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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 9

Verses 1-26

Chapter 9

Now Jeremiah declares,

Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes were as 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 of wayfaring men ( Jeremiah 9:1-2 );

You know now why he was called the weeping prophet. He wished that his head were water and his eyes were the fountain that these tears might run continually for the tragedy of the people. "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men."

that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they are all adulterers, they are an assembly of treacherous men. And they bend their tongues like a bow for lies ( Jeremiah 9:2-3 ):

That's quite a picturesque speech, isn't it? Bending their tongue like a bow so they can shoot out the arrow of lies. Hit ya!

but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from one evil to another, and they know not me, saith the LORD. Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbor, and they will not speak the truth: for they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; and through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? Their tongue is as an arrow that is shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he is lying in wait [to strike him]. Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone. And I will make Jerusalem heaps [that is, heaps of destruction], the den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant. Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perished and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through? And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But they have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them the water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, until I have consumed them ( Jeremiah 9:3-16 ).

So God pronounces His judgment. But the reasons for His judgment: they have forsaken His law which He had set before them; they had not obeyed His voice, neither walked they according to His commandments. But they walked everyone after his own wickedness, the imagination of his own heart.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come: And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters. For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out. Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbor lamentation. For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children without, and the young men from the streets. Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcasses of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them. Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches ( Jeremiah 9:17-23 ):

It is interesting, these are three things that people often glory in. The wise men glory in their wisdom. The mighty man glories in his strength. And the rich man glories in his riches. But God said,

but he that glorieth let him glory in that he understands and knows me ( Jeremiah 9:24 ),

Now that's worth glorying about. "How dies the wise man?" Solomon says, "as the fool" ( Ecclesiastes 2:16 ). How dies the rich man? like the poor. And even the strong are made weak through age. Catabolic forces. So these things in which men glory are all temporal things. They're all very passing. My strength is failing. My wisdom will yield to senility. And my riches will be left unto others. If I'm going to glory, I need to glory in the fact that I understand and know God, because that's eternal and that has eternal value to it. The rest may give me an advantage for a time. Wisdom may give me an advantage for a time. Strength may give me an advantage for a time. Riches may give me an advantage for a time. But understanding and knowing God will give me an advantage for eternity. That's something to really glory in-that I know God. That you understand the ways of God.

that I am the LORD which exercises loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD ( Jeremiah 9:24 ).

What does He delight in? Just look again. Loving-kindness, true judgment. Fairness, actually, is what it's about. Righteousness--that's what God wants you to do. That's how God wants you to live. Loving one another. Kind to one another. "Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us" ( Ephesians 4:32 ). God wants you to be fair in your dealings. Just. God wants you to be righteous, do the right thing. And in that He is pleased.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcision ( Jeremiah 9:25 );

In other words, this ritual of circumcision--not going to do a thing for you. You're going to be punished just as those who are uncircumcised. Ritual is of no avail if it isn't a reality. The physical ritual is meaningless unless there is a corresponding work within a person's heart. Baptism is totally meaningless unless there is a corresponding work of the Spirit within your heart. They can hold you down till you drown; it's not going to save you. They can baptize you frontwards, forwards, or any formula that they might seek to use. It's not going to save you unless there is a corresponding work of God's Spirit within your heart. And the death to the old man, the old nature, and the burying of the old man and the newness of life in Christ Jesus as we live and walk after the Spirit. That's what counts, not the ritual.

Now these people were counting in the fact that they've gone through the ritual of circumcision which marked them as God's special people. And the whole idea of circumcision was cutting off the flesh which was a symbol of no longer living after the flesh but living after the Spirit. But here they'd gone through the ritual of circumcision but were still living after the flesh. Thus, the ritual was totally meaningless as long as they lived after the flesh. It is only meaningful if a man lives after the Spirit. So Paul the apostle reasons, "If my living after the flesh can negate my experience of circumcision, then my living after the Spirit will make unnecessary the right of circumcision in that God counts the heart of the man."

Now your lifestyle can negate your water baptism. Water baptism can't save you. And your lifestyle can totally negate any kind of baptismal experience you've ever had, because the whole idea is there in baptism, it is death to the self and living after the Spirit, the new man after Christ. And baptism is to the church what circumcision was to the Jew, in that a symbol of no longer living after the flesh, now living after the Spirit. But if your life is lived after the flesh, it can negate any meaning to your baptism. In the same token, if you're living and walking after the Spirit, that would be accounted as baptism. Though I believe that person should be baptized, I do not believe in baptismal regeneration, and I don't believe that a person is lost who lives after the Spirit who has not had an opportunity to be baptized.

So the days are going to come when I'll punish all of them which are circumcised along with the uncircumcised.

Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are as they were uncircumcised for they are uncircumcised in the heart ( Jeremiah 9:26 ).

It's only in the flesh. It's only an outward ritual, but it isn't in the heart where it really counts.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 9". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.