by Ken Cayce

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Jeremiah Explained

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Book of Jeremiah Explained

Title: This book gains its title from the human author, who begins with "the words of Jeremiah" (1:1). Jeremiah recounts more of his own life than any other prophet, telling of his ministry, the reactions of his audiences, testings, and his personal feelings. His name means "Jehovah throws", in the sense of laying down a foundation, or "Jehovah establishes, appoints, or sends".

Seven other Jeremiahs appear in Scripture (2 Kings 23:31, 1 Chron. 5:24; 12:4; 12:10; 12:13; Neh. 10:2, 12:1), and Jeremiah the prophet is named at least 9 times outside of his book (compare 2 Chron. 35:25; 36:12; 36:21-22; Ezra 1:1; Dan. 9:2; Matt. 2:17; 16:14; 27:9). The Old and New Testaments quote Jeremiah at least 7 times.

Jeremiah is rightly considered among the major prophets. His book is longer than Isaiah and is also longer than either Ezekiel or the 12 Minor Prophets combined. Its important subject matter includes timely messages to God's people in the closing days of Judah, and prophecies concerning the Messiah and the new covenant. The book customarily appears between Isaiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament Canon.

Jeremiah's text has come down in differing forms. In the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint), it is shorter and shows a different arrangement of the material (in chapters 46 to 51). Both the Hebrew and Greek texts of the book have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. No compelling reason exists, however, for abandoning the traditional form of the original Hebrew text reflected in our English translations.

Authorship: Jeremiah doubtless was the chief author of the book that bears his name (see title above).

The Book's final edition was probably brought together shortly after his death by his scribe, Baruch. Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, a priest in the line of Abiathar, who lived at Anathoth. Because he was raised in a Levitical tribe, Jeremiah learned a high regard for the law of the Lord and the importance of the temple and priesthood.

Jeremiah, who served as both a priest and a prophet, was the son of a priest named Hilkiah (not the High-Priest of 2 Kings 22:8 who discovered the book of the law). He was from the small village of Anathoth (1:1), today called Anata, about 3 miles northeast of Jerusalem in Benjamin's tribal inheritance. As an object lesson to Judah, Jeremiah remained unmarried (16:1-4). He was assisted in ministry by a scribe named Baruch, to whom Jeremiah dictated and who copied and had custody over the writings complied from the prophet's messages (36:4, 32; 45:1). Jeremiah has been known as "the weeping prophet" (compare 9:1, 13:17; 14:17), living a life of conflict because of his predictions of judgment by the invading Babylonians. He was threatened, tried for his life, put in stocks, forced to flee from Jehoiakim, publicly humiliated by a false prophet and thrown into a pit.

Jeremiah carried out a ministry directed mostly to his own people in Judah, but which expanded to other nations at times. He appealed to his countrymen to repent and avoid God's judgment via an invader (chapters 7 and 26). Once invasion was certain after Judah refused to repent, he pled with them not to resist the Babylonian conqueror in order to prevent total destruction (chapter 27). He also called on delegates of other nations to heed his counsel and submit to Babylon (chapter 27), and he predicted judgments from God on various nations (25:12-38; Chapters 46 to 51).

The dates of his ministry, which spanned 5 decades, are from the Judean king Josiah's 13th year, noted in 1:2 (627 B.C.), to beyond the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 586 B.C. (Jer. chapters 39, 40 and 52). After 586 B.C., Jeremiah was forced to go with a fleeing remnant of Judah to Egypt (Jer. chapters 43 and 44). He was possibly still ministering (in 570 B.C.). A rabbinic note claims that when Babylon invaded Egypt in 568/567 B.C., Jeremiah was taken captive to Babylon. He could have lived even to pen the book's closing scene ca. 561 B.C. in Babylon, when Judah's king Jehoiachin, captive in Babylon since 597 B.C., was allowed liberties in his last days (52:31-34). Jeremiah, if still alive at that time, was between 85 and 90 years old.

Jeremiah prophesied during the reigns of Judah's last kings. His prophetic ministry stretched from the days of Josiah (640 - 609 B.C.), until Jerusalem's fall in the reign of Zedekiah (598 - 586 B.C.). Following his divine call (in 627 B.C.), Jeremiah served the Lord and the people of Judah throughout the rapidly changing scenes of the final decades of the southern kingdom and even beyond.

This prophet was a deeply spiritual man. He was wholly dedicated to God so that despite a shy and retiring nature, his fervent love for God and His people never waned. Jeremiah became an object lesson of a man whose commitment to God enabled him, by God's grace, to overcome his natural timidity and live courageously in the face of severe opposition and tragic circumstances. His personal sorrow over the messages that he had to deliver often caused him to weep for his people in a manner unparalleled until the Man of Sorrows would come.

Historical Setting: The time frame of the Book of Jeremiah stretches from the prophet's call in 627 B.C. until his later life among the Judean refugees in Egypt some years after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. These were trying times for Judah. The nation was caught up in the rapidly changing political events in the Near East during the late seventh and early sixth centuries B.C. Although revival and religious reform followed the finding of the Book of the Law during the repair of the temple in 622 B.C. (compare 2 kings 22:8 - 23:24; 2 Chronicles 34:8 - 35:19), the effects of Josiah's religious edicts were short lived.

With the death of the godly Josiah, Judah's apostasy quickly resurfaced. Jeremiah repeatedly warned of resulting judgment, which finally occurred through the events of the shifting Near Eastern political scene.

Nabopolassar of Babylon defeated the Assyrians at Nineveh (in 612 B.C.). When Pharaoh-nechoh (609 - 594 B.C.), of Egypt moved to their aid, Josiah withstood Egypt at Megiddo at the cost of his life. Later, the retreating Egyptians took his son Jehoahaz captive (2 Kings 23:31-33), and installed Josiah's second son, Jehoiakim (609 - 598 B.C.), on the throne. He was an apostate who persecuted Jeremiah and other true believers.

He was later succeeded by his brother Jehoiachin, who was captured by Nebuchadnezzar at the same time Ezekiel was taken captive. Zedekiah, Josiah's third son, was then installed as king (2 Kings 24:17). He too was an ungodly king who persecuted Jeremiah and rejected his prophecies. Finally in 586 B.C., Nebuchadrezzar totally destroyed Jerusalem, and Zedekiah was blinded and led away in chains to Babylon.

Although Jeremiah's message was one of inevitable judgment on Judah, he also delivered news of great consolation. God would yet deal anew with a repentant people (23:1-8 - 29:10-19), in a great new covenant (30:1 - 33:26), through which the promised blessings of old would be realized. Jeremiah's prophecies thus span the era that was passing away and that which was to come. The returning exiles would constitute a pledge of that great final gathering of God's people to Himself for the Messiah's everlasting reign.

Background and Setting: While some people are called into God's service as children (1 Sam chapter 3), Jeremiah was commissioned as a "prophet to the nations" even before he was conceived (1:5).

Jeremiah's 40 year ministry was centered in Judah, the region of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, surrounding Jerusalem. He prophesied during the reigns of the final five kings of Judah, up until the time the Babylonians destroyed the city (chapter 52). He began prophesying during the "thirteenth year of King Josiah's reign" (1:2), Josiah being the last righteous monarch of Judah. The four kings following Josiah was, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah ignored the brief revival of Josiah's days (2 Kings Chapter 23), and continued leading Judah toward judgment.

We know more about Jeremiah's personal life than we do about any other prophet. As with Moses before him (Exodus 3:11; 4:10), Jeremiah was timid as a young man and reluctant to accept the call to be God's spokesman. God, however, reached out and touched the young man's mouth, symbolically imparting to him the words he would need to speak (1:9). And God had much to say through His prophet. Jeremiah's book contains more words than any other book of the Bible.

From the beginning, God left no doubt; Jeremiah would face stiff opposition: "They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you" (1:19). King Jehoiakim cut up and burned the first scroll containing Jeremiah's words (chapter 36). Jeremiah was beaten and imprisoned (37:15), and at one point thrown into a muddy cistern, sinking into the filthy mire (38:6). The last we hear of him, he was forcibly taken to Egypt, where he apparently died (43:6-7). In his perseverance and faithfulness, Jeremiah was an example for all who would follow God's call in the face of opposition.

The Book of Jeremiah combines prose, poetry, historical narrative, sermons, oracles of judgment, and other literary forms, apparently in a non-chronological collection rather than a running narrative. While primarily addressing Judah, Jeremiah's prophecies also contain messages of judgment to nine neighbor-nations. More than 100 times, he calls for repentance. Besides being persistent, Jeremiah was consistent. In spite of his own occasional laments and complaints, he never varied from his calling.

Background details of Jeremiah's times are portrayed (in 2 Kings chapters 22 to 25 and 2 Chronicles Chapters 34 to 36). Jeremiah's messages paint pictures of;

(1) His people's sin;

(2) The invader God would send;

(3) The rigors of siege; and

(4) Calamities of destruction.

Jeremiah's message of impending judgment for idolatry and other sins was preached over a period of 40 years (ca. 627 - 586 B.C. and beyond). His prophecy took place during the reigns of Judah's final 5 kings (Josiah 640 - 609 B.C., Jehoahaz 609 B.C., Jehoiakim 609 - 598 B.C., Jehoiachin 598 - 597 B.C., and Zedekiah 597 - 586 B.C.).

The spiritual condition of Judah was one of flagrant idol worship (compare chapter 2). King Ahaz, preceding his son Hezekiah long before Jeremiah in Isaiah's day, he had set up a system of sacrificing children to the god Molech in the Valley of Hinnom just outside Jerusalem (735 - 715 B.C.). Hezekiah led in reforms and clean-up (Isa. 36:7), but his son Manasseh continued to foster child sacrifice along with gross idolatry, which continued into Jeremiah's time (7:31; 19:5; 32:35). Many also worshiped the "queen of heaven" (7:18; 44:19). Josiah's reforms, reaching their apex (in 622 B.C.), forced a repressing of the worst practices outwardly, but the deadly cancer of sin was deep and flourished quickly again after a shallow revival. Religious insincerity, dishonesty, adultery, injustice, tyranny against the helpless, and slander prevailed as the norm not the exception. Politically momentous events occurred in Jeremiah's day. Assyria saw its power wane gradually; then Ashurbanipal died in 626 B.C. Assyria grew so feeble that in 612 B.C. her seemingly invincible capital, Nineveh, was destroyed (compare the book of Nahum). The Neo-Babylonian empire under Nabopolassar (625 - 605 B.C.), became dominant militarily with victories against Assyria (612 B.C.), Egypt (609 - 605 B.C.), and Israel in three phrases (605 B.C.), as in Dan. Chapter 1; (597 B.C.), as in 2 kings 24:10-16; and (586 B.C.), as in Jer. chapters 39, 40 and 52.

While Joel and Micah had earlier prophesied of Judah's judgment, during Josiah's reign, God's leading prophets were Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. Later, Jeremiah's contemporaries, Ezekiel and Daniel, played prominent prophetic roles.

Historical and Theological Themes: The main theme of Jeremiah is judgment upon Judah (chapters 1 to 29), with restoration in the future messianic kingdom (23:3-8; and chapters 30 to 33). Whereas Isaiah devoted many chapters to a future glory for Israel (Isa. Chapters 40 to 66), Jeremiah gave far less space to this subject. Since God's judgment was imminent he concentrated on current problems as he sought to turn the nation back from the point of no return.

A secondary theme is God's willingness to spare and bless the nation only if the people repent. Though this is a frequent emphasis, it is most graphically portrayed at the potter's shop (18:1-11). A further focus is God's plan for Jeremiah's life, both in his proclamation of God's message and in his commitment to fulfill all of His will (1:5-19; 15:19-21). Other themes include:

(1) God's longing for Israel to be tender toward Him, as in the days of first love (2:1-3);

(2) Jeremiah's servant tears, as "the weeping prophet" (9:1; 14:17);

(3) The close, intimate relationship God had with Israel and that He yearned to keep (13:11);

(4) Suffering, as in Jeremiah's trials (11:18-23; 20:1-18) and God's sufficiency in all trouble (20:11-13);

(5) The vital role that God's Word can play in life (15:16);

(6) The place of faith in expecting restoration from the God for whom nothing is too difficult (chapter 32, especially verses 17 and 27);

(7) Prayer for the coordination of God's will with God's action in restoring Israel to its land (33:3, 6-18).

What it means for you: "Call to me".

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was in prison, at a time when the Babylonian army surrounded Jerusalem. "Call to Me," the lord said to him, "and I will answer you, and show your great and mighty things, which you do not know" (33:3).

How strange those words must have seemed to Jeremiah. Almighty God was inviting him into a conversation and offering to reveal marvelous secrets, in a time and place like that? Yes, and Jeremiah had only to call out to the Lord.

On days when we feel under pressure or locked up by anxiety and worry, the Lord invites us to simple call to Him. He comes to us where we are, offering to enter into conversation with us and reveal truths about our lives, our circumstances and Himself. No matter how confined or restricted our situation might make us feel, we are united to a God who knows no boundaries, no restrictions, and no limitations. He loves us dearly and desires our best.


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Chapter Selection


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Jeremiah 1 Jeremiah 19 Jeremiah 37
Jeremiah 2 Jeremiah 20 Jeremiah 38
Jeremiah 3 Jeremiah 21 Jeremiah 39
Jeremiah 4 Jeremiah 22 Jeremiah 40
Jeremiah 5 Jeremiah 23 Jeremiah 41
Jeremiah 6 Jeremiah 24 Jeremiah 42
Jeremiah 7 Jeremiah 25 Jeremiah 43
Jeremiah 8 Jeremiah 26 Jeremiah 44
Jeremiah 9 Jeremiah 27 Jeremiah 45
Jeremiah 10 Jeremiah 28 Jeremiah 46
Jeremiah 11 Jeremiah 29 Jeremiah 47
Jeremiah 12 Jeremiah 30 Jeremiah 48
Jeremiah 13 Jeremiah 31 Jeremiah 49
Jeremiah 14 Jeremiah 32 Jeremiah 50
Jeremiah 15 Jeremiah 33 Jeremiah 51
Jeremiah 16 Jeremiah 34 Jeremiah 52
Jeremiah 17 Jeremiah 35  
Jeremiah 18 Jeremiah 36  

Jeremiah 1

Jeremiah Chapter 1

We will find in this book why Jeremiah was known as 'the weeping prophet'. He was born to a priestly family in Anathoth, which was a suburb of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah was reluctant to answer the call of God, because he was just a teenager when God called him. He is like many of us, who feel unworthy to do the task God calls us to.

His ministry covered a period of sad times. Judah is overrun and the Hebrews are carried away captive to Babylon. He, as many other prophets, brought warnings from God. The people did not heed the warning and were taken captive. He later prophesies the return of the Hebrews to Jerusalem.

This book is of course, penned by Jeremiah. Jeremiah prophesied during the reign of 5 kings.

We will find that Jeremiah preached, as well as prophesied. When the Hebrews were taken captive, Jeremiah was given the privilege of staying in Jerusalem if he wished, and he stayed. A band of Jews forced him to go to Egypt, and he prophesied there.

Jeremiah did not choose to be a prophet, God chose Jeremiah. God had placed such a burden for the people on Jeremiah, that he was compelled to prophesy. God touched his mouth and put His words in Jeremiah's mouth. The message then was God's message, spoken through Jeremiah.

The name "Jeremiah" means "Jah will rise". Jeremiah was a contemporary of Ezekiel and Daniel. Daniel was God's choice to prophesy in the Babylonian palace. Ezekiel prophesied and acted as priest to the rural people. Jeremiah stayed in Jerusalem and saw it destroyed.

Verses 1-3a: These verses are almost identical to 2 Chron. 36:22-23. The pre-Exilic history of 1 and 2 Chronicles gave the post-Exilic returnees direction regarding the Davidic kingship, the Aaronic priesthood and temple worship. This book continues the story.

Verses 1-2: The Bible contains the second edition of what God wanted Jeremiah to say to His people. The original was cut up and destroyed by King Zedekiah (36:21-26).

Jeremiah 1:1 "The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that [were] in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:"

The phrase "son of Hilkiah" distinguishes "Jeremiah" from several other people of the same name in the Old Testament:

(2-4) Three of David's warriors who were with him at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:4, 10, 13);

(5) The father of Hamutal, Josiah's wife (52:1; 2 Kings 23:31; 24:18);

(6) The father of Jaazaniah, head of the Rechabites (35:3);

(7) The head of a priestly family who returned with Zerubbabel from exile (Neh. 12:1-2); and

(8) A priestly head connected with the ceremonies of covenant renewal in Nehemiah's day (Neh. 10:2; 12:34).

"Anathoth" had also served as a hometown for two of David's mighty men: Abiezer (2 Sam. 23:27) and Jehu (1 Chron. 12:3). Anathoth was a town in Benjamin, 3 miles north of Jerusalem, assigned to the Levites (compare Joshua 21:18), where Abiathar had once lived (1 Kings 2:26).

Jeremiah was the major prophet during the decline and fall of Judah's southern kingdom. He prophesied during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah. Jeremiah was born in the village of Anathoth, situated north of Jerusalem in the territory of Benjamin (verses 1 and 2). Called to the prophetic ministry in the thirteenth year of godly Josiah's reign (about 627 B.C.), Jeremiah's ministry lasted more than 40 years, extending beyond the fall of Jerusalem (in 586 B.C.). His call actually had been planned by God before his birth (verse 5). The nature of his ministry consisted of tearing down and rebuilding, uprooting and planting (verse 10). Jeremiah was a prophet of doom, who was even forbidden to marry so that he could fully devote himself to the preaching of God's judgment (16:1-13). After the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah was taken by some Jewish zealots to Egypt, where he continued to preach (chapters 43-44).

We see several things from this verse;

(1) Jeremiah's daddy was a priest;

(2) His father's name was Hilkiah;

(3) He was from Anathoth;

(4) Anathoth was in the land of Benjamin;

(5) Jeremiah penned this prophecy.

Jeremiah 1:2 "To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign."

"In the days of": Jeremiah's ministry spanned a little over 4 decades, from Judah's king Josiah (13th year, 627 B.C.), to the final king, Zedekiah, in his last year (586 B.C.).

We know that Josiah was king in Judah. He did right in the sight of the Lord. Josiah's father was an evil man, however. There is also, a specific time set for the Word of the Lord to come to Jeremiah, it was in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah. As we have learned in Isaiah and many of the other prophetic books, the message Jeremiah was to speak, came directly from the LORD.

Jeremiah 1:3 "It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month."

"Fifth month": Babylonian conquerors began deporting Judeans into captivity in the Hebrew month Ab (July/August; in 586 B.C.; 52:12; 2 Kings 25:8-11), shortly after breaking into Jerusalem on the fourth month and ninth day (39:2; 52:6).

This is not speaking of the entire prophecy of Jeremiah, but is speaking of the warning given before Judah is carried away into Babylon. This is just saying the prophecy extended into the reign of Jehoiakim, and even unto the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah. Jehoiakim was also Eliakim. It was during the reign of his son Jehoiachin that Nebuchadnezzar battled Jerusalem and took the people captive to Babylon. He had just been in power three months when the battle against Jerusalem occurred. Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiachin's uncle Mattaniah king of Judah and changed his name to Zedekiah. Judah was carried away into captivity the 5th month.

Verses 4-8: Notice in these verses the prominence of the pronoun "I" in reference to the Lord, "I formed you, I knew you, I sanctified you, I ordained you, I shall send thee, I command thee," and "I am with thee". Jeremiah knew he was not a prophet by his own choosing, God had set him apart and commissioned him (Isa. 49:1; Psalm 139:23; Gal. 1:15).

Jeremiah 1:4 "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,"

The words imply obviously a revelation, the introduction of a new element into the human consciousness. In many cases such a revelation implied also the spiritual tension of an ecstatic or trance-like state, a dream, or an open vision. Here there is no mention of dream or vision, and we must assume therefore, a distinct consciousness that the voice which he heard in his inmost soul was from Jehovah.

We see from this, that Jeremiah actually heard the voice of the LORD. This is just establishing the fact that the Lord directed Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."

"Before I formed thee": This is not reincarnation; it is God's all-knowing cognizance of Jeremiah and sovereign plan for him before he was conceived (compare Paul's similar realization, Gal. 1:15).

Jeremiah was foreknown by God and set apart as His messenger to "the nations" long before his birth. The whole process was carefully watched over by God, so that Jeremiah's existence as a person, as well as his call, had become a reality while he was still in the womb.

This is the Word of the LORD. The LORD called Jeremiah to prophesy, even before he was born. His sole purpose in life was to prophesy to Judah. This is very similar to the call of John the Baptist. They had no private life at all. Their lives were for the purpose of God to be fulfilled. The LORD not only called him to prophesy before he was born, but set him aside for the purpose of God (sanctified him). We remember from the book of Luke, that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost in his mother's womb. This is a very special call. The LORD did not want Jeremiah weighted down with worldly things. He separated him for a purpose. Jeremiah did not choose to be a prophet. God poured out His Spirit on Jeremiah and ordained him for this purpose. Notice that Jeremiah was to prophesy to the nations (plural), not just to Judah.

Verses 6-7: Jeremiah's sense of unworthiness helps us to recall others such as Moses (Exodus 3:4), Barak (Judges 4:8), Gideon (Judges 6:15), Saul (1 Sam. 10:22), David (2 Sam. 7:19), Solomon (1 Kings 3:7), and many others who understood clearly that sufficiency for God's service comes only from God Himself (compare 2 Cor. 2:16).

The word translated "child" is sometimes used not only of young children (2 Kings 2:23), but also of servants (2 Sam. 16:1; 2 Kings 4:12). It is likewise used of military trainees or young professional soldiers (1 Kings 4:12; 20:14-15). Jeremiah here seems to emphasize his lack of experience more than his youth.

Jeremiah 1:6 "Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I [am] a child."

Jeremiah's response points out his inability and his inexperience. If as a young man he was 20 to 25 years old in 626 B.C., he was 60-65 in 586 B.C., when Jerusalem fell (chapter 39), and 85-90 if he lived to the time of 52:31-34; ca. 561 B.C.

"I [am] a child": This does not mean that Jeremiah was a small child, but was an expression used of someone in their teens. I personally believe that he was about 17.

"Ah, LORD God!" is a statement of shock. Jeremiah felt totally inadequate to do the job. He was very much like Moses, who said he could not talk. God asked Moses, who gave you your mouth? The word "behold" is saying, look and see that I am too young. Many of us when we are called, give some feeble excuse. That is what the age factor is here. God is not concerned about Jeremiah's youth, so why should he be concerned?

Verses 7-10: The power backing Jeremiah's service was God's presence and provision (compare 2 Cor. 3:5).

Jeremiah 1:7 "But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I [am] a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak."

Do not plead excuses.

"Thou shalt go": This is God's answer to Jeremiah, in respect of his sense of his own inability. This may be by way of command, and then it is a check to his timidity: "Thou shalt go, therefore draw not back". Or by way of promise, and then it is a satisfactory answer to his excuse, as both proceeded from a sense of his own insufficiency: i.e., Fear not, I will make thee eloquent and courageous.

"To all": this relates either to persons or things. I.e. to all persons to whom I shall send thee; thou shalt hesitate with no one (see Rev. 10:11). Or upon all, so is the Hebrew; and then it is: Thou shalt go upon all errands and messages that I shall send thee (see Isa. 55:11; Acts 26:16).

"And whatsoever I command thee, thou shall speak": Outright and openly, and keep back nothing due to the fear of men (as follows in verse 8).

God would not listen to the excuses of Jeremiah. He even tells Jeremiah to hush. In the very next sentence, He reassures Jeremiah that He will be with him. Jeremiah will not have to think up something to say, God will put the Words in Jeremiah's mouth. Look with me at what Jesus said about this very thing.

Luke 12:11-12 "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and [unto] magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:" "For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."

Jeremiah 1:8 "Be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD."

People need the Lord, but they need the companionship of other people too. In those moments in the dark caverns of loneliness, they have the Master Companion who stays with them through it all: "I am with thee ... to deliver thee":

I love what Jesus said in the following Scripture along these same lines.

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

The worst a man can do to you is to kill your body. If they kill you, you would immediately be with God. That is nothing to fear. God alone can destroy the body and soul in hell. If the LORD is with you, there is nothing to fear.

Jeremiah 1:9 "Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth."

When the "Lord ... touched my mouth" the results were not only a message to deliver but a messenger transformed and purified (Isa. 6:7).

"My words in thy mouth": God used him as His mouthpiece, speaking His message (15:19); thus, Jeremiah's fitting response was to receive God's Word (15:16).

I believe this happened. I know that the touch of the LORD can change your life completely. Jeremiah could rely on the Words of God. They will not fail. These Words did not come from the innermost place of Jeremiah. They were placed in his mouth by the LORD. Jeremiah would speak much more boldly, knowing the Words were the LORD's. I believe ministers would be much more effective if they allowed God to speak through them, rather than preparing their own message. God has a message for each congregation. When God speaks through the minister, His Words apply to their current needs.

Jeremiah 1:10 "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant."

"Set thee ... over": Because God spoke through Jeremiah, the message has divine authority.

Jeremiah was a prophet of both judgment and salvation. God would judge and then restore His people. The verbs "root out, pull down, destroy," and "throw down" depict Jeremiah's words of judgment, and "build" and "plant" portray his message of salvation. These verbs appear throughout the book to summarize the two aspects of his ministry (18:7-11; 24:6; 31:28; 33:7; 42:10; 45:4).

Had the LORD chosen someone of greater age, or someone highly respected as a priest in the temple, or even a king to speak: it would have appeared it was in their power. God knew that no one would expect these mighty prophecies to come from such a youth. When he spoke, they would know that the message had to be from God. This would have been a difficult job for anyone, but would be unusually difficult for a youth. He probably asked himself, who would listen? Let me say that God can send whoever He chooses. A king is a king, because God allowed it. God has literally put this young man in charge over the nations. He is like a watchman, or an overseer. Jeremiah will speak judgement on these people. It is actually God speaking judgement on them through the mouth of Jeremiah. Whatever comes out of Jeremiah's mouth will be, because it is the Word of God. God is aware of all that they do. He is causing the Babylonian captivity to come to cause them to repent.

Verses 11-16: Illustrations of God's charge was twofold. First, there was the sign of the almond rod. The almond tree was literally "the wakeful tree," because it awakened from the sleep of winter earlier that the other trees, blooming in January it was a symbol of God's early judgment, as Jeremiah announced (605 - 586 B.C.). Second, the boiling pot pictured the Babylonian invaders bringing judgement on Judah (compare 20:4).

Verses 11-12: There is a play on sounds here in the Hebrew text. The word translated "almond" (shaqed), has the same root as the word rendered "shade" (shoqed). As the early blossoming "almond tree" gave promise of the later spring fruit so God would watch over His "word" to bring it to fruition.

God gave Jeremiah a vision to confirm his calling. The "rod of an almond tree" buds early in the season, announcing the arrival of spring and life. Here it announces that God said "hasten my word to perform it", His Word through Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 1:11 "Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree."

As before, we have the element of ecstasy and vision, symbols not selected by the prophet, and yet, we may believe, adapted to his previous training.

The poetry of the symbols is of exquisite beauty. In contrast to the words of terror, in harmony with the words of hope, he sees the almond-bough, with its bright pink blossoms and its pale green leaves, the token of an early spring rising out of the dreariness of winter. The name of the almond-tree (here the poetical, not the common, name), made the symbol yet more expressive. It was the watcher, the tree that "hastens to awake" ( shkd), out of its wintry sleep, and thus expresses the divine haste which would not, without cause, delay the fulfilment of its gracious promise. But would, as it were, make it bud and blossom and bear fruit.

Aaron's rod bloomed and brought forth almonds.

Numbers 17:8 "And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds."

It seems to me, that the LORD has shown Jeremiah that his rod has bloomed like Aaron's. The things Jeremiah puts his hand to do will be blessed of God. The "rod of the almond tree" means to awaken and be ready to do whatever God has for him to do. This could also mean that God is ready to bring judgement on Judah. The almond is the first to bloom. It usually blooms in January. The rod could also, be the rod of correction. All of these things prevail at the time of Jeremiah's prophecy.

Jeremiah 1:12 "Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it."

The thing seen is a very proper emblem of what I am about to do, and the quick dispatch that will be made therein.

"For l will hasten my word to perform it": The words, "shoked ani ", "I will hasten", or "I am hastening", are in allusion to " shoked", the name of the almond tree in Hebrew. Which is so called because it is quick and early, and as it were, hastens to bring forth its flowers, leaves, and fruit. In like manner, the Lord says He would hasten to perform what He had said or should say concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the people, and everything else He should give Jeremiah in commission to say. Jarchi and Abendana make mention of an ancient Midrash, or exposition, to this sense. That from the time of the almond tree's putting forth, until its fruit is ripe, are one and twenty days, according to the number of days which were between the seventeenth of Tammuz, in which the city was broken up, and the ninth of Ab, in which the temple was burnt. But though the almond tree is the first of trees, and is very early in putting forth, yet there is a greater time than this between its putting forth and its fruit being ripe. For Pliny says, that the almond tree first of all flowers in January, and its fruit is ripe in March.

It seems that not only does the LORD put His Words in Jeremiah's mouth, but He opened Jeremiah's understanding as well. God is telling Jeremiah, this is soon coming.

Verses 13-16: The boiling pot vision pictures impending doom. The bubbling heat of God's judgment is about to boil over. The scalding effects will flow against the "gates" and "Walls thereof". God's Word through Jeremiah will have to root out and destroy before it can build up and plant (1:10).

Verses 13-15: The nature of the Lord's dealing with Judah and Jerusalem is underscored in the second vision. Like a "seething pot" (or caldron), ready to spill over, God's judgments were about to descend from the "north" against His sin-hardened people. Some have suggested that the phrase "seething pot" might better be translated "kindled thorn," evoking the image of wildfire consuming the land. Either way, the figure of speech suggests imminent judgment. Jeremiah was commanded to deliver a difficult message in critical times. His would be no easy task.

Jeremiah 1:13 "And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof [is] toward the north."

In the same vision:

"Saying, what seest thou?": Besides the almond tree rod; which perhaps was now removed out of sight, another object appears.

"And I said, I see a seething pot": A pot with fire under it, boiling and bubbling up.

"And the face thereof is towards the north": Either the mouth of the pot where it boiled up, which might be turned to the north in the vision; or that side of the pot, as Kimchi thinks, on which the liquor was poured out. It may be that side of it on which the fire was put to cause it to boil. And so denotes from what quarter the fire came, and was put under it, and the wind that blew it up. The Targum paraphrases the words thus, "and I said, I see a king boiling as a pot, and the banner of his army, which was brought and came from the north." The explanation follows (in verse 14).

The "seething pot" is speaking of the soon coming doom for the country of Judah. "Seething" indicates it is just about to boil over. To those who have received much, much is required. God's punishment on them will be great, because they are His, and should know better than to worship idols. The "seething pot" may have indicated impending war. The pot is facing the prophet.

Jeremiah 1:14 "Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land."

Explaining the above vision:

"Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land": That is, out of Babylon, which lay north, as Jarchi says, and so the Talmud; or north east, as Kimchi and Ben Melech, as from the land of Israel. From hence came Nebuchadnezzar and his army, which are meant by "the evil" that should break forth, or "be opened" and loosed. Which before were bound and hindered by the providence of God (see Rev. 9:14). And come upon all the inhabitants of the land of Israel; and who are signified by the boiling pot to the north. Or however, by the fire under it, which came from thence. For rather by the pot is meant Jerusalem; and, by the boiling of it, its destruction by the Chaldeans (see Ezek. 11:3).

The Babylonians were northern people. This does not specifically mention Babylon, but they know from the direction who it is. Actually, the road leading to Babylon went north. The army of Babylon will overflow the land and capture it.

Jeremiah 1:15 "For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah."

Which belonged unto and were under the jurisdiction of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; and the "call" of them, as Kimchi well observes, is none other than putting it into their hearts to come.

"And they shall come": Being influenced and directed by the providence of God, who had a principal concern in this matter.

"And they shall set everyone his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem": Meaning, not only that they should pitch their military tents, and encamp about Jerusalem, and place themselves at the entering of the gates, in order to get in; but that they should sit down there in great safety and security. And be very successful, victorious, and triumphant.

"And against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah": Not only besiege Jerusalem and take her, but also all the rest of the cities of the land.

This is actually a description of how they camp at the gate outside the wall. The kings and rulers will set up at the gate of the city. They would not enter the city. The city will have to come out of the gate to surrender. Jerusalem was besieged first and then the other cities of Judah.

Jeremiah 1:16 "And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands."

Not against the kingdoms of the north, but against those "who have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands". The sense is, that God would enter into judgment with this people, and pass sentence upon them, and execute it.

"Touching all their wickedness": Or on account of all their sins and transgressions hereafter mentioned.

"Who have forsaken me": The Targum explains, "who have forsaken my worship". For to forsake the public worship of God, attendance on His word and ordinances, or to forsake the assembling of themselves together for such a purpose, is to forsake the Lord Himself, the fountain of living waters. And this is to forsake their own mercies.

"And have burnt incense to other gods": To the idols of the Gentiles, as the Targum explains it. To Baal, to the queen of heaven, and to others.

"And worshipped the works of their own hands": Idols of gold, silver, brass, and wood, which their own hands formed and carved. And had spoken with great stupidity and ignorance.

God's people had committed spiritual adultery. They had been unfaithful to the LORD. They even burned incense to false gods and made statues of false gods with their own hands. God is jealous. He will not allow the worship of other gods. His judgement comes because of their unfaithfulness to Him. God has judged them and found them guilty of unfaithfulness. He speaks the judgement on them to cause them to repent and return to Him.

Verses 17-19: Jeremiah's part was proclamation, as God's mouthpiece (verse 17); God's part was preservation in defending the prophet (verses 18-19). God did protect him often, e.g. 11:18-23; 20:1, and 38:7-13.

Jeremiah would face a persistently hostile environment, but God had "made" him "a defensed city, and an iron pillar." The reason he would prevail is God's presence: "For I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee" (15:20). God's presence in people's lives makes all the difference.

Jeremiah 1:17 "Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them."

The expression "gird up thy loins," which literally meant tucking in one's long robe while engaged in strenuous activity, conveys the ideas of action and obedience (compare 1 Kings 18:46; 1 Peter 1:13). Jeremiah was being called up for immediate duty, and should be ready to serve his Lord's will.

"Gird up thy loins": is an expression to prepare yourself and be ready. Do not just sit there, get on with the work God has called you to do. Jeremiah is to show no fear at all. He must place his confidence in the Lord, and not waver at all in the things God has him to say.

Jeremiah 1:18 "For, behold, I have made thee this day a defensed city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land."

Images of strength are heaped one upon another. The prophet is represented as attacked by kings, princes, priests, and people, as the cities of Judah are by the invading armies. But the issue is different. They fall: he will hold out.

"And an iron pillar": Which cannot be removed out of its place.

"And brazen walls": Which cannot be broken down. All these metaphors show the safety and security of the prophet, being surrounded by the power of God. His constancy, immovableness, and invincibleness in the work of the Lord, having such a spirit of power, fortitude, and of a sound mind, that nothing was able to move and shake him, or to deter him from the execution of his office; and that he should stand inflexible.

"Against the whole land": Of Judea, and all the inhabitants of it.

"Against the kings of Judah": In successive reigns, as Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, or Jechonias, and Zedekiah.

"Against the princes thereof": Who desired he might be put to death (Jer. 38:4).

"Against the priests thereof": Who dealt falsely, and were given to covetousness (Jer. 8:10).

"And against the people of the land": Who were grievously addicted to idolatry and all manner of wickedness.

God has placed a hedge of protection around Jeremiah. God is his defense. Iron shows the strength God has given Jeremiah. A pillar holds something up. This pillar is Jeremiah who holds up the Word God has given him. Brass has to do with judgement. The whole land is judged. The poor, the rich, the kings, even the priests of the temple have been judged guilty as charged.

Jeremiah 1:19 "And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I [am] with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."

The Targum adds, "That they may hide the words of thy prophecy."

"But they shall not prevail against thee": As to do either: Hinder him from prophesying, stop his mouth, or even take away his life.

"For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee": As He did; He hid him when they sought for him, and delivered him out of the dungeon and bonds into which he was cast by them (Jer. 1:8).

Of course, the people will not want to accept this message that Jeremiah speaks, because it speaks of doom for them. They will fight back, but God is with Jeremiah. God will deliver Jeremiah out of their hands.

Jeremiah Chapter 1 Questions

  1. What kind of prophet was Jeremiah known as?
  2. He was born to a ____________ family.
  3. Where was he born?
  4. Why was Jeremiah reluctant to answer the call of God?
  5. How can we relate to Jeremiah?
  6. What terrible things went on in the time of Jeremiah's ministry?
  7. Did the people heed his warning?
  8. Who penned this book?
  9. Jeremiah prophesied during the reign of _____ kings.
  10. Was Jeremiah taken into captivity?
  11. A band of Jews forced him to go where?
  12. Jeremiah did not choose to be a prophet, _______ chose Jeremiah.
  13. How do we know that Jeremiah's message was actually God's message?
  14. What does the word "Jeremiah" mean?
  15. Who were contemporaries of Jeremiah?
  16. Where did each of them prophesy?
  17. What was Hilkiah, Jeremiah's father?
  18. When did the Word of the Lord come to Jeremiah?
  19. Was Josiah good, or bad?
  20. What time is verse 3 speaking of?
  21. Who was the king of Babylon, who took Jerusalem?
  22. Who named Zedekiah?
  23. When was Jeremiah known of God?
  24. What was Jeremiah's sole purpose in life?
  25. What excuse did Jeremiah give, for not answering God's call?
  26. How old does the author believe Jeremiah was when he was called?
  27. What was Jeremiah to speak?
  28. Why should Jeremiah not be afraid of their faces?
  29. What miraculous thing did God do for Jeremiah?
  30. What had God set Jeremiah over?
  31. What did Jeremiah see?
  32. Who else had a similar experience?
  33. What are some of the things this could mean?
  34. What did Jeremiah see the second time?
  35. What is "seething pot" speaking of?
  36. Which direction will the enemy come from?
  37. Why has God brought judgement against Judah?
  38. What does "gird up thy loins" mean?
  39. How would Jeremiah be protected?
  40. What does Jeremiah's message bring to them?

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Jeremiah 2

Jeremiah Chapter 2

Verses 2:1 - 4:4: Jeremiah's preparation was over. God was ready to give him "the word of the Lord" for the nation - first an indictment and judgment against Judah for worshiping other gods (2:1-37), and then a call for the people to turn from their sinful ways before it is too late (3:1 - 4:4).

Verses 1-3: "Jerusalem ... Israel": Jeremiah pointed to the sensitivity of the Lord and His care from them in the early history (verse 21). After centuries, many were:

  • Far from God, whom they had forsaken (verses 5, 31);
  • Deep in idolatry (verses 11, 27-28); and
  • without true salvation (as verses 8; 5:10a).

Jeremiah 2:1 "Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,"

Here begins the book, and Jeremiah's first sermon; and the following contains the message he was sent with, to which the preceding chapter is only a preface or introduction. The Targum calls it, "the word of the prophecy from before the Lord."

The word "moreover" makes you think this is a continuation of what we heard in chapter 1. The LORD is still speaking to Jeremiah here.

Jeremiah 2:2 "Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land [that was] not sown."

The word translated "kindness" is often used in contexts dealing with covenant relationships. (See the note on 1 Sam. 20:14-17). The word often speaks of love that God shares with believers as members of His own family. Here, the establishment of the family relationship is emphasized by linking God's redemption of His people from Egypt, and the time that followed, to the loving period of early marriage. As the rest of the chapter unfolds, the imagery of the bride is used to catalog Israel's sins: she had been seduced into idolatry (verses 4-8); she had forsaken the refreshing waters of marriage for the broken cisterns of infidelity (verses 9-13); she had left her divine husband for a wayward life among the surrounding nations (verses 14-19); and she had stooped to the level of base spiritual harlotry by worshiping false gods and engaging in false religious practices (verses 20-28). Even veteran harlots would blush at what God's bride had done (verses 32-33). Her prostitution was both flagrant and incurable (verses 34-37). Accordingly, judgment must come. (For further instances of Israel as God's bride see Isaiah 54:4-17; Ezekiel Chapter 16; Hosea chapters 1-3).

Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord in the wilderness even before Moses brought the law down from Sinai (Exodus chapter 32; Ezek. 20:18-21), but compared to the present, Israel's love for the Lord then was like that of a betrothed bride for her groom (Ezek. 16:8).

This proclamation was for all the people. It was to be spoken so every ear could hear. The Hebrews would listen, when Jeremiah began with the statement "Thus saith the LORD". God has not overlooked the loyalty of their past. The LORD still loves His people. Their espousal was to God. They were the wife of the LORD. They sought God when they were in Egypt and helpless. God led them and cared for them 40 years in the wilderness. They were always repentant and thankful when God performed a miracle for them, but they would soon fall back into idolatry the minute the problem was over.

Jeremiah 2:3 "Israel [was] holiness unto the LORD, [and] the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD."

"Firstfruits of his increase": Israel was the first to worship the true God (Exodus 19:5-6), through His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), which also assured His intent to bless peoples from all nations (16:19-21; Dan. 7:27).

Israel had been set aside by God to walk holy lives before Him. They were to demonstrate His holiness here on the earth. Israel was actually the firstfruits of God's family. They had "first son status" with God. The firstborn son of each family had to be bought back with silver shekels of redemption. The Levitical tribe took the place of the firstborn son in the work in the temple. God blessed those who blessed Israel, and cursed those who did evil to Israel. They were God's chosen people.

Jeremiah 2:4 "Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:"

The LORD, by the prophet, having observed His great kindness to this people, what they were unto Him, and what regard He had for them, proceeds to scold them for their ingratitude, and requires their attention to what He was about to say; all are called upon, because they were guilty. This concerns the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and the several families in them. The ten tribes had been long carried captive.

This message was sent to God's people. It was not for the heathen world. The Israelites are cautioned to listen carefully.

Jeremiah 2:5 "Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?"

What injustice or injury has been done them? There is no unrighteousness in God, nor can any be done by Him. Or what unfaithfulness, or want of truth and integrity in performing promises, had they found in Him? He never suffers His faithfulness to fail, or any of the good things He has promised. So the Targum explains, "what falsehood have your fathers found in my word?" "None at all": God is a covenant keeping God.

"That they are gone far from me": From my fear, as the Chaldee paraphrase; from the word and worship, and ways of God.

"And have walked after vanity": After idols, the vanities of the Gentiles (Jer. 14:22).

"And are become vain?": In their imaginations and in their actions, in their knowledge and in their practice, worshipping idols, as well as guilty of many other sins.

God had made a covenant with the Hebrews through Abraham. God had kept His part of the covenant to the last letter. God is Righteousness, Holiness, and Truth. It is impossible for God to lie.

Hebrews 6:18 "That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:"

There was no iniquity in God, so their fathers could not have found iniquity in Him. Vanity causes people to want to please their flesh. This was no different. They pleased their flesh by worshipping things they could see with their physical eyes, or touch with their physical hands. This is committing spiritual adultery.

Verses 6-8: The people's ingratitude moved to idolatry and then to indifference. Hearing God's

Word, the people didn't even ask, "Where is the LORD?" (1:6, 8). The priceless heritage of the Promised Land was ignored in favor of idolatry.

Jeremiah 2:6 "Neither said they, Where [is] the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?"

They did not ask after Him, nor seek His face and favor, nor worship Him, nor take any notice of the blessings He bestowed upon them.

"That brought us up out of the land of Egypt?": By means of Moses the deliverer, with a mighty hand, and outstretched arm. For, though Moses was the instrument, God was the efficient cause of the deliverance. The favor was His, and the glory of it ought to have been given to Him.

"That led us through the wilderness": Of "Shur", or of "Sin", the desert of Arabia (Exodus 15:22), and a dreadful and terrible one it was.

"Through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death": Where were scorpions, fiery serpents, drought, and no water, and so very dangerous as well as uncomfortable travelling. And yet through all this they were led, and wonderfully supplied and preserved.

"Through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt": There was no passers-by in it, nor inhabitants on it, so there were none to relieve them. Whence it appears, that all their supply, support, and preservation, were from the Lord.

They were not seeking the True God, who did all of these miraculous feats for them. They worshipped whatever was convenient at the time. Look at the list of things God had done for them that would have left no doubt who God is. He parted the Red Sea to save them from Pharaoh's men. He rained Manna from heaven to feed them. He brought water from the Rock to quench their thirst. Their shoes and clothes did not even wear out in 40 years. How could they even consider another? With this True God as their heritage, why would they seek a nothing (idol), who could not help them in any way? The Bible says, Seek and ye shall find. They should seek this God of miracles who is truly God.

Jeremiah 2:7 "And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination."

"Into the land of Carmel", as in the Hebrew text. That is, "into the land of Israel, which was planted as Carmel," as the Targum paraphrases it; with wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olives. A land flowing with milk and honey (Deut. 8:8).

"To eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof": Of vineyards and oliveyards, which they had not planted, and for which they had never labored (Joshua 24:13).

"But when ye entered ye defiled my land": Which the Lord had chosen above all lands, where He would have a temple built for His worship, and where He would cause His Shekinah or glorious Majesty to dwell. But this they defiled by their sins and transgressions, and particularly by their idolatry, as follows:

"And made mine heritage an abomination": By devoting it to the worship of idols, as the Targum paraphrases it.

God brought them into a land of milk and honey. The Promised Land was a fertile land. It was so fertile, one cluster of grapes had to be carried by two men. The land was almost like the Garden of Eden when they took it. Their sin had caused the blessings of God to be removed from them.

They inter-married with non-believers and brought idols into their homes.

Jeremiah 2:8 "The priests said not, Where [is] the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after [things that] do not profit."

The prophets whose business it was to draw nigh to God, and offer the sacrifices of the people, and inquire of God for them; whose lips should keep knowledge, and at whose mouth the law should be sought, they being the messengers of the Lord of hosts (Mal. 2:7).

"And they that handle the law knew me not": The Sanhedrin, according to Jarchi; or the lawyers and scribes, the Rabbins (who were known as excellent theologians), and doctors of the law, whose business it was to read and explain it. These did not understand it, nor the mind of God in it; and much less did they know Him in a spiritual and evangelical manner. Or as He is in Christ, and revealed in the Gospel.

"The pastors also transgressed against me": Kings, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi interpret it, who were pastors or shepherds in a civil sense. Whose business it was to feed the people as the shepherd does his flock. That is, to guide and govern them by wholesome laws, by the laws of God. But instead of this, they rebelled against the Lord and transgressed His commands.

"And the prophets prophesied by Baal": In his name; pretending to be inspired by that idol, and to receive the spirit of prophecy from him.

"And walked after things that do not profit": The gods of the Gentiles which could not supply them with the least temporal blessing, much less give them spiritual and eternal ones (see Jer. 14:22). This is to be understood of false prophets, as Ben Melech.

The priests should have stood up and stopped them. It appears the priests and pastors did not take a stand for God. This is very similar to the compromise that is going on in the church today. The pastors and priests must uphold the Word of God. They must warn the people when there is error in their belief. The priests and pastors must not waver in teaching the Truth. It appears great compromise had entered the church. The worst thing of all, is they listened to the prophets of Baal, a false god. Elijah had shown beyond a shadow of doubt that Baal had no power at all. Baal was powerless to help them. What good could come of worshipping a false god? The answer is none.

Jeremiah 2:9 "Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead."

The word translated "plead" is often used in legal contexts. Like a plaintiff in a court case, God will bring charges against His wayward people. God is both the offended plaintiff and the divine judge before whom Israel has no defense (compare verses 28-30).

God had given them every opportunity. He had sent prophets and holy men to warn them of this very thing. God has still not given up. He has now sent Jeremiah to plead with them to turn from their wicked ways. This terrible captivity that comes upon them, is actually God pleading with them to repent and come back to Him. God will not quit trying to reach them. Salvation in Jesus was offered to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Jeremiah 2:10 "For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing."

The "isles of Chittim" indicates the limits of the West, or the Mediterranean world. "Kedar," in the northern Arabian Peninsula, refers to the East. Go where one might, no nation could be found as wicked as Israel who had forsaken the living and true God in exchange for gross idolatry.

"Chittim" represents the lands away from the holy land and "Kedar" represents the Arabs who live around them. The Arabs were descended from Abraham through Ishmael. They were sons of the flesh, not of the Spirit.

Jeremiah 2:11 "Hath a nation changed [their] gods, which [are] yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for [that which] doth not profit."

Israel had been given the privilege of God's glorious presence (Exodus 40:34-38). The people had known God as "their glory", yet other nations had demonstrated greater faithfulness to their "gods, which are yet no gods" (Psalm 115:4).

They are challenged to look at the heathens who worship false gods, and realize the false gods cannot and will not help them. Why would you trade the real God who helps you, for a god that is a nothing that cannot help?

Jeremiah 2:12 "Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD."

Meaning either the angels in heaven, or the heavens themselves, by a personification.

"And be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD": All which may be signified by storms and tempests, by thunder and lightning, and by the sun withdrawing its light. This is said to aggravate the wickedness committed, as if the heavens blushed and were ashamed, and were confounded and amazed at it. And as if, on account of it, the Jews deserved not the benefit of the heavens, and the bodies in them.

"Be astonished": is just a way of expressing how ridiculous this would be. The heavens would be astonished and horribly afraid, because the heavens would know the results of such actions. The Jews' desolation would be overwhelming, when God removes His blessings from them.

Jeremiah 2:13 "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."

Jeremiah warned that God's people were trying to quench their cravings for salvation and sustenance in the wrong places. They "committed two evils" by turning away from the only true source of "living waters", and by creating "broken cisterns" that could "hold no water", even if living water was available (John 4:14).

"Two evils": First, Israel had abandoned the Lord, the source of spiritual salvation and sustenance (compare 17:8; Psalm 36:9; John 4:14). Second, Israel turned to idolatrous objects of trust; Jeremiah compared these with underground water storage devices for rainwater, which were broken and let water seep out, thus proving useless.

The figure of the "fountain of living waters" emphasizes that God alone can bring life and refreshment necessary to the thirsty soul (compare Psalm 36:9; Isa. 55:1; John 4:10-14; 7:37-39; Rev. 21:6). Israel had left the purity of the living waters for the pollution of contaminated "broken cisterns" that offered no water at all.

The following is a statement made by Jesus about these living waters:

John 7:38 "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

The children of Israel drank from this living water, when Moses struck the Rock (Jesus), and the water flowed. The living water always proceeds from the throne of God. Israel has abandoned God, who is their very present help. He controls nature, and no other god can furnish wealth, resources or supplies to their people. They have abandoned God and started worshipping things they made with their own hands. This is not only idolatry, but idolatry from those who should know better. These cisterns are things made with human hands and are powerless. The first evil thing they did, was turn away from the living God. The second evil thing they did, was turn to false gods.

Jeremiah 2:14 "[Is] Israel a servant? [is] he a homeborn [slave]? why is he spoiled?"

How is it that a people under God's special care are left at the mercy of an enemy, like a worthless slave?

Israel belonged to the family of God. They were slaves to no man. The only One Israel was to serve was the most high God. They were made slaves to the Babylonians to cause them to repent and turn back to God.

Jeremiah 2:15 "The young lions roared upon him, [and] yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant."

"Young lions": The figure represents invading soldiers that burned cities (compare 4:7), perhaps a reference to the disaster from the Babylonians during Jehoiakim's fourth year, and again 3 years later when he relied on Egypt (compare 20:4; 46:2; 2 Kings 24:1-2).

Satan is like a roaring lion. This is specifically speaking of those who come against Jerusalem, and destroy the city, and take the citizens captive. The "yelling" just lets us know that this was not a silent take-over. It was violent. They burned the cities, and took the people captive. They could not have done this, had God not been angry with Israel and allowed this to happen.

Jeremiah 2:16 "Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head."

"Noph, sometimes called as Moph, a principal city in Egypt (Hosea 9:6), refers to Memphis, the traditional capital of ancient Lower Egypt. "Tahapanes" is usually associated with the Greek Daphne and lay in Egypt's northeastern delta area (compare 43:7; 44:1; 46:14). The fertility of the region may be underscored in the literal Masoretic vowel meaning, which reads "will graze upon thy head". The KJV reading here rests upon a suggested difference in Hebrew meaning. In any case, the message is clear: entanglement with Egypt can only spell defeat for Judah.

Noph and Tahapanes were the two cities in Egypt that stood for the country itself.

This is speaking of two other areas that sided with Babylon against Judah.

Jeremiah 2:17 "Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the

LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way?"

Here God, by His prophet, shows that they may thank themselves for all that is hastening upon them (see Num. 32:23).

"In that thou hast forsaken the LORD": Here He shows wherein, (meaning in other words), the Israelites forsook God. Not that He left them, but they left Him, and that without any temptation or provocation. And therefore, were the more inexcusable.

"When he led thee by the way": Viz, by the conduct of His providence in the wilderness, keeping them in safety from all dangers (Exodus 13:21-22; Isa. 63:12-13). Or in the way of His counsels, which the ways of their own carnal wisdom were so opposed unto.

Now we see, they deserve what they get. They brought all of this on themselves, when they turned their backs on God. When God was with them, no one could win a battle against them. God fought their battles for them. They turned away from God toward false gods. This happened to them, because the protection God had around them was now removed. They sinned and now they would pay for it. He had been with them and led them every step they took. His power was shown to them many times, when He destroyed their enemies before them. Now He will not protect them because they have forsaken "the LORD", who was their God.

Jeremiah 2:18 "And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of

Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?"

Dependence on alliances with Egypt and Assyria was part of national undoing, a source of shame (verses 36-37).

Making alliances with nations like "Egypt" and "Assyria" in an attempt to thwart judgment at the hands of Babylon would not succeed. To compare these alliances to drinking their rivers reflects how these treaties were like a marriage to these nations (Prov. 5:15-16). The Israelites were trusting in foreigners rather that the Lord as their ultimate source of security. God's presence, represented by the peaceful waters, was Judah's real protection (Psalm 46:4-5).

"Egypt" symbolizes the world. They had chosen the world over God. The water from Egypt or from Assyria, will not give them what they need. The world and its system, will be of no help to them. God is their only help, and they have left Him. They will just have to go into captivity.

Jeremiah Chapter 2 Questions

  1. What does the word "moreover" in verse 1 cause you to think?
  2. Who was Jeremiah to cry to?
  3. What got the Hebrews' attention?
  4. Their espousal was to _____.
  5. When had they sought God?
  6. Israel was ___________ unto the LORD.
  7. What were the Israelites to demonstrate on the earth?
  8. How was the firstborn of each family purchased back from God?
  9. God blessed those who _________ Israel.
  10. Who does verse 4 tell us this message was for?
  11. God is _____________, and _____________, and _______.
  12. What does vanity cause a person to want to do?
  13. List some of the miraculous things God had done for them.
  14. When God brought them into the fruitful land, what did they do to it?
  15. How big was one cluster of grapes in the Promised Land?
  16. What should the priest and the pastor have been saying to the people?
  17. Instead of listening to God, who had they been listening to?
  18. Who had shown this very false god up before?
  19. How long will God plead with them?
  20. Who had God sent to warn them?
  21. What is this terrible captivity that comes upon them, really?
  22. What does "Chittim", in verse 10, represent?
  23. Who does "Kedar" represent?
  24. Why would the heavens be astonished?
  25. What were the two evils they had committed?
  26. Who controls nature?
  27. Who was Israel slave to?
  28. Who are the "young lions" in verse 15?
  29. Who really brought these problems on them?
  30. Why will God not protect them from Babylon?
  31. Who does "Egypt" symbolize?

Jeremiah Chapter 2 Continued

Jeremiah 2:19 "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that [it is] an evil [thing] and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear [is] not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts."

"Backslidings": Jeremiah saw a whole generation of backslidden people who had fallen away from their godly moorings and walked away from God. One of the prominent words in the book is "backsliding". It is so easy to live surrounded by religious reminders yet ignore the truth to which they point.

Compare 3:6, 8, 11-12, 14, 22; 8:5; 31:22; 49:4; Isa. 57:17; Hosea 11:7; 14:4. For clarification of the meaning (see note on Prov. 14:14).

We see from this, they will reap what they have sown. Their bondage will be bitter, because they have shown bitterness toward God by forsaking Him. God is very angry with them, because they did not fear or worship Him. This is like rebellion from a spoiled child. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. He leaves no doubt at all who speaks this. It is the Lord GOD of hosts.

Jeremiah 2:20 "For of old time I have broken thy yoke, [and] burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot."

I.e. the bondage and tyranny that thou were under in "old time" in Egypt, also different times besides, as appears through the Book of Judges. The Hebrew elam, that signifies everlasting, is sometimes used for a long time to come, and also for a long time past (both here and Gen. 6:4; Isa. 57:11).

"And burst thy bands": A double allusion, either to the bands and fetters with which prisoners are bound (Jer. 40:4), or those bands wherewith the ends of the yoke of beasts were accustomed to be bound (Isa. 58:6).

"And you said, I will not transgress": When the deliverance was fresh, thou did form good resolutions. This translation is according to the marginal reading of the Massoretes. But in the Hebrew text, confirmed by the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate, we read לא אעבוד, I will not serve, namely, Jehovah. It is said the meaning of the passage is, that even after the Jews had been freed by God from their Egyptian bondage, and admitted into an immediate covenant and alliance with him, they had been guilty of the utmost ingratitude in refusing obedience to the divine law, particularly in respect to the prohibition of idolatry.

"When upon every high hill, and under every green tree thou wanderest": Alluding to their worshipping their idols upon the hills, and under the trees; they "wanderest, playing the harlot", worshipping false gods. As idolatry is frequently called whoredom in the Scripture language, so the prophet describes the Israelites likening them to a strolling harlot, shamelessly seeking for lovers wherever she can.

"Playing the harlot": committing idolatry, which is a spiritual harlotry (Jer. 3:1-2).

Those of you who have studied Exodus, know this is a very true statement. They would make promises to be faithful to God, if He would only help them. He would feel sorry for them, and forgive them. The minute God helped them out of their problems, they would go right back into disobedience to God again. God broke the yoke of the Egyptians, and brought them to the Promised Land. They were unfaithful over and over, but every time God would forgive them and give them a fresh start. This was spiritual harlotry here. The high places were a common place to go and worship false gods. "Under every green tree" had to do with grove worship of false gods.

Jeremiah 2:21 "Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?"

The "noble vine" mentioned here was the Sorek, which was famous for the fine-tasting wine that came from its grapes. (For Israel as God's vine, see Isaiah 5:1-7 and Hosea 10:1).

The "vine" mentioned here implies the Vine which is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Vine, we Christians are the branches. The Jews were blessed with God in their fruitful vineyard. God had originally started them out right, but they had turned away from Him. The church is many times, spoken of as God's vineyard. God had forbidden cross breeding of vines in Leviticus. We can see from this, that to be a "degenerate plant of a strange vine": would be like a wild plant with no direction.

Jeremiah 2:22 "For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, [yet] thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD."

Neither "nitre" (soda), nor "soap" could cleanse the filth of Israel's spiritual harlotry.

God is not interested in the outward cleanliness of man. A clean heart is what is pleasing to God. We know that Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees "whited sepulchers" in the following verse.

Matthew 23:27 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness."

You can wash all you want to on the outside, but it will not make you acceptable unto God. The cleanliness that God appreciates, is the inward cleanliness which comes from being washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Verses 23-25: Having turned from God, their deep desire for something beyond themselves had left them helpless before the temptation of idolatry, pursuing false gods with the same mindless and careless abandonment as animals in heat.

Jeremiah 2:23 "How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: [thou art] a swift dromedary traversing her ways;"

"Baalim": An inclusive term referring collectively to false deities.

"Valley": probably meant the valley of Hinnom (see the note on Jer. 7:32).

"Dromedary": The nation, in chasing other idols, is depicted as a female camel pursuing its instinct, and as a wild donkey in heat sniffing the wind to find a mate, craving to attract others of its kind. Other pictures of Israel are that of a thief, who is ashamed when exposed (verse 26), and that of a virgin or a bride who forgets what beautifies her (verse 32).

Just to say you have not sinned is not enough. God knows the heart of man. These people had gone through the motion of worshipping God, but their hearts were far from Him. They went to the temple on the holy days, but did not even understand why they were going. Their hearts were not in the worship. It had just become a routine happening. This is much the case in churches today. We must not become religious in our worship. Christianity is a personal relationship with the Lord, not a set of rules to keep.

Jeremiah 2:24 "A wild ass used to the wilderness, [that] snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her."

One image of animal desire suggests another, and the "wild ass" appears (as in the Hebrew of Gen. 16:12; Job 11:12; Job 39:5), as an even stronger type of passion that defies control. The description is startling in its boldness, but has a parallel in that of Virgil.

"That snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure": Better, in the desire of her heart, as it bears to her the scent that draws her on. The "occasion" and the "month" are, of course, the season when the stimulus of animal desire is strongest. There is no need for the stallion to seek her with a weary search, she presents herself and pursues him. So, there was in Israel what we should describe as a mania for the idolatrous worship of the heathen.

This is speaking of the month of the year that we would call the mating season. This would mean no matter how far in the wilderness she was, the mate would find her. They do not care what happens to her, unless it benefits them. This is the way with false religion as well. No one is interested in her welfare. A false god cannot help the people who worship him.

Jeremiah 2:25 "Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go."

"Do not wear out thy shoes, or sandals, and expose thyself to thirst and weariness by undertaking long journeys, to make new alliances with idolaters," explains Lowth, and many other expositors. "But I rather take it," says Blaney, "to be a warning to beware of the consequences of pursuing the courses they were addicted to". As if it had been said, take care that thou dost not expose thyself, by thy wicked ways, to the wretched condition of going into captivity unshod, as the manner is represented (Isa. 20:4). "And of serving thine enemies in hunger and in thirst, and in want of the necessaries of life" (Deut. 28:48).

"But thou saidst, There is no hope": The language of desperate sinners, who are resolved to continue in their wickedness, in spite of every reason that can be offered to the contrary.

"No; for I have loved strangers": strange gods, idols.

"And after them will I go": The Jews probably did not really speak in this manner, but they acted this way. This, the prophet signifies, was the language of their conduct. By their actions they professed that idolatry which they denied with their mouths.

This could perhaps, have something to do with dancing barefoot in the worship of Baal. They drink of the cup of sin. There is no hope in a false god. Sin carries guilt. These strangers imply false gods. To go after a false god brings no hope. The only hope is in the Lord.

Verses 26-28: Jeremiah's almost mocking tone recalls the great confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40).

Jeremiah 2:26 "As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,"

Taken in the fact, or convicted of it. That is, as the Targum explains it, "one that has been accounted faithful, and is found a thief". For otherwise, those who have lost their character, and are notorious for their thefts and robberies, are not ashamed when they are found out, taken, or convicted.

"So is the house of Israel ashamed": Of their idolatry, or ought to be; or "shall be", as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it. Though not now, yet hereafter, sooner or later.

"They, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets": All being guilty. Kings setting ill examples, and the people following them; the priests being priests of Baal, and the prophets false ones.

The shame comes from the guilt they have. They thought they had not been noticed of God for their evil doings. Now that Jeremiah has spoken, they realize they have wandered far away from God. This sin is not limited to just one class of the people, but has spread from the poorest to the richest. Even the king and the priests and prophets had strayed from the Truth. The whole nation needs to repent and return to God.

Jeremiah 2:27 "Saying to a stock, Thou [art] my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned [their] back unto me, and not [their] face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us."

Images of "stone" or wood were often used in the idolatry of the ancient world. The wood may also refer to specific cultic practices associated with the debased Canaanite religion (compare 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10; see the notes on Judges 3:6-7). For the condemnation of idolatry (see Psalms 115:4-8; 135:15-18; Isa. 44:6-20; see the notes on Judges 2:11-15).

This is almost like evolution. The word the stone was taken from is a feminine word indicating this stone was thought of as their mother.

"Stock": means tree, or part of a tree. It also means wood. This again, has to do with worshipping under the tree. Perhaps even worshipping idols made from the tree, instead of God the Father.

Jeremiah 2:28 "But where [are] thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for [according to] the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah."

This is or would be, the Lord's answer to them: what is become of your gods? Why do you not ask them for help in time of trouble? The gods that you have chosen for yourselves and worshipped; the gods, not that made you, but whom you yourselves have made.

"Let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble": Call upon them to arise, those statues of wood and stone, those lifeless and senseless images. Let them rise off their seats, and move out of their places, if they can. And see whether they can save in a time of trouble and distress; for there is enough of them, if numbers will do.

"For according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah": In imitation of the Heathens, who had not only in every country, but in every city and town, a different god, the patron and patron deity of the place (2 Kings 17:29), the Septuagint and Arabic versions add, "according to the number of the ways or streets of Jerusalem", they sacrificed to Baal (see Jer. 11:13).

It seems they had begun to worship many gods. Some of them made from wood into idols. A piece of wood, no matter how beautifully carved, has no power to help anyone. God tells them to call on these idols to help them and see how far they get.

Jeremiah 2:29 "Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD."

Strive and contend, chide, murmur, and complain, when evil came upon them, as if the Lord dealt harshly with them, and as if they had never sinned against Him. When their case would not bear to be brought into judgment and examined openly; what would they get by that but shame and disgrace?

"Ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord": High and low, rich and poor, great and small; men of all ranks, degrees, and characters; kings, priests and prophets, therefore, ought not to contend with God, and charge Him with injustice or unkindness, but themselves with folly and wickedness.

It seems the only time they call on the LORD is when they are in trouble. He says here, if these false gods are so powerful, why are you calling on Me?

Jeremiah 2:30 "In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion."

"In vain": or, "for vanity"; for vain speaking, for making vain oaths and vows; so it is explained in the Talmud. But the sense is, that the rod of chastisement was used in vain. The afflictions that came upon them had no effect on them to amend or reform them; they were never the better for them.

"They received no correction": (or instruction by them; Jer. 5:3).

"Your own sword hath devoured your prophets": The prophets Isaiah, Zechariah, and Uriah, who were sent to the Israelites to reprove and correct them. But the people were so far from receiving correction, that the Prophets were put to death. Though Kimchi mentions it as the sense of his father, and which he approves of, that this is to be understood, not of the true prophets of the Lord, but of false prophets. Wherefore it is said, "your prophets"; and they had no prophets but false prophets, whose prophecy was the cause of the destruction of souls. And this brought ruin upon the prophets themselves. And this sense of the words Jerom gives into; it follows:

"Like a destroying lion": That is, the sword of the Lord. The judgments of God, by which the people fall, and their false prophets with them, were like a lion that destroys and devours all that come near it. The Septuagint and Arabic versions add:

"And ye were not afraid": Which confirms what was said before, that chastisement and correction were in vain.

The smiting of the children by God was to cause them to repent. He says here, He smote them, but it did not change them as it should have. They did not learn from His correcting them. They had killed the prophets who God sent to teach them His ways. God had always purged His people to make them better. It was like cutting the vine back to make the new growth better. God loved Judah. He just wanted them to live the way He had intended them to live. He was deeply hurt by their idolatry. The only way He could get them to repent and call on Him, was when they were in dire need of His help.

Verses 31-37: God equates the idolatry of the people with blatant sexual immorality. The value of virginity and a "bride her attire" (2:32), which would not be easily forgotten, highlight the tragedy that God's "people have forgotten me".

Jeremiah 2:31 "O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?"

"Have I been a wilderness unto Israel?": No, the Israelites were plentifully supplied by Him when in the wilderness, and since they were brought into a land flowing with milk and honey. They stood in need of nothing; they had a constant supply of all good things.

"A land of darkness?": Of misery, distress, and poverty; where no light of joy, comfort, or prosperity is. A land that never sees the light, or enjoys the benefit of the sun, and so is barren and unfruitful. "A land of thorns", as in the Septuagint version; or, "a desert and uncultivated land", as the Targum said, also Syriac and Arabic versions. It may be rendered, "a land of the darkness of God". That is, of the greatest darkness, of thick and gross darkness, alluding to that in Egypt; as the flame of God, and mountains of God (SOS 8:6), as Ben Melech and Kimchi observe.

"Wherefore say my people, we are lords": And can reign without thee; or we have kings and princes, and have no need of thee, says Kimchi. But the word used seems to have another meaning, and to require another sense. The Targum is, "we are removed"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "we have gone back"; to which agrees the Jewish Midrash, mentioned by Jarchi, and confirmed with a passage out of the Mishnah. "We are separated from thee; we have departed from thee, turned our backs on thee, have forsaken thee, and left thy ways and worship". And to do so was very ungrateful, when the Lord had so richly supplied them, that they had not lacked any good thing; and this sense agrees with what follows.

"We will come no more unto thee?": Some render it, "we have determined"; as having the same sense with the Arabic word, which signifies to "will" or "determine" anything. And then the meaning is, we are determined, we are resolved to come no more to Thee, to attend Thy worship and service anymore; and so the Targum explains, "we will not return any more to thy worship."

God had brought light and happiness and joy to His people. They had been supernaturally protected from their enemies. He had brought rain when the crops needed it, and gave abundant crops for their effort. He had been a blessing to them in every way. This rebellion was like the rebellion of Lucifer. They wanted to be their own god. They thought too highly of themselves. Instead of looking to God for their answers, they looked to themselves. They believed a lie, and began to worship false gods.

Jeremiah 2:32 "Can a maid forget her ornaments, [or] a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number."

Take notice of it, consider it; or hear it, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions. Jarchi and Kimchi think the pot of manna was brought out, and shown them, to be looked at by them, for the conviction of them, and confirmation of what follows. "Can a maid forget her ornaments": which she has provided for her wedding day, and is then to wear, such as ear rings, bracelets, and jewels, which are never out of her mind. And can scarcely sleep for thinking of them, how richly she shall be adorned with them; wherefore it follows:

"Or a bride her attire?": Or, "her bindings"; her knots about her head or breast. The word is rendered "head bands" in (Isa. 3:20). And here by the Septuagint version, "her stomacher"; set with sparkling precious stones (see Isa. 61:10). These things her heart being set upon, and priding herself with, cannot be forgotten by her, at least not for long.

"Yet, my people have forgotten me days without number": Which shows great stupidity and ingratitude. The Lord not being so much to them, from whom they had received so many favors, as the ornaments of a maid, and the attire of a bride, are to them.

The bride's attire is her wedding dress. Her ornaments are the beautiful things the groom had given her. These are things a woman never forgets. God is better to His bride than any earthly groom. His gifts are for eternity, and the attire of the bride is white linen washed in the blood of the Lamb. This is the robe of righteousness, which puts us in right standing with God. To forget that, would be unthinkable.

Jeremiah 2:33 "Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? Therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways."

"Trimmest": is the same as that rendered "amend" (in Jer. 7:3, 5), and was probably often on the lips of those who made a show of reformation. Here it is used with a scornful irony, "What means this reform, this show of amendment of thy ways, which leads only to a further indulgence in adulterous love?"

"Hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways": Better, hast thou also taught thy ways wickedness? The professed change for the better was really for the worse.

There is even a bit of discipline required in the worship of false gods. They have conformed to that way, and now are leading others.

Jeremiah 2:34 "Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these."

Either of the innocent infants of poor persons, who were sacrificed to Moloch; or of the poor prophets of the Lord, whom they slew, because they faithfully reproved them for their sins. And the blood of those being found in their skirts is expressive of the publicness and notoriety of their sin, and also of the large quantity of bloodshed. Inasmuch as the skirts of their garments were filled with it, as if they had trod and walked in blood (see Isa. 63:3).

"I have not found it by secret search": Hebrew, by digging; as if the earth had covered the blood, or as if they had committed their wickedness in some obscure places.

"The poor innocents" are the true prophets who have been killed by these who have followed false gods. These innocents are martyrs. They have been slain by the sword, and their blood is evident on the skirts of their slayers. God did not have to look in secret places to find this. They had done this right out in the open, all the time proclaiming they were doing this for God.

Jeremiah 2:35 "Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned."

The people establish their guilt with their own words, protesting their innocence here while also stating that they cannot help chasing after other gods (2:23, 25).

Much wrong is done claiming to be doing God's will, when it is not God's will. They proclaimed innocence. They thought if they said they were innocent, it would fool God into believing they were innocent. This will not fool God at all. He knows their hearts.

Jeremiah 2:36 "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria."

Or, "by changing thy way"; sometimes going one way, and sometimes another. Sometimes to Egypt, and then to Assyria; seeking sometimes to the one for help, and sometimes to the other. At one time serving the gods of the one, in order to curry favor with them, and then the gods of the other. Like a lascivious woman that gads about from place to place to increase her lovers, and satisfy her lust. The Vulgate Latin version is, "how exceeding vile art thou become, changing thy ways". And so Jarchi says, the word signifies "contempt", or "vileness": deriving it from or to be "vile" or "contemptible"; and to this sense are the Septuagint and Arabic versions. But Kimchi derives it from to go; to which our version and others agree.

"Thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt": As they were in the times of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, when Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt took the former, and put him in bands, and carried him into Egypt. And set the latter upon the throne, and took tribute of him, for which the land was taxed (2 Kings 23:33).

"As thou wast ashamed of Assyria": In the times of Ahaz, who sent to the king of Assyria for help, when Judah was smitten by the Edomites, and invaded by the Philistines. But when he came to him, he distressed him, and strengthened and helped him not (2 Chron. 28:16).

They had run to the world leaders for help, when they should have been going to God. All the running about to this country and that for help, will not stop this judgement of God on them.

Jeremiah 2:37 "Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them."

Some apply it to the sad and ineffectual return of the ambassadors, being disappointed in their expectation from the king of Egypt; but rather, all the help thou canst procure from abroad shall not prevent thy captivity, but from hence thou shalt go.

"Thine hands upon thine head": A usual posture of sadness and mourning (2 Sam. 13:19), suited here to her going into captivity.

"Rejected thy confidences": Refused to give success unto them (2 Chron. 16:7). Or, rejected thee for thy confidences; or, he disapproves thy confidences, viz. all thy refuges which thou seekest out of God.

"Thou shalt not prosper in them": Viz. (meaning in other words), in thy refuges and dependencies.

To have confidence in the world, or in themselves, would bring nothing but headaches. God does not count their confidence in the world, or in themselves, as faith. We need to learn from this. The world has no power. We have no power within ourselves. The only power available to us is the power of God. When we put our trust and faith in God, then we will prosper because He blesses us.

Jeremiah Chapter 2 Continued Questions

  1. In verse 19, what shall correct them?
  2. What is verse 19 really saying?
  3. _______ ___ ____ _______ is the beginning of wisdom.
  4. God broke the yoke of the ____________, when He carried them to the Promised Land.
  5. What was their unfaithfulness to God?
  6. What is the noble Vine in verse 21?
  7. Who is many times, spoken of as God's vineyard?
  8. Where do we read that God had forbidden cross breeding?
  9. What would the degenerate plant be like?
  10. God is not interested in the _________ cleanliness of man.
  11. The clean ________ is what is pleasing to God.
  12. Who did Jesus call "whited sepulchers"?
  13. What should we be washed in?
  14. What were they saying in verse 23 that was just not enough?
  15. We must not become ___________ in our worship.
  16. What is Christianity?
  17. What is verse 24 speaking of?
  18. What false religion was the "foot being unshod" speaking of?
  19. What is the shame mentioned in verse 26?
  20. Who has sinned?
  21. What had they said to the stock?
  22. What does "stock" in verse 27 mean?
  23. What does God tell them to do with the idols of wood?
  24. What good had it done to smite them?
  25. What had God brought to these Israelites that should have caused them to worship Him?
  26. What is the bride's attire?
  27. How does God's gift differ from the earthly groom's?
  28. What is verse 33 speaking of?
  29. Who are the poor innocents of verse 34?
  30. What did they say they were in verse 35?
  31. Who had they run to for help in verse 36?
  32. To have confidence in the world, or in themselves, would bring nothing but ____________.

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Jeremiah 3

Jeremiah Chapter 3

Verses 1-5: In light of Judah's persistent infidelity (Ezek. 16:26), the law that a man could not take back his divorced wife if she married another (Deut. 24:1-4), suggests that reconciliation with the Lord was impossible. But the Lord still said, "Return again to Me". Repentance is only possible when sinners know there is One who will forgive.

Jeremiah 3:1 "They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD."

Attention is called to the Mosaic Law (in Deut. 24:1-4), which stipulates that a husband may not remarry a woman he has previously divorced due to some moral indecency. Judah's plight was desperate. Her spiritual harlotry had placed her in danger of legal divorcement, an invitation for Judah to repent and return to her divine husband (e.g. verses 12-14). God would still seek to win back His fallen "wife" (compare Isa. 54:6-8; Ezek. 16:53; Hosea 2:16 - 3:5).

"If a man put away his wife": Such a man was not to take that woman as his wife again, for this would defile her (Deut. 24:4), and be a scandal. Jeremiah used this analogy to picture Israel as a harlot in the spiritual realm, with many lovers (i.e., nations; 2:18, 25) and idols (2:23-25; 3:2, 6-9). Yet, the Lord would graciously receive Israel or Judah back as His "wife" if she would repent (3:12-14).

The reference of the husband and wife here, is most assuredly speaking of the ordinance in:

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house." "And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's [wife]." "And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife;" "Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance."

The physical house of Israel (Jews), were the "wife" of God. We have been studying how they had forgotten God, and started worshipping false gods. This is spiritual adultery. From the above Scripture in Deuteronomy, it seems God would not forgive them, and take them back. God's love (Agape), is so much greater than man knows how to love. God forgives them over and over, even though they have been unfaithful to Him.

Jeremiah 3:2 "Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness."

The consciousness of guilt was, however, the only foundation of repentance. And the prophet's work, therefore, in very tenderness, is to paint that guilt in the darkest colors possible. Still keeping to the parable of the faithless wife, he bids Israel, as such, to look to the "high places" that have witnessed her adulteries with those other lords for whom she had forsaken Jehovah. Like the harlots of the east, she had sat by the wayside, as Tamar had done (Gen. 38:14; compare also Prov. 7:12; Ezek. 16:31). Not so much courted by her paramours as courting them.

"As the Arabian in the wilderness": The Arabian is chosen as the representative of the lawless predatory tribes of the desert. As they, like the modern Bedouins, lay in ambush, waiting eagerly for their victims, so had the harlot Israel laid wait for her lovers, and thus the land had been polluted.

"And thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness": The land of Judea, where idolatry was so openly and frequently practiced, brought a load of guilt upon it, and exposed it to the wrath and judgments of God. So the Targum explains, "thou hast made the land guilty with thine idols and with thy wickedness."

This is just saying, take a look and see your sins. Look how unfaithful you have been to God. Spiritual whoredom, or harlotry, is even more serious than physical whoredom. It is like a contagious disease that overcomes the whole land. He is also saying, you cannot deny it, it is everywhere for all to see.

Verses 3-5: God's chastisement meant that the life-giving "latter" [spring] "rain" had been "withholden." Joel had given the same message (compare Joel 2:23 with Deut. 11:13-17; Jer. 14:3-6; Amos 4:7-8). Nevertheless, repentance had not come. Rather, Judah went on in its superficial religiosity without reality. Feigning her faith, Judah kept seeking her pagan lovers, the false gods of the nations around her (compare 2:33-37).

Jeremiah 3:3 "Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed."

Viz. by me, according to my threatening (Lev. 26:19; Deut. 28:23-24). i.e. a drought sent upon thee, either as a punishment of thy wickedness, thus public sins bring public judgments. Or as an aggravation of it; and then it must be understood, as it often is. Notwithstanding the great drought; and this the words of the verse seem to favor.

"There hath been no latter rain": This, added to showers before mentioned, seems to imply there had been no former nor latter rain. The former for the springing of the corn, the latter for the plumping and ripening it; this coming a little before harvest.

"Thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed": For all this, thou didst still remain impudent and obstinate, as ashamed of nothing (Jer. 6:15). Thus, proverbially expressed, because shame does first and mostly appear in the forehead. Thus, antichrist's impudence is expressed (Rev. 17:5).

We see that God has not just sat idly by, but has withheld the rain as punishment. A whore's forehead has a hardened look from committing much sin. Repetitious sin has a way of making a person so hardened, that they soon get to where they know no shame.

Jeremiah 3:4 "Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou [art] the guide of my youth?"

These words are either a confirmation and proof of that impudence with which these people are charged; for had they not been impudent, or had not a forehead like a whorish woman; or were they truly ashamed, they would have cried to the Lord henceforth. Called upon Him; claimed their relation to Him; and owned up to His favors in time past. Or, if they had not been impudent, they would not have dared from this time to have called God their Father and their guide, when they had so wickedly sinned against Him. So this is a charge of hypocrisy and deceit, calling God their Father and guide, when they were at the same time worshipping idols. Or rather are expressive of the wondrous grace and goodness of God towards His people, that had so highly offended Him, yet He expostulates with them and puts words into their mouths to return unto Him with, saying: "My father; I have sinned against thee, and am not worthy of the relation, yet receive me as a returning prodigal".

"Thou art the guide of my youth": Or, "hast been": I acknowledge God's favors I have received in times past, in spite of an aggravation of my sin; reject me not, but receive me graciously into Thy favor; see Hosea 14:2. The Targum interprets the words as a prayer: "wilt thou not from this time pray before me, saying, Thou art my Lord, my Redeemer, which art of old?" Or else they point to them their duty, what they ought to do from here on. That seeing the Lord had withheld from them the former and latter rain for their idolatry, it compelled them to return to Him by repentance. And to call upon Him, who had been their Father and their guide in time past, to have mercy on them, and avert His judgments from them.

This cry is from the sinner to the Father. Fathers are more forgiving than husbands. Perhaps this is why He is addressed as "Father" here. Israel was the family of Jacob, while they dwelt in Egypt. They became the nation of Israel on the journey to the Promised Land. God had given His law to the Israel nation when they were just formed. He was their Guide, and their Instructor in righteousness. They have wandered, but perhaps if they repent, God will take them back. They should appeal to Him as a child would to a father.

Jeremiah 3:5 "Will he reserve [his anger] for ever? will he keep [it] to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest."

The questions were such as might well be asked in the first burst of sorrowing though superficial repentance. The implied answer was in the negative, "No, He will not keep His anger to the end." Yet, so far, facts were against that yearning hope. It will be noted that the word "anger" is not in the Hebrew. It is, however, rightly inserted, after the precedent of Nah. 1:2; Psalm 103:9. The words seem, indeed, almost a quotation from the latter, and (Jer. 3:4-5), may probably be looked on as cited from the penitential litanies in which the people had joined, and which were too soon followed by a return to the old evils (Jer. 2:1-13).

"Thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest": i.e., resolutely and obstinately. That pathetic appeal to the mercy and love of Jehovah was followed by no amendment, but by a return to evil. Here the first prophecy, as reproduced from memory, ends, and the next verse begins a separate discourse.

The big question is, will God forgive them? The answer is "Yes, if they will truly repent".

2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Verses 6-10: Marriage is so sacred in the eyes of God that He chose it as the Old Testament picture of His relationship with the people of Israel. When Israel decided to worship other gods, this was considered "adultery" on her part, leaving God no choice but to issue a "bill of divorce" (3:8).

Verses 6-7: Here begins the first of four messages concerning Judah's certain judgment (3:6-4:4; 4:5-31; 5:1-31; 6:1-30). The first message constitutes a plea to avoid God's judgment by expressing genuine repentance. (For "Israel" and "Judah" as "sisters" engaged in spiritual harlotry see Ezekiel Chapter 23).

Jeremiah 3:6 "The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen [that] which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot."

"Backsliding": (also 3:8, 11-12, 14; see note of Prov. 14:14). The Lord is explaining to Jeremiah exactly what He is angry about.

"Backsliding Israel": is speaking of those who once knew God and have gone away (similar to the apostate church today). It was not enough that they removed themselves from worshipping God, they sought false gods "upon every high mountain and under every green tree". These were two favorite places for the worship of false gods in that day.

Jeremiah 3:7 "And I said after she had done all these [things], Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw [it]."

The call to Israel to return had been slighted, and Judah, the traitor or faithless, "one with falsehood," had not taken warning from the sin or its punishment.

"Turn thou unto me": The verb may be either the second or third person, I said, thou shalt return; or, I said, she will return, as expressing a hope rather than a direct return. The latter seems, on the whole, the preferable rendering.

"But she returned not": To fear and serve the Lord, but remained in idolatry, obstinate and inflexible.

"And her treacherous sister Judah saw it": Her treachery and breach of covenant, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions add, for explanation sake. Judah, or the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were allied to the ten tribes by birth and by religion, and equally treacherous to God, the husband of them both, saw all the idolatry of Israel, and the aggravations of it, and what followed upon it, namely, their captivity in Babylon, yet did not learn or take warning hereby.

Israel is spoken of as "she" in the verse above. The church has always been spoken of as "she" as well. The first "she" represents the 10 tribes of Israel. Judah is the 2 tribes of Judah and Benjamin. They are the "treacherous sister".

Jeremiah 3:8 "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also."

"I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce": Though God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), it is tolerated for unrepentant adultery (see notes on Matt. 5:32; 19:8-9), as indicated by this analogy of God's divorcing Israel for that continual sin in the spiritual realm. God had divorced Israel but not yet Judah (compare Isa. 50:1).

Compare Ezra 10:3, where divorce is the right action of God's people to separate from idolatrous wives.

It appears that the captivity that came on the 10 tribes of Israel, happened earlier than the Babylonian captivity of the tribe of Judah, to show them what unfaithfulness to God would bring. God still hoped they would repent and return to the worship of God. They did not. They were unfaithful too, just as the 10 tribes. The same punishment would come to them. The bill of divorce, meant God would no longer protect her and bless her as a wife. He would put her away from Him.

Jeremiah 3:9 "And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks."

"Lightness": in the ethical sense of "levity." Apostasy was treated once more as if it had been a light thing (1 Kings 16:31). The word is, however, variously interpreted, and the meaning of "voice," or "cry," in the sense in which the "cry" of Sodom and Gomorrah was great (Genesis 18:20), seems more satisfactory.

"That she defiled the land": Polluted it with sin, involved it in guilt, and exposed it to punishment.

"And committed adultery with stones and with stocks": That is, with images made of stone and wood, which they served and worshipped as gods. And is the adultery or idolatry they are charged with, and by which the land was defiled. This, by what follows, seems to be understood not of Judah, but of Israel.

We got into this in the previous lesson. The stock was a part of a tree. The idols were made of stone and wood stock. Again, the adultery was spiritual.

Jeremiah 3:10 "And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD."

Though the two tribes saw the lightness and filthiness of the sin Israel was guilty of, and how the land was defiled with it, the stupidity of it, and the punishment inflicted on account of it as they did not turn to the Lord wholeheartedly.

"Her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord": There was a show of reformation in Josiah's time, but it was just a show. There was no true, hearty cordial repentance for the sin of idolatry, only a feigned one. There was an outward removal of it, and reformation from it, but inwardly the desires of the heart were to it. The good king, with some few others, were hearty in it, but the greater part played the hypocrite; the following scriptures proved the truth of this.

Judah did not learn a lesson from the 10 tribes of Israel. They remained in their sin, disregarding the punishment that lies ahead. "Feignedly" in the verse above, means an untruth. The LORD is saying Judah had a form of Godliness, but it was not sincere. They were still going through the motions of the sacrifices, etc. They were worshipping idols all the time.

Jeremiah 3:11 "And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah."

Although the Israelites had the temple in Jerusalem and were ruled over by the house of David, "Judah" was guiltier because they had not learned from what had happened to "Israel" when God judged them by sending them into captivity years earlier.

The ten tribes had suffered greatly for their unfaithfulness to God. It had been 100 years since they had gone into captivity. Judah had things too good. They had been blessed abundantly yet betrayed God.

Jeremiah 3:12 "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; [and] I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I [am] merciful, saith the LORD, [and] I will not keep [anger] for ever."

The prophet utters his message as towards the far land of Assyria and the cities of the Medes to which the ten tribes of Israel had been carried away captive (2 Kings 17:6, 23). He had a word of glad tidings for the far-off exiles.

"Return, thou backsliding Israel": It is hard to reproduce the pathetic penitence of the original, "Shubah", (withdrawal), "mashubah," (turn back, thou that hast turned away; return), thou renegade.

"I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you": Literally, My face; the face so awful in its wrath.

"I will not keep anger for ever.": With perhaps a latent reference to the hope held out in Hosea 3:5, and to the words which Judah had uttered in her hypocrisy Jer. 3:5, but which were truer of Israel.

God is forgiving. He is loving. He is long-suffering.

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

It appears that the 10 tribes' sins are less than those of Judah's, and God is offering them restoration.

Micah 7:18 "Who [is] a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth [in] mercy."

Jeremiah 3:13 "Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD."

Which will be the evidence of thy repentance, without which you can not lay claim to any pardon (Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7). This is spoken by way of limitation, lest the Israelites should fancy a too easy pardon from God's merciful nature. Exhortations to repentance always accompany the exhibition of promises.

"Hast scattered thy ways to the strangers": Viz (in other words), to other nations, or rather to other gods, or to idols, running here and there, up and down, like a light, impudent harlot. Sometimes to one, sometimes to another, thus adding different superstitions.

"Hast scattered thy ways": (Jer. 3:6; 2 Kings 17:4, 9-10; Jer. 2:23, 25). Feet, whereby we go on in our ways; a metaphorical metonymy.

"Ye have not obeyed my voice": So your sin is not a sin of ignorance, but of obstinacy. Shutting your ears against my counsels, which I sent you by my prophets for your reclaiming (2 Kings 17:13).

There is one condition to His forgiving them and restoring them. They must admit their guilt and ask for forgiveness. God must have our obedience to Him.

1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams."

To obey God is very little to ask in return for His blessings.

Jeremiah 3:14 "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"

"I am married unto you": God pictured His covenant relationship with Israel as a marriage, and pleaded with mercy for Judah to repent and return. He will take her back. Compare Hosea's restoration of Gomer as a picture of God taking back His wicked, adulterous people.

Literally, it means "I took possession of you" (i.e., at the Exodus). The verb here is often used of ruling and serves to remind wayward Judah of God's rightful headship over her in the marriage relationship. The verb comes from the same root from which comes the name Baal. A play on ideas may be intended here. Did Judah chase after Baal (the pagan god)? Her real "Baal," that is, her divine owner and Lord is the only true God, her husband. Why should she seek a false master? Despite Israel's divorce (verse 8), there had been no second marriage or divorce (see note on verse 1). Therefore, a loving and forgiving God would still seek His fallen wife.

We see that the salvation offered is to individuals. He will accept one at a time, or a whole village. They do not all have to come. Those who come, will receive His blessing. This is very much like Christianity. Salvation is offered to the masses, one at a time. God saves individuals in those masses.

"Zion": Can be the holy mountain, or symbolically mean the church.

Verses 15-18: "And it shall come to pass": When Israel repents (verses 13-14, 22), which has not happened, but will in the millennial era of God's restoration that the prophets often describe (Jer. 23:5-6; 30-33; Ezek. Chapter 36), God will bring these blessings:

(1) Shepherds to teach them the truth;

(2) His own immediate presence on the throne in Jerusalem, not just the Ark of His Covenant;

(3) Allegiance even of Gentile nations;

(4) Righteousness;

(5) Genuineness in worship;

(6) Unity of Israel (north), and Judah (south), into one kingdom; and

(7) Reestablishment in their own Promised Land.

Jeremiah 3:15 "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."

The promise of restoration to a repentant people is a common one in the prophets, and Jeremiah turns to it often. "Pastors" means Israel's leadership which, though now false (compare Ezek. 34:8-10), will yet be composed of men after God's own heart (compare 23:4), serving under the Great Shepherd Himself (Ezek. 34:11-31).

The pastors are to feed them spiritual food. Notice it is knowledge and understanding of God they will be taught by the pastors. God will choose the pastors.

Verses 16-17: Words of great hope are also contained in God's words of judgment. Here a future was envisioned in which the "Ark of the Covenant" would no longer have a central role because the "name of the Lord", His presence, would be in "Jerusalem".

Jeremiah 3:16 "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit [it]; neither shall [that] be done any more."

The "Ark," once the central feature of Israel's worship, will give way to that which it symbolized, the actual presence of a holy and sovereign God in all His glory. The Ark itself is last mentioned (in 2 Chron. 35:3). It was probably taken away to Babylon at the fall of Jerusalem.

This is speaking of the time when the law will be replaced by grace. The Ark was the resting place for the law of God. Jesus (their Messiah), will bring in the age of grace. Jesus fulfilled the law in His life, crucifixion, and resurrection. There would be no need for further sacrifice. This is why they would not talk about the Ark anymore.

Jeremiah 3:17 "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."

That is, the Gospel church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Jerusalem above, that is free, and the mother of us all. Which is Christ's kingdom, where He has His throne and subjects, and where He sits and reigns as King of saints. And where they yield a cheerful and ready subjection to Him, signified by calling the church His throne.

"And all the nations shall be gathered unto it": Which shows that Jerusalem, literally understood, cannot be meant, but the church of Christ. To which the Gentiles, being converted, should join themselves in great numbers in all nations, as they have done. And which will be more largely accomplished and verified in the latter day (Isa. 2:2).

"To the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem": To name His name, to trust in His name. To call upon it, and to worship Him in Jerusalem, in His church, and among His people. And so the Targum explains, "and all nations shall give themselves to worship the name of the Lord, in Jerusalem:"

"Neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart": For the Gospel being preached to all nations, according to Christ's commission, by the pastors He promises, and that being blessed to the turning of the Gentiles from their idols to serve the living God, they shall no more worship the gods they chose for themselves, and their evil hearts devised.

From the time of the LORD, Jerusalem has been the spiritual center of the world. Jerusalem in the sense it is used here, could be speaking of the church of the LORD. This will be the time when God's law will be in their hearts, not on tablets of stone. All who love God will be drawn to fellowship in the church. This will be that special time when Christ will live within us.

Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Jeremiah 3:18 "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers."

For the future reunion of "Israel" and "Judah," see Isaiah 11:12; Ezek. 37:16-28; Hosea 1:11.

This is really speaking of the time when the physical and spiritual house of Israel come together in Jesus Christ. The following Scriptures are speaking of the same thing.

Ezekiel 37:20-24 "And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes." "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:" "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:" "Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God." "And David my servant [shall be] king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them."

David (in verse 24), is of course, speaking of Jesus. We will all be saved by Jesus and in Jesus.

Jeremiah 3:19 "But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me."

The literary figure changes here from that of "husband and wife" to a "father and his son". The Old Testament portrays Israel as God's redeemed son (Exodus 4:21-23; Hosea 11:1), from whom He had a right to expect conduct befitting a son (Mal. 1:6; 2:10). Unfortunately, Israel had proved to be a wayward son (Deut. 32:5-6), whom God must chastise (Isa. 63:7-10). However, God still loves His child and longs for his repentance so that after the judgment has been rendered, he might return to the place of blessing (Isa. 43:6). Ultimately that will be accomplished through God's special son, David (Psalm 89:20-27), through whom the Greater Son of David will come with full salvation (Psalm 2:7-12; Ezek. 26:24-32; 37:20-28; Luke 1:68-75; Acts 13:22-24).

"Put thee among the children": Here is a reference to adoption into God's family, when the people turn back from idols to acknowledge Him as "Father".

Notice "nations" is plural. This is speaking of those from all nations who accept Jesus as their Savior.

Galatians 3:8 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed."

Revelation 7:9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"

These are the saved in Christ.

Jeremiah 3:20 "Surely [as] a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD."

"A wife treacherously departeth": Hosea had earlier used the same imagery (ca. 755-710 B.C.). Thus, God had given the divorce because Israel committed spiritual adultery and was unrepentant. But when repentance comes, He will take Israel back (compare 3:1).

"O house of Israel": Since the irretrievable dispersion of Israel in the north (722 B.C.), Judah alone was left to be called by the name Israel, as Jeremiah sometimes chose to do (e.g., 3:20-23).

Now this has jumped back to the physical house of Israel (Jews), who have been unfaithful to God. God is reminding them of their unfaithfulness.

Verses 21-25: Although Jeremiah must pronounce God's message of judgment, he so longs for his people's repentance and restoration to favor that in the scene played out in his mind's eye he joins with them in confession and contrition. Jeremiah gives us a lesson in "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15), and in feeling concern.

Jeremiah 3:21 "A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping [and] supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, [and] they have forgotten the LORD their God."

And so might be heard afar off; it shows that the repentance and confession of the Jews, when convinced and converted, will be very public, and made upon those places where they have committed their sins (see Jer. 2:20). For this and the following verses declare the humiliation, repentance, and conversion of the Jews, and the manner in which they shall be brought to it, and be openly put among the children.

"Weeping and supplications of the children of Israel": Not so much lamenting their calamities, as mourning over their sins. Supplicating the pardon of them, and freely and ingenuously confessing them.

"For they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God": Or, "because they have", etc. This they shall be sensible of, that they have perverted the right ways of the Lord by their traditions, and have forgotten the worship of the Lord. As the Targum paraphrases it; yea, the Lord himself, their covenant God and kind benefactor, and lightly esteemed of the true Messiah, the Rock of their salvation. The consideration of which will cause them to weep and mourn; which they will do when the Spirit of grace and supplication is poured out upon them. And they shall look upon him whom they have pierced (Zech. 12:10). Some interpret this as the cause of their calamities, and not as the subject matter of their mourning; but the latter seems best to agree with what follows, which shows by what means they were brought to repentance, and were converted.

This is in the area where the practice of idolatry was. Now this is the very place they cry and repent of their unfaithfulness to God.

Jeremiah 3:22 "Return, ye backsliding children, [and] I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou [art] the LORD our God."

The word "backsliding" literally means "turning back" or "turning away." Although it occurs throughout the Old Testament, Moses and Jeremiah especially use it to describe Israel's failure in their covenant relationship with God. Backsliding implied a stubborn and rebellious attitude on the part of ancient Israel and may have referred either to their forsaking the covenant (in whole or in part), or to their failure to grow spiritually according to God's progressive revelation. The term is often applied today to Christians who have fallen into sin, but it could also apply to those who have failed to grow spiritually (compare Paul's use of carnal in 1 Cor. 3:1-3). The cause of backsliding is the desire to do things our way rather than God's way (Prov. 14:14). Christians should be careful to follow the Lord and grow in grace so as not to backslide. (Jer. 3:6; 3:22; compare Lev. 2:11).

God is inviting them back, if they will repent and return to Him. The last part of this is the people answering, and promising God they will return to the One true God.

Jeremiah 3:23 "Truly in vain [is salvation hoped for] from the hills, [and from] the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God [is] the salvation of Israel."

From any natural defense, by hills and mountains encompassing, or from idols worshipped on hills and mountains. So the Targum explains, "truly in vain we worship upon the hills, and for no profit are we gathered upon the mountains." And to this purpose Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; or from the multitude of the people, the kingdoms of the world, and the nations of the earth, from whom the Jews have in vain expected salvation and deliverance.

"Truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel": Or, is in "the Word of the LORD our God", explains the Targum. In Christ, the essential Word of God, is the salvation of all the chosen people, both Jews and Gentiles. It was put into His hands by His Father, and it is wrought out by Him; and it resides in Him, and it is to be had in Him, and in Him only (Acts 4:12). Who is God the Lord, and therefore was able to effect it, and to give it; and hence these repenting ones, discarding all other saviors, apply to Him for it.

There is no salvation in the worship of idols or false gods. Jesus is salvation for all mankind. Pagan worship on the mountains had brought no help at all. In fact, it had angered God.

Romans 3:24 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"

Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"

Hebrews 9:12 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]."

There is no redemption in anyone or anything but Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 3:24 "For shame hath devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters."

That is sin, which is the cause of shame, and of which sinners ought to be ashamed, and will be sooner or later. So, the Targum renders it, "the confusion of sins". And the Jewish writers generally interpret it of idolatry, and of the idol Baal. As Kimchi and others, called "shame", or that "shameful thing" (Jer. 11:13). This idol, because of the multitude of the sacrifices offered to it, consumed what their fathers labored for, ever since they had known them. Or, for their worshipping of this idol, such judgments came upon them as consumed all they got by hard labor. Or rather it may regard their shameful sin of rejecting the Messiah, and crucifying Him; which they will be ashamed of at the time of their conversion, when they shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and on account of which they suffer the many calamities they now do.

"Their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters": Whatever evils have befallen them in their persons, families, and estates, they will confess are owing to sin they have committed, of which they will now be ashamed; hence it follows:

All of this had been taken away, because of their unfaithfulness to God. All they had worked for was gone, because they committed spiritual adultery.

Jeremiah 3:25 "We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God."

As persons overwhelmed with a sense of sin, and so pressed with the guilt of it on their consciences, that they can neither stand up, nor look up. But throw themselves on the ground, and cover their faces, being ashamed of what they have done.

"For we have sinned against the Lord our God": As by breaking the law of God, so by despising the Gospel; rejecting the ordinances of it; disbelieving the Messiah, and speaking reproachfully of Him and His people.

"We and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day": In a long series of years, from the time that Christ was upon earth, to the day of their conversion, in the latter times of the Gospel dispensation.

"And have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God": The voice of His forerunner, John the Baptist, of the Messiah Himself, and of His apostles, and of His ministers since. So, the Targum explains, "and have not obeyed the Word of the Lord our God."

It seems that God's people have finally realized that they brought the destruction upon themselves by worshipping false gods. They lie down defeated. They realize they cannot help themselves. The very first step to restoration, is to repent and ask for God's help. They realize here they have sinned. They realize they have disobeyed God. They are ashamed of what they have done. God loves a humble heart. He will rescue them from their despair.

Jeremiah Chapter 3 Questions

  1. What ordinance is verse 1 speaking of?
  2. Who is the harlot in verse 1?
  3. Who were the wife of God?
  4. What had they done wrong?
  5. What is the name for God's love?
  6. How does it differ from man's love?
  7. What is more serious than physical whoredom?
  8. What had been withholden, because of their sin?
  9. How does a whore's forehead look?
  10. Why do they feel no shame for their sin?
  11. Fathers are more forgiving than ____________.
  12. When did the family of Jacob become the nation of Israel?
  13. What is the big question in verse 5?
  14. What kind of Israel did He call them in verse 6?
  15. What is this like today?
  16. Why did He mention "under every green tree"?
  17. What was Judah called in verse 7?
  18. Why had God put her away?
  19. When Judah saw Israel fall, what did they do?
  20. What does the word "feignedly" mean?
  21. What was God saying about Judah?
  22. In verse 11, Judah is described as being _______________.
  23. God is ____________, __________, and ___________________.
  24. What did God want them to do in verse 13?
  25. Salvation is offered to _______________.
  26. What is Zion symbolic of?
  27. What are the pastors to do?
  28. What time is verse 16 speaking of?
  29. Why would they remember the Ark no more?
  30. Where will be called the throne of the LORD?
  31. What 2 houses will walk together in that day?
  32. What does the author believe this is referring to?
  33. Does Israel repent?

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Jeremiah 4

Jeremiah Chapter 4

Verses 1-4: These verses conclude the message begun at 3:6, by using literary figures drawn from Israel's daily experiences. From agriculture comes the admonition to "weed out" totally their present practices and "break up" their "fallow ground," and then "sow" the new "seeds" of spiritual fruitfulness for God. Repentance and a broken heart must precede renewed spiritual vitality. The second figure comes from religious ceremony. Mere outward conformity to the standards of the covenant were insufficient (compare Gen. 17:10-14; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Joshua 5:2-7; Rom. 2:28-29; 4:9-25).

Verses 1-2: Note the dual use of the term "return", emphasizing that God would not accept a half-hearted surrender. He knows people's hearts (17:9-10).

Jeremiah 4:1 "If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove."

The "if" implies a return from the hopes with which Jeremiah chapter 3 ended to the language of misgiving, and so, inferentially, of earnest exhortation.

"Abominations": Literally, things of shame (as in Jer. 3:24); the idols which Israel had worshipped.

"Then shalt thou not remove": Better, as continuing the conditions of forgiveness, if thou wilt not wander.

We see again, an offer from God to forgive them and start all over. God will not take them back until they give up their idols. When they give up their idols, God will welcome them back.

Jeremiah 4:2 "And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory."

God's covenant with Abraham had stressed that all peoples would be blessed through Him (Gen. 12:3; 22:18), but Judah's disobedience had prevented them from being the instrument of God's blessing.

This is very similar to the confessing with the mouth in Romans. This is speaking of the promise God made to Abraham, that all the nations would be blessed through Him. There was only one condition. They must follow God with all their heart. Look at the following Scripture what they must confess:

Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

It is not enough to just believe in your heart. You must confess with your mouth.

Jeremiah 4:3 "For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns."

"Break up": Jeremiah appealed for a spiritual turnabout from sinful, wasteful lives. He pictured this as the plowing of ground, formerly hard and unproductive due to weeds, in order to make it useful for sowing (compare Matt. 13:18-23).

"Fallow": in the verse above, means freshly plowed. This, to me, would mean to prepare the heart, and then plant the seed. The heart unprepared, will not receive the seed of the Word. It will be choked out with the cares of the world.

Jeremiah 4:4 "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench [it], because of the evil of your doings."

"Circumcise": This surgery (Gen. 17:10-14), was to cut away flesh that could hold disease in its folds and could pass the disease on to wives. It was important for the preservation of God's people physically. But it was also a symbol of the need for the heart to be cleansed from the deadly disease of sin. The really essential surgery needed to happen on the inside, where God calls for taking away fleshly things that keep the heart from being spiritually devoted to Him and from true faith in Him and His will. Jeremiah later expanded on this theme (31:31-34; compare Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Rom. 2:29). God selected the reproductive organ as the location of the symbol for man's need of cleansing for sin, because it is the instrument most indicative of his depravity, since by it he reproduces generations of sinners.

Jeremiah said, "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord", then added the more graphic phrase, "take away the foreskins of your heart". This is the kind of internal, spiritual operation that only God can do.

We find in the Scripture above and in the following, that God is not satisfied with just the formality of circumcision, but wanted the hearts of the people pure.

Romans 2:28-29 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:" "But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God."

If they do not learn to follow God with all their heart, He will destroy them.

1 Samuel 12:24 "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart; for consider how great [things] he hath done for you."

Verses 5-8: God instructed Jeremiah to declare "for I will bring evil from the north" and destruction would come. The invasion might take the form of a foreign army, but the driving force would be "the fierce anger of the Lord."

The rest of the chapter contains a new message emphasizing the proclamation of God's judgment. The sounding of the "trumpet" was a well-known sign of danger in the ancient Near East (compare Hosea 5:8; 8:1; Joel 2:1; Amos 3:6). It could also mark a time of national self-examination (Joel 2:15-17). The "standard" (conspicuous flag upon a pole), would point to the appropriate place of refuge (compare verse 21).

Jeremiah 4:5 "Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defensed cities."

Exhortations to repentance being without effect in general, though they might have an influence on some few particular persons. The Lord directs the prophet to lay before the people a view of their destruction at hand. Who calls upon some persons as a sort of heralds, to publish and declare in the land of Judea, and in Jerusalem the metropolis of it, what follows.

"Blow ye the trumpet in the land": As an alarm of an approaching enemy, and of an invasion by him and of danger from him. And this was to be done, not in order to gather together, and put themselves in a posture of defense to meet the enemy and give him battle; but to get together those that were in the fields, and in country villages, and hide themselves from him.

"Cry, gather together, and say": Or cry with a full mouth, with a loud voice, that all might hear; which shows imminent danger.

"Assemble yourselves and let us go into the defensed cities": Such as Jerusalem, and others, where they might think themselves safe and secure (Matt. 24:16).

This declaration from God was to be throughout their land. The blowing of the trumpet was for two things. It gathered them for worship or for war.

Verses 6-7: "Evil from the north": This evil is Babylon's army which would invade from that direction. The "lion" on the prowl fit Babylon because of its conquering power, and Babylon was symbolized by the winged lions guarding its royal court. Babylon is later identified in 20:4. Many details in chapter 4, graphically depict warriors in conquest (verses 7, 13, 29).

Jeremiah 4:6 "Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction."

Not on the tower of Zion, as Kimchi interprets it; but on some high place pointing to Zion, and directing the country people to flee thither for safety. For the setting up of the standard here is not for enlisting of soldiers in order to fight, but as a sign of danger, and a direction to find refuge.

"Retire": Gather yourselves together in order to flee, as the word is rendered (Isa. 10:31). Though some render it, "be ye strengthened"; take heart, and play the man. But this does not seem so agreeable to the context.

"Stay not": Or, "stand not". Stand not in the place ye are in, but move from it in all haste, because of the present danger.

"For I will bring evil from the north": From Babylon, as Kimchi interprets it; which lay north to the land of Israel. And so, God designs the captivity that Judah should be brought into there.

"And a great destruction": or, "breach"; which the Babylonians should execute on the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem.

The standard was to be raised pointing to Jerusalem or the church. The standard must be raised by God's people for others to follow. The road into Jerusalem that the enemy would come on, led to the north.

Jeremiah 4:7 "The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; [and] thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant."

The descending judgment of Babylon is described as "the lion" coming up from his "thicket."

The near interpretation is Nebuchadnezzar coming against them. "Gentiles" here, possibly means nations. The "lion" here could be the antichrist, who will come up from beneath and will destroy nations. The "destroyer" is Satan, or someone greatly influenced of Satan. He will destroy nations. The last nation of course, will be Israel. The "thicket" could be hell, or place of destruction. Notice also where he came from. It was from his place. The "land" to be made desolate is Israel.

Jeremiah 4:8 "For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us."

"Sackcloth" was the traditional attire of grief and repentance.

God controls Satan the same as He controls everyone else. God can stop him at any time. The "sackcloth" here, is a garment of mourning. When the LORD is angry with His people, He will allow the enemy to attack them.

Jeremiah 4:9 "And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, [that] the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder."

When Nebuchadnezzar should come up from Babylon into the land of Judea, and lay waste the cities thereof, and besiege Jerusalem.

"That the heart of the king shall perish": Meaning Zedekiah king of Judah, should be in the utmost fright and consternation, not knowing what to do, being devoid both of wisdom and courage (see Jer. 39:4).

"And the heart of the princes": Who being seized with the same panic, and at their wits' end, would not be able to give any advice and counsel to the king. So the people would have no help from the king and his nobles, in whom they put their confidence.

"And the priests shall be astonished": Which Kimchi interprets of the priests of the high places, the idolatrous priests, whose service would now cease, and whose idols would not save them.

"And the prophets shall wonder": Which he also interprets of the false prophets. As does the Targum; who prophesied peace, and now they shall see it was a lie they prophesied, since sudden destruction now comes upon them.

In a situation like this, the king has no more protection than the people. In many cases he has less. These heathen people will not respect the office of the priest either. God will allow this because He is angry with His people.

Jeremiah 4:10 "Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul."

Many suggestions have been given as to the meaning of this difficult verse. One theory builds upon a textual variant found in a few ancient manuscripts that reads "said they" for "said I," attributing the words to Judah's false leaders. Some lay great stress on Jeremiah's exhausted emotions. Perhaps it is best to see the verse as an expression of Jeremiah's realization that God in His sovereign wisdom was allowing Judah and Jerusalem to use their own destiny by believing their own lies, even though He continued to urge their repentance (verses 14-18).

"Deceived": Like Habakkuk (1:12-17), Jeremiah was horrified at these words of judgment, contrasting the prevailing hope of peace. God is sometimes described as if doing a thing He merely permits, such as allowing false prophets, who delude themselves, to also deceive a sinful people into thinking peace would follow (compare 6:14; 8:11; 1 Kings 22:21-24). God sees how people insist on their delusions, and lets it happen.

Jeremiah was not happy with his role, offering "peace" to the people while God was setting events in motion that would send them into exile. In the face of humanity's persistent rebellion, God has determined that humans will be without excuse when judgment comes (Rom. 1:18).

God had promised there would be peace in Jerusalem. The problem is that God did not mean that very day, but a time in the future. It is as if Jeremiah was questioning God's intentions here. Men will try to bring peace to this region, but there will be no true peace until the King of Peace comes to the earth and establishes His kingdom. There will be peace in Jerusalem then. There is a sword that reaches the soul in the following Scripture:

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Jeremiah 4:11 "At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse,"

(See Jeremiah 4:7). Though the revelation of the certainty of Judah's ruin forces from Jeremiah a cry of despair, yet it is but for a moment. He immediately returns to the delivery of God's message.

"A dry wind": Literally, A clear wind. The Samum is probably meant, a dry parching east wind blowing from the Arabian Desert, before which vegetation withers, and human life becomes intolerable.

"Not to fan": The Syrian farmers make great use of the wind for separating the chaff from the grain: but when the Samum blows, labor becomes impossible. It is not for use, but for destruction.

The Jews are like a hot wind that brings no blessing. This "wind" is not the wind of the Holy Spirit. It does not cleanse or bless. The wind of the Spirit comes from an unknown place and brings blessings. In verse 11, the "wind" comes from the mountain where false gods were worshipped.

Jeremiah 4:12 "[Even] a full wind from those [places] shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them."

"From those places": rather, "a wind fuller (that is, more impetuous), than those winds" which fan the corn (see Jer. 4:11).

"Unto me": "for Me," as My instrument for executing My purpose.

"Sentence": judgments against them (Jer. 1:16).

This is an ill wind that brings no good. God is the One who brings judgement against them.

Jeremiah 4:13 "Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots [shall be] as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled."

Either noting the vast number of them (Isa. 60:8; Heb. 12:1); or the suddenness of them. When not expected, clouds often rising all of a sudden, and overspreading the whole face of the heavens. Or rather, the great speed and swiftness with which Nebuchadnezzar shall march against them (Isa. 19:1), hyperbolically compared to the swiftness of eagles in this verse (Jer. 48:8).

"His chariots shall be as a whirlwind": Which beside the swiftness, notes also the confusion and amazement that they will cause (Isaiah 66:15).

"Woe unto us! for we are spoiled": The dreadful apprehensions that the people have of their woeful condition, or possibly the words of the prophet lamenting their misery.

Babylon does come against these people and overcomes them. God, we must remember, brings this as judgement against His people. In the next few Scriptures, we will see God's power in the wind, or the whirlwind.

Nahum 1:3 "The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet".

Matthew 24:30 "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Daniel 7:2 "Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea."

We can see from this, that it is God who controls the elements of the earth.

Jeremiah 4:14 "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?"

"Wash": Jeremiah continued to appeal for a dealing with sin so that national destruction might be averted (verse 20), while there was still time to repent (compare chapters 7 and 26).

Jeremiah cries out to Jerusalem to repent and be saved. It is as if he is saying, why can't you see why this trouble is coming? They imagine a vain thing. They appear to be caught up in their own values, overlooking the needs of others. God wants man to be saved so badly, that He sent His only Son to save us. Man has a part in his own salvation. He must wash in the blood of the precious Lamb.

Jeremiah 4:15 "For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim."

"Dan": a border-town of Palestine on the north (Deut. 34:1).

"Affliction": The same word, aven, occurs in Jer. 4:14, and apparently there is a play upon its double meaning. For from a root signifying worthlessness, it is used both for wickedness and for misery. Thus, the "iniquity" of Judah proves also to be her "affliction," as being the cause of ruin inflicted by the enemy.

"Mount Ephraim": The northern boundary of Judea itself. The invading army presses on so rapidly, that scarcely has the news arrived of its appearance at Dan, before fresh messengers announce that it has traversed the whole length of Galilee, and is now advancing through the mountains of Samaria.

It appears the enemy comes by the land of Dan and mount Ephraim. The "affliction" had already begun.

Jeremiah 4:16 "Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, [that] watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah."

These are either the nations in Judea; or these words are a proclamation, summoning in the nations by the Chaldeans, as it were, in pursuance of a commission from God, to bring great armies together against Jerusalem. Or they are the prophets turning away from Judah, as despairing of doing any good upon them, and calling for the nations to execute God's sentence.

"Publish": Let her be acquainted with what is coming upon her, let her have public notice beforehand, that she may be warned.

"Watchers": Military watchers, i.e. the Chaldean soldiers, that shall so carefully and watchfully encompass Jerusalem, that none shall escape. Possibly a metaphor from hunters, that in hunting their prey lay wait at every passage, that the game may not escape (see 2 Kings 25:4-5).

"Come": They are now at hand, you may as it were, see them.

"From a far country": From Chaldea.

"Give out their voice": They will proclaim war against them; or a shout, either encouraging soldiers to the battle, or triumphing after the victory. Or the outcries that they will make, such as the Turks now make in their onsets (Jer. 2:15).

All of the countries surrounding Judah are to take notice of the fact of the attack against Judah. God allows them to speak evil about Judah, because He is angry with them. The Babylonians may be performing the physical battle, but it is really God who has come against Judah. He is using Babylon for His purpose.

Jeremiah 4:17 "As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD."

As those that are set to watch a field, in which are fruit and corn of any sort, that thieves and robbers, and wild beasts, may not enter to waste and destroy, and are placed on all sides for that purpose, so the Chaldeans were round about Jerusalem, that none could make their escape out of it (see 2 Kings 25:4).

"Because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD": It was not without reason that the LORD suffered the Chaldeans to come against Jerusalem, besiege, and take it. The inhabitants of Jerusalem had rebelled against Him, their King and their God. And therefore, He delivers them up into the hands of another lord, a cruel one. They had provoked Him to anger with their sins and caused Him to stir up His wrath against them in this way. Rebellion against a prince, or against a parent, is a provoking sin (1 Sam. 15:23).

The Chaldeans have surrounded Jerusalem as keepers of a field do. They rebelled against God, and God brought this punishment on them.

Jeremiah 4:18 "Thy way and thy doings have procured these [things] unto thee; this [is] thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart."

The way in which they walked, was an evil one. And the actions which they committed, their idolatries, backslidings, and rebellions, before spoken of in this and the preceding chapter, were the cause of this siege, and those calamities coming upon them. They had none to blame but themselves. It was their own sinful ways and works which brought this ruin and destruction on them.

"This is thy wickedness": The fruit of thy wickedness; or, "this is thy calamity". That is, is owing to these things; so the word is rendered in Psalm 141:5.

"Because it is bitter": Not sin (as in Jer. 2:19), but the punishment of it. The calamity before mentioned; which was hard and heavy, and grievous to be borne, yet very just; it was by way of retaliation. "They had bitterly provoked the Lord", as the word may be rendered in the preceding verse; and now He sends them a bitter calamity and a heavy judgment.

"Because it reacheth unto thine heart": Into the midst of them, and utterly destroyed them. The two last clauses may be rendered, "though it is bitter, though it reacheth unto thine heart". Though it is such a sore distress, and such an utter destruction, yet it was to be ascribed to nothing else but their own sins and transgressions.

Their own sin brought this evil upon them. They were wicked and their bondage will be bitter, because they have displeased God.

Verses 19-22: Jeremiah had pain in his "heart" because there was nothing he could do to avert the coming disaster. God also laments the condition of the people who are "foolish" in the face of His judgment.

Jeremiah 4:19 "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war."

Here begins the woeful complaint of, and the great trouble the prophet was in, upon the consideration of these things, crying out as one even under great pain and torment. Doubling his words for want of vent, thereby expressing the excess of his sorrow, which in words was inexpressible. The like of 2 Sam. 18:33; which sorrow of his he expresses (Jer. 9:1, 10).

"I am pained at my very heart": Hebrew, the walls of my heart; or, my heartstrings, that surrounded and encompassed my heart, are ready to break. He may possibly allude to their encompassing the walls of Jerusalem. Or the proper meaning is, my heart is ready to break. The LXX (The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint) renders it "doth beat or pant". Maketh a noise; is disturbed within me, I can have no rest nor quiet within (Job 30:27; Lam. 1:20).

"I cannot hold my peace": I cannot forbear my complaints, I am so troubled and grieved (Job 7:11; Isa. 22:4).

"Because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet": i.e. I have heard in the spirit of prophecy; it is as certain as if I now heard the trumpet sounding, and:

"The alarm of war": beating up or coming.

This is a cry of the fearful. If this is Jeremiah speaking, it is because the pains of his people are his pains. The trumpet has blown, and it is time for war.

Jeremiah 4:20 "Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, [and] my curtains in a moment."

Or, "breach upon breach". As soon as one affliction is over, another comes on. And upon the news of one calamity, tidings are brought of another, as in Job's case. It signifies, that distress and troubles would come thick and fast, and that there would be no end to them, until there was an utter destruction, as this phrase indicates, and the following words show. Kimchi interprets it of the destruction of the ten tribes which came first, and of the destruction of Judah that came now.

"For the whole land is spoiled": Or "wasted"; that is, the land of Judea.

"Suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment": Meaning, either the armies of his people, which dwelt in tents, were destroyed at once; or the cities, towns, and habitations of his countrymen, which he compares to tents, as being easily beat down or overthrown. And so, the Targum interprets it of cities. And the prophet seems to intimate that this destruction would reach to Anathoth, where his tent; cottage, and curtains were. So sudden destruction sometimes comes, when men are crying "Peace, peace" (1 Thess. 5:3).

Even the tent dwellers are taken and spoiled. This is a destruction brought on by God. It is a terrible destruction.

Jeremiah 4:21 "How long shall I see the standard, [and] hear the sound of the trumpet?"

The "standard," (as in Jer. 4:6), is the alarm signal given to fugitives. The "trumpet" sounds to give the alarm, and quicken their flight to the defensed city. The prophet sees no end to the miseries of the coming war.

"And hear the sound of the trumpet?" Either of the watchmen giving notice of danger and summoning to battle, or of the enemy preparing to attack (see 1 Cor. 14:8).

The standard bearer is usually the last one to fall, because if one falls another takes it up. Before this battle is over, there will be no standard bearer or trumpet blower.

Jeremiah 4:22 "For my people [is] foolish, they have not known me; they [are] sottish children, and they have none understanding: they [are] wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge."

"Wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge": Israelites were wise or clever in doing evil but were dull in knowing to do good, i.e., God's will. Paul, applying the principle but turning it to the positive, wanted the believers at Rome to be wise to do good but unlearned in the skill of doing evil (Rom. 16:19).

The word "sottish" means silly or fool. These are children who have made foolish decisions. They have chosen dumb idols over the true God. They have gone out of their way to sin. These are a people whose understanding is darkened. They had the Light of the world but chose darkness over Light.

Verses 23-26: Having warned of the winds of destruction (verses 11-13), Jeremiah gives a prediction of the horrifying extent of that coming event (verses 23-31). That disaster is described in terms of a gigantic cosmic and terrestrial cataclysm. The words "without form, and void" are used of the original conditions at Creation (Gen. 1:2). Therefore, some have suggested that Jeremiah is actually describing the early earth in terms of the effects of a primeval judgment. Similar language is also found in Isaiah 45:18. However, the context of judgment in Isaiah and here are both relevant to the future. Accordingly, both have merely applied the phraseology of Genesis to emphasize strongly the severity of Judah's coming judgment for sin.

Jeremiah 4:23 "I beheld the earth, and, lo, [it was] without form, and void; and the heavens, and they [had] no light."

"Without form": Jeremiah may be borrowing the language, but the description in its context is not of creation (in Gen. 1:2), but of judgment on the land of Israel and its cities (verse 20). The invader left it desolate of the previous form and void of inhabitants due to slaying and flight (verse 25). The heavens gave no light, possibly due to smoke from fires that were destroying cities (verses 7, 20).

Jeremiah has jumped from their time, all the way back to the time before the Light was applied to this present world. This is the same Scripture as:

Genesis 1:2 "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

Both of these speak of the time when there was no Light in the earth. It was a time when nothing or no one, had the power to exist. The Light gives everything the power to be.

Jeremiah 4:24 "I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly."

He proceeds in his figurative elegancies: Behold how the mountains of Judea tremble! For a similar expression, see Psalm 18:7-8; Isa. 5:25. As if the very senseless creatures were astonished at the greatness of God's anger; and he mentions these as being the most stable part of the earth, yet shake before him.

"All the hills moved lightly": As easily as if they were some very light matter, or as dust or feathers in a whirlwind (see Psalm 114:4, 6). Or these may be said hyperbolically to tremble and move by reason of the multitudes of trampling and prancing horses and chariots furiously passing over them.

Jeremiah 4:25 "I beheld, and, lo, [there was] no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled."

No people dwelling in it, as the Targum explains. The land was without inhabitants, they were either killed with the sword, or carried captive into Babylon, or fled into Egypt and other countries.

"And all the birds of the heavens were fled": At the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war; at the blackness of the heavens, filled with smoke; at the barrenness of the earth, there being no seed sown. And the earth, as at the first creation, having no herb, nor trees bearing fruit, and so no food for birds; and therefore, they went elsewhere, both wild and tame.

There had been a habitation, but there had been a total destruction of that habitation. Who they were and why they were destroyed, is none of our business. If God had wanted us to know, He would have told us.

Jeremiah 4:26 "I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place [was] a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, [and] by his fierce anger."

Jeremiah often uses the "wilderness" to represent God's judgment (compare 9:10; 12:10-12; 17:6; 22:6; 50:12). For a similar use of this expression, see Isaiah 32:15-20; 51:3.

This speaks of total desolation brought on by God. The place that had brought forth fruit is now a wilderness. We see the reason is the anger of the LORD.

Verses 27-29: The Lord added a note of hope in the phrase "yet will I not make a full end": He had "purposed" both judgment and the remnant who would survive to carry on His plan for His people.

Jeremiah 4:27 "For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end."

What follows is an explanation and confirmation of the above vision the prophet had.

"The whole land shall be desolate": as he had seen. It should not be manured, ploughed, and sown, or bring forth fruit; and should be without inhabitants, or at least have very few.

"Yet I will not make a full end": There should be some inhabitants, who, with those that should hereafter return from captivity, would re-people it, rebuild the temple, and restore it to its pristine form and order. Both as to things natural, civil, and ecclesiastical. But though a full end of them, as a church and people, was not to be made now by the Chaldeans, yet it would be; as it has been done by the Romans, in the times of Vespasian and Hadrian (in A.D. 70) when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were scattered.

This earth that was null and void shall live again. God will send the Light of the world, and it will live. It is the Light that brings life.

Jeremiah 4:28 "For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken [it], I have purposed [it], and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it."

That is, for the full end that will be made hereafter, though not now. The earth may be said to "mourn" when the inhabitants of it do. Or when it is destroyed, and is become desolate, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, explain it; when it is uncultivated and uninhabited.

"And the heavens above be black": With thick clouds, and storms, and tempests; in allusion to mourners, that are clothed with black. These figures, of the earth's mourning, and the heavens being clothed in black, denote the horribleness of that dispensation, when there would be an utter destruction of the Jewish nation, church, and civil government, of which Daniel prophesies (Dan. 9:27).

"Because I have spoken it": In my word, as the Targum explains, in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, by Moses and the prophets.

"I have purposed it": Or I have thought of it, in my counsel, as the Targum explains. It was a thing deliberately devised and determined, and therefore can never be frustrated, or made void.

"And will not repent": Or change, what was purposed and predicted.

"Neither will I turn back from it": Revoke, or retract it; it shall surely come to pass. The Jews, upon their return from the Babylonish captivity, and afterwards, might flatter themselves that a full end would not be made of them, because it was not then done. And therefore, these several strong expressions are used, to confirm and assure them of it; for the word of God cannot fail, His counsel shall stand. He is not a man, that He should lie or repent; He will do all His pleasure.

This is a time of no Light. The blackness symbolizes mourning. God is Truth, when He speaks, it happens.

Jeremiah 4:29 "The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city [shall be] forsaken, and not a man dwell therein."

The inhabitants of all ranks and qualities shall seek to escape the fury of this Chaldean army (Jer. 39:4).

"For the noise": Either upon the report of their coming, hereby as it were deriding their confidence; or rather at the approach of their vast armies, for they were close to being besieged before they fled. As appears in 2 Kings 25:4.

"They shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks": Such a consternation there shall be upon them that they shall run into every hole to hide themselves. Thus, Manasseh was taken among the thorns (2 Chron. 33:11). The Hebrew is abim, the clouds, possibly alluding to dark places on the tops of hills. Reaching as it were to the clouds, or among the cloudy shades of trees and groves that usually grew there. The LXX render it caves, and so the rocks for shelter, or the clefts, caves, and hiding-places in the rocks (See Isa. 2:21).

"Every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein": There shall be an utter desolation, their cities quite forsaken, not any to inhabit them (Jer. 4:25-26).

This is a terrible time of fear. The fear is so great that they flee from the onslaught, and run to the caves for help. No one is left in the cities.

Verses 30-31: Jeremiah returns to the personification of Judah and Jerusalem as a "woman," first as a prostitute (compare 2:18-34; 3:1-2), and then as a woman enduring labor pangs alone, and deserted by all.

Jeremiah 4:30 "And [when] thou [art] spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; [thy] lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life."

Or, "O thou spoiled", wasted, and undone creature, how wilt thou help thyself? By what means do you think you can be delivered? It suggests that her ruin was inevitable; that she could not be recovered from it by herself, or any other.

"Though thou clothest thyself with crimson": And so look like some rich and noble person; hoping thereby to find mercy, and to have quarter given (The phrase "no quarter" was generally used during military conflict to imply combatants would not be taken prisoner, but killed).

"Though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold": As a person of high and princely dignity. Or rather all this is to be understood of the manner of harlots, who dress rich and grand, in order to allure men, since it follows:

"Though thou rentest thy face with painting": Or, eyes, which painting enlarges or expands as Jezebel did (2 Kings 9:30).

"In vain shalt thou make thyself fair": So as to be loved and admired: far from it.

"Thy lovers will despise thee": As an old harlot is despised by her former gallants, notwithstanding all her dressing and painting. Yea, their love is often turned into hatred and abhorrence, as would be the case here.

"They will seek thy life": To take it away. So far would there be from being any ground of expectations of help and deliverance from them.

All of the beautiful clothing and jewelry will not make them beautiful to God. We see that the ones they have thought of as lovers, will be of no help at all. This adulterous people who were the wife of God, are now abandoned.

Jeremiah 4:31 "For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, [and] the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, [that] bewaileth herself, [that] spreadeth her hands, [saying], Woe [is] me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers."

So, the distress of the Jews, at the time of their destruction, is compared to the sorrows of a woman in travail (Indicating that things will get totally and remarkably worse at the end of the era).

"And the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child": Whose time is more difficult, her pains sharper, her anguish greater, and having less experience, the more impatient.

"The voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself": Her unhappy condition, and miserable circumstances.

"That spreadeth her hands": As persons in distress do, and particularly women in travail saying:

"Woe is me now, for my soul is wearied because of murderers": Here Jerusalem is very pathetically described by the character of a woman under the pangs of her first childbearing, when her pains as well as her fears are usually greatest. Such, saith the prophet, shall be the anguish of Jerusalem, bewailing the loss of her children by the devouring sword of the Chaldeans, and in vain imploring comfort and assistance.

Spreading out the hands is the gesture of one displaying the helplessness of her condition, and imploring the aid of others. This appears to be speaking of the physical house of Israel, which is destroyed. The "first child" is generally speaking of physical Israel. "Zion" can be the church or Jerusalem. She is crying because of the murderous destruction of her children. The "woe" is for the loss.

Jeremiah Chapter 4 Questions

  1. To get back in good standing with God, what did Israel have to put away?
  2. What was the only condition, if the nations were to be blessed?
  3. What is "fallow" in verse 3?
  4. What does the author believe this is saying?
  5. What is the circumcision that is important to God?
  6. How far-reaching was the declaration God made in verse 5?
  7. For what two reasons was the trumpet blown?
  8. Set up the standard toward ________.
  9. Why must God's people raise the standard?
  10. What is the near interpretation of verse 7?
  11. Who is another the lion could be?
  12. Who is the destroyer?
  13. Why should they gird with sackcloth and lament?
  14. What is the sackcloth?
  15. What had God promised Jerusalem?
  16. What are the Jews like, in verse 11?
  17. Where does the wind of the Spirit come?
  18. The wind in verse 11, comes from where?
  19. Who controls the elements of the earth?
  20. In verse 14, Jeremiah cries out for Jerusalem to do what?
  21. Why does God allow them to speak evil of Judah?
  22. Why is Jeremiah feeling pain in verse 19?
  23. What is the last thing lost in battle?
  24. What does the word "sottish" mean?
  25. What is verse 23 speaking of?
  26. The _________ gives everything the power to be.
  27. Why had the fruitful place become a wilderness?
  28. It is the ________ that brings life.
  29. What has happened to this adulterous people, who were the wife of God?
  30. What does verse 31 appear to be speaking of?

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Jeremiah 5

Jeremiah Chapter 5

Verses 1-2: These verses bring to mind Abraham bargaining with God over the fate of Sodom (Gen. 18:16-33).

Jeremiah 5:1 "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be [any] that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it."

In this chapter, Jeremiah records the reasons for Jerusalem's judgment. Her conduct merited divine punishment (verses 9, 29). The Lord agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for 10 righteous men (Gen. 18:32). Here in clear hyperbole, God asks for one man (besides Jeremiah). How great was Jerusalem's sin! "Judgment" and "truth" are often put forward as standards of Old Testament righteousness. These were found not only in perfection in God (Deut. 32:4; Hos. 2:19-20), but were also supposed to characterize the believer's life (Micah 6:8).

"Find a man": The city was too sinful to have even one man who, by truth and justice, could qualify to be an advocate to secure a pardon for Judah. Refusal to repent was the norm (verse 3), for the common people (verse 4), and for the leaders (verse 5).

This is showing the total degradation in Jerusalem at the time of Jeremiah. There is not even one man in all the city, who is just in judgement. We know that God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah, if there had been 10 righteous people. Here He has reduced the number to one, and there is not even one.

Jeremiah 5:2 "And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely."

It might be said, that there were multitudes that made mention of the name of the Lord, that professed it, and swore by it. Which sometimes is put for the worship and service of God (Deut. 10:20), and therefore it could not be so difficult a matter to find a man of integrity and uprightness among them. This is answered by knowing there were persons that did do so; but then it must be observed:

"That surely they swear falsely": They abused the name of God, and were guilty of perjury. Or the sense is, they were only nominal professors, hypocritical worshippers, in words professed to know God, but in works denied him; had a form of religion and godliness, but without the power of it.

The difference in these people and the ones in Sodom is that here they proclaimed to believe, but did not truly believe in their hearts.

Verses 3-4: The "eyes" of the Lord is a common figure of God's sovereign surveillance over all that happens (compare Psalm 94:9). He sees the sinner (2 Chron. 21:6), and saint (Psalm 33:18), and deals with all in His presence (Deut. 13:18). However, "foolish" Judah and Jerusalem continued in impurity. A catalog of the people's sins follows in the chapter.

Jeremiah 5:3 "O LORD, [are] not thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, [but] they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return."

Dost Thou not approve of truth and faithfulness? And dost Thou not search men's hearts, and clearly discern their real dispositions from their hypocritical pretenses?

"Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved": That is, the Lord had courted and chastised them with afflictive providences; He had brought His judgments upon them, and had smitten them with the sword, famine, pestilence, or some such sore calamity. And yet it had not brought them to a sense of their sin, or to a godly sorrow for it.

"Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction": God had, by His judgments, consumed or swept away many of them, yet the rest did not take warning thereby, but went on in their sins. Or they were brought near to consumption, as Kimchi interprets it. Nevertheless, they remained obstinate and incorrigible and refused to receive any correction or instruction by such providences.

"They have made their faces harder than a rock": Becoming more impudent in sinning, not blushing at, or being ashamed for it. And unmoved by judgments and chastising providence.

"They have refused to return": To the Lord, and to His worship, from which they revolted. Or by repentance, and unto faith and truth, from which they had swerved.

These people are so self-righteous, they are not even aware of how far away from God they really are. Because they go through the formality of worship, they believe God will spare them. They are so hardened to sin, they do not even realize anymore they are sinning. They do not repent, because they do not feel guilty of sin.

Jeremiah 5:4 "Therefore I said, Surely these [are] poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, [nor] the judgment of their God."

The prophet, observing that reproofs and corrections in providence had no effect upon the people, he thought within himself that surely the reason must be, because these people are poor, and in low circumstances in the world. And are so busy in their worldly employments to get bread for their families that they were not at leisure to attend unto divine things, nor of capacity to receive instruction and correction by providences. They were so foolish, stupid, and ignorant.

"For they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God": Either the way which God takes in the salvation of the sons of men, and in justifying of them, which is revealed in His word. Or that which He prescribes them to walk in, in His law, even the way of truth and righteousness, and for failure of which He judges and condemns them. But of these things they were ignorant (see John 7:48), not that this is observed in excuse for them. But in order to introduce what follows; and to show that this depravity, stupidity, and ignorance was obtained among all sort of people, high and low, rich and poor.

The foolish do not seek instruction in the ways of God. This reminds me so much of the situation in our land today. Many people attend church occasionally, some even every Sunday, and yet do not truly have a relationship with the Lord Jesus. They are like these people. They go because it is expected of them, and do not understand why they are there. You could say the people in the verse above and the people of our day, are religious. The problem is their relationship with God. The truth we all need to know is in God's Word (the Bible).

Verses 5-6: The "great men" who should have known better are compared to wandering livestock, isolated from their keeper, left as victims for the "lion", "wolf" and "leopard." The apparent "freedom" of abandoning God was eventually proven false by captivity and despair.

Jeremiah 5:5 "I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, [and] the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, [and] burst the bonds."

The princes, nobles, and judges, the elders of the people, the scribes and doctors of the law.

"For they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God": It might be reasonably expected that they had, having a good education, and being at leisure from worldly business to attend to the law, had the knowledge of it, and whatsoever God had revealed in His word, both, in the way of doctrine and duty.

"But these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds": The yoke of the law, and the bonds of His precepts, with which they were bound. These they broke off from them, and would not be obliged and restrained by them, but transgressed and rejected them.

The great men in the verse above, must have been (at one time) leaders in their worship services. They were acquainted with God's teachings. This is even worse than those who never knew.

They have walked away from the teachings of God. They (of their own free will) have decided they will not be controlled by the LORD and His teachings anymore. They are free from following God.

Jeremiah 5:6 "Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, [and] a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, [and] their backslidings are increased."

"Lion" ... "Wolf" ... "Leopard": Three animals which tear and eat their victims represented the invaders: the lion (see note on 4:6-7), the wolf, and the leopard, picturing vicious judgment on both, the poor (verse 4), and the great (verse 5).

The figures of a preying "lion" (1 Pet. 5:8), "wolf" (Gen. 49:27; Acts 20:29), or "leopard" (Hosea 13:7), to represent danger or judgment occur often in the Scriptures.

We see the reason for their troubles is the fact they have sinned against God. Their destruction is violent. The lion, as we studied in a previous lesson, is symbolic of a people who Satan himself is controlling. In this case, it could very well be Babylon. The description to these people was because of their familiarity with the destruction brought about by a lion. Wolves seek their prey at night. This then could be speaking of the sneaky way they come into Judah. The leopard is a swift animal, and this could be speaking of the swiftness of the destruction. Not only was Babylon ferocious as a lion, but they were sneaky as the wolf and swift as the leopard too.

Verses 7-8: Rejection of God and a descent into immorality have always gone hand in hand throughout history.

Jeremiah 5:7 "How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by [them that are] no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses."

"Adultery": Often the idea of adultery is figurative for idolatry or political alliances (see note on 3:1), but the language here refers to physical adultery by men seeking out prostitutes or going to neighbors' wives (verse 8), thus violating the seventh commandment (Exodus 20:14).

A very common saying for this today would be, they were living in the lap of luxury. In other words, they had time on their hands. Sin, many times, comes from idleness and having too much of the world's pleasures. It is harder to be a Christian when you are rich, than when you are poor. Since they did not need day to day help from God, they forgot Him and went on to other false gods. They did things pleasing to their flesh. It seemed at this time, that adultery was rampant. This adultery was spiritual as well as physical.

Jeremiah 5:8 They were [as] fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor's wife.

Adulterers are compared to horses, because they are very salacious and lustful creatures. Wherefore the Septuagint renders the word: "horses are become mad after the females"; or, "as horses mad after the females are they become". The Targum calls them field or wood horses; horses that run in fields and woods, are very vicious and wanton.

"Everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife": Coveted and lusted after her, signified his lustful desires, and sought an opportunity to defile her. Neighing is a sign of lust, and keeps up the metaphor of the horse.

Horses hang around their own barn until they are fed. This is speaking of the man as if he were a wild stallion that would jump the fence and go to another's place. Until a person has taken care of his need to eat, he has very little energy to go to his neighbor's wife and commit sin with her.

Jeremiah 5:9 "Shall I not visit for these [things]? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"

The verb translated "visit" often means divine chastisement in the Old Testament. It can also mean "avenging himself" against sin (compare Hosea 1:4).

Just the sin mentioned above, is a sin severe enough to bring down the wrath of God, without any other sin being added. Notice that this was not a sin of an individual, but was a way of life in their nation. Again, this is not only speaking of physical adultery, but of idol worship which was spiritual adultery, as well.

Jeremiah 5:10 "Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they [are] not the LORD'S."

"Not the LORD'S": The people, depicted as vine branches to be destroyed (compare 11:16-17), did not genuinely know the LORD in a saving relationship, but had forsaken Him and given allegiance to other gods. The description of having eyes but not seeing, and ears but not hearing (verse 21), is used by Isaiah (6:9), and Jesus Christ (Matt. 13:13), for such false professors as these branches. Jesus also referred to false branches in John 15:2, 6, which were burned.

We see that God will not allow total destruction of Jerusalem or Judah. This whole attack is coming on them to cause them to repent and return to God. Notice the destroyer can go just as far as God allows him to. "Battlements": in this particular instance means off-shoot. It can also mean branch, or plant. This is as if the LORD is pruning them back to the root they started from. It is the recent growth that does not belong to the LORD. The root is His. The pruning will bring new healthy growth from the root. Their captivity in Babylon is similar to pruning.

Jeremiah 5:11 "For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD."

This is a reason why such orders are given to the army of the Chaldeans to ascend the walls of Jerusalem and destroy them, namely, the untrustworthiness, both, of the ten tribes, signified by the house of Israel; explains Abarbinel; and of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, signified by the house of Judah; which was very great, and attended with treacherous circumstances. The Targum paraphrases, "they have dealt very falsely with my word:"

"Saith the LORD": For this was not the charge of the prophet against them, but of the LORD Himself. This can only be understood of such of the ten tribes as remained in Judea, for the body of that people had been carried captive many years ago, whose sins Judah imitated, and being also the posterity of Israel, may be so called.

Jeremiah 5:12 "They have belied the LORD, and said, [It is] not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:"

Or, "denied the LORD", as some render the words, saying that there was no God. Which, though they might not deliver in express words, yet inasmuch as they denied His providence and disbelieved His word by His prophets, they were tacitly denying that there was a God, or that the LORD was God. The meaning of the phrase "not he" may be, He takes no notice of what is done by us. He does not concern Himself with our affairs; nor has He given any such orders to our enemies, as above. Nor said these things by the prophets which are pretended: neither shall evil come upon us; they speak of.

"Neither shall we see sword nor famine": War and sieges, and famine, the consequence of them.

They both thought because they were seeds of Abraham, they would not be punished by God. "Belied" means untrue. It also means deceive or lie. They have not been true with God or themselves. They have believed a lie. Their deception has been of themselves. They are Abraham's seed, but they have not remained with Abraham's teachings. Their safety remained as long as they lived godly lives. They forgot the second part of the promise which said, curses would come if they turned from God.

Jeremiah 5:13 "And the prophets shall become wind, and the word [is] not in them: thus shall it be done unto them."

Judah's false "prophets" were not sent by the Spirit of God. Because the Hebrew word translated "wind" can also be rendered "Spirit," there may be a play on meanings here. Judah's prophets were not sent by the Spirit (compare Isa. 61:1), but were mere windbags!

Speaking or utterances of the prophets is like wind, because they do not receive God's message. These people, from the bottom to the top, do not receive the Truth. There is nothing left for God to do but let the punishment begin. They will not listen, so He must get their attention with action instead of words.

Jeremiah 5:14 "Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them."

For the term "LORD God of hosts," see the note on 1 Sam. 1:3. Even the invading enemy is under God's control.

"My words ... fire": The judgment of Judah prophesied in God's Word by Jeremiah will bring destruction, but not elimination (verse 18), to the nation (compare 23:29).

The LORD God of hosts is speaking here. The words in Jeremiah's mouth will be like a fire that sets the wood on fire. We remember from chapter 1, that the words that came from Jeremiah's mouth were the Words of God. This fire is the Fire of the Spirit of God.

Jeremiah 5:15 "Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it [is] a mighty nation, it [is] an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say."

Apparently, as there is no contrast with Judah, Israel in its wider sense, as including the whole body of the twelve tribes.

"A mighty nation": The strict force of the adjective is that of "lasting, enduring," as of mountains (Micah 6:2), and rivers (Amos 5:24; Psalm 74:15).

"Whose language thou knowest not": To the Jew, as to the Greek, the thought of being subject to a people of alien speech, a "barbarian," added a new element of bitterness (compare Isa. 28:11; Deut. 28:49).

The nation God will bring against them is not a Hebrew nation. They do not speak the same language as Israel. We recall from our studies in Genesis, that God had confused the languages at Babel, so they would not be able to understand each other.

Genesis 11:9 "Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."

The nation about to attack them was an ancient and powerful nation.

Jeremiah 5:16 Their quiver [is] as an open sepulcher, they [are] all mighty men.

The Chaldeans used bows and arrows in fighting; the quiver is a case for arrows. And the phrase denotes that their arrows would do great execution, and be very mortal. So that a quiver of them would be as devouring as an open grave, into which many dead are cast. The Septuagint and Arabic versions have not this clause; but the Syriac version renders it, "whose throats are as open sepulchers" (see Rom. 3:13).

"They are all mighty men": Strong in body, of bold and courageous spirits, experts in war, and ever victorious. So there was no hope of being delivered out of their hands.

A "sepulcher" is a burying place or a grave. This is saying then, their arrows have death in them. They are mighty warriors, who bring death and destruction.

Jeremiah 5:17 "And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, [which] thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword."

They shall make clean riddance, leave thee no supports of life, but bring an utter famine upon thee. It is thus threatened (Deut. 28:30; 48:51).

"Which thy sons and thy daughters should eat": Or, they shall eat up thy sons and thy daughters. But this is only a metonymy of the effect: but properly, this aggravates the dreadfulness of the judgment. Parents, out of the tenderness of their affection, choosing rather to die themselves, than to live to see their children starve before their eyes; with no means to relieve them (Lam. 2:10-11).

"They shall eat up thy flocks": A particular enumeration of the desolation that would be made, all tending to the greatness of the former.

"They shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trusted, with the sword": Besides the waste that the famine would make among persons, their cities also shall be depopulated by the sword of the enemy. Rather, possibly the siege would be so devasting, leaving the people poverity strickened, as may be implied by the word "impoverish", that they would be forced to eat one another, till they were quite wasted. They would be reduced to such poverty and need; or the sword may relate to the mentioned mischiefs, as the cause of them all. The sword shall do all this: in all which He doth not so much tell them that the Chaldeans shall conquer them. For that is taken as it were for granted, as what cruelties they shall use when they have conquered.

People plant crops so that they might harvest their fields to feed their family. This will not be what happens here. The invaders will get the food they have prepared for their family and the family will do without. The invaders will take their crops and their animals and everything else they can lay hands upon. They will even take the people captive. What they do not take, they will destroy with the sword.

Jeremiah 5:18 "Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you."

When these things should be done by the king of Babylon and his army.

"Saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you": This was to be done at another time, not now (Jer. 4:27; 5:10), though some think that this is a threat of more and greater calamities. That this would not be all He would do to them; He had not yet done; He had other evils and calamities to bring upon them, particularly a long captivity.

Just as in the past, there will be a remnant saved to begin again with. God will not totally destroy. He will leave that remnant.

Jeremiah 5:19 "And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these [things] unto us? Then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land [that is] not yours."

God's judgment of His apostate people is part of the terms of the Sinaitic covenant as updated in the Book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 29:24-26).

The ridiculous thing here, is they still do not realize why all of this is happening to them. They still claim the LORD as their God, even though they have been unfaithful to Him. As we said, they had gotten so deep into their idolatry they had lost their guilty conscience. They will have plenty of time to think it over while they are in captivity. God will allow them to serve strangers, as they have served strange gods. Judgement has come.

Jeremiah 5:20 "Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,"

That a mighty nation shall come and destroy them, and they would be servants in a strange land. Or rather, the words seem to be an order to declare war against the Jews, in their own land; and do not seem to be addressed to the prophet, but to others, seeing the words are in the plural number (see Jer. 4:5).

"And publish it in Judah": The "house of Jacob" and "Judah" refer to the same thing, namely, the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah. As for the ten tribes, the house of Israel, Jeremiah 5:15, they had been carried captive before this time.

This is God telling Jeremiah to go and tell Israel and Judah. At this time, it is really hard to separate the two. Judah is now spoken of as Israel also.

Jeremiah 5:21 "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:"

"Which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not": Like the idols they served (Psalm 115:4). This is an upbraiding for their folly and stupidity, their want of common sense, their blindness and ignorance. Notwithstanding they had the means of light and knowledge, the law, and the prophets.

These people do have physical eyes and ears, but they have no spiritual sight or hearing. They believe only in things they can see with their physical eyes. They are a foolish people. God is Spirit and must be understood through the spirit. My prayer to God is, open my spiritual eyes Lord, and let me see; open my spiritual ears, that I might understand You more fully.

Jeremiah 5:22 "Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand [for] the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?"

"Sand ... of the sea": God's providential acts in the natural world such as:

(1) Creating the seashore to prevent flooding;

(2) Giving rain at appropriate times (verse 24); and

(3) Providing time for harvest (verse 24), are witness enough to the Lord's reality and grace.

As the nation turns away from God, He will take these unappreciated gifts away (verse 25).

In verse 22, God is explaining His power and greatness. He even tells the sea to stop at the shore, and it does. How could they choose a god they had made with their own hands? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God is correct in calling them foolish. God's laws are for all of eternity. He tells the sea to roar, and it roars. He tells the sun to shine, and it shines. How can anyone choose some material thing to worship instead of God who made it all?

Verses 23-27: (see the note on 3:3). Judah's "iniquities" (the word is from a root meaning "to twist," hence "pervert"), and "sins" (the word is part of a word-group meaning "miss the mark"), stem from utter folly (verse 21). Accordingly, their lives are marked by "deceit." Therefore, they have deprived themselves of God's natural blessings (compare Deut. 28:15-68).

Jeremiah 5:23 "But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone."

They are not so obedient as the sea and its waves; nor so firm and stable as the sand that is set for the bound of it. This is a reproof against the revolts and rebellions of this people.

"They are revolted and gone": They had departed from the ways of the Lord, and were gone back from His worship. As the Targum explains, and were gone into evil ways, and to a false worship. They had not only revolted, but they went on, they continued therein, and went further and further, off from God and His worship.

The heart determines what a person is. We are either desperately wicked in our hearts, or we are in love with God in our hearts. We are what our hearts are. Rebellion is akin to witchcraft. To revolt or rebel against God would be the worst thing we could do. This rebellion deserves death.

Jeremiah 5:24 "Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest."

It came not into their minds, they never once thought of it, namely, of what follows:

"Let us now fear the LORD our God": They were not influenced or committed to the fear of God, neither by His power in the preceding instance, nor by His goodness in the following one.

"That giveth rain": In common, all the year round, at proper times, for the use of men and beasts. This is a pure gift of God, and an instance of His goodness, and is peculiar to Him, what none of the gods of the Gentiles could give (Jer. 14:22).

"Both the former and the latter, in his season": There were two particular seasons in the year in which the land of Israel had rain; one was in the month Marchesvan, corresponding to part of October and part of November, and this was the former rain, after the seed was sown in the earth. And the other was in the month of Nisan, corresponding to part of March and part of April, just before the time of harvest, and this was the latter rain.

"He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest": Which was reckoned by weeks, because of the seven weeks between the Passover and Pentecost. The barley harvest began at the former, and the wheat harvest at the latter, called the feast of weeks (Exodus 34:22). And these were appointed of God, the harvest itself (Gen. 8:22), and the weeks in which it was gathered in (Lev. 23:15). And these appointments and promises the Lord carefully observed, and faithfully kept.

It is God that gives rain to make our crops grow. Without rain, crops die. Rain, as is spoken of above, can also symbolize the Spirit which is poured out on mankind as a blessing from God. To get the full impact of the latter rain of the Spirit read Joel chapter 2 beginning with verse 23. It is God who sets the time to plant and the time to reap. The end of the Gentile age is spoken of as the time of harvest. There will come a time when God will separate His wheat from the stubble. There is a harvest time. There were seven weeks between the Passover and the wheat harvest (feast of weeks), which is Pentecost.

Jeremiah 5:25 "Your iniquities have turned away these [things], and your sins have withholden good [things] from you."

Whereas of late years rain was withheld from them in common, and they had not the former or latter rain in its season. Nor the appointed weeks of the harvest, and so their land was barren, and famine ensued. This was to be ascribed, not to the want of goodness and faithfulness in God, but to their own iniquities. These mercies were kept back from them in order to humble them, and bring them to a sense of their sins, and an acknowledgment of them.

"And your sins have withholden good things from you": As rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons. And had also brought many evil things upon them; for more is understood than is expressed.

One of God's ways to punish the sins of the people was to withhold their rain. Their sins brought judgment in the form of punishment upon them.

Jeremiah 5:26 "For among my people are found wicked [men]: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men."

Not a few only, but in general they appeared to be so, upon an inquiry into their character and conduct. For otherwise it would not have been so difficult to find a good man among them, as is suggested (Jer. 5:1).

"They lay wait, as he that setteth snares": Or, "they look about"; that is, as Kimchi interprets it, every man looks in the ways, to see if a man passed by, that he might rob him of what he had. As a man that lays snares, or sets a trap to catch birds in: or, "everyone looks out, when they that lay snares rest". And so, they are more diligent and constant in catching men than such persons are in catching birds.

"They set a trap": Or "dig a pit, or ditch"; for men to fall in (see Psalm 7:15).

"They catch men": And rob them of their substance; or by their ill examples and counsels draw them into sin, and thus into ruin; or circumvent them in trade and business.

God has not stopped calling them His people. He is like a father who is greatly disappointed in the moral character of His children. He is saying to them, you are living like the world, not like my children. They have forgotten to do unto others as they would have them do unto them. They are evil. They sin against their fellowmen.

Jeremiah 5:27 "As a cage is full of birds, so [are] their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich."

Jarchi and Kimchi understand it as a place in which fowls are brought up and fattened, what we call a "pen". And, so the Targum renders it, a house or place of fattening. The word is rendered a "basket" in Amos 8:1, and may here describe one in which birds taken in snares, or by hawking, were put. The Septuagint version, and those that follow it, render it, "a snare": which agrees with what goes before. It seems to intend a decoy, in which many birds are put to allure others; and, what with them, and those that are drawn in by them, it becomes very full. And this sense of the comparison is favored by the rendition or application, which follows.

"So are their houses full of deceit": Of mammon, gathered by deceit. As Kimchi interprets it; ungodly mammon; riches got in a fraudulent way, by cozening and cheating, tricking and overreaching.

"Therefore they are become great": In worldly things, and in the esteem of men, and in their own opinion, though of no account with God.

"And waxen rich": Not with true riches, the riches of grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ, His durable riches and righteousness. Nor indeed with the riches of the world, honestly and lawfully gotten; but with unrighteous mammon.

We see from this that their wealth did not come as a blessing from God. They have cheated and stolen to take what belonged to others. They are so full of sin and deceit, they are like a cage of overcrowded birds. They must be thinned out.

Jeremiah 5:28 "They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge."

Or, so fat that they shine. By reason of their wealth and riches they pamper themselves till their eyes stand out with fatness (Psalm 73:7). Their wrinkles are filled up with fat, which makes their faces shine.

"They overpass the deeds of the wicked": Either, they go beyond the very heathen themselves in wickedness (Ezek. 5:6-7); or rather, they escape the hardships and sufferings that others undergo (Psalm 73:5-8), they escape better than others. Or they slightly pass over judgments threatened by God.

"They judge not the cause of the fatherless": Such whom even the law of nature commits to their patronage. They either disregard them, or wrong and injure them, either by refusing them a fair hearing (Isaiah 1:23). Or giving a wrong sentence against them in courts of judicature (Zech. 7:10), expressly forbidden (Exodus 22:22).

"Yet they prosper": Things go well with them and they live happily, according to their desire (Job 21:7), or that they might prosper, in other words that God might bless them.

"And the right of the needy do they not judge": Because they are poor, and cannot charge them, they will not undertake their cause. Or, if it comes before them, they will not do them justice, being bribed by the rich that oppose them.

They have used the wealth they have attained, for their own personal wants. They are dressed up and groomed, because they use their money on themselves. They have no compassion for the needy. Everything they do is for self.

Jeremiah 5:29 "Shall I not visit for these [things]? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"

"Shall I not visit for these things": It is expressed as a thing taken for granted, He certainly will. Can I be a God, and wink at such things? It cannot be (see this explained in Jer. 5:9).

God is explaining that He is justified in the punishment they receive because they are so sinful. Their sin is both physical and spiritual. Sin has become a way of life for them. The wrath of God will come upon them to cause them to repent and seek Him.

Verses 30-31: The people who were responding to the corrupt priests and prophets liked things the way they were. That human tendency to exult in sin has remained constant (Rom. 1:32). When "the end" comes, the ones who are intent on rebelling against God will be left with no recourse.

Jeremiah 5:30 "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;"

Judah's sin is so exceedingly evil that it is described as being appallingly "horrible" and staggeringly "wonderful" (wondered at, in shocked disbelief).

It is wonderful because it cannot be explained away by man. The judgement is so unexpected and so controlled that there will be no doubt at all it is from God. It will be horrible from the standpoint of those who are being punished. This will be a terrible time for these backsliders of God.

Jeremiah 5:31 "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"

"Prophesy falsely": These included prophets with bogus messages, priests who asserted their own authority and also followers who indulged such falseness. All are guilty before God.

There were false prophets in the land. The priests had changed God's law to fit their own needs. Now the law was not God's, but the law of the priests. Jesus spoke harshly about the way God's law had been handled. He called it "your law". The prophets, the priests, and the people were all guilty. This is true in our churches today. There are many false prophets. We have ministers who twist the Word to fit their own needs. It is the obligation of the people to try the spirits and see whether they be of God or not. All have sinned. We all need a Savior.

Jeremiah Chapter 5 Questions

  1. What is verse 1 showing?
  2. What was the difference in these people and the people of Sodom?
  3. What had God done, and they refused correction?
  4. Why do they not repent?
  5. Why could you classify them as foolish?
  6. How does the author relate this to our church attendance today?
  7. They are religious, but do not have a _______________ with God.
  8. Where can the Truth be found?
  9. Who are the great men speaking of in verse 5?
  10. What is the lion in verse 6, symbolic of?
  11. What is meant by the "wolf"?
  12. What does the "leopard" mean?
  13. What is a common saying of today that would cover verse 7?
  14. What does idleness sometimes cause?
  15. What is the adultery of verse 7?
  16. Is the sin of adultery here of an individual? Explain.
  17. Why is the attack coming on Jerusalem?
  18. What does "battlement" in verse 10 mean?
  19. Why did they believe God would not punish them?
  20. Why does the speaking of the prophet seem like wind?
  21. Whose Words will be fire?
  22. How do we know the nation coming against them is not a Hebrew nation?
  23. What is a "sepulcher"?
  24. Besides destroying the city, what will the enemy do?
  25. God will leave of them, a ____________.
  26. They had gotten so deep into their idolatry, they had lost their _________ _______________.
  27. What are the people called in verse 21?
  28. What is the author's prayer to God?
  29. What is God explaining in verse 22?
  30. What kind of heart does this sinful people have?
  31. Where can we read to get a fuller impact of the latter rain?
  32. God is greatly disappointed in the _________ ______________ of His children.
  33. How does God describe what has happened to them in verse 28?
  34. What had the priests done that was wrong?

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Jeremiah 6

Jeremiah Chapter 6

Jeremiah 6:1 "O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Beth-haccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction."

The judgment prophesied against Judah and Jerusalem in the preceding chapters is vividly portrayed in chapter 6. The use of signal "fires", especially in times of emergency, is well attested in the literature of the ancient Near East. To appreciate the imperative phrase "blow the trumpets", see the note on 4:5.

"Tekoa ... Beth-haccerem": Tekoa, the home of Amos, is 6 miles south of Beth-lehem. The location of Beth-haccerem ("vineyard house"), is unknown, but is probably near Tekoa. As the enemy came from the north, the people would flee south. For "North" see note on 4:6-7.

The city of Jerusalem was part of Benjamin. Benjamin was favored greatly of God, because the temple grounds were in Benjamite territory. The temple had been spared before, but this time even the temple will be attacked. Judah's land was on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Jeremiah is telling them to flee to the south for safety. If they were to leave immediately, they would have time to take possessions with them. You remember the trumpet blowing was to assemble the people. Tekoa was a town south of Jerusalem. The Babylonians will be coming from the north, so the road to the south is the way of escape. Beth-haccerem is about half-way to Tekoa from Jerusalem. The fire would delay the attackers. The people should gather to the trumpet blown.

Jeremiah 6:2 "I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate [woman]."

That dwells at home and lives in pleasure, and elegance, in great peace and quietness, in entire ease and security, in no fear of enemies, or apprehension of danger; and so it describes the secure state of the Jews.

"Comely" means suitable or beautiful. God is the Father and it is not unusual for Him to call His own daughter or son, "comely". "Zion", as we have seen before indicates Jerusalem, but also signifies the church. It would appear here that He is speaking of the church, since He says, "daughter". The church is spoken of as a woman. The "daughter" could also be speaking of the God's people fleeing Jerusalem.

Verses 3-5: The "shepherds" and "flocks" that camp around Jerusalem sound pastoral but they represent military forces laying siege to the city.

Jeremiah 6:3 "The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch [their] tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place."

"Shepherds": These were hostile leaders of the invading Babylonians, whose soldiers were compared with "flocks".

God is still trying to help His people. The shepherds will gather around them to protect them if they will go to the south, as He has instructed them. The good Shepherd takes care of the sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and the Christians are His sheep. The "her" in this is speaking of God's children.

Jeremiah 6:4 "Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out."

Not only proclaim it, but prepare themselves for it. Get everything ready for the siege, and begin it. These are either the words of the Lord, calling upon the Chaldeans in His providence to act such a part against Jerusalem; or of the Chaldeans themselves, stirring up one another to it. Which the latter seems to be the best option; since it follows:

"Arise, and let us go up at noon": Scale the walls, and take the city. Which, though in the heat of the day, and not so proper a time, yet such was the eagerness of the army, and their confidence of carrying the place off at once. And concluding there was no need of waiting till the evening, or of taking any secret measures for the siege; they propose to go up at noon, in the heat of the day, and in the sight of their enemies, and storm the city.

"Woe unto us! for the day goes away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out": Which some take to be the words of the besiegers, lamenting they had lost time; had not proceeded according to their first purpose and had neglected going up at noontime. And now the evening was coming upon them. Or as being angry, and out of humor, that the city was not taken by them as soon as they expected. Though, according to Kimchi, they are the words of the prophet; and he may represent the besieged, mourning over their unhappy case and circumstances. The day of prosperity declining, and nothing but darkness and distress coming upon them.

This has given cause to the Babylonians urging them to prepare for war. We must remember in this, God is causing the Babylonians to come against Jerusalem and Judah. Noon time is generally a time of rest in Jerusalem. They would not be expecting anyone to come and attack them at that hour. This battle will go on until the evening.

Jeremiah 6:5 "Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces."

Or, this night. They were set upon it and they would lose neither day nor night; which shows that they were extraordinarily stirred up by God in this expedition.

"Let us destroy her palaces": This was the bait or motive that they propounded to themselves. In other words, to have the spoil of all the stately palaces and houses of the rich nobles and great ones.

It seems from this they will march at night, to keep from being seen.

Jeremiah 6:6 "For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this [is] the city to be visited; she [is] wholly oppression in the midst of her."

The erecting of an earth "mount" (probably a parapet), was a common siege operation in the ancient Near East (compare 2 Kings 19:32).

"Hew ye down trees": A besieging tactic is described in which trees were used to build up ramps against the city walls.

The city of Jerusalem has a wall surrounding it. If the gates were closed, they would need the trees felled to be able to mount the wall. God is going to bring great oppression to Jerusalem because of her great unfaithfulness to Him.

Jeremiah 6:7 "As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually [is] grief and wounds."

A metaphor, to express how natural all manner of wickedness is to her. How full she is of it, and how incessant in it. Noting her impudence, a fountain being not able to retain its water; and the expression of "casting it out" seems to imply her violence in her filthiness. As it is said of the sea, that it casteth out mire and dirt (Isa. 57:20), and favored by the next clause.

"Violence and spoil is heard in her": This is all she busies herself about (Jer. 20:8). It is the general complaint of her inhabitants.

"Before me continually is grief and wounds": In other words, that the poor sustain: wherever I go or look, I can hear and see nothing but the sad complaints and grievances of the poor, lamenting over oppression and cruelties that are used against them (Psalm 69:26). This being so expressly against God's command (Exodus 22:22-24; Isa. 3:14-15; James 5:4). For this refers rather to their sin than to their sufferings from the enemy, as some would interpret it.

This is a very serious battle. The whole thing is happening to Jerusalem for her people to repent and cast their sins away. Their sin had been so great, the only way to rid them of it was for great loss of life to occur. This is a drastic act of God upon a people He loved, because their sin had been so drastic. There is much grief in this type of war.

Jeremiah 6:8 "Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited."

Or "corrected". Receive discipline or instructions by chastisements and corrections, return by repentance, that the evils threatened may not come. This shows the affection of the Lord towards His people, notwithstanding all their sins. That their amendment, and not their destruction, was pleasing to Him; that it was with reluctance He was about to visit them in the manner threatened. And that even now it was not too late, provided they were instructed and reformed; but, if not, they must expect what follows:

"Lest my soul depart from thee": His Shekinah, or divine Presence, and all the tokens of His love, favor and good will. The Targum interprets it of the Word of the Lord. "Lest my Word cast thee off" (see Romans 11:1), or, "lest my soul pluck itself from thee"; or "be plucked". And separated from thee: the phrase denotes an utter separation, a forcible one, joined with the utmost abhorrence and detestation. In Ezek. 23:18, it is rendered, "my mind was alienated"; it denotes disunion and disaffection.

"Lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited": The Targum adds, by way of illustration, "as the land of Sodom;" so that not a man should dwell in it (see Jer. 4:25).

God is pleading with His people through the mouth of Jeremiah, to learn a lesson from this and not get back into sin. He is begging them to repent so He can stop this terrible suffering. If they do not repent after all of this, He will just destroy them all. God loves His family and He loves Jerusalem. He wants them to learn a lesson so further punishment will not be necessary.

Jeremiah 6:9 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grape gatherer into the baskets."

"Thoroughly glean": Unlike the benevolent practice of leaving food in the field for the poor to glean (Lev. 19:9-10, Ruth 2:5-18), the Babylonians will leave no one when they "harvest" Judah.

We learned in our lessons on Leviticus, that there were always a few grapes left after the gleaning. We see that a few of God's children are left here. He tells Babylon to leave a few. We saw in an earlier lesson that Jeremiah was one of the few spared.

Jeremiah 6:10 "To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear [is] uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it."

Here, the picture of an "uncircumcised ear" mocks the distinctive mark of Jewish heritage by mentioning it in relation with an "unwillingness to hear."

It is not so much who will Jeremiah speak this to, as it is of who will take heed to what he says. He is speaking, but very few will listen and understand what he is saying. They have trained their ears toward worldly things (uncircumcised). They are not interested in what God has to say. They have been seeking help from the world and the false gods of that world. They do not have high regard for the Word of God. They are disobedient to God. They find His Word of no importance to them.

Jeremiah 6:11 "Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with [him that is] full of days."

At times Jeremiah is torn between proclaiming the Lord's righteous anger against His sinful people and expressing genuine concern and compassion for them (compare verses 26-30 with 3:21).

Jeremiah is wearied of these people also. God is speaking through Jeremiah, and the people are not heeding the warning. Everyone is to taste of the wrath of God in this Babylonian attack. The children, young men, and the old alike will be affected by this overthrow of Jerusalem. The young men will perhaps be captured and turned into slaves. All ages and all relationships will feel this terrible punishment coming on these unfaithful people.

Jeremiah 6:12 "And their houses shall be turned unto others, [with their] fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD."

Jeremiah uses the theme of the outstretched "hand" several times (21:5; 27:5; 32:17, 21). It is used in the Scriptures to dramatize God's omnipotence (32:17), especially concerning Israel's deliverance (Exodus 6:6), or God's judgment (21:5).

All they possess shall go to the captor. Their wives will be taken to the homes of the Babylonians. In many instances, the husbands will be slaves in another area. The captors will spoil the land of all they can carry. The things they cannot keep, they will destroy. Remember all of this happens because God has stretched out His hand against them.

Jeremiah 6:13 "For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one [is] given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely."

From the least in age to the oldest among them, or rather, from persons of the lowest class of life, and in the meanest circumstances, to those that are in the highest places of trust and honor, and are in the greatest affluence of riches and wealth. So that as men of every age and station had sinned, old and young, high and low, rich and poor, it was but just and right that they should all share in the common calamity.

"Every one is given to covetousness": Which is mentioned particularly, and instead of other sins, it being the root of evil, and was the prevailing sin among them.

"From the prophet even unto the priest everyone dealeth falsely": The false prophet, as Kimchi interprets it, and so do the Septuagint and other versions. And the priest of Baal, as the same interpreter; both acted deceitfully. The one in prophesying lies to the people, the other in drawing them off from the pure worship of God. The Targum explains, "from the scribe to the priest;" from the lowest order of teachers to the highest in ecclesiastical office. Everything shows a most general and dreadful corruption.

God has raised His hand against them because they are all caught up in a sinful way of life. The sin has even reached into the house of God. The priests and prophets are guilty, as well as their followers. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Verses 14-15: Hurts that are "healed slightly" are not healed; the announcement of "peace" means nothing "when there is no peace" (Ezek. 13:10). Lack of healthy shame was frequently an indicator of impending judgment.

Jeremiah 6:14 "They have healed also the hurt [of the daughter] of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace."

"Peace, peace": Wicked leaders among the prophets and priests (verse 13), proclaimed peace falsely and gave weak and brief comfort. They provided no true healing from spiritual wounds, not having the discernment to deal with sin and its effects (verse 15). The need was to return to obedience (verse 16; compare 8:11).

The false prophets' concept of "peace" (absence of war or calamity), was a far cry from the Old Testament's teaching. The underlying idea of the Hebrew root and all its associated words is that of "wholeness" or "completeness." Thus, to know true peace is both, to attain personal fulfillment and to enjoy full and healthy relationships with others. Ultimately, true peace is found in God Himself (33:6; Num. 6:26; Judges 6:23; Psalm 29:11).

Because Israel stood in covenant relationship with God it could know peace (compare Deut. 22:9-29). Its spiritual leadership was to be composed of men who know God's peace (compare Num. 25:10-13; Mal. 2:1-9). Its citizens could enjoy fellowship with God through that sacrifice known as the peace offering (Lev. 3:1-17; 7:11-38; compare 22:17-30), which expressed the joy and full communion of the believer with God. Moreover, by this, and by living out God's revealed Word in absolute trust, they could experience genuine peace in their daily lives (Psalm 119:165; Prov. 3:1-4; Isa. 26:3-4). Someday God will send to Israel the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6-7), who will bring redemption and restoration to the land under a Covenant of Peace (33:6-9; Isa. 54:10; Ezek. 34:24-31; 37:26-28).

These leaders in the church had spoken peace to the people to gain their trust. There is no peace, and will not be any peace until the King of Peace (Jesus Christ), brings peace to the earth. We might take a lesson from this ourselves. Man cannot bring peace, only God brings peace.

Jeremiah 6:15 "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time [that] I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD."

This seems chiefly, and in the first place, to follow the false prophets and wicked priests; who when they committed idolatry, or any other sin, and led the people into the same by their doctrine and example. Yet, when reproved for it, were not ashamed, being given up to a judicial hardness of heart.

"Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush": They were men of impudent faces, they had a whore's forehead and there was not the least sign or appearance of shame in them. When charged with the foulest crimes, and threatened with the severest punishment, they were not moved by either. They had neither shame nor fear.

"Therefore they shall fall among them that fall": Meaning that the prophets and priests shall perish among the common people, and with them, who should be slain, and fall by the sword of the Chaldeans. The sacredness of their office would not exempt them; they shall fare no better than the rest of the people.

"At the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD": That is, when the city and temple would be destroyed by the Chaldeans, these would be cast down from their excellency, the high office in which they were, and fall into ruin, and perish with the rest.

We discussed in a previous lesson, how their conscience had been seared over with a hot iron. They had sinned so much that their conscience was not even operating. They were not even sorry for the sins they committed. Repetitious sin deadens the conscience. Those who blush, blush because their conscience tells them what they have done is wrong. Blushing has innocence connected with it. These are hardened to sin. "Saith the LORD", just reaffirms this punishment is from God.

Jeremiah 6:16 "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein]."

Here is the image of travelers who are lost, stopping to inquire about the right way they once knew before they wandered so far off it.

The people's stubborn refusal to walk in the traditional "ways" of true righteousness is often mentioned by Jeremiah (12:16; 18:15; 23:12; 31:21). Moving in their own "paths" and following their own way could lead only to Judah's destruction (compare Prov. 14:12). The contrast of the way of righteousness and life with the way of the ungodly and death is often made in the Scriptures (e.g., Psalm chapter 1, Matt. 7:13-14).

There is a straight and narrow path that leads to righteousness. There are few that find it, or even want to find it. I have said so many times that salvation is not a one-time happening, but a walk through life with the LORD. It is important to live saved. Sin should not be in the vocabulary of the saved. The LORD made the path for all of us as well as for them to walk in. That is the only way to heaven. When we walk in His Light, we find rest for our souls. These were a rebellious people who chose to walk in their own way, rather than in God's path. Their way leads to destruction.

Jeremiah 6:17 "Also I set watchmen over you, [saying], Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken."

The prophets were at times called "watchmen" for God on behalf of His people (compare Isa. 21:6, 11; Ezek. 3:17; 33:7-9; Hab. 2:1). For other terms relative to the prophet's office, see 1 Sam. 9:6-11.

The prophets were like "watchmen" who stood on the city walls and announced the approach of an enemy army (2 Sam. 18:24-27; Ezek. 3:16-21; 33:1-9), but the people did not pay attention to their warnings.

These watchmen gave warning of impending danger. Jeremiah and Isaiah were two of the watchmen. But these people would not answer the call to assemble when the trumpet blew. I can easily relate this to the time when the trumpet will blow in the sky to gather God's people. Jesus is coming for those who are looking for Him. It would be terrible not to answer the call of the trumpet at that time.

Jeremiah 6:18 "Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what [is] among them."

Since the Jews refused to hearken to the word of the Lord, the Gentiles are called upon to hear it (as in Acts 13:45). This is a rebuke to the Jews that the Gentiles would hear, when they would not.

"And know, O congregation": Either of Israel, as the Targum and Kimchi explain it; or of the nations of the world, the multitude of them; or the church of God in the midst of them.

"What is among them": Among the Jews: either what evil is among them? What sins and transgressions are committed by them, which were the cause of the Lord's threatening them with sore judgments, and bringing these judgments upon them. So Jarchi and Kimchi interpret the words; to which agrees the Targum, "and let the congregation of Israel know their sins;" or the punishments the Lord inflicted on them. And the Vulgate Latin version says, "and know, O congregation, what I will do unto them"; which sense is confirmed by what follows in the next chapter.

God's people are spoken of as the congregation. He tells them, because you have been warned of what is to come, listen and respond. Not only must you listen, but understand.

Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, [even] the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

The preceding verses note the ways God had urged faithfulness only to be met by willful rejection on the part of people for whom He had repeatedly done great wonders. They knew their responsibility before God, but they refused it.

Not only would the houses of Judah and Benjamin notice what has happened to the unfaithful, but it is for all to see. This could be even be speaking to our generation. God is patient and long-suffering, but there is a time when He says it is enough. They had not only broken God's law, but kept their minds on evil things, as well.

Jeremiah 6:20 "To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings [are] not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me."

"Not acceptable": Using imported fragrances in their offerings did not make them sweetly acceptable to God when the worshipers rejected His word (verse 19).

God does not want an outward show of their loyalty to Him. He will not accept sacrifices from them or from anyone else, when their hearts are not in the sacrifice. It is but a shallow gesture, when they sacrifice from a sense of duty. God wants our love. God wanted His people to love Him as He loved them. Jesus said it this way:

Mark 7:6 "He answered and said unto them, Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me."

Jeremiah 6:21 "Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish."

To "lay stumbling blocks" before the blind was forbidden (Lev. 19:14). However, Judah's spiritual blindness had caused them to erect stumbling blocks hewn from greed (Ezek. 7:19), and idolatry (Ezek. 14:4), that the Lord would turn to their own destruction (compare Isa. 8:14; Matt. 21:44; 1 Peter 2:8).

We can see from the Scripture above and the one following that they caused the stumbling block to be there because of their unfaithfulness to God.

Revelation 2:14 "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."

Verses 22-23: A description of the Babylonians.

Jeremiah 6:22 "Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth."

The Assyrians from Babylon, which lay north of Judea (as in Jer. 1:14).

"And a great nation shall be raised": That is, by the LORD, who would stir them up to this undertaking. The Targum explains, "many people shall come openly."

"From the sides of the earth": Afar off, as Babylon was (Jer. 5:15).

It seemed the enemy of God's people always came from the north. This, of course, is speaking of Babylon. Babylon was a great nation by world standards. We will see in a later lesson that Babylon is judged of God and is destroyed itself.

Jeremiah 6:23 "They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they [are] cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion."

That is, every one of them should be furnished with both these pieces of armor, that they might be able to fight their attackers, both near and far off. They had bows to shoot arrows at a distance, and spears to strike with when near. The Targum renders it, bows and shields.

"They are cruel, and have no mercy"; this is said, to strike terror into the hearts of the hardened Jews.

"Their voice roareth like the sea": The waves of it, which is terrible (Luke 21:25).

"And they ride upon horses": Which still made them more formidable, as well as suggests that their invasion would be quick and speedy, and they would soon be with them.

"Set in array as men for war": Prepared with all sorts of armor for battle. Or, "as a man"; as one man, denoting their action, enthusiasm, and agreement. Being not only well armed, but inwardly, resolutely bent, as one man, to engage in battle and conquer or die (see Judges 20:8).

"Against thee, O daughter of Zion": The hostilities being against her, and all the preparation made on her account. Which had a very dreadful appearance, and threatened with ruin. And therefore filled her with terror and distress, as follows (in verse 24).

This is just speaking of the fierceness of Babylon's attack on Jerusalem. "Their voice roareth like the sea", speaks of the large number of people who come against Jerusalem. The "sea" is many times, speaking of large numbers of people.

Jeremiah 6:24 "We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, [and] pain, as of a woman in travail."

Meaning not the prophet's report then, but the rumor of the enemy's coming from another quarter, at the time they were actually coming. These are the words of the people, of such a rumor spread. Or the words of the prophet, joining himself with them, describing their case. When it would be strongly reported, and they had reason to believe it, that the enemy was just coming, and very near.

"Our hands wax feeble": Have no strength in them, shake and tremble like men that have palsy, through fear and dread.

"Anguish hath taken hold of us": Tribulation or affliction; or rather anguish of spirit, on hearing the news of the near approach of the enemy.

"And pain, as of a woman in travail": Which comes suddenly, and is very sharp. And this denotes that their destruction would come suddenly upon them, before they were aware, and be very severe.

When a woman gives birth, her pain is severe and it comes on her quickly. This is what is spoken of here, the suddenness of the attack and the severity of the attack. The people have heard of the fame of Babylon, and are too weak to resist the onslaught.

Jeremiah 6:25 "Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy [and] fear [is] on every side."

Either for pleasure, or for business. To take a walk in the field for the air, or to till it, plough, sow, or reap. But keep within the city and its walls, there being danger.

"Nor walk by the way": In the high road from Jerusalem, to any town or village near it.

"For the sword of the enemy": Or "because there is a sword for the enemy"; or, "the enemy has a sword" that is drawn. The enemy is in the field, and "by the way", and there is no escaping him.

"And fear is on every side": All round the city, being encompassed by the Assyrian army. Or the enemy's sword "is fear on every side"; causes fear in all parts round the city. The Targum says, "because the sword of the enemy kills those who are gathered round about;" or on every side.

This is just saying, after the battle begins, it will be too late to run. There will be no place they can run and be safe.

Jeremiah 6:26 "O daughter of my people, gird [thee] with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, [as for] an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us."

For "sackcloth" and "ashes" as marks of mourning, grief, and penitence, see Esther 4:1, 3; Isa. 58:5; Matt. 11:21; Luke 10:13.

Again, it is too late to put on sackcloth and wallow in the ashes after the battle has started. They are mourning but they began to mourn too late to stop the battle. Their grief will be as bitter as it would be if they had lost their only son. God's grief is great in this also as He has lost His children to these false gods.

Verses 27-30: "I have set thee": God placed Jeremiah as a kind of assayer to test the people's obedience. He also was a "tester" who worked with metals. Their sin prevented them from being pure silver, but rather they were bronze, iron, lead, even impure silver, that they failed the test.

From time to time, Jeremiah's records of "Thus says the Lord" (6:6, 9, 12, 15-16, and 22), include instances when God refined His prophet's role. Here, God designated him an assayer, someone who determines the purity and value of metals, and a "founder" who had not yet "plucked away" the people's impurities.

Jeremiah 6:27 "I have set thee [for] a tower [and] a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way."

Here, God speaks by way of encouragement to the prophet, and tells him He had made him a fortified tower, that he might both discover the carriages of his people, which is one use of a high tower (Isa. 21:5, 8; Hab. 2:1). And also, to assure him, though they shall make several attempts against him, yet he shall be kept safe, as in a castle or fortress (Jer. 15:20).

"That thou mayest know and try their way": Their courses, actions, and manners, and which way they stand affected. Thou mayest bring all to thy strict observation and scrutiny, as goldsmiths or refiners do metals; for so is the word "try" used (Psalm 66:10, and elsewhere). Hereby he shall be encouraged to reprove them more freely, and with authority, because God doth promise to defend him, that they shall not hurt him. God will give him prudence to see what is amiss, and be undaunted to oppose it.

Jerusalem was to have been a morally upright city. They were to be an example to all the rest. God had set Jeremiah on high to watch over His people.

Jeremiah 6:28 "They [are] all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: [they are] brass and iron; they [are] all corrupters."

Obstinate and refractory (Isa. 31:6; Jer. 5:3, 23).

"Walking with slanders": Being their main business to detract from Jeremiah and the other prophets (Jer. 18:18; 20:10). A sin expressly forbidden (Lev. 19:16).

"They are brass and iron": This to the end of the chapter is all metaphorical. Either they are impudent, as brass doth sometimes signify, or they are obstinate and inflexible, as iron denotes (Isa. 48:4). Or it signifies their corrupt state; they are not pure metal, as silver or gold, but base and mean, as brass and iron mixed together (Ezek. 22:18).

"They are all corrupters": This relates to their nature. They propagate corruption (Isa. 1:4); they strengthen one another in wickedness.

The leaders have gone bad. They have revolted against God who gave them their high positions. Those who were to lead were walking in darkness themselves. They were leading the people into evil and not good. Brass has to do with judgement. It appears they were judging others and needed to be judged themselves. Their judgement was hard (as iron). We are judged by the judgement we give others; they were too. Those who are corrupt themselves cannot lead others to righteousness. They have lost the path that leads to righteousness.

Jeremiah 6:29 "The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away."

Which Kimchi interprets of the mouth and throat of the prophets, which, through reproving the people, were dried up, and become raucous and hoarse, and without any profit to them. And so does the Targum, "lo, as the refiner's blower that is burnt in the midst of the fire, so the voice of the prophets is silent. Who prophesied to them, turn to the law, and they turned not;" or the judgments and chastisements of God upon the Jews may be meant, which were inflicted upon them to no purpose.

"The lead is consumed of the fire": Lead being used formerly, as is said, instead of quicksilver, in purifying of silver; which being consumed, the refining is in vain. Or it may be rendered, out of the fire it is perfect lead; or wholly lead, a base metal, no gold and silver in it, to which the Jews are compared.

"The founder melteth in vain": To whom either the prophet is likened, whose reproofs, threatening and exhortations, answered no end. Or the Lord Himself, whose corrections and punishments were of no use to reform this people.

"For the wicked are not plucked away": From their evil way, as Jarchi explains; or from good men, they are not separated the one from the other; or, "evils (sins), are not plucked away" from sinners. Their dross is not purged away from them; neither the words of the prophet, nor the judgments of God, had any effect upon them. The Targum of the latter part of the verse is, "and as lead which is melted in the midst of the furnace, so the words of the prophets which prophesied to them were nothing in their eyes. And without profit their teachers taught them and they did not leave their evil works."

There is no purification coming from this fire. The lead just melts instead of being separated. The trash is not removed from the metal. It is melted in the metal.

Jeremiah 6:30 "Reprobate silver shall [men] call them, because the LORD hath rejected them."

Or, "call ye them", as the Targum explains. So do the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions; by whom are meant the Jews, who thought themselves of some account, as silver; being the seed of Abraham, and having the law, the covenant and promises, and service of God. When those that tried them, as the prophets, found them to be nothing but dross; and therefore, if they must be called silver, they could call them none other than "reprobate silver". Or what is of no account and value; which is confirmed by the following reason, which contains the judgment and conduct of Him that cannot err.

"For the Lord hath rejected them": From being His people; and therefore cast them out of their own land, and caused them to go into captivity.

"Reprobate" here, means to spurn, disappear, cast away, condemn, or reject. All of these meanings fit this silver. Silver is purified by heating and then skimming the dross from the top. Silver symbolically means redemption. In the Scripture above, God has rejected salvation for them because of their impure life. Even the world will call them castaways, because it is obvious that God has spurned them.

Jeremiah Chapter 6 Questions

  1. Who, in verse 1, did God speak to specifically?
  2. Where were they to blow the trumpet?
  3. What was the trumpet blown for?
  4. Where was Beth-haccerem located?
  5. What had He likened the daughter of Zion to?
  6. What does "Zion" indicate?
  7. What does "comely" mean?
  8. Verse 3 says, the ___________ shall come unto her.
  9. Who is verse 4 speaking to?
  10. What were they to do to cast a mount against Jerusalem?
  11. Why is this happening to Jerusalem?
  12. What does verse 8 tell Jerusalem to do?
  13. What is the remnant likened unto in verse 9?
  14. What kind of ear did God say they had?
  15. Where had they been seeking help from, instead of God?
  16. Who is verse 11 speaking of, who was full of the fury of the LORD?
  17. What will happen to the wives of those of Jerusalem?
  18. How many of the people had been guilty of covetousness?
  19. They had said _______ _______, when there was no ________.
  20. Why were they not ashamed of their sins?
  21. Repetitious sin deadens the ____________.
  22. What was the good way?
  23. The straight and narrow path leads to _______________.
  24. What should not be in the vocabulary of the saved?
  25. Who had God put over them, to try to get them to listen for the trumpet?
  26. They were not only to listen to the warning but to ____________, as well.
  27. Why were their sacrifices unacceptable?
  28. What did God lay before the people?
  29. The enemy of God's people came from the _________.
  30. What is said about the character of the Babylonians in verse 23?
  31. The "sea", many times, is speaking of what?
  32. What is he saying, in verse 24, when he compares the trouble to child birth?
  33. What were signs of mourning in verse 26?
  34. Jerusalem was to have been a __________ __________ city.
  35. What had happened to their leaders?
  36. "Reprobate" in verse 30, means what?

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Jeremiah 7

Jeremiah Chapter 7

Verses 1-2: Chapters 7 through 10 are often called The Message in the Temple Gate. Throughout these four chapters runs the theme of the causes for Judah's judgment. These chapters focus on the people's false standards of life. Scholars disagree as to whether they relate to Josiah's later reign, or to King Jehoiakim's early reign.

The thrice-repeated temple of the Lord reads like a meaningless echo. Even the right words are cheap when not backed up by a person's righteous willingness to amend his or her ways.

Jeremiah 7:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

The word that came: This was Jeremiah's first temple sermon (verse 2); another is found in chapter 26. God was aroused against the sins He names in verses 6, 19, especially at His temple becoming a den of robbers (verse 11). The point of this message, however, was that if Israel would repent, even at this late hour, God would still keep the conqueror from coming (verses 3, 7). They must reject lies such as the false hope that peace is certain, based on the reasoning that the Lord would never bring calamity on His own temple (verse 4). They must turn from their sins (verses 3, 5, 9), and end their hypocrisy (verse 10).

Jeremiah 7:2 Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

That is, of the temple, and the court of it. This gate, as Kimchi says, was the eastern gate, which was the principal gate of all (see Jer. 26:2).

And proclaim there this word, and say: With a loud voice, as follows:

Hear ye the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah: The inhabitants of the several parts of Judea, which came to the temple to worship. Very probably it was a feast day, as Calvin conjectures; either the Passover, or Pentecost, or feast of tabernacles, when all the males in Israel appeared in court.

That enter in at these gates to worship the LORD: There were seven gates belonging to the court, three on the north, three on the south, and one in the east, the chief of all, as Kimchi, Abarbinel, and Ben Melech observe; and this agrees with the account in the Mishna. And therefore, Jeremiah was ordered to stand here, and deliver his message.

The first thing that is apparent here is this message is to God's people, not to the world. Jeremiah was to go to the house of God and tell God's people. The last chapter was devoted more to Benjamin's family. This is spoken to the house of Judah. Notice, all ye of Judah. It appears the time that Jeremiah was to bring this, was a time when large numbers of those of Judah would come to the temple. This is inside the gate. As I said, this is a message for God's people alone. It

is a time now that pastors should stand on the porch of the church and give God's message to the people of God. Notice carefully, Jeremiah was bringing this message from God.

Jeremiah 7:3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.

The Lord of armies above and below in general, and the God of Israel in particular. Wherefore they ought to hearken to what He was about to say, and to be obedient to Him.

Amend your ways and your doings: Or, make them good; which shows that they were bad, and were not agreeable to the law and will of God, to which they ought to have been conformed. And the way to amend them was to act according to the rule of the divine word they were favored with.

And I will cause you to dwell in this place: To continue to dwell in Jerusalem, and in Judea, the land of their nativity, and in the temple, the house of God, and place of religious worship. Otherwise, it is suggested that they should not continue here, but be carried captive into a strange land.

Jeremiah was crying out to them in the name of the LORD to repent of their evil ways and return to God. God wants to bless them, but He cannot bless them when they are worshipping other gods. He is saying, it is not too late if you will repent.

Jeremiah 7:4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, these.

Jeremiah's God-given message was straightforward: the physical presence of the temple was no guarantee that judgment would not come upon Jerusalem. God's wrath against Judah's sins could be averted only through a genuine repentance that would be reflected in their total lives (verses 5-6).

They are saying over and over, the temple. They thought if they came to the temple 3 times a year that was all that was required. They did not live by their faith in God after they left the temple. There is more to belonging to God than just attending church once in a while. To be in right relationship, we must always worship God.

Verses 5-7: God has listed four practical and thorough changes to behavior that He expected to see among His people:

God has never lowered His standards; He expects nothing less from His people today.

Jeremiah 7:5 For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor;

The care of the downtrodden and oppressed of society (the widow, the orphan, the poor and the stranger), was of particular concern to the God of all mercies. This theme appears often in the Book of Deuteronomy, and recurs elsewhere too (compare Job 31:16; Psalms 94:6; 146:9; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 22:3; Ezek. 22:7). This dominant theme is a vivid reminder for believers not only to practice righteous standards in their lives but to cultivate a social concern for all men similar to that of God Himself.

Jeremiah 7:6  ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:

Who have none to help them, and who ought to have mercy and compassion shown them, as well as justice done them. And should not be injured by paranoid sinful men in their persons and properties, and much less oppressed in courts of judicature by those who should be their patrons and defenders.

And shed not innocent blood in this place: In the temple, where the Sanhedrin, or great court of judicature, sat. For this does not so much respect the commission of murder by private persons, as the condemnation of innocent men to death by the judges, which is all one as shedding their blood. And by which actions they defiled that temple where they cried and put their trust in. To shed innocent blood in any place, Kimchi observes, is an evil; but to shed it in this place, in the temple, was a greater evil, because this was the place of the Shekinah, or where the divine Majesty dwelt.

Neither walk after other gods to your hurt: The gods of the people, as the Targum explains; for this, as the Arabic version renders it, is pernicious to you. Idolatry was more hurtful to themselves than to God; and therefore, it is dissuaded from by an argument taken from their own interest.

We see in Jer. 7:5-6, that they were not representing God in their day to day dealings with other people. They were believers in name only. They lived like the rest of the world. As a formality, they came to the temple at the required times. We see a list of the things wrong in their lives in the verses above. God would not accept them as His family until they had a change of heart, and lived every day as His representatives on the earth. They must turn from the worship of false gods and worship only the true God, and treat their fellowman as they would want to be treated.

Jeremiah 7:7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

The land that I gave € for ever: God refers to the unconditional element of the land promised in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12, 15, 17, 22).

Their being able to live in the Promised Land peacefully and prosperously was conditional on them living as God would have them live. Blessings were for those who obeyed God.

Verses 8-11: In calling the Temple a den of thieves, Jeremiah was confronting the hypocrisy of God's people in thinking they could be thoroughly pagan in every aspect of their lives and then pretend to come worthily into God's house (Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).

Jeremiah 7:8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.

What they are dissuaded from (Jer. 7:4), is here affirmed they did, and which is introduced with a note of assertion and attention. This being a certain thing that they did so; and was worthy of their consideration and serious reflection upon. And it was astonishing that they should, since to do so was of no advantage to them, but the contrary.

That cannot profit: Temple worship and service, legal sacrifices and ceremonies, could not take away sin, and expiate the guilt of it; or justify men, and render them acceptable to God. These, without faith in the blood and sacrifice of Christ (which was yet coming), were of no avail; and especially could never be thought to be of any use and profit, when such gross abominations were indulged by them as are next mentioned.

They had believed lies. They had turned from God to these false gods. What could they possibly profit from an idol which is a nothing?

Jeremiah 7:9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;

At the same time, they offered sacrifices, and trusted in them. They did those things, which would not be pleasing to the Lord, nor profitable to them. Or, ye do steal, etc.; so explains the Septuagint, and all the Oriental versions; and likewise the Targum; as charging the people with them; these are sins against the second table of the law, as what follow are against the first. Note: The first table is about the way God's people should relate to God. The second table is about the way they should relate to their neighbors.

And burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not: For they not only burnt incense to Baal, which was an act of idolatrous worship; but served other strange gods they had not known before. Whose names they had never heard of, and of whose help and assistance they had no experience; nor received any benefit from, as they had from the one and only true God. And therefore, it was great folly and ingratitude in them to forsake the Lord, and walk after these.

Jeremiah 7:10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?

In the temple; either as if they had done no such thing, like the whore, that wipes her mouth, and saith she hath done no wickedness (Prov. 30:20), noting their deep hypocrisy. Or else that this would barely atone for all their abominations, as if they could make God amends for their sins by their duties; and their posture of standing denotes their service (1 Kings 10:8; Prov. 22:29).

We are delivered to do all these abominations: That is, because they had appeared before God with their sacrifices, either they thought themselves safe from all danger, and freed from God's judgments (Mal. 3:15); or rather privileged to return to all that wickedness again, hereby noting their impudence (see Isa. 1:12).

They were not free to do these sins, just because they belonged to God. This is so much like many Christians today who believe they can live any way they want to and not be guilty of sin, because they have been baptized. Christianity is a day to day walk in the footsteps Jesus left for us to walk in. We must continue in our salvation. When we receive the Lord, we are supposed to be brand new creatures in Christ. The old sinful life should have been buried in the watery grave of baptism. We should be walking in newness of life in Christ. We no longer live, but Christ liveth in us. This is the very same thing for these children of God (Judah and Benjamin). Their lives should reflect God within them. They should not live like the lost world.

Jeremiah 7:11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen , saith the LORD.

Merely formal religious attendance at God's house is condemned also by Jesus (Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46).

The house of God is to be a holy place. God never intended it to be a gathering place for thieves and robbers. Jesus spoke of it this way:

Matthew 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

In Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:46, we read the same thing. God wants His people to be holy, as He is holy. He is our Tabernacle. He wants His people, and His house to be holy and separated from the world. Christians should live holy lives because we bear the name of Christ.

Jeremiah 7:12 But go ye now unto my place which in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

Go € unto € Shiloh: God calls them to return to Shiloh where the tabernacle dwelt along with the Ark of the Covenant. He permitted the Philistines to devastate that place (1 Sam.

Chapter 4), and He is ready to do similarly with Jerusalem, the place of His temple (verses 13- 14).

(See the note on 26:1).

Shiloh is an interesting word. It appears to be the name of a place where the earliest sanctuary was located. It is the same area as Shechem. This had undoubtedly been somewhat of a permanent structure to house the Ark of the Covenant. It had been destroyed. It appears that many of the people in and around Jerusalem did not believe God would allow the Babylonians to destroy the temple in Jerusalem. This is a reminder that the first resting place had been destroyed, and Jerusalem would be no different. I want to mention something in passing here.

The word Shiloh was not just a place but was also a name for the Messiah. Shiloh, the place was destroyed, and so will Jerusalem be destroyed by the Babylonians because of sin in their lives.

Jeremiah 7:13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;

Rising up early: This refers to the daily ministry of the prophets (compare verse 25).

The phrase rising up early becomes a frequent expression in Jeremiah. The practice is in harmony with the consistent biblical teaching. Jesus Himself rose up before daybreak to pray (Mark 1:32-35). Many of God's choice servants had this practice (compare Gen. 28:16-22; Exodus 24:4-8; 34:4; 1 Sam. 1:19; 2 Chron. 29:20; Job 1:5). The Psalms remind believers that the morning hour spent with God is crucial for spiritual growth (Psalm 88:13). Each morning God's child has a fresh opportunity to recall His mercy and protection (Psalms 59:16; 92:2), and to find direction and guidance for the tasks of the day (Psalm 143:8). Jeremiah reports that the heavenly Father waited until it was early, awaiting a meeting with the citizens of Judah (7:25; 11:7-8; 25:3-4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14-15; 44:4-5). This phrase captures God's tender seeking of His people, but alas, they neither responded nor met with Him at all (compare 2 Chron. 36:15- 16). Rather, as Zephaniah sadly reports, They rose early, and corrupted all their doings (Zeph. 3:7). How great must be the heartbreak of God who earnestly longs to meet in communion and fellowship with His people, only to find that they do not keep their appointments with Him!

Verses 14-15: The ancient tabernacle from the wilderness period that had stood in Shiloh for so long had been abandoned. Now even the magnificent temple in Jerusalem (This house which is called by My name), such a solid and apparent sign of God's ongoing commitment to His people, would be as forsaken as Shiloh. God is never compromised by those who take Him for granted.

Jeremiah 7:14 Therefore will I do unto house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

The temple (as in Jer. 7:11), for though it was called by His name, and His name was called upon in it, yet this could not secure it from desolation. For so the name of the Lord was set in the tabernacle at Shiloh, and yet He forsook it because of the wickedness of the people.

Wherein ye trust: They trusted in the sacrifices offered up there, and the services performed there; in the holiness of the place, and because it was the residence of the divine Majesty; wherefore they thought this would be a protection and defense of them; and this was trusting in lying words (as in Jer. 7:4).

And unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers: Meaning either Jerusalem; the Syriac version renders it, and to the city; or the whole land of Judea as in Jer. 7:7.

As I have done to Shiloh: see Jer. 7:12.

God had warned them of the consequences of worshipping false gods. He had Jeremiah telling them of their error and its consequences/ outcome, if they did not repent. It appears the warning was not heeded. They had trusted in the temple being in Jerusalem forever. God had given them the Promised Land, and had even dwelt with them in His temple in the Most Holy Place.

Jeremiah 7:15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, the whole seed of Ephraim.

No observances, professions, or supposed revelations, will profit, if men do not amend their ways and their doings.

None should hope in free salvation, who allow themselves in the practice of known sin, or live in the neglect of known duty.

They thought that the temple they profaned would be their protection. But all who continue in sin because grace has abounded, or that grace may abound, make Christ the minister of sin; and the cross of Christ, rightly understood, forms the most effectual remedy to such poisonous sentiments.

The Son of God gave Himself for our transgressions, to show the excellence of the Divine law, and the evil of sin. Never let us think we may do wickedness without suffering for it.

Jeremiah 7:16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

Pray not: God told His spokesman not to pray for the people (compare 11:14). He did not find Judah inclined to repent. Instead, He found the glib use of self-deluding slogans (such as in 7:4), and flagrant idol worship (in verse 18), from a people insistent on not hearing (verse 27, 19:15; compare 1 John 5:16).

Jeremiah was instructed by God not to pray for the people or cry over them (11:14; 14:11; 15:1). They were, from youngest to oldest, intent on self-destruction, and God would let them have their way.

We see in this, that God's judgement is already set. Jeremiah is not to pray for their deliverance, because he would be praying against the judgement of God. We know that Abraham asked God

to spare Sodom, if He could find as many as 10 righteous people. There were not 10 righteous, and God did not spare them. God told Abraham ahead of time that He was going to destroy them, but all the prayers of Abraham could not have stopped the judgement. This is the case here as well. There are certain things God has planned. To intercede in prayer in opposition to God's plans will not work.

Jeremiah 7:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

We enter in one of the darker regions of Jewish idolatry, such as Ezekiel (Jer. Chapter 8), saw in a vision. A foreign worship of the basest kind was practiced, not only in secret, but in open places as well.

God brings Jeremiah's attention to the rampant sin in the cities. They must be punished for their sins. The punishment is to cause them to repent and turn to God.

Jeremiah 7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

The queen of heaven: (compare 44:17-19, 25). The Jews were worshiping Ishtar, an Assyrian and Babylonian goddess also call Ashtoreth and Astarte, the wife of Baal or Molech. Because these deities symbolized generative power, their worship involved prostitution (see the note on Judges 2:11-15).

We see from this, that even the wives and children enter into the false worship with the fathers. This is an abomination before God. God is a jealous God; He will not tolerate the worship of other gods.

Deuteronomy 6:15 (For the LORD thy God a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

They are not only worshipping false gods, but are doing it openly for all to see their unfaithfulness. God's fury has come up in His face against them.

Jeremiah 7:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: not themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

No: He cannot be provoked to anger as men are. Anger does not fall upon Him as it does on men. There is no such anxiety in God as there is in men; His Spirit cannot be irritated and provoked in the manner that the spirits of men may be. And though sin, and particularly idolatry, is disagreeable to Him, contrary to His nature, and repugnant to His will; yet the damage arising from it is more to men themselves than to Him. And though He sometimes does things which are like to what are done by men when they are angry, yet in reality there is no such anxiety in God as there is in men.

Do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?: The greatest hurt that is done is to themselves. They are the sufferers in the end. They bring ruin and destruction upon themselves; and therefore, have great reason to be angry with themselves, since what they do brings their own shame and confusion. The Targum says, do they think that they provoke me? saith the LORD; is it not for evil to themselves, that they may be confounded in their works?

The answer is yes, they do greatly provoke God. The worst thing is now they do not even know what they believe in. The confusion of their own faces, just means they are totally confused in their worship. We had spoken earlier about their formality of sacrificing to God still going on, but at the same time they were worshipping false gods. They did not know themselves what they believed.

Jeremiah 7:20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.

Since these are their thoughts, and this the fruit of their doings.

Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place: Like fire, to consume and destroy it. Meaning Jerusalem, which was burned with fire; as an emblem of God's wrath, and an instance of His vengeance upon it, for their sins; which came down in great abundance, like a storm or tempest.

Upon man and upon beast: Upon beasts for the sake of man, they being his property, and for his use. Otherwise they are innocent, and do not deserve the wrath of God, nor are they aware of it.

And upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground: Which should be blighted by nipping winds, or cut down and trampled upon by the Chaldean army.

And it shall burn, and shall not be quenched: That is, the wrath of God shall burn like fire, and shall not cease until it has executed the whole will of God in the punishment of His people.

These people were symbolically God's wife. There is nothing that makes a husband more furious than an unfaithful wife. They have been unfaithful to the Lord GOD. His anger will cause them to fall in this great battle with Babylon.

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD thy God a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Zechariah 8:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.

This destruction will be so great that the trees, the fruit, and in fact, everything will be destroyed.

Verses 21-26: As He does frequently, God invited His people to remember their past. The people had maintained the mechanical traditions of burnt offerings and sacrifices while forsaking God's true commandment, Obey My voice (1 Sam. 15:22).

Verses 21-23: These verses do not minimize the importance of the Old Testament sacrifices, but call attention to the necessity of the believer living a life of total obedience and devotion to God. The Scriptures consistently teach that religious observances devoid of spiritual devotion are worthless (compare 1 Sam. 15:22-23; Psalm 40:6-8; Isa. 1:10-20; Micah 6:8).

Jeremiah 7:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.

The LORD of armies above and below, and the covenant God of the people of Israel; who were bound to serve Him. Not only by the laws of creation, and the bounties of Providence, but were under obligation so to do by the distinguishing blessings of His goodness bestowed upon them. Wherefore their idolatry, and other sins committed against Him, were the more heinous and aggravated.

Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh: That is, add one offering to another. Offer every kind of sacrifice, and, when you have done, eat the flesh of them yourselves. For that is all the advantage that comes by them; they are not acceptable to me, as Jarchi observes, therefore why should you lose them? Burnt offerings were wholly consumed, and nothing was left of them to eat. But of other sacrifices there were, particularly the peace offerings; which the Jewish commentators think are here meant by sacrifices; and therefore, the people are bid to join them together, that they might have flesh to eat. Which was all the profit arising to them by legal sacrifices. The words seem to be sarcastically spoken; showing the unacceptableness of legal sacrifices to God, when sin was indulged, and the lack of profitableness of them to men.

God is telling them to go ahead and cook and eat their sacrifices that they would have made to Him, because they are unacceptable to Him. The LORD leaves no doubt who He is here, emphasizing that He is the God of Israel.

Verses 22-23: Offerings € sacrifices € Obey: Here is a crucial emphasis on faithful obedience (Compare Joshua 1:8; 1 Sam. 15:22; Prov. 15:18; 21:3; Isa. 1:11-17; Hosea 6:6; Matt. 9:13).

Jeremiah 7:22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:

Nor commanded: Bible writers sometimes use apparent negation to make a comparative emphasis. What God commanded His people at the Exodus was not so much the offerings, as it was the faithful obedience which prompted the offerings. (See this comparative sense used elsewhere in Deut. 5:3; Hosea 6:6; 1 John 3:18).

Jeremiah 7:23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.

This was the sum and substance of what was then commanded, even obedience to the moral law. This was the main and principal thing enjoined, and to which the promise was annexed.

Obey my voice: The word of the Lord, His commands, the precepts of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). Obedience which was preferable to the sacrifices of the ceremonial law (see 1 Sam. 15:22), wherefore it follows:

And I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: The meaning is, that while they were obedient to Him, He would protect them from their enemies, and continue them in their privileges and blessings, which He had bestowed upon them as His peculiar people.

And walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you: Not only in some of them, but in all of them. Not merely in the observance of legal sacrifices, but chiefly in the performance of moral actions. Even in all the duties of religion, in whatsoever is required in the law, respecting God or man.

That it may be well unto you: That they might continue in the land which was given them for an inheritance, and enjoy all the blessings promised as a reward for their obedience.

We know that God promised blessings to His people if they obeyed Him, and curses if they did not. This all began with the promises to Abraham. The ordinances and laws God gave were for the benefit of man. The sacrifices were also for man to express thankfulness to God for the provisions God had made for him. Some of the sacrifices were to bring forgiveness for sins. All were for man's benefit. We will understand this better, if we remember the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us. It was not for Jesus' benefit the sacrifice was made, but for man's. If man had never fallen, there would have been no need for sacrifice. Look with me at one Scripture that expresses the same thought:

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey better than sacrifice, to hearken than the fat of rams.

To understand this more fully, study the book of Leviticus. God will not be our God if we have other gods, He must be the only One or He will not be our God at all.

Jeremiah 7:24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

They were stubborn as in Jer. 3:17.

Went backward and not forward: The whole sacrificial system, even at its best, to say nothing of its idolatrous corruptions, was accordingly, from Jeremiah's point of view, a retrograde

movement. The apostasy of the people in the worship of the golden calf involved a like deflection, necessary and inevitable though it might be as a process of education. From the first ideal government, based upon the covenant made with Abraham. i.e., upon a pure and spiritual theism, the emblems and ordinances of which, though shadows of good things to come, were in themselves weak and beggarly elements (Heb. 10:1; Gal. 4:9).

Man, by nature is sinful. The example of this that stands out to me the best is the children of Israel headed for the Promised Land. God miraculously brought them out of Egypt with the 10 plagues He brought on Egypt. This alone should have convinced them that He was truly God, and there were no others. He parted the Red Sea and took them over on dry land. He had Moses strike the Rock and water enough for the millions of people sprang forth. They still did not believe. They made the golden calf to worship. What does God have to do for man, before man realizes who God is? It appears man is so set on sinning, that he ignores all the evidence and follows the desires of his flesh.

Jeremiah 7:25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending :

That is, in all generations; ever since their first coming out of Egypt, they had been disobedient to the commands of God. And had walked after their own heart's lusts, and had gone backward, and not forward. For this is not to be connected with what follows:

I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early, and sending them: Which should be rendered, although God has sent; which is an aggravation of their sin, that they should continue in their disobedience. Though the Lord sent to them to exhort and warn them, not one, or two, of His servants the prophets, but all of them, who daily rose early in the morning, which denotes their care and diligence to deliver God's message; and which, because they were sent of the Lord, and did His work as He directed them, it is attributed to Himself. And of these, there was a constant succession; from the time of their coming out of Egypt unto that day, which shows the goodness of God to that people, and their slothfulness, hardness, and obstinacy.

(Compare verse 13).

God heard their cry in Egypt and sent Moses to their rescue. God sent judges, prophets and holy men, but they would not believe. They were so caught up in the desires of the flesh, they would not listen to the warnings of God.

Jeremiah 7:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

Speaking by the prophets.

Nor inclined their ear: To what was said to them; would not listen to it, and much less obey what was commanded them.

But hardened their neck: And so became stiffnecked, and would not submit to bear the yoke of the law.

They did worse than their fathers: Every generation grew more and more wicked, and went on to be so until the measure of their iniquity was filled up (hence it follows in verse 27).

It seems the sins got worse with every generation. It was almost as if they were trying to outdo their fathers. The hardening of their neck just meant they were too stubborn to learn.

Jeremiah 7:27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.

Before mentioned in the chapter: exhortations to duty, admonishing sins, promises and threats.

But they will not hearken to thee: So as to reform from their evil ways, and do the will of God. They will neither be allured by promises, nor awed by menaces.

Thou shalt also call unto them: With a loud voice, showing great vehemence and earnestness. Being concerned for their good, and knowing the danger they were in.

But they will not answer thee: This the Lord knew, being God omniscient. And therefore, when it came to pass, it would be a confirmation to the prophet of his mission. And being told of it beforehand, was prepared to meet with and expect such a reception from them. So that he would not be discouraged at it. And at the same time, it would confirm the character given of this people before.

I feel so sorry for Jeremiah here. He brings the message from God to these people and they will not listen or believe. How discouraging can this be? Noah had the same problem while he was building the Ark. He preached of the coming disaster but never had anyone believe him or change his ways. It is not the obligation of the messenger to make them believe, it is enough that he brings God's message to the people. It is their obligation to believe.

Jeremiah 7:28 But thou shalt say unto them, This a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.

Having found by experience, after long speaking and calling to them, that they are a disobedient and incorrigible people.

This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God: Who, though the LORD is their God, and has chosen and avouched them to be His special people, whom He has distinguished by special favors. Yet what He says by His prophets they pay no regard unto, and are no better than the Gentiles, which know not God.

Nor receiveth correction: Or instruction; so as to be reclaimed, and made the better. Neither by the word, nor by the rod; neither had any effect upon them.

Truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth: Neither faith nor faithfulness is in them. Nothing but lying, hypocrisy, and insincerity.

Jeremiah says exactly what God tells him to. He says: you do not want the Truth. They have believed a lie. They do not want help.

Jeremiah 7:29 Cut off thine hair, , and cast away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.

Cut off thine hair: This is a sign depicting God's cutting the nation off and casting them into exile. Ezekiel used a similar illustration by cutting his hair (Ezek. 5:1-4). God never casts away the genuinely saved from spiritual salvation (John 6:37; 10:28-29).

Cast it away: it is not to be reserved, as sometimes men and women both do for some use; but to be cast away, and as a thing good for nothing. And thus, it may agree with the church's lamentation, (Lamentations 5:16); for it is not here exhorted to as a token of repentance, but as a threatening of judgments.

They were to cut off their hair in mourning. It was a custom of the people when they took a Nazarite vow, to grow their hair long and then cut it and cast it away. God has rejected and forsaken them. He wants no sacrifice to Him from them anymore.

Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.

Meaning not a single action only, but a series, a course of evil actions. And those openly, in a daring manner, not only before men, but in the sight of God, and in contempt of Him, like the men of Sodom (Gen. 13:13).

They have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it: That is, they have set their idols in the temple. Even king Manasseh set up a graven image of the grove (2 Kings 21:7), which looked, as if it was done on purpose to defile it.

It appears Manasseh had built altars for all the host of heaven. This is an abomination, a revolting sin in God's sight because the very first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Verses 31-32: The full scriptural picture concerning this Canaanite abomination makes it clear that Tophet was a sacred enclosure in the valley of the son of Hinnom, where the heinous child sacrifice (burnt alive in fire to a false god, Molech) was carried out (compare 19:5-6; 32:35; 2 Kings 23:10; and see the notes at 2 Kings 16:3-4 and 2 Chron. 28:3). Archaeological confirmation concerning the nature of the sacrifices carried out in a Tophet comes from the excavations at the Phoenician colony of Carthage.

Jeremiah 7:31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded not, neither came it into my heart.

Burn their sons and their daughters in the fire: Though God forbade this atrocity (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; Deut. 12:31), Israelites still offered babies as sacrifices at the high places of idol worship (Tophet), in the valley of the son of Hinnom (south end of Jerusalem). They offered them to the fire god Molech, under the delusion that this god would reward them (see note on 19:6).

This is the worship of Molech which was strictly forbidden. They practiced human sacrificing of their children to this false god.

Jeremiah 7:32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.

Valley of slaughter: God renamed the place because great carnage would be forthcoming in the Babylonian invasion.

We realize from this, that this was a common thing and many children were killed. It would be correct to name it the valley of slaughter.

Jeremiah 7:33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray away.

That is, those which remain unburied, for which there will be found no place to bury them in. All places, particularly Tophet, being so full of dead bodies; not to have a burial, which is here threatened, was accounted a great judgment.

And none shall fray them away: or frighten them away. That is, drive away the fowls and the beasts from the carcasses. The sense is either that there should be such a vast depletion of men that there would be no one left to do this, and so the fowls and beasts might prey upon the carcasses without any disturbance. Or else, those that were left would be so devoid of humanity, as not to do this for the dead.

In Deuteronomy 28:25, we read of this very thing.

Jeremiah 7:34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

Signifying that the devastation should not only be in and about Jerusalem, but should reach all over the land of Judea. Since in all cities, towns, and villages, would cease:

The voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness: Upon any account whatever; and instead of that, mourning, weeping, and lamentation.

The voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: No marrying, and giving in marriage, and so no expressions of joy on such occasions. And consequently, no likelihood at present, of re-peopling the city of Jerusalem, and the other cities of Judah.

For the land shall be desolate: Without people to dwell in it, and till it. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions read, The whole land.

The only thing we need to be reminded of here, is that this punishment comes from God. Babylon may be the instrument that God uses to carry this out, but the judgement is from God. This is the curse God brings on His children who do not obey Him and who go after strange gods. This is speaking of total destruction. There would be no happiness at all, only desolation.

Jeremiah Chapter 7 Questions

1. The word that came to Jeremiah from the .

2. What did God tell Jeremiah to do in verse 2?

3. Who was the message for?

4. Why had God chosen this particular place to speak to the people?

5. What would they have to do for God to cause them to dwell in this place?

6. What are they really saying, when they say, the temple of the LORD?

7. What were some of the things mentioned they must change?

8. They were believers in _ only.

9. Blessings were for those who God.

10. Name some of the sins verse 9 mentions.

11. What was the wrong idea they had about their sins?

12. What does water baptism symbolize?

13. I no longer live, but liveth in me.

14. What did God say, they thought His house had become?

15. Where are two other places (in the Bible), you can read the same thing?

16. Why should Christians live holy lives?

17. What happened to the place the Ark had been housed (at Shiloh)?

18. Where was Shiloh located?

19. The word Shiloh was not just a place, but was also, a name for .

20. What does verse 14 say, God will do to His house He had given them?

21. Who had God cast out of His sight, previously?

22. Who is Ephraim, in verse 15, speaking of?

23. Why was Jeremiah not to intercede for them?

24. What did God bring Jeremiah's attention to (in verse 17)?

25. Who were involved in this false worship of the queen of heaven?

26. Who will God pour His fury out on?

27. What makes a husband more furious than anything else?

28. What is God telling them to do with their sacrifices?

29. What was more important to God than their sacrifices?

30. How did they respond to God's warnings?

31. What does God have to do, before man will recognize Him as God?

32. Who had God sent to them to warn them?

33. What did He mean by hardened their neck?

34. Why does the author feel sorry for Jeremiah?

35. What is the obligation of the messenger?

36. In verse 29, what are they to do with their hair they cut off?

37. What had Manasseh done that was spoken of in verse 30?

38. What was the valley of Tophet changed to?

39. The sacrificing of their children was the worship of the false god .

40. What is the only thing we need to be reminded of in verse 34?

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Jeremiah 8

Jeremiah Chapter 8

Verses 1-3: As a mockery, God would allow this desecration, spreading the bones of the dead Jewish leaders before Judah's god (the sun, the moon, and all of the host of heaven), which were of no help in time of need.

Jeremiah 8:1 At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves:

Bring out the bones: Conquerors would ransack all the tombs to gain treasures and then humiliate the Jews by scattering the bones of all, including the rich and honored in open spaces, as a tribute to the superiority of their gods (verse 2).

We see in this Scripture they had no regard for the bodies of the dead. It did not matter whether it was the bones of some official in the government or some high official in the temple, they did not bury their bodies. They just left them to the vultures. It appears also from this, they might have even robbed some of the graves and brought their bones out too. This is showing total disgust and disregard for the people of Judah and Benjamin.

Jeremiah 8:2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

The stars refers to the host of heaven. This shows not only that they should be publicly exposed; but, as it refers to their idolatrous worship of the sun, moon, and stars, that these deities will not be able to help them. As they could not prevent their dead bodies being dug up, so neither could they order or cause them to be gathered together and buried again.

Whom they have loved: Whereas they ought to have loved the Lord their God, and Him only. It means an idolatrous love of and affection for them; and not the love of them, as objects for use and delight. Otherwise the light of the sun, moon, and stars, is splendid, and their influence great; and a pleasant thing it is to behold them, and especially the sun, the fountain of light and heat.

And whom they have served: more and besides the Creator, whom they should have served, the Lord of hosts, and Him only.

And after whom they have walked: Not in the natural and literal sense, but in a religious one, as is next explained.

And whom they have sought: For advice and counsel, and by making their prayers and supplications to them.

And whom they have worshipped: By bowing the knee. By offering sacrifices, and burning incense, and putting up petitions to them. By trusting in them, and expecting good things from them (2 Kings 21:3).

They shall not be gathered, nor be buried: Meaning, the bones that are brought out of the graves, having been scattered about, would not be collected together again, or replaced in their sepulchers.

They shall be for dung upon the face of the earth: That is, they shall lie and rot upon the face of the earth, and crumble into dust, and become dung for the earth (see Psalm 83:10).

The reason God allowed this, was so they could be placed in front of all these things they had worshipped falsely. It was to show that the sun, moon, and stars, and all the idols of false worship had no power to revive them. They were left to decay. Their bodies came from the earth and they would decay and return to that earth.

Jeremiah 8:3 And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.

By them that should be alive in those times, who would be carried captive into other lands. And be exploited and made to suffer greatly, by the nations among whom they should dwell (see Rev. 9:6). The Septuagint version, and those that follow it, make this to be a reason of the former, reading the words thus, because they have chosen death rather than life (see Deut. 30:19). But the other sense is best, which is confirmed by what follows:

By all the residue of them that remain of this evil family: The nation of the Jews has become very corrupt and degenerate. So, the people of Israel are referred to as an evil family (Amos 3:1). Now it is foretold, that those which remained of that people, who died not by famine, or were not slain by the sword. Yet should be in such a miserable condition, as that death would be more preferred to them than life.

Which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts: For, though they were carried captive by men, yet it was the LORD's doing, and a just punishment upon them for their sins.

Even the fate of the dead was better than the fate of those left living. They would be taken into a foreign country as slaves. Death would have been welcomed. Notice again, this judgement is from God.

Jeremiah 8:4 Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return?

Jeremiah spoke of the natural instinct of one who falls, to get up, and one who leaves, to return, but Judah did not possess this instinct.

These people had not just committed a single sin against God. They had taken on the sinful way of life. They were not repentant at all. God may turn away from them for a moment because He cannot bear to look upon sin, but He is always ready to accept their repentance. It is not a natural thing for a person to fall and not get back up. This can be in the spirit as well as in the flesh. God will help them arise if they repent and turn to Him.

Jeremiah 8:5 Why is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.

These people fell into sin, and rose not again by repentance. They turn away from the good ways of God and religion, and return not again. They backslide from and revolt against the LORD, and they continue in their revolt and rebellion. Their backsliding is an everlasting one; there is no hope of their repentance and recovery. It is a vehement and passionate expostulation about the people of the Jews, founded upon the former general observation, showing them to be the worst of all people. It is a common saying, it is a long lane that has no turning. But these people, having departed from the Lord, return no more. A very learned man renders the words, why does Jerusalem turn away this people with an obstinate aversion? that is, the rulers and governors of Jerusalem, as in Matt. 23:37. Or rather thus, why does a stubborn aversion turn away this people, O Jerusalem? And so, they are an address to the magistrates and inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They hold fast deceit: Practice it, and continue in the practice of it, both with God and man.

They refuse to return: To the LORD, to His worship, and to the right ways of holiness and truth, from whence they had erred (see Jer. 5:3).

(See note on 2:19).

The word perpetual tells it all. They have continued in sin. Their backsliding is not for a moment but is a continuous thing. They have deliberately rejected the God of their Fathers. They should see the error of their ways and turn back to God. They are too stubborn to ask for God's help. They cling to their belief in false gods. They have believed a lie.

Verses 6-7: Unlike birds, whose instincts guide them to know the seasons (appointed times), and fly in the right direction, the people did not have enough sense to discern the judgment of the LORD and treat it as a reason to repent and change their ways.

Jeremiah 8:6 I hearkened and heard, they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.

God, before passing sentence, carefully listens to the words of the people; compare Gen. 11:5, where the divine judgment is preceded by the Almighty going down to see the tower.

Not aright: Or, not-right; which in the Hebrew idiom means that which is utterly wrong.

No man repented: The original phrase is very striking: No man had pity upon his own wickedness. If men understood the true nature of sin, the sinner would repent out of immense pity upon himself.

As the horse rusheth: Literally, overfloweth. It is a double metaphor; first, the persistence of the people in sin is compared to the fury which at the sound of the trumpet seizes upon the war-horse. And then its rush into the battle is likened to the overflowing of a torrent, which nothing can stop in its destructive course.

A horse goes into battle without thinking, because he goes wherever his rider directs him. This is true with these people. They rush into sin like the horse that does not think rushes into battle. They have their ears of understanding closed off to the message God sends them. They are on the road of sin, and have no intentions of turning around. They do not stop and consider what is happening. They do not repent of their sins. Jeremiah heard and obeyed, but they just heard words which meant nothing to them.

Jeremiah 8:7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.

I.e. in the air, which is often called heaven, where the birds fly (Psalm 8:8; compare Jer. 7:33), who possibly observe the fit time by the temperature of the air.

Knoweth her appointed times: i.e. observes the several seasons of her going and coming by some natural instinct, and this is said of the stork.

Observe the time of their coming: The same thing showing in these several fowls that they know also their seasons.

But my people know not: This notes the great stupidity of His people, seeming not to have as much sense in them as the birds in the air. Not knowing their summer of prosperity, to make good use of God's favors, nor the winter of adversity, either to prevent or remove the wrath of God that hangs over their heads (Isa. 5:12; Luke 19:42, 44). They know not their time for repentance, and making their peace with God. Compared also, on the same account, to the beasts of the field (Isa. 1:3). And thus, Christ upbraids the Pharisees (Matt. 16:2-3).

The judgment of the LORD: Either God's vengeance in general, or particularly hovering over Jerusalem and Judea. Or rather, the manner of God's dispensations with them.

Even animals know their appointed times, but man who has the gift of common sense does not even stop to consider the LORD. An animal follows the instincts God has given him. Even though all of this happened to these people of God, they never once considered that they brought it on themselves with their sins.

Verses 8-12: The people did not know how to blush (had no shame), because they had rejected the word of the LORD. Rather than living faithfully and teaching the truth, Israel's spiritual leaders had healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, the equivalent of putting a bandage on a deep, open wound.

Verses 8-9: Judah's wise men show the shallowness of their misdirected wisdom by rejecting their basic commitment to the word of the LORD (compare 9:12-14 with Psalms 119:9-16, 89:112; Prov. 1:7; 15:33). The office held by the scribes was an old one by Jeremiah's day. It must have existed early in Israel, but seems to be little noted as a particular profession before the time of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:18; compare Prov. 25:1). In Judah, scribes appear to have been organized into distinct families or guilds (1 Chron. 2:55), and were certainly active in Jeremiah's time (2 Chron. 34:13). Unfortunately, the mere handling of God's Word is no guarantee of spiritual fidelity. The Word must master its readers and become part of their lives. In the New Testament times, the scribes were condemned by Jesus for partaking of a corrupt society (compare Matt. 23:13-36).

Jeremiah 8:8 How do ye say, We wise, and the law of the LORD with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he ; the pen of the scribes in vain.

These things considered, where is your wisdom, when you see the very fowls of the air are not as stupid as you are? He speaks either to princes and priests, or to the whole body of the people.

The law of the LORD is with us: This may be referring to all the people in general, or more specifically to the priests, with whom it was entrusted (Deut. 33:10; Mal. 2:7). They were accustomed to boast much of the law, as well as of the temple (Jer. 18:18; Rom. 2:17, 23).

In vain made he it: For any use they made of it, they might have been as good without it. God needed not to have given them His law (Hosea 8:12).

The pen of the scribes is in vain: Neither need it ever have been copied out, divulged, and conveyed down to them by the scribes (Deut. 17:18). Or the prevarications and collusions these lawyers used in the false interpretation of the law, wherein they sided with the false prophets, should be in vain. A scribe was a teacher, one well versed in the Scripture, or esteemed so.

These were not the heathen of the world but God's chosen people. They say they know the law. They believe that just the knowledge of the law will save them. To be able to memorize the law of God would be of no use at all, unless they understood the meaning of those words and diligently followed them. The pen of the scribes wrote the law in book form for them to read. It would be in vain to read it without understanding it. By the law, no man is saved.

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Abraham should have been their example. His faith in God was counted unto him as righteousness.

Jeremiah 8:9 The wise are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom in them?

Ashamed of the wisdom of which they boasted, when it would appear to be folly, and unprofitable to them.

They are dismayed and taken: Frightened at the calamities coming upon them, and taken as in a snare, as the wise sometimes are, in their own craftiness (Job 5:13).

Lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD: Sent by the prophets, which urged obedience to the law. And is the best explanation of it; but this they despised, and refused.

And what wisdom is in them? To condemn that, which, if attended to, would have been profitable to them, and the means of making them wise unto salvation. Let them therefore boast of their wisdom ever so much. It is certain there can be none in persons of such a spirit and conduct.

The wisdom they possessed was of the world. Their wisdom is of nothing. The real wisdom that is a gift from God and comes when we fear and reverence God. The wisdom (verse 9 is speaking of), is not of God, but from the world. That kind of wisdom is worth nothing at all.

Verses 10-12: These verses are almost identical with Jer. 6:12-15.

Jeremiah 8:10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, their fields to them that shall inherit : for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

To strangers or to the Gentiles. There was nothing that could be more disagreeable to the people of Judah, or a sorer punishment, of a worldly nature.

And their fields to them that shall inherit them: Or, to the heirs. And who should possess them as if they were their true and rightful heirs.

For everyone from the least even to the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest everyone dealeth falsely: Covetousness and false dealing, which prevailed in all ranks and orders of men among them, were the cause of their ruin. Covetousness is the root of all evil; and to deal falsely, or lie, as the words may be rendered, is diabolical and abominable in the sight of God. And especially in men of such characters, who were to preach truth to others (Jer. 6:13).

Their wives were taken by the Babylonians. The land and goods go to the victor. In this case, the victor is Babylon. The reason for this judgement from God, was the fact that Judah was a sinful nation. Sin had even entered the temple. A few hundred years later, Jesus will tell the priests in the temple that the laws they practiced were their own, not God's. This was the case here as well. They had twisted the law to fit their own needs. It was no longer recognizable as God's law.

Jeremiah 8:11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when no peace.

The temple priests were crying peace when war was at the door. The only true peace comes when Jesus sets up His kingdom of peace.

This verse is almost identical with Jeremiah 6:14.

Jeremiah 8:12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

They have been put to shame because they have committed abomination; yet they take not shame to themselves, ashamedness they know not. Therefore, they shall fall amongst them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall stumble.

They had committed so many sins, they had forgotten what it was. Their conscience had been seared over. The more they sinned, the less they recognized sin for what it was. Judgement begins at the house of God. When Jesus judges the world, there will be many that will cry out to Him and say, didn't we do this or that, in Your name, and He will say, Get away from me, I never knew you. It will not matter how big the church was that you pastored; if your heart is not right with God, you will be cast down by Jesus. This was the same thing here.

Jeremiah 8:13 I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and I have given them shall pass away from them.

The Lord expected His people to produce fruit. True faith always expresses itself in actions (Matt. 21:19; Luke 13:6).

God had miraculously fed them, but that will be no more. In some sense they were the branches, but they produced no fruit. I believe in this, God is speaking of cutting off their source of help from Him. Now God will not look upon them or care for their needs. The things of nature would no longer cooperate with them. This is like the curse on the ground spoken of in Genesis.

Verses 14-16: In vain, Jeremiah urged the people to wake up to what was happening. Already God's judgment was becoming apparent, but these warnings were ignored.

Jeremiah 8:14 Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defensed cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.

In the country, where were barrenness and want of provisions. In the villages and un-walled towns, where they were exposed to the spoils and ravages of the enemy.

Let us be silent: Not assault the enemy, but merely defend ourselves in quiet, until the storm blows over.

Put us to silence: Brought us to that state where we can no longer resist the foe; implying silent despair.

Water of gall: Literally, water of the poisonous plant, perhaps the poppy (Jer. 9:15; 23:15).

This is certainly a bitter cup that they must drink. Remember they brought it on themselves by being unfaithful to God. They are in silence because they know it is true, and there is nothing left for them to say. They could have fled south as they had been warned to, but they just sat and let it happen. I believe they thought God would NOT allow this to happen to them.

Jeremiah 8:15 We looked for peace, but no good for a time of health, and behold trouble!

Upon the persuasion of our prophets, we expected that these troubles would never come, but that all would be well. But we find ourselves merely deluded by them. We looked so long, till even our eyes failed us, but we see no remedy for us (Lam. 4:17), a metaphor. In scripture, miseries are often compared to diseases, and deliverances to healing (Deut. 32:39; Psalm 103:3; Jer. 33:6).

Remember, their leaders had cried peace. They believed the leaders and thought peace was on its way. They never once dreamed of the trouble that would come. They never even bothered to repent and seek God's face.

Jeremiah 8:16 The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein.

Dan: The territory of this tribe was on the northern border of the land, where the invasion would begin and sweep south.

This was a mighty army of horses and men that came to devour the land. Fear rose up in the people, when the horses got near enough for them to hear them snorting and neighing. The sad thing is, it was too late to run or even to repent. Everything was destroyed.

Jeremiah 8:17 For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which not charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.

Send serpents: This is a figurative picture of the Babylonian invaders.

God's picture of judgment here, makes us recall the punishment of His people during the Exodus (Num. 21:6), when stinging vipers bit the wanderers and drove them to look upon the bronze serpent on a pole, an Old Testament prefiguring of Christ's sacrifice on the cross (John 3:14).

The serpents that God sent were both physical, and of a figurative nature. It appears that vipers (very poisonous snakes), roved through the land biting people. Similarly, the army of invaders were like serpents. Look with me at another time when God sent serpents:

Numbers 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Notice also why they came and who sent them in the following Scripture:

Numbers 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

God controls the serpent the same as He controls everything else.

Jeremiah 8:18  I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart faint in me.

Either naturally, by eating and drinking, the necessary and lawful means of refreshment. Or spiritually, by reading the word of God, and looking over the promises in it.

My heart is faint in me: At the consideration of the calamities which were coming upon his people; and which were made known to him by a spirit of prophecy, of which he had no room to doubt. So the Targum takes them to be the words of the prophet, paraphrasing them, for them, saith the prophet, my heart grieves.

Even though God had told Jeremiah ahead of time about all the problems, Jeremiah still felt great sorrow for these people. He was known as the prophet of sorrows. Jeremiah had not planned to grieve, but it was more than he could endure. His heart was broken.

Jeremiah 8:19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: not the LORD in Zion? not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, with strange vanities?

Far country: This is the cry of the exiled Jews that will be heard they are taken captive into Babylon. They will wonder why God would let this happen to His land and people.

The people of God have provoked God to bring this terrible punishment on them, the temple, and the land, by worshipping false gods. They cry out because of their loss, not because they have repented. God never leaves Zion. Zion as we have said before, is the mount in Jerusalem, but is also God's church. God never leaves the church. The answer for them or us, is repent and come back to God.

Verses 20-22: We are not saved: The coming devastation is compared with the hopeless anguish when harvest time has passed but people are still in desperate need. Jeremiah identified with his people's suffering (verse 21), as a man of tears (compare 9:1), but saw a doom so pronounced that there was no remedy to soothe. There was no healing balm, the kind in abundance in Gilead (east of the Sea of Galilee), and no physician to cure (compare Gen. 37:25; 43:11).

Jeremiah is overcome with grief for his people. As the passing of a harvest season that failed to produce fruit gives rise to despair for the availability of food, so the passing days without repentance in Judah made destruction inevitable. Jeremiah was dismayed and cried out for its healing balsam (compare Gen. 37:25).

Jeremiah 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

Which was in the month of Ijar as Jarchi observes, and answers to part of April and May.

The summer is ended: Which was in the month of Tammuz, and answers to part of June and July.

And we are not saved: Delivered from the siege of the Chaldeans. And harvest and summer being over, there were no hopes of the Egyptians coming to their relief, seeing winter was approaching. And it may be observed, that it was in the month of Ab, which answers to part of July and August, that the city and temple were burnt. These are the words of the people of the Jews, despairing of help and salvation. So the Targum explains, the congregation of Israel said, the time is passed, the end is up, and we are not redeemed.

The captivity of this people is not for just a season, but for many years. We know at the end of harvest the people rested, but there will be no rest for them. They have not been delivered from captivity. The children of Israel waited 400 years or more for God to send them a deliverer to bring them out of Egypt (world). This captivity will be shorter, but will not be over in one year.

Verses 21-22: The daughter of My people (8:11, 19, 21-22), represented all the people of Judah. Balm was a medicine taken from the bark of a tree and was one of the primary exports from Judah.

Jeremiah 8:21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

Now the prophet again speaks in his own person. He is crushed in that crushing of his people. His face is darkened, as one that mourns. (Compare Psalm 38:6; Joshua 5:11).

The word translated black here, implies mourning. The mourning was great. It appeared to be the blackest time in their history. It was difficult to see any hope for them. Astonishment is speaking of surprise at the terribleness.

Jeremiah 8:22  no balm in Gilead; no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

No physician there: i.e., in Gilead. Balm used to grow in Israel for the healing of the nations. Her priests and prophets were the physicians. Has Israel then no balm for herself? Is there no physician in her who can bind up her wound? Gilead was to Israel what Israel spiritually was to the whole world.

Why then is not the health € recovered? Or, why then has no bandage, or plaster of balsam, been laid upon my people?

We see a people who seem to be desolate without hope. The balm of Gilead was a substance with healing power in it. It was very expensive. I think of the Aloe-Vera plant when I see this mentioned. You can squeeze a little juice out for a burn or rash, and it is very helpful. The only medicine that would help them would come from the great Physician (Jesus). Their illness was spiritual. They must seek God anew. They will not recover until they repent of their false worship and turn to God.

Jeremiah Chapter 8 Questions

  1. Whose bones will be brought out?
  2. Where shall they spread the bones?
  3. Why are the bones put in that place?
  4. What will their bones become to the earth?
  5. What was better than the fate of those left?
  6. The judgement comes from _______.
  7. What way of life had they taken on, that brought judgement on them?
  8. When will God help them arise?
  9. What kind of backsliding were they guilty of?
  10. Who heard in verse 6?
  11. What attitude did the people have?
  12. What animal were they compared to in verse 6?
  13. What did these evil people not consider even once?
  14. What did they believe would save them?
  15. What is wrong with that thinking?
  16. What kind of wisdom did they have?
  17. What happened to their wives?
  18. What did Jesus have to say about the law of the temple?
  19. What were the leaders crying out, that was not true?
  20. Why were they not ashamed of their sins?
  21. How had these people been fed in the past?
  22. What is the bitter cup spoken of as in verse 14?
  23. When did they begin to fear that what Jeremiah had said was true?
  24. What did God send to torment them, besides the army?
  25. When was another time God sent the same thing to punish people?
  26. What effect on Jeremiah did all of this have?
  27. Why did the people cry out?
  28. How quickly had they thought God would send them a deliverer?
  29. What does black indicate in verse 21?
  30. What was the balm of Gilead?

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Jeremiah 9

Jeremiah Chapter 9

Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

Waters € tears: Jeremiah cared so deeply that he longed for the relief of flooding tears or a place of retreat to be free of the burden of Judah's sins for a while.

We see from this why Jeremiah was thought of as the weeping or mourning prophet. His body did not produce enough tears to be sufficient to take care of the grief he felt over Jerusalem and God's family. These were people Jeremiah had prophesied to. He felt close to their sorrow.

Jeremiah 9:2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! For they all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.

A lodging place of wayfaring men: Simple square buildings with an open court were built in remote areas to accommodate caravans. Though it would be lonely and filthy in the wilderness, Jeremiah preferred it to Jerusalem so as to be removed from the moral pollution of the people, which he described in verses 3-8; (see note on 6:11).

The LORD is tired of dealing with these sinful people. It is as if He is saying, put them away from decent people. Put all the sinners together out in the desert away from those people they might influence. They are adulterers and treacherous men. They should not be in the main stream of society.

Verses 3-6: God made a case to His people that their treatment of Him would inevitably affect their treatment of each other. Failure to acknowledge God (through deceit they refuse to know Me), leads to a general lowering of all righteous behavior (Hosea 4:1-2).

Jeremiah 9:3 And they bend their tongues their bow lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.

Their tongues were like bows, and their lying words like arrows, which they directed against persons to their injury (see Psalm 11:2). Or, like their deceitful bow; to which the Targum agrees. They teach their tongues words of falsehood, they are likened to a deceitful bow. Most agreeably to the accents the words may be rendered, they bend their tongues, their bow is a lie; either deceitful, or carries a lie in it, and shoots one out of it.

But they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth: Which a man should do everything for, and nothing against. And which he should earnestly contend for, and not part with or give up at any rate. Not only for the truth of doctrine, for faith, as the Targum explains; for the doctrine of faith is the truth of the Gospel as it's in Christ; but for truth between man and man, for veracity, rightness, and integrity.

For they proceed from evil to evil: From one sin to another, growing worse and worse, as wicked men and deceivers usually do. Kimchi observes, it may be interpreted, as of evil works, so of the evil of punishment, from one evil of the enemy to another. Or this year they are smitten with blasting, another with mildew, or with the locust, and yet they turn not from their evil ways.

And they know not me, saith the LORD: The God of truth, and without iniquity, and who will severely punish for it. They did not serve and worship Him as the only LORD God. The Targum says, the knowledge of my fear they learned not (see note on 5:10).

God has given up on changing them and says just let them lie to each other and cheat each other; put them away. This reminds me of what society does to criminals today. In a sense, at the end of the Gentile age, this is just what happens. Jesus locks the devil up for a thousand years so he cannot deceive the people anymore.

Jeremiah 9:4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanders.

Better rendered friend, or companion (as in 2 Sam. 16:17), here and in the next verse. Showing the general corruption will be so malignant, that one friend will betray another; no faith in friends.

Will utterly supplant: Wholly given to it; Hebrew, supplanting means to take the place of, often in a sneaky way. Will supplant; means replace. Trampling them under their feet. Noting their oppression, which they exercise in all manner of ways, as in the next verse, both by fraud and force. Like the interpretation that Esau puts upon Jacob (Gen. 27:36). Not only such as are near in habitation, pretending neighborhood and friendship, but near in relation, even a brother will circumvent. No respect to blood, arguing them to be monstrous in nature, putting off humanity. The word is here in allusion to Jacob, who had his name from supplanting; a metaphor taken from the sole of the foot (Gen. 25:26).

Walk with slanders: Carrying tales and reports up and down, whether true or false, disturbing the peace of neighborhood (Jer. 6:28). And against the law of God (Lev. 19:16).

It was not only a dangerous thing then to put your trust in relatives and friends, but it is dangerous now as well. Mankind will let you down. The only One you can really trust is God. Neighbors slander each other and brothers are jealous and hold their brothers back, afraid they will get ahead.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Jeremiah 9:5 And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, weary themselves to commit iniquity.

In conversation, with lying words; and in trade and commerce, by art and trickery.

And will not speak the truth: With respect to facts they report, or goods they sell.

They have taught their tongue to speak lies: And become so accustomed to lying that they cannot do otherwise. It is as if it was natural to them.

And weary themselves to commit iniquity: Spared no pains to come at it, nor any in it, and go on even to weariness; are more laborious and indefatigable in committing sin than good men are in doing good; which shows great folly and stupidity. The Targum says, they are become foolish, they have erred.

Verses 4 and 5 above, are both speaking of people who are not following after God. God's people should be trustworthy. This is speaking of a generation that is not interested in the principles God has taught, and are living worldly lives. The world deceives to get ahead. They cheat, steal and lie to further their own cause. They are not interested in the golden rule: see Matt. 7:12. This is speaking of a people far away from God and His teachings.

Jeremiah 9:6 Thine habitation in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.

Here God speaks to the prophet, to inform him that there is no hope of this people's reformation (Jer. 8:5); therefore, He expresses a deceitful people by their refusal to know Him.

Deceit: i.e. No integrity/honesty among them but deceit one to another. And hypocrisy towards Me (Psalm 109:2), and vanity for vain men (Job 35:13). Or to caution and advise Jeremiah how to behave himself among such a people, that he be very wary he be not ensnared by them (Jer. 12:6).

They refuse to know me: Hoping to shift enough by several means they think will do, they refuse to turn to Me (Jer. 8:5). Or by hearkening to their false prophets, who have all along deceived them, they obstinately reject My ways and counsels (Psalms 36:1-4; 82:5).

They lived in an area where they were all sinners. It was a way of life to lie and cheat. These people were far from God. They were worshipping idols because they would believe a lie before believing the Truth. It is a very dangerous thing to companion with those of unbelief. Whoever you are around on a regular basis, you will be like. Habitation is a place where you continually dwell.

Verses 7-9: God refines or tries His people, first for correction and improvement, second for punishment. Job understood this in the midst of his trials: But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).

Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?

The prophet, speaking in the name of Jehovah, falls back upon the imagery of Jer. 6:28-30; Isa. 48:10. The evil has come to such a point, that nothing is left but the melting of the fiery furnace of affliction.

For how shall I do for the daughter of my people?: The phrase throws us back upon Jer. 8:21-22. The balm of Gilead had proved ineffectual. The disease required a severer remedy.

Melting has to do with refining. It is well known if you melt silver or gold, the impurities come to the top. The refiner skims the dirt/impurities off and then you have near pure metal. This is what is being said here. The heat is applied to them to purge their sins away. All purging is done to help the one purged. God loved them so much, He would cause them to suffer a while to purify them.

Jeremiah 9:8 Their tongue an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: speaketh peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.

Before in Jer. 9:3, the tongue was compared to a bow, i.e. ready prepared, and furnished with materials contriving their wickedness (Psalm 11:2). And here to an arrow shot out, actually executing what they have designed. Some translate it a murdering arrow. It speaks deceit; never speaking what they mean, that thereby they may easily deceive the credulous. A double tongue, speaking fair words when they mean to destroy.

It speaketh deceit: Deceitful words, by which men are imposed upon, and are led into wrong ways of thinking and acting.

One speaketh peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth: Salutes him in a friendly manner; wishes him all health, peace, and prosperity. Professes a sincere and cordial friendship for him, and feigns a strong affection to him.

But in heart he layeth his wait: To draw him into snares, and circumvent, trick, and defraud him.

We see from this that these people have evil hearts, out of which come deceitful words. We are what is in our heart. The tongue expresses the thoughts of the heart. A wicked tongue then, means we have a wicked heart. In the verse above, the neighbor pretends to be a friend, but in his heart, he hates. This is a two-faced person.

Proverbs 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart a potsherd covered with silver dross.

He appears from the outside to be pure, but he is just covering his deceit. The tongue is a piercing weapon when used against someone.

Jeremiah 9:9 Shall I not visit them for these ? Saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

The Targum adds, To bring evil upon them.

Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?: The Targum explains, or of a people whose works are such, shall I not take vengeance according to my pleasure? (See Jer. 5:9).

The world does not see these sins. The people cover them up, but God looks at the heart of man. A nation of people like this should not be called by God's name. They do not do the ways of God, so they are not representing Him on the earth.

Jeremiah 9:10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through ; neither can hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.

Because of the desolation of them. Because there is no pasture upon them, nor flocks feeding there. Or concerning them, as in the Arabic version; or upon them, in order to cause the lamentation to be heard further. But the former sense seems best, as appears by what follows: The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read it as an exhortation to others, take up a weeping: but they are the words of the prophet, declaring what he would do.

And for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation: For the cottages of the shepherds, erected for their convenience. To look after their flocks, feeding on the mountains, and in the valleys. For the wilderness does not denote barren places, but pastures.

Because they are burned up: By the fire of the Chaldeans, who burnt the cottages, and drove off the cattle.

So that none can pass through them: Or there is none that passes through; as no inhabitants are there, so none passes by that way; which shows how very desolate these places were.

Neither can men hear the voice of the cattle: The lowing of the oxen, or the bleating of the sheep, there being none to be heard, being all carried off. And indeed, no men to hear them, had there been any.

Both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone: Or, from the fowl of the heavens to the beasts, etc. The places lying waste and uncultivated. There were no seed for the fowls to pick up, which generally frequent places where there is sowing, and where fruit is brought to perfection. And no pasture for the beasts to feed upon. Kimchi says these words are a hyperbole. The word beast, being by geometry, or numerically, fifty two. The Jews gather from this that for the space of fifty two years no man passed through the land of Judah. Which they reckon from the time that Zedekiah was carried captive, to the commandment of Cyrus.

The punishment brought upon these people hurt God worse than anyone. He is like a parent who has had to punish a child severely because of his sin. The parent grieves more than the child at the punishment. This punishment was so severe, there was nothing left.

Jeremiah 9:11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.

That is, the walls and houses of Jerusalem shall be thrown down, and become heaps of stones and rubbish.

And a den of dragons: only inhabited by wild beasts.

And I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant: So that the calamity would be universal. Not only Jerusalem, but all the cities of the land would be destroyed, forsaken, and uninhabited.

Jeremiah is speaking this with his mouth, but we remember that the words in Jeremiah's mouth were put there by God. It is actually God speaking through the mouth of Jeremiah. This speaks of the desolation left in Jerusalem and all of Judah.

Verses 12-16: God answers the why are we suffering question with five grievances (9:13-14). One consequence of persistent sin is always persistent suffering.

Jeremiah 9:12 Who the wise man, that may understand this? and to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?

Not the calamity, but the cause of it. A man of wisdom would inquire into it, find it out, and understand it. But the intimation is, that there was not a wise man among them. At least very few. There were scarcely any that took any notice of these things or were concerned about them.

And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken: And foretold this desolation and destruction; meaning a prophet.

That he may declare it: As from the LORD, namely, what follows:

For what the land perisheth, and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?: That is, what were the sins of the inhabitants of the land, which brought such distress upon it, and for which it became such a ruinous heap; and like the heath in the wilderness, so that it had no inhabitant, nor even a passerby. They must be some very great and abominable iniquities that were the cause of all this.

All of this was spoken by Jeremiah in time warning the people to leave before the trouble began. They had time to repent and then leave, so they would not be caught up in the destruction. Those who loved God believed Jeremiah. They were the wise men that knew Jeremiah was telling the truth. The mouth of God spoke this to all, but the great majority did not heed the warning. They stayed and witnessed their land being totally destroyed. It appears much of the damage came from fire.

Jeremiah 9:13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;

The Septuagint version adds, To me. There being no wise and understanding man, nor prophet to take up this affair, and look into the cause of it. Therefore, the LORD undertakes it Himself. The question was put to them, but they not answering it, the LORD does.

Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them: In a plain and easy manner, so as to be readily understood. Yet this they attended not unto, but forsook it, neglected it, and cast it behind their backs. Kimchi's note on the phrase, before them, is not in heaven is it, nor beyond the sea is it; (see Deut. 30:11).

And have not obeyed my voice: In the law, and by the prophets.

Neither walked therein: According to it, as the LORD directed: They neither hearkened to the voice of the LORD, nor did as they were instructed by it.

Jeremiah 9:14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:

What their own hearts devised, chose, and were best pleased with (see notes on Jer. 7:24).

And after Baalim: The idols of the Gentiles. These they served and worshipped, and not the true God.

Which their fathers taught them: Which was so far from excusing them, that it was an aggravation of their sin that they had continued in their wicked ways and idolatrous practices, from age to age, from one generation to another. This then was the cause of their calamity and destruction. They had forsaken the law of the LORD, and had broken that. They had chosen their own ways, and had been guilty of idolatrous practices. Wherefore the LORD had shown much longsuffering and patience with them, and would now no longer forbear as He was just and righteous in His doings.

Over and over again, God gave them the reason for bringing about this destruction. The worst thing they had done was to follow after false gods. They had committed spiritual adultery. They had left their love for God and been unfaithful to Him with these false gods.

Jeremiah 9:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Wormwood € water of gall: The LORD pictured the awful suffering of the judgment with wormwood, which had very bitter leaves. Their food would be bitterness, and their water as foul as gall, a poisonous herb.

The term Wormwood is also a symbolic representation of the bitterness that will fill the earth during troubled times. Not only in the land where the destruction occurred would the water be bad, but when this people are captured and carried to a foreign land, the food and water seemed a bitter dose to take.

Jeremiah 9:16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.

Besides the bitter judgments of famine and pestilence during the siege, what remained of them should be carried captive out of their own land into foreign lands; nothing could be more distressing.

Whom neither they nor their fathers have known: A circumstance greatly aggravating their captivity.

And I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them: Or men that kill with the sword, as the Targum says. It chiefly refers to those who were scattered among the Moabites and Ammonites, and especially those that went into Egypt (see Jer. 44:27).

At the time this was written, all the world except the Hebrews, were heathen. The family of Israel were the only ones who had the law of God. He had not revealed Himself to the rest of the world at this time. They were sent into strange lands. They, nor their fathers, had been acquainted with the people of these lands. Those who do not believe in God will be destroyed.

Verses 17-22: Funeral ceremonies and processions were often attended by professional mourning women (2 Sam. 14:2; 2 Chron. 35:25; Matt. 9:23), as attested by the evidence throughout the ancient Near East. So severe and widespread will be the death scene, that the female population at large will be needed in order that lamentations may be made for all the dead. Death is pictured here as an unwelcome intruder, the Grim Reaper. So numerous will be the dead that, unlike the situation in harvesting where the gatherers follow the reapers, the number of available men to bury the dead will be insufficient. Therefore, the carcases of men will lie unburied, a particularly loathsome sight to those in the ancient Near East (compare 8:2; 16:4, 6; 25:33).

The coming calamity on the people of Judah would be so great that individuals would be unable to grieve properly. The call goes out for professional mourners (cunning ), who could help in the grieving. Daughters should be taught to wail as part of their upbringing.

Jeremiah 9:17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning , that they may come:

The punishment that was just coming upon them, as Kimchi says; or the words that the LORD was about to say unto them, as follows:

The mourning women: Hired to attend funerals, and by their skilled wailings, aid the real mourners in giving vent to their grief.

And send for cunning women, that they may come: Such as were expert in this business, and could mimic mourning well, and had the art of moving emotions/triggering sorrow with their voice and gestures.

There were people in those days (mostly women), who were paid mourners. These professional mourners were called to mourn for the whole nation. It appears there will be so much mourning needed, that there will not be enough of this group to do the job. They will call all of the cunning women to come and help them mourn.

Jeremiah 9:18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.

Deliver out a mournful song, as mentioned in the Arabic version. Setting forth their miseries and distresses, and affecting their minds with them. The prophet puts himself among the people, as being a party included in their sufferings, and sympathizing with them. As well as to show the certainty of, and how soon they would be involved in them.

That our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters: Or balls of the eye, as explained in the Targum and Kimchi; these hyperbolical expressions are used to express the greatness of the calamity. And that no mourning was equal to it (see Jer. 9:1).

The main purpose of the mourning women was to stir up the emotions of the people. They would wail and cry, until all the people were stirred up and began to cry as well.

Jeremiah 9:19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast out.

I.e. Jerusalem, spoken in the present tense, after the prophetical style, being a frequent way of the prophet's expressing the certainty of a thing. How are we spoiled! How great is our misery! Or, how come we're in such a desolate condition? Possibly expressions of the artificial mourners, or rather their real sense of it. Now it is all too late.

We are greatly confounded: Whether this is the complaint of the people forced to flee from their habitation to Jerusalem for shelter, or of Jerusalem itself, that could expect no less, it filled them with great consternation; that they who thought their houses should have continued for ever, because of God's promise (Psalm 132:10), must now forsake them (Lev. 18:25). Either their persons carried out into captivity, or have them utterly demolished by the enemy.

Zion here, could be speaking of Jerusalem. The people who are left standing after the battle, have no homes to return to. This would be true mourning for their loss.

Jeremiah 9:20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbor lamentation.

Not the mourning women, but others who had lost their husbands and their children, and had just reason for real mourning. And therefore, they are called upon to it, not only because they were more tenderhearted than men, as Kimchi observes; or because they were more attentive to the hearing of the word of God than men. But because of the lack of men, such numbers being slain in the siege, and by the sword. And of the loss the women had sustained (see Jer. 9:22).

And let your ear receive the word of His mouth: By His prophets; so the Targum says / paraphrases, let your ear hearken to the words of His prophets:

And teach your daughters wailing: The Arabic version, a mournful song; not referring to the daughters of the mourning women; but the real daughters of those who had lost their fathers, husbands or children; since it follows:

And everyone her neighbor lamentation: Signifying that the mortality among them would be universal, not a family escaping; which is described in the next verses. This wailing and lamentation was made by responses, according to the Jews; for they say: what is lamentation? When one speaks, and all the rest answer after her, as it is written in Jer. 9:20.

It appears this is a warning of how great the destruction will be. It is saying, grief will reach every family, so teach them all to mourn.

Jeremiah 9:21 For death is come up into our windows, is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, the young men from the streets.

Death is come up: The unavoidableness of the ruin is expressed metaphorically (Ezek. 21:14; Jer. 6:5). Most likely alluding to the violent and universal storming of a city (Jer. 5:10), wherein there is no respect had to sex or age. The Chaldeans are here understood by death, as bringing death wherever they come; a substitute of the effect.

To cut off the children from without, the young men from the streets: No safety within or outside. The enemy shall cut off / slay all, not only those at home, but even those that are conversing or playing in the streets, which are mostly young men and children (Jer. 6:11).

The death toll from this destruction is not just the men as it is in most battles. This death reaches the children as well as the adults. It is not just at the battlefront either. Many of the deaths occur in their homes. The mention of the palace means that even the children of the rulers are not safe.

Jeremiah 9:22 Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather .

How galling to the Jews to hear that their corpses will be trampled upon contemptuously.

This is speaking of the vast number who die and are not buried. They will be just left in the field where they die, to decay and return to the earth.

Verses 23-24: Having lamented the folly of his faithless people, Jeremiah turns their attention to the true source of wisdom €" the LORD Himself (9:23 €" 10:25). True wisdom was to be found in the consistent following of the three central qualities of spiritual life: Loving-kindness (the exercise of true covenant loyalty; compare the note on 1 Sam. 20:14-17), judgement (the consistent application of true justice for all), and righteousness (the maintenance of what was right in the sight of the LORD in all of life).

Two directives God gives as He uses people in His service:

(1) That they not glory in themselves or any personal achievement; and

(2) That they give the glory to God (Psalm 33-18).

The apostle Paul references this passage in 1 Cor. 1:31, to recommend glorying, or boasting, in God. A person who understandeth and knoweth God does not stop at accumulating information about God but pursues a personal relationship with Him.

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich glory in his riches:

The long prophecy of judgment had reached its climax. Now comes the conclusion of the whole matter that the one way of salvation is to renounce all reliance on the wisdom, greatness, and wealth of the world, and to glory only in knowing Jehovah. The wise man is, (as mentioned before in Jer. 8:9; 9:12) the scribe, or recognized teacher of the people.

Neither let the mighty man glory in his might: Not in his natural might or strength; this is of God, and is greater in some of the brutes than in men. And is what God can take away, and does often weaken it by diseases, and at last destroys it by death. Nor in moral strength, or in the power of free will; which is very weak and insufficient to do anything that is spiritually good. Nor even in spiritual strength; this is from Christ. It is only through Him strengthening His people that they do what they do. And all supplies and increase of it are from Him; and therefore, there shall be no room for self-glorification.

Let not the rich man glory in his riches: These come from the hand of God and are what He can take away at His pleasure. They are very uncertain and precarious things. These cannot profit in a day of wrath, nor deliver from death, corporeal, spiritual, or eternal. And the intention of the words here is to show, that neither the wise man with all his art and cunning, nor the mighty man by his strength, nor the rich man through his riches, could save themselves from the destruction before prophesied of. The Targum paraphrases them this way: thus saith the LORD, let not Solomon the son of David, the wise man, praise (or please) himself in his wisdom. Nor let Samson the son of Manoah, the mighty man, please himself in his might. Nor let Ahab the son of Omri, the rich man, please himself in his riches.

This just says that worldly wisdom, strength, or wealth will not save them from destruction. They will all die together.

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these I delight, saith the LORD.

Understandeth and knoweth me: Nothing but true knowledge of God can save the nation. Paul refers to this passage twice in 1 Cor. 1:31 and 2 Cor. 10:17.

There is only one help and He is the LORD. If the people heed the message sent to them by Jeremiah and do the things God has told them to do, they will be spared. God's nature is not to punish. His nature is lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness. Because He is just, He must bring correction on this people. There will, however, be a remnant saved, even in this terrible time.

Jeremiah 9:25 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all circumcised with the uncircumcised;

Or, are coming. It seems to refer to the time after the Babylonian captivity, when the punishment being threatened took place, and not before.

That I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised: Jews and Gentiles alike. The circumcised Jews trusting in their circumcision, and being, as is said in the next verse, uncircumcised in heart, were no better than the uncircumcised Gentiles. Wherefore, both being transgressors of the law and despisers of the Gospel of Christ, are threatened with destruction (see Rom. 2:12).

Just because they were descended from Abraham and have been circumcised to prove it, will not save them. They have been living like the uncircumcised world, and they will be punished the same as them. This says to me, just because you claim to be a Christian is not enough. You must live the Christian life. Christ must indwell you to the extent that your whole being, inside and out, is Christ like. To be Christ like, saves you.

Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all nations uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel uncircumcised in the heart.

Egypt € wilderness: A preview of God's judgment of the nations is detailed in chapters 46-51.

Uncircumcised in the heart: (see note on 4:4). Jeremiah announced God's word that physical circumcision had no value unless it was accompanied by circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:25-29).

To belong to God is not a flesh experience, it is a heart experience. The people of all the heathen lands mentioned above, were not even circumcised in the flesh. These Hebrews were circumcised in the flesh but they had not had a change of heart, which is necessary to be saved. (I call it a heart transplant). Salvation occurs in the heart regardless of who you are. My favorite Scriptures on this are the following:

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Jew or Gentile, this is the way to heaven.

Jeremiah Chapter 9 Questions

  1. What is Jeremiah saying in verse 1?
  2. Why was the Lord so disappointed in His people?
  3. Their tongues are like what?
  4. What happens to the devil at the end of the Gentile age?
  5. Who could they trust?
  6. What does supplant mean, in verse 4?
  7. What kind of people are verses 4 and 5 speaking of?
  8. Their habitation is in the midst of _________.
  9. What does habitation mean?
  10. Describe a two-faced person.
  11. What is different about the way the world looks at you, and the way God looks at you?
  12. Who does the punishment that God sends upon them, hurt the worst?
  13. Jeremiah speaks this with his mouth, but the message is from _______.
  14. Who were the wise men of verse 12?
  15. What explanation does God give for punishing them?
  16. What does wormwood mean?
  17. Who were the heathen?
  18. Who were the mourners they called?
  19. Why did they call the cunning women?
  20. What was the main reason for the mourning women?
  21. Why were they wailing from Zion?
  22. The carcases of men shall fall as _______.
  23. What was the only thing to glory in?
  24. What is the nature of God?
  25. What must all do to be saved?

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Jeremiah 10

Jeremiah Chapter 10

Verses 1-16: Considering the impotence of the false gods and the emptiness of false religion, men surely ought to worship the omnipotent LORD and King of nations. God's name, which is great, reveals His character and reputation. The term name became a title for God (compare Dan. 9:18-19; Amos 2:7; 9:12), and was applied in the New Testament to Christ (Acts 4:12; 5:41; 3 John 7).

Verses 1-5: God exposes idols as worthless attempts to create a substitute for Him. Any power that idols have as a governing force in people's lives is a power assigned to them, not any power they have in themselves.

Jeremiah 10:1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

This forms the link that connects what follows with what precedes. The house of Israel had been told that it was uncircumcised in heart, on level with the heathen. Now the sins of the heathen, which they were disposed to follow, are set forth in words of scorn and indignation.

This is a request for Israel to listen to what Jeremiah is saying, because the words he speaks is the Word of the LORD.

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

For the heathen are dismayed at them: Or, though the heathen. Which is a reason why the people of God should not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, because it is a heathenish fear. Wherein they are frightened at specific conjunctions and positions of the stars, and fear that certain dreadful things will follow; and never regard the Supreme Being as the all-powerful Creator and Architect of the universe and everything in it. Yet such who have the knowledge of the true God, and a revelation of His will, ought not to be terrified hereby (see Isa. 47:13). This text proves that the Israelites are not under the power or influence of any planet; the heathen are dismayed at them, but the Israelites need not be.

Signs of heaven: Gentiles worshiped celestial bodies, including the sun, moon, and stars.

One of the customary practices of the heathen is to look to the stars for answers about their lives. Way in this verse means religion. This is the same thing we call horoscopes today. God told His people not to get involved with this: it is sin. Anything that takes the place of God in our lives is sin. The heavens have no answers. The God who made the heavens is the answer. They may be living in the land of the heathen, but God forbids them to take up the ways of the heathen. Christians are also like that. We live in the world, but we'd better not take up the ways of the world.

Jeremiah 10:3 For the customs of the people vain: for cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

Or, their decrees, or statutes, their determinations and conclusions, founded upon the observation of the stars; or, their rites and ceremonies in religion; in the worship of the sun and moon, and the hosts of heaven. The Syriac version is, the idols of the people are nothing, which is apparent by what follows:

For one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe: Not for building, or for burning, but to make a god of. The vanity, ignorance, and folly of which are manifest. When it is considered that the origin of it is a tree that grew in the forest. The matter and substance of it is: the body and trunk of a tree are cut down with an axe, and then hewed with the same; and planed with a plane, and formed into the image of a man, or of some creature. And now, to fall down and worship this must be vanity and cluelessness to the highest degree (see Isa. 44:13-20).

These customs here, are speaking of religious customs. Their custom was idol worship. They worshipped wooden idols that had been carved out by man's hands. Vain in this scripture, means they got no benefit from their worship.

Jeremiah 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

They deck it: Idols were often carved from wood (verse 3), and ornamented with gold or silver (compare verse 9). Some were molded from clay. The context points out the impossibility for such non-existent gods to punish or reward humans (verses 3-5).

They decorate it up to be an outwardly beautiful inanimate object. All of the silver and gold they put upon it does not bring life into it. It is just an idol (nothing).

Verses 5-8: One of the problems with idol worship is that people become like what they worship (Psalm 115:8). Idols are unable to speak, and those who follow them are altogether brutish and foolish.

Jeremiah 10:5 They upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also in them to do good.

The nature of which is to grow upright and tall, without any branching, till it comes to the top, thereby possibly representing majesty.

But speak not: Looking as if they were about to speak, standing in a speaking posture, but have not a word to utter, being only dumb stocks, wooden gods.

They must needs be borne, because they cannot go: They move no further or faster than you lift them, either when you go to set them up, or upon any occasion of removal, as stiff as stakes, being indeed but sticks.

Be not afraid of them: for they cannot do evil, neither also in them to do good: They can do you no more harm than the signs of heaven could; they are but dead wooden stocks. The heathens worshipped some idols that they might do them good, and others that they might do them no harm. But God tells them here, they can do neither good nor harm, as in the next words. They can neither punish nor reward; they can neither hurt their enemies, nor help their friends. By this the true God can be distinguished from idols, that He alone can foretell things to come, and He alone can reward or punish (Isa. 48:5). And therefore, the prophet endeavors to turn them away from their idols to the true God.

This just speaks of the utter uselessness of these idols they have made. They can neither help those who worship them, but are a burden to the people as well. They must be carried around by the worshipper. They have no power to even help themselves. Why would a person fear them? They have no power to do good or evil.

Verses 6-16: This extended comparison of the one true God with the gods of the nations, highlights the vanity of worshipping idols. The One whose name is the LORD of hosts will judge the faithlessness of the work of errors and their creators.

Jeremiah 10:6 Forasmuch as none like unto thee, O LORD; thou great, and thy name great in might.

None like Him, for the perfections of His nature, for the works of His hands; and for the instances of His kindness and beneficence, both in a way of grace and providence. There is none like Him for doing good, or meting out justice. That is, for bestowing favors, or inflicting punishments. There is none like Him for goodness or greatness, as follows:

Thou art great: In His nature; of great power, wisdom, faithfulness, truth, and goodness. And in His works of creation and providence, and in everything in which He is concerned. And greatness is to be ascribed to Him, and greatly is He to be praised; and all the glory due unto His name is to be given Him.

And thy name is great in might: His name is Himself, and His greatness much appears in the exertion of the attribute of His power and might. In making all things out of nothing, in upholding the whole creation, and in the government of the universe. Or the fame of Him is great through the effects of His power, which are seen throughout the earth.

There is no god like unto the real God. The extreme opposite of these idols is true of the LORD. He is alive for ever more. He has all power and all strength. The very life and breath of man is furnished by God. He is everything to those who will just believe. He even affects those who do not believe. He is their eternal Judge. There is absolutely no comparison between God and these false deities.

Jeremiah 10:7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, none like unto thee.

King: God, who sovereignly created and controls all things (compare verse 12, 16; Deut. 4:35), alone is the eternal, living God (compare Psalms 47, 145), worthy of trust. By contrast, earthly idols have to be fashioned by men (verse 9), and will perish (verse 15).

We see in this that God is King of all nations, not just King of the Jews. He created the heavens and the earth, and then created mankind to dwell there. We are all His creation. We are all offered the opportunity to become His sons. These earthly kings that were appointed by God are humans; they are not to be worshipped. We must not worship any created being or thing. We must worship the Creator only. Even the wise men are created by God.

Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock a doctrine of vanities.

In comparison to the LORD, there is no knowledge or wisdom in them; this is a certain fact. They are verily brutish and/or foolish; there is not a wise man among them. Or, in one thing they are brutish, namely, in their idolatry. However wise they may be in other respects, in this they are foolish. Or, to give no more instances of their brutishness and folly, this one is sufficient, even what follows:

The stock is a doctrine of vanities: or what they teach persons, as to worship the trunk of a tree, or any idol of metal, or of wood, is the most vain and foolish thing, and argues gross ignorance and folly, and proves them to be brutish, and without understanding.

The word baar that brutish was translated from means to kindle or burn. Stock in this verse, is speaking of wood. To worship a piece of wood, no matter how well decorated it might be, is a foolish thing indeed. They are worshipping this piece of wood in vain.

Jeremiah 10:9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple their clothing: they all the work of cunning .

Tarshish: Possibly a commercial port in southern Spain or on the Island of Sardinia (Compare Jonah 1:3).

Uphaz: Location is uncertain.

They are all the work of cunning men: Both the idols and their clothing; especially the latter is meant, which was curiously wrought and embroidered by men skillful in that art.

The silver and gold mentioned here, was used to decorate the idols of wood. Again, this was vain to worship. The silver and gold here was just a coating to make the wood appear to be something better than it was. It appears these cunning workmen had colors scattered on the idols, to make it appear as if they were clothing. None of this could make an idol live. They are nothings.

Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD the true God, he the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

In opposition to all nominal and fictitious deities, which are not by nature God, only by name, and in the foolish imagination of the people. Or, the LORD God is truth; that cannot lie, is true to His covenant and promises, and will never deceive those that worship and serve Him, or rely upon Him.

He is the living God: That has life in Himself, and is the author and giver of life to others. To all men natural life, to some men spiritual and eternal life; whereas the gods of the Gentiles have no life in themselves. They are either dead men, or lifeless and inanimate things: sticks and stones; and can give no life to others.

An everlasting King: From everlasting to everlasting. He is King of old, even from eternity, and will ever be so. His kingdom is an everlasting one, and His throne for ever and ever, and He will always have subjects to reign over. He will not have any successor as mortal kings do, even such who have been deified by their idolatrous subjects.

At His wrath the earth shall tremble: That is, the inhabitants of it, when it is poured forth in judgments in the present life, and in the everlasting destruction of soul and body hereafter. And then shall they fear Him, though now they do not.

And the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation: Especially at the Day of Judgment (see Rev. 6:16).

The Creator has complete control of His creation. God is not dead; He is alive for ever more. He is the Beginning and the Ending. There was nothing before Him and there will be nothing after Him. Living God is speaking of the great I AM. He is King. He is Truth. He is Life. He is Love. At one word from His mouth, the entire earth shall tremble. At His command, the planet we call earth came into existence. He flung it out in space and told it to stay in perfect orbit, and it did. Everything and everyone are His.

Verses 11-16: The true and living Creator God is again contrasted with lifeless idols.

Jeremiah 10:11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.

In other words, to your great lords, the Babylonians, when they shall solicit you to worship idols.

The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth: This seems to have some allusion to a saying common among those Greeks that held one supreme Deity; let him that saith he is a god make another world. Here is noted how frail they both are.

They shall perish: And how weak they are, they could not make:

The heavens and the earth: This verse is written in the Chaldean tongue, and not in the Hebrew. That when they came among them that did worship their idols, they might openly and plainly profess the true God in that language. Which the enemies understood better than they did the Hebrew, and that in such kind of bold language as this. Let all those gods perish from off the earth, and under the heavens, that were not able to make either. It is an imprecation upon their idols.

These false gods made of wood would not last five minutes in a fire. Wood shows their worldliness and that they are nothings. They did not make anything. They themselves are the design of men's hands.

Jeremiah 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

Once people admit their need, they should turn away from their emptiness and focus on God's fullness. True wisdom is to be found in God alone (James 1:17). Ultimately, there is nothing and no one who can successfully substitute for God.

The very first thing we are taught in the Bible is that God spoke and created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Each time God made something, the Bible tells us and God said. The next sentence says, it was so. We read in:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

You see, the spoken Word of God created all things.

Jeremiah 10:13 When he uttereth his voice, a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

The Bible not only says that the power of God created the universe but that the same power sustains it (Col. 1:17). God's power is at work in the elements and even in the process of evaporation (vapors).

God controls all the elements of the earth. The rain must obey His voice as does the wind, and everything else. A good example of that power over the elements, is when Jesus spoke to the raging sea and told it to be still, and it obeyed (Mark 4:39).

Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is brutish in knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image falsehood, and no breath in them.

Or the science of making an idol, whether it be of wood, gold, silver, or brass. He is no better than a brute, if he thinks when he has made it, he has made a god. Or, because of knowledge; for want of it. Being without the knowledge of God and divine things, he is like the beasts that perish (Psalm 49:20).

Every founder is confounded by the graven image: Or put to shame on account of it; since, after all his art, and care, and trouble, in smelting and refining, and casting it into a form, it is no more than a piece of gold, silver, or brass, which has no deity, nor anything like it, within it.

For his molten image is falsehood: It is a lie, when it is said to be a god. And it deceives those who worship it, and place any confidence in it. Kimchi renders it, his covering; the covering of the idol with gold and silver, with blue and purple (as in Jer. 10:9). It is all a means of deceit to impose upon the people, and lead them into idolatry.

And there is no breath in them: They are mere stocks and stones, lifeless and inanimate objects. They have neither life themselves, nor can they give it to others.

Man's knowledge is limited/ finite when compared to God's knowledge. Man cannot create a living thing. God breathes the breath of life into every living thing. Anything man makes is an inanimate object. Worship of anything or anyone other than God, is false worship.

Jeremiah 10:15 They vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

Better, a work of mockery, i.e., worthy of that and of that only. The word being apparently substituted, after Jeremiah's manner; for the technical word, not unlike in sound, is translated image work in 2 Chron. 3:10.

In the time of their visitation they shall perish: I.e., in the time when they are visited with punishment, as in 1 Peter 2:12; Isa. 10:3; Luke 19:44.

Only a very ignorant vain person would worship an idol. Anyone who worships anything or anyone, other than God, will perish on judgement day.

Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Jeremiah 10:16 The portion of Jacob not like them: for he the former of all ; and Israel the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts his name.

Portion of Jacob: God is the all sufficient source for His people (Num. 18:20), and He will not fail them as idols do (11:12).

Israel is the rod of his inheritance: To this nation, God gave His inheritance in covenant love.

The word rod was translated from the word shebet, which also means branch off, or clan or tribe. We can understand this scripture, if we think of Israel as the tribe of His inheritance. Israel is an offshoot of the family of Jacob. The LORD of hosts is the same one as the King of the Jews. Remember that Israel is made up of the physical house and the spiritual house of Israel.

Romans 3:29  the God of the Jews only? not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Galatians 3:29 And if ye Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Jeremiah 10:17 Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.

The prophet now enters upon another subject, and probably begins another sermon.

Gather up thy wares: I.e. everything thou hast any advantage by, not only your domestic concerns, but all your traffic and merchandise. Wherever thou hast any concerns in the land, as men used to do in case of invasion by an enemy, to secure them. It seems to be a sarcasm, or kind of military derision.

O inhabitant of the fortress: This is understood by some as spoken to the Babylonians, that they should make provision for their escape, their idols being not able to save them. But this seems to be remote from the prophet's meaning. It is rather therefore directed to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that being the chief place of security in Judea, and by a synecdoche (a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa), to all other places that they promised themselves security in. The approaching destruction being to pass through the whole country.

The wares here, are speaking of their belongings that they can carry. Inhabitant of the fortress is speaking of them being overrun.

Jeremiah 10:18 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find .

This is a reason enforcing the exhortation in the preceding verse, and shows that the same people spoken of here are addressed there.

Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once: Meaning the inhabitants of the land of Judea. Or otherwise the prophet would never have expressed such a concern for them as he does in the following verse. Their captivity is signified by the slinging of a stone out of a sling, and shows how sudden, swift, and certain, it would be. And that it would as easily and swiftly be done, and with equal force and rapidity, as a stone is slung out of a sling. And that it would be done by the LORD Himself, regardless of who the instruments were.

And will distress them: Or straiten them, on every side. It seems to intend the siege; or bring them into great straits and difficulties, through pestilence, famine, sword, and captivity.

That they may find it: So as He had spoken by His prophets, it came to pass exactly as they had foretold. The Targum says, that they may receive the punishment of their sins. And so do the Septuagint and Arabic versions, that thy stroke may be found. But the Syriac version is very different from either, that they may seek me and find; which is an end that is sometimes answered by afflictive dispensations.

The slinging out indicates that they went, not of their own free will, but were forced out by God. Their distress was not just for the loss of their land and belongings, but they were slaves of the Babylonians now.

Verses 19-20: The picture of a tent that can no longer be erected because all the cords are broken and no one is available to raise it, would have presented a vivid message to people not far removed from their nomadic ancestors.

Jeremiah 10:19 Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this a grief, and I must bear it.

Or breach; which was inflicted upon the Jews / Jewish people, when they were besieged, taken, and carried captive; with whom the prophet heartily sympathized, and considered their calamities and distresses as his own. For these are the words of the prophet, lamenting the sad estate of his people.

My wound is grievous: Causes grief, is very painful, and hard to be endured.

But I said: Within himself, after he had thoroughly considered the matter.

This is a grief: An affliction, a trial, and exercise.

And I must bear it: Patiently and quietly, since it is of God, and is justly brought upon the people for their sins.

This could be Jeremiah grieving over their loss, or it could be the people themselves grieving over their loss. They are finally aware they must bear the grief, because they brought the trouble on themselves. This too will pass. They must just make up their minds to bear it.

Jeremiah 10:20 My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they not: none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.

My tabernacle is spoiled: Jeremiah, using a nomadic metaphor, shifted into words that Israelites would speak when the invaders attack. They will feel despair and cry out over their homes being plundered and their children being killed or scattered to exile.

We see the complete desperation of people who no longer even have a tent to dwell in. Their children, who had helped raise the tent for times of resting, are captured and gone. We could also see in this a lamenting Father, who no longer has the tabernacle to dwell in, with His children. The priests and High Priest are captured too.

Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.

The pastors were Judah's false civil and religious leaders (compare the note on 3:15).

Pastor means to tend a flock. There are two ways to tend a flock. The one possibly intended here, is the shepherd in the country who tends his sheep, grazing them in the pastureland. It seems the other is important here too: The minister of the church who actually is the pastor of his flock. It is a dangerous thing for either of them to not seek the LORD. The shepherd who allows the wolves to come in and destroy, because the LORD was not guiding his actions, is intended here. During the invasion of a country, the physical sheep can get scattered. In the spiritual sense, the invasion of the church by the devil can also scatter the flock.

Jeremiah 10:22 Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of dragons.

Or, the voice of hearing; that is, the voice heard. A report was made that the king of Babylon had invaded the land, and was coming up to besiege Jerusalem.

And a great commotion out of the north country: A large army from Babylon, which lay north of Judah, came with a deafening noise, and caused great trembling and shaking among the inhabitants of Judah.

To make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons: This shows that the whole paragraph is to be understood of the Jewish nation, and of their destruction. (See notes on Jer. 9:11).

Babylon is the dragon mentioned here. This is a large, noisy army that is come from the north, to invade Jerusalem and Judah.

Verses 23-25: Jeremiah had a moment of personal accountability as he realized his own precarious standing before God. The LORD's spokesman affirmed man's sinful condition, including himself among the sinners (correct me). Prayers for justice should be accompanied by profound awareness of personal responsibility before God, who judges without partiality (Romans 2:11).

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man not in himself: not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

The way of a man is not in himself: Man is incapable of guiding his own life adequately. This prayer reveals Jeremiah's need of God (Prov. 3:5-6; 16:9), who had a plan for him even before he was born (1:5).

When men walk in their own ways, they fall. We are told many times in the Bible that a man who does what is right in his own sight is not living for God. The LORD has a path for all who believe in God to walk. It is a straight, narrow path which leads to righteousness. We must walk in the Light of God to see the path clearly.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Verses 24-25: Jeremiah saw himself (correct me), in solidarity with his people (compare Dan. 9:1), and understood the nation must be punished, but desired some mercy and moderation; he prayed that God's full fury would be poured on the nations that induced the Jews into idolatry.

Jeremiah surrenders to God's administration of judgment but asks that the necessary chastisement of the Jews not be carried out severely (compare 46:28; Hab. 3:2).

Jeremiah 10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

The prophet here represents the body of the Jewish nation, especially the godly among them. He considers the troubles coming upon the nation as a correction and chastisement of the LORD. He does not refuse it, or desire it might not come upon them. He knows the chastisements of a father are for good. He only implores it might be with judgment; not in strict justice, as his and the sins of his people deserved, or they would not be able to bear it. But in measure and moderation, with a mixture of mercy and tenderness in it; and in a distinguishing manner, so as to make a difference between his own people and the others; in the correction of them (see Ezek. 34:16).

Not in thine anger: In vindictive wrath, and hot displeasure, which is elsewhere mentioned by the saints (Psalm 6:1).

Lest thou bring me to nothing: Or lessen me, or make me little; or make us few, as in the Arabic version; or bring to a small number, as in the Syriac; and so, to utter ruin.

All that happened to these Israelites, happened to bring them back to God. They had wandered away, and God used this to correct them. Notice in the following Scriptures, why God allows this to happen to His children:

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness bound in the heart of a child; the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Those who are not chastised of God to correct them, do not belong to Him.

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

God corrected them to save them.

Jeremiah 10:25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

Make a difference between Thy people that know Thee, and make a profession of Thy name, and worship Thee. And the heathen, the nations of the world who are ignorant of God, and worship stocks and stones, while Thou corrects Thine own people in measure, in love, and not in wrath. Pour out without measure all Thy fury upon the Gentiles that know not God, and are guilty of the grossest idolatry.

And upon the families that call not on Thy name: This does not signify single families, commonly so called; but kingdoms, as the Targum interprets it. Heathen kingdoms and nations that call not upon or worship the God of Israel, but their own idols; such as the family of Egypt (Zech. 14:18). And so it is expressed in a parallel place (Psalm 79:6), which is either taken from here, or this from there.

For they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate: A heap of words to express the great destruction and desolation of the land of Israel, of Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah. And of their houses and dwelling places, private and public. And of their spoiling them of all their goods, substance, wealth, and riches; which are given as reasons of the above curse.

God had not intended for the heathen to destroy them with such vengeance. The heathen were destroyed because they went too far with their punishment, and also because they did not believe in God. However, they were not destroyed until the captivity had ended.

Jeremiah Chapter 10 Questions

  1. Why were they to listen to the words of Jeremiah?
  2. What was one of the evil practices of the heathen?
  3. What do we call this today?
  4. Even though they are living in the land of the ___________, they are not to take up their ways.
  5. The customs of the people are ______.
  6. What are the customs mentioned in verse 3?
  7. What were the idols made of?
  8. What did they deck the idols with?
  9. Why were they to not be afraid of the idols?
  10. Idols have no power to do ________, or ______.
  11. Describe some things that make God far superior to any idol.
  12. Who is King of all nations?
  13. What does the word nations tell us?
  14. What word was brutish translated from?
  15. What are some other things it means?
  16. What does the blue and purple in verse 9, tell us?
  17. Living God is speaking of the great __ ___.
  18. What will happen to all false gods?
  19. What is the first thing we are taught in the Bible?
  20. When is a good example of God having power over the elements?
  21. What was the word rod, in verse 16, translated from?
  22. What are some other things it means?
  23. What are the wares in verse 17?
  24. What does slinging out indicate?
  25. What is verse 20 speaking of?
  26. What does pastor mean?
  27. Who are the dragons in verse 22?
  28. What happens when a man walks in his own ways?
  29. Why did God allow this to happen to them?
  30. Why will God pour out His wrath on the heathen?

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Jeremiah 11

Jeremiah Chapter 11

Verses 1-9: This is an extended dialogue between Jeremiah and the Lord about the people of God and their failure to once again keep the covenant their ancestors had accepted during the Exodus from "Egypt". That agreement had bound both God and Israel with certain promises and consequences. What was about to befall the nation was because Israel did not uphold its part of the covenant.

Jeremiah 11:1 "The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,"

Jeremiah's messages (in chapters 11-13), will reveal Judah's false loyalties. They have been unfaithful to the covenant of the Lord (11:1 - 17), and, accordingly, must suffer the course of their infidelity (11:18 - 12:17). Judah's corruption (13:1-11), had led them to an inordinate pride that will suffer humiliation (13:12-27).

Jeremiah 11:2 "Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;"

"This covenant": The reference is to God's covenant, summarized (in verses 3-5), which promised curses for disobeying and blessings for obeying (compare Deut. 27:26 - 28:68).

To read a more detailed account of the covenant spoken of, read all of (2 Kings Chapter 23). This will also go into detail about the sins of the people. (Verse 2), is spoken to Jeremiah. Jeremiah is to first hear from God and then speak to the men of Judah. This was not to be spoken to just those who held high positions but to all inhabitants.

Jeremiah 11:3 "And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed [be] the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,"

This shows that the command of publishing the law or covenant was, however, principally given to Jeremiah.

"Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel": That made them, and brought them out of Egypt, and made a covenant with them. And had taken care of them, and had bestowed many favors upon them.

"Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant": Which the prophet, it may be, had in his hands. Even the book of the law, and held it forth unto them, while he was speaking. The language of which is: cursed is everyone that does not constantly and perfectly perform what is contained in it (Deut. 27:26).

God had promised the land of milk and honey to those who kept covenant with Him. He also promised that those who broke the covenant would be cursed. One of the most important things about the covenant, was to keep the Passover. This was not optional, it was a requirement.

Jeremiah 11:4 "Which I commanded your fathers in the day [that] I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:"

"The iron furnace": A metaphor for the hardship of Egyptian bondage hundreds of years earlier (compare Exodus 1:8-14).

The Passover was something they were to keep, as long as they were alive. The Passover celebrated the night when death passed over the Hebrew houses that had the blood of the lamb over the door. It was the very thing that caused Pharaoh to release them. They had been slaves in Egypt. Egypt kept them under hard (iron), bondage. This was the birth of the Israelite nation. God promised to be their God if they kept His commandments.

Jeremiah 11:5 "That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as [it is] this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD."

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

"To give them a land flowing with milk and honey": That is, abounding with plenty of all kind of provisions (see Exodus 3:8).

"As it is this day": The land of Canaan continued to those times a very fruitful country. It was as it was promised it should be, and which was a clear thing. Their eyes saw it, and the day bore witness to it.

"Then answered I, and said": That is, the Prophet Jeremiah, to whom the above order was given.

"So be it, O Lord": Or, "Amen, Lord": Either agreeing to publish what the Lord commanded him; or as wishing that the land of Canaan might continue the same fruitful land it was. And the people of the Jews in it keeping the words of this covenant. Or else as assenting that the curse might fall upon the men that did not observe them, alluding to (Deut. 27:15).

God still wanted them to have the land of milk and honey, but they must keep their part of the bargain. So be it and Amen, express the same thing. Jeremiah agrees with everything God has said.

Jeremiah 11:6 "Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them."

Again; for this is a repetition of the above order.

"Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem": With a loud voice, and openly, that all may hear.

"Saying, hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them": Which their forefathers promised when the covenant was made with them (Exodus 24:7), but did not perform. Hearing without doing is of little avail. Not the hearers, but the doers of the law are justified; wherefore men should not be content with hearing only (Rom. 2:13).

It appears from this that Jeremiah was to read the covenant again to the people of Judah and in Jerusalem. It is a last warning for them to keep covenant with God.

Jeremiah 11:7 "For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day [that] I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, [even] unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice."

Or "witnessing, witnessed"; testified his great affection for them. Persistently solicited their observation of his precepts for their good. And strictly cautioned them against neglect and disobedience.

"The day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt": (See Jer. 11:4).

"Even unto this day, rising early, and protesting, saying, obey my voice": That is, from the time of the giving of the law, in all successive ages, to the present time. He had sent his prophets to them, time after time, morning by morning, early and late, to press, exhort, and stir them up to an obedience to his will. And to warn them of the evils that would come by disobedience to it.

The message from God had never changed. He wanted them to obey His commands. Their fathers who were freed from Egypt, wandered in the wilderness 40 years because of their disobedience. It seems these people never learn. God would protect them and provide for all their needs if they would obey Him.

Jeremiah 11:8 "Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded [them] to do; but they did [them] not."

Though they had such strong solicitations and fair warnings, and these repeated again and again. All which was an aggravation of their disobedience and stubbornness.

"But walked everyone in the imagination of their evil heart": Which is desperately wicked, and is evil, and that continually. Even every imagination of it. Wherefore walking herein must be very wide and different from walking in the law of the Lord, and obeying that (see Jer. 3:17).

"Therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant": That is, all the curses and threatening condemning in it against the disobedient. And so the Targum, "and I brought upon them vengeance (or punishment), because they received not the words of this covenant:"

"Which I commanded them to do, but they did them not": Because they did not do the commands of the law, therefore the curses of it lighted on them. For the words of the preceding clause may be rendered, "and I brought upon them". And it is suggested that the like punishment would be inflicted on the present generation They imitating and pursuing the iniquities of their fathers; as follows in the next verse.

Since they did not obey they could expect the curses instead of the blessings. Again, these are spelled out in detail in (Deut. 28:45-46), read all of it. I will give just the summation of it in the next verses.

Deuteronomy 28:45-46 "Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:" "And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever."

Verses 9-10: The people so closely repeated their forefathers' errors that God called their behavior a "conspiracy". Every generation has the opportunity to live under the covenant or break it. Meanwhile, God remains true to His character and His word (2 Tim. 2:13).

Jeremiah 11:9 "And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

"A conspiracy": This refers to a deliberate resisting of God's appeals for repentance and an insistence upon trusting their own "peace" message and idols.

The conspiracy was against God. I believe the conspiracy is just speaking of the fact that both Judah and Jerusalem had broken covenant with God.

Jeremiah 11:10 "They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers."

According to Kimchi, this prophecy was delivered out in the times of Jehoiakim. There had been a reforming in the reign of Josiah, but now they had rebelled against the Lord, and had returned to their former idolatries that had been practiced in the times of Amon, Manasseh, and Ahaz.

"Which refused to hear my words": Sent unto them by the prophets, Isaiah, and others.

"And they went after other gods to serve them": Not their forefathers, though it was true of them; but the then present generation, that were in the conspiracy and rebellion against God. They put their schemes into execution, and worshipped and served the gods of the nations.

"The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers": By their many transgressions, and especially by their idolatry; the house of Israel, or the ten tribes, had done so, many years ago, and were carried captive. And the house of Judah, or the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, committing the same iniquities, might justly expect the like treatment.

The iniquities of their forefathers were their determination to worship false gods. It seems that time had not caused their unfaithfulness to go away. They were committing the same sins their fathers committed. The main thing to remember is that God did not break the covenant He made. Israel and Judah both broke the covenant.

Verses 11-13: Although calamity might make the people "cry unto me", God, they would quickly revert to their pattern and seek other "gods" who "shall not save them at all". God knows fake faith and false repentance, no matter what it looks like or sounds like.

Jeremiah 11:11 "Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them."

God's deafness to Judah's "cry" was ample evidence of their sin. Not only had Judah broken God's covenant (verses 2-8), but they had gone off into a corrupt paganism (verses 9-10). Therefore, their fellowship with God was broken so that He would not hear their requests (compare Psalm 68:18; John 9:31; James 4:3). Where there is godless living (Isa. 56:11-12), lack of concern for others in their need (Isa. 58:6-9), and carelessness with regard to the clear instructions of the Word of God (35:17), God cannot honor the one who prays. Rather, such a one stands in danger of divine judgment (Zech. 7:8-14). However, where intimacy of communion exists, God answers the call of His own (see Job 13:22; 14:14-15; Psalms 22:24-25; 91:15; 102:1-2; Isa. 58:9; 65:24).

"Therefore" is the key word in this. It connects with the preceding verse, which told of the breaking of the covenant. The Scripture here is just explaining the results of their broken covenant. Their deliberate unfaithfulness to God will bring the evil upon them. The sad thing in all of this, is that God will no longer hear their prayers. It is the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man that availeth much. The best way to get prayers answered is be in right standing with God.

Jeremiah 11:12 "Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble."

That is, the inhabitants of the cities of Judah, as well as the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem. The former being in distress through the enemy being in their land, as well as the latter besieged by him.

"Go and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense": Baal, the queen of heaven, sun, moon, planets, and all the hosts of heaven, as in (Jer. 44:15). These they should cry unto for help and deliverance in vain.

"But they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble": Not yield them the least relief and comfort in their trouble, so far from saving them entirely from it.

Since God will not listen to their prayers, they go and pray to these false gods (idols). That is the very thing that got them in trouble with God in the first place. The idol has no power at all to help anyone. Their prayers then were an action in futility.

Jeremiah 11:13 "For [according to] the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and [according to] the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to [that] shameful thing, [even] altars to burn incense unto Baal."

Judah was so filled with idolatry that there were false deities for every city and a polluted altar on every street.

Baal was the name of one of the false gods. It appears they worshipped many false gods. Manasseh had raised numerous altars to false gods.

Jeremiah 11:14 "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear [them] in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble."

"Pray not thou for this people" (compare 7:16 and see note there). Their own prayers, as long as they rejected God, could not gain the answer they desired (verse 11; Psalm 66:18), and the same was true of another's prayers for them.

These people have placed their faith in false gods so God tells Jeremiah not to pray to Him for them. He is saying let their false gods help them. God's anger against their unfaithfulness is great. God will not help them this time.

Verses 15-17: One of God's nicknames for His people was "Green Olive Tree", a picture of health and blessing. And yet the people's sins had dried up the branches and made them as kindling.

Jeremiah 11:15 "What hath my beloved to do in mine house, [seeing] she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest."

"My beloved": A phrase showing God's sensitive regard for His relationship to Israel as a nation (compare 2:2; 12:7). It does not carry the assumption, however, that every individual is spiritually saved (compare 5:10a).

"Wrought lewdness with many": Shameful idolatry that defiled all that befits true temple worship, such as the examples (in Ezek. 8:6-13). These were gross violations of the first 3 commandments (compare Exodus 20:2-7).

"Holy flesh": In some way, they corrupted the animal sacrifices by committing sin which they enjoyed (compare 7:10).

We had mentioned in an earlier lesson, how all of the family of Israel (including Benjamin and Judah) were spoken of as the wife of God. For them to follow after false gods, is the same thing as committing spiritual adultery. They were God's beloved, but they have left Him.

Verses 16-17 "Green olive tree": Israel was pictured as a grapevine (2:21), then an olive tree meant to bear good fruit. However, they produced fruit that calls only for the fire of judgment (as 5:10).

Jeremiah 11:16 "The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, [and] of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken."

That is, compared the Jewish church and people to one, and made them as one. Very prosperous and flourishing in the enjoyment of privileges, civil and religious. Being highly favored with the word and ordinances.

Fair, and of goodly fruit": Which, for a while, brought forth the fruit of good works; and while such, was amiable and goodly to look upon. Was, as the Syriac version is, "fair with fruit, and beautiful in sight". And whereas it might have been expected she would have so continued. And been still as a green olive tree in the house of God, as David says (Psalm 52:8). Now it was otherwise, she was become barren, dry, and fruitless: and therefore it follows.

"With the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it": That is, by means of the Chaldean army, which came with a mighty rushing noise, as a numerous army does. The Lord hath destroyed it, and burnt it with fire. What the Chaldeans did is ascribed to God, because it was done according to his will, and by his direction and overruling providence.

"And the branches of it are broken": The high and principal ones, the king, princes, and nobles, their palaces, and the house of God. The apostle seems to have respect to this passage in (Rom. 11:17). The Targum is, "as an olive tree that is beautiful in form and comely of sight, whose branches overshadow the trees, so the Lord hath magnified thy name among the people. But now that thou hast transgressed the law. The armies of the people, who are strong as fire, shall come against thee, and others shall be joined to them."

Some of the olive trees in Israel are thought to have lived thousands of years. They are of a hardy stock. The green olive tree would have many years to produce fruit. The righteous man is, many times, spoken of as the green olive tree. They would have been God's forever, had they not strayed. Now God has broken off the branches and will burn them. They are no more beautiful to God. There will be a remnant left. The stock will spring forth new branches.

Jeremiah 11:17 "For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal."

As a green olive tree, and gave thee all thy freshness, fruitfulness, happiness, and prosperity; when he first put thee into the possession of the good land. And distinguished thee by so many favors and blessings. As he is able to take them away, so he will.

"For he hath pronounced evil against thee": He hath determined it in his mind, and he hath declared it by his prophets.

"For the evil of the house of Israel": The ten tribes, who had committed sin, and for which the evil pronounced had been executed on them already, being some time ago carried captive.

"And of the house of Judah": Who had taken no warning by them, but had followed them in their iniquities, and even exceeded them. And therefore must expect the like punishment for their sins.

"Which they have done against themselves": For sin is not only against God, his nature, will, and law; but it is against the sinner himself. And is to his hurt and ruin, both temporal and eternal.

"To provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal": This particularly was the evil which was so provoking to God. And therefore, he determined to bring the evil of punishment upon them; and shows the cause and reason of it. And which is a sufficient vindication of his justice.

This is very similar to the fig tree that Jesus cursed, because it did not produce fruit. God planted the olive tree that symbolizes Israel. He also planted the fig tree which symbolizes Israel. Sin cursed them. They had brought the sin upon themselves. When incense was burned to God, it represented the prayers that went up to God. This incense burned to Baal showed they were putting their faith and trust in this false god Baal.

Verses 18-23: "Thou showedst me": Jeremiah's fellow townsmen from Anathoth, one of the 48 cities throughout the land dedicated to the Levites, plotted his death. Their words, "Let us destroy the tree", indicate their desire to silence Jeremiah by murder.

Here the reader is allowed a glimpse of the recurring hostility that Jeremiah faced. His very "life" was at stake. The servant of God must be prepared for the possibility of suffering for the Lord's sake (Matt. 10:36; John 15:18-21; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 John 3:13). However, he must so live as to be certain that his persecution is for Christ's sake, not his own doing (compare 1 Peter 2:19-20; 3:17), and leave the judgment with God (compare 1 Peter 4:12-19).

Jeremiah 11:18 "And the LORD hath given me knowledge [of it], and I know [it]: then thou showedst me their doings."

Either of what he had been declaring as the sins of these people; and of what he had been prophesying concerning punishment for their sins. What he had said was not of himself, and did not arise from any displeasure or resentment in him against them. But it was of God, that knows all things, and had made known these things to him. And he had only faithfully related them as he had received them. Or else of the malicious designs of the men of Anathoth to take away his life, after mentioned.

"And I know it": And am sure of it; having it by divine revelation, and from that God that cannot lie, and will not deceive.

"Then thou showedst me their doings": Some versions, as the Septuagint, Syriac; and Arabic, take the former words to be a prayer of the prophet's, "O Lord, make me know, or show me, or teach me, that I may know". And these signify that his prayer was answered. The Lord showed him the sins of these people, and what punishments they deserved and would be inflicted on them. Or rather what they were doing in the dark, and what schemes they were contriving and attempting to put in execution against his life. But God was careful of it, and would not suffer them to do him any harm. And therefore, made all known unto him (see Psalm 105:15).

When Jeremiah began to prophecy, we must remember he was just a boy. He had not looked into the sins of these people, until God called him to prophecy against them. God has now shown him all the evil these people have done. God wants Jeremiah to understand why He is punishing them so harshly.

Jeremiah 11:19 "But I [was] like a lamb [or] an ox [that] is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, [saying], Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered."

We have no other mention of this conspiracy in holy writ. But it is plain, both from this verse and what follows to the end of this chapter, that the men of Anathoth (which was Jeremiah's own town), were offended at his prophesying these things against the land of Judah. And had threatened to kill him if he would not leave off that approach, and had conspired to that purpose. Some think to mix poison with his meat, others by starving of him, others think by beating of him, into which variety of sense they interpret that phrase in this verse.

Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof": But the sense is plain, Let us not only put an end to his prophesying, but to his being also.

"Let us cut him off": Some way or other.

"That his name may no more be remembered": Of this the prophet saith he was as ignorant as an ox or a lamb that is brought to the slaughter-house, that knoweth nothing of what plot is against its life.

God has shown Jeremiah that these evil men plan to kill him and get rid of him. Jeremiah was helpless to stop them from killing him. He did not have any idea they planned to kill him. Jeremiah was just doing the job God sent him to do. He did not know they would take their anger about the message out on him. They felt Jeremiah was the tree from which these messages sprang from. They hated Jeremiah so much, that they did not want anyone to even remember his name. Their plans were to remove him from among the living.

Jeremiah 11:20 "But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause."

"Let me see thy vengeance on them": Jeremiah pleaded for God's defense on his behalf, actually guaranteed (in 1:8, 18-19).

God would no longer hear the prayers of this evil people but He would hear the prayer of Jeremiah. He knew his only hope was for God to take up his defense. Jeremiah knew that God was just and would judge this fairly. God would take vengeance on them for Jeremiah. He would get to see the vengeance, because he was allowed to remain in Jerusalem when Babylon attacked. God knows that Jeremiah is right in his heart. He is just being obedient to God.

Jeremiah 11:21 "Therefore thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand:"

That is, "unto", or "concerning the men of Anathoth". The townsmen of Jeremiah, and who were the persons that combined together to destroy him. Of Anathoth (see Jer. 1:1).

"That seek thy life": Or "soul"; that is, to take it away.

"Saying, prophesy not in the name of the Lord": Without their leave, and such hard things as he did, unless he would prophesy smooth things, and then he might go on, otherwise he must expect to die.

"That thou die not by our hand": Or means; they intimate, that should he persist in this way of prophesying, they should not stay to carry on a judicial process against him. To bring him and accuse him before a judge or the Sanhedrim, or any court of judicature. But should do as those called zealots in later times did; lay violent hands upon him, and dispatch him themselves at once. Perhaps this they said after they found that the prophet had knowledge of their designs against him.

The men of Anathoth swore by the LORD that if Jeremiah would stop his prophecy, they would not kill him. In other words, if he did not stop his prophecy they intended to kill him.

Jeremiah 11:22 "Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:"

Or, visit "them"; look into this matter, try this cause, bring it to an issue, and pass sentence on them. Which is as follows:

"The young men shall die by the sword": By the sword of the Chaldeans, in the field, going out in battle against them. Or rather when their town was taken and plundered, since they were the sons of priests.

"Their sons and their daughters shall die by famine": That is, their little ones, male and female. So that the famine, it seems, was not only in Jerusalem at the time of its siege, but in other parts also. No mention is made of the parents themselves.

They have sworn by a name they did not even believe in. God would not allow them to use His name anymore. They have also spoken against God's anointed. They have threatened to kill Jeremiah, so that is the punishment against them. Those who do not die in battle will starve to death.

Jeremiah 11:23 "And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, [even] the year of their visitation."

And thus, the measure they meted out to the prophet was measured to them. They devised to destroy him root and branch, the tree with its fruit. And now none shall be left of them. Such who escaped the sword and the famine should be carried captive, as they were. For though there were none left in Anathoth, there were some preserved alive, and were removed into Babylon. Since, at the return from thence, the men of Anathoth were a hundred twenty eight (Neh. 7:27).

"For I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation": Or, "in the year of their visitation"; that is, of the visitation of their sins. As the Targum; which was the year of the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, and was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 52:12). And this was not a chance matter, but what was fixed and determined by the Lord.

God was going to save a remnant of Israel, Benjamin and Judah. There would not be even a remnant left of Anathoth. The year of their visitation is their year of punishment.

Jeremiah Chapter 11 Questions

1. Who was Jeremiah to speak to about the covenant?

2. Where can you find a more detailed explanation of the covenant?

3. Who specifically was Jeremiah to speak to?

4. Cursed be the man that __________ ____ the words of this covenant.

5. Who had God promised the land of milk and honey to?

6. What was one of the most important things of the covenant to keep?

7. What did Passover celebrate?

8. God would be their God, if they _______ ____ _________________.

9. Where was Jeremiah to read the covenant?

10. Why had their fathers wandered in the wilderness 40 years?

11. Where, in Deuteronomy, are the curses spelled out in detail?

12. Who was their conspiracy against?

13. They had turned back to the ___________ of their forefathers.

14. What were their iniquities?

15. Who broke the covenant?

16. What is the key word in verse 11?

17. If God will not hear, where do they go for help?

18. How many false gods did they worship?

19. What was the name of one specific false god?

20. What does God call them in verse 15?

21. Who were spoken of as the wife of God?

22. Following false gods was the same as what?

23. What do the olive tree and the fig tree have in common?

24. Why did Jeremiah not have knowledge of all they were doing in the beginning?

25. What did these evil men want to do to Jeremiah?

26. What did God do to them?

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Jeremiah 12

Jeremiah Chapter 12

Verses 1-4: Like Job (Job 21:7-12), and Asaph (Psalms chapter 73), Jeremiah asked God, "Why" do "the wicked prosper?" They were the ones who seemed to be thriving, despite giving lip service to God but keeping Him "far from their reins".

Jeremiah 12:1 "Righteous [art] thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of [thy] judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? [wherefore] are all they happy that deal very treacherously?"

"Wherefore ... ?" The issue of why the wicked escape for a time unscathed has often been raised by God's people (compare Psalm chapter 73; Hab. 1:2-4).

The problem that the "wicked" seem to "prosper" is discussed often in the Scriptures (compare Job 21:7-16; 24:1-16; Psalm 73:2-14). No definitive answer is given except that, according to God's most wise and holy purposes, all things are under His control (compare Job 37:5; Isa. 46;10; Matt. 5:45; Acts 17:24-28), and that He will deal justly with the wicked in His appointed time and "way" (compare verse 13; Job 27:13; Psalms 1:3-6; 49:16-20; 73:17-22). It is enough for the believer to leave things in God's hands (Psalm chapter 37), and let Him truly be God of his whole life (compare Job 34:29; 42:1-6; Psalm 73:28; Isa. 26:3-21; Hab. 3:17-19; Rom. 12:1-2).

In the previous lesson, we saw the grief of Jeremiah over what was happening to these people. Jeremiah recognizes the fact at the beginning of this verse, that the LORD is Righteous. God will allow us to ask questions, but not to question His judgement. Notice, in the following Scripture, that the judgements of the Lord are righteous.

Revelation 16:7 "And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments."

It seems to Jeremiah that the heathen (wicked), of the world are the ones who prosper. Many of us have thought the same thing from time to time. The reason we feel this way is because we do not see the end, we just see the present. The end of Babylon is much worse than the destruction which comes on Jerusalem and Judah here. Jerusalem and Judah are restored from the remnant God left. Babylon will never be again after their destruction. God is loving, kind, gentle, forgiving, but He is also just in His judgement. These Hebrews have committed spiritual adultery and they must be punished. Men may cry for justice, but what they truly want is mercy.

Jeremiah 12:2 "Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou [art] near in their mouth, and far from their reins."

In the land of Canaan, fixed the bounds of their habitation, giving them a firm and comfortable settlement. For all the good things, even of the wicked, come from God.

"Yea, they have taken root": As everything that is planted does not; but these did. Though it was downwards in the earth, on which their hearts were set, and so were strengthened and established in their worldly circumstances.

They grow, yea, they bring forth fruit": But to themselves, not to God. Not fruits of righteousness or good works; they grow, not in grace and holiness, but in their worldly substance. And they brought forth fruit, not such as were satisfied for repentance, but they had great riches, and numerous families. And so the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "they produce children, and bring forth fruit." The Targum is, "they become rich, yea, they possess substance."

"Thou art near in their mouth": they often made use of the name of God, either in swearing by it, or praying to him in an external manner. They called themselves the Lord's people, and boasted of being his priests, and employed in his service. They took his covenant, and the words of his law, into their mouths, and taught them to the people. And yet had no sincere regard for these things.

"And far from their reins": From the affections of their hearts, and the desires of their souls. They had no true love for God, nor fear of him, nor faith in him. The Targum is, "near are the words of thy law in their mouth, and far is thy fear from their reins."

"Being far from their reins" just means that they are not being directed of God. The reins direct a horse where he should go. The control here is of the heart. The heart is really what a person is. They do not have God in their hearts. All mankind was created by God. In that sense God planted them. They have grown, but it is a physical growth not a growth in God.

Jeremiah 12:3 "But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter."

"Pull them out ... for the slaughter": The prophet here turned from the sadness of pleading for his people to calling on God to punish them. Such imprecatory prayers are similar to prayers throughout the Psalms.

Jeremiah is aware that God knows all about him. He had been obedient to the call God had made upon him. Jeremiah is very angry with the Babylonians, who come and do this terrible thing. Jeremiah is saying, Lord sacrifice these evil ones and not your family. He does not understand that the problems that have come on Judah and Jerusalem are to make them return to God.

Jeremiah 12:4 "How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? The beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end."

"He shall not see our last end": Here is the foolish idea that Jeremiah was wrong and didn't know how things would happen.

Jeremiah wants to see immediate restoration to the land of Judah and Benjamin. He is pointing out to God the great destruction that took place, as if God did not already know. This destruction of the crops perhaps, had something to do with a drought as well as the overrun by the army.

Verses 5-6: God reminded Jeremiah that current difficulties where like a casual jog in the park compared with the race against "horses" that later struggles would require. He would be unable to trust even his own family. God does not hesitate to ask believers to do difficult things because He promises to help them accomplish them.

Jeremiah 12:5 "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and [if] in the land of peace, [wherein] thou trustedst, [they wearied thee], then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?"

"Thou hast run": The Lord replied to Jeremiah telling him that if he grew faint with lesser trails and felt like quitting, what would he do when the battle got even harder?'

"Then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan": The river in flood stage overflowed its banks into a plain that grew up as a thicket. The point is that Jeremiah needed to be ready to deal with tougher testing, pictured by the invaders overwhelming the land like a flood, or posing high danger as in the Jordan thicket where concealed wild animals could terrify a person.

It appears that Jeremiah had gotten weary before the race was over. I hear many people today, complaining about their troubles. The little inconveniences and troubles we are having now will pale in comparison to the great tribulation. This is the very same thing as in the verse above. The swelling of Jordan is speaking of an even more difficult time. It was sometimes a dangerous thing to cross Jordan. The possibility of the lions attacking, coupled with the threat of flood waters caused the danger. If they or any other person cannot handle the little problems of life, how can they handle the big problems?

Jeremiah 12:6 "For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee."

"Even thy brethren": Jeremiah met antagonism not only from fellow townsmen (compare 11:18-23 and see note there), but from his own family! He was separated from them (verse 7).

We see in this Scripture that Jeremiah had members of his own family who did not believe he was a prophet. They said they loved Jeremiah, but they did not support Jeremiah's choice to follow God. Jeremiah was in very good company in this. Jesus' half-brothers did not believe Jesus was the Messiah until He arose from the tomb.

Verses 7-13: God describes His plans for His people in terms of a patriarch giving up his heritage. The grand estate upon which He had lavished such care was ruined. It had become as wild as a "lion" and drawn to carrion like a "speckled bird".

Jeremiah 12:7 "I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies."

The temple, where the Lord took up his residence, and revealed his presence to his people. This was fulfilled in the first temple, when it was destroyed by the Chaldeans. And more fully in the second, when Christ took his leave of it (Matt. 23:38). And when that voice was heard in it, a little before the destruction of Jerusalem as Josephus relates, "let us go hence." So the Targum, "I have forsaken the house of my sanctuary."

"I have left mine heritage": The people whom he had chosen for his inheritance, whom he prized and valued, took care of, and protected as such (see Deut. 32:9).

"I have given the dearly beloved of my soul": Whom he heartily loved and delighted in, and who were as dear to him as the apple of his eye.

"Into the hands of her enemies": The Chaldeans. This prophecy represents the thing as if it was already done, because of the certainty of it, and to awaken the Jews out of their lethargy and stupidity. And by the characters which the Lord gives of them it appears what ingratitude they had been guilty of, and that their ruin was owing to themselves and their sins.

There is a definite break in this from the last few verses. This is the LORD saying He has forsaken His house. His heritage is His people. He has given His people over into the hands of their enemies. Enemies is plural so this indicates more than one country.

Jeremiah 12:8 "Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it."

"As a lion": Jeremiah's own people collectively are like a lion acting ferociously against him.

The lion in the forest attacks. This is what God's people have done unto Him. They have sought other gods. They have been unfaithful to Him. They have not feared and reverenced God. They have attacked the very character of God. He suddenly is feeling wrath toward them. I believe the "it" is speaking of their slander of God. God never stopped loving His people. He removes His special care of them for a time to cause them to seek Him again.

Jeremiah 12:9 "Mine heritage [is] unto me [as] a speckled bird, the birds round about [are] against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour."

"As a speckled bird": God's people, speckled with sin and compromise, are opposed by other birds of prey, i.e., enemy nations.

A speckled bird would be like one of no special species. This would be the case, because they had given up exclusive worship of Jehovah for worship of many false gods. An oddly marked bird will cause the other birds to attack it. This is the case here. These nations (birds), do come against Jerusalem and Judah to destroy them. The beast of the field do come to devour, they are the heathen nations that come to destroy.

Jeremiah 12:10 "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness."

This is a metaphor which is often used of the people of Israel and Judah (see Psalm 80:8). The pastors that destroyed them are not their own governors, civil or religious, but Heathen princes, Nebuchadnezzar and his generals. So the Targum paraphrases it, "many kings slay my people;" so Kimchi and Ben Melech.

"They have trodden my portion under foot": The people of the Jews that were his portion, and before called his heritage. Whom the Chaldeans subdued, and reduced to extreme servitude and bondage. And were as the dirt under their feet, greatly oppressed and despised.

"They have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness": By pulling down stately edifices, the destruction of the walls and towers, and destroying men. So that there were none to manure the fields, to dress the vineyards, and keep gardens and orchards in good condition. But all were come to ruin and what before was a delightful paradise was now like a heath or desert.

(See the note on 10:21).

We discovered in a previous lesson that the pastor was a tender of the flock. It also means a keeper of the sheep. God's people are His vineyard. Those God had left in charge over His vineyard have literally destroyed the vineyard. It is the very same thing as the shepherd God had left caring for the sheep not feeding them the right food. These pastors have not improved the spiritual side of these people for God. They have in fact, destroyed the people's relationship with God. The 34th chapter of Ezekiel speaks of the same thing. I will give you just one verse, but be sure to read it all.

Ezekiel 34:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"

This speaks of the problems when Jeremiah spoke, but it also deals with problems in our churches today. Pastors should feed spiritual food to God's congregation. They need a relationship with God, not religion.

Jeremiah 12:11 "They have made it desolate, [and being] desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth [it] to heart."

Which is repeated to denote the certainty of it; the astonishment, and that it might be observed.

"And being desolate it mourneth unto me": Not the inhabitants of it for their sins, the cause of this desolation; but the land itself, because of the calamities upon it. It crying to God, in its way, for a restoration to its former beauty and glory.

"The whole land is made desolate": It was not only the case of Jerusalem, and the parts adjacent, but even of the whole land of Judea.

"Because no man layeth it to heart, took any notice of the judgment threatened that was foretold by the prophets". Nor repented of their sins, for which they were threatened with such a desolation. Nor even were properly affected with the destruction itself. The earth seemed more sensible of it than they were, expressing the great stupidity of the people.

The moral sickness in our land today and in Israel then, is the same. Someone has to raise a standard of righteousness. There was no one who did that then. I pray there will be someone come forth who will do something now. Our land is sick. The only cure is national revival. Someone has to lead the way. Are you that one?

Jeremiah 12:12 "The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the [one] end of the land even to the [other] end of the land: no flesh shall have peace."

"Sword of the Lord": God's strength can be for defending (compare 47:6; Judges 7:20), or in this case, condemning. The Babylonians were God's sword doing His will.

The "Sword of the LORD" is the Word of God. Vengeance of God was carried out by the Babylonians, but it was really God. All of the false worship in the high places was totally destroyed. Do you get the picture? The Word of God can clean out all corruption in our land as well. The Word of God is the most powerful weapon there is against all enemies. Crucify the flesh that the spirit might live.

Jeremiah 12:13 "They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, [but] shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD."

If these words be understood literally, they only signify that God would blast the labors of the husbandman (farmer), and curse them in the field. The earth's bringing forth thorns and thistles was part of the curse for the first transgression of man (Gen. 3:18). God's blasting the labors of husbandmen is often threatened as a punishment of sin (see Lev. 26:16; Deut. 28:38). If it be taken metaphorically, it is expounded by the next words.

"They have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit": That they should labor in vain, all the works of their hands, all their counsels and deliberations, should be of no profit or avail unto them.

"They shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the Lord": The fierce anger of God against them shall be showed, from the returns of their labors or estates. The profits of their trades, etc., shall be so small that they shall be ashamed of them.

Nothing prospers without the blessings of God. You can plant a seed in the ground, but it is God that causes it to grow. When God is angry, there is nothing you can do to benefit yourself or anyone else.

Verses 14-17: Jeremiah is assured that although Judah and Jerusalem must be punished, God's judgment will also extend to their "evil neighbors". There is in this a strong missionary appeal in that to Gentiles, too, is opened the hope of salvation (compare 16:19-21; Isa. 2:1-4; 19:20-25; 45:22; 66:23; Hosea chapter 12; Obad. 1:20-21; Zech. 8:20-23; 14:8-9, 16).

Verses 14-15: Despite the prospect of God's anger and the "evil neighbors" who would "touch the inheritance" and take them into captivity, both the land and the people would remain His possession. God's compassion on His people will never end (Zech. 2:8).

Jeremiah 12:14 "Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbors, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them."

"Evil neighbors"; Other nations which hurt Israel will, in their turn, also receive judgment from the Lord (compare 9:26; 25:14-32; Chapters 46 to 51).

This looks ahead to the time that the LORD will come against the enemies of His people. God will destroy their captors and restore Judah and Jerusalem to His people. God will take vengeance on the heathens who took them captive. It is God who will take His people away from the heathen captors.

Jeremiah 12:15 "And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land."

"Bring them again": God will restore His people to the land of Israel in a future millennial day, as indicated (in chapters 30 to 33).

God does not tell them when, but He does tell them He will forgive them and bring them back into the Promised Land. All who have lived through the captivity and all of their children, will be forgiven of God and restored to their land. God is a God of judgement, but He is also a God of forgiveness and salvation. This promises unmerited favor from God.

Verses 16-17: Here we glimpse God's global purposes even though the chosen people so poorly communicated the wonders of the true God to the rest of the nations. Israel's hope was offered to those who were not chosen. The Lord was willing to even extend His mercy to the Canaanites who had taught Israel to worship "Baal".

Jeremiah 12:16 "And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people."

Not their evil ways of sin or superstition, they sometimes stray into; but the ways which God has prescribed to them, and has directed them to walk in. And in which they do walk; and which are to be learned of the Lord, by a diligent attendance with his people on his word and ordinances (see Isa. 2:3).

"To swear by my name, the Lord liveth": That is, to worship and serve the living God, a self-existent Being, who has life in himself, and of himself, and not another. And is the fountain, author, and giver of natural life to all creatures, and spiritual and eternal life to his true worshippers. Swearing is here put for the whole of religious worship as in (Deut. 6:13), as they taught my people to swear by Baal, to worship him, and other idols.

"Then shall they be built in the midst of my people": Become part of the spiritual building the church. Being laid upon the same foundation of the apostles and prophets, and built up a holy temple; a spiritual house for the Lord to dwell in. Partaking of the same privileges and ordinances as the people of God. Being fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel (Eph. 2:20). It denotes the settlement and establishment of the Gentiles with the Jews in a Gospel church state. So the Targum, "and they shall be established in the midst of my people."

We see in this that God offers forgiveness to the heathen, as well as His people, if they will turn from the worship of Baal to worshipping the One true God. This is an opening to God for the Gentiles.

Jeremiah 12:17 "But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD."

Or "hear"; the word of the Lord, and hearken to the ministers of the Gospel, and be subject to the ordinances of it. Or as the Targum, "will not receive instruction:"

"I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the Lord": Root it up from being a nation, strip it of all its privileges and enjoyments, and destroy it with an everlasting destruction (see Zech. 14:16).

God is just too all mankind. He offered salvation to them. God will not impose His will on others. It is their own choice to follow God or not. If they choose not to follow God, He will destroy them. The nation who refuses to worship God, will be destroyed.

Jeremiah Chapter 12 Questions

1. What is the first thing Jeremiah recognizes about God in verse 1?

2. God will allow us to ask questions, but He will not allow us to question His ______________.

3. It seems to Jeremiah that the __________ of this world are the ones who prosper.

4. Why do we feel this way sometimes, too?

5. Men cry out for _____________, but what they truly want is _________.

6. What does "being far from their reigns" mean?

7. What does Jeremiah not understand about the Babylonian attack?

8. Jeremiah had gotten __________, before the race was over.

9. The little problems we face now will pale in comparison to the _________ ________________.

10. Who, in verse 6, are opposed to Jeremiah?

11. God's heritage is compared to what animal, in verse 8?

12. Why does God remove His special care from His people for awhile?

13. An oddly marked bird will cause the other birds to do what?

14. Who is God's vineyard?

15. What chapter in Ezekiel speaks of shepherds who have not cared for their sheep?

16. The moral sickness in our land today is the same as what?

17. Are you the one to do something about it?

18. What is the "Sword of the LORD"?

19. What causes a plant to grow?

20. What happens to the enemies of God's inheritance?

21. After God has allowed them to be punished, what wonderful thing does He do for them?

22. Who does God offer forgiveness to, besides His heritage?

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Jeremiah 13

Jeremiah Chapter 13

Verses 1-2: A "linen sash" was a fine cloth belt worn for decoration and sometimes used to temporarily secure the pulled-up hem of a man's robe when he was running or needed freedom for his legs. The fact that it was made of linen meant it was valuable, not an everyday item of clothing. The garments of the priest were made from linen (Lev. 16:4), so this material also represented Israel's consecration to the Lord.

Jeremiah 13:1 "Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water."

"A linen girdle": One of several signs Jeremiah enacted to illustrate God's message involved putting on a linen waistband (generally the inner garment against the skin). This depicted Israel's close intimacy with God in the covenant, so that they could glorify Him (verse 11).

"Put it not in water": Signified the moral filth of the nation. Buried and allowed time to rot (verse 7), the waistband pictured Israel as useless to God because of sin (verse 10). Hiding it by the Euphrates (verse 6), pointed to the land of Babylon where God would exile Israel to deal with her pride (compare verse 9).

The "girdle" that Jeremiah was to "put" on has been understood either as a sash worn as a belt, or a "linen" undergarment that stretched from the waist midway to the thighs.

Linen was the material the priest wore in the temple. Linen symbolized righteousness when it was clean and white. It appears this garment was intended to be worn next to his body. It perhaps was showing his closeness with God. It appears to me also, that a garment of this nature was not shared. It was private property. This is true with the garment of righteousness the Lord Jesus furnishes for each of us who are His. The fact that this garment might need washing indicates that it might be soiled.

Jeremiah 13:2 "So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put [it] on my loins."

That is, according to God's command.

"And put it on my loins": And used it as God commanded me, never disputing the reason why God bid me do such a thing.

This just shows his total obedience to God. Notice he does not ask why he is to do this, he just does it.

Verses 3-7" Jeremiah buried the linen sash on the shore of the "Euphrates", and a while later, God had him dig it back up. And "the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing", except to demonstrate Jeremiah's unquestioning obedience. Sometimes God does not reveal His plan until His servants have done what He commanded.

Jeremiah 13:3 "And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying,"

No dates are given, but the implied interval must have been long enough for the girdle to become foul, while the prophet apparently waited for an explanation of the strange command.

God speaks to obedient children. He comes to give Jeremiah further directions here.

Verses 4-11: Jeremiah's journey has been variously understood as a literal trip either

(1) To the western portion of the upper Euphrates River;

(2) To Ephrata (Bethlehem); or

(3) To Perah, three miles northeast of Anathoth.

Others consider the events here to have occurred in a vision or in some dramatic presentation. In any case, the lesson of the message is the same: as the "girdle" was "marred", so God will "mar" (wound), Judah's "pride".

Jeremiah 13:4 "Take the girdle that thou hast got, which [is] upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock."

"Euphrates": This refers literally to a site on the Euphrates River because:

(1) The Euphrates is the area of exile (20:4);

(2) "Many days" fits the round trip of well over 1,000 miles (verse 6); and

(3) The ruining of the nation's pride (verse 9), relates to judgment by Babylon (verses 10-11).

In some sense, this girdle symbolizes the people of God. God had been close to them, as an inner garment is on a person. He had clothed them with His blessings. He had been their righteousness. This soiled girdle, spoke of God's people who had soiled the righteousness God had given them. They had committed spiritual adultery. They had ruined their relationship with God. God now shows His putting them away through Jeremiah taking the soiled girdle, and hiding it in a hole in a rock. The hole in the rock symbolizes their captivity.

Jeremiah 13:5 "So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me."

In order to support the view that Jeremiah's act was outward.

The Euphrates is specified as being near Babylon, the Jews future place of exile.

Again, we see total obedience on the part of Jeremiah. The Euphrates was speaking of a river in the east.

Jeremiah 13:6 "And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there."

When the girdle had lain long in the hole, by the side of Euphrates. This denotes the length of the Babylonish captivity, which was seventy years.

"That the Lord said unto me, arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there": Which may denote the return of these people from captivity, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah (see Jer. 25:11). Though this seems to be visually done, in order to express the wretched state and condition these people were in. Either before the captivity, which was the cause of it; or at their return from it, when they were no better for it.

The "many days" the girdle was in the hole of the rock, symbolized the length of years they would remain captive. Just as Jeremiah would go and get the girdle, God would go and free His people from captivity.

Jeremiah 13:7 "Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing."

"And digged": The hole, in process of time, being stopped up with soil or sand, that were thrown up over it. This digging was in a visionary way (see Ezek. 8:8).

"And took the girdle from the place where I had hid it": Which he knew again by some token or another. Whether the prophet really made such a journey, or all this was but a vision, is very uncertain. When he came to the place, or in his vision, he thought, when he came to the place, that he saw all the girdle rotted. And good for nothing but to be thrown upon a dunghill.

The symbolism is explained in (Jer. 13:9). The girdle stained, decayed, worthless, was a parable of the state of Judah after the exile, stripped of all its outward greatness. Losing the place which it had once occupied among the nations of the earth.

This happens to show God's people just how marred they are. They are really not worth saving. They have sinned so greatly following after false gods, that it is hard to understand why God would even want them back. The condition of the girdle and the condition of God's straying people were the same.

Verses 8-11: Jeremiah's linen belt vividly depicted the condition of God's people, they had become "good for nothing". Although the Lord once wore them with honor, they were no longer fit for such a task (Psalm 81:11).

Jeremiah 13:8 "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,"

Or the word of prophecy from before the Lord, as the Targum. And now follows the application of this sign to the thing signified, and the whole intention of it is made known.

The Lord had not revealed to Jeremiah the whole plan all at once. It appears that God told him step by step as he needed to know.

Jeremiah 13:9 "Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem."

As this girdle has been hid in Euphrates, and has been marred and rendered useless. So in like manner, and by such like means:

"Will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem": Or their glory, or excellency. That which they gloried in, and were proud of. Their city which was burnt, and their temple which was destroyed by the Chaldeans. Their king, princes, and nobles, who were carried captive into Babylon. By the river Euphrates, and stripped of all their grandeur, honor, and glory. And so the Targum, "so will I corrupt the strength of the men of Judah, and the strength of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, which is much." And to which agrees the Syriac version, which renders it, "the proud or haughty men of Judah, and the many haughty men of Jerusalem."

God is showing Jeremiah with this girdle, what He plans to do with Judah and Benjamin. The Jews had been a very proud people. They had even shown their arrogance toward God, when they worshipped false gods. Now God is going to humble them, as this girdle was marred. Being in captivity to another has a way of humbling a person.

Jeremiah 13:10 "This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing."

Sent by the prophets, to whom they turned a deaf ear. And though they pressed them, and persistently desired them to give them a hearing, they refused it. And this showed them to be a bad people, very degenerate and wicked. And which further appears by what follows:

"Which walk in the imagination of their heart": Which was evil, stubborn, and rebellious (see Jer. 7:24).

"And walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them": Went to Egypt and Assyria to pay their adoration to those who were not by nature gods; and this was the cause of their ruin and destruction.

"Shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing": As they were corrupt in their practices, and were become useless and unserviceable to God. So they would be carried captive into a foreign country, where they would be inglorious, and unprofitable, uncomfortable in themselves, and of no use to one another.

God's people that He loved so much and had done so many wonderful things for, have turned against Him. They are evil people and worse than that, they will not take instruction from God. They are so proud of themselves, that they respect their own judgement over the judgement of God. This girdle Jeremiah went and got is good for nothing. God's people are just as worthless as this girdle.

Jeremiah 13:11 "For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear."

Being girt tight unto him.

"So have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of Judah": Whom he chose above all people, and caused to approach unto him, and dwell in his courts. Whom he favored with his presence, and encouraged them to follow after him, and cleave to him in faith and affection, and with full purpose of heart. So that they were a people near unto him as a man's girdle is to his loins. The end of this was, and would have been, had they continued so:

"That they might be unto me for a people": His own people, a special and peculiar people above all others. Peculiarly favored and blessed by him, and continue so, and in the enjoyment of all good things.

"And for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory": For a famous and renowned people, that should be to the praise and glory of God, and an honor to him, and an ornament to the profession of him. Whereas they were the reverse.

"But they would not hear": The words of the Lord, nor obey his voice; but served other gods. Departed from the Lord, to whom they should have cleaved, and so became like this rotten girdle.

The girdle had been worn close to the wearer, just as God had been close to His people. God is speaking of all the 12 tribes of Israel here. The ten tribes were known as Israel and the 2 tribes were known as Judah. God had separated them from all the people of the world to be His peculiar people. He loved them as a father does a son. They were to represent Him to all the world. They were His glory and praise in the world. Now they have betrayed His trust in them. The love God had for them meant nothing to them. They would not listen. They had ears to hear, but they would not hear.

Verses 12-14: No doubt this reference to every "bottle" being "filled with wine" reflects a popular saying. The vine (together with the fig tree), symbolized the basic covenant between God and Israel and the attendant blessings of that spiritual relationship (compare Psalm 80:8-15; Micah 4:3-4; Zech. 3:10). Wine, the fruit of the vine, could signify God's blessing on the fruitful life (Isa. 55:1; Joel 2:23-24), and was to be offered in the drink offering. Unfortunately, Israel had become an unfruitful vine (Isa. 5:2-6), and her people became drunkards (Isa. 5:11, 22; 28:7-8; 56:11-12), who must be constantly warned of the dangerous evils of drinking wine (Prov. 20:1; 23:29-35: Hosea 4:11; Micah 2:11).

Jeremiah condemned the drunken habits of the citizens of "Jerusalem" who had permitted a covenant symbol to be perverted into an evil so typical of the pagan societies around them. In the coming crisis, their "drunkenness" would dull their reactions when they needed to respond decisively. No wonder Paul urges the believer to "be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess": (Eph. 5:18).

The "filled" bottles represented the land, and the "wine" represented the suffering and humiliation that would follow (Psalm 75:8).

Jeremiah 13:12 "Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?"

God pictured inhabitants of Israel in Babylon's invasion as Jugs or skins of wine. As wine caused drunkenness, they well be dazed, stumbling in darkness (compare verse 16), out of control, and victims of destruction (verse 14).

Jeremiah 13:13 "Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness."

Explaining the above words.

"Thus saith the Lord, behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land": This is the application of the parable, and shows that by every bottle is meant every inhabitant of Judea.

Even the kings that sit upon David's throne": Or, "that sit for David on his throne"; that succeed him one after another. More kings may be meant than one, as Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. Or the present reigning king, and the princes of the brood, are designed. Who, though of David's family, and on his throne, yet this could not secure them from the calamity threatened.

"And the priests": Who ministered in holy things": Their sacred office and function would not preserve them from ruin.

"And the prophets": The false prophets, as the Targum, that prophesied smooth things, and prophesied them peace and safety. These should be involved in the common destruction.

"And all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness": With tribulation, as the Targum interprets it; and adds, "and shall be like a drunken man;" giddy, stupid, unable to help themselves, or to advise one another.

It appears that all the kings that reigned during this terrible time were heavy drinkers. Even worse than that, the priests and prophets were too. This could also be speaking of the cup of the fury of God poured out upon them. Whatever is the case, they cannot help themselves much less their people.

Jeremiah 13:14 "And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them."

What a stunning picture of the awesome and fearful nature of God's wrath, that those going through it would not experience any "pity, nor spare,", or "have mercy" on their way to destruction!

God is saying He is bringing about their destruction. The cup of the LORD's fury is so great against them that they will be destroyed.

Verses 15-17: A third illustration concerns a wary traveler in danger of being overtaken by the falling "darkness" of night. Such was Judah. It must renounce all "pride" and give God His rightful "glory" before the final darkness of national catastrophe engulfs it.

This extended passage describes the details of the tragedy that would befall Jerusalem. No one would be spared, from the "king" to the smallest member of the "flock". Because of the persistent sins of many, all would suffer. When God passes judgment on an evil people, some who are innocent may well suffer and die with the rest.

Jeremiah 13:15 "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken."

Both to what goes before, and what follows after. The words doubled denote the closest and strictest attention.

"Be not proud": Haughty, scornful, as above all instruction, and needing no advice and counsel. Self-conceited, despising the word of God, and his messages by his prophets. Or, "do not lift up yourselves"; above others, and against God.

"For the Lord hath spoken": It is not I, but the Lord; and what he has said shall certainly come to pass. So the Targum, "for in the word of the Lord it is so decreed;" it is in vain to oppose him. His counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. None ever hardened themselves against him, and prospered.

God is asking them one more time, to listen and understand before it is too late. It is also explained in this that this is not Jeremiah speaking to them, but the LORD through the mouth of Jeremiah. Some of them were far too proud to accept a message coming out of the mouth of a youth, as being from God. I can just hear them saying: Who does he think he is, telling us what to do?

Jeremiah 13:16 "Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, [and] make [it] gross darkness."

"Give glory to the Lord": Show by repentance and obedience to God that you respect His majesty.

This is no time to be proud. Humble yourself and give glory to God. We either walk in God's Light, or we walk in the darkness of the earth. Darkness is the absence of Light. When God removes the Light, the darkness comes. Physical darkness can cause you to stumble and fall, but the worst darkness of all is spiritual darkness. The darkness that God sent over Egypt as one of the 10 plagues, was so great you could feel the darkness. The gross darkness is so depressing that it might even cause death. The only way to do away with this type darkness, is repent of your sins and pray for the Light.

Jeremiah 13:17 "But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for [your] pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive."

That is, if you will not listen to what I say, take heed to what I say, and obey the counsel which I give you. I shall seriously and secretly mourn for your rebellion and obstinacy, which is rooted in your pride, and lifting up yourselves against the Lord's admonishing and counsels. And I shall also mourn for your calamity when it comes upon you. I shall have a personal and family concern with you, but that will not so much trouble me as to consider that you who are the church and people of God should be led into captivity.

Jeremiah is brought to weeping for the fate of these prideful people. The sheep belong to the great Shepherd. God will allow His people to go into captivity to make them realize how badly they need Him to save them.

Jeremiah 13:18 "Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, [even] the crown of your glory."

"King ... the queen": Jehoiachin and Nehushta, ca 597 B.C. (compare 22:24-26; 29:2; 2 Kings 24:8-17). Because the king was only 18 years old, she held the real power.

In the following two Scriptures, we see that the king was very young, and his mother was the queen instead of him having a wife who was queen. Jeremiah was the prophet in the land for both kings.

2 Kings 22:1 "Josiah [was] eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath."

2 Kings 24:8 "Jehoiachin [was] eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name [was] Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem."

Jehoiachin reigned just a short time. It was during this period that Babylon captured them.

2 Kings 24:11-12 "And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it." "And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign."

Jeremiah 13:19 "The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open [them]: Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive."

"Wholly carried away captive": "All" and "wholly" do not require absolutely every individual, for Jeremiah elsewhere explains that some were to be slain and a remnant left in the land or fleeing to Egypt (Chapters 39-44).

We know from the Scripture (in 2 Kings above), that this prophecy was fulfilled. They were held captive in Babylon.

Jeremiah 13:20 "Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where [is] the flock [that] was given thee, thy beautiful flock?"

He speaks to them as if their enemy was even then upon their march, that if they did but look they might see him coming.

"Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" The prophet either speaks to the king, or to the rulers, or chief of the congregation of Judah. (Prov. 14:28). In the multitude of the people is the king's honor. So in the multitude of subjects, or of members, lies much of the honor of a church or state.

This is speaking of the shepherd, who should have been watching the flock God had entrusted to him. The beautiful flock is speaking of God's people.

Jeremiah 13:21 "What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? For thou hast taught them [to be] captains, [and] as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail?"

That is, thou wilt have nothing to say, but be wholly confounded and ashamed when God shall visit thee with this sore judgment. Or when Nebuchadnezzar's army sent by God shall visit thee. For you, either by thy commerce and trading with them, or by your so often calling them to your assistance, or by thy idolatry borrowed from them, and other nations, hast taught them to be captains over thee. Thy sorrows and affliction will come upon thee suddenly and terribly, as pain cometh upon a woman in travail. Yea, and as certain also.

The punishment on these people who thought themselves above others, will come suddenly like a woman who is having a baby.

Verses 22-23: Deep-seated sin is about as easy to change as the color of one's "skin" or a leopard's "spots". Only the One who makes us can make anyone whole again. Redemption requires surrender to God.

Jeremiah 13:22 "And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, [and] thy heels made bare."

Not daring to express it with the mouth; and which, notwithstanding, God that knows the heart, was privy to, and could discern all the secret workings of it. Putting such a question as this.

"Wherefore come these things upon me?" All these calamities, the invasion and siege of the enemy, famine, sword, captivity etc. The answer returned is:

"For the greatness of thine iniquity": The enormous crimes the Jews were guilty of, such as idolatry, blasphemy, etc. Which were attended with aggravated circumstances. Or, "for the multitude of thine iniquity"; their sins being so many, as well as great.

"Are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare": Being obliged to walk naked and barefoot, their buttocks uncovered, and their legs and feet naked, without stockings or shoes. As captives used to be led, to their great shame and disgrace (see Isa. 20:2). The phrases are expressive of captivity, and the manner of it. The cause of which was the greatness and multitude of their sins. The Targum is, "because thy sins are multiplied, thy confusion is revealed, thy shame is seen."

It is as if they had not been warned over and over. They act as if they did not deserve such punishment from God. Their sins are now out in the open. They cannot hide them under their skirts. They are barefoot, because they have been exposed.

Jeremiah 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? [then] may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."

"Ethiopian ... leopard": The vivid analogy assumes that sinners cannot change their sinful natures. Only God can change the heart (31:18; 31-34).

The Ethiopian was born with black skin. The leopard is born with spots. Man is born with a sinful nature. The natural thing for a man to do is sin. God wants His people to be peculiar to the world. They are no longer to be controlled by their flesh, or their nature they are born with. Those who belong to God are of spirit, not flesh.

Jeremiah 13:24 "Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness."

Because of their many sins, and continuance in them. Their habits and custom of sinning, they are threatened with being carried captive into other nations. Where they should be dispersed and separated one from another, which would make their state and condition very uncomfortable. And this would be as easily and as swiftly done as the light stubble which is blown away by every puff of wind. Nor would they be able any more to resist the enemy, and help themselves, than the stubble is to stand before the wind as follows.

"By the wind of the wilderness": Which blows freely and strongly. So the Chaldean army is compared to a dry wind of the high places in the wilderness, even a full wind that should scatter and destroy (Jer. 4:11). Or, "to the wind of the wilderness"; and so may denote the wilderness of the people, or the land of Babylon, where they should be carried captive. And from where the wind should come that should bring them to that place.

Since their nature is to sin and they have not risen above that nature, God will scatter them until they call out to Him. If they are wild let them live in the wilderness.

Jeremiah 13:25 "This [is] thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood."

Meaning not the king's, or the queen's only, but the lot of the whole Jewish state.

"The portion of thy measures from me, saith the Lord": Which were divided and distributed, and measured out to them by the Lord. Who appointed these calamities to befall them, and brought them upon them, and that in righteous judgment. The Targum is, "and the portion of thine inheritance;" who, instead of having the land of Canaan for their inheritance, to which the allusion is, and of which they boasted, the land of Babylon was assigned them. Not to be possessors of it, but captives in it. And instead of having God to be their portion and inheritance, they were banished from him, and this was but righteous measure. They had measure for measure.

"Because thou hast forgotten me": Their Maker and Benefactor. The goodness he had shown them, the mercies and benefits he had bestowed upon them. Or, "my law", as the Arabic version. Or, "my worship", as the Targum. Therefore, he forgot them, took no notice of them, hid his face from them, and gave them up into the hands of their enemies.

"And trusted in falsehood": Either in the Egyptians and Assyrians, who deceived them; or in their idols. Which were falsehood and lying vanities, and could not help them.

They had followed the desires of their flesh and worshipped false gods. God gives them exactly what they deserve. They will not be treated as God's spirit people. They will go the way of all flesh. They will not have God's protection any longer.

Jeremiah 13:26 "Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear."

"Discover thy skirts": Turn them up, or throw them over the head or face. That is, expose to public shame and disgrace; which was done when their city and temple were burnt, and they were carried captive. This was done to shame captive women and prostitutes (compare Nahum 3:5).

"That thy shame may appear": That their sins might appear to themselves and others, of which they had reason to be ashamed. The allusion is to the treatment which captive women sometimes meet with, or adulterous women, to which the Jews are here compared. The Targum is, "and I also will reveal the confusion of thy sin upon thy face, and thy shame shall be seen."

They will be red-faced with embarrassment. Their sins are made public.

Jeremiah 13:27 "I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, [and] thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when [shall it] once [be]?"

"Thy neighings": Refers to desire at an animal level, without conscience.

Nothing was hidden from God's sight (Heb. 4:13). Despite a depraved condition that would sicken some people into repentance, the people were asked: "wilt thou not be made clean".

Jeremiah, and God through Jeremiah are saying to this people; "I know all your sins, when will you repent and be saved?" It is as if God is pleading with them to repent from their sins, and let Him cleanse them. He offers them redemption. Why will they not accept it?

Jeremiah Chapter 13 Questions

1. What did God tell Jeremiah to get and put on?

2. What does white clean linen symbolize?

3. What tells us it might be soiled?

4. What does verse 2 show about Jeremiah?

5. Where was Jeremiah to hide the girdle?

6. In a sense, this girdle symbolized the _________ of _____.

7. What did the fact that it was soiled show us?

8. The hole in the rock symbolized their ______________.

9. What was the Euphrates?

10. The "many days" of verse 6, symbolize what?

11. What do we learn from Jeremiah going back to get the girdle?

12. What had happened to the girdle?

13. What was the same as the condition of the girdle?

14. What was God going to mar in verse 9?

15. The girdle was good for _________.

16. Who is God speaking to in verse 11?

17. Every bottle shall be filled with ______.

18. Who were filled with drunkenness?

19. Who was speaking to them, really?

20. Darkness is the __________ of ________.

21. What was unusual about the Egyptian plague of darkness?

22. Why does God allow them to go into captivity?

23. Why was the mother of Josiah queen?

24. In the reign of _______________, Babylon took Jerusalem.

25. Who is the flock in verse 20?

26. Can an Ethiopian change his _______?

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Jeremiah 14

Jeremiah Chapter 14

"Verses 14:1 - 17:18: Jeremiah brings before his hearers several messages dealing with their false lamenting. (Chapters 14 and 15), deal with Jeremiah's words and work in the time of a drought that caused a famine.

Verses 1-6: Drought and famine were two of the judgments Moses had warned would come if the people did not obey the Lord's commands (Lev. Chapter 26; Deut. Chapter 28). Famine and war usually go together. Revelation chapter 6 warns that in the Tribulation period will come the Antichrist, followed by war and worldwide famine.

Jeremiah 14:1 "The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth."

"Dearth": Jeremiah seems to actually give the prophecy of this chapter during a drought in Judah (verses 2-6).

"Dearth" means drought. We see then, they will not only have problems with invaders, but with drought, as well. We know the invasion came during the reign of Jehoiachin, and possibly this drought came during the reign of Jehoiachin as well.

Jeremiah 14:2 "Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up."

"Gates thereof languish": The "gates" were the place of public concourse, which during drought and consequent famine were empty or occupied by mourners.

This drought is so bad and for so long, everything looks like it has been in a fire. The plants have dried up and turned black. The cry of Jerusalem goes up, because famine goes right along with a drought.

Jeremiah 14:3 "And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, [and] found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads."

To places where water used to be. To the pools, the upper and the lower pools, particularly to the fountain of Shiloah, which, Jerom says, was the only one the city of Jerusalem used. The meaning either is, that the nobles in Jerusalem sent their own children to get water for them. They having no servants to attend them, these being put away because they could not support them, the famine being so sore. Or that they sent their menial servants, their subjects, as the Targum renders it, to get them a little water to refresh themselves with.

"They came to the pits and found no water": Their servants came according to order to the pools and cisterns, or to the deep wells. And to such places where there used to be a great confluence of water, and plenty of it. But now they could find none.

"They returned with their vessels empty": Just as they came.

"They were ashamed and confounded": Either the servants that were sent, or rather their masters that sent them, when they saw them come with their empty vessels. Having been looking out and longing for their return. Hoping they would have brought water with them for their refreshment; but to their great disappointment and confusion brought none.

"And covered their heads": As persons ashamed, or as mourners used to do, being full of anguish and distress because of the drought.

This drought has spread to the point that not even the nobles have water to drink. It appears they had sent to the pool for water to be brought into the castle, but there was no water found for anyone. The covering of their heads indicates they were mourning about the drought. They would be ashamed to admit that their God had withheld water from them because of their wickedness.

Jeremiah 14:4 "Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads."

Through the violent heat of the sun, and want of rain. Or, is broken; and crumbles into dust. The Targum is, "because of sins, the inhabitants of the earth are broken:"

"For there was no rain in the earth": This was the reason of the dearth, and of the famine. And why there was no water in the pits, and the ground was parched. It is to be understood of the land of Judea only, not of the whole earth.

"The ploughmen were ashamed": Because they could not work the earth with their plough, and were obliged to sit still and could do no work. Or to go on with their farming as nothing could be done for want of rain. They covered their heads; as before (see Jer. 14:3).

It was of no use at all to plow the ground. The water needed for the crop to grow was withheld from them. It is time for them to mourn.

Jeremiah 14:5 "Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook [it], because there was no grass."

Or brought forth her young in the field; of which see (Job 39:1). And which they sometimes did through fear, particularly when frightened with thunder and lightning. And which are common in a time of heat and drought, which is the case here (see Psalm 29:9). Of these sort of creatures there were great plenty in Judea and the parts adjacent. Aelianus says, the harts in Syria are bred on the highest mountains, Amanus, Lebanon, and Carmel. Which were mountains on the borders of the land of Canaan. And the flesh of these was much used for food by the Jews (see Deut. 12:15).

"And forsook it": Which, as it is a loving creature to its mate, so very careful of its young, and preparation for it, and nourishes it, as Pliny observes. The reason of such uncommon usage follows.

"Because there was no grass": For the hind to feed upon, and so had no milk to suckle its young with. And therefore left it to seek for grass elsewhere, that it might have food for itself, and milk for its young.

This is an unnatural thing for a mother hind to do. She ordinarily would keep her calf until the bitter end. She abandoned it because there was no grass or water to keep the animal alive.

Jeremiah 14:6 "And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because [there was] no grass."

From the field, the prophet's eye turns to the bare hill-tops of the "high places," and sees a scene of like distress. The "wild asses" seem turned to beasts of prey, and stand gaping for thirst, as the jackals (not "dragons", compare Jer. 9:11), stand panting for their prey. By some scholars the word is taken as meaning, like a kindred word in (Ezek. 29:3; 32:2), "crocodiles," with their wide gaping jaws.

"There was no grass": The word is not the same as that in (Jer. 14:5), and implies a larger and ranker herbage than that on which the hind fed.

This is just another example of how far the lack of grass had gone. The blindness was because they were looking so hard for grass and there was no grass. They eventually would die from starvation.

Verses 7-12: Jeremiah had been advised not to intercede for his people (11:4); yet he cannot help pleading for them despite their wronging of him (compare 11:18-23). He prays for God's mercy on the basis of their being "called by thy name". However, God rejects Jeremiah's request (verse 10), reminding him that it is useless to pray for this unyielding sinful people (verses 11-12).

The people's sin was so great that the Lord had said He would not listen to the prayers of Jeremiah (7:11; 11:14). Still the prophet felt compelled to intercede for them, as Moses had.

Verses 7-9: "Our iniquities": The prophet confesses Judah's guilt but reminds God that His reputation is tied up with what happens to His people (verses 7, 9). He asks that the Lord be not indifferent as a stranger or overnight visitor (verse 8).

Jeremiah 14:7 "O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou [it] for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee."

"O Lord": Jeremiah (from 14:7 to 15:21), pursues a series of prayers in which he dialogues with the Lord, who hears and responds (as 1:7; 12:5-17). Five rounds or exchanges occur (14:7-12; 14:13-18; 14:19 to 15:9; 15:10-14; 15:15-21).

We see Jeremiah trying to repent for these people. We remember back to an earlier lesson, when God told Jeremiah not to pray for them. God will not answer this prayer, because the drought is like the captivity. It is to cause the people to return to the worship of the One true God. The only way to stop the drought would be for all the people themselves to repent and return to God. Jeremiah even tries to get God to stop the drought by reminding Him this is His people.

Jeremiah 14:8 "O the hope of Israel, the savior thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man [that] turneth aside to tarry for a night?"

The author, object, ground, and foundation of hope of all good things, both here and hereafter. In whom Israel had been used to hope in times past, and had great encouragement so to do (Psalm 130:7). Or, "the expectation of Israel"; whom they looked for to come.

"The Savior thereof in time of trouble": The Savior of all men in a way of providence, but especially of the true Israel of God, and of them that believe. Who, though they have their times of trouble and affliction, by reason of sin, Satan, and wicked men, and other things. Yet the Lord saves and delivers them out of them all in due time.

"Why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land": Or, a "sojourner"; who abides but for a while. And it not being his native place, is not so concerned for the welfare of it. Jerome interprets this of Christ when here on earth, who was as a stranger, and unknown by men (see Psalm 69:9). And the other characters "Of the hope of Israel, the Savior", well agree with him (1 Tim. 1:1).

"And as a wayfaring man": Or "traveler".

"That turneth aside to tarry for a night?" That turns into an inn to lodge there for a night, and that only. And so is unconcerned what becomes of it, or the people in it. He is only there for a night, and is gone in the morning. Thus, the prophet represents the Lord by these metaphors, as if he was, or at least seemed, careless of his people. And therefore, expostulates with him upon it, as the disciples with our Lord (Mark 4:38).

God is the only hope there is for them or us. In time, God would send His Son as Savior of all mankind. A stranger is just passing through. They are not permanent dwellers. This is what Israel is compared to. They were God's people, but they have wandered from God.

Jeremiah 14:9 "Why shouldest thou be as a man astonished, as a mighty man [that] cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, [art] in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not."

Astonished, and so surprised as not to know what to say or do. Or "asleep", as the Septuagint; taking no notice of us, and being altogether unconcerned what becomes of us. Or, as one "dumb"; that will give no answer to our prayers.

"As a mighty man that cannot save?" Who, though he is able to save, yet, through want of a heart or will, does not exert his power.

"Yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us": Having his residence and dwelling in the temple at Jerusalem; and therefore, was not a stranger and foreigner among them. And this carries in it an appeal and an argument that he would not in his wisdom act towards them in such manner as though he was.

"And we are called by thy name": The people of God, the Israel of God, and the like.

"Leave us not": In our distress and trouble, but deliver us out of it.

Once more we see an urgent plea from Jeremiah. Jeremiah reminds God that these are His people, called by His name. Then he begs God not to abandon them.

Verses 10-12: God responded in this first exchange that;

(1) He must judge Judah for chronic sinfulness; and

(2) Jeremiah is not to pray for the sparing of Judah nor will He respond to their prayers since unrepentance must be punished (compare 11:14, and see note there).

Jeremiah 14:10 "Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins."

Here begins that Divine revelation mentioned (Jer. 14:1), as an answer to the prophet's complaint and prayer in the nine first verses. The substance of which is, that for their numerous sins he was resolved to punish them. And therefore, would not be any more solicited on their behalf.

"Thus have they loved to wander": They have gone aside out of the way of my precepts. And that out of a principle of love and delight, they have been fond of their idols. They have not refrained their feet. And they have persisted in those deviations and sinful courses, notwithstanding all counsels and arguments used with them to the contrary. Nothing could keep their feet to the way of my testimonies.

"Therefore the Lord doth not accept them": Therefore though they pray, and cry, and fast, God will not accept them.

"He will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins": But by his punishment of them for their sins, he will let them know, that as he hath seen and taken notice of, so he hath not forgot what they have done.

Now we see God reply to Jeremiah's request. They have wandered away from Him to worship false gods. They do not like to stay with God. They are always looking for something and someone else. They are dissatisfied with what they have. They of their own free will, have walked away from God. God cannot and will not, look the other way. They must be punished for their unfaithfulness. God did not bring the problems on them, their own sins brought the problems.

Jeremiah 14:11 "Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for [their] good."

As before (in Jer. 7:16; 11:14), the saddest, sternest part of the prophet's work is to feel that even prayer, the prayer that punishment may be averted, is unavailing and unaccepted.

Again, we see God telling Jeremiah not to pray for these people. God would not answer Jeremiah's prayer for them, because He is a just God and must fulfill justice to all. God does not want Jeremiah praying for these people, so Jeremiah must stop.

Jeremiah 14:12 "When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence."

Or, "though they fast". Very probably on account of the want of rain, and the dearth or famine, a fast was proclaimed (see Jer. 36:9). When they prayed and cried aloud, and made a great noise. But their prayers being hypocritical, and not arising from a pure heart, or offered up in faith and love, were not heard and accepted by the Lord.

"And when they offer burnt offerings and an oblation": Or a meat or bread offering, which went along with the burnt offering. Thinking by those outward things to atone for their sins, without true repentance for them, or faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

"I will not accept them": Neither their offerings, nor their persons.

"But I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence": The Lord not only determines the continuance of the famine, notwithstanding the prayers of the prophet; but adds two other judgments, the sword and pestilence. By which he was resolved to consume them. And therefore, it was to no purpose to pray to him on their behalf, he was inexorable.

God had given them a time to repent, but they did not. They have gone too far now. Even if they fast, God will not listen to their prayers. They have been judged of God and found guilty. He will not accept any offering or sacrifice from them.

Jeremiah 14:13 "Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place."

"The prophets say unto them": Jeremiah seemed to put forth the excuse that the people cannot help it since the false prophets deluded them with lying assurances of peace.

Their leaders are telling them all is well. The prophets had promised peace, but there will be no peace. Jeremiah is telling God that their teachers and leaders had taught them a lie. Really they are responsible for their own actions. We must look carefully at this ourselves. God will hold the leaders responsible for the lies they teach, but He also holds the individuals responsible for what they learn.

1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

It is our responsibility to decide who is telling the truth.

Verses 14-18: The excuse was not valid. These were deceits spawned from the prophets' lying hearts. The prophets would suffer for their own sins (verses 14-15), but so would the people for their "wickedness" (verses 16-18; 5:31).

Jeremiah 14:14 "Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart."

False "prophets" are easily identified, they speak in God's name, but give a message contrary to His revealed word (compare Deut. 18:10-22).

The main thing this is saying is that not all teachers tell the truth. Many say they are from God, when in fact they are in the ministry for self-gain. It is our responsibility to make sure what we are being taught is the truth. If the Bible verifies what they teach, it is truth. If the Bible does not verify what they teach, do not believe it.

Jeremiah 14:15 "Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed."

The false prophets, as the following description shows:

"That prophecy in my name, and I sent them not": Made use of his name, pretending his authority, though they were not sent by him.

"Yet they say, sword and famine shall not be in the land": Though the Lord by his true prophet had said there should be both. Which proves that they were not sent by the Lord, since what they said was in direct opposition to the word of the Lord. Wherefore their doom in righteous judgment follows:

"By sword and famine shall these prophets be consumed": They should be some of the first, if not the first that should perish by these calamities. Which would abundantly prove the falsehood of their predictions, and show that their lies could neither secure themselves nor others from the judgments which the Lord had said should come upon them.

We see the judgement God makes on these false prophets fits their false prophecies. Whatever they have said will be their punishment. God fits the punishment to the crime.

Jeremiah 14:16 "And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them."

That is, such of them as gave credit to their prophecies.

"Shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, because of the famine and the sword": Those dying of the famine and of the sword, will have their carcasses cast out of their houses into the open streets. And there lie unburied, as a punishment for disbelieving the words of the Lord, and giving heed to the lies of the false prophets.

"And they shall have none to bury them": Either through want of ability of body or substance, or through want of affection. Or rather through want of persons to do it for them, all their relations being cut off with them, as follows:

"Them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters": Or rather, "they", "their wives, and their sons, and their daughters". These shall die by the famine and the sword, and shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem. So that they and their relatives all dying, there would be none to bury one another. And that all should suffer by these calamities were but just and righteous, since all were guilty both of idolatry. And of despising the prophets, and listening to the false ones (see Jer. 7:18).

"For I will pour their wickedness upon them": Or, "their evil upon them". Not the evil of sin, but the evil of punishment. The meaning is, that he would abundantly punish them for their sins, and as they deserved, though not exceeding the bounds of justice. The phrase denotes that their wickedness was great; and that in proportion to it the vials of his wrath would be poured out upon them.

We see from this that those who listen and believe the lies, are responsible for their own sins as well. They also will be punished according to the sin they have committed. We cannot blame our sin on anyone else.

Jeremiah 14:17 "Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow."

Instead of praying for the people, the prophet has a doleful lamentation put into his mouth, to pronounce in their hearing. In order to assure them of the calamities that were coming upon them, and to affect them with them.

"Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease": Or "be silent"; signifying that there would be quickly just reason and occasion for incessant grief and sorrow in them. And if they were so hardened as not to be affected with their case, he could not refrain shedding tears night and day in great abundance. Which would have a voice in them, to call upon them to weeping and lamentation also.

"For the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow": Cities are sometimes called virgins, which were never taken. And so Jerusalem here, it having never been taken since it was in the hands of the people of Judah. Nor were its inhabitants as yet carried captive, but now would be. Which, together with the famine and the sword, by which many should perish, is the great breach and grievous blow spoken of. And which is given as a reason, and was a sufficient one, for sorrow and mourning.

Jeremiah is terribly grieved. These are his people. This is a comparison of a virgin daughter being killed before her time. Jeremiah speaks of this Hebrew nation as the virgin daughter. They will be utterly destroyed but they are not virgins. They have committed spiritual adultery with the worship of false gods.

Jeremiah 14:18 "If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not."

The prophet is by God directed to speak still of the calamities of this people as a thing past, though yet to come, according to the usual style of prophetical writings. And to tell them, that whatsoever their false prophets told them, yet he so certainly knew the contrary. That he could even wish himself melted into tears for them, and had even already before his eyes the doleful spectacle of their miseries. Some in the field slain by the enemy's sword, others within the walls almost starved to death.

"Both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not": Meaning Babylon. The word in the Hebrew wdto, which we translate go about, signifies so primarily, and in a second sense to merchandise, because merchants go about countries to trade. This hath made that variety of sense which the margins of our Bible have. But our translation is true enough, and the sense seems to be, that priests and prophets (though accounted sacred persons), should be made captives also. And wander in a land wherein they were foreigners. This is thought to relate to the first captivity in the time of Jehoiakim, when the people of the best fashion were carried into captivity.

This just speaks of the judgement being so great that there is death and suffering everywhere. Wherever they go there is famine, and war, and the results of both. The priest can do nothing to stop it.

Verses 14:19 to 15:2: The Lord also rejected the people's confession of sin. Ironically, they petitioned Him to not "break" His covenant with them, when in fact they had broken the covenant.

Verses 19-20: Hast thou utterly rejected Judah?" Lest the Lord be casting Judah off forever, the prophet in deep contrition confesses the nation's sin (compare Dan. 9:4).

Jeremiah 14:19 "Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul loathed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and [there is] no healing for us? we looked for peace, and [there is] no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!"

Again, a burdened Jeremiah pleads with God, vicariously confessing the sins of the people and urging God not to destroy His people for the sake of His own reputation among the nations. Because of the temple in Jerusalem, and on the basis of His covenant with His people (verse 21).

The false prophets promised peace. They are asking if God has totally turned against His people. I might add they had totally turned against Him to other gods. God does not hate them. He loves them, but they brought this on themselves. This is a time of great trouble.

Jeremiah 14:20 "We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, [and] the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee."

This is said by the prophet, in the name of the few faithful that were among this people. Who were sensible of their own sins, the sins of their ancestors, and which they ingenuously confess. Their fathers had sinned, and they had imitated them, and continued in the same, and therefore might justly expect the displeasure of the Lord, and his controversy with them.

"For we have sinned against thee": (See Jer. 14:7).

It is a little late to acknowledge their sins and the sins they learned from their fathers. Jeremiah mourns and repents, as if these are his own personal sins. Jeremiah had warned them, but they had not received his warnings.

Jeremiah 14:21 "Do not abhor [us], for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us."

Which was called upon them, and which they called upon. They deserved to be abhorred, they had done those things which might justly render them abominable, and being what was abhorrent to him. And they deplore this, not, for their own sake, who were unworthy of any favor, but for his own sake, for the sake of his honor and glory, which, as it is dear to the Lord, so to his people.

"Do not disgrace the throne of thy glory": Either Jerusalem, as Kimchi, which was the city of the great King, where he had his throne and palace, and which is called the throne of the Lord (Jer. 3:17). Or the house of the sanctuary, the temple, as Jarchi (see Jer. 17:12). Respect seems to be had to the mercy seat upon the Ark, over which were the cherubim of glory, between which the Lord dwelt. And they pray, that though they were worthy of disgrace themselves, and to be taken and carried captive into a strange land, yet they entreat that the Lord would not disgrace his own glorious habitation, by suffering the city and the temple, and the Ark in it, to be destroyed.

"Remember; thy people, Zion, as before": Or the promises made to them, the covenant, as follows.

"Break not thy covenant with us": God never breaks his covenant, though man does. It may sometimes seem to be broken, when his church and people are in distress and affliction. But he will never break the covenant he has made, or suffer his faithfulness to fail. Yet, though he does not, it is proper and necessary oftentimes to pray in this manner to God, for the encouragement of faith in him, and expectation of good things from him.

"Abhor" means to scorn. It also means to treat or regard with contempt. The presence of God was in the temple, in the Holy of Holies. His presence was over the mercy seat. This perhaps is saying, do not let the temple be destroyed. They are remembering God's covenant with Abraham, but they forget they had to remain faithful to God to receive the blessings. There were curses if they did not obey God. It is not God that had broken covenant with them, they have broken covenant with God.

Jeremiah 14:22 "Are there [any] among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? [art] not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these [things]."

The blessing wanted; none of the idols of the Gentiles, called vanities, because it was a vain thing to apply to them, or hope for anything from them. None of these could give a shower of rain; though the name of one of their idols was Jupiter Imbrius, or Pluvius, the god of rain. Yet he could not make nor give a single drop. As Baal, in the times of Ahab, when there was a drought, could not.

"Or can the heavens give showers?" From whence they descend, and which are the second causes of rain. Even these could not of themselves, and much less heathen deities.

"Art not thou he, O Lord our God?" The everlasting and unchangeable He, or I AM. Our covenant God and Father, thou, and thou only, canst give rain. This is expected goodness of the great God himself (see Acts 14:17).

"Therefore we will wait upon thee": For rain, by prayer and supplication, and hope for it. And wait the Lord's own time to give it.

"For thou hast made all these things": The rain and its showers, who have no other father than the Lord (Job 38:28). Also, the heavens from whence it descends, and the earth on which it falls, are made by him, who restrains and gives it at His pleasure.

None of the false gods could bring rain. They could not do anything to benefit the people who worshipped them. They will wait for the return of God's blessings upon them. He is their only help.

Jeremiah Chapter 14 Questions

  1. What was the Word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning?
  2. What does "dearth" mean?
  3. The invasion came during the reign of _______________.
  4. The drought came during the reign of ________________.
  5. The drought has been so bad, it looks like there has been a _______.
  6. Who did the nobles send for water?
  7. What did they do, when they found no water?
  8. What is that symbolic of?
  9. What effect did this have on the plowmen?
  10. What was an unnatural thing for the mother hind to do?
  11. In verse 7, their ___________ testified against them.
  12. What was Jeremiah trying to do for these people?
  13. Who is their only hope?
  14. Why is God remembering their iniquity, and visiting their sins on them?
  15. They, of their ______ ______ _____, have walked away from God.
  16. In verse 11, God told Jeremiah not to _______ for them.
  17. Would God listen, if they fast and pray?
  18. What lie had their leaders been telling them?
  19. Was this a good excuse?
  20. How can you determine if a teacher is telling the truth?
  21. How does God fit the punishment for their sin?
  22. Those who listen and believe the lies are _____________ for _____ _____ ______.
  23. In verse 17, we see Jeremiah is terribly __________.
  24. Who is Jeremiah calling the virgin daughter?
  25. What is verse 18 speaking of?
  26. How does the author answer the question of verse 19?
  27. Jeremiah repents and mourns, as if these were his _____________ ______.
  28. What does "abhor" mean?
  29. None of the ________ ______ could bring rain.

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Jeremiah 15

Jeremiah Chapter 15

Verses 1-9: It was ineffective at this point to intercede for the nation. Even prayers by Moses (compare Num. 14:11-25), and Samuel (compare 1 Sam. 12:19-25), eminent in intercession, would not defer judgment, where unrepentance persists (compare 18:8; 26:3). Chief among things provoking judgment was the intense sin of King Manasseh (695 - 642 B.C.). Noted (in verse 4), this provocation is recounted (in 2 Kings 21:1-18; compare 2 Kings 23:26), which says the Lord did not relent from His anger because of this (see also 2 kings 24:3-4).

Jeremiah 15:1 "Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, [yet] my mind [could] not [be] toward this people: cast [them] out of my sight, and let them go forth."

In answer to his expostulations and entreaties (Jer. 14:19).

"Though Moses and Samuel stood before me": To pray before me, as the Targum; to make intercession for the people. Standing is a prayer gesture. The Jews say there is no standing but prayer, or that is meant when it is mentioned; (Matt. 6:5). Moses and Samuel were named, because they were eminent for prayer, and had success in it, for the people of Israel. Of Moses (see Exodus 32:11), and of Samuel (see 1 Sam. 7:9), and of both (Psalm 99:6). But the words are only a supposition, and not a fact. The meaning is, that supposing that Moses and Samuel were alive, and made intercession for the people, their prayers would not be regarded. "Yet my mind could not be towards this people": God could have no good will to them, no delight in them and could not be reconciled to them, or agree to it. That the favors asked for should be granted them, or that they should be continued in their own land. And therefore, it was in vain for the prophet to ask on their account. But, on the other hand, it is ordered as follows.

"Cast them out of my sight": Or presence; as persons loathsome and abominable, not to be borne. I cannot look upon them, or have anything to say to them, in a favorable way.

"And let them go forth": From my presence, from the temple, the city, and out of their own land. That is, declare that so it shall be.

Moses and Samuel were mighty men of God. God tells Jeremiah, that even if they prayed for this people, He would say no. God has made His decision about the outcome of these people, and all the prayers in the world will not change God's plans. It is wonderful to have someone to intercede in your behalf, but there are some things that are set and God will not alter them for anyone. God is finished with them for the present. They have angered God beyond the point of His changing His mind. He had told Jeremiah in the last chapter, not to pray for these people anymore. Jeremiah is treading on dangerous ground himself, disobeying God's command to him.

Jeremiah 15:2 "And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as [are] for death, to death; and such as [are] for the sword, to the sword; and such as [are] for the famine, to the famine; and such as [are] for the captivity, to the captivity."

If they ask thee what thou meanest by going forth. Which being a term of motion, implies a term to which the motion should be. Saith God, "in the general, it is to ruin and destruction, but they shall not all be destroyed one and the same way". Some shall be destroyed by the pestilence, (for that is here to be understood by death). Others shall be destroyed by the famine, others by the sword of enemies, others shall go into captivity. But one way or other the land shall be quitted of the most of you.

God is explaining to Jeremiah that the punishment for each of them is already set. Some of them will die, some will be killed by the sword, some will starve to death in the famine, and the rest will go into captivity. It is set, and there is no way to change it.

Jeremiah 15:3 "And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy."

Or four families, and these very devouring ones. That is, four sorts of punishment; and so the Targum, "four evil punishments;" which are after mentioned. These are represented as under God, and at his beck and call. Servants of his that go and come at his pleasure, and do his will. And as being over men, and having power and authority to kill and to destroy by a divine commission.

"The sword to slay": The first and chief of the four families or punishments, which had a commission from the Lord to sheath itself in his people, the Jews. Even the sword of the enemy, the Chaldeans, drawn against them by a divine order and appointment.

"And the dogs to tear": The carcasses of those that are slain with the sword. Or "to draw"; as the word signifies. It being the usual way of dogs to draw and drag the flesh about they are feeding on. This is another of the four families, and a very voracious one it is.

"And the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy": Or "to eat, and to corrupt", the bodies of those that are slain by the sword. The meaning is, that such should not have a burial, but should be the food of fowls and wild beasts. These are the other two destroying families, which have their commission from the Lord for such service.

The sword will slay them, but they will not be buried. The dogs will get their bodies and drag them down the street. Vultures will eat the flesh off their bones. The beasts of the earth will get what the vultures do not.

Jeremiah 15:4 "And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for [that] which he did in Jerusalem."

"Manasseh" was the grandfather of Josiah and one of Judah's worst kings. Over his 55 year reign, he worshiped idols, filled Jerusalem with violence, and even sacrificed his son to the pagan gods (2 Kings Chapter 21). Judah's return to his evil ways following Josiah's godly reign meant that judgment was unavoidable (2 Kings 24:3-4).

We remember Manasseh was an evil king, who caused the worship of many false gods. He even put up statues of them. This same type of thing is found in the following Scriptures.

Deuteronomy 28:24-26 "The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed." "The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." "And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray [them] away."

Notice this is not Satan, this is judgement from God for worshipping false gods.

Jeremiah 15:5 "For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? Or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?"

The inhabitants of it; their sins being so many, and so heinous, and so aggravated, and so deserving of punishment, that none could pity their case, or have a heart of compassion towards them, or even spare reproaching them.

"Or who shall bemoan thee?" Sympathize and condole with thee, or speak a comfortable word to thee, or seek to alleviate thy grief and sorrow.

"Who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?" or "of thy peace?" Shall not think it worth their while to go a step out of their way, or turn into a house, and inquire of thy welfare, or salute thee.

When God turns against them, there is no one left to care what happens to them.

Jeremiah 15:6 "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting."

"I am weary with relenting": God often withholds the judgment He threatens (compare 26:19; Exodus 32:14; 1 Chron. 21:15), sparing men so that His patience might lead them to repentance (compare Rom. 2:4-5; 3:25).

From a human point of view, God's relenting of the threatened calamity against Judah may seem to be a change of mind. However, this "hand" will "stretch out' in judgment against them (see the note on 6:12).

God had heard their cry for help so many times and every time they repented, He had taken them back and blessed them instead of punishing them. This time will be different. They have gone too far. God will allow the punishment to happen.

Jeremiah 15:7 "And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave [them] of children, I will destroy my people, [since] they return not from their ways."

Either of their own land, the land of Judea. And so the Septuagint version, "in the gates of my people"; alluding to the custom of winnowing corn in open places. And by fanning is meant the dispersion of the Jews, and their being carried captive out of their own land into other countries. Or of the land of the enemy, into their cities, as the Targum paraphrases it. Gates being put for them frequently. Whither they should be scattered by the fan of the Lord; for what was done by the enemy, as an instrument, is ascribed to him.

"I will bereave them of children": Which shall die of famine, or pestilence, or by the sword, or in captivity. I will destroy my people; which must be when children are cut off. By which families, towns, cities, and kingdoms, are continued and kept up. And this he was resolved to do, though they were his people.

"Since they return not from their ways": Their evil ways, which they had gone into, forsaking the ways of God, and his worship.

"Yet they return not from their ways": Though fanned with the fan of affliction, bereaved of their children, and threatened with destruction. It expresses their obstinate continuance in their evil ways, and the reason of God's dealing with them as above.

Bereave in the Scripture above means miscarry or abortion. This just means that a woman with a child will miscarry that child because of the terrible hardships of war. When you fan a fire, you make it hotter. God causes this to become worse, because of their sin.

Jeremiah 15:8 "Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused [him] to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city."

Translated, "I have brought upon them, even upon the mother of the young man, a spoiler etc." The word rendered "young man" means a picked warrior. The mother has borne a valiant champion; but neither his prowess nor the numerous offspring of the other can avail to save those who gave them birth. Therefore the widows are greatly increased.

"Against the mother of the young men": Rather, upon ... young man. The widow has lost her husband, the mother her son, so that no human power can repel the barbarous foe. The word rendered "young man" is specially used for "young warriors," e.g., (Jer. 18:21; 49:26; 51:3). Others following Rashi, take "mother" in the sense of "metropolis," or "chief city" (see Authorized Version, margin). In which case "young man" must be connected with the participle rendered.

"A spoiler;" but though the word has this sense in (2 Sam. 20:19), it is there coupled with "city," so that no doubt can exist. Hero the prophet would certainly not have used the word in so unusual a sense without giving some guide to his meaning. The rendering adopted above has the support of Ewald, Hitzig, and Dr. Payne Smith.

"At noonday": At the most unlooked-for moment (see Jer. 6:4).

I have caused him": Etc. Rather, I have caused pangs and terrors to fall upon her suddenly.

"And terrors upon the city": Or, "city and terrors"; the city was immediately filled with terrors at the appearance of Nebuchadnezzar and his army. R. Joseph Kimchi interprets it, "an army and terrors" (1 Sam. 28:16). The Babylonian monarch, at the head of his army, which spread terrors where he came. Some render the word, from (Dan. 4:13), "a watcher and terrors": meaning the Chaldean army, called watchers (Jer. 4:16). The Targum is, "I will bring an army upon them suddenly, and destroy their cities;" it should be rendered "alienation of mind and terrors": from the use of the word, in the Arabic language.

This is just speaking of the vast numbers of young men who die in the war. The destruction from this war is sudden and leaves very little behind.

Jeremiah 15:9 "She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while [it was] yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD."

In the picture of the previous verse the glory of the mother was found in the valor of her son, here in the number of her children. "Seven," as the perfect number, represented, as in (1 Sam. 2:5; Ruth 4:15), the typical completeness of the family.