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Friday, September 29th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 5

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


The capture and the destruction of Jerusalem was owing to its utter immorality. Josiah’s reforms were frustrated by the immorality prevalent among all classes. The prophet sees evil triumphing, but we must not take his words so literally as to conclude that there were no good men then in Jerusalem (compare Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 24:5).

Verse 1

The broad places - The open spaces next the gates, and other places of concourse.

A man - Or, anyone.

That executeth - “That” practiceth.

Truth - uprightness, probity (so in Jeremiah 5:3).

Verse 2

Though they take the most binding form of oath, they do so only as a means of deceiving others.

Verse 3

Upon the truth - God looks to the “faith,” the upright purpose of the heart, and without it the nominal fealty of an oath is an abomination.

Verse 4

Therefore - More simply “and.”

They are foolish - Or, they act foolishly (see Numbers 12:11), not having that knowledge which would enable them to guide their ways with discretion.

Verse 5

They have known ... - Men of education, who read the Scriptures, and learn from them the nature of God’s judgments.

But these - literally, surely they (compare Jeremiah 5:4).

The yoke - The Mosaic law.

And burst ... - They have torn off, torn themselves loose from.

The bonds - The fastenings by which the yoke was fixed upon the necks of the oxen.

Verse 6

Evenings - See the margin. From its habit of skulking about in the twilight the wolf is often called the “evening wolf” Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3, but the word used here means a sandy desert.

Leopard - panther.

Verse 7

Rather, Why, “for what reason” should “I pardon thee?”

When ... - Or, “though I bound them to me by oath, yet they committed adultery.”

The harlots’ houses - The harlot’s house, i. e., the temple of an idol; the prophet had also in view (see Jeremiah 5:8) the unchastity which accompanied most forms of nature-worship.

Verse 8

In the morning - Render, they rove about. Some prefer, “(horses) from Mesech.”

Verse 10

Her walls - It is Possible that not the city walls, but those of a vineyard are meant. Judaea is God’s vineyard Isaiah 5:1-7, and God permits the enemy to enter the vineyard to destroy her.

Battlements - tendrils. The tendrils and branches of Judah’s vine are given up to ruin, but not the stock. See Isaiah 6:13 note.

Verse 12

It is not he - i. e., Who speaks by the prophets.

Verse 13

Word - Rather, speaker. Literally, And he who speaketh is not in them, i. e., there is no one who speaketh in them; what the prophets say has no higher authority than themselves.

Thus ... - i. e., May the evil which the prophets threaten fall upon their head.

Verse 15

Israel is not put here for the ten tribes, but for the whole house of Jacob, of which Judah was now the representative.

Mighty - “permanent, enduring.” The word is the usual epithet of the rocks Numbers 24:21, and of ever-flowing streams Deuteronomy 21:4, Hebrew). It describes therefore a nation, whose empire is firm as a rock, and ever rolling onward like a mighty river. The epithet “ancient” refers simply to time.

Whose laguage thou knowest not - This would render them more pitiless, as they would not understand their cries for mercy.

Verse 16

Their quiver - See Jeremiah 4:29, note.

Verse 17


It shall eat “thine harvest and thy bread:”

They shall eat “thy sons and thy daughters.”

It shall eat thy sheep and thy cattle:

It shall eat “thy vines and thy fig-trees.”

They shall impoverish ... - Or, It shall batter thy “fortified cities, wherein thou” trustest, with weapons of war. There is probably reference here to an instrument like a battering-ram, with which the Assyrians beat down the walls of their enemies.

Verse 19

The reason why God so chastises His people. As they in a land especially consecrated to Yahweh had served “strange” (i. e., foreign gods, so shall they in a land belonging to others be the slaves of strangers.

Verses 20-31

Bear rule by their means - Rather, “The priests” rule at their hands, i. e., govern according to their false prophecies, guidance, and directions.

My people love to have it so - False teaching lightens the yoke of God’s Law, and removes His fear from the conscience: and with this, man is ready to be content.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/jeremiah-5.html. 1870.
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