Jeremiah 5

The Depravity of Jerusalem

1 Roam through the streets of Jerusalem. Look and take note; search in her squares. If you find a single person, anyone who acts justly, who seeks to be faithful, then I will forgive her.[a]
2 When they say, "As the Lord lives,"[b] they are swearing falsely.
3 Lord, don't Your eyes [look for] faithfulness? You have struck them, but they felt no pain. You finished them off, but they refused to accept discipline. They made their faces harder than rock, and they refused to return.
4 Then I thought: They are just the poor; they have played the fool. For they don't understand the way of the Lord, the justice of their God.[c]
5 I will go to the powerful and speak to them. Surely they know the way of the Lord, the justice of their God. However, these also had broken the yoke and torn off the fetters.[d]
6 Therefore, a lion from the forest will strike them down.[e] A wolf from an arid plain will ravage them. A leopard keeps watch over their cities. Anyone who leaves them will be torn to pieces because their rebellious acts are many, their unfaithful deeds numerous.
7 Why should I forgive you? Your children have abandoned Me and sworn by those who are not gods. I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery; they gashed themselves[f] at the prostitute's house.
8 They are well-fed,[g] eager[h] stallions,[i] each neighing after someone else's wife.
9 Should I not punish them for these things? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. Should I not avenge Myself[j] on such a nation as this?
10 Go up among her vineyard terraces and destroy them, but do not finish them off.[k] Prune away her shoots, for they do not belong to the Lord.
11 They, the house of Israel and the house of Judah, have dealt very treacherously with Me. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration.
12 They have contradicted the Lord and insisted, "It won't happen.[l] Harm won't come to us; we won't see sword or famine."
13 The prophets become [only] wind, for the [Lord's] word is not in them. This will in fact happen to them.

Coming Judgment

14 Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Hosts says: Because you have spoken this word, I am going to make My words become fire in your mouth. These people are the wood, and the fire will consume them.
15 I am about to bring a nation from far away against you, house of Israel. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. It is an established nation, an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know and whose speech you do not understand.[m]
16 Their quiver is like an open grave; they are all mighty warriors.
17 They will consume your harvest and your food. They will consume your sons and your daughters. They will consume your flocks and your herds. They will consume your vines and your fig trees. They will destroy with the sword your fortified cities in which you trust.
18 "But even in those days"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"I will not finish you off.[n]
19 When people ask: For what offense has the Lord our God done all these things to us? You will respond to them: Just as you abandoned Me and served foreign gods in your land, so will you serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
20 "Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah, saying:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless[o] people. They have eyes, but they don't see. They have ears, but they don't hear.[p]
22 Do you not fear Me? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. Do you not tremble before Me, the One who set the sand as the boundary of the sea, an enduring barrier that it cannot cross?[q] The waves surge, but they cannot prevail. They roar but cannot pass over it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.[r] They have turned aside and have gone away.
24 They have not said to themselves: Let's fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain, both early and late, in its season,[s] who guarantees to us the fixed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your guilty acts have diverted these things [from you]. Your sins have withheld [My] bounty from you,
26 for wicked men live among My people. They watch like fowlers lying in wait.[t] They set a trap; they catch men.
27 Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have grown powerful and rich.
28 They have become fat and sleek. They have also excelled in evil matters. They have not taken up cases, such as the case of orphans, so they might prosper, and they have not defended the rights of the needy.
29 Should I not punish them for these things? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. Should I not avenge Myself[u] on such a nation as this?
30 A horrible, terrible thing has taken place in the land.
31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority. My people love it like this. But what will you do at the end of it?

Jeremiah 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The Jews' profession of religion was hypocritical. (1-9) The cruel proceedings of their enemies. (10-18) Their apostacy and idolatry. (19-31)

Verses 1-9 None could be found who behaved as upright and godly men. But the Lord saw the true character of the people through all their disguises. The poor were ignorant, and therefore they were wicked. What can be expected but works of darkness, from people that know nothing of God and religion? There are God's poor, who, notwithstanding poverty, know the way of the Lord, walk in it, and do their duty; but these were willingly ignorant, and their ignorance would not be their excuse. The rich were insolent and haughty, and the abuse of God's favours made their sin worse.

Verses 10-18 Multitudes are ruined by believing that God will not be so strict as his word says he will; by this artifice Satan undid mankind. Sinners are not willing to own any thing to be God's word, that tends to part them from, or to disquiet them in, their sins. Mocking and misusing the Lord's messengers, filled the measure of their iniquity. God can bring trouble upon us from places and causes very remote. He has mercy in store for his people, therefore will set bounds to this desolating judgment. Let us not overlook the "nevertheless," ver. ( 18 ) . This is the Lord's covenant with Israel. He thereby proclaims his holiness, and his utter displeasure against sin while sparing the sinner, ( Psalms 89:30-35 ) .

Verses 19-31 Unhumbled hearts are ready to charge God with being unjust in their afflictions. But they may read their sin in their punishment. If men will inquire wherefore the Lord doeth hard things unto them, let them think of their sins. The restless waves obeyed the Divine decree, that they should not pass the sandy shores, which were as much a restraint as lofty mountains; but they burst all restraints of God's law, and were wholly gone into wickedness. Neither did they consider their interest. While the Lord, year after year, reserves to us the appointed weeks of harvest, men live on his bounty; yet they transgress against him. Sin deprives us of God's blessings; it makes the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron. Certainly the things of this world are not the best things; and we are not to think, that, because evil men prosper, God allows their practices. Though sentence against evil works is not executed speedily, it will be executed. Shall I not visit for these things? This speaks the certainty and the necessity of God's judgments. Let those who walk in bad ways consider that an end will come, and there will be bitterness in the latter end.

Footnotes 21

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 5

This chapter contains a further account of the destruction of the Jews by the Chaldeans, and the causes of it, the sins of the people, as want of justice and truth; being so corrupt, that a just and faithful man was not to be found among them; could there, the city would have been pardoned for his sake, Jer 5:1, their swearing falsely by the name of the Lord, Jer 5:2, their incorrigibleness by chastisements, which was the case not only of the lower, but higher rank of people, Jer 5:3-5, wherefore the enemy, who for his cruelty is compared to a lion, a wolf, and a leopard, is threatened to be let in among them, Jer 5:6, then other sins are mentioned as the cause of it, as idolatry and adultery, Jer 5:7-9 hence the enemy has a commission to scale their walls, take away their battlements, though not to make a full end, the Lord disowning them for his, Jer 5:10, because of their perfidy against him, their belying of him, contradicting what he had said, and despising the word sent by his prophets, Jer 5:11-13, wherefore it is threatened, that his word like fire should devour them; and that a distant, mighty, and ancient nation, of a foreign speech, should invade them; who, like an open sepulchre, would devour them, and eat up the increase of their fields, vineyards, flocks, and herds, and impoverish their cities, yet not make a full end of them, Jer 5:14-18, and in just retaliation should they serve strangers in a foreign country, who had served strange gods in their own, Jer 5:19 then a declaration is published, and an expostulation is made with them, who are represented as foolish, ignorant, and blind, that they would fear the Lord; which is pressed by arguments taken from the power of God, in restraining the sea, which had no effect upon them; and from the goodness of God, in giving the former and latter rain, and the appointed weeks of the harvest, which their sins turned away and withheld from them, Jer 5:20-25, and then other sins are mentioned as the cause of God's visiting them in a way of vengeance, as the defrauding of men in trade, and the oppression of the fatherless and the poor in judgment; and false prophesying, to the advantage of the priests, and the king of the people, Jer 5:26-31.

Jeremiah 5 Commentaries