Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
Jer 30:1-24. Restoration of the Jews from Babylon after Its Capture, and Raising Up of Messiah.
Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
2. Write … in a book—After the destruction of Jerusalem Jeremiah is not ordered as heretofore to speak, but to write the succeeding prophecy (Jer 30:4, &c.), so as thereby it might be read by his countrymen wheresoever they might be in their dispersion.
For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
3. bring again … captivity of … Israel and Judah—the restoration not merely of the Jews (treated of in this thirtieth chapter), but also of the ten tribes ("Israel"; treated in the thirty-first chapter), together forming the whole nation (Jer 30:18; Jer 32:44; Eze 39:25; Am 9:14, 15). "Israel" is mentioned first because its exile was longer than that of Judah. Some captives of the Israelite ten tribes returned with those of Judah (Lu 2:36; "Aser" is mentioned). But these are only a pledge of the full restoration hereafter (Ro 11:26, "All Israel"). Compare Jer 16:15. This third verse is a brief statement of the subject before the prophecy itself is given.
And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
5. We have heard … trembling—God introduces the Jews speaking that which they will be reduced to at last in spite of their stubbornness. Threat and promise are combined: the former briefly; namely, the misery of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity down to their "trembling" and "fear" arising from the approach of the Medo-Persian army of Cyrus against Babylon; the promise is more fully dwelt on; namely, their "trembling" will issue in a deliverance as speedy as is the transition from a woman's labor pangs to her joy at giving birth to a child (Jer 30:6).
Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?
6. Ask—Consult all the authorities, men or books, you can, you will not find an instance. Yet in that coming day men will be seen with their hands pressed on their loins, as women do to repress their pangs. God will drive men through pain to gestures more fitting a woman than a man (Jer 4:31; 6:24). The metaphor is often used to express the previous pain followed by the sudden deliverance of Israel, as in the case of a woman in childbirth (Isa 66:7-9).
paleness—properly the color of herbs blasted and fading: the green paleness of one in jaundice: the sickly paleness of terror.
Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
7. great—marked by great calamities (Joe 2:11, 31; Am 5:18; Zep 1:14).
none like it … but he shall be saved—(Da 12:1). The partial deliverance at Babylon's downfall prefigures the final, complete deliverance of Israel, literal and spiritual, at the downfall of the mystical Babylon (Re 18:1-19:21).
For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
8. his yoke … thy neck—his, that is, Jacob's (Jer 30:7), the yoke imposed on him. The transition to the second person is frequent, God speaking of Jacob or Israel, at the same time addressing him directly. So "him" rightly follows; "foreigners shall no more make him their servant" (Jer 25:14). After the deliverance by Cyrus, Persia, Alexander, Antiochus, and Rome made Judah their servant. The full of deliverance meant must, therefore, be still future.
But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.
9. Instead of serving strangers (Jer 30:8), they shall serve the Lord, their rightful King in the theocracy (Eze 21:27).
David, their king—No king of David's seed has held the scepter since the captivity; for Zerubbabel, though of David's line, never claimed the title of "king." The Son of David, Messiah, must therefore be meant; so the Targum (compare Isa 55:3, 4; Eze 34:23, 24; 37:24; Ho 3:5; Ro 11:25-32). He was appointed to the throne of David (Isa 9:7; Lu 1:32). He is here joined with Jehovah as claiming equal allegiance. God is our "King," only when we are subject to Christ; God rules us not immediately, but through His Son (Joh 5:22, 23, 27).
raise up—applied to the judges whom God raised up as deliverers of Israel out of the hand of its oppressors (Jud 2:16; 3:9). So Christ was raised up as the antitypical Deliverer (Ps 2:6; Lu 1:69; Ac 2:30; 13:23).
Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
10. from afar—Be not afraid as if the distance of the places whither ye are to be dispersed precludes the possibility of return.
seed—Though through the many years of captivity intervening, you yourselves may not see the restoration, the promise shall be fulfilled to your seed, primarily at the return from Babylon, fully at the final restoration.
quiet … none … make … afraid—(Jer 23:6; Zec 14:11).
For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.
11. though … full end of all nations … yet … not … of thee—(Am 9:8). The punishment of reprobates is final and fatal; that of God's people temporary and corrective. Babylon was utterly destroyed: Israel after chastisement was delivered.
in measure—literally, "with judgment," that is, moderation, not in the full rigor of justice (Jer 10:24; 46:28; Ps 6:1; Isa 27:8).
not … altogether unpunished—(Ex 34:7).
For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.
12. The desperate circumstances of the Jews are here represented as an incurable wound. Their sin is so grievous that their hope of the punishment (their exile) soon coming to an end is vain (Jer 8:22; 15:18; 2Ch 36:16).
There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines.
13. none to plead—a new image from a court of justice.
bound up—namely, with the bandages applied to tie up a wound.
no healing medicines—literally, "medicines of healing," or else applications, (literally, "ascensions") of medicaments.
All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.
14. lovers—the peoples formerly allied to thee, Assyria and Egypt (compare La 1:2).
seek thee not—have cast away all concern for thee in thy distress.
wound of an enemy—a wound such as an enemy would inflict. God condescends to employ language adapted to human conceptions. He is incapable of "enmity" or "cruelty"; it was their grievous sin which righteously demanded a grievous punishment, as though He were an "enemy" (Jer 5:6; Job 13:24; 30:21).
Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.
15. Why criest thou—as if God's severity was excessive. Thou hast no reason to complain, for thine affliction is just. Thy cry is too late, for the time of repentance and mercy is past [Calvin].
Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.
16. Therefore—connected with Jer 30:13, because "There is none to plead thy cause … therefore" I will plead thy cause, and heal thy wound, by overwhelming thy foes. This fifteenth verse is inserted to amplify what was said at the close of Jer 30:14. When the false ways of peace, suggested by the so-called prophets, had only ended in the people's irremediable ruin, the true prophet comes forward to announce the grace of God as bestowing repentance and healing.
devour thee … be devoured … spoil … be a spoil … prey upon … give for a prey—retribution in kind (see on Jer 2:3; Ex 23:22; Isa 33:1).
For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
17. (Jer 8:22; 33:6).
Outcast—as a wife put away by her husband (Isa 62:4, contrasted with Jer 30:12).
Zion—alluding to its Hebrew meaning, "dryness"; "sought after" by none, as would be the case with an arid region (Isa 62:12). The extremity of the people, so far from being an obstacle to, will be the chosen opportunity of, God's grace.
Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
18. bring again … captivity—(Jer 33:7, 11).
tents—used to intimate that their present dwellings in Chaldea were but temporary as tents.
have mercy on dwelling-places—(Ps 102:13).
own heap—on the same hill, that is, site, a hill being the usual site chosen for a city (compare Jos 11:13, Margin). This better answers the parallel clause, "after the manner thereof" (that is, in the same becoming ways as formerly), than the rendering, "its own heap of ruins," as in Jer 49:2.
palace—the king's, on Mount Zion.
remain—rather, "shall be inhabited" (see on Jer 17:6, Jer 17:25). This confirms English Version, "palace," not as others translate, "the temple" (see 1Ki 16:18; 2Ki 15:25).
And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
19. thanksgiving—The Hebrew word includes confession as well as praise; for, in the case of God, the highest praises we can bestow are only confessing what God really is [Bengel], (Jer 17:26; 31:12, 13; 33:11; Isa 35:10; 51:11).
multiply them—(Zec 10:8).
Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.
20. as aforetime—as flourishing as in the time of David.
And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.
21. their nobles—rather, "their Glorious One," or "Leader" (compare Ac 3:15; Heb 2:10), answering to "their Governor" in the parallel clause.
of themselves—of their own nation, a Jew, not a foreigner; applicable to Zerubbabel, or J. Hyrcanus (hereditary high priest and governor), only as types of Christ (Ge 49:10; Mic 5:2; Ro 9:5), the antitypical "David" (Jer 30:9).
cause him to draw near—as the great Priest (Ex 19:22; Le 21:17), through whom believers also have access to God (Heb 10:19-22). His priestly and kingly characters are similarly combined (Ps 110:4; Zec 6:13).
who … engaged … heart to approach—literally, "pledged his heart," that is, his life; a thing unique; Messiah alone has made His life responsible as the surety (Heb 7:22; 9:11-15), in order to gain access not only for Himself, but for us to God. Heart is here used for life, to express the courage which it needed to undertake such a tremendous suretyship. The question implies admiration at one being found competent by His twofold nature, as God and man, for the task. Compare the interrogation (Isa 63:1-3).
And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
22. ye shall be my people, &c.—The covenant shall be renewed between God and His people through Messiah's mediation (Jer 30:21; 31:1, 33; 32:38; Eze 11:20; 36:28).
Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.
23, 24. (Jer 23:19). Vengeance upon God's foes always accompanies manifestations of His grace to His people.
continuing—literally, "sojourning," abiding constantly; appropriately here in the case of Babylon, which was to be permanently destroyed, substituted for "whirling itself about" ("grievous" in English Version) (see on Jer 23:19,20), where the temporary downfall of Judea is spoken of.
The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.