Jeremiah 5

Listen to Jeremiah 5

Jerusalem Refused to Repent

1 1Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see 2if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, 3that I may pardon her.
2 4Though they say, "As the LORD lives," 5yet they swear falsely.
3 O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? 6You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. 7They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.
4 Then I said, "These are only the poor; they have no sense; 8for they do not know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God.
5 I will go to the great and will speak to them, for they know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God." 9But they all alike had broken the yoke; they had burst the bonds.
6 Therefore 10a lion from the forest shall strike them down; a 11wolf from the desert shall devastate them. 12A leopard is watching their cities; everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their 13apostasies are great.
7 14"How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me 15and have sworn by those who are no gods. 16When I fed them to the full, 17they committed adultery 18and trooped to the houses of whores.
8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions, 19each neighing 20for his neighbor's wife.
9 21Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?
10 22"Go up through her vine rows and destroy, 23but make not a full end; strip away her branches, for they are not the LORD's.
11 24For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly treacherous to me, declares the LORD.
12 They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, 'He will do nothing; 25no disaster will come upon us, 26nor shall we see sword or famine.
13 The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them!'"

The Lord Proclaims Judgment

14 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts: "Because you have spoken this word, behold, 27I am making my words in your mouth 28a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them.
15 29Behold, I am bringing against you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, declares the LORD. It is an enduring nation; it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, 30nor can you understand what they say.
16 31Their quiver is like 32an open tomb; they are all mighty warriors.
17 33They shall eat up your harvest and your food; they shall eat up your sons and your daughters; they shall eat up your flocks and your herds; they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; your 34fortified cities in which you trust they shall beat down with the sword."
18 "But even in those days, declares the LORD, 35I will not make a full end of you.
19 And when your people say, 36'Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?' you shall say to them, 'As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, 37so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.'"
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah:
21 "Hear this, 38O foolish and senseless people, 39who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.
22 40Do you not fear me? declares the LORD. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand 41as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though 42they roar, they cannot pass over it.
23 43But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say in their hearts, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, 44who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us 45the weeks appointed for the harvest.'
25 46Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you.
26 For wicked men are found among my people; 47they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.[a] 48They set a trap; they catch men.
27 Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich;
28 49they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; 50they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
29 51Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?"
30 An appalling and 52horrible thing has happened in the land:
31 53the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; 54my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?

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.

Cross References 54

  • 1. [2 Chronicles 16:9]
  • 2. See Genesis 18:23-32
  • 3. [ver. 7]
  • 4. [Titus 1:16]
  • 5. Jeremiah 7:9
  • 6. See Jeremiah 2:30
  • 7. Ezekiel 3:8
  • 8. Jeremiah 8:7; Micah 3:1
  • 9. Jeremiah 2:20; Psalms 2:3; Psalms 107:14
  • 10. See Jeremiah 4:7
  • 11. Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3
  • 12. Hosea 13:7
  • 13. Jeremiah 2:19
  • 14. [ver. 1]
  • 15. Deuteronomy 32:21; Joshua 23:7; 2 Chronicles 13:9; Galatians 4:8
  • 16. Deuteronomy 32:15
  • 17. Jeremiah 9:2; Jeremiah 23:10
  • 18. Micah 5:1
  • 19. Jeremiah 13:27; Jeremiah 50:11
  • 20. Ezekiel 22:11
  • 21. ver. 29; Jeremiah 9:9; [Romans 2:2]
  • 22. [Jeremiah 39:8]
  • 23. See Jeremiah 4:27
  • 24. Jeremiah 3:20
  • 25. [Genesis 3:4]
  • 26. [Jeremiah 14:13; Isaiah 28:15]
  • 27. [Jeremiah 1:9, 10]
  • 28. [Obadiah 18; Zechariah 12:6; Revelation 11:5]
  • 29. Jeremiah 34:21, 22; Deuteronomy 28:49; [Jeremiah 1:15; Amos 6:14]
  • 30. Isaiah 33:19
  • 31. See Isaiah 5:28
  • 32. Psalms 5:9
  • 33. Leviticus 26:16; Deut. 28:31, 33, 51
  • 34. [Hosea 8:14]
  • 35. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 36. Jeremiah 13:22; Jeremiah 16:10, 11; Jeremiah 22:8, 9; Deuteronomy 29:24, 25; 1 Kings 9:8, 9
  • 37. Deuteronomy 4:27, 28; Deuteronomy 28:47, 48, 68
  • 38. Deuteronomy 32:6; Isaiah 6:9
  • 39. [Matthew 13:14]
  • 40. Jeremiah 10:7
  • 41. Job 26:10; Job 38:10, 11; Psalms 104:9
  • 42. Jeremiah 51:55; [Psalms 46:3]
  • 43. Jeremiah 6:28
  • 44. Jeremiah 14:22; Deuteronomy 11:14; Job 5:10; Psalms 147:8; Matthew 5:45
  • 45. Genesis 8:22
  • 46. Jeremiah 3:3
  • 47. [Proverbs 1:11]
  • 48. Psalms 10:9; [Psalms 124:7]
  • 49. Deuteronomy 32:15
  • 50. [Jeremiah 7:6; Isaiah 1:23; Zechariah 7:10]
  • 51. See ver. 9
  • 52. Jeremiah 23:14; Hosea 6:10
  • 53. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 14:14, 18; Jeremiah 20:6; Jeremiah 23:21, 25; Jeremiah 27:10, 15; Jeremiah 29:9; Ezekiel 13:6
  • 54. [Micah 2:11]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

Chapter Summary


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

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