Jeremiah 2:1-32

Israel Forsakes God

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the LORD says: “ ‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’ ” declares the LORD.
4 Hear the word of the LORD, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel.
5 This is what the LORD says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.
6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
7 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.
9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the LORD. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar [a] and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the LORD.
13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the LORD your God when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile [b] ? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign LORD.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving— in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.’
26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the people of Israel are disgraced— they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets.
27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’
28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns.
29 “Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,” declares the LORD.
30 “In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravenous lion.
31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the LORD: “Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more’?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.

Jeremiah 2:1-32 Meaning and Commentary


This chapter contains the prophet's message from the Lord to the people of the Jews; in which they are reminded of their former favours, in order to aggravate their sins and transgressions they were chargeable with; to show their ingratitude and unkindness, and to bring them to a conviction and acknowledgment of their iniquities, without which punishment would be inflicted on them. The preface to this message is in Jer 2:1,2, and the discourse begins with an account of their former state and condition when they came out of Egypt; what kindness was shown them by the Lord, and what was returned to him by them; what they were to him, and how much regarded by him, Jer 2:2,3 and so far were they from being injured by him, that might cause them to depart from him, which they are desired to give attention to, that they were followed with various instances of goodness, which are particularly enumerated; and yet no notice was taken of them, neither by people, priests, pastors, and prophets, who were guilty of the grossest ignorance and wickedness, Jer 2:4-8, wherefore the Lord determines to plead with them and theirs; and charges them with such idolatry as was not to be found among the Gentiles, Jer 1:9-11 the heavens are called upon to be astonished at it; and the reason given for it, the ingratitude and folly of this people, Jer 2:12,13 in order to reclaim them, the Lord by the prophet proceeds to observe to them the corrections and chastisement they had already endured, being brought into bondage, their land wasted, cities burnt, and their glory taken from them; all which were owing to their revoltings and backslidings, and by which they might see what an evil and bitter thing sin is in its effects, Jer 2:14-19 and again reminds them of former favours; how that he loosed them from their yoke and bonds, when they promised to transgress no more, and yet did more and more; how he had raised them from a right seed, and planted them a noble vine, and yet they were sadly degenerated, and were guilty of such crimes as were not to be removed by anything done by them, Jer 2:20-22, and notwithstanding all this, they had the impudence to deny that they were tainted with idolatry, when they had been so guilty of it in the valley of Hinnom, and elsewhere; and were comparable to the lustful dromedary and wild ass, and so fond of strange gods, that they thirsted after them, and were resolved to follow them, Jer 2:23-25 and yet the time would come when all ranks of men among them would be ashamed of their worship of stocks and stones, and in the time of their trouble call upon the Lord to save them, when they would be sent to their gods, who were as numerous as their cities, Jer 2:26-28 wherefore it was in vain to plead their innocence, when they were all so guilty, and had received correction without amendment, and had even slain the prophets of the Lord, Jer 2:29,30 and then the Lord again upbraids them with their ingratitude to him, who had been so good and kind to them; with their forgetfulness of him, illustrated by a maid's not forgetting her ornaments, and a bride her attire; with their artful methods to entice others to idolatry, and with their shedding of innocent blood; and yet, after all this, they asserted their innocence, and affirmed they had never sinned, Jer 2:31-35, for all which sentence is pronounced against them, and punishment is threatened them, Jer 2:36,37.

Cross References 84

  • 1. Isaiah 38:4; Ezekiel 1:3; Micah 1:1
  • 2. Psalms 71:17; Isaiah 54:4; Jeremiah 3:4; Eze 16:8-14,60; Hosea 2:15; Hosea 11:1; Revelation 2:4
  • 3. S Exodus 13:21; S Deuteronomy 1:19; Deuteronomy 2:7
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 7:6
  • 5. S Exodus 19:6; S Deuteronomy 7:6
  • 6. Leviticus 23:9-14; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4
  • 7. Isaiah 41:11; Jeremiah 10:25; Jeremiah 30:16
  • 8. Jeremiah 50:7
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 32:21; S 1 Samuel 12:21; Psalms 31:6
  • 10. 2 Kings 17:15
  • 11. S Exodus 6:6; Hosea 13:4
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 1:19; Deuteronomy 8:15
  • 13. S Deuteronomy 32:10
  • 14. Jeremiah 51:43
  • 15. S Numbers 13:27; Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Deuteronomy 11:10-12
  • 16. Psalms 106:34-39; Jeremiah 3:9; Jeremiah 7:30; Jeremiah 16:18; Ezekiel 11:21; Ezekiel 36:17
  • 17. S 1 Samuel 2:12; Jeremiah 4:22
  • 18. Jeremiah 3:15; Jeremiah 23:1; Jeremiah 25:34; Jeremiah 50:6
  • 19. S 1 Kings 18:22; Jeremiah 23:13
  • 20. ver 25; S Isaiah 40:19; S Isaiah 56:10; Jeremiah 5:19; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 16:19; Jeremiah 22:9
  • 21. Jeremiah 25:31; Hosea 4:1; Ezekiel 20:35-36; Micah 6:2
  • 22. S Genesis 10:4
  • 23. S Genesis 25:13
  • 24. S Isaiah 37:19; Jeremiah 16:20; Galatians 4:8
  • 25. S 1 Samuel 4:21; Psalms 106:20; Romans 1:23
  • 26. S Deuteronomy 31:16; S Isaiah 65:11
  • 27. Psalms 36:9; S Isaiah 12:3; John 4:14
  • 28. Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9
  • 29. Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 50:17
  • 30. S Isaiah 1:7
  • 31. S 2 Kings 25:9
  • 32. S Leviticus 26:43
  • 33. S Isaiah 19:13
  • 34. Jeremiah 43:7-9
  • 35. Jeremiah 4:18
  • 36. S Isaiah 1:28; Jeremiah 17:13; Jeremiah 19:4
  • 37. S Isaiah 30:2
  • 38. S Joshua 13:3
  • 39. S 2 Kings 16:7; Hosea 5:13; Hosea 7:11; Hosea 8:9
  • 40. S Isaiah 7:20
  • 41. Jeremiah 3:11,22; Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 11:10; Jeremiah 14:7; Hosea 14:4
  • 42. Isaiah 3:9; Isaiah 59:12; Hosea 5:5
  • 43. S Job 20:14; Amos 8:10
  • 44. Jeremiah 19:4
  • 45. S Psalms 36:1
  • 46. S Leviticus 26:13
  • 47. Psalms 2:3; Jeremiah 5:5
  • 48. S Job 21:14
  • 49. Isaiah 57:7; Jeremiah 3:23; Jeremiah 17:2
  • 50. S Deuteronomy 12:2
  • 51. S Isaiah 1:21; Ezekiel 16:15
  • 52. S Exodus 15:17
  • 53. S Psalms 80:8
  • 54. S Isaiah 5:4
  • 55. S Psalms 51:2; Lamentations 1:8,17
  • 56. S Job 9:30
  • 57. Jeremiah 17:1
  • 58. S Proverbs 30:12
  • 59. ver 25; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23:27
  • 60. S 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:2; Jeremiah 31:40
  • 61. ver 33; Jeremiah 31:22
  • 62. S Genesis 16:12; Jeremiah 14:6
  • 63. S Job 39:6
  • 64. S Isaiah 57:10
  • 65. Deuteronomy 32:16; Jeremiah 3:13; Jeremiah 14:10
  • 66. S ver 8,S 23
  • 67. Jeremiah 48:27; Lamentations 1:7; Ezekiel 16:54; Ezekiel 36:4
  • 68. Ezekiel 22:26
  • 69. Jeremiah 32:32; Jeremiah 44:17,21
  • 70. Jeremiah 10:8
  • 71. Jeremiah 3:9
  • 72. S 1 Kings 14:9; S 2 Chronicles 29:6; Psalms 14:3; Ezekiel 8:16
  • 73. Jeremiah 18:17; Jeremiah 32:33; Ezekiel 7:22
  • 74. Judges 10:10; Isaiah 26:16
  • 75. Isaiah 37:20; Hosea 5:15
  • 76. S Isaiah 45:20
  • 77. S Deuteronomy 32:37; S Isaiah 40:19
  • 78. S 2 Kings 17:29; Jeremiah 11:13
  • 79. Jeremiah 5:1; Jeremiah 6:13; Daniel 9:11; Micah 3:11; Micah 7:2
  • 80. S Leviticus 26:23
  • 81. S Nehemiah 9:26; S Jeremiah 11:21; Acts 7:52; 1 Thessalonians 2:15
  • 82. Isaiah 45:19
  • 83. S Job 21:14
  • 84. S Deuteronomy 32:18; S Isaiah 57:11

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In the Syro-Arabian desert
  • [b]. Hebrew "Shihor" ; that is, a branch of the Nile
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