A verse by verse commentary on Jeremiah 15 dealing with the declaration by God that even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him it would not make His heart go out to His people, and so they face only judgment.
JEREMIAH 15 COMMENTARY
EDITED BY GLENN PEASE
1 Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and
Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would
not go out to this people. Send them away from
my presence! Let them go!
BARNES, "Cast them out of my sight - Rather, “send them out of My presence,
and let them go away.” The prophet is to dismiss them, because their mediators, Moses
and Samuel, whose intercession had been accepted in old times (marginal references),
would intercede now in vain.
CLARKE, "Though Moses and Samuel - Moses had often supplicated for the
people; and in consequence they were spared. See Exo_32:11 and following verses,
Num_14:13. Samuel also had prayed for the people, and God heard him, 1Sa_7:9; but if
these or the most holy men were now to supplicate for this people, he would not spare
Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth - Do not bring them into my
presence by your prayers; let them go forth into captivity.
GILL, "Then said the Lord unto me,.... In answer to his expostulations and
though Moses and Samuel stood before me; to pray before me, as the Targum; to
make intercession for the people. Standing is a prayer gesture. The Jews say there is no
standing but prayer, or that is meant when it is mentioned; See Gill on Mat_6:5. Moses
and Samuel were named, because they were eminent for prayer, and had success in it,
for the people of Israel. Of Moses, see Exo_32:11 and of Samuel, see 1Sa_7:9 and of both,
Psa_99:6. The Arabic version reads "Moses and Aaron", but wrongly. The Palmists make
use of this text to prove the intercession of saints in heaven for those on earth; but the
words are only a supposition, and not a fact. The meaning is, that supposing that Moses
and Samuel were alive, and made intercession for the people, their prayers would not be
regarded; and such a supposition, as it suggests that they were not alive, so that they did
not stand before him, and make intercession for Judah; wherefore this is against, and
not for, the intercession of saints in heaven:
yet my mind could not be towards this people; God could have no good will to
them, no delight in them; could not be reconciled to them, or agree to it, that the favours
asked for should be granted them, or that they should be continued in their own land;
and therefore it was in vain for the prophet to solicit on their account; but, on the other
hand, it is ordered as follows:
cast them out of my sight; or presence; as persons loathsome and abominable, not to
be borne; I cannot look upon them, or have anything to say to them, in a favourable way:
and let them go forth; from my presence, from the temple, the city, and out of their
own land; that is, declare that so it shall be.
HENRY, "e scarcely find any where more pathetic expressions of divine wrath against a
provoking people than we have here in these verses. The prophet had prayed earnestly
for them, and found some among them to join with him; and yet not so much as a
reprieve was gained, nor the least mitigation of the judgment; but this answer is given to
the prophet's prayers, that the decree had gone forth, was irreversible, and would shortly
2. He will not admit any intercession to be made for them (Jer_15:1): “Though Moses
and Samuel stood before me, by prayer or sacrifice to reconcile me to them, yet I could
not be prevailed with to admit them into favour.” Moses and Samuel were two as great
favourites of Heaven as ever were the blessings of this earth, and were particularly famed
for the success of their mediation between God and his offending people; many a time
they would have been destroyed if Moses had not stood before him in the breach; and to
Samuel's prayers they owed their lives (1Sa_12:19); yet even their intercessions should
not prevail, no, not though they were now in a state of perfection, much less Jeremiah's
who was now a man subject to like passions as others. The putting of this as a case,
Though they should stand before me, supposes that they do not, and is an intimation
that saints in heaven are not intercessors for saints on earth. It is the prerogative of the
Eternal Word to be the only Mediator in the other world, whatever Moses, and Samuel,
and others were in this.
JAMISON, "Jer_15:1-21. God’s reply to Jeremiah’s intercessory prayer.
Moses ... Samuel — eminent in intercessions (Exo_32:11, Exo_32:12; 1Sa_7:9; Psa_
be toward — could not be favorably inclined toward them.
out of my sight — God speaks as if the people were present before Him, along with
K&D 1-4, ""And Jahveh said unto me: If Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet
would not my soul incline to this people. Drive them from my face, that they go forth.
Jer_15:2. And if they say to thee: Whither shall we go forth? then say to them: Thus
hath Jahveh said - Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the
sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity,
to the captivity. Jer_15:3. And I appoint over them four kinds, saith Jahveh: the sword
to slay and the dogs to tear, the fowls of the heaven and the cattle of the earth, to
devour and destroy. Jer_15:4. And I give them up to be abused to all kingdoms of the
earth, for Manasseh's sake, the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for what he did in
Jerusalem. Jer_15:5. For who shall have pity upon thee, Jerusalem? and who shall
bemoan thee? and who shall go aside to ask after thy welfare? Jer_15:6. Thou hast
rejected me, saith Jahveh; thou goest backwards, and so I stretch forth mine hand
against thee and destroy thee; I am weary of repenting. Jer_15:7. And I fan them with
a fain into the gates of the land: bereave, ruin my people; from their ways they turned
not. Jer_15:8. More in number are his widows become unto me than the sand of the
sea; I bring to them, against the mother of the young man, a spoiler at noon-day; I
cause to fall upon her suddenly anguish and terrors. Jer_15:9. She that hath borne
seven languisheth, she breatheth out her soul, her sun goeth down while yet it is day,
she is put to shame and confounded; and their residue I give to the sword before their
enemies, saith Jahveh."
The Lord had indeed distinctly refused the favour sought for Judah; yet the command
to disclose to the people the sorrow of his own soul at their calamity (Jer_15:17 and Jer_
15:18) gave the prophet courage to renew his supplication, and to ask of the Lord if He
had in very truth cast off Judah and Zion (Jer_15:19), and to set forth the reasons which
made this seem impossible (Jer_15:20 -22). In the question, Jer_15:19, the emphasis
lies on the ָתּ ְס ַא ָ,מ strengthened as it is by the inf. abs.: hast Thou utterly or really
rejected? The form of the question is the same as that in Jer_2:14; first the double
question, dealing with a state of affairs which the questioner is unable to regard as being
actually the case, and then a further question, conveying wonder at what has happened.
לַָעגּ, loathe, cast from one, is synonymous with ס ַא ָ.מ The second clause agrees verbally
with Jer_8:15. The reasons why the Lord cannot have wholly rejected Judah are: 1. That
they acknowledge their wickedness. Confession of sin is the beginning of return to God;
and in case of such return, the Lord, by His compassion, has vouchsafed to His people
forgiveness and the renewal of covenant blessings; cf. Lev_26:41., Deu_30:2. Along with
their own evil doing, the transgression of their fathers is mentioned, cf. Jer_2:5., Jer_
7:25., that full confession may be made of the entire weight of wickedness for which
Israel has made itself answerable. So that, on its own account, Judah has no claim upon
the help of its God. But the Lord may be moved thereto by regard for His name and the
covenant relation. On this is founded the prayer of Jer_15:21 : Abhor not, sc. thy people,
for Thy name's sake, lest Thou appear powerless to help in the eyes of the nations; see on
Jer_15:7 and on Num_14:16. ל ֵבִּ,נ lit., to treat as fools, see on Deu_32:15, here: make
contemptible. The throne of the glory of God is the temple, where Jahveh sits enthroned
over the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies, Exo_25:22, etc. The destruction of
Jerusalem would, by the sack of the temple, dishonour the throne of the Lord. The object
to "remember," viz., "Thy covenant," comes after "break not." The remembering or
rememberedness of the covenant is shown in the not breaking maintenance of the same;
cf. Lev_26:44. Lastly, we have in v. 22 the final motive for supplication: that the Lord
alone can put an end to trouble. Neither the vain gods of the heathen (ים ִל ָבֲ,ה see Jer_
8:19) can procure rain, nor can the heaven, as one of the powers of nature, without
power from God. ה ָתּ ַא ,הוּא Thou art (הוּא is the copula between subject and predicate).
Thou hast made all these. Not: the heaven and the earth, as Hitz. and Gr. would make it,
after Isa_37:16; still less is it, with Calv.: the punishment inflicted on us; but, as הֶלּ ֵא
demands, the things mentioned immediately before: caelum, pluvias et quidquid est in
omni rerum natura, Ros. Only when thus taken, does the clause contain any motive for:
we wait upon Thee, i.e., expect from Thee help out of our trouble. It further clearly
appears from this verse that the supplication was called forth by the calamity depicted in
Decisive refusal of the petition. - Jer_15:1. Even Moses and Samuel, who stood so far
in God's favour that by their supplications they repeatedly rescued their people from
overwhelming ruin (cf. Exo_17:11; Exo_32:11., Num_14:13., and 1Sa_7:9., Jer_12:17.,
Psa_99:6), if they were to come now before the Lord, would not incline His love towards
this people. ל ֶא indicates the direction of the soul towards any one; in this connection:
the inclination of it towards the people. He has cast off this people and will no longer let
them come before His face. In Jer_15:2-9 this is set forth with terrible earnestness. We
must supply the object, "this people," to "drive" from the preceding clause. "From my
face" implies the people's standing before the Lord in the temple, where they had
appeared bringing sacrifices, and by prayer invoking His help (Jer_14:12). To go forth
from the temple = to go forth from God's face. Jer_15:2. But in case they ask where they
are to go to, Jeremiah is to give them the sarcastic direction: Each to the destruction
allotted to him. He that is appointed to death, shall go forth to death, etc. The clauses:
such as are for death, etc., are to be filled up after the analogy of 2Sa_15:20; 2Ki_8:1, so
that before the second "death," "sword," etc., we supply the verb "shall go." There are
mentioned four kinds of punishments that are to befall the people. The "death"
mentioned over and above the sword is death by disease, for which we have in Jer_14:12
ר ֶב ֶ,דּ pestilence, disease; cf. Jer_43:11, where death, captivity, and sword are mentioned
together, with Eze_14:21, sword, famine, wild beasts, and disease (ר ֶב ֶ,)דּ and Eze_
33:27, sword, wild beasts, and disease. This doom is made more terrible in Jer_15:3. The
Lord will appoint over them (ד ַקָפּ as in Jer_13:21) four kinds, i.e., four different
destructive powers which shall prepare a miserable end for them. One is the sword
already mentioned in Jer_15:2, which slays them; the three others are to execute
judgment on the dead: the dogs which shall tear, mutilate, and partly devour the dead
bodies (cf. 2Ki_9:35, 2Ki_9:37), and birds and beasts of prey, vultures, jackals, and
others, which shall make an end of such portions as are left by the dogs. In Jer_15:4 the
whole is summed up in the threatening of Deu_28:25, that the people shall be delivered
over to be abused to all the kingdoms of the earth, and the cause of this terrible
judgment is mentioned. The Chet. זועה is not to be read הָָעוְ,ז but הָע ,ז and is the
contracted form from ָהוֲעַז, see on Deu_28:25, from the rad. ַ,זוּע lit., tossing hither and
thither, hence for maltreatment. For the sake of King Manasseh, who by his godless
courses had filled up the measure of the people's sins, so that the Lord must cast Judah
away from His face, and give it up to the heathen to be chastised; cf. 2Ki_23:26; 2Ki_
24:3, with the exposition of these passages; and as to what Manasseh did, see 2 Kings
CALVIN, "God again repeats what we have before observed, — that as the
impieties and sins of the people had arrived at the highest pitch, there was no more
room for pardon or for mercy: and though God seems to have rejected altogether
the prayer of his servant, we are not yet to think that it was without any benefit.
Jeremiah wished indeed to deliver the whole people from destruction; but he did not
thus pray inconsiderately and uselessly; for he distinguished between the titular
church, as they say, and the chosen seed, for he knew that many were become the
degenerated children of Abraham: nor was he unacquainted with what is said in the
“Who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, and who shall stand on the mount of thy
He who is innocent as to his hands, and is of a pure heart.” (Psalms 15:1)
The Prophet there distinctly shews that hypocrites glory in vain, because they had a
free entrance into the Temple, and sacrificed together with the faithful; for a clean
heart and pure hands are required. Jeremiah no doubt fully understood this.
Though then he extended his solicitude to the whole body of the people, he yet knew
that there was a chosen seed. So at this day, when we pray, we ought, according to
the rule of charity, to include all, for we cannot fix on those whom God has chosen
or whom he has rejected; and thus we ought, as far as we can, to promote the
salvation of all; and yet we know, as a general truth, that many are reprobate for
whom our prayers will avail nothing; we know this, and yet we cannot point out any
one as by the finger. So then the prayer of Jeremiah was not useless; but in its very
form, as they say, it was not heard, for he wished the whole people to be saved; but
as God had resolved to destroy the ungodly, such as were beyond the reach of hope
on account of their untamable obstinacy, Jeremiah obtained only in part what he
prayed for, — that God would preserve his Church, which then was in a manner
But it is now said, If stand before me did Moses and Samuel, (126) my soul would
not be towards this people The meaning is, that though all intercessors came forth in
their behalf, they could do nothing, for God had rejected them. Moses and Samuel
are here mentioned, but in another place Job and Daniel are named, and for the
same reason. (Ezekiel 14:14) Moses is mentioned here, because we find that he
offered himself, and wished to be, an anathema for his people.
“Blot me out of the book of life, or spare this people.” (Exodus 32:32)
As then God’s wrath had been so often pacified by Moses, he is here mentioned; for
when it was all over with the people, he delivered them as it were from eternal
death, and this was well and commonly known to the Jews. As to Samuel, we know
how celebrated he was, and that God had been often pacified by him for the
preservation of the whole people; but at length, when he prayed for Saul, God did
indeed restrain his immoderate zeal, and forbade him to pray any more, (1 Samuel
16:1) and yet he ceased not to pray. As then there was so great a fervor in Samuel,
that he in a manner struggled with God, he is here joined with Moses: “If, then,
stand before me did these two, my soul, or my heart, would be alienated from this
people, for I shall be no more pacified towards them.”
But he speaks of the perverse multitude, which had so often wilfully sought their
own destruction; for, as it has appeared elsewhere, the people had never been
rejected; and yet we must distinguish between the chaff and the wheat. Judea was,
as it were, the threshing — floor of God, on which there was a great heap of chaff,
for the multitude had departed from true religion; and there were a few grains
found hid in the rubbish. Hence the heart of God was not towards the people, that
is, towards the degenerated children of Abraham, who were proud only of their
name, while they were covenant — breakers; for they had long ago forsaken the
true worship of God and all integrity. Therefore the heart of God was not towards
them. At the same time he preserved, in a wonderful and in a hidden manner, a
Now this passage teaches us what James also mentions, that the prayer of the
righteous avails much with God; and he brings forward the example of Elijah, who
closed heaven by his prayer, so that it rained not for a long time; and who
afterwards opened heaven by his prayer, so as to obtain rain from God. (James
5:16) He hence infers that the prayers of the righteous avail much, not only when
they pray for themselves, but also when they pray for others; for Elijah had no
particular regard for himself, but his object was to gain relief for the whole people.
It is indeed certain that the intercession of the saints is highly appreciated by God;
and hence it is that we are bidden winingly and freely to make known to one
another our necessities, so that we may mutually help and pray for one another. But
we must at the same time observe, that they who think themselves to be commended
to God by others in their prayers, ought not on that account to become more secure;
for it is certain, that as the prayers of the faithful avail the members of Christ, so
they do no good to the ungodly and the hypocrites. Nor does God indeed bid us to
acquiesce in the confidence, that others pray for us, but bids every one to pray, and
also to join their prayers with those of all the members of the ChurJeremiah
Whosoever then desires to profit by the prayers of the saints must also pray himself.
It is true, I allow, that the prayers of the saints sometimes benefit even the ungodly
and aliens; for it was not in vain that Christ prayed,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34)
nor did Stephen pray in vain when he offered up a similar prayer,
(Acts 7:60) and I am disposed to agree with what Augustine says, that Paul, among
others, was the effect of Stephen’s prayer. (Serm. 1, de Sanctis) But I am speaking
now of what we must do when we find that we are helped by the prayers of the
saints, that is, that we are strenuously to perform our part, and strive to shew for
our brethren the same solicitude and care as we expect from them. It is then certain
beyond a doubt, that each is not only heard when he prays for himself, but that the
prayers of the saints avail in behalf of others.
But extremely ridiculous are the Papists, who apply this passage to dead saints:
Moses and Samuel, they say, were dead, when God declared what is here said; it is
then true that they prayed. The inference is worthy of such teachers, which is as
good as the braying of an ass. There is here a supposition made, as though God did
say, “If Moses and Samuel were now alive and interceded for them, I would yet
remain implacable.” But Ezekiel mentions Daniel, who was then living, and he
names also Job. We hence see that he makes no distinction between the dead and the
living. Therefore the Papists are extremely foolish and stupid when they thus idly
prate that the dead pray for the living, on the ground of what is here said of Moses
and Samuel. It is not then worthwhile to refute this ignorant assertion, as it vanishes
almost of itself: a brief warning, lest ally one should be deluded by such a cavil, is
He afterwards bids the Prophet to east away the people; cast them away, or banish
them, he says, from my presence He doubtless speaks here in a strong manner, “Let
them be gone from me.” But yet God shews what he had commanded his Prophet; as
though he had said, “Fulfil thou thine office, remember what burden I have laid on
thee.” Jeremiah had been ordered to denounce exile on the people? he was the
herald of divine vengeance. As then he sustained this office, it was his duty to
execute the commission which God had given him. We now then apprehend what
these words mean, cast them away (128)
But we must again notice here what we have before seen, — that God commends the
efficacy of prophetic doctrine, according to what has been said,
“I set thee over nations and kingdoms, to plant and to root up, to build and to
destroy,” (Jeremiah 1:10)
Then God intimates, that so great a power would be in the mouth of his servant, that
though the Jews mocked at his predictions, as if they were vain threatenings to
frighten children, they would yet be like thunderbolts; so that Jeremiah would drive
away the people, as though he was furnished with a large army and great forces,
according to what Paul declares, — that he had power given him to cast down every
height that exalted itself against Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) As then God claims so
great an authority for his prophetic doctrine, when threatening the unbelieving with
punishment, let us know that the same extends to all the promises of salvation.
Therefore, whenever God offers grace to us by the gospel, and testifies that he will
be propitious to us, let us know that heaven is in a manner open to us; and let us not
seek any other ground of assurance than his own testimony: and why? because as to
the prophets was given the power of binding and loosing, so now the same power is
given to the Church, that is, to invite all to be saved who are as yet healable, and to
denounce eternal ruin on the reprobate and the obstinate in their wickedness,
according to what is said by Christ,
“Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye
shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
For he gave his Apostles the power not only of binding, but also of loosing. And
Paul, after having spoken in high terms of the former power, adds,
“When your obedience shall be accomplished,”
(2 Corinthians 10:6)
as though he had said, that the gospel was not preached only for this end, to
pronounce death on the reprobate, but that it was also a pledge of salvation to all
the elect, to them who embraced by true faith the promises offered to them.
(lang. cy) Pe savai Moses a Samuel o’m blaen.
This is the Hebrew, word for word. Both the Septuagint and the Vulgate retain the
singular number of the verb; but they are not grammatically correct. — Ed.
“This passage fully proves that departed saints do not intercede for us; for it
evidently implies that Moses and Samuel did not then stand before the Lord in
behalf of Israel or of any in Israel.”
Send them from my presence, and let them go forth:
2.And it shall be, when they say to thee, “Where shall we go forth?” that thou shalt
say to them — Thus saith Jehova, — “Those for death, to death; And those for the
sword, to the sword; And those for the famine, to the famine; And those for
captivity, to captivity.”
It is observed by Venema and Blaney, that “death” was that by pestilence. See
Jeremiah 14:12, Jeremiah 18:21. Some were destined for death by pestilence, to this
they were to go forth: and so as to the other evils.
The Rabbis say that there are gradations in the evils mentioned here: death by
pestilence is the less grievous than the sword; the sword than the famine; the famine
than captivity; the last being more grievous than all the other evils. See 2 Samuel
24:13; Lamentations 4:9; and Leviticus 26:39. The “sword” being the principal
weapon, is put here for any violent death inflicted by enemies. — Ed.
COFFMAN, "Verse 1
JEREMIAH'S SECOND PERSONAL LAMENT
Of course, the first nine verses of this chapter, especially the first four, continue the
thought of the last chapter. Henderson suggested the following chapter divisions:
Judah had sinned beyond the possibility of God's averting their punishment
(Jeremiah 15:1-4); continued prophecy of Judah's destruction (Jeremiah 15:5-9);
beginning of Jeremiah's lament (Jeremiah 15:10-11); destruction of Judah
inevitable (Jeremiah 15:12-14); Jeremiah's discouragement and denial of his
commission (Jeremiah 15:15-18); God's command to Jeremiah with promises
contingent upon his obedience (Jeremiah 15:19-21).
GOD'S NEGATIVE ANSWER TO JUDAH'S PLEA
"Thus said Jehovah unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my
mind would not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go
forth. And it shall come to pass when they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth?
then thou shalt tell them, thus saith Jehovah: Such as are for death, to death; and
such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the
famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity. And I will appoint over them four
kinds, saith Jehovah: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the birds of the
heavens, and the beasts of the earth to destroy. And I will cause them to be tossed to
and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of
Hezekiah, king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem."
"Moses and Samuel ..." (Jeremiah 15:1). These were historical heroes of the Jewish
people, who, upon serious occasions of Israel's rebellion against the Lord, had
interceded for them, praying for their forgiveness; and there were several examples
of this in the Old Testament. (Exodus 32:11-14,30-34; Numbers 24:13-23;
Deuteronomy 9:18-20,15-29; 1 Samuel 7:5-9; 12:19-25; and Psalms 99:6-8).
However, the sad message here is that even the intercession of such intercessors as
Moses and Samuel would be of no avail whatever in the present extremity of
Judah's total apostasy and rebellion.
We find no agreement with Thompson who thought that Jeremiah might have
mentioned Moses and Samuel here, "because he saw in those two men a pattern of
his own ministry; for he was in that succession of prophets `like unto Moses'
(Deuteronomy 18:9-33)." However, the Bible has no mention of a succession of
"prophets" (plural) like unto Moses, but speaks of "The Prophet Like unto Moses,"
a reference to Jesus Christ and to no other!
The perversion of this prophecy through Moses mentioned here is a favorite device
of critics, but it stands upon no authority whatever.
"Let them go forth ..." (Jeremiah 15:1). The meaning of this was extensive: "Cast
them out of my sight, and let them go forth. Do not bring them into my presence by
your prayers; let them go forth into captivity." The meaning is further elaborated
in the next verse. Feinberg's rendition of Jeremiah 15:2-4 here is excellent:
"Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;
those for starvation, to starvation;
those for captivity, to captivity.
I will send four kinds of destroyers against them, saith the Lord, The sword to kill,
and the dogs to drag away, and the birds of the air and the beasts of the field to
devour and destroy."
"Because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah ..." (Jeremiah 15:4).
"The name of the pious father intensifies the horror at the wickedness of the
It might appear from this that the invasion and captivity of Judah were the
consequences of Manasseh's wicked reign; but it was not that reign alone that
resulted in such disasters. "It was because the people persevered in that
wickedness." They resented and disapproved of Josiah's reforms; as soon as
Jehoiachim came to the throne, they heartily supported that wicked king's
campaign to restore all of the idolatrous trappings of Manasseh's evil reign; and,
when Jeremiah's magnificent prophecies appeared to be a hindrance to such a
resurgence of paganism, they plotted to kill Jeremiah. It was all of that, plus the
deliberate preference of the great majority
of Israel for the licentious rites of idolatry far over above the righteous government
of the Lord that led to their eventual destruction and the deportation of a remnant.
COKE, "Jeremiah 15:1. Then said the Lord, &c.— This is the answer of the Lord to
the fervent prayers of Jeremiah in the last chapter: "If Moses and Samuel," saith
he, "could revive, and unite in their intercessions for this people, those two men, my
faithful servants, heretofore so prevalent with me, could not change my resolution."
Jeremiah may be here considered as in the temple, at the head of an humble people,
asking mercy for them. The Lord dismisses them with a severity whereof we have
few examples in Scripture. See Ezekiel 14:14; Ezekiel 14:16. By death, in the next
verse, is meant the mortality occasioned by the drought and dearth; and accordingly
we may render it, Such as are for the mortality, to the mortality.
WHEDON. "Verses 1-9
JEREMIAH’S PRAYER REFUSED, Jeremiah 15:1-9.
Here again we have an example of unfortunate chapter division. The connexion
between the last verses of the preceding chapter and the opening portion of the
present chapter is most intimate. To break it by one of the great chapter divisions is
misleading. In the concluding portion of the preceding chapter the prophet’s prayer
is urgent and importunate; here we have a still more emphatic refusal.
TRAPP, "Verse 1
Jeremiah 15:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood
before me, [yet] my mind [could] not [be] toward this people: cast [them] out of my
sight, and let them go forth.
Ver. 1. Then said the Lord unto me.] In answer to my prayer he replied, Thou hast
well prayed, sed stat sententia, I am set, I am inexorable.
Though Moses.] That chancellor of heaven, as one calleth him; who not only "ruled
with God," but overruled. [Exodus 32:11-14,Numbers 14:19-20]
And Samuel.] A mighty man likewise in prayer. See 1 Samuel 7:9, called therefore
Pethuel, as some think, [Joel 1:1] that is, a God persuader. These two were famous
in their generations for hearty love to, and prayers for, that rebellious people, and
did much for them. But, so the case now stood, if these favourites were alive, and
should intercede their utmost for them, it should avail nothing. See Ezekiel 14:14.
Yet my mind could not be to this people.] This is spoken after the manner of men -
q.d., I am implacably enraged, I am unchangeably resolved against them.
Cast them out of my sight.] Tell them that I have utterly rejected them, and I will
ratify and realise thy speeches. See on Jeremiah 1:10.
And let them go forth.] Or, Let them be gone - q.d., I am the worse to look upon
ELLICOTT, " (1) Then said the Lord unto me.—With a bold and terrible
anthropomorphism, the prophet again speaks as if he heard the voice of Jehovah
rejecting all intercession for the apostate people. The passage reminds us of the
mention of Noah, Daniel, and Job, in Ezekiel 14:14, as “able to deliver their own
souls only by their righteousness.” Here Moses (Exodus 32:11; Numbers 14:13-20)
and Samuel (1 Samuel 7:9; 1 Samuel 12:23) are named as having been conspicuous
examples of the power of the prayer of intercession.
Cast them out of my sight.—i.e., from my presence, from the courts of the Temple
which they profane. That would be the answer of Jehovah, even if Moses and
Samuel “stood before Him” (the phrase, as in Jeremiah 35:19, has a distinctly
liturgical meaning), ministering in the Courts of the Temple.
PETT, "Verses 1-9
YHWH’s Response To Jeremiah’s Plea Is Of The Absolute Certainty And
Awfulness Of The Coming Judgment (Jeremiah 15:1-9).
In the face of Jeremiah’s plea YHWH now makes clear that nothing can now stop
His judgment from coming. Even though those two great intercessors Moses and
Samuel were to pray for them it would be of no avail. (Compare for this Exodus
32:11-13; Numbers 14:13-20; 1 Samuel 7:8-9; 1 Samuel 12:23). Whatever is their
allotted end must now come upon them, with the result that Judah will be ‘tossed to
and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth’ as though they were a ball being tossed
around in training. And all this was because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem. It
must not, however be thought that it was all because of one man. The point is rather
that the nation had responded to Manasseh gladly, following his lead assiduously. It
was what resulted from the people as a result of what Manasseh did that was the
root cause of the problem. Had Manasseh been alone in his sin the situation would
not have arisen. That is why Jeremiah then makes clear that it is the people as a
whole who have rejected YHWH, and because of whom this judgment is necessary.
For as YHWH explains, although He had made every effort to bring them back to
Himself by various methods, all had failed. Whatever He had done to them they had
not returned from their ways. That is why wholesale death and captivity was the
only possible answer.
‘Then YHWH said to me,
“Though Moses and Samuel stood before me,
Yet my mind would not be toward this people,
Cast them out of my sight,
And let them go forth.”
YHWH has twice told Jeremiah not to pray for good for Judah any more (Jeremiah
7:16; Jeremiah 14:11). Now He explains that even if Moses and Samuel were to
intercede for them in His very Dwellingplace (to stand before God’ was to approach
Him in His Dwelling place, either the Tabernacle or the Temple) His mind would
not turn favourably towards His people. Jeremiah was thus, as it were, to cast them
out of His sight (out of the Temple where they were no longer welcome), and to
cause them to go forth from the land.
Moses and Samuel were seen as the two great intercessors who had prevailed in
prayer for God’s people when they had least deserved it (see Psalms 99:6):
· Moses at the time of the worship of the golden calf when YHWH had proposed
destroying the people and beginning again (Exodus 32:11-13) and then when the
people had rejected the advice of the two scouts, Joshua and Caleb, about obeying
YHWH and going ahead with the invasion of Canaan, when His proposal had been
· Samuel in the face of the invasion by the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:8-9), and then
when the people had rejected YHWH as their King because they wanted a human
being to fight their battles for them (1 Samuel 12, especially Jeremiah 15:19-21).
But even these great intercessors could not have helped Judah in their present
predicament. Their corporate sin was a sin too far. YHWH’s mind had thus turned
away from them and He wanted them cast out, both from the Temple and from the
land, as He had warned would be the case in Numbers 18:25; Numbers 18:28.
BI, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be towards
Righteousness, the strength of nations
It is of great importance that we distinguish between communities, and the individuals
of which communities are composed. When the whole human race shall be gathered
before the tribunal of Christ, every man will receive the recompense due to his actions
whilst on earth. But nations cannot be judged or punished as nations; so if God is to
mark His sense of the evil wrought by communities in their collective capacity, it must
be by present retribution. Accordingly we have full testimony given from Scripture and
from experience, that although, in the ordinary course of Divine judgment, individuals
are not in this life dealt with according to their actions, yet communities may expect to
prosper or decline according as they resist or submit to the revealed will of God. The
national character must be determined by the character of the majority; and when this
character is so debased that the national punishment can no longer be delayed, there
may be numbers influenced by a holy and unaffected piety, and warm love of God. And
can these faithful ones be instruments in averting or mitigating wrath? Or if they cannot
prevail for the deliverance of others, will they not at least be saved from all share in the
coming disaster? These are interesting questions; and the best answer can be drawn
from the words of our text. Moses and Samuel are supposed to stand forth as pleaders
for the land; they are too late—pleading is in vain. Still it is evidently implied that at a
less advanced stage in national guilt the intercession would have been of avail. Then,
moreover, a distinction is evidently drawn between a guilty people and such advocates as
Moses and Samuel. The people are to be “cast out”; but we are left to infer that such as
Moses and Samuel would not share to the full extent in the national disaster. Let us look
more closely into these points. Call to mind that remarkable portion of Holy Writ in
which Abraham is represented as pleading for Sodom. If the city would have been spared
had these ten righteous lived within its walls, there is incontrovertible proof that godly
men are the salt of the earth, and may often be instrumental in preserving communities
from utter desolation. It was not without a very emphatic meaning that Christ styled His
disciples “the salt of the earth.” By their mere presence in the midst of ungodly men, and
yet more, by their prayers and intercessions, may the righteous often arrest vengeance
and prevent the utter ruin of a country. The wicked know nothing of their obligations to
the righteous. In general, they despise or hate the righteous—either accounting them
fools, or galled by the reproof conveyed by their example. If they had what they wish,
they would remove the righteous from amongst them, reckoning that they should then
have greater freedom in pursuing their schemes, or enjoying their pleasures. And little
do they think that these very objects of their scorn and dislike may be all the while their
best guardians and benefactors; turning aside from them evils by which they might be
otherwise rapidly overtaken, and procuring for them a lengthened portion of Divine
patience and forbearance. Little do they think that the worst thing possible for their
country and themselves is when there is a rapid diminution in the number of the
righteous; every good man who dies and leaves no successor being as a practical
withdrawal from that leaven which alone stays the progress of the universal
decomposition. Now we have reached the point at which piety ceases to have power in
averting evil from others. What does it, then, do for the pious themselves? Intercession
time has gone—the judgment time has come; and every man must be dealt with
according to his own character. But if righteousness then lose its power to avail with God
for others, besides its possessors; and if on this account the righteous may well shrink
from such seasons, yet it appears certain that righteousness is as acceptable as ever to
God, and that therefore the righteous have nothing to fear individually for themselves.
Come plague! come depopulation! if thou art indeed a devoted, consistent servant of
God, they shall not touch thee till the time has come which has been fixed by thy
merciful Father! “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand;
but it shall not come nigh thee.” The funeral procession may wend often from their
doors, bearing away (it is melancholy to think) those for whose salvation they have long
prayed, and for whom they have daily sought a further day of grace; but they themselves
shall be unassailed till the day which, in any case, God had fixed for their entry into rest;
and thus shall the pestilence, whose ravages in their households did but fit them for
higher glory, do only the part of common sickness in freeing them from a corruptible
body. And, therefore, may those in whose hearts is “the fear of the Lord,” hear without
trepidation what God says about bringing His sore judgments on a land. There are two
very important considerations suggested by the subject we have thus endeavoured to
1. We wish you to observe that he who serves God, serves his country best.
2. We ask you to observe that whatever the advantages which a man derives from
having pious relatives, there is a point at which those relatives can afford him no
help. (H. Melvill, B. D.)
I. Intercessory prayer is an exercise of great value.
1. As developing our love to man. Interesting ourselves in his trials, seeking to save
him from his sins.
2. As carrying out the Divine precepts. In the spirit of Christ, in the fellowship of life.
3. As following after noble examples.
4. As obtaining great blessings for others.
II. Intercessory prayer can be offered only by good men.
1. He must not be under the sin against which he prays.
2. He should know by experience the value of the blessing he craves for another.
3. He must be willing to join effort with prayer.
III. Intercessory prayer has some limitations even when offered by the best of men. This
1. From Scripture.
2. From observation.
IV. Intercessory prayer is a grand distinction and provision of the Gospel. We have—
1. The best of intercessors (Heb_7:25). In office, sympathy, work, influence.
2. Praying for the best of blessings. Salvation, preservation, comfort, glory.
3. Taking up the ease of every soul that trusts Him.
4. Always successful. (W. Whale.)
The Hebrews had justly a very high opinion of Moses. How proudly they boasted, “We
are the disciples of Moses!” As the late Dr. R.W. Dale has pointed out, “More than
Luther is to Germany, more than Napoleon is to France, more than Alfred, or Elizabeth,
or Cromwell, or William
III. is to England, Moses was to the Jewish people—prophet, patriot, warrior, lawgiver,
all in one.” Yet even so great a servant of God as Moses together with the famous seer
Samuel, would avail nothing in intercession for the Jews at this time. My mind, saith the
Lord, could not be toward this people.
2 And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ tell
them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;
those for starvation, to starvation;
those for captivity, to captivity.’
CLARKE, "Whither shall we go forth? - Such as are for death, to death -
Some shall be destroyed by the pestilence, here termed death. See Jer_18:21. Others
shall be slain by the sword in battle, and in the sackage of cities. Others shall perish by
famine, shall be starved to death through the mere want of the necessaries of life; and
the rest shall go into captivity. There shall be different sorts of punishments inflicted on
them according to the nature of their transgressions. Some shall be punished in one way,
and some in another.
GILL, "And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee,.... As doubtless they will,
when this message is brought to them:
whither shall we go forth? in a jeering scornful manner, not believing that this would
be their case:
then thou shall tell them, thus saith the Lord, such as are for death, to
death; such as were appointed to death, or to die by the pestilence, which is often
signified by death; they shall go forth unto it; or it shall meet them, and seize upon them,
and take them away:
and such as are for the sword, to the sword; who are appointed to die by the
sword of the enemy, into whose hands they should fall by attempting to escape out of the
city, shall perish by it:
and such as are for the famine, to the famine; such as are appointed to die by
that, shall die of it in the city, where they shall be besieged, and not be able to get out to
fetch in any provisions, and where none can be brought, because of the enemy:
and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity; such as are spared from the
pestilence, sword, and famine, and are designed to be carried captive into a strange land,
shall be taken and carried thither; nor will it be in their power, or in any other's, to
hinder any of the above things, to which they are appointed of God. According to the
Jews, the latter of these is more grievous than the former; as the sword than death, and
famine than the sword, so captivity than them all (w).
HENRY, "He condemns them all to one destroying judgment or other. When God
casts them out of his presence, whither shall they go forth? Jer_15:2. Certainly nowhere
to be safe or easy, but to be met by one judgment while they are pursued by another, till
they find themselves surrounded with mischiefs on all hands, so that they cannot escape;
Such as are for death to death. By death here is meant the pestilence (Rev_6:8), for it is
death without visible means. Such as are for death to death, or for the sword to the
sword; every man shall perish in that way that God has appointed: the law that appoints
the malefactor's death determines what death he shall die. Or, He that is by his own
choice for this judgment, let him take it, or for that, let him take it, but by the one or the
other they shall all fall and none shall escape. It is a choice like that which David was put
to, and was thereby put into a great strait, 2Sa_24:14. Captivity is mentioned last, some
think, because the sorest judgment of all, it being both a complication and continuance
of miseries. That of the sword is again repeated (Jer_15:3), and is made the first of
another four frightful set of destroyers, which God will appoint over them, as officers
over the soldiers, to do what they please with them. As those that escape the sword shall
be cut off by pestilence, famine, or captivity, so those that fall by the sword shall be cut
off by divine vengeance, which pursues sinners on the other side death; there shall be
dogs to tear in the field to devour. And, if there be any that think to outrun justice, they
shall be made the most public monuments of it: They shall be removed into all
kingdoms of the earth (Jer_15:4), like Cain, who, that he might be made a spectacle of
horror to all, became a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.
JAMISON, "death — deadly plague (Jer_18:21; Jer_43:11; Eze_5:2, Eze_5:12; Zec_
CALVIN, "He now confirms the previous sentence, If they shall say, Whither shall
we go forth? then shalt thou say to them, Those for death, to death; those for the
sword, to the sword; those for the famine, to the famine; those for exile, to exile; as
though he had said, “In vain do they complain of their own miseries.” For God, no
doubt, had in view the clamorous complaints which prevailed everywhere among
the people on account of their very heavy calamities. Thus indeed were hypocrites
wont to do; for whenever God spared them, they haughtily insulted the prophets,
and boastingly alleged their subsidies and fortresses; but when God’s hand pressed
hard on them, they became very eloquent in their complaints: “Alas! how far will
God go at length? is there to be never an end? and what does all this mean? why
does he so severely afflict us? and why does he not at least relieve us in some
measure from our ntiseries?” As then the hypocrites were so querulous in their
calamities, God anticipates all these expostulations, and says, “If they say to thee,
‘Where shall we flee?’ say to them, ‘Either to death, or to famine, or to the sword, or
to exile;’ it is all one with God, and it matters not; for there is no hope of mercy for
you any longer, since God has rejected you: know then that it is all over with you,
for there is no deliverance for you from God: either the sword, or famine, or some
other kind of death will overtake you; ye are in every way past hope.”
TRAPP, "Jeremiah 15:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither
shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD Such as [are] for
death, to death; and such as [are] for the sword, to the sword; and such as [are] for
the famine, to the famine; and such as [are] for the captivity, to the captivity.
Ver. 2. If they say unto thee.] As they will be apt enough to do in a jeer.
Such as are for death,] i.e., For the pestilence commonly called mortality, because it
is so deadly a disease. Those at Genoa have lately found it so. And yet it is here
reckoned first, as the least and tightest of all the four threatened judgments, which
must needs be bad enough when the pest is the best of them all. The Turks shun not
the company of those that have the plague, but pointing upon their foreheads, say it
was written there at their birth when they should die, and of what disease. These in
the text could as little avoid the deaths they were assigned to, as Aeschylus the
tragedian could his being knocked on the head. For whenas he was foretold that he
should die with a stroke coming from above, he shunned houses, and was wont to
remain in the open air, but he was killed by a tortoise falling from the mouth of an
eagle upon his bald head, mistaken for a stone. (a)
PETT, "Jeremiah 15:2
“And it will come about that, when they say to you, ‘Where shall we go forth?’, then
you will tell them,”
“Thus says YHWH,
Such as are for death, to death,
And such as are for the sword, to the sword,
And such as are for the famine, to the famine,
And such as are for captivity, to captivity.”
Nor was their casting out to be a pleasant experience, for it was intended to teach
them a salutary lesson. Thus when they asked, ‘where will we go forth’ the reply was
not in respect of their geographical destination, but in terms of the fates that
awaited them. Those destined for a quick death through some means, would die.
Probably pestilence was mainly in mind for pestilence, sword and famine are
regularly mentioned together (Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 21:6-7; Jeremiah 21:9;
Jeremiah 24:10; and often. See also Job 27:15). Those who were destined to die by
the sword would die by the sword. Those who were destined to waste away in the
famine, would waste away in the famine. And those who were destined for captivity
would go into captivity.
3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against
them,” declares the Lord, “the sword to kill and
the dogs to drag away and the birds and the wild
animals to devour and destroy.
BARNES, "Kinds - literally, as the margin, i. e., classes of things. The first is to
destroy the living, the other three to mutilate and consume the dead.
To tear - literally, “to drag along the ground.” It forcibly expresses the contumely to
which the bodies of the slain will be exposed.
CLARKE, "I will appoint over them four kinds - There shall appear four
instruments of my justice.
1. The sword to slay.
2. The dogs to tear what is slain.
3. The fowls of the heaven to feed on the dead carcasses. And,
4. The wild beasts to destroy all that the fowls have left.
GILL, "And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord,.... Or four
families (x), and these very devouring ones; that is, four sorts of punishment; and so the
"four evil punishments;''
which are after mentioned. These are represented as under God, and at his beck and
command; servants of his, that go and come at his pleasure, and do his will; and as being
over men, and having power and authority to kill and to destroy by a divine commission:
the sword to slay: the first and chief of the four families or punishments, which had a
commission from the Lord to sheath itself in his people, the Jews; even the sword of the
enemy, the Chaldeans, drawn against them by a divine order and appointment:
and the dogs to tear; the carcasses of those that are slain with the sword: or "to draw"
(y); as the word signifies; it being the usual way of dogs to draw and drag the flesh about
they are feeding on; this is another of the four families, and a very voracious one it is:
and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and
destroy; or "to eat, and to corrupt", the bodies of those that are slain by the sword. The
meaning is, that such should not have a burial, but should be the food of fowls and wild
beasts: these are the other two destroying families, which have their commission from
the Lord for such service.
JAMISON, "appoint — (Lev_26:16).
kinds — of punishments.
CALVIN, "Jeremiah proceeds with the same subject. He said yesterday that the
people were no longer cared for by God, and so that nothing remained for them but
in various ways to perish, and that the last punishment would be exile. He now
confirms the same thing, and says, that God would prepare against them ravenous
birds as well as wild beasts, the sword and dogs (129) as though he had said, that all
animals would be hostile to them, and be the executioners of God’s vengeance.
Some render the verb ,פקדpekod, to visit, but improperly, as I think; for they must
give this version, “I will visit four families upon them;” but there is no sense in this,
nor can any sense be elicited from it. The meaning most suitable here is to set over,
(130) “I will set over them four kinds;” which he calls “four families.” And there is
to be understood here a contrast: as they thought it hard to obey God, they were
now to have over them dogs and wild beasts, and the birds of the air, and the sword.
The meaning is, that there would be no end to God’s vengeance, and to various
punishments, until the Jews were wholly destroyed. He further intimates, that he
would have in readiness many to execute his wrath, as he had all creatures under his
control. As then he would employ in his service dogs, and birds, and animals, as well
as men, it behoved the Jews to feel assured that they in vain had recourse to this or
that refuge. We indeed know that men impiously confine the power of God, both
with regard to their salvation and the punishment of their sins, for when he passes
by any evil they think that they have escaped, and promise themselves impunity, as
though God indeed were not able every moment to inflict many and various
scourges. This then is the reason why the Prophet speaks here of four kinds of
judgments. It follows —
And I will commission against them four species.
But the best rendering is that of Calvin, which is also adopted by Venema. I give the
following version —
And I set over them four kinds, saith Jehovah, — The sword to kill, and dogs to
drag about, And the bird of heaven and the beast of the earth To devour, and to pull
The “devouring” refers to “the beast of the earth,” and the “pulling to pieces” to the
bird of heaven, according to the usual style of the Prophets, the order being
reversed. — Ed.
ELLICOTT, " (3) Four kinds.—The sword, as the direct instrument of death, is
followed by those that follow up its work, the beasts and birds of prey that feed on
the corpses of the slain. The latter feature has naturally been from the earliest stages
of human history the crowning horror of defeat. So Homer, Il. i. 4 :—
“And many mighty souls of heroes sent
To Hades, and their bodies made a prey
To dogs and to all birds.”
PETT, "Jeremiah 15:3
“And I will appoint over them four kinds, the word of YHWH,
The sword to slay, and the dogs to tear,
And the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth,
To devour and to destroy.”
Furthermore YHWH had appointed four kinds of executioners, the sword to slay,
the dogs to tear at the carcasses (as they had that of Jezebel - 2 Kings 9:35-36), the
scavenger birds to peck at the remains, and the beastly scavengers to finish off what
was left. Nothing was seen as worse by people of that time than to have one’s body a
prey to scavengers after death (see 2 Samuel 21:10; Ezekiel 39:17-20; compare 1
Samuel 31:12), but that was to be the fate of Judah.
4 I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms
of the earth because of what Manasseh son of
Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.
BARNES, "To be removed - Rather, “to be a terror.”
Because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah - The name of the pious father
intensifies the horror at the wickedness of the son.
CLARKE, "I will cause them to be removed into an kingdoms of the earth -
This seems to have respect to the succeeding state of the Jews in their different
generations; and never was there a prophecy more literally fulfilled; and it is still a
standing monument of Divine truth. Let infidelity cast its eyes on the scattered Jews
whom it may meet with in every civilized nation of the world; and then let it deny the
truth of this prophecy, if it can. The Jews are scattered through every nation, and yet are
not a nation; nor do they form even a colony on any part of the face of the earth. Behold
the truth and the justice of God!
GILL, "And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the
earth,.... Not only into Babylon, but into other countries; which has had its full
accomplishment in this their last captivity by the Romans: or "I will give them for a
commotion" (z); shaking and trembling; they shall be like Cain, fugitives and vagabonds,
and be in fear and trembling everywhere, for what is, or is about to come upon them: or
"for horror unto all kingdoms" (a); all that see the calamities and judgments that come
upon them will be struck with dread and horror, plainly seeing the hand of the Lord in
because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah; because of the idolatry
and murder committed by him; and which were the more aggravated, by having so good
a parent, and so religious an education, and by his high office and dignity as king of
Judah; and though these sins were personally forgiven him, yet, being imitated and
continued in by the Jews, captivity is threatened them. The Targum is,
"because they turned not (or were not converted) as Manasseh;''
and so in the Talmud (b), because Manasseh repented, and they did not; but this sense
the words will not bear, because of what goes before, of which these are a reason; and
because of what follows after, which are connected with them:
for that which he did in Jerusalem; the innocent blood he shed there, and the
idolatrous worship he there set up; even where the temple was, the place of God's
worship, and which was the metropolis of the nation, and so set an example, which must
influence the whole country.
HENRY 4-7, " What the sin was upon which this severe sentence was grounded. 1. It
is in remembrance of a former iniquity; it is because of Manasseh, for that which he did
in Jerusalem, Jer_15:4. What that was we are told, and that it was for it that Jerusalem
was destroyed, 2Ki_24:3, 2Ki_24:4. It was for his idolatry, and the innocent blood which
he shed, which the Lord would not pardon. He is called the son of Hezekiah because his
relation to so good a father was a great aggravation of his sin, so far was it from being an
excuse of it. The greatest part of a generation was worn off since Manasseh's time, yet his
sin is brought into the account; as in Jerusalem's last ruin God brought upon it all the
righteous blood shed on the earth, to show how heavy the guilt of blood will light and lie
somewhere, sooner or later, and that reprieves are not pardons. 2. It is in consideration
of their present impenitence. See how their sin is described (Jer_15:6): “Thou hast
forsaken me, my service and thy duty to me; thou hast gone backward into the ways of
contradiction, art become the reverse of what thou shouldst have been and of what God
by his law would have led thee forward to.” See how the impenitence is described (Jer_
15:7): They return not from their ways, the ways of their own hearts, into the ways of
God's commandments again. There is mercy for those who have turned aside if they will
return; but what favour can those expect that persist in their apostasy?
What the sentence is. It is such as denotes no less than an utter ruin.
1. God himself abandons and abhors them: My mind cannot be towards them. How
can it be thought that the holy God should have any remaining complacency in those
that have such a rooted antipathy to him? It is not in a passion, but with a just and holy
indignation, that he says, “Cast them out of my sight, as that which is in the highest
degree odious and offensive, and let them go forth, for I will be troubled with them no
JAMISON, "cause ... to be removed — (Deu_28:25; Eze_23:46). Rather, “I will
give them up to vexation,” I will cause them to wander so as nowhere to have repose
[Calvin]; (2Ch_29:8, “trouble;” Margin, “commotion”).
because of Manasseh — He was now dead, but the effects of his sins still remained.
How much evil one bad man can cause! The evil fruits remain even after he himself has
received repentance and forgiveness. The people had followed his wicked example ever
since; and it is implied that it was only through the long-suffering of God that the penal
consequences had been suspended up to the present time (compare 1Ki_14:16; 2Ki_
21:11; 2Ki_23:26; 2Ki_24:3, 2Ki_24:4).
CALVIN, "Jeremiah speaks now of exile. He had hitherto spoken of the sword and
famine, and mentioned also other punishments, that their carcases would be
dragged about by dogs, and also devoured by wild beasts and ravenous birds; but
he now refers to one kind of punishment only — that God would drive them into
exile. And he seems to have taken these words from Moses, for so he speaks in
Deuteronomy 28:0, except that ,ו vau, is placed before ,ע ain, in the word
“commotion,” but such a change is common. In other respects there is a perfect
I will set them, he says, for a commotion to all the kingdoms of the earth; that is, I
will cause them to wander in constant fear and trembling. He amplifies the
grievousness of exile by the circumstance that they should have no safe rest. They
who leave their country for exile do at least find some corner where they take
breath; but God declares that the Jews would be everywhere unsettled and
wanderers, so that no place would receive them. And hence God’s vengeance
became more fully manifest, for these miserable men never found an asylum when
scattered through various countries. Though they had habitations in those parts
allotted to them by the king of Babylon, they were yet everywhere without any rest.
It was not therefore in vain that Moses threatened them with such a punishment,
nor was it to no purpose that Jeremiah repeated what had been said by Moses. (131)
He adds the cause, On account of Manasseh But Manasseh was now dead, why then
did God transfer the vengeance which he merited to posterity? And this seems
inconsistent with another passage found in Ezekiel,
“The soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:8)
But doubtless God justly punished the wickedness of the people even after the death
of that ungodly king, for they ceased not to accumulate evils on evils; as however
their impiety appeared especially at that time, he particularly noticed it, that the
Jews might understand that they had been long worthy of destruction, and that
punishment was not delayed except through the great mercy of God, who had not
immediately treated them as they deserved. The Prophet therefore commends the
long forbearance of God because their ruin was suspended until that time. And, on
the other hand, he shews that they were not so severely treated but that they were
worthy of greater and more atrocious punishment; for such had been their
obstinacy that they did all they could to draw upon themselves destruction many
But another question arises: Manasseh pretended repentance, and God seemed to
have forgiven him and the whole people, (2 Kings 21:0 :2 Chronicles 33:12) why
does he now declare that he would take vengeance on sins which had been already
buried? But the answer is evident, for the Jews from that time had been in no way
better. As then they had continued to pursue the same sinful courses with Manasseh,
it was right that they should at length be rewarded as they deserved; for, had they
become really changed, there would have been a change in God’s dealings with
them, but inasmuch as their impiety had ever remained the same, and as they gave
themselves up to the same vices, a heavier judgment was nigh them, and justly so,
because they had abused God’s forbearance, who had spared the king as well as
themselves on the condition of receiving the pardon offered to them. But since they
had hardened themselves, it was riglit to take such account of their ingratitude and
perverseness as to treat them with greater severity.
Farther, Manasseh is called the son of Hezekiah, and that for the purpose of
enhancing his crime. For as religion had been reformed in the time of Hezekiah, and
as that pious king, with great labor and toil, exerted all his powers to restore the
true worship of God, it was the duty of Manasseh to follow his example. But he not
only built altars to idols, and polluted the whole land with superstitions, but also
defiled the very Temple of God. It was thus a horrible, and wholly a diabolical
madness in the son, when the right way of worshipping God had been delivered
unto him, to be of such a reprobate mind as immediately to overthrow what his
father with great labor has so faithfully established. This then was the reason why
Jeremiah mentioned to his dishonor the name of his father. And hence we learn that
they are worthy of a heavier punishment, who have been religiously brought up
from their childhood, and become afterwards degenerated, who, having had pious
and godly parents, afterwards abandon themselves to every wickedness. Hence a
heavier judgment awaits those who depart from the examples of godly fathers. And
this we gather from the very words of the Prophet, who here, by way of reproach,
calls Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, which yet would have been to his honor, had he
been like his father and followed his piety.
And at the same time there is no doubt but that the Prophet indirectly condemns the
whole people; for we know how great opposition pious Hezekiah met with, and how
he contended for the faithful worship of God, as though he had been among the
Assyrians or the Egyptians. But the perverseness of the people appeared then
extreme, when he was put in jeopardy as to the kingdom, because he endeavored to
cleanse the land of Judah from its filth and pollutions; their impiety and ingratitude
then shewed, and openly discovered themselves. Afterwards Manasseh overturned
as it were in an instant the worship of God, and they all, with great exultation, went
immediately after superstition. We hence see that the mouths of the Jews were thus
closed, so that they could not object and say, that they obeyed the command of their
king; for they winingly followed wicked superstitions. They assented to the king of
their own accord, while yet they hardly, and with great unwiningness, were led to
obey when God’s worship was restored in the time of Hezekiah.
But Manasseh added cruelties to superstitions; for we know that he not only covered
the streets of the city with blood, but made it also to flow in streams, as sacred
history relates. As, then, the Prophets were so cruelly treated in the time of
Manasseh, and as he was not the sole author of this barbarity, but the true servants
of God were persecuted to death by the consent of the people, it was hence evident
that it was the crime of the whole community. And hence he mentions Jerusalem, in
order that the Jews might know that the holy city, in which they gloried, had been
for a long time the den of robbers, and that the Temple of God had been polluted by
wicked superstitions, and even the whole city by unlawful and barbarous slaughters.
It now follows —
And I will render them a vexation to all the kingdoms of the earth.
Literally it is, “I will give them for a vexation,” etc. And so they became, they were a
trouble and a disquietudewherever they were; and hence they became, as it is said in
Jeremiah 29:18, a curse, a hissing, and a reproach among all nations.
Venema gives this rendering —
And I will give them for a shaking to all the kingdoms of the earth.
Which he understands to mean, that they would be given to be shaken, agitated, and
disquieted in all the kingdoms of the earth.
Blayney’s version is —
And I will give them up to vexation in all kingdoms of the earth.
But this is what the original will hardly bear; the preposition before “kingdoms” is
not in, but to. — Ed.
TRAPP, "Jeremiah 15:4 And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of
the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for [that] which
he did in Jerusalem.
Ver. 4. Because of Manasseh.] Because of his sins, idolatry and bloodshed especially,
wherein the people partook and persisted, and were therefore justly punished.
The son of Hezekiah.] But altogether degenerate. He was therefore the worse,
because he should have been better, and yet the worse again, because he was author
publicae corruptelae, a ringleader of rebellion to others, as was Jeroboam.
PETT, "Jeremiah 15:4
“And I will cause them to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth,
because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in
Those who survived would also find themselves in trouble. They would be ‘tossed to
and fro’ among the kingdoms of the earth. No one would want them (compare
Deuteronomy 28:25 where they were to be ‘a horror to all the kingdoms of the
earth’). And it would be because of the wholesale idolatry that Manasseh had
introduced in Jerusalem. But the thought is not that they were being punished for
the sins of Manasseh, but that they were being punished because they had connived
with Manasseh in his sins. Hezekiah had sought to purify Jerusalem and Judah, but
the people had been only too glad when Manasseh had led them back into the old
ways. They had cooperated fully.
5 “Who will have pity on you, Jerusalem?
Who will mourn for you?
Who will stop to ask how you are?
CLARKE, "Who shall go aside to ask how thou doest? - Perhaps there is not a
more despised nor a more degraded people under the sun. Scarcely any one thinks
himself called upon to do a kind office for a Jew. Their character is bad in society, and
they are not at all solicitous to redeem it.
GILL, "For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem?.... The inhabitants of
it; their sins being so many, and so heinous, and so aggravated, and so deserving of
punishment, that none could pity their case, or have a heart of compassion towards
them, or even spare reproaching them: or "who shall bemoan thee?" sympathize and
condole with thee, or speak a comfortable word to thee, or seek to alleviate thy grief and
sorrow: or "who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?" or "of thy peace?" (c) shall not
think it worth their while to go a step out of their way, or turn into a house, and inquire
of thy welfare, or salute thee.
HENRY, "They shall fall without being pitied (Jer_15:5): “For who shall have pity on
thee, O Jerusalem? When thy God has cast thee out of his sight, and his compassions fail
and are shut up from thee, neither thy enemies nor thy friends shall have any
compassion for thee. They shall have no sympathy with thee; they shall not bemoan thee
nor be sorry for thee; they shall have no concern for thee, shall not go a step out of their
way to ask how thou dost.” For, (1.) Their friends, who were expected to do these
friendly offices, were all involved with them in the calamities, and had enough to do to
bemoan themselves. (2.) It was plain to all their neighbours that they had brought all
this misery upon themselves by their obstinacy in sin, and that they might easily have
prevented it by repentance and reformation, which they were often in vain called to; and
therefore who can pity them? O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself. Those will perish for
ever unpitied that might have been saved upon such easy terms and would not. (3.) God
will thus complete their misery. He will set their acquaintance, as he did Job's at a
distance from them; and his hand, his righteous hand, is to be acknowledged in all the
unkindnesses of our friends, as well as in all the injuries done us by our foes.
JAMISON, "go aside ... how thou doest — Who will turn aside (in passing by) to
salute thee (to wish thee “peace”)?
K&D 5-9, "In Jer_15:5-9 we have a still further account of this appalling judgment
and its causes. The grounding י ִכּ in Jer_15:5 attaches to the central thought of Jer_15:4.
The sinful people will be given up to all the kingdoms of the earth to be ill used, for no
one will or can have compassion on Jerusalem, since its rejection by God is a just
punishment for its rejection of the Lord (Jer_15:6). "Have pity" and "bemoan" denote
loving sympathy for the fall of the unfortunate. ל ַמ ָ,ח to feel sympathy; ,נוּד to lament and
bemoan. ,סוּר to swerve from the straight way, and turn aside or enter into any one's
house; cf. Gen_19:2., Exo_3:3, etc. ְל ל ַאָשׁ ם לָשׁ ְ,ל to inquire of one as to his health, cf.
Exo_18:7; then: to salute one, to desire ְל ם לָ,שׁ Gen_43:27; Jdg_18:15, and often. Not
only will none show sympathy for Jerusalem, none will even ask how it goes with her
The reason of this treatment: because Jerusalem has dishonoured and rejected its
God, therefore He now stretched out His hand to destroy it. To go backwards, instead of
following the Lord, cf. Jer_7:24. This determination the Lord will not change, for He is
weary of repenting. ם ֵָחנּ ִה frequently of the withdrawal, in grace and pity, of a divine
decree to punish, cf. Jer_4:28, Gen_6:6., Joe_2:14, etc.
ם ֵרְז ֶָאו is a continuation of ט ַָאו, Jer_15:6, and, like the latter, is to be understood
prophetically of what God has irrevocably determined to do. It is not a description of
what is past, an allusion to the battle lost at Megiddo, as Hitz., carrying out his à priori
system of slighting prophecy, supposes. To take the verbs of this verse as proper
preterites, as J. D. Mich. and Ew. also do, is not in keeping with the contents of the
clauses. In the first clause Ew. and Gr. translate י ֲֵרעַשׁ gates, i.e., exits, boundaries of the
earth, and thereby understand the remotest lands of the earth, the four corners of
extremities of the earth, Isa_11:12 (Ew.). But "gates" cannot be looked on as corners or
extremities, nor are they ends or borders, but the inlets and outlets of cities. For how can
a man construe to himself the ends of the earth as the outlets of it? where could one go
to from there? Hence it is impossible to take ץ ֶר ָא ָה of the earth in this case; it is the land
of Judah. The gates of the land are either mentioned by synecdoche for the cities, cf.
Mic_5:5, or are the approaches to the land (cf. Nah_3:13), its outlets and inlets. Here the
context demands the latter sense. ה ָָרז, to fan, c. ְבּ loci, to scatter into a place, cf. Eze_
12:15; Eze_30:26 : fan into the outlets of the land, i.e., cast out of the land. לֵכּ ִ,שׁ make
the people childless, by the fall in battle of the sons, the young men, cf. Eze_5:17. The
threat is intensified by י ִתּ ְד ַבּ ִ,א added as asyndeton. The last clause: from their ways, etc.,
subjoins the reason.
By the death of the sons, the women lose their husbands, and become widows. י ִל is
the dative of sympathetic interest. "Sand of the sea" is the figure for a countless number.
ים ִַמּי is poetic plural; cf. Psa_78:27; Job_6:3. On these defenceless women come
suddenly spoilers, and these mothers who had perhaps borne seven sons give up the
ghost and perish without succour, because their sons have fallen in war. Thus proceeds
the portrayal as Hitz. has well exhibited it. לַע ם ֵא חוּר ָבּ is variously interpreted. We must
reject the view taken by Chr. B. Mich. from the Syr. and Arab. versions: upon mother
and young man; as also the view of Rashi, Cler., Eichh., Dahl., etc., that ם ֵא means the
mother-city, i.e., Jerusalem. The true rendering is that of Jerome and Kimchi, who have
been followed by J. D. Mich., Hitz., Ew., Graf, and Näg.: upon the mother of the youth or
young warrior. This view is favoured by the correspondence of the woman mentioned in
Job_6:9 who had borne seven sons. Both are individualized as women of full bodily
vigour, to lend vividness to the thought that no age and no sex will escape destruction
ים ֳַרה ָֽצּ ַ,בּ at clear noontide, when one least looks for an attack. Thus the word
corresponds with the "suddenly" of the next clause. יר ִ,ע Aramaic form for יר ִ,צ Isa_13:8,
pangs. The bearer of seven, i.e., the mother of many sons. Seven as the perfect number of
children given in blessing by God, cf. 1Sa_2:5; Rth_4:15. "She breathes to her life," cf.
Job_31:39. Graf wrongly: she sighs. The sun of her life sets (ה ָא ָ)בּ while it is still day,
before the evening of her life has been reached, cf. Amo_8:9. "Is put to shame and
confounded" is not to be referred to the son, but the mother, who, bereaved of her
children, goes covered with shame to the grave. The Keri א ָבּ for ה ָא ָבּ is an unnecessary
change, since שׁ ֶמֶשׁ is also construed as fem., Gen_15:17. The description closes with a
glance cast on those left in life after the overthrow of Jerusalem. These are to be given to
the sword when in flight before their enemies, cf. Mic_6:14.
CALVIN, "The Prophet shews here that the severe punishment of which he had
spoken could not be deemed unjust, according to what those men thought who were
querulous, and ever expostulated with God, and charged him with too much rigour.
Lest, then, the Jews should complain, the Prophet says briefly, that all the evils
which were nigh at hand were fully due, and so deserved, that they could find no
pity, even among men. We know that the worst of men, when the Lord punishes
them, have some to condole with them. There is no one so wicked that relatives do
not favor him, and that some do not console him. But the Prophet shews that the
Jews were not only inexcusable before God, but that they were undeserving of any
sympathy from men.
He first says, Who will pity thee? and then, Who will console with thee? The verb.
,נוד nud, means properly to give comfort by words, as when relatives, and friends,
and neighbors meet together for the purpose of mourning; they hear lamentations,
and join in them. But he says that no one would perform this office towards
Jerusalem. He adds, in the third place, And who will turn aside? or, strictly, change
place — Who will change place to enquire? or, as some render it, to pray. The verb
שאל shal, means properly to ask, and hence sometimes to pray. So, many give this
meaning, that there would be no one to pray for the Jews. But if we consider the
construction of the sentence, we shall see that the Prophet speaks of that duty of
kindness which men cultivate and observe towards one another, by enquiring of
their welfare, — “Are all things well with thee?” How dost thou do? Are all things
well with thee and thine?” When we thus enquire of the state of any one we shew
some concern for him, for love is always solicitous for the welfare of others. The
Prophet then says, “Who will turn aside to thee to enquire of thy welfare?” that is,
that he may know how thou art, and what is thy state and condition.
We hence see that the Jews are here divested of every complaint, for the whole
world would acknowledge them to be unworthy of any commiseration. But the
Prophet does not mean that all would act cruelly towards Jerusalem, but rather
shews, that such were their crimes that there was no room for courtesy, or for those
acts of kindness which men of themselves perform towards one another. (132)
Or who will turn aside to ask for peace for thee?
or, in our language, “to bid thee peace.”
The word “turn aside” seems clearly to favor this meaning. In the other case its
import does not appear. The intimation is, that no one would deem it worth his
while to turn out of his way to express a good wish in behalf of Jerusalem. — Ed.
COFFMAN, "Verse 5
FURTHER PROPHECIES OF JUDAH'S RUIN
"For who will have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who will bemoan thee? or who
will turn aside to ask of thy welfare? Thou hast rejected Jehovah, thou art gone
backward: therefore have I stretched out my hand against thee, and destroyed thee;
I am weary with repenting. And I have winnowed them with a fan in the gates of the
land; I have bereaved them of children, I have destroyed my people; they returned
not from their ways. Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas; I
have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a destroyer at
noonday: I have caused anguish and terrors to fall upon her suddenly. She that hath
borne seven languisheth; she hath given up the ghost; her sun has gone down while
it was yet day; she hath been put to shame and confounded: and the residue of them
will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith Jehovah."
The consistent use of the past tense in this paragraph should not be misunderstood.
"The first few verbs here (Jeremiah 15:5) and the last verb (Jeremiah 15:9) are in
the imperfect tense; and most of the rest are perfects. They portray that which has
not yet happened as though it had already transpired, so certain is the prophet that
it is going to come about."
"Thou art gone backward ..." (Jeremiah 15:6). The whole nation had reverted to the
gross paganism of the reign of Manasseh.
"I am weary of repenting ..." (Jeremiah 15:6). Judah was aware of the great truth
that when they repented God would turn and bless them again, as fully expounded
by Jeremiah a little later in this prophecy (Jeremiah 18:7-10); but this stresses
another fact that Judah had either forgotten or had never even known, that being
the fact that "there is a point of no return" in the persistent wickedness of any man
or of any nation. It was evident in the classical account of Balaam, who set out on a
rebellious course, contrary to God's instructions; and when the going became really
rough, he said, "I will get me back again" (Numbers 22:34); but God commanded
him, saying, "Go with the men" (Numbers 22:35). There always comes the time in
the career of rebellion against God that an angel with a drawn sword stands in the
way and says, "Go on in the way you have chosen; you have made your bed, now lie
in it; you have preferred to rebel, now abide by the consequences!" Even the
forgiveness metered out to the repentant sinner in many cases can never nullify the
physical consequences of a sinful life.
"They returned not from their ways ..." (Jeremiah 15:7). "It was no different in the
seventh century from what it was in the eighth (Amos 4:6-11)"; and from this is
seen the fact that a full century of God's forbearance with the rebellious Israelites
had made no significant difference whatever.
"The gates of the land ..." (Jeremiah 15:7). As Keil pointed out here, "`The gates of
the land' is undoubtedly a reference to the land of Judah."
"Mother of the young men" (Jeremiah 15:7) This is a metaphor in which Jerusalem,
or Judah, is represented as seeing her sons sacrificed to the sword.
PETT, "Jeremiah 15:5
“For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem? Or who will bemoan you? Or who
will turn aside to ask after your welfare?”
In consequence no one will have pity on Jerusalem Their future isolation is
emphasised threefold. None will have pity on Jerusalem and its people. None will be
sad because of their fate. None would be concerned about their welfare. They would
be ‘on their own’ with no one caring for them.
6 You have rejected me,” declares the Lord.
“You keep on backsliding.
So I will reach out and destroy you;
I am tired of holding back.
BARNES, "This verse gives the reason of the refusal of Yahweh to hear the prophet’s
intercession. The punishment due has been delayed unto wearisomeness, and this
seeming failure of justice has made Judah withdraw further from God.
CLARKE, "I am weary with repenting - With repeatedly changing my purpose. I
have often, after purposing to punish, showed them mercy. I will do it no longer; it is
useless. I took them often at their promise, and in every instance they have failed.
GILL, "Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord,.... His worship, as the Targum;
and had set up idols, and idol worship; and this was the cause of the sword, pestilence,
famine, and captivity, and of all the evils that befell them:
thou art gone backward; from the law of the Lord, and from his pure worship and
service, from his ways and from his ordinances; and therefore it was but just they should
go into captivity; hence it follows:
therefore will I stretch out mine hand against thee, and destroy thee; his
hand of power and vengeance, which when stretched out, and falls with weight, whether
on particular persons, or on a nation, brings inevitable ruin and destruction with it:
I am weary with repenting; not that the Lord ever changes his mind, or the counsel
of his will; in this sense he is without repentance; but the conduct of his providence, and
the dispensations of it; not executing the threatenings denounced, but sparing them a
little longer, showing mercy, and exercising patience and longsuffering; but now he was
as one weary and tired out, and was determined to bear no longer with them, but stir up
all his wrath against them, and destroy them.
HENRY 6-9, " They shall fall without being relieved. Who can do any thing to help
them? for (1.) God, even their own God (so he had been) appears against them: I will
stretch out my hand against thee, which denotes a deliberate determined stroke, which
will reach far and wound deeply. I am weary with repenting (Jer_15:6); it is a strange
expression; they had behaved so provokingly, especially by their treacherous professions
of repentance, that they had put even infinite patience itself to the stretch. God had often
turned away his wrath when it was ready to break forth against them; but now he will
grant no more reprieves. Miserable is the case of those who have sinned so long against
God's mercy that at length they have sinned it away. (2.) Their own country expels them,
and is ready to spue them out, as it had done the Canaanites that were before them; for
so it was threatened (Lev_18:28): I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land, in
their own gates, through which they shall be scattered, or into the gates of the earth, into
the cities of all the nations about them, Jer_15:7. (3.) Their own children, that should
assist them when they speak with the enemy in the gate, shall be cut off from them: I will
bereave them of children, so that they shall have little hopes that the next generation will
retrieve their affairs, for I will destroy my people; and, when the inhabitants are slain,
the land will soon be desolate. This melancholy article is enlarged upon, Jer_15:8, Jer_
15:9, where we have, [1.] The destroyer brought upon them. When God has bloody work
to do he will find out bloody instruments to do it with. Nebuchadnezzar is here called a
spoiler at noon-day, not a thief in the night, that is afraid of being discovered, but one
that without fear shall break through and destroy all the fences of rights and properties,
and this in the face of the sun and in defiance of its light: I have brought against the
mother a young man, a spoiler (so some read it); for Nebuchadnezzar, when he first
invaded Judah, was but a young man, in the first year of his reign. We read it, I have
brought upon them, even against the mother of the young men, a spoiler, that is,
against Jerusalem, a mother city, that had a very numerous family of young men: or that
invasion was in a particular manner terrible to those mothers who had many sons fit for
war, who must now hazard their lives in the high places of the field, and, being an
unequal match for the enemy, would be likely to fall there, to the inexpressible grief of
their poor mothers, who had nursed them up with a great deal of tenderness. The same
God that brought the spoiler upon them caused him to fall upon it, that is, upon the
spoil delivered to him, suddenly and by surprise; and then terrors came upon the city.
the original is very abrupt - the city and terrors. O the city! what a consternation will it
then be in! O the terrors that shall then seize it! Then the city and terrors shall be
brought together, that seemed at a distance from each other. I will cause to fall suddenly
upon her (upon Jerusalem) a watcher and terrors; so Mr. Gataker reads it, for the word
is used for a watcher (Dan_4:13, Dan_4:23), and the Chaldean soldiers were called
watchers, Jer_4:16. [2.] The destruction made by this destroyer. A dreadful slaughter is
here described. First, The wives are deprived of their husbands: Their widows are
increased above the sand of the seas, so numerous have they now grown. It was
promised that the men of Israel (for those only were numbered) should be as the sand of
the sea for multitude; but now they shall be all cut off, and their widows shall be so. But
observe, God says, They are increased to me. Though the husbands were cut off by the
sword of his justice, their poor widows were gathered in the arms of his mercy, who has
taken it among the titles of his honour to be the God of the widows. Widows are said to
be taken into the number, the number of those whom God has a particular compassion
and concern for. Secondly, The parents are deprived of their children: She that has
borne seven sons, whom she expected to be the support and joy of her age, now
languishes, when she has seen them all cut off by the sword in one day, who had been
many years her burden and care. She that had many children has waxed feeble, 1Sa_
2:5. See what uncertain comforts children are; and let us therefore rejoice in them as
though we rejoiced not. When the children are slain the mother gives up the ghost, for
her life was bound up in theirs: Her sun has gone down while it was yet day; she is
bereaved of all her comforts just when she thought herself in the midst of the enjoyment
of them. She is now ashamed and confounded to think how proud she was of her sons,
how fond of them, and how much she promised herself from them. Some understand, by
this languishing mother, Jerusalem lamenting the death of her inhabitants as
passionately as ever poor mother bewailed her children. Many are cut off already, and
the residue of them, who have yet escaped, and, as was hoped, were reserved to be the
seed of another generation, even these will I deliver to the sword before their enemies
(as the condemned malefactor is delivered to the sheriff to be executed), saith the Lord,
the Judge of heaven and earth, who, we are sure, herein judges according to truth,
though the judgment seem severe.
JAMISON, "weary with repenting — (Hos_13:14; Hos_11:8). I have so often
repented of the evil that I threatened (Jer_26:19; Exo_32:14; 1Ch_21:15), and have
spared them, without My forbearance moving them to repentance, that I will not again
change My purpose (God speaking in condescension to human modes of thought), but
will take vengeance on them now.
BI, "I am weary with repenting.
The Almighty weary with repenting
I. God repenting. God condescends to designate His conduct by that name. The
expression may be inadequate and defective, but still language had nothing better to
describe the idea, nor human experience to represent the fact. When God is pleased to
speak of Himself as pitying, repenting, grieving for man’s sake, what is evidently
intended is, that so intense is His love for man, that were His infinite nature capable of
these creature passions, His love would show itself in these very forms.
II. God provoked to a degree that He can repent no more. He is “weary with repenting”:
worn and tired out with having to cancel threatened sentences so often—as a potentate
of earth might be at finding that every fresh display of patience in his subjects masked
but deeper hatred to his rule, and every amnesty he declared was but a signal for raising
the standard of rebellion anew. What can man do, to move the Author of his being to
regard him in this way? We must not speculate; we must let the great God speak for
Himself; we must try to gather out of other Scriptures what those things are which are
said to weary God, wear out His patience, make Him tired of His forgivenesses,
reprieves, and revoked sentences.
1. Among these provocations we may note hypocrisy and allowed formality in
religious duty (Isa_1:13-14).
2. We may make God weary by presumptuous and unwarranted calculations upon
His mercy (Mal_2:17).
3. Another thing Scripture teaches us wearies, puts God out of patience, is unbelief, a
restoring to creature trust and dependencies, a want of simplicity and
unreservedness in accepting His promises, as if we thought He would not pay them
in full, or did not mean them to be taken by us, in all their length and breadth, and
depth and worth.
4. The awful limit prescribed in the text may be reached, and the Divine forbearance
tasked one step too far, by provocations after mercies. (D. Moore, M. A.)
Jehovah weary with repenting
The fact that God is “weary of repenting” shows—
1. That God had often turned from His threatenings, and dealt in mercy with the
2. That the Divine mercy had been frequently abused, and the people had gone back
again to their sins.
3. That not a change in His being, but only a change of relationship, is expressed by
the word “repent.”
4. That judgment is alien to God’s heart, whereas mercy is His delight.
5. That when God is met with persistent ingratitude, and men relapse continually
into sin, He must eventually punish them.
6. That the operations of the Divine mind can only be expressed in human language
with difficulty and limitation.
7. That we should be careful not to trifle with or abuse, the patient long-suffering of
God. (W. Whale.)
Divine judgments and man’s relation to them
Famine, pestilence, revolution, war, are judgments of the Ruler of the world. What sort
of a ruler, we ask, is He? The answer to that question will determine the true sense of the
term—the judgment of God. The heathen saw Him as a passionate, capricious,
changeable Being, who could be angered and appeased by men. The Jewish prophet saw
Him as a God whose ways were equal, who was unchangeable, who was not to be bought
off by sacrifices but pleased by righteous dealing, and who would remove the
punishment when the causes which brought it on were taken away; in other words, when
men repented God would repent. That does not mean that He changed His laws to
relieve them of their suffering, but that they changed their relationships to His law, so
that, to them thus changed, God seemed to change. A boat rows against the stream; the
current punishes it. So is a nation violating the law of God, it is subject to punishment,
judgment. The boat turns and goes with the stream; and the current assists it. So is a
nation which has repented and put itself into harmony with God’s law; it is subject to a
blessing. But the current is the same; it has not changed, only the boat has changed its
relation to the current. Neither does God change—we change; and the same law which
executed itself in punishment now expresses itself in reward. (W. Brooke.)
Thou hast forsaken Me.
God forsaking and God forsaken
I. A God-forsaking people. Conviction by God Himself of this great folly and sin. In Jer_
2:13, the charge is more complete. Creation is called upon to express surprise at a folly
1. “Thou”—who oughtest to have been unto Me a loyal and loving people, testifying
of My power and grace, and proving by separation from the nation your preference
for the living and true God.
2. “Hast forsaken”—not simply forgotten, or disobeyed, but of deliberate choice hast
taken other gods, and disregarded Jehovah.
3. “Me”—who called Abraham, etc.
II. A God-forsaken people.
1. Always retrograde. Unless they repent and obey God, there is no way forward and
2. Always in danger of destruction. If we forsake the mercy, we inherit the misery.
3. Always exposed to terrors and disasters.
4. Always drifting into languor, premature decline, shame, and death. (W. Whale.)
How men forsake God
A rule I have had for years is to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. It is not
a creed, a mere empty doctrine, but it is Christ Himself we have. The moment we receive
Christ we should receive Him as a friend. When I go away from home I bid my wife and
children good-bye; I bid my friends and acquaintances good-bye; but I never heard of a
poor backslider going down on his knees and saying, “I have been near You for ten years.
Your service has become tedious and monotonous. I have come to bid You farewell.
Good-bye, Lord Jesus Christ!” I never heard of one doing this. I will tell you how they go
away; they just run away. (D. L. Moody.)
CALVIN, "Then follows the reason — For thou hast forsaken me, saith Jehovah
Since, then, God had been rejected by the Jews, did not such a defection bring its
deserved reward, when they were deprived of every human aid? He afterwards
adds, Backward hast thou gone He intimates that there was a continuance in their
wicked defection; for they not only forgot God for a time, but departed far from
him, so as to become wholly alienated.
It then follows — And I will stretch out, etc.; that is, “therefore will I stretch out,”
etc.; for the copulative is to be taken here as an inative. This may be viewed as in the
past or the future tense; for God had in a measure already afflicted the people; but
heavier judgments awaited them. I am inclined to regard it as a prediction of what
was to come, as it immediately follows, I am weary with repenting, that is, “I have so
often repented that I cannot possibly be induced now to forgive; for I see that I have
been so often deceived, that I camlot hear to be deceived any longer.” Some, indeed,
give this version, — “I am weary with consoling myself,” and ,נחם nuchem, means
both; but the other sense seems to me the most suitable. I doubt not then but that
the Prophet means repentance. We indeed know that God changes not his purpose;
for men repent because their expectation often disappoints them, when things
happen otherwise than they had thought; but no such thing can happen to God; and
he is said to repent according to our apprehensions. God then repents of his severity
whenever he mitigates it towards his people, whenever he withdraws his hand from
executing his vengeance, whenever he forgives sins. And this had been often done to
the Jews; but they had made a mock of such mercy, and the oftener God spared
them the more audaciously did they provoke his wrath. Hence he says, “I am weary
with repenting so often;” that is, that he had so often spared them and suspended
his judgment. (133)
In short, he deprives the Jews of every excuse, and shews that they acted impiously
when they murmured against God, for they allowed no place to his mercy; nay,
whenever they found him recentliable they abused his forbearance with extreme
indignity and perverseness. It follows —
6.Thou hast broken loose from me, saith Jehovah; Backward dost thou walk; But I
will stretch my hand over thee and destroy thee; I have become wearied with