Jeremiah 33:1 while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison
Chronologically speaking, this is likely the second year of Jeremiah’s imprisonment, after his awful experience in the dungeon mire (Jer. 38), when he was kept basically under house arrest in the court of the prison. It is a continuation of the story from Jeremiah 32, in Zedekiah’s 10th or 11th years as king, when the Babylonians have Jerusalem surrounded in a suffocating siege. Jeremiah wouldn’t get out until he was freed by the Babylonians (Jer. 38:28) when the city was sacked.
Jeremiah 33:4-5 the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword
The men who reside in the houses of Judah are to be destroyed by the Babylonians. The Lord speaks in present tense because the fulfillment will be just a matter of months. At this point, the Babylonian army has already built up mounds of dirt and timbers in order to scale the walls of the great city. Early on they met with stiff opposition. Josephus said:
“Now the king of Babylon… erected towers upon great banks of earth, and from them repelled those that stood upon the walls: he also made a number of such banks round about the whole city, the height of which was equal to those walls. However, those (Jews) that were within bore the siege with courage and alacrity, for they were not discouraged… but were of cheerful minds in the prosecution of the war… but contrived still different engines (of war) to oppose all the other withal, till indeed there seemed to be an entire struggle between the Babylonians and the people of Jerusalem, who had the greater sagacity and skill.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, 8:1)
Again speaking in the present tense, the Lord is saying that the men of the houses of Judah will die by being thrown off these Babylonian towers or by being run through with the sword. Their houses are good for nothing except to house the mass burial of their corpses.
Jeremiah 33:6 I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them
Jeremiah has been prophesying of this Babylonian destruction for decades, and his story is much more believable with the army literally knocking down the doors to the city. Now the focus shifts. The Lord explains that Jerusalem is sick unto death. So the Lord gives his prognosis as the Great Healing Physician that He is. The disease is not incurable; he will arise with “healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2) and save the city. But he won’t be saving it from the Babylonians; He will be saving it in the sense that the glory, health, and righteousness of Jerusalem will be restored in the latter days. He will save it from another army, in another siege, in another time, “they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem” (Zech 12:2).
Jeremiah 33: 9-14 The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness,
Michelangelo’s depiction of the prophet Jeremiah on the roof of the Sistine Chapel does not suggest much joy or rejoicing in his countenance. Jeremiah’s ministry has been one of prophesying “gloom and doom.” He was the author of Lamentations, “for these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water… because the enemy prevailed” (Lam. 1:16).
“Jeremiah is the most touching of all the prophets on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Especially when compared to the purposefulness of Ezekiel and the focus of Joel, he reveals weakness, weariness and despair — his posture betrays inner suffering. This is a powerful psychological portrait, that epitomizes the anguish and emotional pain of witnessing the consequences of the sack of Jerusalem.” (http://artandcritique.com/michelangelo-the-sistine-chapel-ceiling-the-prophet-jeremiah/)
This prophecy of joy is the Lord’s idea to cheer up Jeremiah, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer” (3 Ne. 1:13). He tells him of a future day—a day beyond the meridian of time—a day in which Jerusalem’s enemies will no longer prevail. The Lord, at the beginning of the Millennium, will establish the city of Jerusalem and the people of Judah as His city and His people. All the blessings he had promised them in Sinai (Deut. 28:1-14) will finally be realized, “the days come, saith the Lord that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah” (v. 14). “Don’t worry, Jeremiah, be happy!”
Jeremiah 33:11 the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride
“For their wickedness the Jews also were divorced publicly, as it were, via the Babylonian captivity. The gods, or symbolic lovers, to whom they turned for help did not come to their aid: ‘All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not’ (Jer. 30:14; see Jer. 30:10–17); ‘Among all her lovers she [Judah] hath none to comfort her’ (Lam. 1:2). Recalling the former ardor the Israelites had for him, the Lord says: ‘I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness’ (Jer. 2:2). And reaffirming his fidelity, the Lord tells the house of Israel, ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth’ (Amos 3:2).
“Patiently and with great love, the Lord vowed to win back his bride. Though the betrothal had been temporarily suspended, this ‘divorce’ was not to be permanent. There was to be a separation, so to speak, for a time, but the door was left open for reconciliation in the day that the bride experienced remorse and repented of her adulterous ways…
“Since the sacred institution of marriage was well understood by the Hebrew people, the marriage metaphor appealed to their tradition of commitments by covenant and oath, and the metaphor further stressed the seriousness with which the subject was being approached. The point was underscored when the Lord reminded Israel that they were a chosen people who had committed themselves to him by covenant just as married couples commit to each other by covenant.
“The Bridegroom or the Lamb in the book of Revelation is the Bridegroom spoken of by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and other prophets of the Old Testament. Those who covenant with the Bridegroom, and then remain faithful to those covenants, will be prepared to receive great blessings at the wedding, the second coming of the Bridegroom.” (Richard K. Hart, “The Marriage Metaphor,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 26-27)
Jeremiah 33:15 the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David
Bruce R. McConkie
Also in the writings of Jeremiah we find the Lord's promise to reveal unto his people in the latter days "the abundance of peace and truth," meaning the gospel, and to gather them "as at the first." Then again he makes the great promise concerning the Seed of David. "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land." Jeremiah's other promise was that the Lord would raise up unto David a righteous branch, a branch that would be the Seed of David. This time the promise is that he will raise up the Branch of righteousness, a Branch that is the Son of Righteousness, meaning the Son of God. In this connection be it remembered that the Book of Mormon uses the name Son of Righteousness as one of the names of Christ. Thus the Branch is to be both the Son of David, after the flesh, and the Son of God, in the eternal sense. Of the days of his reign the account continues: "In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness." That is to say, the Holy City also shall bear the name of the great King who reigns there. "For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel." (Jer. 33:6-7, 15-17.) Manifestly this promise to David that he shall have posterity reigning on his throne forever can be fulfilled only in and through Christ, the Eternal King.
Additional knowledge about the Branch of David, who is also the Branch of God, is recorded in Zechariah. "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts," says Zechariah, "Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne." (Zech. 6:12-13.) The Reigning One, at whose direction the temples in Jerusalem and elsewhere shall be built in the last days, shall be both a king and a priest. Indeed, he is the Great High Priest, and in the eternal sense, those who rule and reign everlastingly are all both kings and priests. It could not be otherwise, for the power by which they reign is the priestly power of the Almighty.
These words, also in Zechariah, place the reign of the Branch in its true millennial setting. "I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH," saith the Lord, "and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day," the day of burning in which every corruptible thing shall be consumed. "In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree." (Zech. 3:8-10.) These last words contain the prophetic figure of speech that describes life during the Millennium. Micah, for instance, says that during that blessed era of peace, "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid." (Micah 4:4.) (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 605)
Russell M. Nelson
As a child, the Savior was brought to the village of Nazareth. Why Nazareth? Again, to fulfill prophecy. Jeremiah foretold:
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper.” (Jer. 23:5.)
I am intrigued with the symbolic significance of the fact that some scholars suggest that the word Nazareth is derived from the Hebrew word neser, which means “branch.” Jesus, the divine Branch, was to be reared in the place with the name meaning “branch.” Jeremiah further prophesied that the Lord would “cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (Jer. 33:15.)
We read in the Book of Mormon of another interesting connection between “branch” and “Nazareth.” Do you remember the reply after Nephi had asked the Lord the meaning of the tree of life? The Lord then revealed to him a glimpse of the city of Nazareth, where Nephi beheld in vision “a virgin, most beautiful and fair.” She was destined to become the mother of the Son of God. (See 1 Ne. 11:8–18.) Isn’t it interesting that the little town of Nazareth, which name signifies “branch,” was shown to Nephi in vision after his inquiry about the tree of life?
From Matthew 2:23 we learn that Jesus “came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” [Matt. 2:23] (Ensign, Dec. 1989, 15)
Jeremiah 33:19-26 so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me
The Lord has two great regrets: the wickedness of the house of David in ruling Judah, and the wickedness of the Levites in the House of the Lord. Like two, infected open sores, these wounds wouldn’t heal for thousands of years. In Christ’s day the wounds were still open and weeping. The temple had been defiled and the Messiah was rejected as the rightful heir on the throne. So, clear back in Jeremiah’s day, the Lord made his own plans to set things straight. With the Babylonian destruction, the house of David loses control (Jer. 22:3-5, 30), but the Lord will re-establish that royal line in the millennial day. The Levitical blunder was to bring idols into the temple, to defile the temple and the sacrifices (Jer. 2:8; 7:4, 25-31). “And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity” (Ezek. 43:10). The result was that the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. The wickedness of the priests bothered the Lord so badly, that John the Baptist mentioned it when he restored the Aaronic Priesthood, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the priesthood of Aaron… and this priesthood shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” (D&C 3) Though the lesser priesthood wouldn’t be necessary once all things were restored, yet the Lord would keep the Levitical priesthood around long enough for the Levites to make things right.
Here in Jeremiah 33, we learn that the Lord is very intent upon re-establishing the house of David on the throne of Judah; we learn that he is equally intent upon the Levites offering temple oblations in righteousness. The latter will take place when the temple in Jerusalem is built; animal sacrifice will be reinstituted in that temple, and the Jews will petition the Lord in holiness once again (Ezek. 43:11-14). The Lord never did delight in the blood of rams but he will again delight in the righteous sacrifice of the faithful. It is the Lord’s agenda to set things right. It will happen—as sure as the sun rises and sets—as sure as the night follows the day—the house of David and the righteousness of the Levites will be restored as part of “the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts. 3:21).