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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 14

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Jeremiah 14:3 . They found no water. The latter rain had been denied, as in Jeremiah 3:3; and as Moses had foretold. Deuteronomy 11:17; Deuteronomy 28:23. Jeremiah, as is the duty of all ministers, improved this event of terror and affliction.

Jeremiah 14:6 . The wild asses did stand in the high places. See on Job 6:5. They snuffed the wind like dragons, when parched with heat. Elian, by dragons, understands the larger species of serpents.

Jeremiah 14:7 . Though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it. The meaning of this text, which seems obscure from its brevity, is, that our conscience and our conduct testify against us; the prayer therefore implies that God would answer the accusations by forgiving our sins, for his name’s sake.

Jeremiah 14:8 . Oh the Hope of Israel, called, Luke 2:25, the Consolation of Israel; the Messiah for whom the faithful waited, which in figure, says Menochius, agrees with Christ; yea, and literally so. The fathers, having this Hope, served God day and night. The prophet is afflicted to find that he who had promised to make the mercyseat his throne, and Israel his dwelling, should be as a stranger in the land, little concerned for its welfare; and when they prayed to him, that he should be as a man astounded. Thou oughtest to be as a mighty man, the captain of the host; yea, the prince of thy people.

Jeremiah 14:9 . Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied? Astonished, as the printers have latterly inserted. The LXX read, “as a man asleep.” But the original, נדהם nidham, which occurs only here, designates a man astounded, or paralysed with fear at our wickedness, and unmoved by the most piercing cries.

Jeremiah 14:12 . I will consume them by the pestilence. This scourge is fourteen times threatened by Jeremiah, and ten times by Ezekiel. The pestilence, it would seem, followed the famine. Ezekiel says, “the sword is without, the famine and pestilence within:” Ezekiel 7:15.

Jeremiah 14:15 . By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. As in Gehazi’s case, they shall be punished in kind; the one with leprosy, the other with the sword, which they had said should never come. And what death can be more terrific than that of a lying prophet?

Jeremiah 14:18 . The prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not. That is, say most critics, into Babylon, in despair and anguish of mind. Blaney understands this text of their going about the city trafficking with their lying prophecies, as the Judaizing teachers afterwards did. 2 Peter 2:3; 2 Peter 2:3. But the prophecy indicates rather that those false prophets should hawk their wares in captivity, to get a bitter morsel of bread.


The dearth mentioned here, occasioned by a drought, happened, as is supposed, in the latter part of Jehoiakim’s reign, or early in the reign of Zedekiah. Notwithstanding the long and sore oppression of Judah by the king of Egypt, and of Chaldea, the country produced plenty of food. And the people, now degenerate, consoled their calamities by idolatrous feasts; by dancing and drunkenness, and by closing the scene in dregs of wickedness too horrible for a name. Hence it became both wise and gracious in the economy of providence to withhold the resources of their sin. Conformably to the divine pleasure, the clouds gave no rain. The green and smiling aspects of nature withered under the solar heat; and the distant hills, instead of finishing the cheering shades of landscape, appeared as black forests in a mourning hue. The husbandman was appalled at the sight of his field. The nobility, accustomed to servants, sent their stoutest sons to the brooks and wells, but they returned with empty vessels. The loving hind, forgetful of her fawn; and the wild ass, snuffing the wind for vegetable fragrance, fled the country to escape death. All the people were wise who took the alarm and followed. How terrible are the horrors of famine: and how much more terrible when they are accompanied with reproaches of conscience, and alarms of greater punishments about to follow.

Jeremiah, unable to move his country, felt his own heart moved with the tenderest pity for the people. And though the Lord had twice before forbidden him to pray for the good of the nation, yet he ventured to plead again, and to utter all the feelings of his soul with a fervour scarcely less eloquent than when Moses prayed for Israel after they had worshipped the calf. He confesses their sin, associating himself with the guilty, and pleads all the endearing titles of grace in which God stood related to his people. Oh the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble, who has often wrought marvels for Israel; why shouldest thou, in this evil day, take no part in our calamities. Why shouldest thou seek to haste away as a stranger, and be deaf to cries and prayers offered with a broken heart?

Though Jeremiah could not move the Lord to send rain, yet he moved the Lord to defend his conduct, on the ground that Judah was incorrigible. The prayer of a righteous man cannot be utterly in vain; he was determined therefore still farther to remember and visit their iniquity. Yes, when the gracious rod fails of effect, the sword of the enemy must complete the punishment.

The false prophets, aiding the people’s depravity, were a leading cause of Judah’s contumacy. Contradicting Jeremiah, they forged prophecies that neither famine nor sword should afflict the church. Thus Satan was permitted to imitate the Messiah, and infatuate a base people by strong delusion.

The punishment of those prophets corresponded with their crime. They fell by famine, or were pierced by the sword, and without exception. And who would share his morsel with a confounded prophet, who had obstinately prophesied of peace and plenty. They would be the scorn and derision of men. So shall all hypocrites be confounded in the day of the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/jeremiah-14.html. 1835.
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