(We saw in the previous post that Jeremiah pleaded with the people to admit their shame, confusion, and sin against God. Those first three chapters introduced the theme of the Book of Jeremiah: God's people have sinned against God like a wife who has committed harlotry against her husband. God offered the people the opportunity to confess and repent otherwise, God would remove His mercy and bring judgment.)
1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith Jehovah, if thou wilt return unto me, and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight; then shalt thou not be removed;
2 and thou shalt swear, As Jehovah liveth, in truth, in justice, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
(If Israel repented, put away their idols, and swore that God lived: in truth, Justice, and Righteousness, then they would be blessed in God and in God they would glory.)
3 For thus saith Jehovah to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
("Break up your fallow ground": Fallow ground was hard, untilled ground. This represented a hard heart. God was encouraging Judah to humble themselves and soften their hearts. Also see Hosea 10:12.)
4 Circumcise yourselves to Jehovah, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
(Circumcision was an outward symbol of a covenant of faith. Circumcision of the heart would be the actual inward truth that circumcision represented.)
5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry aloud and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities.
6 Set up a standard toward Zion: flee for safety, stay not; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
7 A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place, to make thy land desolate, that thy cities be laid waste, without inhabitant.
(The "destroyer of nations" was Nebuchadnezzar. He was on his way to conquer the Jewish nation.)
8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of Jehovah is not turned back from us.
(God told the Jews to mourn because His anger was coming and it was not going to turn away.)
9 And it shall come to pass at that day, saith Jehovah, 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.
(The day mentioned here was the day when Nebuchadnezzar would come and conquer Judah.)
10 Then said I, Ah, Lord Jehovah! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the life.
(Jeremiah spoke to God, maybe even interrupted Him…he told God that He was deceiving His people by telling them they would have peace when He was bringing them war. Was Jeremiah missing information? Remember, God told Israel and Judah they would have peace if they returned to Him.)
11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A hot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow, nor to cleanse;
(God's Words continued…)
12 a full wind from these shall come for me: now will I also utter judgments against them.
13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are ruined.
(This was concerning Nebuchadnezzar again.)
14 O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thine evil thoughts lodge within thee?
(God wanted to know how long the Jews would have evil thoughts within them.)
15 For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth evil from the hills of Ephraim:
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.
17 As keepers of a field are they against her round about, because she hath been rebellious against me, saith Jehovah.
18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness; for it is bitter, for it reacheth unto thy heart.
(Their wickedness was in their heart. This was the cause of their wicked actions. God would use Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon to judge them.)
19 My anguish, my anguish! I am pained at my very heart; my heart is disquieted in me; I cannot hold my peace; because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
(Jeremiah spoke again. This time he expressed his anguish at the coming destruction of Judah. Jeremiah believed the words of God, he felt them.)
20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is laid waste: suddenly are my tents destroyed, and my curtains in a moment.
21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?
(God's Words continued…)
22 For my people are foolish, they know me not; they are sottish children, and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
(Judah was foolish, they had no understanding. Their actions ("wise to do") were evil and they did not even know how to do good.)
23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.
(God reflected on His original creation…)
24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved to and fro.
25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of Jehovah, and before his fierce anger.
27 For thus saith Jehovah, The whole land shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full end.
(God would make the whole land desolate but only for a short time.)
28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it.
29 Every city fleeth for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they go into the thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city is forsaken, and not a man dwelleth therein.
30 And thou, when thou art made desolate, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with scarlet, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou enlargest thine eyes with paint, in vain dost thou make thyself fair; thy lovers despise thee, they seek thy life.
31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that gaspeth for breath, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul fainteth before the murderers.
(Even if the Jews appeared to be doing great, they would be despised because they were actually desolate.)
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 doeth justly, that seeketh truth; and I will pardon her.
(Jeremiah was told to attempt to find even one man that had Just actions and sought truth.)
2 And though they say, As Jehovah liveth; surely they swear falsely.
(The Jews professed that Jehovah lived but they swore falsely, they did not believe it.)
3 O Jehovah, do not thine eyes look upon truth? thou hast stricken them, but they were 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.
(The Jews continued to ignore God's correction.)
4 Then I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish; for they know not the way of Jehovah, nor the law of their God:
(Jeremiah recognized they had no understanding.)
5 I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they know the way of Jehovah, and the law of their God. But these with one accord have broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.
(Jeremiah wanted to gather "great men." These men would know the way of God and His Law. They would know how to progress/grow with God and they would recognize His guidance.)
6 Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the evenings shall destroy them, a leopard shall watch against their cities; every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces; because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.
(Mere beasts (lion, wolf, etc.) were greater than the Jews at this time because the Jews transgressions and backslidings continued to increase.)
7 How can I pardon thee? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled themselves in troops at the harlots' houses.
8 They were as fed horses roaming at large; every one neighed after his neighbor's wife.
(God asked how He could pardon them for what they did. This was rhetorical because God was always Just and couldn't simply "pardon" an injustice. The Jews continued to turn from God when things were going well: "fed…to the full.")
9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith Jehovah; and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
10 Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her branches; for they are not Jehovah's.
11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith Jehovah.
(Israel and Judah would be visited by God's judgment because of their treachery against Him.)
12 They have denied Jehovah, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
13 and the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
(The Jews had denied God by saying He was not, that He did not exist. Also, the prophets who were speaking their own words would continue to speak their own empty words.)
14 Wherefore thus saith Jehovah, the 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.
(Because of the false prophets and the words they spoke, Jeremiah would be given words by God that were fire that would devour these people like wood.)
15 Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.
(God would bring the Babylonians against the Jews.)
16 Their quiver is an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.
17 And they shall eat up thy harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat; they shall eat up thy flocks and thy herds; they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig-trees; they shall beat down thy fortified cities, wherein thou trustest, with the sword.
18 But even in those days, saith Jehovah, I will not make a full end with you.
(Even after the destruction of Judah, God would not be done with His people.)
19 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore hath Jehovah our God done all these things unto us? then shalt thou say unto them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served foreign gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
(When the people asked "why is God doing this to us?" they would hear their answer: They had forsaken God and served idols. So far, the Jews had not even considered this question.)
20 Declare ye this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,
21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; that have eyes, and see not; that have ears, and hear not:
(The Jews were unaware and without understanding of the situation upon them.)
22 Fear ye not me? saith Jehovah: will ye not tremble at my presence, who 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.
23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear Jehovah our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in its season; that preserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good from you.
(The Jew's iniquities/sins were the cause of their judgment, it was their own fault.)
26 For among my people are found wicked men: they watch, as fowlers lie in wait; they set a trap, they catch men.
27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxed rich.
28 They are waxed fat, they shine: yea, they overpass in deeds of wickedness; they plead not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, that they may prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
(The Jews were not concerned with the cause or why all this was happening to them. This was exactly what they ought to have been focused on.)
29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith Jehovah; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
30 A wonderful and horrible thing is come to pass in the land:
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
(The wonderful and horrible thing that came to pass was the prophets prophesying falsely and the priests were facilitating their own purpose and progress…and the people loved it this way.)
1 Flee for safety, ye children of Benjamin, out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise up a signal on Beth-haccherem; for evil looketh forth from the north, and a great destruction.
(The Babylonians were coming so the people were warned. Tekoa and Beth-haccherem were a few miles south of Jerusalem and were made ready for any people who fled their direction. Since the attack was coming from the north, the people would naturally flee south.)
2 The comely and delicate one, the daughter of Zion, will I cut off.
3 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.
(The Babylonians were pictured here as shepherds leading their flocks (armies) towards and surrounding Jerusalem.)
4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day declineth, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.
5 Arise, and let us go up by night, and let us destroy her palaces.
6 For thus hath Jehovah of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast up a mound against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.
(Remember, God used Babylon to judge (and get the attention of) His people. Therefore, He was helping the Babylonians in their conquering of Jerusalem.)
7 As a well casteth forth its waters, so she casteth forth her wickedness: violence and destruction is heard in her; before me continually is sickness and wounds.
8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from thee; lest I make thee a desolation, a land not inhabited.
9 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn again thy hand as a grape-gatherer into the baskets.
(The Babylonians would "glean" the remnant of Israel as thoroughly as a vineyard was plucked of its fruit.)
10 To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of Jehovah is become unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.
(The Word of God was a reproach to the Jews and they had no delight in it.)
11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of Jehovah; I am weary with holding in: pour it out upon the children in the street, 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.
(The Jews' lack of delight in God's Word caused God to be full of wrath.)
12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, their fields and their wives together; for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith Jehovah.
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.
(They had all dealt falsely and had been covetous.)
14 They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
(The priests and prophets hindered God's correction on His people when they proclaimed peace when their was not peace.)
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 Jehovah.
(They were not even ashamed of the wrong they had done.)
16 Thus saith Jehovah, 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.
(God encouraged the Jews to return to the "good way" but they refused. The good way was doing Right and Just actions.)
17 And I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken.
18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
(Since the Jews continually rejected God, He called for all nations to see what was about to happen to them.)
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; and as for my law, they have rejected it.
(The evil God brought upon His people was because of their rejection of Him and His Words.)
20 To what purpose cometh there to me frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt-offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing unto me.
21 Therefore thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people; and the fathers and the sons together shall stumble against them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish.
22 Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, a people cometh from the north country; and a great nation shall be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
(The people from the north were the Babylonians.)
23 They lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea, and they ride upon horses, every one set in array, as a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Zion.
(The Babylonians were cruel and many.)
24 We have heard the report thereof; our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
(The Jews had heard of Nebuchadnezzar and were frightened.)
25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy, and terror, are on every side.
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 destroyer shall suddenly come upon us.
(The Jews were told to mourn the destruction about to take place.)
27 I have made thee a trier and a fortress among my people; that thou mayest know and try their way.
(Jeremiah was a trier (from a root "to try" metals) and a fortress among God's people. This was so Jeremiah would know and try the Jews' actions. Jeremiah was put into an extremely tough situation.)
28 They are all grievous revolters, going about with slanders; they are brass and iron: they all of them deal corruptly.
29 The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed of the fire: in vain do they go on refining; for the wicked are not plucked away.
30 Refuse silver shall men them, because Jehovah hath rejected them.
(God compared Judah to metal. Precious metals are refined by fire. Precious metals are made more pure by the fire because they can withstand tremendously high temperatures. What is burned off of the precious metal is the "refuse." Jeremiah stated that Judah would be like the burned off portion of a precious metal.)
(This post covered the coming judgments from God against Judah at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon.)