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Jeremiah, Chapter 6
DESTRUCTION FROM THE NORTH;
THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM;
DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM;
ZION'S FOES PREPARE WAR AGAINST HER: HER SINS ARE THE CAUSE
There is a number of titles, such as the ones above that could be assigned to this chapter. The three subjects treated here are: (1). a description of the tragic fate of the city, (2). the character and identification of the instrument (the destroyer) God would use in the execution of His judgment against the city, and (3). a summary of the reasons why God judged Jerusalem and Judah to be worthy of the penalty about to fall upon them.
God sends and strengthens Babylon against Judah (Jer. 6:1-5)
Jer. 6:1 O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction. (KJV)
O ye children of Benjamin . . . this means either the inhabitants of Jerusalem, because part of it stood in the lot of Benjamin (Josh.18:28); or perhaps it means all Judah, because when the ten tribes fell off, the tribe of Benjamin joined Judah, and was united to them. If it seems odd that the prophet speaks here to Benjamin rather than to Judah, the reason may be, was that he came from Anathoth (Jer.1:1) was of that tribe, so he mentions them as his own countrymen.
Gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem . . . this may be spoken sarcastically, that they all should flee quickly for safety, out of Jerusalem.
And blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem . . . Tekoa was the birthplace of Amos. Bethhaccerem means vineyard-house. Both cities were a few miles south of Jerusalem. Since the enemy came from the north, the inhabitants of the surrounding country would naturally flee south.
For evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction . . . the fire-signal on the hills gave warning of danger approaching.
Jer. 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. (KJV)
Woman . . . a good woman is one dwelling at home, discreetly guiding and governing her affairs at home (Pro.11:22; 12:4; 14:1; 31:10). But a comely and delicate woman through her frailty exposed herself to all wantonness and voluptuousness, tarrying at home to entertain her paramours: she, through her state and pride, is so delicate and nice that she will not set her foot out of door. This may also point to Judah's effeminacy (Rom.1:21-32; 1 Cor.6:9), that will be so dispirited as not to have courage to oppose the adversary, but easily be taken into her dwelling and habitation.
Jer. 6:3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place. (KJV)
The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her . . . the prophet proceeds in his figure of speech, possibly because he chose to speak in the style of his own education, which may also give us some features to the addition of pasture or land in the former verse instead of woman . . . meaning that the Chaldean princes, with their armies, as so many flocks, shall come into this pleasant land (Jer.12:10); in which expression there is something of a sneer (Jer.4:16-17).
They shall pitch their tents against her round about . . . they shall place their warlike tents, as to form a siege to surround her (Jer.1:15; Eze. 4:2).
They shall feed every one in his place . . . beside or near one another (2 Chron.21:16; Job 1:14). Each one in his quarter or station shall do his part, and shall be skillful and powerful to destroy wherever he goes . . . indicating that everything shall be at the enemy's disposal, that they shall be able to choose their own quarters; they shall place their army in troops and regiments, as they decide what is to their best advantage, to be helpful one unto another, as shepherds are accustomed to do their flocks.
Jer. 6:4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. (KJV)
Prepare ye war against her . . . the prophet now leaves his symbolism to tell them plainly what he means by the shepherds (warriors). Some think these are the words of the Chaldeans, making preparations for their invasion, and it may be by some of their accustomed rites that they used before war; but this seems to me to be the words of God inviting them, and calling them into this work. Sanctify war against her (Jer.22:7); He speaks to those whom He had sanctified or set apart for this work, His sanctified ones (Isa.13:3).
Arise, and let us go up at noon . . . this shows how ready Babylon will be to obey God's call (Isa.21:5), and so they are said to march up at noon, not only to show how daring they were, but to show their boldness to march on without stop; they would not burn daylight, but be speedy in their work, and they would take the first opportunity, whether morning, noon, day or night. The next words seem to strengthen this sense.
Woe unto us! for the day goeth away . . . if we delay and tarry too long, the day passes quickly and we lose time. This expresses their greediness after their prey.
For the shadows of the evening are stretched out . . . they were eagerly set upon it, that they watched the lengthening of the shadow, which shows the approach of evening (Ps.109:23; Hab.1:8).
Jer. 6:5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces. (KJV)
Arise, and let us go by night . . . they were set upon it, they would not lose time, not day or night; which shows that they were strangely stirred up by God for this mission.
And let us destroy her palaces . . . her palaces were the bait or motive that they looked forward to, to have the spoil of all the stately palaces and rich houses of the nobles and great ones. Have you ever thought about what would happen if war came to America?
Punished for Her Oppression and Spoils (Jer.6:6-8)
Jer. 6:6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. (KJV)
For thus hath the LORD of hosts said . . . to the Chaldeans. Here God clearly states that they have their instruction. They do nothing over their heads (see verses 14-15). God wanted the Jews to know that it was not the Chaldeans that was their problem . . . it was God . . . for He sent the Chaldeans, and they were His rod to scourge them for their sins (Jer.1:15-16). God is said to hiss for such whom He will get to do His work (Isa. 5:26; 7:18). God is the LORD of hosts, and it is in vain to struggle in battle with them, whom He sends, because it is God Himself that is the captain of their hosts. Jer. 19:15 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words. (KJV) . . . The phrase LORD of hosts is used in Jeremiah 81 times.
Hew ye down trees . . . cut down all the trees, including fruit trees, which usually were spared in such a case (Deut.20:19).
Cast a mount against Jerusalem . . . throw up one continued trench, as a mount around about it (2 Sam.20:15; Jer.33:4; Eze.4:2).
This is the city to be visited . . . The LORD God is said to visit sometimes in mercy (Gen. 1:1-31; 24:1-67; Zep 2:7), and sometimes in judgment, as here and in Jer. 5:9; 23:2. They are ripe for judgment (Eze.7:10-12; 1 Thes.2:16); and it is ordered against them, and ready to come upon them (Jer. 23:12; Hos. 9:7). All attempts by God’s prophets have failed, and now there is no remedy.
She is wholly oppression in the midst of her . . . she does nothing but oppress, with all kinds of oppression and injustice; plus all other cruelties (2 Ki.24:3-4; Eze.7:23), so sad because that city was once full of judgment and righteousness (Isa.1:21), but now totally absorbed with oppression.
In the next verse God worsens their sin of oppression, mentioned above.
Jer. 6:7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds. (KJV)
As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness . . . a symbol expressing how natural all kinds of wickedness is to her, how full she is of it, and how never-ending it is (Phil.3:18-21), stating her boldness. A fountain not able to retain its water, casts it out . . . and seems to indicate the violence in her wickedness . . . as it is said of the sea, that it casteth out mire and dirt (Isa.57:20).
Violence and spoil is heard in her . . . this is all she busied herself about (Jer.20:8). It was the common complaint of her inhabitants.
Before me continually is grief and wounds . . . wherever Jeremiah goes or looks, He sees and hears nothing but complaints and grievances of the poor, mourning over oppression and cruelties that are against them (Ps.69:26), this was absolutely against God's command (Ex.22:22-24; Isa.3:14-15; Jam.5:4). I think possibly that this refers to their sin rather than to their sufferings from the enemy.
Jer. 6:8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited. (KJV)
Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem . . . by the correction you have felt and what is threatened, you should repent before it is too late (Pro.29:15). God here in the midst of judgment, remembers mercy, as it was abruptly putting a stop to His wrath, trying by any means that the judgment might yet be stopped . . . IF they would only repent! What an awesome God we have . . . He would still willingly spare them, IF they repent.
Lest my soul depart from thee . . . the LORD loves them (and us) and expresses how great the grief is to Him to withdraw Himself from them (or us). It could be avoided . . . IF they repent of their sins. It is the same with us today! His great affection to them is here expressed by soul, which is the seat of it (Ps.42:1-2), like separating one limb from another: here it is indicating the near communion that God has with the faithful, and how ready He is to return, IF they will return to Him.
Lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited . . . lest He destroy them and their land.
*****Be thou instructed . . . WHY don’t they listen? There is still time to repent of their wickedness. They need only to return to the LORD with all their heart, and the advancing Chaldeans would be halted on their march and turned back. Jer.11:8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not. (KJV) . . . This can also be applied to us today.
Punished for Her Stubbornness (Jer. 6:9-12)
Jer. 6:9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts . . . another time this phrase is used.
They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine . . . although gleaning is a term proper for all kind of harvest, yet the word used here means the people, and suggests the full riddance that the Chaldeans shall make, opposing the law for gathering the vintage, though it may seem to allude to it (Lev.19:10). Judah shall be gleaned over and over, until there is none left; as the Israelites gleaned the Benjamites (Jdg.20:45); for they picked them up at several times, both before (2 Ki.24:2), and at the time of Zedekiah's reign (2 Ki.25:6-7, 11, 15, 19). This seems to be indicated in the next words.
Turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets . . . they should not be content with just one spoiling, but would go back a second and third time, to carry away both people and booties of war, leaving nothing behind that was worth carrying away (Jer. 52:28-30).
*****They shall totally glean the remnant of Israel, as a vine. The Chaldeans are here urged to turn back and glean up the remnant of the inhabitants that were left after the capture of Jerusalem; for even that remnant did not profit by the Divine judgments that fell on the inhabitants at large.
Jer. 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. (KJV)
To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? . . .Jeremiah saw their terrible stubbornness and complains, being greatly grieved that he can find none that will take warning (Jer.7:23-24); he labors in vain to persuade them, but they turn a deaf ear to him.
Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken . . . an uncircumcised ear means rejecting instruction; an uncircumcised heart means an obstinate and rebellious will . . . so circumcision was a proof of obedience. Here the prophet implies their deception to God, to Whom they had promised to be obedient (2 Ki.11:17; 23:3). The Scripture calls those that have no the fear of God, and those who carry out to all manner of lusts, uncircumcised (Eze.44:7, 9). They cannot hearken . . . the prophet does not lessen their crimes by their inability and lack of power, but instead worsens it, for they had brought themselves under that inability by their stubbornness and malice; like a drunk deprives himself of his reason by excess. Uncircumcised: (Lev.26:41; Deut.10:16; 30:6; Jer.4:4; 9:26; Acts7:51; Rom.2:28-29; Col.2:11-13)
Behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it . . . they criticize the word of the LORD, and they laugh at it and scorn it. They cannot bear counsel, they take no delight in hearing such things, which is a further reason of their weakness and obstinacy.
Jer. 6:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. (KJV)
Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD . . . I am filled with the fire of God's wrath and His curses against this people (Eze.3:3; Jer.4:19). Jeremiah not only complains of their stupidity, as in the former verse, but that his anger is stirred up against them.
I am weary with holding in . . . he cannot contain himself any longer, which indicates his great unwillingness to denounce these curses from God. The wrath of God, by the force of His Spirit, acting fiercely with the Spirit of the LORD, has to break out (Job 32:18-19). It seems that Jeremiah is not moved by his own spirit, but by the Spirit of God . . . he has no joy in it, but is forced to be the messenger of God’s wrath . . . and as a result, he is harsh against them. They must not credit that to him, but to the Spirit of God, that compels him to speak.
I will pour it out upon the children abroad . . . I will pour out the messages, stating the unlimited number of them; a symbol of violent rains, that we say pour down upon the Earth (Jer. 7:20; Rev.16:1). Poured upon the children in the streets or in the country, being the places where usually children are (Zec.8:5; Ps.8:2).
And upon the assembly of young men together . . . of young men together; their secret meetings, be it in harlots' houses (Jer.5:7), or for fun and entertainment, or to join their strength and/or counsel together, which youngsters are capable of.
For even the husband with the wife shall be taken . . . the wife shall be taken as well as the husband, one sex as well as the other shall be a prey to the enemy.
The aged with him that is full of days . . . the aged means him that is full of days; not only men that may be termed old, as they may be from fifty to eighty, even to them that are at the edge of the grave (Isa.65:20), called very aged (2 Sam.19:32, 34-35). The meaning is, that all kinds, from the children to the very old man, had so corrupted their ways (Jer. 6:13), that their condition was dreadful, and God would bring an enemy upon them that would spare or pity none, no matter of what sex or age!
*****I am full of the fury of the LORD . . . God had given Jeremiah a horrible revelation of the judgments that he intended to inflict upon these people, and Jeremiah’s soul was burdened with this prophecy. He had tried to suppress it, but could not . . . so he must pour it upon the children, on the young people, on husbands and wives, on the old and the very old. All the people would partake in these judgments. All the wicked shall face the Great Judge on Judgment Day (Rev.20:11-15).
Jer. 6:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And their houses shall be turned unto others . . . their houses and their lands shall be turned over to strangers (Jer.8:10), even that land which they thought had been given to them, and they thought it permanent for ever (Ps.132:13-14).
With their fields and wives together . . . signifying women largely (Jer.7:18), including maids, wives or concubines, and this according to the threatening (Deut.28:30; Jer.8:10).
For I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD . . . God would stretch out His Hand to smite, to give them an agonizing blow (Isa.5:25). Here the prophet gives them the reason for this their unexpected calamity, so they would not think it an impossibility . . . because God had become their Enemy.
Punished for Refusing to Obey God (Jer.6:13-17)
Jer. 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. (KJV)
For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them . . .the prophet states that all the people were corrupt . . . the poorest to the richest and all in between . . . was the reason for God's severity against them (Jer.6:6). The greatest should have been better examples, but there was no reliability in any of them.
Every one is given to covetousness . . . covetousness is greed which was possibly the root of all their wickedness, such as cruelty, oppression and injustice, and may be included, it being the root of all evil (1 Tim.6:10), and may also speak of the justice of God, in the Chaldeans taking them and all their substance away, that had by violence and fraud seized it from others (Mic.2:2).
And from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely . . . dealing falsely was the proper and uncharacteristic sin of the priests and false prophets. They deceived the people, and flattered them by false visions, as in the next verse . . . but they were also guilty of the other sins (Isa.56:11; Jer.5:31), for the princes perverted justice (Mic.3:9), all the people were involved in the same wickedness. Jer. 8:10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. (KJV)
*****The entire nation was possessed with covetousness. Dear one, covetousness is the great sin in America today. There is the coveting of gold and silver, riches, fame and fortune, and their neighbor's wife. Those are the things men covet.
Jer. 6:14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. (KJV)
They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly . . . this refers especially to the false prophets; either making light of the warnings of the prophets of God, by bringing their prophecies into contempt; or deceiving the people and giving them false hopes in vain (Jer.8:11). Jeremiah shows of what their false dealing consists, in daubing over their misery and danger that was coming on them, by persuading them that it would not come . . . or if it did, it would be easily cured . . . just as some doctors do with their patients, to make light of a wound, and thus neglect the only cure.
Saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace . . . the false prophets told the people that the Chaldeans would not come, that all things would be prosperous with them; with all kind of prosperity being included in the word peace. The false prophets promised them peace, but they would fall far short of it (Isa.57:21; Jer.6:14; 8:11, 15; 23:14; Eze.13:10, 16; 16:22).
Jer. 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Were they ashamed . . . were the false prophets, ashamed? No, it instead states how bold and brazen they were in their flatteries, and deceiving the people was a great worsening of their sin. They had not the least bit of shame, usually seen by blushing.
When they had committed abomination?. . . committed abomination both by encouraging the people, and joining with them in their idolatries (Jer.3:3).
Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush . . . no, absolutely not, they were not ashamed. What about people today? BEWARE!!! There is a lesson for all of us here!
Therefore they shall fall among them that fall . . . because of this, they shall perish along with those whom they have deceived. To fall means to be killed (Ps.63:10; Lu 21:24).
At the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD . . . visit them means to inflict punishment on them (Jer.6:6).
Jer. 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD . . . having told the false prophets their doom, Jeremiah now turns his speech to the people, and gives them counsel.
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths . . . the old paths, such as their godly forefathers of old were in the habit of walking the ancient paths (Jer.18:15).
Where is the good way, and walk therein . . . consider what had been God's ways and manner in times past, with reference to sin and punishment (Deut.4:3-4; Jdg.5:6, 8; Jer.22:15-16), and what have been the best courses, called here the good way, or the best way to continue mercies and prevent judgments (Deut.32:7; 1 Thes.5:20-21).
And ye shall find rest for your souls . . . when you have found the best and most prosperous, keep on it, stick to it. You will find that God standing by you, and He will be a sanctuary to you (Deut.33:12, 29; Mat.11:29), it will be well with you, you will be satisfied and at peace; you will no longer doubt which way to follow (1 Ki.18:21).
But they said, We will not walk therein . . . this reveals their great willfulness and stubbornness, that even though the prophets had directed them in the right way, and although they knew others had found it to be so, yet they refused to walk in it, but deliberately refused those favors offered (Isa.8:11-13; Jer.18:11-12).
Punished for Their Hypocritical Worship (Jer.6:18-25)
Jer. 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. (KJV)
Also I set watchmen over you . . . watchmen in those days were the prophets and messengers that sought their good, and tried to prevent their miseries by foretelling what was coming upon them (Eze.3:17; 33:7). And too, a watchmen was usually set upon high places to see dangers afar off.
Saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet . . . the sound of the trumpet, meaning either the voice of God’s prophets, which is compared to a trumpet (Isa.58:1), indicating his loud crying because of the imminent danger; for men do not use to sound the trumpet until danger was coming . . . or it could be the trumpet of that enemy (Jer.4:19, 21).
But they said, We will not hearken . . . we will not hearken, verse 16. They were hard hearted and stubbornly determined.
Jer. 6:18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. (KJV)
Therefore hear, ye nations . . . Jeremiah calls upon the nations (Gentiles) all round to be as spectators of God’s severity against Judah, even though they were His own people, maybe because: (1). partly to vindicate the justice of His proceedings, that they may not think Him too severe. (2). partly to shame them, if in so doing, it may bring them to repentance; and (3). it is a secret rebuking them, as if the nations were more ready to understand than they.
And know, O congregation, what is among them . . . that which is among them; the height of their wickedness, and the severity of their judgments. The magnitude of their punishment comes as the result of the magnitude of their sins. God is willing that all the world should be witness to the fairness of His proceedings.
Jer. 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. (KJV)
Hear, O earth . . . the inhabitants of the earth . . . or possibly, God having spoken to the rational, He now speaks to everything around Him to observe His proceedings (Eze.36:4).
I will bring evil upon this people . . . God would bring evil . . . the Chaldean army, with all the terrible effects of it.
Even the fruit of their thoughts . . . they have themselves to thank for what is to come upon them, it being the fruit of all the wicked imaginations of their hearts (Pro.1:29-31; Isa. 59:7; Jer.4:14). It is also indicated that their sins were not simply some small oversights, but were meditated and digested wickedness . . . therefore God will bring upon them the just punishment for their doings.
Because they have not hearkened unto my words . . . My words, the messages that He had so often and earnestly sent to them by His prophets (Pro.1:24-25).
But rejected it . . . as if they were trying to openly defy Him.
*****In rejecting the Word of God, they have rejected God. Any time anyone rejects God, there is always something that follows . . . God rejecting them! BEWARE!!!
Jer. 6:20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. (KJV)
To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba . . . a question of contempt, where God, by the prophet meets their hypocrisy . . . they were pleased with their outward offerings and sacrifices, and thinking that God would be pleased with them. Incense from Sheba . . . incense was the product of Sheba, a country in Arabia, to which country frankincense was unusual.
And the sweet cane from a far country?. . . the best cane (Ex.30:23; Isa.43:24).
From a far country . . . not that it was brought from the farthest parts of the world, as from India; for it was known to the Jews in Moses's time, but because it did not grow in their own land, but was brought to them from Sheba (Isa.60:6), where it did grow.
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable . . . not likely to make amends with God. He cannot take delight in them (Hos.9:4). Away with these childish trifles, whereby you think to pacify me.
Nor your sacrifices sweet unto me . . . the sweet cane from a far country, which when dried and pulverized, yields a fine aromatic smell (Isa.43:24). This was used in making the holy anointing oil (Ex.30:23).
Jer. 6:21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the LORD . . . when the LORD speaks, they better listen! Us too!
Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people . . . stumblingblocks is the name God gives to all the incidents of the Jews' ruin. He exposes them, He allows such things to be laid in their way, that shall be their destruction; such things which they shall not get over. What these stumblingblocks are seem to be stated in the following verses.
And the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them . . . the fathers that have more caution than the children, which are more careless, but they all shall perish by these stumblingblocks. There is no recovering from them (Isa.8:14-15).
The neighbour and his friend shall perish . . . men of all sorts and conditions, the greatest families and friends, even though they all lay their heads together for counsel, they shall not be able to help one another, what an unrestrained destruction there shall be (Jer.6:11; 13:14).
Jer. 6:22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD . . . again Jeremiah tells them they had better listen.
Behold, a people cometh from the north country . . . Jeremiah now tells them what these stumblingblocks shall be, of which he had prophesied already, and yet they would not listen. The north country see Jer.6:1.
And a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth . . . God shall stir up the Chaldeans like a great storm or tempest (Jer.1:15; 25:32; Eze.23:22). From the sides of the earth, the remote and uttermost parts of the Babylonian territories, although at a great distance, yet God will bring them. This may state the magnitude of God's displeasure against Judah, this circumstance being noted among the curses (Deut.28:49; Isa.5:25-26; Jer.5:15).
Jer. 6:23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion. (KJV)
They shall lay hold on bow and spear . . . they shall not lack any military ammunition for the dispatch of this great work; meaning they had all kinds of weapons (Ps.35:2-3).
They are cruel, and have no mercy . . . they have no pity to sex or age, poor or rich (Jer.21:7; 50:42; Isa.13:17-18). This was correctly performed as here prophesied (2 Chron.36:17).
Their voice roareth like the sea . . . which can be very violent, so it causes great fear by its noise. Possibly this may indicate, they would not listen to the voice of God’s prophets, so now they shall hear the terrifying noise of armies, like the roaring of the sea.
And they ride upon horses . . . horses are animals especially adapted by God for war, as they are described (Jer.8:16; 47:3; 50:42, Isa.5:28; Hab.1:8), indicating their speed, strength and fierceness.
Set in array . . . the whole nation was set in battle against them, with enemy soldiers everywhere.
O daughter of Zion . . . Jerusalem, for these two titles are used for the same place; and the term daughter is often given to cities and countries (Ps.45:12; 137:8; Isa.23:12; 47:1). Daughter of Zion is mentioned 28 times in the Old Testament.
Jer. 6:24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail. (KJV)
We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble . . . the prophet mimics the people's affections. At the very report of the approach and fierceness of this people we are dismayed and discouraged, our hearts melt within us; all courage is taken from us (2 Sam. 4:1). It seems Jeremiah numbers himself with the rest.
Anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail . . . a description of the extent of their sufferings (Jer.13:21).
Jer. 6:25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side. (KJV)
Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way . . . expressing the great danger that there would be everywhere, there would be no stirring out of their fenced cities or houses (Jer. 8:14), but great danger to them that go out, and to those that come in. Death would be everywhere.
For the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side . . . the language of one of proverbial speech, often used to express unavoidable dangers (Ps.31:13; Jer.20:3; 49:29). All places will be full of soldiers, so all attempts will be very difficult (Lam.5:9).
The People Called to Mourn (Jer. 6:26)
Jer. 6:26 O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. (KJV)
0 daughter of my people . . . O my people, that art beloved as a daughter.
Gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes . . . Jeremiah calls upon them to mourn in the deepest way, where they can express it, girding with sackcloth (Jer.4:8), wallowing in ashes (Jer.25:34; Mic.1:10), they were to lie low in humiliation, and prostrate themselves before God.
As for an only son, most bitter lamentation . . . they were to mourn as if they lost an only son (Jer.9:17-18; Amos 8:10).
For the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us . . . the spoiler is the king of Babylon and his army (Jer.4:8).
Jeremiah Encouraged to Keep on in His Work (Jer.6:27-30)
Jer. 6:27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way. (KJV)
I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people . . . here God speaks to encourage the prophet, telling him that He had made him a fortified tower, that he might both discover the behaviors of His people, which is one use of a high tower (Isa. 21:5, 8; Hab.2:1); and also to assure him, even though they shall make several attempts against him, yet he shall be kept safe, as in a castle or fortress (Jer.15:20).
That thou mayest know and try their way . . . their paths, actions, and manners . . . and which way they stand. Jeremiah shall be encouraged to rebuke them more boldly, and with authority, because God promises to defend him . . . they shall not hurt him. God will give him far-sightedness to see what is amiss, and be fearless to oppose it.
*****I have set thee for a tower and a fortress . . . the LORD appointed Jeremiah to evaluate among His people. This seems to refer to the office of an assayer of silver and gold. The people are here represented under the idea of alloyed silver. They are full of impurities; and they are put into the hands of Jeremiah, the assayer, to be purified. The bellows are placed, the fire is lit, but all to no avail . . . so deeply blended is the alloy with the silver, that it cannot be separated. The outlet of the bellows is even melted with the intensity of the fire used to refine; and the lead is carried off by the action of the heat . . . but the assayer worked in vain . . . the alloy still continues joined with the metal. The assayer gives up the process, and pronounces the mass unfit to be used, and calls it reprobate silver (Jer.6:30).
The evil habits and dispositions of the Israelites were so deeply rooted that they would not yield to either the ordinary or extraordinary means of salvation. The LORD God pronounces them reprobate silver, not sterling, but full of alloy. They had neither the image nor the imprint of the Almighty King on their hearts or on their conduct. Thus the LORD gave them up as hopeless, and their enemies prevailed against them. This should be a warning to other nations, and especially to the Christian Churches; for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare these (Rom.11:21, 24).
Jer. 6:28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters. (KJV)
They are all grievous revolters . . . stubborn and headstrong (Isa.31:6; Jer.5:3, 23).
Walking with slanders . . . their main business was to diminish Jeremiah and the other prophets (Jer.18:18; 20:10); a sin expressly forbidden (Lev.19:16).
They are brass and iron . . . this to the end of the chapter is all symbolism; either they are brazen, as brass sometimes mean, or they are obstinate and inflexible, as iron notes (Isa.48:4): or it means their corrupt estate; they are not pure metal, as silver or gold, but corrupt and mean, as brass and iron mixed together (Eze.22:18-22).
They are all corrupters . . . this refers to their manners; they spread their corruption (Isa.1:4); they strengthen one another in wickedness.
Jer. 6:29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. (KJV)
The bellows are burned . . . the outlet of the bellows is even melted with the intensity of the fire used; bellows is a symbol taken from refining of metals, indicating that the prophets had brought God’s messages to no avail (Ps.22:15; 69:3). The messages went in one ear and out the other! Their strength was used up by their labor and pains. The terror of the LORD is as a fire in Jeremiah’s throat.
The lead is consumed of the fire . . . maximum pains have been used to purify Israel in the furnace of affliction, but all in vain (Jer. 2:30; 5:3; 7:28). Consumed by the fire . . . are burned.
The founder melteth in vain . . . the assayer used his greatest skill, yet it is all in vain; He can make nothing of it. The prophets lost their labor in all the pains they took, after they had exhausted themselves.
For the wicked are not plucked away . . . wicked are not drawn away (Josh.8:16; Jdg.20:32). Their corruption, dross, filthiness and wickedness is not removed (Isa.32:6).
Jer. 6:30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them. (KJV)
Reprobate silver shall men call them . . . refuse silver . . . such will be rejected, they are not to be purged or reformed. Shall men call them . . . they shall be valued as such, they shall not pass for righteous before God or good men (Lam.3:45).
Because the LORD hath rejected them . . . Jeremiah gives the reason of their being considered as garbage or refuse. God, who knew their hypocrisy in boasting of themselves, had rejected them (Lam.5:22); therefore everyone else would as well.
*****Reprobate is the same as reject. The LORD has rejected them. God tells the people of Judah, You have rejected My law, and I will reject you and when I reject you, the world is going to reject you too. Interesting, isn't it? It happened that way in Jeremiah's day, and dear one, it is working that way in our day. The USA has spent billions of dollars to buy friends throughout the world; yet we are not loved by this big, bad world because we have rejected God . . . and dear one, anyone who rejects God . . . He in turn shall reject them. BEWARE!!! This is a very solemn message, and we today, should not treat it lightly.
Book of Jeremiah
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