Jeremiah 5

Listen to Jeremiah 5
1 “Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD . “Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city.
2 But even when they are under oath, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ they are still telling lies!”
3 LORD, you are searching for honesty. You struck your people, but they paid no attention. You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected. They are determined, with faces set like stone; they have refused to repent.
4 Then I said, “But what can we expect from the poor? They are ignorant. They don’t know the ways of the LORD . They don’t understand God’s laws.
5 So I will go and speak to their leaders. Surely they know the ways of the LORD and understand God’s laws.” But the leaders, too, as one man, had thrown off God’s yoke and broken his chains.
6 So now a lion from the forest will attack them; a wolf from the desert will pounce on them. A leopard will lurk near their towns, tearing apart any who dare to venture out. For their rebellion is great, and their sins are many.
7 “How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels.
8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
10 “Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines, leaving a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vines, for these people do not belong to the LORD .
11 The people of Israel and Judah are full of treachery against me,” says the LORD .
12 “They have lied about the LORD and said, ‘He won’t bother us! No disasters will come upon us. There will be no war or famine.
13 God’s prophets are all windbags who don’t really speak for him. Let their predictions of disaster fall on themselves!’”
14 Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies says: “Because the people are talking like this, my messages will flame out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood.
15 O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,” says the LORD . “It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you cannot understand.
16 Their weapons are deadly; their warriors are mighty.
17 They will devour the food of your harvest; they will devour your sons and daughters. They will devour your flocks and herds; they will devour your grapes and figs. And they will destroy your fortified towns, which you think are so safe.
18 “Yet even in those days I will not blot you out completely,” says the LORD .
19 “And when your people ask, ‘Why did the LORD our God do all this to us?’ you must reply, ‘You rejected him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land. Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.’
20 “Make this announcement to Israel, and say this to Judah:
21 Listen, you foolish and senseless people, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.
22 Have you no respect for me? Why don’t you tremble in my presence? I, the LORD, define the ocean’s sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set.
23 But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned away and abandoned me.
24 They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the LORD our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’
25 Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.
26 “Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait for victims like a hunter hiding in a blind. They continually set traps to catch people.
27 Like a cage filled with birds, their homes are filled with evil plots. And now they are great and rich.
28 They are fat and sleek, and there is no limit to their wicked deeds. They refuse to provide justice to orphans and deny the rights of the poor.
29 Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
30 A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land—
31 the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes?

Jeremiah 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The Jews' profession of religion was hypocritical. (1-9) The cruel proceedings of their enemies. (10-18) Their apostacy and idolatry. (19-31)

Verses 1-9 None could be found who behaved as upright and godly men. But the Lord saw the true character of the people through all their disguises. The poor were ignorant, and therefore they were wicked. What can be expected but works of darkness, from people that know nothing of God and religion? There are God's poor, who, notwithstanding poverty, know the way of the Lord, walk in it, and do their duty; but these were willingly ignorant, and their ignorance would not be their excuse. The rich were insolent and haughty, and the abuse of God's favours made their sin worse.

Verses 10-18 Multitudes are ruined by believing that God will not be so strict as his word says he will; by this artifice Satan undid mankind. Sinners are not willing to own any thing to be God's word, that tends to part them from, or to disquiet them in, their sins. Mocking and misusing the Lord's messengers, filled the measure of their iniquity. God can bring trouble upon us from places and causes very remote. He has mercy in store for his people, therefore will set bounds to this desolating judgment. Let us not overlook the "nevertheless," ver. ( 18 ) . This is the Lord's covenant with Israel. He thereby proclaims his holiness, and his utter displeasure against sin while sparing the sinner, ( Psalms 89:30-35 ) .

Verses 19-31 Unhumbled hearts are ready to charge God with being unjust in their afflictions. But they may read their sin in their punishment. If men will inquire wherefore the Lord doeth hard things unto them, let them think of their sins. The restless waves obeyed the Divine decree, that they should not pass the sandy shores, which were as much a restraint as lofty mountains; but they burst all restraints of God's law, and were wholly gone into wickedness. Neither did they consider their interest. While the Lord, year after year, reserves to us the appointed weeks of harvest, men live on his bounty; yet they transgress against him. Sin deprives us of God's blessings; it makes the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron. Certainly the things of this world are not the best things; and we are not to think, that, because evil men prosper, God allows their practices. Though sentence against evil works is not executed speedily, it will be executed. Shall I not visit for these things? This speaks the certainty and the necessity of God's judgments. Let those who walk in bad ways consider that an end will come, and there will be bitterness in the latter end.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew to the house of Jacob. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 5

This chapter contains a further account of the destruction of the Jews by the Chaldeans, and the causes of it, the sins of the people, as want of justice and truth; being so corrupt, that a just and faithful man was not to be found among them; could there, the city would have been pardoned for his sake, Jer 5:1, their swearing falsely by the name of the Lord, Jer 5:2, their incorrigibleness by chastisements, which was the case not only of the lower, but higher rank of people, Jer 5:3-5, wherefore the enemy, who for his cruelty is compared to a lion, a wolf, and a leopard, is threatened to be let in among them, Jer 5:6, then other sins are mentioned as the cause of it, as idolatry and adultery, Jer 5:7-9 hence the enemy has a commission to scale their walls, take away their battlements, though not to make a full end, the Lord disowning them for his, Jer 5:10, because of their perfidy against him, their belying of him, contradicting what he had said, and despising the word sent by his prophets, Jer 5:11-13, wherefore it is threatened, that his word like fire should devour them; and that a distant, mighty, and ancient nation, of a foreign speech, should invade them; who, like an open sepulchre, would devour them, and eat up the increase of their fields, vineyards, flocks, and herds, and impoverish their cities, yet not make a full end of them, Jer 5:14-18, and in just retaliation should they serve strangers in a foreign country, who had served strange gods in their own, Jer 5:19 then a declaration is published, and an expostulation is made with them, who are represented as foolish, ignorant, and blind, that they would fear the Lord; which is pressed by arguments taken from the power of God, in restraining the sea, which had no effect upon them; and from the goodness of God, in giving the former and latter rain, and the appointed weeks of the harvest, which their sins turned away and withheld from them, Jer 5:20-25, and then other sins are mentioned as the cause of God's visiting them in a way of vengeance, as the defrauding of men in trade, and the oppression of the fatherless and the poor in judgment; and false prophesying, to the advantage of the priests, and the king of the people, Jer 5:26-31.

Jeremiah 5 Commentaries