Jeremiah 9:1-26


The Broken-Hearted Prophet


Halley says “Jeremiah, a man of sorrows, in the midst of a people abandoned to everything vile (8:6; 9:2-9), weeping day and night at the thought of frightful impending retribution, moved about among them, begging, pleading, persuading, threatening, entreating, imploring that they turn from their wickedness.  But in vain.”  J. Vernon McGee says this about Jeremiah the Prophet and chapter 9, “Chapter 9 begins with an expression of Jeremiah’s personal heartbreak as he sees his people spurn the tender solicitude of God.  This is the effect it had on Jeremiah. How did he give his message?  Was he a hard-boiled kind of man who liked to criticize others and rule them out?  No, he stood there and gave his message with tears streaming down his face.  The message he gave broke his heart.  Centuries later, people of Israel [actually Judah] saw Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem when he had a harsh message to deliver to that city and were reminded of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, and some of them even thought Jesus was Jeremiah who had returned to them.”  [ibed. p.371] Verses 23-24, “As a nation, what are the things we glory in?  Obviously, we trust in human wisdom, in riches, and in power.  We need to be reminded that our strength is not in the brain trust in Washington.  Our strength is not in Wall Street, the stock market, and the economy.  Our strength does not lie in the cleverness of our politicians.  Our strength is not found in the fact that we have nuclear weapons.  Any strength that we have must lie in our spiritual values, our moral values, our character, and our purpose.  And these things are not even taught in our schools and colleges today.  We have brought forth a generation that is rude [and crude], a generation that has no sense of moral purpose.  In fact, we have lost our way---as Jeremiah said to his people---on the dark mountains.  In our day America is just coasting along; and, when you start coasting, you are going downhill…  “Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.”  What we desperately need is a group of leaders who know something other than the present godless philosophy.  We need people who know God, who know his Word and are obeying it.  The great need in this country today is a return to God.  We need to set aside our hypocrisy and our sophistication and our illusion that we are such a smart people.  We brag about our achievements when our great need is to walk in a way that will glorify God…” [ibid. p. 372]


“Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!  Oh, that I had in the wilderness a lodging place for travelers; that I might leave my people, and go from them!  For they are adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.  ‘And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies.  They are not valiant for the truth on the earth.  For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me,’ says the LORD.  ‘Everyone take heed to his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanderers.  Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity.  Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me,’ says the LORD.  Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will refine them and try them; for how shall I deal with the daughter of my people?  Their tongue is an arrow shot out; it speaks deceit; one speaks peaceably with his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he lies in wait.  Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the LORD.  ‘Shall I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?’  [Now Jeremiah talking here next]  I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains, and for the dwelling places of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that on one can pass through; nor can men hear the voice of the cattle.  Both the birds of the heavens and the beasts have fled; they are gone.  [God speaking now] ‘I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a den of jackals, I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without inhabitant.’  Who is the wise man who may understand this?  And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it?  Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?  And the LORD said, ‘Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them.’  Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.  I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known.  And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for skillful wailing women, that they may come.  Let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run with tears, and our eyelids gush with water.  For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion:  How we are plundered!  We are greatly ashamed, because we have forsaken the land, because we have been cast out of our dwellings.’  Yet hear the word of the LORD, O women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth; teach your daughters wailing, and everyone her neighbor a lamentation.  For death has come through our windows, has entered our palaces, to kill off the children---no longer to be outside!  And young men---no longer on the streets!’  Speak, ‘Thus says the LORD: Even the carcasses of men shall fall as refuse on the open field, like cuttings after the harvester, and no one shall gather them.’  Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might.  Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight,’ says the LORD.  ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised---Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness.  For all these nations are uncircumcised and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.’”


Jeremiah 10:1-25


Idol Manufacturers


Halley points out, “It seems that the threat of Babylonian invasion spurred the people of Judah to great activity in the manufacture of idols, as if idols could save them.  This gave Jeremiah occasion to remind them that what they were doing was further aggravation of their already appalling sin against God.”  Now think for a moment, what is it that America has idolized?  If threatened militarily, what idols might we seek to feverishly manufacture?  One such idol could be military weapons, ships, aircraft, submarines, missiles---but all to no avail this time around, as the great tribulation (World War III) approaches. Some feel verses 3-5 is talking about the predecessor of Christmas trees.  Perhaps, but I feel it’s more talking about the manufacture of idols after reading the exact wording.  J. Vernon McGee feels the same way.  It does appear to be talking about the manufacture of idols and not ‘Christmas trees’.  Verses 23-24, a very wise prayer we should pray to the LORD, but with caution.  David recorded a similar prayer in Psalms somewhere, see if you can find it.


“Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.  Do not learn the ways of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.  They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple.  They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot go by themselves.  Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.  Inasmuch as there is none like you, O LORD (you are great, and your name is great in might), who would not fear you, O King of the nations?  For this is your rightful due.  For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like you.  But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; a wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.  Silver is beaten into plates; it is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz [Tarshish was an ancient Phoenician-Israelite seaport and colony near another one named Gades, modern Cadiz, located on the Atlantic coast of Spain.  They mined silver in Spain and shipped it back to Tyre, Sidon and Israel via their allied  merchant marine.  See], the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the metalsmith; blue and purple are their clothing; they are all the work of skillful men.  But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King.  At his wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure his indignation.’   [By all appearance, this is talking about an idol which has been manufactured with hammered gold and silver covering it like plating, and mounted on a stand of some kind stand so it won’t fall over, and so that it could be carried places.]  Thus you shall say to them: ‘The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.  He has made the earth by his power, has established the world by his wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at his discretion.  When he utters his voice, there is multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth.  He makes lightning for the rain, he brings the wind out of his treasuries.’  Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge; every metalsmith is put to shame by an image; for his molded image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.  They are futile, a work of errors; in the time of their punishment they shall perish.  The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for he is the Maker of all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name.”


The Coming Captivity of Judah


“Gather up your wares from the land, O inhabitant of the fortress!  For thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will throw out at this time the inhabitants of the land, and will distress them, that they may find it so.’  Woe is me for my hurt!  My wound is severe.  But I say, ‘Truly this is an infirmity, and I must bear it.’  My tent is plundered, and all my cords are broken; my children have gone from me, and they are no more.  There is no one to pitch my tent anymore, or set up my curtains.  For the shepherds have become dull-hearted, and have not sought the LORD; therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.  Behold, the noise of the report has come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals.  [Comment:  This is one chapter away from the death of Josiah, so these last verses are referring to the coming desolation at the hands of the Babylonians, context wise.]  O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.  O LORD, correct me, but with justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.  [That is a good prayer we ought to pray, but by the context of the verse, the word “justice” should really be “mercy”, ‘lest you bring me to nothing.’  This cross-references to Proverbs 3:11-12.]  Pour out your fury on the Gentiles, who do not know you, and on the families who do not call on your name; for they have eaten up Jacob, devoured him and consumed him, and made his dwelling place desolate.”


Jeremiah 11:1-23


The Broken Covenant


Halley has, “This chapter seems to belong to the period of reaction, after Josiah’s great reformation, as told in II Kings 23, when the people had restored their idols.  For Jeremiah’s rebuke they had plotted his death.”  J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “In chapters 11 and 12 Jeremiah delivers this tremendous message after the Law has been read to the people.”  Remember, Hilkiah, Jeremiah’s father, who was also the high priest, had just found the Law of God.  Now it has just been read to the people.  “I must remind you that following the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, God went on to pronounce certain judgments if the Law were disobeyed.  These are the things that Jeremiah emphasizes, the aspects of the Law which conditioned the way we live our lives---the way you treat          your neighbor, the way you conduct your business, and the kind of social life you are living…verses 19-21, God tells Jeremiah, ‘There is no use speaking to Anathoth anymore.  They have rejected me, and they want to kill you.  Don’t bother to prophesy to them any longer.’  There are churches today who no longer stand for the things of God or teach the Word of God as they once did.  And some people of God think it is terrible that their memberships are dwindling and that the churches are being deserted.  What is terrible is that the Word of God is not being taught in their pulpits.  Jeremiah stopped giving the Word of God in Anathoth.  He went somewhere else, because the people were going to kill him; they had rejected the Word of God.”  Anathoth was Jeremiah’s home town.  Jesus in similar fashion had to move from Nazareth and establish his headquarters in Capernaum.  “In spite of the fact that Judah made a covenant to serve God, the revival in the land proved to be a largely surface movement.” [ibid. p. 374]  Consider verse 15, which starts out “What is my beloved doing in my temple as she works out her evil schemes with many?” You can be worshipping in a true Christian church and yet not be of God.  The Temple was God’s place for true worship at that time.


“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, ‘Hear the words of the covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and say to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Cursed is the man who does not obey the words of the covenant which I commanded your fathers in the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may establish the oath which I have sworn to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.’  And I answered and said, ‘So be it, LORD.’  Then the LORD said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying: ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them.  For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, until this day, rising early and exhorting, saying, ‘Obey my voice.’  Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but which they have not done.’  And the LORD said to me, ‘A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear my words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.’  Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.  Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they offer incense, but they will not save them at all in the time of trouble.  For according to the number of your cities were your gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem you have set up altars to that shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal.’  So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to me because of their trouble.”  God just told Jeremiah in verse 14 not to pray or offer any plea or petition for the people of Judah and Jerusalem, because they had become so corrupt in their lifestyle and worship.  “Don’t even pray for them” is essentially what God said.  According to the end of verse 13, they were still praying to Baal, albeit secretly while Josiah was still alive.  Jeremiah and Josiah did not succeed in bringing real spiritual revival to Judah and Jerusalem during Josiah’s lifetime, even though five to seven of the tribes of Israel who had returned and kept that special Passover in 621BC were sincerely worshipping Yahweh, God.  “What has my beloved to do in my house, having done lewd deeds with many?  And the holy flesh has passed from you.  When you do evil, then you rejoice.  The LORD called your name, Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit.  With the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire on it, and its branches are broken.  For the LORD of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced doom against you for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense to Baal.”


Plot Against Jeremiah, His Life Threatened


“Now the LORD gave me knowledge of it, and I know it; for you showed me their doings.  But I was like a docile lamb brought to the slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised schemes against me, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree with the fruit, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be remembered no more.’  But, O LORD of hosts, you who judge righteously, testing the mind and the heart, let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have revealed my cause.  Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD, lest you die by our hand’---therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will punish them.  The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; and there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their punishment.’”


The death of the good king Josiah, one righteous ruler ruling over an evil nation—609BC


Let’s have a small review of this period of time, going to the historic chapters of the Bible which are recording this period of time leading up and going through Jeremiah chapter 11 and 12. We’ll start reading from   2nd Kings 23:19 and go through verse 34.  “Now Josiah also took away all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger; and he did to them according to all the deeds he had done in Bethel.  He executed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned men’s bones on them: and he returned to Jerusalem.  Then the king commanded all the people, saying, ‘Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant [the Book of the Law].’  Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah [with one exception, the famous Passover held by Hezekiah].  But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was held before the LORD in Jerusalem (621BC, Josiah was 26 years old, Jeremiah was about 25 years old).  Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.  Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.  Nevertheless the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, with which his anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him.  And the LORD said, ‘I will also remove Judah from my sight as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’  Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and all that he did are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him.  And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him.  [See p. 451, “Egypt of the Pharaoh’s” by Sir Alan Gardiner.  This was Pharaoh Neko II, who ruled Egypt from 610 to 595BC.  Comment:  Babylon was vying for superpower, or empire status in the Middle East, the Assyrian Empire was gone, destroyed in the second Scythian-Assyrian War in 624 BC.  In 612/611BC the withdrawing Black Sea Scythian-Israelites helped the Babylonians deal the deathblow to Nineveh, capital city of the Assyrian Empire.  But the remnant of the Assyrian army along with their last king fled from Nineveh when it was conquered, and took refuge in Haran, making it their last capital city.  The Babylonians, having grown really strong with Scythian military aid now attacked and successfully sacked Haran, driving out the Assyrians and their king.  It is at this point that this last king of Assyria called to Egypt and Pharaoh Neko II for help.  Egypt, in a vain attempt to forestall this meteoric rise of the Babylonian Empire, was coming north to aid the weakened Assyrians in a last-ditch attempt to take back their capital city of Haran and drive the Babylonians out of it.  Josiah foolishly stepped into the middle of this by trying to stop Pharaoh Necho from crossing through Judah and met Pharaoh’s forces at Megiddo where he died in his attempt.  But Josiah may also have been trying to protect the rear-elements of the withdrawing Black Sea Scythian-Israelites, who in reality should have been fully withdrawn from the Middle East anyway by now (see]  Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb.  [Pharaoh Neko II got to Haran with the weakened Assyrian army, but they were not able to drive the Babylonians out of Haran and retake the city.  It is thought that this last king of Assyria died in the battle.  The Assyrian Empire is now officially dead.  Elements of the Assyrian army under one of its generals, along with some of their population are thought to have escaped, moving upward along the Danube into southeastern Europe.  No more is heard from the war-like Assyrian people.  Back in Judah now.] “And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.  Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.  Now Pharaoh Necho put him in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.  Then Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim.  And Pharaoh took Jehoahaz and went to Egypt, and he died there.”  It says in chapter 24, verse 1, “In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years.”  So Nebuchadnezzar has consolidated power in the region.  Verse 7 says, “And the king of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore, for the king of Babylon had taken all that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the River Euphrates.”  This is the geo-political situation from about now in Jeremiah 12 onward.  We will refer back to the rest of chapter 24 and then 25 of  2nd Kings as they fit into the appropriate chapters of Jeremiah to come.  See for a more detailed study dealing with this whole period of time in the history of the House of Judah that covers the historic events when the following chapters were written.


Continue to Page 5