Jeremiah 33:12
(12, 13) Again in this place.--The "place" includes, as in Jeremiah 33:10, "the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem." The "habitation" for shepherds is translated sometimes by "sheepcote" (1Chronicles 17:7; 2Samuel 7:8), sometimes by "fold" (Isaiah 65:10; Ezekiel 34:14), sometimes by "dwelling" or "habitation." It would seem here to answer to the "towns" of our old English speech, as meaning enclosed spaces, with the tower of the watchman (2Kings 17:9; Isaiah 1:8), in which, in times of average tranquillity, shepherds and their flocks found shelter, but which were abandoned when the land was overrun by an invading army. In Jeremiah 33:13 the eye of the prophet travels over such districts within the kingdom of Judah to the north and south of Jerusalem, and adds to the picture the vivid touch that the "sheep shall pass under the hands of him that telleth them," the shepherd whose work it was to count the flock--in older English, "to tell his tale"--as it went out in the morning and returned at nightfall, should find that he had lost none of them.

Verse 12. - An habitation; rather, a pasture (including the idea of an encampment). The expression reminds us of Jeremiah 23:3, 4, but it is preferable to take the present passage in its literal sense rather than as metaphorical.

33:1-13 Those who expect to receive comforts from God, must call upon him. Promises are given, not to do away, but to quicken and encourage prayer. These promises lead us to the gospel of Christ; and in that God has revealed truth to direct us, and peace to make us easy. All who by sanctifying grace are cleansed from the filth of sin, by pardoning mercy are freed from the guilt. When sinners are thus justified, washed, and sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit, they are enabled to walk before God in peace and purity. Many are led to perceive the real difference between the people of God and the world around them, and to fear the Divine wrath. It is promised that the people who were long in sorrow, shall again be filled with joy. Where the Lord gives righteousness and peace, he will give all needful supplies for temporal wants; and all we have will be comforts, as sanctified by the word and by prayer.Thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Which phrase, or what is answerable to it, is often repeated, to give authority to what is said, and to command a belief of it:

again, in this place which is desolate; which was said to be so, Jeremiah 33:10; and indeed was so; and was near utter destruction, as to be

without man and without beast; both falling into the hands of the enemy; and that not in the city of Jerusalem only, but

in all the cities thereof; of the land of Judea; and from thence in other countries, even in Gentile ones:

shall be an habitation of shepherds, causing their flocks to lie down; which is expressive of great peace, no foreign enemy to make afraid or disturb the shepherds and their flocks; and of diligence and industry, plenty and prosperity; though this is to be understood not in a literal, but mystical sense. For by "shepherds" are meant the apostles of Christ, the first ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, that should be first raised up in the land of Judea, and then sent into and spread in all the world; shepherds under Christ, of his raising, qualifying, and calling; to whom he gives a commission to feed his sheep and lambs; assigns them their distinct flocks, and gives them food to feed them with, and to whom they are accountable for those under their care, and the gifts bestowed upon them; and whose business lies in feeding the flock with the solid doctrines of the Gospel, by faithfully administering the ordinances, and in all directing to Christ, where they may find pasture; as also in ruling and governing according to the laws of Christ; in watching over the sheep that they go not astray, and in protecting and defending them from beasts of prey. By the "habitation" of these shepherds is meant the house of God, where the word is preached, and ordinances are administered; here are the shepherds' tents, which, like the tents of Kedar, which were shepherds' tents also, are mean and coarse without, but rich and beautiful within; and are like tents, movable from place to place; and it is the glory and happiness of a country where they are. And by "flocks", or "flock", for it is in the singular number, are meant the church of Christ, which is but one, the general assembly and church of the firstborn written in heaven, and the several particular congregated churches; consisting of such persons as may be compared to sheep, being weak and timorous, meek and humble, harmless and inoffensive; of persons gathered out of the world, distinguished by the grace of God, and folded together in a Gospel church state; though but few, and despised of men, and persecuted, a little flock, and a flock of slaughter: these, by their shepherds, are made "to lie down" in a good fold at night, where they are safe and secure; these shepherds watch over them; angels encamp about them; salvation is walls and bulwarks to them; and God himself a wall of fire around them; and in the day they are made to lie down in the green pastures of the word and ordinances, where they have an abundance, a sufficiency of provisions; and at noon under the shadow of Christ, where they have rest, and where they are screened and sheltered from the heat of a fiery law, of Satan's fiery darts, and of the world's persecution.

Jeremiah 33:11
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