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Mourning for Judah (8:18-9:22)
The prophet is overcome with grief as he foresees the tragic end of the nation. The people wonder why God their King does not save them. God replies that it is because of their idolatry. They now realize that they can no longer expect his salvation (18-20). Nothing can heal Judah’s spiritual sickness now; the end has come. And nothing can heal the wounds of grief in Jeremiah’s heart as he sees his people suffer (21-22).
Jeremiah is unable to express the extent of his grief. He feels he could weep for ever (9:1). On the other hand, he knows that the judgment is fitting. As he returns to consider the sinful city in which he lives, he wishes he could leave it and go to some quiet resting-place in the country (2).
Since Judah’s society is characterized by lies and deceit (3-6), God warns that it is heading for a fiery judgment (7-9). The prophet foresees the desolation in Judah, with its cities ruined, its pasture lands destroyed, and its people either killed or taken captive to a foreign land (10-11).
If anyone asks why the land has been desolated (12), the answer is that the people have turned away from Yahweh and followed heathen gods. They have turned away from the law of God and followed their own stubborn hearts (13-16). In their distress and sorrow the people invite the professional mourners to come and wail over the dead city (17-19). This time, however, the mourning is real. Rich and poor, young and old die alike. Their corpses lie unburied in the streets and fields (20-22).
Knowledge of the only true God (9:23-10:16)
People may have knowledge, power and wealth, but these are no substitute for a true understanding and knowledge of God (23-24). The Judeans may have been circumcised as a sign that they are the covenant people of God, but in their hearts they have not been true to God or the covenant. They might as well be uncircumcised like their heathen neighbours. Israel’s rite of circumcision is no more beneficial to disobedient people than the heathen rite of cutting the hair into certain shapes (25-26).
Jeremiah warns God’s people against copying the practices of other nations and worshipping the sun, moon and stars. He warns them also against worshipping idols, which he describes as merely decorated pieces of wood (10:1-5). Judah’s God, Yahweh, is not just one among many national gods. He is the only God, incomparable and all-powerful (6-7). People may be very artistic in carving or moulding their idols, and may go to much expense to clothe and decorate them, but the idols are still senseless and worthless. Yahweh alone is the true and living God (8-10).
Idols cannot make anything or do anything (11), but God created the universe and keeps it going. Idols are lifeless, and those who make them have no sense; but God is a living being, and all his works are the products of his wisdom (12-15). This God is the almighty Yahweh, the one who created all things and who chose Israel to be his people (16).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany