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 Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.
Historically the tribe of Benjamin was supposed to set up a beacon when they heard the trumpet of the Babylonians. The north brings judgement.
2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
The meaning of Hebrew is uncertain but the implication is that Fair Zion will be destroyed.
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.
The invading army is likened to shepherds that lay siege.
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.
5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.
The attack goes on all day and night. There is no defense from Jerusalem. It's a very successful battle for the invaders.
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 city is destined for punishment. Only fraud is found in her.
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.
The situation in Jerusalem is dire. Like a well flowing with water the city flows with wickedness. There is lawlessness and theft or plunder. The whole society is sick and filled with wounds. Social injustice. The strong beating down the weak.
8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
They are told to accept rebuke or God might come to loathe them and make them a desolation, an uninhabited land.
9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.
Jeremiah and God having a dialogue. God says, using grapes as an allegory, that the invading army will glean or slay the people and pass over again through the streets and kill more. It's thorough. Until everyone is dead.
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.
Jeremiah speaks now, he is frustrated, saying who am I going to tell? Who will listen to me? They are deaf. Gods word is offensive to the people. They find no pleasure in it at all.
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.
God then says, tell everyone from children to the young men to the husbands and wives and the elderly.
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.
The covenant God coming against his covenant people. God is fighting his own people in his own land.
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.
The priests and prophets are greedy for gain. If they had been speaking the word of God society might have some hope. Everyone is covetous. They are liars and robbers.
14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
The false prophets and priests are telling the people they will be okay, but nothing is okay in their society. They are full of abominations and evil yet they teach that there will be 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 the LORD.
It's embarrassing what the people are doing. They will fall among the falling. They will stumble when God punishes them.
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.
Gods says, the people are at a crossroads. They are told to inquire about the ancient paths, which is the road to happiness? Travel it and find tranquillity for yourselves. But the people say, we will not.
17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
God sent them prophets and gave them warning. But they would not listen.
18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among 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, nor to my law, but rejected it.
God then calls witnesses the nations all around and the earth, He says he will bring disaster on His own people, the outcome of their own schemes, because they would not listen to God's words and rejected his instruction.
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.
The people are so heavily into rituals that they believe they can satisfy the God of Israel with mere offering and sacrifices. They go to distant lands and come back and offer to Jehovah. God will not accept that kind of worship.
21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.
God is going to put stumbling blocks before His people which will cause them to stumble, it extends to everyone. It's a political and spiritual doctrine taught by the priests and prophets and layman.
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.
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.
The invading army from the North the Babylonians will come and destroy His people. They are cruel and have no mercy. The Babylonians had several tactics during warfare. They would behead people, and pile up the heads at the gates of the city they just conquered. They would put people on pikes, etc.
They hear them coming before they even get there.
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.
25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side.
The people will say they have heard of the Babylonians. Word spreads fast when barbaric warfare is practiced. Their limbs will be limp because they are so nervous and have so much anxiety about the coming the invaders. The Prophet likens it to a woman in travail during child birth.
The statement fear is on every side or terror on every side is a main theme in the book of Jeremiah and he later calls Pashur by this name.
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.
The Prophet is telling the people to get extreme. Go into intense repentance. Put on sackcloth and roll around on the ground and mourn as if they lost their only son, maybe then God will hear them.
It's also prophetic that when the invaders come in the people will be in the most bitter lamentation, because the army comes suddenly upon them.
27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
God is telling Jeremiah that he is accomplishing something among the people. He is a tower and fortress among them that he may know and be a refiner and assay their ways. The object is not to save some of them, but to expose their wickedness.
28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.
29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.
30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.
None of them are worth saving. All of them act corruptly. The lead is consumed by fire in the furnace through Jeremiahs preaching. Yet they are smelted to no purpose. The dross is not separated out. It's all burned. God is utterly rejected His people because they are not salvageable. It may seem harsh but the extent of the evil of the people is in reality what is harsh. They are harsh towards each other. God is going to wipe them out because of it.
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.
2 And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely.
A commission to search through the city Jerusalem for just one person who is just and has integrity, so that God can pardon the city, it implies that there isn't one. The people say, as the LORD lives, but they don't mean it.
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.
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.
First, Jeremiah goes to the poor of the people, they have been struck by God but sense no pain, they will not be disciplined. A metaphor of their faces being harder than a rock, stern, and they refuse to return or repent.
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.
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.
Next, the prophet goes to the wealthy and learned to speak with them, because they know the law and commandments of the Lord. However they have broken the law and not kept the commandments.
Because there is not a single righteous person in Jerusalem that can be found destruction is decreed. The lion coming out of the forest to slay them is an allusion to the King of Babylon. The wolf and leopard as well paint the image that the city will be made desolate by the invading armies and be under siege. These beast can also be taken literally. Anyone who leaves the city will be killed because their transgressions are many and their rebellion infinite.
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.
8 They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.
9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
Why should God forgive them? Their children have worshiped idols and forsaken the Lord. When he blessed them they went to fertility gods and prostitutes.
Metaphor of horses neighing. Calling out to other peoples wives and going after them, adultery.
Shouldn't God punish them for this? He will avenge himself of the nation.
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.
11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD.
In the Hebrew metaphors are used; vines for walls and branches for battlements. God indites them or rejects them saying they are not His and to destroy but not entirely because Israel and Judah have betrayed Him.
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:
13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
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.
The houses of Judah and Israel, the entire people of Jerusalem, have been false but say, "it is not so!" They deny that God's Judgement will happen and say that God's Prophets will be wrong. That they don't have His word in them. That this or that will happen instead. And because they say this God is going to put his words in Jeremiah's mouth like fire and the people will be like firewood, that will consume them. His words will have a massive impact on them. Whether they like it or not.
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.
16 Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.
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.
God is bringing a distant nation the Babylonians or Chaldeans, and the house of Israel will not understand their language. A metaphor of their quiver like and open grave, they are very deadly and mighty men.
They will consume their produce, and animals, and kill their sons and daughters, and batter down their defenses that they trust in.
18 Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you.
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.
But when that happens God will not completely destroy them. A prophecy that they will ask why the LORD our God has done this to them, and the Prophet will answer, that just like they forsook Me and served alien gods in their land, they will serve foreigners in a land they don't own.
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,
21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
A command to speak God's words. The people are foolish and devoid of intelligence, they have eyes but can't see, and ears, but can't hear.
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?
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 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.
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.
They should revere God. They should tremble at his presence. He then explains some of his ability or power in that he set a boundary for the oceans that they cannot pass, even if the waves toss themselves they can't erode the land forever.
This people, repudiates the covenant relationship, they are revolters and rebels in their hearts. They have turned aside the LORD and gone their own way.
They don't say to themselves, let us revere our God, implying a covenant relationship, who gives them rain and their harvest. Their own iniquities have diverted those things and their sins have withheld the bounty.
26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; 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 waxen rich.
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.
There is among the people excessive corruption. The are rich and oppress the poor and needy. They are not being fair. They catch people like a Fowler.
29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed 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 whole nation is guilty and shouldn't God do something about it. Their prophets tell lies and the priests rule by them and the people love it being that way, but what will they do in the end? Possible eschatological time frame.
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.
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.
The Lord offers a conditional covenant to Israel, if they return and put away their idolatry and sins, they will not be moved. They need to say, The LORD lives in truth and judgement and righteousness, which implies they say it without those things now. If they do this the blessing of the covenant is that the nations will bless themselves in Israel and give them glory.
3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
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.
An official declaration is given to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, an allegory of a field to plow the untilled ground and not sow their seeds among thorns. To circumcise their hearts, cut away the evil, and if they don't His "fury" will come like a "fire" and burn and no one can stop it because of their sins. This implies destruction from the North and is paralleled with the verse 6 and 7.
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 defenced cities.
6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
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.
8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.
A declaration in Judah and Jerusalem, to say, warn the people to assemble and go into the fortified cities. The setting up of the standard toward Zion (may be an latter day reference) is like a signpost that people can see that says, take refuge, do not delay. God is bringing destruction from the North.
The Lion is a keyword throughout Jeremiah with refers to the King of Babylon, he is the destruction from the North, as these verses are paralleled. The destroyer of nations. It will be a utter desolation to cities and people. Because of this the people should put on sackcloth and lament and howl because they do not repent the LORD's fierce anger is not turned away.
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.
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.
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,
12 Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them.
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.
In that day, (latter day reference?) when the King of Babylon comes, the leaders both political and religious will be amazed and wonder, this implies they never thought it could happen to them.
Jeremiah is not accusing the LORD GOD of deceiving people here but saying that the people have been deceived by their leaders who said they would have peace when the destruction is absolute.
When destruction comes at that time is will be said to "this" people, which repudiates the covenant relationship, the people are like a dry wind from high places in the "wilderness", word link, where they sat like bandits on the highways as prostitutes, the wind does not fan or cleanse but a full wind from those places, adultery and idols, blasts the LORD. Because of these charges against them God gives his sentence against them which is the King of Babylon who comes like clouds with chariots like a tornado and with swift horses. The people lament because they are spoiled.
14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
15 For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount 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 the LORD.
The city is asked to take a bath from evil to become clean that they might be saved. A rhetorical question asking how long they will have vain thoughts within them, the answer is the millennium.
Dan was to the north of Jerusalem and one of the first places invading armies would come on their way to the city. So when the Babylonians come, Dan raises it voice in warning, and Ephraim which was also to the north publishes their affliction at the hands of the invaders. They tell the nations and send word that the invaders have come against the cities of Judah.
The Babylonian siege all the cities on their way to Jerusalem, the field is a word link to verse 3 to break up the fallow ground. This happens because Jerusalem and Judah have rebelled and broken the covenant with the LORD.
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.
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.
20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.
For all their whoredoms and idolatry they are under threat of war from the Babylonians, they brought it upon themselves. It is bitter and reaches their hearts. They cry out, at the sound of the trumpet and alarm of war. It shakes them to the core. They have no peace. The destruction comes suddenly and they are caught off guard.
21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?
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.
The people ask how long with they see the standard of Zion, the post sign, and hear the trumpet of war. How long will it last?
The Lord says, my people, inferring his covenant relationship, are stupid, they don't know me, they are like foolish children, and are not intelligent. They are smart in doing evil but are unable to do good.
23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.
24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
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 place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.
27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
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.
A vision where the earth has returned to chaos and there are no stars or light in the heavens. The mountains or nations quake. There are no humans and no birds. The farm land is desolate, all the cities are in ruins, because of the "presence" of the LORD and his blazing anger. (possible latter day frame)
But God will not make a full end of all things even though the whole land will be desolate. The earth mourns because of this desolation and the sky is black, God has spoken about this, he planned it, and will not stop it from happening.
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.
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.
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.
The city is Jerusalem they will flee as the armies of Babylon approach, they go into thickets, (word link) or the North, implying captivity, and up onto rocks, every city is deserted and humans do not live there.
The question is posed, what will you do when you are spoiled? An allusion to how Israel dolled herself up for other nations or her lovers, but they will hate her, and seek to kill her.
An allegory of a woman giving birth, her firstborn, its the voice of the daughter of Zion, under a covenant curse and is in anguish because of murderers. (latter day reference.)
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.
An analogy of what people in Jeremiah's day say compares a divorce and then adultery to (?) people's spiritual adultery, or idolatry, yet the Lord will take them back as his wife if they will return.
Another translation poses this as a question. Which mirrors the question in the analogy. Can you return to me?
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.
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.
The charges against them are whoredoms and wickedness. The Lord compares them to a prostitute and asks them to look and see if there is anywhere they have not had made love with their lovers. They waited on the road like bandits to ensnare their lovers and commit debauchery.
Then when it didn't rain because of covenant curses they acted like a whore and were not ashamed. They couldn't see their behavior led to a curse.
4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?
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.
But now they cry to the Lord and say My father, you are my youthful companion. Will his anger against them be forever will he rage until the end. However God says, you had your way and spoke as did evil as often as you could. The punishment is just.
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.
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 Lord speaks to his prophet and refers to Israel as backsliding or rebellious. She went up to every mountain literally and nation symbolically and under every tree or with anyone she could find and acted like a prostitute.
God said afterwards, return to me, but she would not, and Judah saw her behavior.
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.
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.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.
11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
Israel historically rebelled and those tribes were lost. The Lord gave them a bill of divorce. Judah saw this and did not respect God but went into a state of rebellion also and committed adultery with idols and nations thereby breaking the covenant. The stones and stocks symbolize idols and nations, (I believe).
For all these charges the Lord brings against Judah they only half halfheartedly turn to him, they have some semblance of religious practices but their hearts are not turned toward God.
Then the Lord calls Judah treacherous, strong words, and they are in line with breaking a formal agreement.
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.
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.
A command is given for the prophet to go and speak his words towards the North, tell them to Return, rebellious Israel, and he will subdue his anger because He is merciful. He answers the questioned posed earlier, He will not be angry for ever. He only asks for them to admit their iniquity or wrong doing and how they have spread their favors with strangers and have not heard or obeyed His voice.
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:
15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A transition to an eschatological frame or end time scenario begins with rebellious children, that is those who were in a covenant relationship with God but are not honoring that covenant. The Lord uses marriage as a type of his agreement with them. Then offers an unconditional covenant in the end times or latter days he will take one from a city and two from a family and bring them to Zion.
He will give them good teachers or pastors as His heart wants to, and they will feed his children with knowledge and understanding. Then when his children are increased and have posterity, in those days, the ark of the covenant of the Lord will be a thing of the past. This represents a millennial time frame.
Also, they will call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all nations will go to Jerusalem, in the name the Lord, they will no longer commit adultery or worship idols by following their own evil imaginations.
Israel and Judah will walk together out of the land of the North back to their promised inheritance. This was his plan all along, He wanted to adopt them as His children, given them a pleasant land, and a heritage of all the nations. He thought they would call him Father, (In ancient times a wife would call her husband Father meaning The Man or the One in Charge,) and they would be loyal to Him forever.
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.
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.
22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.
Instead the house of Israel rebelled like a wife leaves her husband. A voice is heard, not the Lords voice, but of weeping and supplications. The LORD admonishes them to return or repent and he will heal their afflictions. Paralleled with the millennial context the LORD's people come unto him and call him the LORD our God, renewing the covenant relationship.
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.
24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
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.
Then the LORD's people pray with awareness and admit that trusting in other nations is vain and only the LORD GOD is the salvation of Israel. Recognition comes that shame came upon their fathers and all their works. A covenant curse on their heards and children.
1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
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.
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.
God recalls his relationship with his people how they were kind in their youth, how they loved the contract of future marriage to the Lord, how they followed him in the wilderness after coming out of Egypt. Israel, he says, was holiness, and very special to the LORD. He protected them and brought evil upon any who offended them. He truly cared for his people and loved them.
4 Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
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?
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?
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.
God addresses his people who he had made a covenant with in the past and tells them starting with a pointed question that the problem is not him but it's them. Their fathers have gone far from the LORD and walked or followed vanity and became vain. They didn't ask a crucial question, where is the LORD? The one that brought them out of slavery in Egypt and led them through deserts and pits and drought and the shadow of death, and gave them an inheritance in a plentiful land. God is saying that he did good things for them but they defiled the land and made the inheritance he gave them an abomination.
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.
Again no one asked the crucial question, where is the LORD? Their prophets even prophesied in the name of other gods and followed things that do not have value.
9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children's children will I plead.
God says that he will still plead with them. He is still willing to try to make this relationship work. With them and the generations that come after them of his people. But it is also saying that he is opening a court case against them. Bringing charges against them.
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.
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.
12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.
YAHWEH illustrates his point by saying that if you look to the furthest nations west the isles of Chittim, or look at the furthest nations east Kedar, and see if they have ever changed their gods, which are not really gods, they have not. But his people have changed their God for something of no value, for idols.
This is not a natural thing to do and so the heavens are astonished and afraid and desolate. Think of it like a sports fans team, do they change their team? It's not normal. But that is exactly what the LORD's people have done.
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.
The two things that God's people have done are: They have forsaken the source of life and love or fountain of living waters, and worshiped instead false gods and humans that can hold no water, or life or love.
14 Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?
God points out that they should act like his people, but instead they are acting like servants and slaves. They are spoiled by their enemies. God would have protected them but they have forsaken him, time and time again.
15 The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.
This reference to the young lions is both literal and allegorical. They represent the armies of the north and they burn Israel's cities so that they is no one left. But also actual young lions roar and make the land wast after it is destroyed.
16 Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.
17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way?
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?
Noph was the capital of lower Egypt and Tahapanes represents the Egyptians generally. They broke the crown of his people's head through Pharaoh Necho who killed the king of Judah, Josiah, at Megiddo, and placed puppet rulers on the throne deposing Jehoahaz.
His people have brought destruction on themselves because they have forsaken the Lord thy God, (the word thy here signifies a covenant relationship with Israel's God,) after he led them.
God then asks why his people will turn to Egypt for help and drink from the Nile, why trust in Egypt or Pharaoh, who has broken the crown of their head? Why would you put your trust in an enemy and go to them for help? The same goes for Assyria, the ruling power at this time, though their influence was quickly fading. Why will YAHWEH's people turn to another nation for help and trust or drink from their waters, but they will not trust or ask for help from the source or fountain of living waters, their God. The river signifies the king of Assyria and is a word link to Isaiah.
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.
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.
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?
22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God.
It is Israel's own fault and they are punished. They bring it upon themselves. They will see just how evil and bitter the correction is after you forsake the covenant relationship with God and do not respect him. Also the name LORD GOD of hosts or of armies is used showing that God is in control of the nations.
In the past God delivered his people from slavery and bondage and they promised they would not transgress his law. That's how the King James sounds anyways. In the original Hebrew though it is says, you broke off your yoke, you burst your bands, and said, I will not work!
Everywhere they go they play the harlot. They cheat on him with other gods and rulers of nations. This also alludes to the fertility cults that was common practice in Jerusalem and Judah.
He the LORD planted them with nobility as a vine, something that bears fruit, with the choicest seed. But they have become like strange aliens to him. Even if they use lots of soap to clean themselves their guilt is marked or seen by God.
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;
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.
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.
The LORD's people are in a state of delusion. They may say they have not gone after other gods, but their deeds say otherwise. Are are compared to a lustful she-camel in heat who is seeking out a mate and is easy to find. It's like they are going barefoot and thirsty, but they basically say, we can't help ourselves, we have to go after other gods.
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.
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.
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.
29 Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord.
Just like a thief feels distressed or humiliated when they are caught so are his people, especially the leaders. They say to wood, you are my father. To stone, you gave birth to me. But to the LORD they turn their backs and not their faces towards him. When the hour of calamity comes they will cry out to God to arise and save them. But God asks where are the gods or idols that they made for themselves, let them save you in the hour of calamity. Because their gods have become as numerous as the towns of Judah.
Why do they call the LORD to account when they have all rebelled against him.
30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
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?
God tried to correct and help them but it didn't do any good. "your own sword hath devoured your prophets," is most likely a reference to king Manasseh who killed prophets who rebuked him. However, the lion is a reference to the King of Babylon, and coupling these two people together in this way, represents that king Manasseh is a 'type' of what the King of Babylon will be like in the latter days or end times. It's an eschatological keyword. Jeremiah was clearly familiar with Isaiah's writings.
God calls on this generation to behold his Word. The questions asked are very rhetorical. Of course he has not been a wilderness to them or a land of darkness, quite the opposite in fact. So why do his people say, we are in charge of ourselves, we won't come to You anymore.
32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.
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.
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.
Women generally don't go out without putting on make-up or earrings what have you, and a bride never forgets her wedding dress, but the LORD's people have forgotten him for a very long time.
God points out that they are very skilled at seeking love and have taught the worst women among them their ways, it's a reference to the fertility cults and prostitution. Moreover, the blood of the innocent poor is found on their clothes. I like they King James saying it's obvious and not found by secret. The Hebrew expresses the idea that the poor were not caught breaking in and then killed, because then they may be justified in murder.
But his people say they are innocent and God will not punish them. But YAHWEH will bring these charges against them in the court case because they say they have not sinned even after they do all these things he has mentioned.
36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.
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.
His people cheapen themselves or sell themselves for no profit by changing their course of following him. And they will be put to shame by trusting in Egypt just as they were put to shame by trusting in the Assyrians for help from their enemies.
They will come out of their land with their hands on their heads in shame because God has rejected the nations they trust and they will not prosper with them.
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
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.
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.
The introduction tells us that Jeremiah was a son of Hilkiah, inferring that he and his father were both priests in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. His prophetic ministry spanned 40 years starting in the thirteenth year of Josiah the king and lasted through the reign of Jehoiakim and until Josiah when Jerusalem was carried captive into Babylon.
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
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.
The prophet was known to YAHWEH before he was conceived and before he was born he was sanctified and ordained to be a prophet to the nations. His ministry would encompass the entire ancient near east or the known world at the time.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
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.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
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.
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.
Jeremiah was concerned that he couldn't do what YAHWEH wanted. He was young. Inexperienced with public speaking and afraid of what others would think of him. But the LORD said to him, say not, I am a child. He was told to go wherever the LORD sent him and say whatever he was told to say.
He is told not to be afraid. That I am with you to deliver you. Then the LORD reaches out and touches Jeremiah's mouth. Now, this is not an allegory. This is a literal face to face interaction with God. After touching the newly appointed prophet's mouth the LORD says, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. God will from here on out be speaking through Jeremiah.
The prophet is set over the nations and over kingdoms to root out, and pull down, and to destroy, and throw down, to build, and to plant. The first part of his mission is not very nice language. Kingdoms will rise and fall during his ministry, people will die, but at the end of it all he will build and plant. So it's not all bad news.
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.
12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
Just as Jeremiah sees the almond tree so the LORD is watching to fulfill his words or perform them. There is a play on words that happens here in the Hebrew as the word almond, shaked, also translates, to watch.
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.
Jeremiah hears YAHWEH and then sees a pot that is boiling over and spilling out towards the north. This is a symbolic representation of a pronouncement of evil against all nations.
14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
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.
Destruction from the North is a major theme in the book of Jeremiah. All the families of the kingdoms of the north are called and come and set up their authority over Jerusalem, lay siege to the holy city, and overrun all the cities of Judah.
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.
This verse is also a major theme. The forsaking of the LORD and worshiping other gods and the works of their own hands, is the wickedness the people have committed. The root of the problem.
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.
18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen 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.
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 prophet is now officially commissioned to go and speak everything that YAHWEH tells him to say. He is warned not to worry about the reception of his words or how they are received, or else God will confound Jeremiah before the people.
In the Ancient Near East the kings and leaders of many of the worlds empires would refer to themselves in arrogance in symbolic terms such as an iron pillar or having feet made of brass, here, God is using this kind of language to give Jeremiah confidence. No one will be able to overcome YAHWEH's prophet. They will fight against him but will not prevail. Because God will deliver Jeremiah.