Thus saith the LORD; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word,
I. The man who wrote these words was a very sorrowful man; one who was full of grief for what he saw, and for what he expected. He was an Israelite, one of the race of Abraham. He believed that God had chosen his nation to be a blessing to all nations. But he felt that his country, the country which he loved, was polluted by the evil things that were done in it. He could not tear himself from his nation. He was tearing himself from God if he did. God's covenant was with Israel. He was in God's covenant because he was an Israelite. Whatever calamities befel Israel must befal him. Jeremiah supposes that people of other countries would walk through the land of Israel, and see its capital city in ruins, and would say, "Wherefore hath the Lord done this to this great city?" And this, he says, would be the answer, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord, and have worshipped other gods and served them." He who was their true Lord would let them learn by hard punishment what was the fruit of their wilful ways, what comes of forgetting His commandments.
II. God has made with us a new covenant; a better covenant than that which He made with the Jews, because God does not merely say to us, "Keep My commandments," but He says, "I will give you My Holy Spirit that you may keep them." But the commandments which He bids us to keep are the very same. And when people grow indifferent to these commandments, then it fares with us as it fared with the Jews. We cease to be a strong people, a united people, a wise and understanding people, in the sight of the nations; we become weak, and divided, and foolish. If we hold fast to the covenant it will go well with us, and with our seed after us. We shall be true citizens of our land. God will bless our land and cause His face to shine upon it.
F. D. Maurice, Sermons Preached in Country Churches, p. 305.
References: Jeremiah 22:19.—J. Thain Davidson, Talks with Young-Men, p. 233. Jeremiah 22:21.—Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts' for the Times," vol. i., p. 48.
Jeremiah 22:29I. The manner of this cry. In form it is obviously and intensely peculiar. When the awakener utters such a piercing cry you may conclude that the sleep of the sleeper is deep. The two elements multiplied into each other which swell into a peal so loud, are the mercy that glows in the warner's breast, and the danger to which the sleeper lies exposed. The earth itself—all the creatures on it under man—have a quick ear for their Maker's voice, and never needing, never get a call so urgent. The alacrity of the creatures that lie either above or beneath him in the scale of creation brings out in higher relief the disobedience of man. The mystery of God's mercy to man is, we know, one thing into which unfallen angels desire to look; the mystery of man's heedlessness of God must be another. Angels, our elder brothers, must wonder both at our deep sleep and at God's long, loud, awakening cry. Both mysteries lie beyond their view.
II. The matter of this cry. (1) The speaker is the only living and true God. (2) The thing spoken is the word of the Lord. (a) The word of the Lord lies in the Scriptures; (b) the word of the Lord in the Scriptures is mercy; (c) the word of the Lord is Christ. (3) The injunction to regard that word: "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord." The Eternal Word has come into the world to show us the Father, "Hear ye Him."
III. Several aspects of this shrill warning cry remain for consideration. (1) The earth so summoned, has already, in a sense most interesting and important, heard the word of the Lord. Christ's Kingdom is even now more powerful on the earth than any other kingdom. (2) The earth through all its bounds will one day hear and obey the word of the Lord. (3) When the earth hears its Lord's word forthwith it calls upon the Lord. (4) Earth—that is, men in the body—should hear the word of the Lord, for to them it brings a message of mercy. (5) Earth—the dust of the dead in Christ—shall hear the word of the Lord, and shall come forth.
W. Arnot, Roots and Fruits of the Christian Life, p. 198.
Reference: Jeremiah 22:29.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 151.
And say, Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates:
Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.
For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people.
But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.
For thus saith the LORD unto the king's house of Judah; Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.
And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons: and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire.
And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city?
Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.
Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: but weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country.
For thus saith the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more:
But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.
Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;
That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is cieled with cedar, and painted with vermilion.
Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him?
He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD.
But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!
He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from the passages: for all thy lovers are destroyed.
I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice.
The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.
O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail!
As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence;
And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.
And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die.
But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return.
Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not?
O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.