Jeremiah 33:1-26 (40:1-13, LXX)

Submitted by admin on Thu, 2017-04-06 14:45.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

While still at the place of confinement “in the court of the guard,” Jeremiah received a second message from YHWH. (33:1 [40:1, LXX]) YHWH is quoted as identifying himself as the one who made the earth (literally, “making it”), “forming it to establish it,” possibly meaning that he gave it form from a state of chaos and made it firm or stable. He is not a nameless God but the God who has revealed his name to be YHWH and, therefore, as the God who causes things to be or to become and who makes known his will or purpose to humans. (33:2 [40:2, LXX])

YHWH’s invitation to call or cry out to him appears to be directed to Jeremiah, and this invitation is followed with the assurance, “And I will answer you and will tell you great things and concealed [things (mighty [things], LXX)] you have not known.” The “concealed” things would be matters that remained hidden and unknown until such time as YHWH chose to reveal them. They would be “great” or outstanding things that could have far-reaching effects. In this context, the things then hidden probably relate to the future restoration of God’s people sometime after the successful Babylonian siege and conquest of Jerusalem. (33:3 [40:3, LXX])

To strengthen the defenses of Jerusalem, the inhabitants obtained material by tearing down houses in the city, including “houses of the kings of Judah.” According to the Hebrew text, these defenses were designed to counter the threat from siege “mounds” or ramps and the “sword” of the attackers. The Septuagint indicates that the tearing down of houses was to get material for “bulwarks and fortifications” to war against the Chaldeans. Apparently regarding the houses (but, according to the Septuagint, the city), “YHWH, the God of Israel,” said (33:4 [40:4, LXX], “[Warriors] are coming to battle with the Chaldeans.” The words that follow suggest that the defenders would be unsuccessful, with the result being “to fill them” (the houses [it (the city), LXX]) with the corpses of the men whom YHWH would strike in his anger and in his wrath, for he had hidden his face from Jerusalem, refusing to give any favorable attention to the inhabitants, “because of all their wickedness.” (33:5 [40:5, LXX])

In time, the distressing circumstances would change for God’s people. YHWH declared, “Look, I will bring to it [Jerusalem] healing and cure, and I will cure them [the people], and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.” Jerusalem would not continue to lie in ruins, but the city would be rebuilt. The people who had experienced calamity for their unfaithfulness to YHWH would be restored to their own land and would prosper there, enjoying a state of peace or well-being and “truth,” stability or security. (33:6 [40:6, LXX])

YHWH would make it possible for the “captivity of Judah” or a body of Judean exiles (“fortunes,” according to numerous modern translations) and the “captivity of Israel” or a body of exiles from the former ten-tribe kingdom of Israel (“fortunes,” according to many modern translations) to return to their land. He would “build” them as they were “at the first” or restore them to the former state of prosperity and security. (33:7 [40:7, LXX])

The wayward people had defiled themselves with a sordid record of wrongdoing. YHWH, however, promised to cleanse them of all their iniquity, of the sin they had committed against him, and he purposed to “forgive all their iniquities,” their sin and transgression or rebellion against him. The Septuagint says that he would “not remember their sins that they had sinned against [him].” It then refers to the people as having separated themselves from him or made themselves guilty of rebellion. (33:8 [40:8, LXX])

“All the nations of the earth,” or people everywhere, would come to hear about “all the good” that YHWH had done and continued to do for his people, including restoring them to their land and making it possible for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Jerusalem would become to YHWH a “name of joy, [and] for a praise and for a glory” before all these people of the nations. The restored state of Jerusalem would be a source of joy, praise, and glory or honor. Observing the remarkable transformation of Jerusalem into a thriving city from a state of complete devastation, people of the nations would “fear and tremble” or would be filled with awe and be overwhelmed like persons who tremble with fear. They will be astonished by “all the peace” or prosperity and security that YHWH would provide for the city. (33:9 [40:9, LXX]) There would be a complete reversal of fortunes for the desolated land concerning which the people would say, It is a “waste, without man and without beast [domestic animal], [a waste] in the cities of Judah and the streets [literally, the plural of outside] of Jerusalem, the desolated [places], without man and without inhabitant and without beast [domestic animal].” In the desolated land of God’s people (literally, “in this place”), there would again be “heard” (33:10 [40:10, LXX]), the “voice [or sound] of rejoicing and the voice [or sound] of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, [and] the voice of those saying, ‘Give thanks to YHWH of hosts [the God with hosts of angels in his service (the Lord Almighty [LXX]), for YHWH [is] good. His kindness [steadfast or loyal love (mercy [LXX])] [endures] forever.’” Worshipers coming to the “house of YHWH,” the temple in Jerusalem would express themselves to this effect. This development would be possible because YHWH would have fulfilled his promise to restore the “captivity of the land” (or the desolated state of the land) “as at first” or as it had been formerly in a state of prosperity. (33:11 [40:11, LXX])

“YHWH of hosts” (the God with hosts of angels in his service) revealed that, “in this place” or in the devastated land, “without man and without beast” (or domestic animal), “and in all of its cities, there would again be the “habitation of shepherds.” The shepherds would be pasturing their flocks and having them lie down to rest. (33:12 [40:12, LXX]) The flock would pass once “again under the hands of one counting” the sheep or goats (the shepherd who made sure that all the animals were accounted for). This would take place “in the cities of the mountainous region, in the cities of the Shephelah [a region of low hills situated between the central mountain range of the former kingdom of Judah and the coastal plains of Philistia], and in the cities of the Negeb” (the semiarid region south of the mountains of the former kingdom of Judah), and in the land of Benjamin [the territory north of Jerusalem and assigned to the people of the tribe of Benjamin], and in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah [the region assigned to the people of the tribe of Judah, the southernmost territory of the Israelite tribes].” (33:13 [40:13, LXX]; see the Note regarding the Septuagint.)

The former time of affliction and exile would end, and this promise of YHWH is introduced with the word “look” to direct attention to it. YHWH is then quoted as declaring that “days” or the time would be coming when he would fulfill the “good word” that he had spoken, or the promise he had made, to the “house of Israel” (the people of the former ten-tribe kingdom of Israel) and to the “house of Judah” (the people of the kingdom of Judah). (33:14) “In those days and at that time,” YHWH would effect the sprouting of a “sprout of righteousness for David,” and this one would render “justice and righteousness in the earth” or in the land. After the return to their own land, neither the exiles nor their descendants ever had a king in the royal line of David. Therefore, the “sprout of righteousness” must be the Anointed One, the Messiah, or Christ whose reign would be marked by true righteousness, for he would administer affairs in a just manner, showing no partiality. On the basis of the evidence they personally saw about him in the first century CE, there were Israelites who recognized Jesus as the Christ, the King of Israel. (33:15; see Matthew 16:13-16; John 1:35-49.)

“In those days” or at that time when the Anointed One, the Messiah, or Christ would be administering affairs, “Judah will be saved,” or God’s people will be delivered from the distress and affliction that the people of the of Judah experienced in the past. “Jerusalem will dwell in security.” In the fulfillment, this would be the heavenly Jerusalem, and those who are citizens of this heavenly city would be safe and secure. (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22, 23) Like the king in the royal line of David (23:6), the city “will be called YHWH [is] our righteousness.” This suggests that those who are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem will benefit from the righteousness or justice that has YHWH as its ultimate source. (33:16)

YHWH declared that there would “not be cut off for David a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” The Anointed One, Messiah, or Christ, Jesus, is in possession of an indestructible life, making it possible for his rule to continue without coming to an end as did the reigns of all the other kings in the royal line of David. (Hebrews 7:15-17) Members of the “house of Israel” or people of Israel would become beneficiaries of his rule. (33:17)

There would not be cut off a man to the Levitical priests before YHWH’s “face” or presence, offering holocausts and burning grain offerings and making sacrifices for all the days” or all future time. When the Romans under the command of Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 CE, the sacrificial arrangement there came to an end. Therefore, from a strictly literal standpoint, one could not say that Levitical priests continued to function at an altar in Jerusalem. In the first century, however, a considerable number of Levitical priests became disciples of Jesus, the Anointed One, Messiah, or Christ. Any of them who may have lived after the destruction of Jerusalem or any of their descendants who put faith in Jesus as the promised Anointed One or Messiah continued to function as priests under Jesus, the great High Priest, offering spiritual sacrifices. These spiritual sacrifices include prayer, praise, thanksgiving, and all the deeds that contribute to the physical and spiritual well-being of others and are an expression of love and concern for those in need. (33:18; Acts 4:36, 37; 6:7; Hebrews 9:11-14; 13:15, 16; 1 Peter 2:4, 5)

The “word of YHWH,” or another message from YHWH, came to Jeremiah. (33:19) This message related to the permanence of the royal and the priestly lines. The dependable cycle of day and night is designated as YHWH’s “covenant with the day” and his “covenant with the night.” If that fixed cycle could be broken so that day and night would not come at their appropriate time or would not alternate in the regular sequence,(33:20), then also could YHWH’s covenant with his servant David be broken, with no son in his line to reign on his throne. It would also mean the breaking of the covenant with Levi, as there would be no Levitical priests functioning as YHWH’s ministers. (33:21) Just as sure as day and night continue to alternate in the regular sequence, so will the royal and priestly arrangement continue. YHWH would not permit the royal and the priestly lines of descent to be broken. As the “host of heaven” or the stars in the night sky “cannot be numbered,” and as the “sand of the sea,” or the grains of sand on the seashore, “cannot be measured,” just as certain would YHWH “multiply the seed” or offspring of his servant David and the Levitical priests who minister to him. Both lines of descent were preserved in the centuries that followed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians under the command of King Nebuchadnezzar. (33:22)

Again the “word of YHWH” came to Jeremiah. (33:23) This message directed Jeremiah’s attention to what non-Israelite people were saying about the “two families” YHWH had chosen but had afterward rejected. Having concluded that the Israelites had been rejected by their own God, people of other nations despised them and no longer regarded them as a nation. The words of verse 26 could be taken to suggest that the “two families” designate the “seed of Jacob,” or the people of Israel, and the family of the Davidic dynasty. It does not seem likely that the two families would be members of the royal line and of the priestly line (verse 22), for it does not appear that people of foreign nations would consider the rejection of the priestly line as a factor that indicated the end for a nation. The renderings of a number of modern translations are specific in identifying the two families, but the identification is not based on verse 26. “The LORD has rejected the two kingdoms he chose.” (NIV) “The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!” (NLT) “The LORD chose Israel and Judah, but now he has rejected them.” (CEV) (33:24)

YHWH is next quoted as declaring that he had not rejected the “seed of Jacob and of David [his] servant. This is initially confirmed on the basis of his “covenant with day and night,” or the fixed sequence of day alternating with night, and his established “statutes” governing the “heavens” (the celestial orbs or lights) and the “earth.” Nothing would ever change in what YHWH had established. (33:25) Likewise, he will not reject the “seed of Jacob” (or the people of Israel) and the offspring of his servant David. From the “seed” or descendants of David, YHWH promised to take one (the Anointed One, Messiah, or Christ) to rule “over the seed [offspring or descendants] of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” the ancestors of the Israelites. This would become a reality because YHWH would restore the “captivity” of his people (their body of captives in exile or, according to a number of modern translations, “their fortunes”) and would have compassion for them. (33:26)


In the Septuagint, chapter 40 ends with verse 13. The entire section of the Hebrew text from verses 14 through 26 is omitted.