Therefore pray not thou for this people
If for a remnant among them, yet not for the body of the people; and if for their spiritual and eternal good, yet not for their temporal salvation; their temporal ruin was certain; the decree was gone forth, and there was no revoking it; and this is said, not so much by way of prohibition of the prophet, as by way of threatening to the people, to show that as their own prayers should not profit them, so they should not have the benefit of the prayers of good men, their sin was a sin unto death, at least temporal death, and must not be prayed for, ( 1 John 5:16 ) : neither lift up a cry or prayer for them;
more words are used, to show the divine resolution, how inexorable he was, and how desperate was their condition, and their ruin sure; these words are repeated from ( Jeremiah 7:16 ) : for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their
for, as he would not hear their prayers when they should cry to him to be delivered from their trouble, it cannot be thought that he should hear the prayers of others for them, The Targum understands this of the prayers of the prophet for them, paraphrasing the words thus,
``for there is no acceptance before me (or it is not pleasing to me) when thou shall pray for them before me, in the time of their evil;''neither their prayers, nor the prophet's for them, would be acceptable to God, or of any avail, he being determined to bring evil upon them.