Jer. 6:1 ¶ O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst

of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in

Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.

 

It appears that the Lord is referencing the Southern Kingdom in the name of

Benjamin at this point. My first thought was, “Why?” I found out that

Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, is located in the territory of Benjamin. The

call is for the people to flee from Jerusalem and head south (Tekoa is 12 miles

south of Jerusalem) because enemies are approaching from the north intent on

great destruction. According to Eerdman’s, Bethhaccerem was one of the “fire

signal stations” used to send messages for military purposes throughout the

kingdom.

 

Jer. 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.

 

Jerusalem had been chosen as God’s dwelling place on earth. It was a beautiful

city that was chosen as a place of His special delight. The prophet Isaiah declares

this truth beautifully.

 

Isaiah 5:1–4 “Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his

vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and

gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in

the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth

grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men

of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done

more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?”

 

Jer. 6:3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch

their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

Jer. 6:4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us!

for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.

Jer. 6:5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.

 

One generally associates the reference to a shepherd as good, but the context of

these verses clearly identifies these shepherds as the enemy. They are

surrounding Jerusalem in the position of a siege. They are coming against

Jerusalem in war. Some of the commentaries indicate that the enemy is eager as

indicated by their desire to attack at noon (when it is hottest) and to continue

their attack into the night in spite of the lack of light.

 

Jer. 6:6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a

mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression

in the midst of her.

Jer. 6:7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness:

violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.

 

It is obvious from these verses that the LORD is on the side of the enemy. He is

expressing His encouragement for the enemy to cut down trees and build a siege

ramp. He intends for the city of Jerusalem to be punished (visited) for her

wickedness. Her wicked actions are pictured as waters gushing from a

fountain—many and affecting those surrounding her. God declares that the

sounds coming from her testify to the violence and oppression that characterizes

her. Instead of a place in which He can delight, all He sees when He looks at her

is sickness and wounds—a place in need of healing.

 

Jer. 6:8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I

make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.

Jer. 6:9 ¶ Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the

remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the

baskets.

 

Through the prophet God calls for the people of Jerusalem to listen to His

message of warning. He is still pleading with them to repent; otherwise, He is

going to distance Himself from them and cleanse the land of their wicked

presence by causing them to be taken captive by the enemy. He paints a word

picture by comparing them to a vine that will be thoroughly gleaned. The vine

won’t be completely destroyed, but all the fruit will have been removed. It is

very clear from the wording that God is in control.

 

Jer. 6:10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold,

their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the

LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Jer. 6:11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding

in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of

young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the

aged with him that is full of days.

Jer. 6:12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and

wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land,

saith the LORD.

 

The prophet is wondering if there is anyone willing to listen to the word of God.

He observes that their ear is uncircumcised; in other words, their ears were not

attuned to hearing spiritual truth; this prevented them from understanding that

they were in danger. They took no delight in being confronted with their sin and

told that they needed to repent and obey. I wonder how many in the “church”

today have uncircumcised ears?

 

Verse 11 seems to picture the prophet in righteous anger and exhausted from the

lack of response of the people. He calls out for God to pour out His wrath on the

city—from youngest to oldest. He urges the LORD to give the enemy success,

and the LORD affirms that He will.

 

Jer. 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is

given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one

dealeth falsely.

Jer. 6:14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly,

saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

Jer. 6:15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they

were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall

among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down,

saith the LORD.

 

The LORD testifies to the depravity of the people. Every level of society is

described as covetous—even the prophets and priests, those who should be

representing God to the people, cannot be trusted. They have told the people

that God is going to give them peace, while His true prophets are declaring

judgment to come. They are blatant and unashamed in their sin; it was to the

point that couldn’t even blush in light of their wicked actions. Bottom line—God

is going to destroy them in punishment for their sin.

 

Again, I can’t help but make comparison to the prevalent culture in America

today. What was clearly identified as sin when I was young is now openly

embraced as acceptable behavior today. Evangelical churches were known for

teaching according to the truth of God’s word and identifying sin and the need

for repentance and salvation. It seems to me that the number of churches doing

the same today is much fewer, and those who do are being categorized as

radical and intolerant. I believe we are incurring God’s wrath just as surely as

did Israel and can expect to be punished with His judgment with the same

certainty.

 

Jer. 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the

old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for

your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Jer. 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the

trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

 

Again the LORD entreats His people to stop and look at themselves. Pay

attention to the conditions of the covenant promises declared by Moses and

follow them. If they will do this, they will find rest and protection. But the

belligerent response of the people—We will not obey the LORD. The LORD was

faithful to give them watchmen who were faithful to declare His truth; the

response of the people—We will not listen. They are determined to live their

own lives according to their own desires. The mantra in America and much of

the world today is the same—just stated a little differently: If it feels good, do it.

 

Jer. 6:18 ¶ Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is

among them.

Jer. 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit

of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my

law, but rejected it.

Jer. 6:20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the

sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor

your sacrifices sweet unto me.

 

The LORD now calls for the Gentile nations and the earth to witness His

declaration. My paraphrase—I am going to judge my people according to their

own way of reasoning since they have chosen to reject Me as LORD. I don’t

know why they are still going through the motions of offering incense before Me.

These offerings are unacceptable and mean nothing to Me.

 

This thinking is in tune with the thinking of so many today. They expect God to

be happy with the offerings they bring to Him of their own choosing without any

regard as to what He wants. God is sovereign. His way is the only acceptable

way to approach Him. Anything we try to offer Him outside of His declared will

will be rejected.

 

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh

unto the Father, but by me.”

 

Samuel was very clear in declaring God’s heart regarding sacrifices and

offerings.

 

1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings

and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than

sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

 

Solomon adds to our understanding from the Proverbs.

 

Proverbs 21:2–3 & 27 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD

pondereth the hearts. To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than

sacrifice…. The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth

it with a wicked mind?”

 

Jer. 6:21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks

before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them;

the neighbour and his friend shall perish.

Jer. 6:22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north

country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.

Jer. 6:23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no

mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array

as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.

 

In this section of verses YHWH is basically saying that He is going to ensure His

wicked people are destroyed with a vicious refining fire. The word for

stumblingblock means “cause to fall” and is from a root that means to cause the

ruination of or to cause to be overthrown. He is going to send a people from the

north, a great nation (later to be identified as Babylon) against Judah. The enemy

will be strong, cruel and merciless. They will be so great in number that their

approach on horseback will sound like the roaring of the sea.

 

Jer. 6:24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath

taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

Jer. 6:25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the

enemy and fear is on every side.

Jer. 6:26 O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself

in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for

the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.

 

Jeremiah indicates that the people knew about this mighty nation. Just the

thought of their approach provoked fear and great anxiety comparable to a

woman in the throes of childbirth or as the pain caused by the loss of an only

son. Warning is to expect attack from every direction. Jeremiah calls for his

people to clothe themselves in sackcloth in mourning and repentance of their sin.

 

Jer. 6:27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou

mayest know and try their way.

Jer. 6:28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass

and iron; they are all corrupters.

Jer. 6:29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder

melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.

Jer. 6:30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected

them.

 

It seems that the LORD is declaring Jeremiah to be strong tower of truth among

the people with the gifts of knowledge and discernment regarding the people of

Judah. He can verify God’s declaration that the people are “hardened rebels”

(NIV) and liars. They are comparable to bronze and iron, inferior metals (as

noted by the CJB). They are corrupters—those who are spoiling and ruining the

health of the nation.

 

Verse 29 represents what is supposed to be a refining fire that will burn away the

waste and leave what is pure. In fact, the fire is so hot that the bellows used to

fan the flame is burned. The problem—there is just too much dross; the nation is

wicked to the core. They are identified as “rejected silver,” because the LORD

has rejected them.

 

The prophet Isaiah declared this same message.

 

Isaiah 1:21–22 “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment;

righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine

mixed with water:”

 

This is a very sad commentary on a nation that was established with such

blessing and promise. How do you think America would emerge from this

process today? I believe we too would be identified as rejected silver.