This week’s blog and the following picture graph is to help each to better understand that Jeremiah is not a stand-alone book per activities and participants. Five Kings of Judah, at least 5 other major prophets overlap the life of Jeremiah, the Judean exile of 70 years, the historical Battle of Carchemish between winner Babylon and loser Egypt, the fall of Assyria (Nineveh of Jonah and whale fame) to Babylon-Medes, the history of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniels’ dream interpretations in Babylon, Athens ends it rule of hereditary kings and becomes a democracy, Rome (Etruscans) begin a future Roman Empire but as a small city/village, and let’s not forget Obadiah in the later years of Jeremiah or Nebuchadnezzar’s Hanging Gardens… a wonder of the world; Shadrach, Meshrach, Abenego… all during the lifetime of Jeremiah. Fact and history.
Chapter 5 adds to this mix of history during the life of Jeremiah. Jeremiah is told of God in 5:1 to…
The LORD says, ‘Go up and down the streets in Jerusalem.
Look round you. Think about what you see.
Search through the market places.
Can you find just one person who acts honestly?
Can you find one person who tries to tell the truth?
If you can, I will forgive this city.
Does this remind us of something that happened about 1,500 years earlier? In Genesis 18 we find Abraham doing just what God told Jeremiah to do. Abraham was pleading with God for Sodom where his nephew Lot was living. God told Abraham to find but a few believers in Sodom and he would not destroy it. Jeremiah was told a very similar thing in the opening verse of chapter 5. Abraham had to find ten persons; Jeremiah needed to find but ONE to prevent Gods judgment. Jeremiah didn’t find even one.
As amazing as it may sound, Jeremiah in 5:4 and 5 tells God it is because “these people are
Israel and Judah didn’t listen
poor and ignorant.” They simply do not know what God expects. Jeremiah tells God that he will go to the leaders and re-explain what God’s chosen people are supposed to be doing and who they are to worship. NOT TO BE! These people of Judah wanted a god created within their own image, not accepting that they were chosen of God, were once a dynamic nation of Israel under Saul, David and Solomon, and that Judaism was a life not a religion.to be followed. None listened.
Verse 7 of Jeremiah 5 is quite plain and blunt. It reads…
. “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are not gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores” (ESV)
JIV NOTE: The harlotry and whores mentioned here means, according to Strong, “Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of God have chosen other gods to worship.”
God reminds Jeremiah that HE as the husband of [all] Israel supplying her every NEED time after time. Yet, they seek and prostitute themselves to other gods of stone, wood, child sacrifice. 100 plus years earlier (8th century B.C.), Amos and Micah tried to appeal to the Israelis and their relationship with each other and to God. Israel and Judah didn’t listen to them either.
In Jeremiah 5:9 God tells Jeremiah two reasons for his anger. One reason is that the people of Judah, as did the dispersed tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel, rejected the commandments of God given to Moses and have forgotten HIM. Second the people of Judah by this time were taking oaths in the name of foreign gods; not the God of Israel. God is simply asking Jeremiah “why should I hold back my anger?”
In verse 12 we see the true attitude of all Israelites and especially those in Judah. Since THEY were the children of God, they thought themselves to be exempt to punishment. God promised them this Promised Land. God had not destroyed Judah, yet they had witnessed what God had allowed to happen to their northern cousins 120 years earlier. Oh you stiff necked and uncircumcised people… [Acts 7:51]
Go through the nation’s vineyards and destroy them.
But do not destroy them completely.
Tear off their branches,
because these people do not belong to the LORD.
The people in Israel and Judah
have not been loyal to me at all’, declares the LORD.
Those people have lied about the LORD.
They said, ‘He will do nothing!
Nothing bad will happen to us.
We will never see war. We will never be hungry.
What a false piety and attitude of these people. God will NOT destroy us??? Who do they think they are? Truth be known, there were a great number of false prophets running around at this time in Jerusalem and Judah. What was their message? We are safe and will never go hungry. In a sense and although defeated in wars and battles since they were established as Tribes in the Promised Land and governed by judges, they have already forgotten what happened to their northern cousins only a 100 plus years earlier. One can almost imagine their thoughts. “It happened to them up north but our king has always been a descendant of King David. It has been over 100 years and we are still here even though they are not. Nothing bad will happen to us. We have priests and the Temple.”
Elijah could destroy 600 priests of Baal and Jezebel [I Kings 19} but Jeremiah was just a messenger. He knew the eventual outcome. He also knew that God would not stay angry forever; just 70 years this time. We say this in anticipation of the next verse; i.e. v15. Other bible bloggers or commentators either don’t see this or they opt to not discuss it. In verse 15 Jeremiah goes from discussing Judah to “Oh house of ISRAEL.” [All Israelites are not of the Tribe or Kingdom of Judah] This is a leap forward in time to the books and contents of Daniel and Revelation; the future yet to be called history in the End Time events of the 7 year Tribulation. In a sense it is a parallel to what is about to happen [Babylon] and what is going to happen during the time of Jacob’s Trouble; that is the 70th week of Daniels dream; Tribulation period. For more insight to this, refer to the Daniel Study or the Revelation study found on this website.
V16, although it identifies “cases of arrows” it identifies these weapons as certain death or possibly weapons of mass destruction. This will be the machinery and weaponry of the 200,000,000 man army of Armageddon. Then in verse 19, just as it was asked when Babylon attacked Judah in the 6th century B.C., Israel will ask the same question at the time of the great tribulation (Revelation) when the antichrist attacks…”why is the Lord God doing this to us?”
Jeremiah 5:18 adds credibility to this thought of the THEN and again at the END TIME being parallel prophecies. Jeremiah writes, “But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you. BUT EVEN IN THOSE DAYS??? This is a jump forward to what has yet to happen. Babylon is at their back door at that time, but the Great Tribulation [those days] is yet to happen to Israel and the world of Christianity.
Jeremiah 5:19 may also be a double application prophecy. Them that Judah will serve in a foreign land is/are Babylon. They know because Jeremiah is telling them. Those “foreigners” of End Time and to where they are now [current history] dispersed as a former nation of twelve tribes, then as a divided kingdom of North and South is yet to happen.
Jeremiah 5:23 to the end of this chapter describes a “Jew” as defined by the world today. They are stubborn; they do not fear God but are secular; they are deceivers or what many would call wheelers and dealers… mostly deceivers of themselves; (v26) they set traps to catch men (mostly off guard); (v28) they have grown greedy and wealthy; they are willing to listen to false prophets and those who wish to tickle their ears with only good news; not the truth.
The end of chapter five is a powerful question for us today. It reads in the last sentence: “…but what will YOU DO when the end comes?” Hmmmm?