Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 18

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Jeremiah 18)

Verse 6

[6] O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Cannot I do — That God hath an absolute sovereign power to do what he pleases with the work of his hands: but he acts as a just judge, rendering to every man according to his works.

Verse 14

[14] Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?

Of Lebanon — Lebanon had rocks, and also fruitful valleys; snow fell upon these rocks, and upon a thaw ran down into the lower places. Reason teaches men not to forsake a greater good for a less, tho' that greater good was but a poor creature comfort, not to be compared with God.

Verse 15

[15] Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;

Vanity — Idols.

Ancient paths — The ways wherein Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the ancient patriarchs walked.

To walk — In a way not cast up, not fit for God's people to walk in.

Verse 16

[16] To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.

Desolate — Not that this was the end they aimed at, but it was the end these courses would certainly issue in.

Verse 17

[17] I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.

East wind — The east wind was in those parts the fiercest wind. As the east-wind scatters the chaff, so saith God, I will scatter them.

In their calamity — And when they shall be in great calamity, I will turn my back upon them, I will not regard their prayers.

Verse 18

[18] Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

For — We have the church on our side; the regular priests and the prophets, they know God's mind as well as he.

Let us smite him with the tongue — Expose him, representing him to be what the people hate.

Verse 21

[21] Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

Therefore — But is it lawful for God's servants to pray for evil against their enemies? It is not lawful for Christians. It is doubtless our duty, to pray for the conversion, forgiveness, and eternal salvation of our worst enemies.

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