Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 15

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

Verses 1-21

Jeremiah 15:1 . Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, as when Moses by his prayers saved the nation, Exodus 32:11, and Samuel in Mizpeh was heard, when the Lord terrified the Philistine armies by thundering from heaven, and scattering all their host. 1 Samuel 7:10.

Jeremiah 15:2 . Such as are for death, to death. By death is here evidently intended the pestilence; which, with the sword, the famine, and the captivity, should consume the whole nation.

Jeremiah 15:3 . I will appoint over them four kinds of visitations, saith the Lord; words which are often repeated by this prophet with some variations: chap. 14:15. First, the sword, which shall defeat and slay the young men in the field, a martial spirit being denied them in this crisis of affairs. Next, the dogs and foxes shall feed on the slain, Then vultures and ravens shall succeed in the feast. And lastly, the wild beasts shall follow and complete the carnage. What a revolting portrait to the pride of Judah.

Jeremiah 15:8 . The mother. Jerusalem, here called the metropolis or mother-city, having borne many children, and become the mother of many cities, against whom Nebuchadnezzar, the spoiler, came.

Jeremiah 15:12 . Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel? The reference seems to be to the Chalybes, a northern nation on the Black sea, famed as workers in iron, and skilled in tempering steel. From this nation, the name of our chaly-beate waters, or tepid mineral springs, is derived. Strabo 12. God had promised, Jeremiah 1:18, to make Jeremiah “like a fortified city, like a pillar of iron, and a wall of brass.” The words then are full of strong consolation, that the invasion against Judah, as a revolted nation, should hurt neither the prophet nor the praying remnant.

Jeremiah 15:17 . I sat not in the assembly of the mockers. See Psalms 1:1. I have not gone to their feasts. I sit alone. And where, alas, is my joy in the Lord?

Jeremiah 15:18 . Wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar? This is a rough reading. The sense is, wilt thou deceive me in the above promise of divine support, as a man is deceived, who coming thirsty to brooks and fountains, finds them dried up. When the prophet spake these words, there was great drought and dearth in all the land: Jeremiah 14:3.


Jeremiah continues here to preach the same sermon to the Jews, but with new modifications, and if possible with more impressive figures. Manasseh’s sins had so sapped the morals of the nation, as to frustrate every effort for the salvation of the people. But let us observe what an honour God here puts upon his praying servants; with what respect and affection he speaks of Moses and Samuel, who had been dead many centuries. If any thing could have reconciled him to Israel, it would have been their intercession. “This shows the power of prayer, and what pleasure God takes in his worshipping servants,” says the judicious Orton. “It also shows what a blessing those are who offer up earnest prayers for their country, and how desirable and necessary it is that we should abound in supplication on this account.

We next see how difficult it is to bear censure and reproach with patience and cheerfulness. Jeremiah was much out of frame, through the strife and contention of his countrymen; and it is indeed hard to live peaceably and keep our temper, when we live among bad neighbours, who are disposed to pick quarrels and spread slander.

Faithful ministers have reason to expect opposition. Jeremiah had pursued no secular business, which is often the source of envy and contention; he acted in his own sphere, and delivered his messages faithfully; and merely on this account these wicked men hated and persecuted, and did all they could to silence him as a troublesome man. Let none of God’s faithful servants, particularly his ministers, wonder, if they are called by evil names; and if they who are reproved, and will not be reformed, censure their best friends, and those who would save them from destruction.

Ministers in such circumstances are to meditate on the word of God; to digest it, and endeavour thoroughly to understand and relish it. They are not to study to please men by sinful compliances, and by bringing down christian precepts to their standard; but to deliver their messages faithfully, and urge men to come up to the purity of the christian standard. They are to distinguish between the precious and the vile, to reprove the wicked and the careless, to encourage and comfort the righteous. They are to consider themselves as God’s mouth, to speak nothing but what his word requires; and when they do so we are to consider them as God’s mouth, and pay as much regard to what they say, as if God himself spoke to us. These are maxims necessary to be regarded by us at all times, especially amidst prevailing degeneracy; and in so doing God will support and deliver us, and we shall stand before him with honour and acceptance through Jesus Christ.”

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/jeremiah-15.html. 1835.
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