Jeremiah 42:12
And I will show mercies to you, that he may have mercy on you, and cause you to return to your own land.
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(12) And cause you to return to your own land.—The words admit of two interpretations—(1) that they should be carried away to Babylon, as others had been, and should afterwards return to their own country; (2) that they (the remnant who had been allowed by Nebuzaradan to remain to till the soil) should at once be allowed to return each man to his own field and vineyard. The latter is clearly more in harmony with the prophet’s aim and temper, and it was probably in his purpose to intercede with their conquerors to this effect. The thought of a far-off exile as impending over them in the nearer future would hardly have induced them to remain where they were.

42:7-22 If we would know the mind of the Lord in doubtful cases, we must wait as well as pray. God is ever ready to return in mercy to those he has afflicted; and he never rejects any who rely on his promises. He has declared enough to silence even the causeless fears of his people, which discourge them in the way of duty. Whatever loss or suffering we may fear from obedience, is provided against in God's word; and he will protect and deliver all who trust in him and serve him. It is folly to quit our place, especially to quit a holy land, because we meet with trouble in it. And the evils we think to escape by sin, we certainly bring upon ourselves. We may apply this to the common troubles of life; and those who think to avoid them by changing their place, will find that the grievances common to men will meet them wherever they go. Sinners who dissemble with God in solemn professions especially should be rebuked with sharpness; for their actions speak more plainly than words. We know not what is good for ourselves; and what we are most fond of, and have our hearts most set upon, often proves hurtful, and sometimes fatal.Or, I will give you compassion before (i. e., obtain pity from) the king of Babylon, and "he shall have mercy upon you, and let you dwell upon your own soil." 12. show mercies—rather, I will excite (in him) feelings of mercy towards you [Calvin].

cause you to return—permit you to return to the peaceable enjoyment of the possessions from which you are wishing to withdraw through fear of the Chaldeans. By departing in disobedience they should incur the very evils they wished thereby to escape; and by staying they should gain the blessings which they feared to lose by doing so.

We are beholden to God for all the pity and compassion which we meet with from men, God inclineth their hearts, though we receive the kindness from their hands. The mercy which God here promiseth these men is, that the king of Babylon should give them a liberty to go every one of them to their own inheritances, for at present they were banished by their own fear, from their own houses, though not from their own country. And I will show mercies unto you,.... Bestow blessings of goodness upon them, out of pure mercy and compassion to them, and not according to their merits; or I will cause others to show mercy to them, even the king of Babylon, as follows: God shows mercy to men when he stirs up the compassion of others towards them:

that he may have mercy upon you; and not avenge the death of Gedaliah, or any way cruelly oppress them, but show them all the favour they could wish for or expect under such a government, and in such circumstances; giving them vineyards and fields, and allowing them to gather the fruits of them, and enjoy them:

and cause you to return to your own land: this is said, not of the captives in Babylon, as Kimchi and Abarbinel, since these were not to return till seventy years were ended; and when they did, it was not by the order and direction of the king of Babylon, but of the king of Persia: this is said of those who, from the time that Jerusalem had been besieged, had deserted their houses and fields, but should have liberty to return to them; or of those who more lately had been carried captive by Ishmael, from the places where they had settled, but should be returned to them again, and live peaceably and comfortably there under the government and protection of the king of Babylon.

And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.
12. cause you to return] better (seeing that they were already there), with a difference of vocalisation only in the original, cause you to dwell in.Verse 12. - I will show mercies unto you; rather, I will procure you mercy. And cause you to return to. As if the journey to Bethlehem were a virtual Exodus, But it is far more natural to read the consonants of the text in a slightly different manner, rendering, "and cause you to dwell in." So the Syriac, the Vulgate, and Aquila. Jeremiah replies: "I have heard (i.e., acceded to your request); behold, I will pray to Jahveh your God, according to your words; and it shall come to pass that whatever Jahveh answers you I will tell you, I will not keep anything from you." Jeremiah 42:5. They said further: "Let Jahveh be a true and faithful witness against us, if we do not just according to all the word which Jahveh thy God shall send thee (to declare) unto us. Jeremiah 42:6. Whether it be good or bad, we shall obey the voice of Jahveh our God, to whom we send thee, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of Jahveh our God." עד, Proverbs 14:25, and נאמן, Isaiah 8:2; Psalm 89:38. Both predicates occupy emphatic positions. God is to be a faithful witness, not in regard to the truth of what they say, but as regards the fulfilment of their promise, so that, if they would not obey His word, He might come forward to punish them. ישׁלחך is construed with a double accusative: to send away a person with something, i.e., to give him a commission. After "whether it be good or evil," there is no need for supplying "in our eyes" (בּעינינוּ), as Hitzig and Graf allege: "whether it please us or not;" the subject is הדּבר: "we will obey the word, whether it be good or evil," i.e., whether it announce good or evil to come (cf. Ecclesiastes 12:14). The Kethib אנוּ occurs only in this passage in the Old Testament; the Qeri accordingly substitutes אנחנוּ: the former, however, is taken from the vulgar tongue, and should not be altered here. כּי נשׁמע does not mean "because we obey," but "when we obey." The hearing is the condition, not the cause of the prosperity.
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