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.