Verse 1 – “O you children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa (5 miles from Bethlehem), and set up a signal-fire in Beth Haccerem (the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem); for disaster appears out of the north, and great destruction.
The Lord warned Jeremiah’s own tribe of Benjamin, to flee away from Jerusalem to Tekoa, and a smoke signal would be seen half-way between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Verse 2 – I have likened the daughter of Zion to a lovely and delicate woman.
Verse 3 – The shepherds with their flocks shall come to her. They shall pitch their tents against her all around. Each one shall pasture in his own places.”
The shepherds were the leaders of Babylon’s armies, and their flocks were their troops.
Verse 4 – “Prepare war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe to us, for the way goes away, for the shadows of the evening are lengthening.
Verse 5 – Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.”
Verse 6 – For thus has the Lord of hosts said: “Hew down trees, and build a mound against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished. She is full of oppression in her midst.
Verse 7 – As a fountain wells up with water, so she wells up with her wickedness. Violence and plundering are heard in her. Before Me continually are grief and wounds.
Verse 8 – Be instructed, O Jerusalem, lest My soul depart from you; lest I make you desolate, and land not inhabited.”
Verse 9 – Thus says the Lord of hosts: “They shall thoroughly glean as a vine the remnant of Israel; as a grape-gathered, put your hand back into the branches.”
The remnant mentioned here is not the righteous remnant. This remnant are those left after the first wave of destruction. Babylonians invaded Judah three times until they destroyed the nation and the temple completely (2 Kings 24:25).
Verse 10 – To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.
The people had closed their hearing to what God had to say. Following God demands discipline and some will block out the truth because it’s not exciting enough.
Verse 11 – Therefore I am full of fury of the Lord. I am weary of holding it in. “I will pour it out on the children outside, and on the assembly of young men together; for even the husband shall be taken with the wife, the aged with him who is full of days.
Jeremiah was not mincing words with God’s message. He made sure everyone heard it.
Verse 12 – And their houses shall be turned over to others, fields and wives together; for I will stretch out My hand against the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord.
Verse 13 – “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priests, everyone deals falsely.
Verse 14 – They have also healed the hurt of my people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.
Just ignore it, and maybe it will go away! This was the response from Jeremiah’s warnings. Denying the truth never changes anything. What God says is going to happen.
Verse 15 – Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them. They shall be cast down,” says the Lord.
Does this not sound familiar in our society today? Things that God calls detestable are not even blinked at today. People have no sham, nothing embarrasses them. That’s why they continue to do it. There is no fear of any consequences; no one to answer to. Then they turn on those who live by God’s standards and start name calling. They will one day stand before God All Mighty and have to answer. There will be no excuse.
Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
Verse 16 – Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for you souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
We face the same decision today: People walk in their own ways instead of following God’s ways. The same path that the Israelites took, will ultimately lead to destruction.
Verse 17 – Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
Verse 18 – Therefore hear, you nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
Verse 19 – Hear O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words, nor My law, but rejected it.
Verse 20 – For what purpose to Me comes frankincense from Sheba, and sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet to Me.’
These rich spices that came from southwest Arabia, were used in their pagan rituals. The people tried to make them a substitute for obeying God in their sacrifices. If we don’t start with a right attitude of the heart, everything we do is useless.
Verse 21 – Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall on them. The neighbor and his friend shall perish.”
Stumbling blocks can be anything that God chooses to use. In this case, it was the Babylonians invasion.
Verse 22 – Thus says the Lord: “Behold, a people come from the north country, a great nation will be raised from the farthest parts of the earth.
Verse 23 – They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion.”
The Assyrians were ruthless, inhumane.
Verse 24 – We have heard the report of it; our hands grow feeble. Anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor.
Verse 25 – Do not go out into the field, nor walk by the way. Because of the sword of the enemy, fear is on every side.
Verse 26 – O daughter of My people, clothe yourself with sackcloth, and roll about in ashes! Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the plunder will suddenly come upon us.
Verse 27 – “I have set you (Jeremiah) as an assayer (tested the quality of the people) and a fortress among My people, that you may know and test their way.
Today, we have God’s written word in order to test ourselves.
Verse 28 – They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers. They are bronze and iron, they are all corrupter’s;
Verse 29 – The bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire; the smelter refines in vain, for the wicked are not drawn off.
Verse 30 – People will call them rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.”
Metal is purified by fire. As it is heated, impurities are burned away, and only the pure metal remains. The evil ones were the “dross” that could not be separated from the pure silver.
When we go through a time of testing, impurities that have no use will be removed, but we look for the end result that can be used mightily for the kingdom of God. He knows what needs to go!