Jeremiah 9:4-7

4 “Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver,[a]and every friend a slanderer.
5 Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You[b] live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.
7 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?

Jeremiah 9:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
ESV
4 Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.
NLT
4 “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend.
MSG
4 "Be wary of even longtime neighbors. Don't even trust your grandmother! Brother schemes against brother, like old cheating Jacob. Friend against friend spreads malicious gossip.
CSB
4 Everyone has to be on guard against his friend. Don't trust any brother, for every brother will certainly deceive, and every friend spread slander.

Jeremiah 9:4-7 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 9

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.

Jeremiah 9:4-7 In-Context

2 Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people.
3 “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.
4 “Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver,and every friend a slanderer.
5 Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.
7 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.
9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”

Cross References 10

  • 1. S 2 Samuel 15:12
  • 2. Micah 7:5-6
  • 3. S Genesis 27:35
  • 4. S Exodus 20:16; S Leviticus 19:16
  • 5. S Leviticus 6:2
  • 6. S Psalms 15:2; S Isaiah 59:15
  • 7. S Psalms 52:3
  • 8. S Jeremiah 5:27
  • 9. S Job 28:1; S Isaiah 1:25
  • 10. S Jeremiah 6:27

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "a deceiving Jacob"
  • [b]. That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular)
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