Jeremiah 9

1 O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!
2 O that I had in the desert a traveler's lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a band of traitors.
3 They bend their tongues like bows; they have grown strong in the land for falsehood, and not for truth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, says the Lord.
4 Beware of your neighbors, and put no trust in any of your kin; for all your kin are supplanters, and every neighbor goes around like a slanderer.
5 They all deceive their neighbors, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongues to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.
6 Oppression upon oppression, deceit upon deceit! They refuse to know me, says the Lord.
7 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: I will now refine and test them, for what else can I do with my sinful people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceit through the mouth. They all speak friendly words to their neighbors, but inwardly are planning to lay an ambush.
9 Shall I not punish them for these things? says the Lord; and shall I not bring retribution on a nation such as this?
10 Take up weeping and wailing for the mountains, and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through, and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the animals have fled and are gone.
11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair of jackals; and I will make the towns of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that they may declare it? Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through?
13 And the Lord says: Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, or walked in accordance with it,
14 but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am feeding this people with wormwood, and giving them poisonous water to drink.
16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known; and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.
17 Thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider, and call for the mourning women to come; send for the skilled women to come;
18 let them quickly raise a dirge over us, so that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids flow with water.
19 For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion: "How we are ruined! We are utterly shamed, because we have left the land, because they have cast down our dwellings."
20 Hear, O women, the word of the Lord, and let your ears receive the word of his mouth; teach to your daughters a dirge, and each to her neighbor a lament.
21 "Death has come up into our windows, it has entered our palaces, to cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the squares."
22 Speak! Thus says the Lord: "Human corpses shall fall like dung upon the open field, like sheaves behind the reaper, and no one shall gather them."
23 Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth;
24 but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.
25 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will attend to all those who are circumcised only in the foreskin:
26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaven temples who live in the desert. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.

Jeremiah 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

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.

Footnotes 8

  • [a]. Ch 8.23 in Heb
  • [b]. Ch 9.1 in Heb
  • [c]. Heb [in a brother]
  • [d]. Heb [for every brother]
  • [e]. Cn Compare Gk: Heb [they weary themselves with iniquity. +V6+WYour dwelling]
  • [f]. Cn: Heb [Your dwelling in the midst of deceit]
  • [g]. Or [my poor people]
  • [h]. Gk Syr: Heb [I will take up]

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries