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Jeremiah, Chapter 5
A Sad Portrayal of Unrelieved Apostasy of Judah
It would be hard to exaggerate the extent of Judah's wickedness. It seemed there was not a single righteous person to be found in the whole kingdom. There was immoral sexual indulgence of all the people, and whose behavior was compared to that of animals. The people openly scoffed at the prophetic warnings; they were constantly engaged in deceit, oppression and robbery. They were perfectly content with wholesale corruption in both their religion and their government.
Jeremiah was told to run through the city of Jerusalem to see if he could find one man who was just and sought the truth; he would be pardoned.
Ten Sins of Judah
#1. No justice in judgment (5:1).
#2. Rejection of the truth.
#3. Hypocrisy (5:2).
#4. Impenitence of heart (5:3).
#5. Too stubborn to receive correction.
#6. Hardness of heart and countenance.
#7. Refusal to return to God.
#8. Being foolish and ignorant of God's way (5:4).
#9. Breaking the Mosaic Law (5:5).
#10. Abandoning all restraint to do right according to the law.
None godly in Judah (Jer. 5:1)
Jer. 5:1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. (KJV)
Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem . . . since pious Josiah, Baruch and Zephaniah lived in Jerusalem at that time, Jeremiah here must mean the majority of the people, the king, his counsellors, the false prophets and the priests, as set apart from the faithful few (Mat.7:13-14), whom God had openly separated from the reprobate people; among the latter not even one just person was to be found (Isa. 9:16); the godly were forbidden to intercede for them (Jer.7:16).
And see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof . . . look high and low, look everywhere.
If ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment . . . see if you can find anyone that executes judgment, among those that rightly administer justice.
That seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it . . . this means that among them all, there was none seeking Truth. All of them were so far from seeking Truth sincerely with their whole heart, that they are given to falsehoods and deceits; they do not seek the Truth. I will pardon it or him; I will not destroy it for the sake of those few: the same as the LORD promised with reference to those five cities (Gen. 18:24-32).
*****The purpose of these verses has been described as an explanation of why the just and merciful God must, from time to time, severely punish and destroy sinful men. These verses fully explain WHY it was necessary to bring suffering and death upon God's people. It was all because of the terrible wickedness of the people.
Jerusalem seemed to be worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, for God said that He would pardon Jerusalem if there would be only one righteous was to be found in it, there the LORD came no lower than ten (Gen.18:32). What must we think of Jeremiah himself, and Baruch (Jer.36:4-5), Ebedmelech (Jer.38:7-8), and a few others, who were then, no doubt, in Jerusalem?
I think he speaks of the corrupt body of the people, courtiers, priests, false prophets, not one among them to be found. It is interesting that the search for an honest man, told here, came centuries before the behavior of Diogenes, the fourth century cynic, who is supposed to have gone about with a lantern in broad open daylight, "looking for an honest man!" He never did find one. I think we would have the same problem in New York or Los Angeles and in your town.
They willfully violate the law (Jer. 5:2-6)
Jer. 5:2 And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely. (KJV)
And though they say, The LORD liveth . . . they use the form of an oath, and say, the LORD liveth, or, by the living God.
Surely they swear falsely . . . by swearing here, it may be understood of all their service of God, swearing being a part of God's worship. They swear falsely; either they swear to that which is false; or if swearing to that which is true, they are disloyal to God, because they do it deceitfully, not sincerely, not in reverence to that Holy Name by which they swear. They may often speak of God, and not swear by false gods (verse 7), but it is all deceit and hypocrisy (Isa. 48:1; Jer.12:2; 42:5, 20; 2 Tim.3:5). It is neither in truth or righteousness, two of the main qualifications of a lawful oath . . . so they prostitute the Name of God, making themselves guilty, not only of hypocrisy, but blasphemy as well.
Jer. 5:3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. (KJV)
O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? . ..the prophet, seeing the stubbornness of this people, turns to God, and compellingly implies their hopelessness (Deut.32:4; 2 Chron.16:9). Truth is in contrast with swear falsely (verse 2). These false-professors could expect nothing but judgments from the God of Truth.
Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved . . . they have been under painful grievances that God had laid on them, yet they seem unconcerned (Pro.23:35; Isa.1:5; 9:13; 42:25; Jer.2:30). They were grieved at their sufferings, but they refused to repent, they did NOT turn away from the causes of His rightful displeasure (2 Cor. 7:9-10).
Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction . . . God had not only lightly chastised them before this, but wasted them by several enemies, as with the Assyrian (Isa.10:5; 36:1), Pharaohnechoh (2 Ki.23:33), the Chaldees, Syrians, Moabites, the Ammonites (2 Ki. 24:2), and Nebuchadnezzar (2 Ki. 24:13). All these enemies He made use of, yet they refused to receive correction (Jer.2:30; 7:28; Zep.3:2); they had profited nothing by it, they had not reformed at all (Isa.1:5, 16; Am. 4:6, 8-11).
They have made their faces harder than a rock . . . this notes their stubbornness and boldness, they laid aside all sense of judgments as past feeling (Pro.21:29; Zec.7:12). They refused to return to Him; they willfully rejected counsel, and scorned correction, determined to keep on in their pigheadedness.
Jer. 5:4 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God. (KJV)
Therefore I said . . . possibly Jeremiah thought that he might express himself, as men use to speak.
Surely these are poor; they are foolish . . . these are poor, low-spirited, or of the meanest rank among the vulgar, understanding only a little.
For they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God . . . it is said they know not the way of the LORD (Jer.8:7); being better skilled in fields and vineyards than in the law. The judgment of their God; the ways of His providence, the usual way of His dealing; so judgment is to be taken here for the same as way (1 Sam. 2:13; Jer.8:7).
Jer. 5:5 I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. (KJV)
I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them . . . great men, the nobles, both prince and priest, that have been better taught and educated (Pro.4:4). Not that Jeremiah had any better thoughts of these, but as carrying a great probability with it.
For they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God . . . had it been only among those, in the former verse, it might have been more excusable; but it is in the very nobles themselves; they are completely corrupt, from head to foot, who cannot plead ignorance, therefore the more inexcusable.
But these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds . . . they have completely burst the bonds; they are sarcastic and obstinate; no law of God is able to hold them (Ps. 2:2-3: Lu.19:14, 27). There is none better than another among them, be they rich or poor.
*****The rich are arrogant and brazen, thus they were wicked. God will speak to them through Jeremiah, in hopes to make some impression on them. Although they know the way of the LORD and the judgment of their God, they are far too stubborn to agree with His Laws. They know their Master's will, but are determined to have their own way, to walk in the way of their heart and in the sight of their eyes. They think themselves too good to be controlled, too big to be corrected, even by the Almighty LORD Himself. They simply want to break God’s bands on them (Ps.2:3). The poor are weak, the rich are malicious and mean, and neither do their duty to God. It is much like this in today’s world. BEWARE!!!
Jer. 5:6 Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased. (KJV)
Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them . . . Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army from Syria and Libanus, wooded places are here pointed at under the symbol of three kinds beasts of prey; the cruelty that is proper to each of these creatures shall be seen in this Babylonian army is compared, for instance, to a lion (Jer.4:7) which records his great power, courage, pride, and wounding of his prey.
And a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them . . . a wolf, for their greediness and ravenous appetite; one wolf will destroy an abundance of sheep; and said to be the wolf of the evenings, or deserts, or plains, they being the usual haunts of the wolf; or evenings, because then they are observed to be most ravenous (Hab.1:8), maybe because he laid most of the day in his den for fear of being hunted, so lack of prey enraged his hunger at night; and because of this greediness to devour they are said to be evening wolves (Zep.3:30).
A leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces . . . the Chaldean army compared to a leopard, not for its speed only, but especially for its watchfulness and elusiveness; they are so vigilant, that hardly any shall escape (Jer.16).
Because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased . . . their sins increased, and were very strong . . . which is the reason why the LORD would bring such a devastation upon them, because they strengthened themselves in the multitude of their rebellions against Him.
Their Idolatry and Adultery (Jer. 5:7-9)
Jer. 5:7 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. (KJV)
How shall I pardon thee for this? . . . how can you expect Me to bear such insults? I expose myself, and seem to lay aside My power. They think of Me as one that does not concerned with such injuries, or cannot avenge them (verse 9).
Thy children have forsaken me . . . both in city and in the country.
And sworn by them that are no gods . . . have sworn by idols: swearing is here put, not for a part of worship, as sometimes it is, but for a religious worship and service of idols (Jer.4:2).
When I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery . . . this states the abuse of God's bounty, of the natural effect of our unsanctified prosperity (Deut.32:15; Jer.2:7; Jude 1:25). Abusing God's bounty is that which in good men often breeds forgetfulness, and in bad men usually breeds filthiness . . . rising up to play the wanton was the effect of Israel's eating and drinking (Ex.32:6), and of Sodom's sin (Eze.16:49). Adultery here may be understood of their going a whoring after their idols, or for bodily uncleanness, for they usually go together (Num.25:1-2; Hos.4:12, 14).
And assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses . . . gathered themselves by crowds in the harlots' houses. The whole house of Israel, Jerusalem and Judea, are in one difficult situation. This refers to their idolatry, then to their making the Temple a common house of spiritual harlotry. When it refers to their bodily uncleanness, it seems to indicate that they did not act their adulteries secretly, but laid aside all modesty, they went to harlots' houses, like brute beasts, in groups, as being ashamed of nothing.
Jer. 5:8 They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife. (KJV)
They were as fed horses in the morning . . . stating the greatness and unruliness of their lust, pampered horses being most wanton (Deut.32:15). In the morning . . . it is questioned if this relates to horses or to men; if to horses, then they are compared to stallions, that having been fed to the full over-night, and lain at ease, in the morning they are most lusty; but if it relates to men, it shows that they were very early in morning going about their filthiness (Zep.3:7) . . . they follow their unclean lust with great eagerness just as drunks follow strong drink (Isa.5:11).
Every one neighed after his neighbour's wife . . . every one of them neighed after his neighbor’s wife, with impulsive earnestness and unwearied hunting, they looked for adulteresses to satisfy their beastly lusts. It tells us they were unrestrained and uncontrolled (Jer.13:27; Eze.22:11).
*****What is the big sin in our nation today? It is sexual sin, only they don't call it that. They call it the new morality, but dear one, God still calls adultery sin. He says, every one neighed after his neighbour's wife. What an ugly picture of the contemporary culture of the USA!
Jer. 5:9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? (KJV)
Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD . . . (verse 7) visit, punish (Ps.89:32). Should I plot such things, the wicked would say, I did not see them, or take notice of them (Ps.50:21). Punishment may be called visiting, as implying the equity of God's procedures, because He first sees and considers the case, before He inflicts punishment, as in the case of Sodom (Gen. 18:21).
And shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? . . . My soul, this speaks of the enormous amount of God's displeasure, His Holy wrath . . . God’s very soul would be in this work of vengeance against them (Ps.11:5).
Contempt for God's Word and His Prophets (Jer. 5:10-18)
Jer. 5:10 Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD'S. (KJV)
Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy . . . the Babylonians would go and execute God’s vengeance on them. God gave them into their hands. And destroy . . . God permits and orders them not only to take the city, but to cause havoc of her inhabitants (Isa.10:6).
But make not a full end . . . although God gave them a large command to destroy, yet He puts on it a limitation . . . He will reserve a remnant from destruction, as He always does . . . He always sets bounds to the most raging adversary, beyond which the enemy must not pass (Jer.4:27).
Take away her battlements . . . lay her and all her fortifications level with the ground, take away her high towers, or whatsoever may tend to defend a city; to let Jerusalem know that she in vain did trust her high walls and strong towers.
Jer. 5:11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. (KJV)
They have deserted the law of God. The house of Israel and the house of Judah, even though at variance with one another, yet both agreed to deal treacherously against God. They forsook the worship of Him, and they violated their covenants with Him; they revolted from Him, and played the hypocrite with Him.
Jer. 5:12 They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: (KJV)
They have belied the LORD, and said . . . they called into question the LORD . . . they denied, renounced, made little or nothing of Him or did not believe Him.
It is not he . . . He does not exist . . . there is no such Being . . . therefore this evil shall not come upon us.
Neither shall evil come upon us . . . on their way of thinking, this conclusion was just. Since there is no Judge; therefore there shall be no judgment. So they denied the LORD. They were atheists at heart.
Neither shall we see sword nor famine . . . neither shall we see this siege or famine, or any other such dreadful judgments. Of what Jeremiah speaks, none shall befall us.
Jer. 5:13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them. (KJV)
And the prophets shall become wind . . . shall become wind is a well-known phrase not only in common language, but Scripture also (Job 6:26; 8:2; Ecc.5:16; Hos.12:1; Eph.4:14). They were sure that all Jeremiah’s threats would come to nothing, so they scoffed at them (2 Chron.36:15-16).
And the word is not in them . . . they did not think Jeremiah’s words were from God, but were only dreams he imagined.
Thus shall it be done unto them . . . their doomed prophecies shall fall on themselves.
So be it unto them.
Jer. 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. (KJV)
Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts . . . when they were done speaking, the LORD begins to speak . . . and because they had slighted His prophet, and God speaking through him, here He tells them what He will do. The LORD God of hosts . . . He makes His majesty and power known, and He clothes His Words with great terror.
Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire . . . the condemnations of judgments shall be fulfilled and shall consume them as fire does wood. In Jer.23:29 it is the penetrating energy of fire.
It shall devour them . . . it shall happen suddenly and fiercely, as fire is accustomed to devour dry wood, to their utter ruin and overthrow (Ps.83:14-15; Isa.9:18-19). They would be fuel to God’s wrath, which shall be executed by the Chaldean army, that shall consume and eat them up like fire; they shall find my words to be MORE than wind.
Jer. 5:15 Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. (KJV)
Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD . . . from far away, from Chaldea. House of Israel means Judah; for Israel, properly so called the ten tribes, were in captivity before (Jer.4:1); called the house of Israel, not only because they descended from Jacob, but because they were the chief of that stock.
It is a mighty nation . . . it is potent, rough and harsh, and of great antiquity, ever since the laying the first foundation of Babylon by Nimrod, about one hundred and seventy years after the flood; and hence it is called the land of Nimrod (Mic.5:6). And this adds to their cruelty, that they have had dominion and rule in their hands so long, that they have not only grown more proud and haughty, but having been brought up so long in ways of blood and slaughter, they feel by this time they were skillful to destroy.
A nation whose language thou knowest not . . . Judah did not know the language of Babylon.
Neither understandest what they say . . . which makes the case worse. It’s difficult when people do not understand each other. All is meaningless and will render their condition much more confused and sad, because language is that by which we communicate, and it seems this was part of the judgment threatened (Deut.28:36, 49-50). The Jews did not understand the Chaldeans language, and the Chaldeans couldn’t speak to them in the captivity. It was this that put a stop to all conversation at the building of Babel (Gen.11:9).
Jer. 5:16 Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. (KJV)
Their quiver is as an open sepulchre . . . quiver is a symbol for all their military preparations, the bow and arrow was the main weapons for war in those countries in those days. An open sepulcher is a proverbial phrase (Ps.5:9), relating to the awful havoc and destruction that will be made, consuming the living as the grave consumes the dead. They are all mighty men . . . the Chaldeans were all men of bravery, fit warriors.
Jer. 5:17 And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword. (KJV)
And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread . . . they shall make a clean removal, leaving them with no supports of life, and bring an utter famine upon them (Deut.28:30, 48, 51).
Which thy sons and thy daughters should eat . . . this only worsens the horror of the judgment; the parents, choosing to die themselves, rather than to see their children starve before their eyes, and they with no way to relieve them (Lam.2:10-11).
They shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds . . . a specific list of the desolation that would be made, all the flocks of sheep, goats and poultry and all their herds of cattle and camels.
They shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees . . . more added to the above list, their grape vines and fig trees.
They shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword . . . the Chaldeans shall eat up their fenced cities, along with the waste that the famine would make . . . their cities would be abandoned by the sword of the enemy. Possibly the siege would be so severe, which may be implied by the word impoverish, that they would be forced to eat one another. Cannibalism is mentioned several times in the Bible: (Lev.26:29; Deut.28:53-57; Jer.19:9; Lam.2:20; 4:10; Eze.5:10),
Jer. 5:18 Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you. (KJV)
I will not make a full end . . . See Jer.4:27. There are more evils in store for them. You shall not only be ruined and all your property destroyed, but you shall be carried into captivity; and ye shall serve strangers in a land that is not yours (verse 19).
The justification of God in these proceedings against them is that He will be gracious to them in not making a full end with them, so too, He will also be righteous in coming so near it, and will have it known that He has done them no wrong.
They Forsake, and Do NOT Fear God (Jer. 5:19-24)
Jer. 5:19 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say . . . Jeremiah is instructed as to what to say to them.
Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? . . . this speaks of their unparalleled disrespect, in a way of challenging God, as if they did not deserve such dealing at His Hands. The Jews were good at this (Isa.58:3). This also speaks of their gross stupidity, as not being sensible of what they had done to provoke Him (Jer.16:10).
Then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land . . . they served strange gods while they lived in their own land, which worsened their crime. With the TRUE God being among them, they would stupidly bring in idols from the heathens.
So shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours . . . they served strange gods (idols), which God calls forsaking Him. Jeremiah shows what resentments God had of their sin; for it implies that their sin was much greater, because they served strange gods in their own land, than if they had done it in another, and therefore He would as a result adjust their punishment, that they would serve in a strange land, which should be worse than to be servants in their own land. This is a dreadful but a just retaliation.
*****Retribution in kind. As they had forsaken the LORD (Jer.2:13), so shall they be forsaken by Him. As they had served strange (heathen) gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers (heathens) in a land not yours. Deut.28:47-48 Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. (KJV)
Jer. 5:20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, (KJV)
See Jer.4:5 and Jer. 5:11. They boldly sinned against the LORD, and Jeremiah was to tell them they would be punished.
Terrible Sins of Judah
1. Absurd stupidity (Jer.5:21).
2. Without understanding, lack of knowledge.
3. Blindness . . . willful turning from Truth.
4. Deafness . . . willful refusal to hear Truth.
5. No fear of God (Jer. 5:22).
6. Revolting and rebellious heart (Jer. 5:23).
7. No desire to fear (reverence) God (Jer. 5:24).
8. They had many iniquities and sins (Jer. 5:25).
9. They tolerated wicked men among them.
10. The set traps to catch men (Jer.5:26).
11. They were full of deceit (Jer. 5:27).
12. They commit sin for personal gain.
13. They grow fat and glory in sin (Jer. 5:28).
14. They overlook the deeds of the wicked.
15. They do not judge the cause of orphans.
16. They do not judge the cause of the poor.
17. Their prophets prophesy falsely (Jer. 5:31).
18. Their priests tolerated the false prophecies of the false prophets.
Jer. 5:21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: (KJV)
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding . . . they have no heart to return to God, or to any instruction or reformation, but are stupid, regardless of all caution, counsel and wisdom. The heart is said to be the symbol of the seat of wisdom.
Which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not . . . (Jer.6:10). They are willfully blind, and adamantly deaf . . . they refuse to hear the Word, Will or Works of God, of which Jeremiah gives two examples in verses 22 and 24 . . . in governing the sea, and appointing the seasons of the year.
Jer. 5:22 Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? (KJV)
Fear ye not me? saith the LORD . . . listen to what the LORD says.
Will ye not tremble at my presence . . . a convincing argument to persuade them to submit to Him.
Which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree . . . God has placed the sand for the boundary of the sea. Pro. 8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: (KJV) . . . Will ye not submit to Me, that can rule the sea . . . which, as unruly as it is, yet quietly yields to My will. Do you think that I, that can tame the boisterous sea, cannot tame you? Have you ever considered God’s power?
That it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves . . . even though the waves toss violently, although they swell, rage, roar and threaten ever so much, as if they would swallow up all before them; yet, when they come to their appointed boundary, they shall obediently yield to the sand, and withdraw.
Yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? . . . the waves cannot prevail; nor get any ground against God's decree. Were it not for the decree or the sand, the waters would overflow the whole Earth (Job 38:11). By this . . . God may show what He could do in reference to that enraged and raging army that is about to come upon them like a torrent, if this people would not repent.
*****Which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea . . . what can God not do, He who can confine the sea, that enormous mass of waters, and prevent it from overflowing the Earth; not by immense mountains and rocks, but by the sand, no particle of which is in unity with another? The most tremendous waves cannot displace nor pass over this simple barrier. What an awesome God we have!
Jer. 5:23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. (KJV)
But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart . . . Psalm 78:8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. (KJV)
They are revolted and gone . . . they not only rebelled against God, and backslid, but they continue to be stubborn, and will not return. They have gone completely away from Truth and righteousness.
Jer. 5:24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. (KJV)
Neither say they in their heart . . . they are so careless, hard hearted and stubborn that they never consider that it is God that arranges everything according to His own pleasure, both in the Earth and in the great deep.
Let us now fear the LORD our God . . . fear, serve and obey the LORD, and all service to Him.
That giveth rain, both the former and the latter . . . the LORD gives rain, for without it nothing could exist. By this the TRUE God is set apart from all false gods, idols (Jer.14:22). This appears to be not only His power in commanding (Job 28:26), and preparing it (Ps.147:8), His sovereignty in withholding it (Am.4:7); but His general goodness in bestowing it (Deut. 28:12; Mat.5:45), and His special providence in the right disposal of it, when there is need, and which He gives as a witness of it (Acts 14:17). The former and the latter means not the former and latter part of the year, but according to their seasons of sowing and reaping; the former to prepare the ground for sowing, and the latter to prepare the corn for plumping and ripening (Jer.3:3).
He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest . . . He gives seasonable harvests according to His choosing. This means God would let them know just how impudent and foolish they were, for God keeps the whole order of nature at His disposal, which He can govern and order as He sees men behave themselves towards Him.
They are rich through deceit and violence (Jer. 5:25-31)
Jer. 5:25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. (KJV)
Your iniquities have turned away these things . . . Do not say your ground is parched with drought, or your fruits are corrupted and rotted by too much or unseasonable rain; we have nothing now in so due a course as we were accustomed to have it. Would they know the reason of it? They had overturned the ordinances and order of nature, they had put heaven and earth out of their regular courses, by their iniquities. God so hates sin!
And your sins have withholden good things from you . . . they have been cut short of good things and denied a blessing upon them. This means that God would not have wicked men think the unusual seasons had come by chance, but as the LORD saw fitting, either for the encouragement of the obedient, or punishing the stubborn ones.
*****Their iniquities have turned away these things. When the appointed weeks of harvest do not come, shouldn’t they look at things and see if maybe this might be God's judgments? Have not our iniquities turned away these good things from us? I believe this goes for us too, in today’s world. We all need to seriously think about this!
Jer. 5:26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. (KJV)
For among my people are found wicked men . . . the LORD did not have to look for wicked men in the heathen nations, for they were easily found among them that were called by His Name. All God’s people should have been holy, but they were not!
They lay wait, as he that setteth snares . . . they would think up dreadful, deceitful plans, like fowlers that hid themselves when they watched the birds coming to the snare or net (Pro.1:11); Mic.7:2).
As he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men . . . indicating the success of their wicked policies in bringing their wicked plans to pass (Ps.37:7), as false witnesses and trespassers do, when they go about to ensnare men that are innocent; like the trap Jezebel laid for Naboth (1 Ki.21:9-10), and such was that conspiracy of more than forty men against Paul (Acts 23:13-15).
Jer. 5:27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. (KJV)
As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit . . . as a cage or coop is full of birds, along with food to fatten them for the table, so are their houses full of deceit, of possessions and wealth obtained by deceitful practices and ways of defrauding. All the business of their families is done with deception . . . and whoever deals with them, they will cheat him if they can, which is easily done by those who have no conscience of what they say and do.
Therefore they are become great, and waxen rich . . . showing how and in what manner they got their riches, such as are gotten by a lying tongue (Ps.109:2; 120:2; Pro.6:17; 21:6), and called the treasures of wickedness (Pro.10:2; Mic.6:10).
Jer. 5:28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. (KJV)
They are waxen fat, they shine; . . . so fat are they that they shine . . . by reason of their wealth and riches they pamper themselves until their eyes stand out with fatness (Ps.73:7); their wrinkles are filled up with fat, which makes their faces shine.
They overpass the deeds of the wicked; . . . they go beyond the heathens in wickedness (Eze.5:6-7). They wicked seem to escape the hardships and sufferings that others undergo (Ps.73:5-8), but in the end, all the wicked will be judged! Rev. 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless . . . they disregard them, or wrong and injure them by refusing them a fair hearing (Isa.1:23), or passing a wrong sentence against them in courts (Zec.7:10), which is specifically forbidden (Ex.22:22).
Yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge . . . things go well with them, they live happily, according to their desire (Job 21:7), and hoping that God might bless them.
Jer. 5:29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? (KJV)
See verse 9. The LORD shall certainly visit (bring judgment) on the wicked. Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
Jer. 5:30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; (KJV)
So strange and astonishing crimes, that it is beyond the thought or apprehension of man to conceive, much more to express; and so abominable, that a man would even hate the thoughts of it. What this is we have in the next verse.
Jer. 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (KJV)
The prophets prophesy falsely . . . spreading the lies of their idols, mainly Baal (Jer.2:8), and possibly declaring their lies in the Name of the TRUE God (Jer.4:10).
And the priests bear rule by their means . . . this means that the princes and priests are encouraged to do all their mischiefs, whether it was in corrupting judgment by bribes, or allowing fraud and oppression, and hardening themselves against God's warnings. These shepherds were encouraged by the lies of the false prophets . . . the priests and the princes combined set themselves against the TRUE prophets of God (Jer.26:8); and so the priests essentially take control of all the affairs into their own hands . . . which indicates the power they had in their ministry.
And my people love to have it so . . . God’s people were very well pleased with the flatteries and lies of the false prophets, for they were not able to bear the Truths that were delivered to them by Jeremiah, from God (Mic.2:11).
And what will ye do in the end thereof? . . . where do you think these things will end? You must expect nothing but utter ruin as the fruit and result of such actions (Mic. 3:11-12). This city, which you look upon to be continued, shall be overthrown, and you shall utterly perish in its ruin. How miserable you will find yourselves . . . to be deceived by your false prophets, and your hopes gone! This is a sad situation concerning the exterminating of the people by the Chaldeans.
Book of Jeremiah
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