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and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, 29 which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou

shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD ; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and de

stroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and · 30 beast? intimating that this was the substance of the whole. There

fore, thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah ; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David : and his dead

body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to 31 the frost.* And I will punish him and his seed and his ser

vants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them ; but they hearkened not.

Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah ; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire : and there were added beside unto them many like words.

REFLECTIONS.

TE are here shown the end for which the scriptures were

V written, and ministers preach, v. 3–7. It was by divine appointment that the scriptures were written ; and they are to be publicly read and explained, to engage men to consider, and repent of their evil ways. It is a great encouragement to repentance that God will forgive their iniquity ; though without it he will not. For this end ministers are to preach the word : and if, as in the case before us, they repeat the same sentiments, exhortations, or even discourses, it may be useful, that they may be better known, considered and remembered. They have a divine pattern for so doing; and perhaps, those curious hearers, who are most ready to complain of it, need it most. The end of preaching is so important, that there is need of line upon line, and precept upon precept, to save men from sin and destruction.

2. How vain are all the outward shows of piety, while the power of it is wanting! These sinful people proclaimed a fast, while they went on in their trespasses. These courtiers showed some rerer. ence to the word of God at first, some respect to the prophet and his secretary : but the good impressions quickly wore off. When they saw how light the king made of the threatenings, they began to think there was nothing in them ; 'they contente! themselves with asking impertinent questions about the manner of writing the

. Which Josephus says was the case. There is a great difference between that climate and ours; a river i here is sometimes frozini over in a night, when the pr«ceding day is very bot..

prophet's sermons, while they were not wrought upon by the ser. mons themselves. So easily do men deceive themselves in the most weighty matters. How careful should we be that we hear, consider, and obey the commands of the Lord, and tremble at his

word.

3. How lamentable is the obstinacy of sinners when it leads them to despise the word of God. What horrible insolence was the king guilty of in burning Jeremiah's prophecy! What impatience under reproof! What an affront to God ! He showed a steady determiņation not to comply with the command, and expressed an impudent defiance of the threatening : thus he hardened his own heart, and set a bad example to his courtiers and people. But observe how the chapter concludes : the same words were written in another book, and there were added unto them many like words. Men may burn the bible, but not one tittle of it shall fall to the ground. Its threatenings stand in full force, and shall all be executed upon the disobedient ; who only prepare heavier judgments for themselves, by their contempt of God's word and commandments : fór it is as true of its threatenings, as of its promises, that the word of God liveth and abideth for ever.

CHAP. XXXVII.

The Egyptians having raised the Chaldean siege, Zedekiah sends to

Jeremiah, who prophecies the return of the Chaldeans, and their vic. tory ; upon which he is beaten and put into prison. . . ,

1 A ND king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of

Il Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, in the room of 2 his nephew, and had taken of him an oath of homage. But nei. • ther he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken

unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet 3. Jeremiah. And Zedekiah the king sent: Jebucal the son of · Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maasseiah the priest to the

prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the LORD our God 4 for us. Now Jeremiah came in and went put among the peo. 5 ple ; for they had not put him into prison. Then Pharaoh's

army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans · that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they raised the

siege and departed from Jerusalem.* iSwiriri :

• Zedekiah had broken his league with the king of Babylon, and entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt, and the Egyptians came to help him ; upon this ibe Chaldeans left Jerusalem, and went to face the Egyptians; in which having succeeded, thy sapre again to be sec.

6 Then came the word of the Lord unto the prophet Jeremiah, 7 saying, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel ; Thus shall

ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me ; Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, 8 shall return to Egypt into their own land. And the Chaldeans

shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and 9 burn it with fire. . Thus saith the LORD ; Deceive not your.

selves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us : for 10 they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole

army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained (but] wounded men among them, (yet) should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire ; God still find instruments to execute his purposes, and he can make the most

unlikely successful. 11 And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans

was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, 10 Anathoth, where his estale lay, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people ; perceiving that he could

do no good in the city, he thought it best io retire with the picofile 13 who were going to look to their affairs in the country. And when

he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward (was) there, whose name (was] Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah the false prophet, whose death Jeremiah had foretold, and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans; thou art going to them in person, to encourage

them, because thou hast foretold their taking the city, and hast er 14 horted the king and people to submit. Then said Jeremiah, [It

is] false ; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened

not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the 15 princes, to the chief officers of state. Wherefore the princes

were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, that is, scourged him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe : for

they had made that the prison. 16 When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the

cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, till the siege 17 began again'; Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out :

and the king asked him secretly in his house, for fear of the princes, and said, Is there (any) word from the Lord? And Jer.

emiah said, "There is : for, said he, thon shalt be delivered into 18 the hand of the king of Babylon. Moreover Jeremiah said

unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or

against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put 19 me in prison ? Where [are) now your prophets which prophesi

ed unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come

against you ; nor against this land ? you see the siege is renewed, 20 and the city in danger. Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O

my lord the king : let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of

21 Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.* Then Zedekiah the king

commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison, where he had more liberty and free air.

REFLECTIONS.

1. CEE how absurd it is for persons to desire the prayers of

W ministers, when they will not regard their exhortations. So Zedekiah did ; and this is too common a case in times of distress : men are then glad of the prayers of their friends and ministers, whom they before slighted; they are desirous to receive consola. tion from those, from whom they never would receive advice. But there is little reason to hope for any success from such prayers ; and ministers have no consolation to administer to the disobedi. ent ; for they must still say, as God says, There is no fuace to the wicked.

2. The delay and suspension of divine judgments, too often harden sinners in their evil ways. While the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, there were some signs of remorse among the people ; when they retired the Israelites grew bad again. This is often the case with sinners ; because sentence against an evil work is not efieedily executed, when judgments are at a distance, they go on to do wickedly. When God afflicts them, they entertain some serious thoughts and good resolutions ; but when the aMiction is gone, their goodness is gone too ; and they return to folly again. Thus they deceive themselves. But the determination of God is peremptory, that except men repent, they shall perish.

3. See the power of God over all creatures, v. 10. He is the supreme commander of all armies, and can do what he pleases with them. He is never at a loss for instruments ; they may be weak and unlikely, but they shall execute his purposes. Whether we hope for nothing from them, or fear nothing from them, if God directs them they shall prosper. Without him, vain is the help of man : with him, sufficient is the power of the weakest. How much more reasonable then is it to fear him, than any human power ? The principal reflection is,

4. How wretched is the state of a sinner, who is always contend. ing with his own conscience. There is something strangely unaccountable in the conduct of Zedekiah. He had seen the death of his brother, and the captivity of his nephew and sister, exactly an. swering the divine prediction by Jeremiah. He began his reign

• It was a remarkable instance of the prophet's courage and faithfulness, that he delivered this message when he had a petition to present for himself, which would have been more likely to have succeeded had he delivered a more favourable one; especially to upbraid Zede. kiah with his false prophets. When he spoke in God's name, be was bold as a lion ; but when he petitioned for himself, nothips ciui be more modest, decent, and respectful than bio

Fequest.

wilh these awful objects in view ; he saw God's judgments on others, and felt them himself; yet he continued unhumbled. Some. times he was under strong convictions ; then infatuated by his evil counsellors. Sometimes he desired Jeremiah's prayers ; then he consented to put him in prison ; then sent for him to know what the Lord said ; and yet rejected his commands. This is the case with many now: they show some reverence to God's ministers, and attend upon ordinances, yet continue unaffected and unsanctified : often uneasy in their own minds; sometimes full of alarms and fears ; then settle in a false peace. The wicked are like the Troubled sea, that cannot rest. If we desire to be easy and happy, let us reverence the word of God, hearken to the voice of his ministers ; and keep a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward man.

CHAP. XXXVIII.

In which is related Jeremiah's confinement in the dungeon ; Ebedme.

lech's success in getting it mitigated; and his counsel to the king.

T HEN Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the

I son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pas shur the son of Malchiah, heard the words that Jeremiah had • spoken, or, had used to speak unto the people, and which he still : repeated privately in the court of the prison, unto all the people, 2 saying, Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city

shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence : on but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live ; for he shall 3 have his life for a prey, and shall live, Thus saith the LORD,

This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Bab4 ylon's army, which shall take it. Therefore the princes said

unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death : for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them ; for this nian seeketh not the welfare of this

people, but the hurt, by making the people despair of success. ..5 Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he [is] in your hand, • for the king (is) not (he that) can do (any) thing against you :

his hands are 80 weakened that he dares not onnose you, especially 6 at this critical time. Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him

into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, or, of the king, that (was) in the court of the prison : and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon (there was) no wa; ter, but mire : so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.*

• Josephus says, up to his neck.

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