Jeremiah 35:1
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
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(1) In the days Jehoiakim.—The prophecy that follows carries us back over a period of about seventeen of years to the earlier period of the prophet’s life and work. Jerusalem was not yet besieged. Jehoiakim had not filled up the measure of his iniquities. The armies of the Chaldæans were, however, in the meantime moving on the outskirts of the kingdom of Judah (Jeremiah 35:11) or were driving the nomad inhabitants, who had hitherto dwelt in tents, to take refuge in the cities. The first capture of the city by Nebuchadnezzar was in B.C. 607.

Jeremiah 35:1. The word which came unto Jeremiah in the days of Jehoiakim, &c. — Here we have another evidence that the prophecies of this book are not placed in that order wherein they were delivered, for all the intermediate prophecies from chap. 26. belong clearly to the reign of Zedekiah; and consequently are posterior to this chapter and the next, which are dated in the reign of Jehoiakim, together with chap. 45., which is closely connected with the latter of these two chapters. This may most probably be referred to the fourth year of Jehoaikim’s reign, when Nebuchadnezzar, having beaten the king of Egypt’s army at Euphrates, (see Jeremiah 46:2,) marched toward Syria and Palestine, to recover those provinces again which the king of Egypt had conquered, in which expedition he laid siege to Jerusalem.35:1-11 Jonadab was famous for wisdom and piety. He lived nearly 300 years before, 2Ki 10:15. Jonadab charged his posterity not to drink wine. He also appointed them to dwell in tents, or movable dwelling: this would teach them not to think of settling any where in this world. To keep low, would be the way to continue long in the land where they were strangers. Humility and contentment are always the best policy, and men's surest protection. Also, that they might not run into unlawful pleasures, they were to deny themselves even lawful delights. The consideration that we are strangers and pilgrims should oblige us to abstain from all fleshly lusts. Let them have little to lose, and then losing times would be the less dreadful: let them sit loose to what they had, and then they might with less pain be stript of it. Those are in the best frame to meet sufferings who live a life of self-denial, and who despise the vanities of the world. Jonadab's posterity observed these rules strictly, only using proper means for their safety in a time of general suffering.Which are gone up from you - i. e., which have departed for the present, and have raised the siege. CHAPTER 35

Jer 35:1-19. Prophecy in the Reign of Jehoiakim, when the Chaldeans, in Conjunction with the Syrians and Moabites, Invaded Judea.

By the obedience of the Rechabites to their father, Jeremiah condemns the disobedience of the Jews to God their Father. The Holy Spirit has arranged Jeremiah's prophecies by the moral rather than the chronological connection. From the history of an event fifteen years before, the Jews, who had brought back their manumitted servants into bondage, are taught how much God loves and rewards obedience, and hates and punishes disobedience.By the obedience of the Rechabites, Jeremiah 35:1-11, God condemneth the Jews’ disobedience, Jeremiah 35:12-17. The Rechabites are blessed, Jeremiah 35:18,19.

This is another evidence that the prophecies of this book are not left us in that order wherein they were delivered, for those which we had in the two or three foregoing chapters being in the time of Zedekiah must needs be ten or eleven years after this.

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the Lord,.... Not as following the former prophecies; for they must be delivered seventeen years after this. The prophecies of Jeremiah are not put together in their proper time in which they were delivered. The preceding prophecies were delivered in the "tenth" and "eleventh" years of Zedekiah's reign: but this

in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; in what part of his reign is not certain; but it must be after Nebuchadnezzar had invaded the land, Jeremiah 35:11; very probably in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, after he had been the king of Babylon's servant three years, and rebelled against him, 2 Kings 24:1;

saying; as follows:

The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days {a} of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,

(a) For the disposition and order of these prophecies. See Geneva Jer 27:1

1. The word which came … in the days of Jehoiakim] This and the following chapter form a remarkable break in the narrative of chs. 32–44. They at once bring us back from the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah to the later part of Jehoiakim’s reign, when the Babylonian army had entered Palestine and compelled many of its inhabitants to take refuge within Jerusalem. Among these were the Rechabites.The announcement of punishment. Because ye have not hearkened, by proclaiming, every one, liberty to his bondman (this certainly had been done, but was again undone by annulling the decree), therefore I proclaim liberty for you; i.e., you, who have hitherto been my servants (Leviticus 25:55), I discharge from this relation, - deliver you up to your fate as regards the sword, etc., that the sword, famine, and pestilence may have power over you. For לזועה see Jeremiah 15:4. - In Jeremiah 34:18 the construction is disputed. Many, including Luther, take העגל as the second object to נתתּי: "I will make the men...the calf," i.e., like the calf. But, though נתן is frequently construed with a double accusative with the meaning of making some thing another thing (cf. e.g., Jeremiah 34:22, Genesis 17:5; Exodus 7:1), yet in such a case the predicative-object does not readily take the article. Moreover, נתן, in the sense required here, to make like equals treat as, is joined with כּ, as in Isaiah 41:2; Ezekiel 28:2, Ezekiel 28:6; Genesis 42:30; 1 Kings 10:27, etc. Finally, Rosenmller objects: continuata versu 19 personarum descriptio et repetitio verbi yṭitanfw̱ Jeremiah 34:20 vix permittunt, propositionem hoc versu absolvi. For these reasons, L. de Dieu, Rosenmller, Ewald, and Graf have taken העגל as being in apposition to הבּרית, and the enumeration "princes of Judah," etc., Jeremiah 34:19, as a continuation or exposition of האנשׁים, Jeremiah 34:18, and ונתתּי אותם, Jeremiah 34:20, as a resumption of the same words in Jeremiah 34:18. According to this view, Jeremiah 34:18-20 would form a series of appositions: "I will give the men...that have not kept the words of the covenant which they concluded before me...the princes of Judah who passed between the parts of the calf, - these will I give into the hands of their enemies." But, apart from the consideration that the enumeration of the covenant-breakers (viz., the princes of Judah, etc.), which is added by way of apposition in Jeremiah 34:19, ought not to come in till after the apposition to הבּרית, which would be a harsh and complicated arrangement of the members of the sentence, this construction seems untenable for the following reasons: (a) "The calf that they cut," etc., which forms the explanatory apposition to "the covenant," is separated from it by the intervening clause, "which they made before me." And (b), even though we might modify this harshness by repeating את־דּברי before העגל, yet the mode of expression, "they have not performed the words of the calf which they cut in two, and between whose parts they passed," would be a very stiff and unnatural one for "they have not performed what they vowed or sware in presence of the parts of the calf which they had halved, and when they passed through between these pieces." With Maurer and Hitzig, therefore, we abide by the older view, which takes העגל as the second object to ונתתּי: "I will make the men...the calf," or, better, "like the calf which they cut in two," etc. The article is used with עגל because this predicate is more exactly determined by relative clauses, and העגל stands for כּעגל, since, as often happens, the כּ of likeness is dropped to give more point to the idea. We make Jeremiah 34:19 begin a new sentence, and take the names of this verse as objects absolute, which, by אותם following ונתתּי, are subordinated to the verb: "As for the princes of Judah...them shall I give...." - From Jeremiah 34:18 we see that, when alliances were entered into, the contracting parties slaughtered an עגל, "calf," i.e., a young bullock, cut it in two halves, and went through between the pieces that were placed opposite one another. See on Genesis 15:10 for details regarding this most ancient custom and its meaning: according to the account of Ephraem Syrus, it is of Chaldean origin. Thus are explained the phrases used to signify the making of a covenant. כּרת בּרית, to cut a covenant, ὅρκια τέμνειν, faedus ferire, i.e., ferienda hostia faedus facere. We cannot with certainty infer, from the threatening pronounced in this passage, that this rite originally signified nothing more than that he who broke his promise would be treated like the animal that had been slaughtered. For the threatening is merely a conclusion drawn from the sacred act; but this does not exclude a deeper meaning of the rite.
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