Jeremiah 42


Johanan and the remnant of the people desire Jeremiah to ask

counsel of God what they should do, 1-3.

The prophet assures them of safety in Judea, but destruction in

Egypt, 4-18;

and reproves their hypocrisy in asking counsel with which they

had no intention to comply, 19-22.


Verse 1. The captains of the forces] The different leaders of

the small bands or companies, collected from different parts of

the land. The principal are those here named.

Verse 3. That the Lord thy God may show us] They all thought

there was no safety in Jerusalem or in Judea, and therefore

determined to leave the land: but they did not know which might be

the safest direction to take; for though they inclined to Egypt,

yet they wished to know the mind of God on that point.

Verse 5. The Lord be a true and faithful Witness] The Lord is

such; and as ye have bound yourselves to obey his voice, he will

register the covenant, and bless or curse according as ye shall

conduct yourselves in this matter.

Verse 7. After ten days] All this time he was waiting upon God;

for it is evident the prophets could not prophesy when they

pleased, any more than the disciples of our Lord could work

miracles when they wished. The gift of prophecy and the gift of

miracles were both dependent on the will of the Most High, and

each of them was given only for the moment; and when the necessity

was over, the influence ceased.

Verse 10. For I repent me of the evil] The meaning is, As I have

punished you only because you continued to be rebellious, I will

arrest this punishment as soon as you become obedient to my word.

You need not fear the king of Babylon if you have me for your

helper; and I will so show mercy to you that he shall see it, and

cease from afflicting you, as he shall see that I am on your side.

Verse 15. If ye-set your faces to enter into Egypt, &c.] Every

evil that ye dreaded by staying in your own land shall come upon

you in Egypt.

Verse 16. The sword-and the famine-shall follow close after you]

Shall be at your heels; shall overtake and destroy you; for there

ye shall die.

Verse 19. Go ye not into Egypt] Why? Because God knew, such was

their miserable propensity to idolatry, that they would there

adopt the worship of the country, and serve idols.

Verse 20. For ye dissembled in your hearts] What a most

miserable and incorrigible people! Ingratitude, hypocrisy,

rebellion, and cruelty seem to have been enthroned in their

hearts! And what are they still? Just what their fathers were,

except in the mere article of idolatry; and that they do not

practise because they are indifferent to their own religion and to

that of all others. Examine their devotions and their lives, and

see whether Charity herself can say they believe in the God of


Verse 21. Ye have not obeyed the voice] Though ye have requested

to have this particular revelation of the Divine will, and

promised obedience, yet have ye not done one thing for which ye

sent me to inquire of the Lord.

Verse 22. Now therefore know certainly] As ye have determined to

disobey, God has determined to punish. Ye may now follow the full

bent of your wicked devices, and I will follow the requisitions of

my justice. Ye shall die by the sword, by the pestilence, and by

the famine, in the place whither ye desire to go to sojourn. Thus

was their doom sealed.

With such dispositions and with such rebellion of heart, it is

strange that they should put themselves to any trouble to inquire

of the Lord relative to their future operations. They did not

intend to obey; but as a matter of curiosity they would inquire to

hear what the prophet might say; and if according to their own

inclination, they would obey.

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