A drought upon the land of Judah. (1-7) A confession of sin in the name of the people. (8-9) The Divine purpose to punish is declared. (10-16) The people supplicate. (17-22)
Verses 1-9 The people were in tears. But it was rather the cry of their trouble, and of their sin, than of their prayer. Let us be thankful for the mercy of water, that we may not be taught to value it by feeling the want of it. See what dependence husbandmen have upon the Divine providence. They cannot plough nor sow in hope, unless God water their furrows. The case even of the wild beasts was very pitiable. The people are not forward to pray, but the prophet prays for them. Sin is humbly confessed. Our sins not only accuse us, but answer against us. Our best pleas in prayer are those fetched from the glory of God's own name. We should dread God's departure, more than the removal of our creature-comforts. He has given Israel his word to hope in. It becomes us in prayer to show ourselves more concerned for God's glory than for our own comfort. And if we now return to the Lord, he will save us to the glory of his grace.
Verses 10-16 The Lord calls the Jews "this people," not "his people." They had forsaken his service, therefore he would punish them according to their sins. He forbade Jeremiah to plead for them. The false prophets were the most criminal. The Lord pronounces condemnation on them; but as the people loved to have it so, they were not to escape judgments. False teachers encourage men to expect peace and salvation, without repentance, faith, conversion, and holiness of life. But those who believe a lie must not plead if for an excuse. They shall feel what they say they will not fear.
Verses 17-22 Jeremiah acknowledged his own sins, and those of the people, but pleaded with the Lord to remember his covenant. In their distress none of the idols of the Gentiles could help them, nor could the heavens give rain of themselves. The Lord will always have a people to plead with him at his mercy-seat. He will heal every truly repenting sinner. Should he not see fit to hear our prayers on behalf of our guilty land, he will certainly bless with salvation all who confess their sins and seek his mercy.
This chapter contains prophecy of a drought, which produced a famine, Jer 14:1, and is described by the dismal effects of it; and general distress in the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, Jer 14:2, even the nobles were affected with it, whose servants returned without water ashamed, when sent for it, Jer 14:3, the ploughmen could not use their plough, their ground was so hard, Jer 14:4 and the very beasts of the field suffered much, because there was no grass, Jer 14:5,6, upon this follows a prayer of the prophet to the Lord, that he would give rain for his name's sake; he confesses the sins of the people, that they were many, and against the Lord; and testified against them, that they deserved to be used as they were; and he addresses the Lord as the hope and Saviour of his people in time past, when it was a time of trouble with them; and expostulates with him, why he should be as a stranger and traveller, and like a mighty man astonished, that either had no regard to their land any more than a foreigner and a traveller; or no heart to help them, or exert his power, than a man at his wits' end, though he was among them, and they were called by his name; and therefore he begs he would not leave them, Jer 14:7-9, but he is told that it was for the sins of the people that all this was, which the Lord was determined to remember and visit; and therefore he is bid not to pray for them; if he did, it would not be regarded, nor the people's fasting and prayers also; for they should be consumed by the sword, famine, and pestilence, Jer 14:10-12, and though the prophet pleads, in excuse of the people, that the false prophets had deceived them; yet not only the vanity and falsehood of their prophecies are exposed, and they are threatened with destruction, but the people also, for hearkening unto them, Jer 14:13-16, wherefore the prophet, instead of putting up a prayer for them, has a lamentation dictated to him by the Lord, which he is ordered to express, Jer 14:17,18, and yet, notwithstanding this, he goes on to pray for them in a very pathetic manner; he expostulates with God, and pleads for help and healing; confesses the iniquities of the people; entreats the Lord, for the sake of his name, glory, and covenant, that he would not reject them and his petition; and observes, that the thing asked for (rain) was what none of the gods of the Heathens could give, or even the heavens themselves, only the Lord; and therefore determines to wait upon him for it, who made the heavens, the earth, and rain, Jer 14:19-22.