return to Jerusalem again, and carry on the siege with redoubled rigour:

and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire; they fought against it by shooting arrows from their bows, casting stones from their engines, and by beating down the walls with their battering rams; with which making breaches, they entered in and took the city; and burnt the temple, palaces, and other houses, with fire; of all which see the accomplishment in Jeremiah 52:4;

and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant: many of them were already; the king of Babylon having taken, ravaged, and plundered them before he came to Jerusalem; and whither the inhabitants of them, that escaped the sword, fled for security; and others of them, that were not, now should be made desolate upon the taking of Jerusalem, as Lachish and Azekah, Jeremiah 34:7; which should fall into the hands of the enemy, and the inhabitants thereof be forced to flee into other countries, or would be carried captive; so that they would be without any, or have but few to dwell in them.

Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.
In Jeremiah 34:13-16 the Lord sets before the people and their rulers their new offence; in Jeremiah 34:17-22 He announces to them the punishment for this new deed by which the covenant is broken. In order to place the transgression in its proper light, He mentions, first of all, that, when He led Israel out of Egypt, He concluded with them a covenant to the effect that every one of them should set free his Hebrew servant at the end of seven years; He also mentions that their fathers had transgressed this covenant (Jeremiah 34:13, Jeremiah 34:14). The designation of Egypt as a house of bondmen, as in Exodus 13:3, Exodus 13:14; Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 6:12, etc., possesses a special emphasis, and points to what is mentioned in Deuteronomy 15:15 as the motive for obeying the law referred to in the address. Because Israel was a servant in Egypt, and the Lord has redeemed him out of this house of bondmen, therefore must they not treat as slaves their brethren who had fallen into poverty, but set them free after six years of service. The expression "at the end (after the lapse) of seven years" is to be understood in the same way as the expression "after eight days." As this just means "when seven days are completed," so also, according to the law, Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:12, the emancipation was to follow in the seventh year, after six full years of service. "Who sold himself to thee" is an expression copied from Deuteronomy 15:12. - From this sin of their fathers they had now for a little turned away, and, in a solemn covenant, resolved to free the bondmen, as the law decreed (Jeremiah 34:15); but they have immediately profaned the name of the Lord again by revoking this decree, viz., by breaking the covenant made before God. לנפשׁם, "according to their pleasure," like eלנפשׁהּ, Deuteronomy 21:14.
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