Jeremiah 5 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Jeremiah 5)

Verse 1

[1] Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

Run — God gives leave to all the earth to look into the state of Jerusalem, by which he vindicates himself in the face of the whole world from all severity towards his people, whatever he brings upon them.

In the broad places — Even there, where men meet from all quarters.

A man — It seems worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, for God condescends to pardon Jerusalem, if there be but one righteous man found in it; there he came no lower than ten. A man might walk the streets of Jerusalem long enough before he could meet with any one truly religious.

Executeth — Among the magistracy.

Seeketh — Among the commonalty, that deal faithfully and uprightly.

Verse 2

[2] And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely.

Though — Though when they swear, they use the form of an oath, and say, the Lord liveth, or by the living God: yet it is neither in truth nor righteousness.

Verse 3

[3] O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

O Lord — Dost not thou approve truth and faithfulness.

Grieved — They have not repented.

Consumed — God had not only lightly chastised them, but wasted them by several enemies, yet they have profited nothing by it.

Verse 4

[4] Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.

Poor — The vulgar, that understand but little, of less conscience than the better sort.

Judgment — The methods or ways of his providence.

Verse 5

[5] I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.

But — These are more refractory than the other; no law of God is able to hold them.

Verse 6

[6] Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.

A lion — Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army are here pointed at under the metaphor of beasts of prey of three kinds; compared to a lion, which denotes his great power, courage, and pride.

A wolf — For their greediness and unsatiableness.

A leopard — The Chaldean army is compared to a leopard, not for its speed only, but for its vigilancy and subtilty.

Verse 7

[7] How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses.

They then — Such is the natural effect of unsanctified prosperity.

Verse 10

[10] Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD's.

Ye — Ye Babylonians, go execute my vengeance on them.

Battlements — Lay her and all her fortifications level with the ground.

For — I disown them.

Verse 12

[12] They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:

Belied — Not believing that these words of the prophet were God's word.

Verse 13

[13] And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.

Became wind — A proverbial expression, all the prophet's threats shall come to nothing.

The word — The prophet's words are not from God.

Thus — It shall fall upon their own heads that have thus threatened us.

Verse 14

[14] Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

It — The Chaldean army, shall consume and eat them up like fire.

Verse 15

[15] Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.

Israel — By these are meant Judah; for Israel were in captivity before: called the house of Israel, not only because they descended from Jacob, but because they were the chief of that stock.

Verse 18

[18] Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you.

Nevertheless — I have not done with you yet.

Verse 20

[20] Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,

Judah — By Judah and Jacob we are to understand the two tribes only.

Verse 21

[21] Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:

And hear not — They are wilfully blind, and obstinately deaf, will neither see, nor hear the word, will, or works of God, of which he giveth two instances in the two following verses.

Verse 22

[22] Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

The sand — That need not make rocks for walls unto it, but can give a check to it by so small a matter as the sand.

Verse 23

[23] But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.

Gone — From me.

Verse 24

[24] Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

The former rain — The former to prepare the ground for sowing, and the latter to prepare the corn for ripening.

Reserveth — He gives seasonable harvests according to his appointment. God would let them know what a foolish, as well as wicked thing it is to set themselves against that God, that keeps the whole order of nature at his own disposal, which he can order as he sees men behave towards him.

Verse 26

[26] For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.

They catch — Such a trap did Jezebel lay for Naboth, 1 Kings 21:9,10. Such an one was that conspiracy of more than forty men against Paul, Acts 23:13-15.

Verse 27

[27] As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.

Their houses — They fill their houses with the goods of those they deceive, and over-reach.

Verse 28

[28] They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

Overpass — They go beyond the Heathens themselves in wickedness.

Verse 30

[30] A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;

The land — Heb. This land: aggravating the greatness of the wonder, that such a thing should be in such a land.