Jeremiah 14

Listen to Jeremiah 14

Famine, Sword, and Pestilence

1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning 1the drought:
2 2"Judah mourns, and 3her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and 4the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
3 Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are 5ashamed and confounded and 6cover their heads.
4 Because of the ground that is dismayed, since there is 7no rain on the land, the farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads.
5 Even 8the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn because there is no grass.
6 9The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights; they pant for air like jackals; their eyes fail because there is no vegetation.
7 "Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, 10for your name's sake; 11for our backslidings are many; 12we have sinned against you.
8 13O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
9 Why should you be like a man confused, 14like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet 15you, O LORD, are in the midst of us, and 16we are called by your name; 17do not leave us."
10 Thus says the LORD concerning this people: "They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; 18therefore the LORD does not accept them; 19now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins."
11 The LORD said to me: 20"Do not pray for the welfare of this people.
12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, 21and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them 22by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence."

Lying Prophets

13 Then I said: "Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets 23say to them, 'You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'"
14 And the LORD said to me: "The 24prophets are prophesying lies in my name. 25I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, 26worthless divination, and 27the deceit of their own minds.
15 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although 28I did not send them, and who say, 29'Sword and famine shall not come upon this land': 30By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.
16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, 31with none to bury them--them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.
17 "You shall say to them this word: 32'Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease, for the virgin 33daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound, 34with a very grievous blow.
18 35If I go out into the field, behold, those pierced by the sword! 36And if I enter the city, behold, the diseases of famine! 37For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land and have no knowledge.'"
19 38Have you utterly rejected Judah? Does your soul loathe Zion? Why have you struck us down 39so that there is no healing for us? 40We looked for peace, but no good came; 41for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
20 42We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, and the iniquity of our fathers, 43for we have sinned against you.
21 Do not spurn us, 44for your name's sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne; 45remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Are there any among 46the false gods of the nations 47that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on you, 48for you do all these things.

Jeremiah 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

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.

Cross References 48

  • 1. Jeremiah 17:8
  • 2. Lamentations 1:4
  • 3. Isaiah 3:26; [Lamentations 2:8]
  • 4. [1 Samuel 5:12]
  • 5. Psalms 40:14
  • 6. [2 Samuel 15:30]
  • 7. Jeremiah 3:3
  • 8. Job 39:1; Psalms 29:9
  • 9. Jeremiah 2:24
  • 10. ver. 21; Psalms 25:11
  • 11. Jeremiah 2:19
  • 12. ver. 20
  • 13. Jeremiah 17:13; Jeremiah 50:7; Psalms 71:5
  • 14. [Isaiah 59:1]
  • 15. [Exodus 29:45]
  • 16. Daniel 9:18; [Ephesians 3:15]
  • 17. Psalms 119:121
  • 18. Hosea 8:13
  • 19. Hosea 9:9
  • 20. See Jeremiah 7:16
  • 21. Proverbs 1:28; Isaiah 1:15; Ezekiel 8:18; Micah 3:4; See Jeremiah 6:20
  • 22. Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 24:10; Jeremiah 32:24; Ezekiel 14:21
  • 23. [Jeremiah 4:10; Jeremiah 6:14]
  • 24. See Jeremiah 5:31
  • 25. Jeremiah 23:21; Jeremiah 27:15; Deuteronomy 18:20; [Matthew 7:15; Mark 13:22]
  • 26. Ezekiel 13:6; [Jeremiah 27:9; Jeremiah 29:8]
  • 27. Jeremiah 23:26
  • 28. [See ver. 14 above]
  • 29. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 30. [Jeremiah 23:34]
  • 31. Psalms 79:3
  • 32. See Jeremiah 13:17
  • 33. See Jeremiah 8:21
  • 34. Jeremiah 10:19; Jeremiah 30:12
  • 35. Ezekiel 7:15
  • 36. Ezekiel 7:15
  • 37. [Jeremiah 5:31]
  • 38. Lamentations 5:22
  • 39. [Jeremiah 15:18]
  • 40. Jeremiah 8:15
  • 41. Jeremiah 8:15
  • 42. [Psalms 106:6; Daniel 9:5, 8]
  • 43. [Psalms 106:6; Daniel 9:5, 8]
  • 44. ver. 7
  • 45. Leviticus 26:42; Psalms 106:45
  • 46. Jeremiah 10:15; [Deuteronomy 32:21]
  • 47. Job 28:26; Job 38:26, 28; Zechariah 10:1, 2
  • 48. Job 12:9; Isaiah 66:2

Chapter Summary


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.

Jeremiah 14 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.