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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.


Here the Prophet, as though terrified, hides himself under the wings of God, for he saw that apostasy and every kind of wickedness prevailed everywhere throughout the land; he saw that the principal men of his nation were wicked despisers of God, and that they vainly boasted of their own descent, while yet destitute of all care for justice and uprightness. When therefore he saw that the land was thus infected, in order that fainting might not overcome him, he presents himself to God, as though he had said, “What shall become of me, Lord? for I am here surrounded with wickedness; wherever I turn I find nothing but what allures and leads me away from true religion and the sincere worship of thy name. What then will be the case if thou forsakest me? I shall be immediately seized, and it will be all over with me, for there is no safety in the whole land, and no healing, it is as though pestilence prevailed, so that no one can go forth lest he should meet with some contagion.” Thus the Prophet in this passage, on seeing the whole land so polluted with crimes that there was not a corner free from them, flees to God for help, and says, “O Lord, I cannot be safe except thou keep me; I cannot be pure except my purity comes from time.” We now understand the design of the Prophet, and how this verse is connected with the preceding verses.

He says first, Heal me, and I shall be healed; as though he had said that he was now diseased, having contracted a taint from corrupt practices. He therefore seeks healing from God alone, and through his gracious help. And for the same reason he adds that then only he should be safe when saved by God.

We are taught by these words, that whenever stumbling-blocks come in our way, we ought to call on God with increasing ardor and earnestness. For every one of us must well know his own infirmity; even when we have not to fight, our own weakness does not suffer us to stand uncorrupted; how then will it be with us, when Satan assails our faith with his most cunning devices? While therefore we now see all things in the world in a corrupted state, so that we are allured by a thousand things from the true worship of God, let us learn by the example of the Prophet to hide ourselves under the wings of God, and to pray that he may heal us, for we shall not only be apparently vicious, but many corruptions will immediately devour us, except God himself bring us help. Hence the worse the world is, and the greater the licentiousness of sin, the more necessity there is for praying God to keep us by his wonderful power, as it were in the very regions of hell.

A general truth may be also gathered from this passage, that it is not in man to stand or to keep himself safe, so as to be preserved, but that this is the peculiar kindness of God; for if man had any power to preserve himself, so as to continue pure and unpolluted in the midst of corruptions, no doubt, Jeremiah would have been endued with such a gift; but he confesses that there is no hope of healing and of salvation, except through the special favor of God. For what else is healing but purity of life? as though he had said, “O Lord, it is not in me to preserve that integrity which thou requirest:” and hence he says, Heal me, and I shall be healed. And then, when he speaks of salvation, he no doubt intended to testify, that it is not enough for the Lord to help us once or for a short time, except he continues to help us to the end. Therefore the beginning, as well as the whole progress of salvation, is here ascribed by him to God. It hence follows that all that the sophists vainly talk about free-will is reduced to nothing. They indeed confess that it is not in man’s power to stave himself; but they afterwards pull down and subvert what they seem to confess, for they say that the grace of the Spirit concurs with free-will, and that man saves himself while God is co-operating with him. But all this is mere trifling; for the Prophet here not only implores help, and prays God to succor his infirmity, but he confesses that it is God’s work alone to heal and to save him.

And this he further confirms by saying, Thou art my praise; 181181     Both the object and the ground of praise: Thou art he whom I praise or glorify; or, Thou art he who givest me an occasion to praise. “Thou art my boasting (καύχημα,”) is the Septuagint. — Ed. for he thus declares that he effected nothing, but that all the praise for his salvation was due alone to God; for how can God be said to be our Praise, except when we glory in him alone? according to what is said in the ninth chapter. If men claim even the least thing for themselves, they cannot call God their praise. The Prophet then acknowledges here that he contributed nothing towards the preservation of his purity, but that this was wholly the work of God. And then he confirms his own hope, as he doubted not but he would be heard by God, for he asks of him whatever was necessary for his salvation.

We have then this general rule, that if we desire to obtain from him the beginning and the end of our salvation, his praise must be given to him, so that we may glory in him alone. If then we own ourselves destitute of all power, and flee to God under the consciousness of such a want, we shall doubtless obtain whatever is needful for us; but if we are inflated with the conceit of our own power, or of our own righteousness, the door is closed against us. We now then see the benefit of this confirmation; it assures the faithful that they shall find in God whatever they may want, for they do not obscure the glory of God by transferring to themselves what peculiarly belongs to him, but confess that in him dwells what they cannot find in themselves. The rest I defer till to-morrow.

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