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Drought, disease and war (14:1-15:9)
A severe drought had hit Judah. People in all walks of life, from nobles to farmers, were affected by it, and they covered their heads as a sign of their distress. They had difficulty in getting enough water to keep themselves alive, and their animals were beginning to suffer from disease. Some had already died because of the lack of food (14:1-6).
Pleading on behalf of the people, Jeremiah confesses the nation’s sins. He asks God to cease acting as if he were an uninterested traveller passing through a strange land, and instead act to help them. After all, the land is his and so are the people (7-9). In reply God points out that he cannot overlook their sin. Jeremiah should stop pleading for them, because nothing can now save them from God’s judgment, a judgment that will come through war, famine and disease (10-12).
Jeremiah tells God that prophets have been assuring the people that these calamities will not overtake them (13). God replies that such prophets are false prophets. They will perish in shame and so will all those who believe them. The people have welcomed these prophecies of peace, because by such assurances they feel free to increase their wrongdoing without fear of punishment (14-16). Jeremiah weeps publicly to impress upon people the sorrow he feels as he foresees their terrible suffering (17-18).
Though his past pleas have not been answered, Jeremiah pleads with God yet once more. On behalf of the people he confesses their wrongdoing and asks that God will be merciful to them and give them rain. He prays that God will not forsake his people but will remember his covenant with them. There is no other God they can call upon to help them (19-22).
God replies that though Moses and Samuel had in the past pleaded successfully on behalf of the people (e.g. Exodus 32:11-2.32.14; Numbers 14:13-4.14.25; 1 Samuel 7:5-9.7.9; 1 Samuel 7:5-9.7.9; 1 Samuel 12:19-9.12.25), the nation has now passed the point where God can extend his mercy further. The false religion promoted by Manasseh still controls the attitudes of the people, and the nation will come to a cruel and humiliating end (15:1-4).
Time and again God has punished his people, with the purpose that they might acknowledge their sin and return to him; but always it has been without result. They do not deserve any further pity (5-6). The final slaughter is too horrible to imagine, but when people refuse to change their ways, such a judgment becomes inevitable (7-9).
Jeremiah’s anguish; God’s comfort (15:10-21)
The prophet again complains to God because of the unjust treatment he suffers. He has done no harm to the people, and in fact has pleaded on their behalf for God’s mercy upon them, yet they hate him. They are angered at his attacks on their sin and his forecasts of judgment. Their hearts are as hard as iron (10-12). God’s word is that the Judeans will be invaded, plundered and taken captive (13-14).
Knowing that God is understanding, Jeremiah asks that he will protect him from death and deal with his persecutors (15). He was glad to be God’s representative, to receive God’s message and pass it on to the people; but when they heard that message and knew that the prophet was angry with them because of their sin, they cut themselves off from him. Lonely and discouraged, Jeremiah feels that even God has failed him. He feels like a thirsty person who has come to a stream, only to find that the stream has dried up (16-18).
In response God tells Jeremiah that he must stop speaking idle words of self-pity, and speak useful words as a true servant of God should. He must not copy the people and their worthless attitudes; they must copy him. If they continue to oppose him, God will protect him (19-21).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 15". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany