a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Judah’s Sin and Punishment


The sin of Judah is written with an iron pen; with a diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts, and on the horns of their altars, 2while their children remember their altars and their sacred poles, beside every green tree, and on the high hills, 3on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your sin throughout all your territory. 4By your own act you shall lose the heritage that I gave you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.



Thus says the L ord:

Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals

and make mere flesh their strength,

whose hearts turn away from the L ord.


They shall be like a shrub in the desert,

and shall not see when relief comes.

They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness,

in an uninhabited salt land.



Blessed are those who trust in the L ord,

whose trust is the L ord.


They shall be like a tree planted by water,

sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,

and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,

and it does not cease to bear fruit.



The heart is devious above all else;

it is perverse—

who can understand it?


I the L ord test the mind

and search the heart,

to give to all according to their ways,

according to the fruit of their doings.



Like the partridge hatching what it did not lay,

so are all who amass wealth unjustly;

in mid-life it will leave them,

and at their end they will prove to be fools.



O glorious throne, exalted from the beginning,

shrine of our sanctuary!


O hope of Israel! O L ord!

All who forsake you shall be put to shame;

those who turn away from you shall be recorded in the underworld,

for they have forsaken the fountain of living water, the L ord.


Jeremiah Prays for Vindication


Heal me, O L ord, and I shall be healed;

save me, and I shall be saved;

for you are my praise.


See how they say to me,

“Where is the word of the L ord?

Let it come!”


But I have not run away from being a shepherd in your service,

nor have I desired the fatal day.

You know what came from my lips;

it was before your face.


Do not become a terror to me;

you are my refuge in the day of disaster;


Let my persecutors be shamed,

but do not let me be shamed;

let them be dismayed,

but do not let me be dismayed;

bring on them the day of disaster;

destroy them with double destruction!


Hallow the Sabbath Day

19 Thus said the L ord to me: Go and stand in the People’s Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, 20and say to them: Hear the word of the L ord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. 21Thus says the L ord: For the sake of your lives, take care that you do not bear a burden on the sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. 22And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the sabbath or do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. 23Yet they did not listen or incline their ear; they stiffened their necks and would not hear or receive instruction.

24 But if you listen to me, says the L ord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but keep the sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall be inhabited forever. 26And people shall come from the towns of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the L ord. 27But if you do not listen to me, to keep the sabbath day holy, and to carry in no burden through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates; it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.


It appears more clear from this verse why the Prophet had commended before the excellency of his own nation, even that by the comparison their impiety might appear less excusable; for the more bountiful God had dealt with them, the more atrocious was their sin of ingratitude. As then the Jews had been raised high, so that their elevation appeared eminent through the whole world, the more detestable became their contumacy against God, and also their ingratitude in rejecting and despising a favor so remarkable, when they forsook him and followed idols, vain hopes, and their own false counsels. It is the same as though the Prophet had said, — “What does it avail you, that God dwells among you, and that the Temple is as it were his earthly habitation, where he converses familiarly with you? what benefit is this to you? for no one accepts of this favor; nay, we wilfully, and as it were designedly cast away from us this kindness which is freely offered to us.”

We hence see that all this ought to be read together, — that the throne of God was in Judea, but that the people in the meantime malignantly and wickedly rejected the favor offered them.

But the Prophet turns to God, that he might rouse the Jews, for such was their perverseness that he in vain taught them. And he says, Jehovah, the expectation of Israel! whosoever forsake thee shall be made ashamed; as though he had said, — “The ungodly multitude which accepts not the dignity by which our race excels all other nations, receives no benefit. God indeed dwells in the midst of us, but hardly one in a hundred cleaves to him; nay, almost all treacherously forsake him; but notwithstanding all their glory, they shall be made ashamed who thus reject the kindness of God.” The Prophet, in short, reminds the Jews how vainly and presumptuously they gloried, because God had adopted their race; for a reciprocity was required, so that they were to respond to God and receive his benefits. But when they perversely his favor, what could have remained for them?

Hence he says, Ashamed shall all they be made who forsake thee. By the word forsake, he intimates that the Jews had been favored by God; for this could not have been said in the same sense, and in an equal degree of the heafilens, as the heathens had never been gathered by God into one body; but the Jews alone had enjoyed this favor. When therefore he had manifested himself to them, and testified that he would be their Father, he was forsaken by them. This defection, of which the Jews alone were guilty, is noticed, because God had sought them for himself; he had also come to them, and made with them a covenant. As then they were thus brought nigh to God, this defection was the more execrable. This is what the Prophet means.

He now adds, And they who depart shall be written in the earth. Literally it is, “Who depart from me;” but the י, iod, at the end, as many think, is a servile letter. And some think that the word is a verb, and that the י, iod, at the beginning denotes the future tense, and they regard the י, iod, at the end to be for ו, vau, יסודו isuru, “Who depart.” Others suppose it to be a noun, and read יסורי isuri, for וסורים vasurim 180180     The reading of the Keri and of many MSS. is no doubt to be adopted, and the final ם as is sometimes the case, is dropped. It would then be, according to the Septuagint, וסורים Our version is the Vulgate. I would connect “earth” or land with this word, —
   And apostates in the land shall they be recorded.

   This would be their designation; they were to be handed down to posterity as apostates in the very land which God gave them. The reason why the ם is dropped is the connection of the word with “land,” though preceded by ב Ed
As to the meaning, it is evident that the Prophet designed here to shake off from the Jews the vain glory with which they were inflated, when they boasted that they were the people of God, the holy race of Abraham, the royal priesthood; all these things he ridicules as vain, as though he had said, — “Away with all these boastings, which are all false; ye are apostates, therefore your name shall be written in the earth.” No doubt, the earth here is set in opposition to heaven; and Scripture sometimes says, that the name of the wicked shall be a reproach on earth. But as they often acquire a celebrated and honorable name on earth, the Prophet makes a concession and says, “Be it so; let the world regard you as the holy race of Abraham, the blessed seed and the chosen people; let, in short, every one of you claim for himself whatever he pleases, but your name shall be on earth, and shall be blotted out from heaven; there will be no inheritance above for you, no portion in the kingdom of God.” He in short intimates, that the Jews would have no place before God and his angels, for they were unworthy that God shouhi regard them as his children, since they had wickedly denied him. He then grants them a name on earth; but it is the, same as though he had said, that they wickedly lied in boasting that they were a chosen people, since they themselves, as far as they could, obliterated the election of God.

He afterwards adds, Because they have forsaken Jehovah, the fountain of living waters. The Prophet confirms what he had said, lest the Jews should think that they were too severely rebuked, when he said that their name was blotted out from heaven: Ye have forsaken, he says, the fountain of living waters. “What does this mean? God (according to what is said in Jeremiah 2) manifested himself to you; is there not in him a full and sufficient happiness for you? What more can be sought for by a mortal man than to enjoy his God, in whom there is the fullness of all blessings? God has offered himself to you, and his bounty has ever been extended to you, as though he were a fountain from which you might draw enough to satisfy you; but ye have forsaken this fountain. You must therefore perish through thirst, and justly so, for your ingratitude has been so great as to despise these remarkable and invaluable favors of God.” It now follows —

VIEWNAME is study