Therefore thus saith the Lord, behold, I will bring evil
The evil of punishment for the evil of their sins, such as famine, the sword, captivity, which latter is the evil more especially designed; and there is no evil of this nature but what is of God; it is of his sending and bringing; see ( Amos 3:6 ) : which they shall not be able to escape;
they should not have wisdom enough to form a scheme, nor power enough to put one in execution when formed, whereby they could extricate themselves out of the difficulties they would be in; doubtless reference is had to their being besieged by the Chaldean army, the evil that should come out of the north, ( Jeremiah 1:14 ) , which should so closely surround them, that none should escape: and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them:
because their prayers were hypocritical, and not attended with faith and true repentance; otherwise, when men cry to God, under a sense of sin, being truly sorry for it, and put their trust in him, he hears them, and delivers them; but these would be concerned only for the evil that was come upon them, and not the evil they had been guilty of; and such sinners, when they pray to him, the Lord hears not. The Targum is,
``and they shall pray before me, and I will not receive their prayers.''