The people are corrected, Jerusalem is destroyed. (1-11) The captives suffer in a foreign land. (12-22) God's loving-kindness, He threatens the enemies of his people. (23-26)
Verses 1-11 Jeremiah wept much, yet wished he could weep more, that he might rouse the people to a due sense of the hand of God. But even the desert, without communion with God, through Christ Jesus, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, must be a place for temptation and evil; while, with these blessings, we may live in holiness in crowded cities. The people accustomed their tongues to lies. So false were they, that a brother could not be trusted. In trading and bargaining they said any thing for their own advantage, though they knew it to be false. But God marked their sin. Where no knowledge of God is, what good can be expected? He has many ways of turning a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwell therein.
Verses 12-22 In Zion the voice of joy and praise used to be heard, while the people kept close to God; but sin has altered the sound, it is now the voice of lamentation. Unhumbled hearts lament their calamity, but not their sin, which is the cause of it. Let the doors be shut ever so fast, death steals upon us. It enters the palaces of princes and great men, though stately, strongly built, and guarded. Nor are those more safe that are abroad; death cuts off even the children from without, and the young men from the streets. Hearken to the word of the Lord, and mourn with godly sorrow. This alone can bring true comfort; and it can turn the heaviest afflictions into precious mercies.
Verses 23-26 In this world of sin and sorrow, ending soon in death and judgement, how foolish for men to glory in their knowledge, health, strength, riches, or in any thing which leaves them under the dominion of sin and the wrath of God! and of which an account must hereafter be rendered; it will but increase their misery. Those are the true Israel who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Let us prize the distinction which comes from God, and will last for ever. Let us seek it diligently.
This chapter is a continuation of the judgments of God upon the Jews for their sins and transgressions herein mentioned; illustrated by the lamentation of the prophet; by calling for the mourning women, and upon other women that had lost their husbands or children, with an intimation that none of any rank and class should escape. The prophet is introduced mourning over the destruction of his people, Jer 9:1, and as uneasy at his stay with them, because of their uncleanness, treachery, lying, unfaithfulness, and deceit, Jer 9:2-6, wherefore the Lord threatens to melt and try them; and for their deceitfulness particularly to visit them, and avenge himself on them, Jer 9:7-9, the destruction is described by the desolation of the mountains and habitations of the wilderness; they being so burnt up, that there were neither grass upon them, nor beasts nor birds to be seen or heard about them; and of Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, so that there was no inhabitant in them, Jer 9:10,11, upon which a wise man is inquired after, to give the true reason of all this, Jer 9:12 but none appearing, the Lord gives it himself; which were their disobedience to his law, and their worship of idols, following the imagination of their own hearts, Jer 9:13,14 wherefore they are threatened to be fed with wormwood and gall; to be scattered among the nations, and a sword sent after them to their utter consumption, Jer 9:15,16, hence, for the certainty of it, mourning women are ordered to be called for in haste, to assist them in their mourning, on account of their distress, Jer 9:17-19, and such as were mothers of children are bid to teach their daughters and neighbours lamentation, because of the children and young men cut off by death, and for the carcasses of men that should fall as dung in the field, and as the handful after the harvestman, Jer 9:20-22, and it is suggested that none should escape; not the wise man by any art or cunning he was master of; nor the strong man by his strength; nor the rich man by his riches; and therefore ought not either of them to glory in these things, but in the Lord, as exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, Jer 9:23,24, and the chapter is concluded with a strong asseveration, that the wicked, both circumcised and uncircumcised, should be punished, Jer 9:25,26.