Jeremiah 10:23-24

Jeremiah’s Prayer

23 LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
24 Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure— not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing.

Jeremiah 10:23-24 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 10

This chapter shows that there is no comparison to be made between God and the idols of the Gentiles; represents the destruction of the Jews as near at hand; and is closed with some petitions of the prophet. It begins by way of preface with an exhortation to hear the word of the Lord, and a dehortation not to learn the way of the Heathens, or be dismayed at their signs, since their customs were in vain, Jer 10:1-3 which lead on to expose their idols, and set forth the greatness and glory of God. Their idols are described by the matter and makers of them, Jer 10:3,4,9 and from their impotence to speak, to stand, to move, or do either good or evil, Jer 10:4,5, but, on the other hand, God is described by the greatness of his name and power, and by the reverence that belongs unto him; in comparison of whom all the wise men of the nations are brutish, foolish, and vain, Jer 10:6-8, by the epithets of true, living, and everlasting, and by the terribleness of his wrath, Jer 10:10, by his power and wisdom, in making the heavens and the earth, in causing thunder and lightning, wind and rain, when the gods that have no share in these shall utterly perish, Jer 10:11-13 their makers being brutish, and brought to shame; and they falsehood and breathless vanity, the work of errors, and so shall come to ruin, Jer 10:14,15, but he, who is Jacob's portion, and whose inheritance Israel is, is not like them; being the former of all things, and his name the Lord of hosts, Jer 10:16 and next follows a prophecy of the destruction of the Jews; wherefore they are bid to gather up their wares, since in a very little time, and at once, the Lord would fling them out of the land, and bring them into distress, Jer 10:17,18, upon which the prophet expresses his sympathy with his people in trouble, and the part of grief he took and bore with them, Jer 10:19, the particulars of his distress, through the desolation of the land, and the captivity of the people, with the cause and authors of it, by whose means these things were brought upon them, are mentioned, Jer 10:20,21, and the Chaldean army, the instruments of their ruin, are represented as just at hand, Jer 10:22, when the prophet, directing himself to God, acknowledges the impotence of man in general to help and guide himself, deprecates correction in anger to himself in particular, and prays that the wrath of God might be poured down upon the Heathens, by whom his people were devoured, consumed, and made desolate, Jer 10:23-25.

Jeremiah 10:23-24 In-Context

21 The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.
22 Listen! The report is coming— a great commotion from the land of the north! It will make the towns of Judah desolate, a haunt of jackals.
23 LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
24 Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure— not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the peoples who do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland.

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Cross References 4

  • 1. S Job 33:29; S Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 20:24
  • 2. Psalms 6:1; Psalms 38:1; S Jeremiah 7:20; Jeremiah 18:23
  • 3. Jeremiah 46:28
  • 4. Jeremiah 30:11