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Now thou seest that it is a bitter thing to depart from God, and will certainly be bitterness in the latter end, ch. God can make trouble reach the heart even of those that would lay nothing to heart. He shows them the cure, v. Every one must return from his own evil way, and, in order to that, cleanse his own evil heart.

Reformation is absolutely necessary to salvation.

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There is no other way of preventing judgments, or turning them away when we are threatened with them, but taking away the sin by which we have procured them to ourselves. No reformation is saving but that which reaches the heart. There is heart-wickedness that is defiling to the soul, from which we must wash ourselves.


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By repentance and faith we must wash our hearts from the guilt we have contracted by spiritual wickedness, by those sins which begin and end in the heart and go no further; and by mortification and watchfulness we must suppress and prevent this heart-wickedness for the future. The tree must be made good, else the fruit will not.

Jerusalem was all overspread with the leprosy of sin. Now as the physicians agree with respect to the body when afflicted with leprosy that external applications will do no good, unless physic be taken inwardly to carry off the humours that lurk there and to change the mass of the blood, so it is with the soul, so it is with the state: How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? He complains here [1. When shall it once be? Thoughts of iniquity or mischief, these are the evil thoughts that are the spawn of the evil heart, from which all other wickedness is produced, Mt.

These are our own, the conceptions of our own lusts Jam. Some read it thoughts of affliction, such thoughts as will bring nothing but affliction and misery. Some by the vain thoughts here understand all those frivolous pleas and excuses with which they turned off the reproofs and calls of the word and rendered them ineffectual, and bolstered themselves up in their wickedness. Wash thy heart from wickedness, and think not to say, We are not polluted ch. Verses The prophet is here in an agony, and cries out like one upon the rack of pain with some acute distemper, or as a woman in travail.

The expressions are very pathetic and moving, enough to melt a heart of stone into compassion: I am pained at my very heart; and yet well, and in health himself, and nothing ails him. Note, A good man, in such a bad world as this is, cannot but be a man of sorrows. My heart makes a noise in me, through the tumult of my spirits, and I cannot hold my peace.

Note, The grievance and the grief sometimes may be such that the most prudent patient man cannot forbear complaining. Now, what is the matter? What is it that puts the good man into such agitation? They are very sinful and will not be reformed, v.

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These are the words of God himself, for so the prophet chose to give this character of the people, rather than in his own words, or as from himself: My people are foolish. God calls them his people, though they are foolish. They have cast him off, but he has not cast them off, Rom. They are foolish, for they have not known me. Gataker well observes here, That earthly princes are not wont to go along with their ambassadors; but God goes along with those whom he sends, and is, by his powerful protection, at all times and in all places present with them; and with this they ought to animate themselves, Acts.

To speak intelligently, and as one that had acquaintance with God, v. He having now a vision of the divine glory, the Lord put forth his hand, and by a sensible sign conferred upon him so much of the gift of the tongue as was necessary for him: God not only put knowledge into his head, but words into his mouth; for there are words which the Holy Ghost teaches, 1 Co.

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And those that faithfully do so shall not want instructions as the case requires; God will give them a mouth and wisdom in that same hour, Mt. To speak powerfully, and as one that had authority from God, v. It is a strange commission that is here given him: See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms. This sounds very great, and yet Jeremiah is a poor despicable priest still; he is not set over the kingdoms as a prince to rule them by the sword, but as a prophet by the power of the word of God.

And yet the power that Jeremiah had who, notwithstanding his power, lived in meanness and contempt, and under oppression would not content these proud men. Jeremiah was set over the nations, the Jewish nation in the first place, and other nations, some great ones besides, against whom he prophesied; he was set over them, not to demand tribute from them nor to enrich himself with their spoils, but to root out, and pull down, and destroy, and yet withal to build and plant.

And, to the introducing and establishing of that which is good, it is necessary that that which is evil be removed.


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He must assure those who persisted in their wickedness that they should be rooted out and destroyed, and those who repented that they should be built and planted. He was authorized to read the doom of nations, and God would ratify it and fulfil it Isa. And yet more honourable does the gospel ministry look, in that declarative power Christ gave his apostles to remit and retain sin Jn.

Verses Here, I. God gives Jeremiah, in vision, a view of the principal errand he was to go upon, which was to foretel the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, for their sins, especially their idolatry.

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This was at first represented to him in a way proper to make an impression upon him, that he might have it upon his heart in all his dealings with this people. He intimates to him that the people were ripening apace for ruin and that ruin was hastening apace towards them. God, having answered his objection, that he was a child, goes on to initiate him in the prophetical learning and language; and, having promised to enable him to speak intelligibly to the people, he here teaches him to understand what God says to him; for prophets must have eyes in their heads as well as tongues, must be seers as well as speakers.

He therefore asks him, "Jeremiah, what seest thou? Look about thee, and observe now. Thou hast well seen.

Series: Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible [6 volume set]

God commended him that he was so observant, and so quick of apprehension, as to be aware, though it was the first vision he ever saw, that it was a rod of an almond-tree, that his mind was so composed as to be able to distinguish. Prophets have need of good eyes; and those that see well shall be commended, and not those only that speak well.

We have the explication of this, Eze. He intimates to him whence the intended ruin should arise.

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Jeremiah is a second time asked: Some think that those scoffers referred to this who said Eze. Now the mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, over which this pot boiled, was towards the north, for thence the fire and the fuel were to come that must make the pot boil thus. So the vision is explained v.

Out of the north an evil shall break forth, or shall be opened. It had been long designed by the justice of God, and long deserved by the sin of the people, and yet hitherto the divine patience had restrained it, and held it in, as it were; the enemies had intended it, and God had checked them; but now all restraints shall be taken off, and the evil shall break forth; the direful scene shall open, and the enemy shall come in like a flood.

It shall be a universal calamity; it shall come upon all the inhabitants of the land, from the highest to the lowest, for they have all corrupted their way.

Look for this storm to arise out of the north, whence fair weather usually comes, Job. When there was friendship between Hezekiah and the king of Babylon they promised themselves many advantages out of the north; but it proved quite otherwise: Thence sometimes the fiercest tempests come whence we expected fair weather. This is further explained v. The raising of the army that shall invade Judah and lay it waste: I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord.

All the northern crowns shall unite under Nebuchadnezzar, and join with him in this expedition. When he has work to do of any kind he will find instruments to do it, though he send to the utmost parts of the earth for them. And, that the armies brought into the field may be sufficiently numerous and strong, he will call not only the kingdoms of the north, but all the families of those kingdoms, into the service; not one able-bodied man shall be left behind.

The advance of this army. The commanders of the troops of the several nations shall take their post in carrying on the siege of Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah.