REMEMBER: Cp Lam 1:20; 2:20; 3:19; Psa 89:50,51. The
fervent prayer of a righteous man (Jam 5:16); the prayer of Hezekiah (Isa
37:14-20); prayer for the peace of Jerusalem (Psa 122:6).
SEE OUR DISGRACE: Rt wd "autumn" or "ripeness", perhaps
sig the fullness of iniquity -- as the wicked reap what they have sown (Gal
6:7). Note that Jeremiah accepts partial responsibility for the sins of his
Is it far-fetched to suppose that, in His mercy, God might
bring such reproaches on His Ecclesia before it is too late? Loss of homes and
wealth, break-up of families, destitution... But the flesh's failure can become
the Spirit's successes. And if we as God's children need the lesson reinforced
that we are still "strangers and pilgrims" on the earth, with no permanent
dwelling-place, and no "fine prospects" in this wicked generation -- then, most
assuredly, God will see that it is done.
OUR INHERITANCE: The promised land (Gen 13:15; Lev
26:5,6), a land of milk and honey (Exo 3:8; Lev 20:24), given only temporarily
and conditionally to the nation of Israel -- if they followed God (Jer 3:19).
But the same inheritance is promised eternally to us: still, "our inheritance"
may also be turned over to "strangers" if we are rejected at judgment seat (Mat
ORPHANS AND FATHERLESS: God had been the Father to
Israel (Psa 68:5; 103:13; Jer 31:9,10), but no longer.
The Jews, as a result of the captivity, are now so degraded
that they must buy from usurping strangers what was once their own
WE MUST BUY THE WATER WE DRINK: Judah is forced to buy
her water, because she had rejected the true and living "water" (Isa 8:6; 55:1;
Joh 4:10; 7:37); that is, she had rejected God, the fountain of living waters
(Jer 2:13,18; 17:3).
OUR WOOD CAN BE HAD ONLY AT A PRICE: Ct Isa 55:1:
"without money"! But the Jews spurned the invitation of the gospel (Rev 21:6;
Lit, as AV, "Our necks are under persecution." The Jews, a
stiff-necked people (2Ch 30:8; Isa 48:4), were downtrodden (Psa 66:12; Isa
51:23). Cp Lam 1:14; 3:34; 4:19.
WE SUBMITTED: Lit, "we have given the hand", in
submission (Jer 50:15, AV), or in begging (extending the hand: ct Deu 15:6), or
in agreement (making a pact: cp Eze 17:18; idea in Jer 2:18,36; Hos 7:11;
EGYPT: After Josiah's death (c 608 BC), Egypt deposed
his son Jehoahaz, and crowned Jehoiakin (2Ch 36:3,4).
ASSYRIA: Or Babylon, which occupied their former lands
(cp Jer 2:18). Cp also LAST DAYS Assyrian!
The nation has at last recognized the reason for God's heavy
hand upon them, the same hand which fell upon their fathers. Cp Zec
WE BEAR THEIR PUNISHMENT: The Jews had filled up the
measure of their fathers (Mat 23:32). Although every man bears personal
responsibility for his own actions, it is also true that national sins are often
unpunished for a time, and judgment is stored up until a later date, when it all
falls at once (Gen 15:13-16; 1Ki 21:26; 2Ki 24:20; Exo 20:5; Jer
Israel did not heed God's command to drive out the Canaanites
(Jos 16:10), who remained in the land and mightily oppressed them. One of 4
things earth cannot bear: "a servant (slave) who becomes king" (Pro 30:21,22); a
sad fact evidenced again in Israel's history when those ruthless Roman "slaves",
the Edomite Herods, reigned! Also, the governors soon to rule in the Land (Neh
Ct Jews in wilderness, who for 40 years gathered bread each
day (Exo 16:4...).
OUR SKIN IS HOT: Or "black" (AV). Affliction,
persecution, wandering (Song 1:5,6; Psa 119:83; Lam 4:8), famine (Rev
OVEN: Egypt = iron furnace (Deu 4:20). Here, fiery
persecution of the Jews.
Predicted in Deu 28:30,32; Jer 6:12. Israel's latter day
enemies will do this (Zec 14:2). But God sees and remembers, and will punish (as
in Isa 13:16; Psa 137:7-9).
HUNG UP BY THEIR HANDS: Prob impaling after death.
Thus, falling under a curse (Deu 21:23; Gal 3:13).
ELDERS ARE SHOWN NO RESPECT: See Lam 4:16.
The young men grind, a low and menial task, usually assigned
to female slaves (Exo 11:5; Isa 47:2) or other women (Mat 24:41). The
Philistines could think of no greater degradation with which to torment their
blinded former nemesis Samson (Jdg 16:21).
THE ELDERS ARE GONE FROM THE CITY GATE: Counsel (as Rth
4:1), as well as social and commercial activity (as Job 29:7; Pro 31:23), had
ceased. A reversal of the status that had existed previously: Deu 21:19; 22:15;
25:7; Josh 20:4; Rth 4:11; Pro 31:23.
JOY IS GONE FROM OUR HEARTS; OUR DANCING HAS TURNED TO
MOURNING: A reversal of Psa 30:11. Jeremiah was inspired to do this on
purpose -- to make the point even more forcibly.
Now was the "time to weep" (Ecc 3:4), as Nehemiah was to mourn
when he later saw the city lying waste (Neh 2:2,3). But "joy comes in the
morning" (Psa 30:5,11), and "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Psa
THE CROWN HAS FALLEN: Sym royalty, fallen (Eze 21:26;
Psa 89:39; Hos 3:4) because Israel had rejected God (1Sa 8:7). Also, sym
obedience to the Truth (Rev 2:10; 3:11), dedication and priesthood (Exo
28:36-38), grievously lacking in Israel.
Cp Lam 1:22; 2:11.
MOUNT ZION: The center of all true Jewish hopes (Isa
2:2-4; 24:23; Psa 133:3).
JACKALS PROWLING OVER IT: Cp Psa 63:10. Unclean
scavengers, representing the unclean nations who "walk upon" the hope of
This is the one means by which the Jews' sorrowful condition
may be changed: God's kingdom was once on earth (1Ch 28:5; 2Ch 13:8), and it
will be reestablished (2Sa 7:12-16; Act 1:6; Zec 14:16) as His throne (Jer
FOREVER: Lit "for the age" (Eur 1:127-130). The age is
evidently this age: the time of the Gentiles, the prophetic period now drawing
to a close.
A quotation from Jer 31:18. True humility at last! A
recognition that, as the punishments came from God, so forgiveness must come
from Him as well, and repentance and renewal of purpose, by His grace and
strength, will follow. It is vain to lament the past if our grief does not help
us to make the future better, by seeking help from the one unfailing Source.
RENEW OUR DAYS AS OF OLD: "As in the days of old" (Mal
In Heb mss, v 21 is usually repeated after v 22 -- so as to
close the Book on a more positive note (the same type of repetition is found in
some Heb mss at the end of Isa, Eccl, and Mal).
UNLESS...: But God is not necessarily angry forever (ie
Lam 3:31-33). There will yet be opportunity for Israel to repent (Psa 24:9,10;
Rom 11:26; Mat 23:39).