Jeremiah 9


God and the prophet’s lament over the lost, this chapter is a Lament for a Fallen Nation. The lament is not only applicable to God’s people, but the words are just as appropriate to millions in today’s world, who have forsaken their first love, and chosen to wallow in sexual pleasures, rather than to live the true standards of God.

At the beginning of the chapter, God pours out His heart. His sorrow is too deep for words. Ellicott says, ‘who will give my head waters,’ it was the type of sorrow where you cannot cry anymore because you have exhausted all of your tears. There is an ache inside, but God had no more tears to cry. Why? Because of the sentence on the people. And also on the cities and the country itself.

‘Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travellers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people. ‘They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,’ declares the LORD. ‘Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,’ declares the LORD.’ Jeremiah 9:1-6

Jeremiah had already wept as much as was possible for him to weep. Here he expressed a wish for the ability to weep even more. The people spoke falsely, slander. Evil came from their mouths. Jeremiah used the metaphor of a bow and arrows to describe it. The bow and arrow were weapons of war in that age. Jeremiah says that they ‘shoot lies’, like arrows, with their tongue.

Lying, deceit, treachery, adultery, and idolatry. They were the everyday sins in Judah. The people had literally worn themselves out with sinning! Such excess of perversions can weaken the body.

‘Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbours, but in their hearts, they set traps for them. Should I not punish them for this?’ declares the LORD. ‘Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?’ I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone. ‘I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; and I will lay waste the towns of Judah, so no one can live there.’ Jeremiah 9:7-11

The Jews were just like the rest of humanity no better and no worse. So, why was God disgusted with them? Because of their relationship with God. He had given them the Law of Moses. He had taught them the principles of truth and morality. He had every right to expect more from them than from other nations. The weeping referred to here was because of the desolation that was coming to Jerusalem and Judah.

The mountains, once teeming with life, the desert pastures, which once supported herds of sheep and cattle, all of this was to be destroyed. This would include the Holy City.

‘I will lay waste the towns of Judah so that no one can live there.’

‘Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross? The LORD said, ‘It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.’ Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.’ Jeremiah 9:12-16

God gives His reasons here, they had revolted against the Law, they not only disobeyed God, but they took up arms against Him, with their hands they made idols from wood and stone and worshipped them! They worshipped cults, they wallowed in the vulgar, sensuous rites of foreign religions. It was for all of these things that God would destroy them, and send the remnant into captivity, from which most of them would never return. In verse 15 the RSV says ‘wormwood’, this is a bitter desert plant. The NIV says ‘eat bitter food.’

‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skilful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.’ Now, you women, hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has removed the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares. Say, ‘This is what the LORD declares: ‘Dead bodies will lie like dung on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.’ Jeremiah 9:17-22

God was sad because of the sentence He had to make on His people, and because of the suffering that His people were going through. Let the women cry with us ‘till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.’

The women lament. No longer are they happy because of their easy life. Even the daughters are taught to cry. And also, because death has come to EVERY household.

Some scholars claim that this is a description ‘after the event’. So, had this event already happened, or was it something Jeremiah was prophesying for the future? Why would Jeremiah say, at the end of verse 20, ‘teach your daughters how to wail’, if it had already happened? We learn from the Minor Prophets, in particular in Micah, that these great predictive prophesies of the Old Testament carry their own built-in proof of authenticity, and this is another example of the same thing.

‘This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.’ Jeremiah 9:23-24

The knowledge of God and His way of salvation is preferred above all the honours, power, riches and achievements of mankind. Three important words come to mind as I read this verse, ‘Know the Lord’ God says here, ‘Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for on these I delight.’

The only proper ground for anyone’s glorying is in the right relationship with God. ‘Know the Lord’, an excellent title for a sermon.

‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh—Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.’ Jeremiah 9:25-26

God is not a respecter of persons. Therefore, being a Jew was no guarantee that one would be treated with greater respect in judgment. The Jews, therefore, had no advantage over the Gentiles when it came to the judgment of God.

The most important thing to remember is obedience to the word of God, 1 Corinthians 7:19. If one does not obey God, whether he is circumcised or uncircumcised, he will suffer the judgment of God.

In reference to Judah, the meaning is that religious ceremonies of the law do not give one an advantage over the Gentiles to whom the ceremonies were not given. God judges according to our hearts, not according to our performance of religious ceremonies.

Go To Jeremiah 10



"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."