Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The promises of Jer. 32 are confirmed, but with a more directly spiritual meaning. The prophet foreshows in it the happiness of the returning exiles, of which the culminating glory is Messiah's birth Jer 33:15-16, in whom both the Levitical priesthood and the Davidic kingdom are combined Jer 33:17-18, and God's covenant with mankind made perpetual Jer 33:19-26.
The prison - The guard.
Or, Thus saith Yahweh the doer of it, Yahweh who formeth it, that He may establish it, Yahweh is His name. The word "it" means whatsoever Yahweh wills.
Mighty things - Or, as in the margin. The words are probably a quotation from Isa 48:6.
By ... by - Rather, against ... against. As the works of the enemy approached the walls, houses were pulled down to build inner fortifications. Swords are mentioned in Eze 26:9 (translated, axes), as used for breaking down the towers in the walls. See Jer 5:17, note.
Render, They, i. e., the Jews come to fight with the Chaldaeans, and to fill them, i. e., the houses, with the dead bodies etc.
I will bring it health and cure - I will lay upon it a bandage and healing, i. e., a healing bandage, a plaster with healing medicines.
At the first - i. e., before their sins had provoked God to anger.
It - The city, Jerusalem.
They shall fear and tremble - With terror, because of the eternal opposition between right and wrong, truth and error. The nations of the earth as opposed to Israel represent the world as opposed to the Church.
Which ye say shall be desolate - Of which ye say, It is desolate ... The prophet first sees Judaea silent and desolate during the 70 years' captivity: and then describes the two things, men and cattle, without which land is valueless.
Praise the Lord ... - The customary formula of thanksgiving in many of the later Psalms, and from its occurrence in Ch2 5:13; Ch2 7:3, Ch2 7:6 ff probably a regular part of the liturgical service of the temple.
Shall say ... shall bring the sacrifice of praise - Or, say ... as they bring praise, i. e., a thank-offering (see the marginal reference) into the house of the Lord
At the first - Before the captivity, and when still unpolluted by the sins which have brought upon it so heavy a chastisement.
An habitation - "A shepherd's encampment." The words, "causing their flocks to lie down," mean gathering them into the fold at night.
Telleth - i. e., counts the number of his sheep.
That good thing - Better, the good word Jer 29:10, with reference to the promise already given Jer 23:5-6.
Compare the marginal reference. When the good word was spoken, the name Yahweh our Righteousness was given to the righteous Sprout: here it is given to Jerusalem, i. e., to the Church, because it is her business mediately to work on earth that righteousness which Christ works absolutely. Compare Eph 1:23.
Read literally, these verses promise the permanent restoration of the Davidic throne and (of the Levitical priesthood. As a matter of fact Zedekiah was the last king of David's line, and the Levitical priest-hood has long passed away. Both these changes Jeremiah himself foretold Jer 22:30; Jer 3:16. In what way then is this apparent contradiction (compare Isa 66:20-23; Ezek. 40-48) to be explained? The solution is probably as follows. It was necessary that the Bible should be intelligible to the people at the time when it was written, and in some degree to the writer. The Davidic kingship and the Levitical priest-hood were symbols, which represented to the Jew all that was most dear to his heart in the state of things under which he lived. Their restoration was the restoration of his national and spiritual life. Neither was so restored as to exist permanently. But that was given instead, of which both were types, the Church, whose Head is the true prophet, priest and King.
This promise also has been not literally, but spiritually fulfilled, for in this sense only have the seed of David and the Levites been multiplied.
Considerest thou not - literally, Hast thou not seen, i. e., noticed?
This people - i. e., the Jews.
Thus ... - Or, and "My people they have despised," so that they are "no more a nation" in their sight. They say that God has rejected Judah as well as Israel: and thus they despise themselves in their relation to God as His covenant-people, by regarding their national existence as about immediately to cease forever.
The ordinances of heaven and earth - i. e., the whole order of nature Nature is not more firmly established than God's purposes in grace.