Jeremiah 5

Sinners have reason to expect punishment on account of God’s holiness to which sin is highly offensive.
Sin will not go unpunished, else the honor of God’s government cannot be maintained,
and sinners will be tempted to think Him altogether such a one as themselves.

1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

2 And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely.

3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

4 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.

5 I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.

6 Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.

7 ¶ How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.

8 They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.

9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

10 ¶ Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD’S.

11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD.

12 They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:

13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.

14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

15 Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.

16 Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.

17 And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.

18 Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you.

19 ¶ And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not your’s.

20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,

21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:

22 Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.

24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

25 ¶ Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.

26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.

27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.

28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

30 ¶ A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;

31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Jeremiah 5:1-6, 19-31 – ​Widespread Corruption

   Diogenes, the cynic, was discovered one day in Athens in broad daylight, lantern in hand, looking for something. When someone remonstrated with him, he said that he needed all the light possible to enable him to find an honest man. Something like that is in the prophet’s thought. God was prepared to spare Jerusalem on lower terms than even Sodom, and yet He was driven to destroy her. Both poor and rich had alike “broken the yoke, and burst the bonds” (Jeremiah 5:5). The description of the onset of the Chaldeans is very graphic. They settle down upon the land as a flock of locusts, but still the Chosen People refuse to connect their punishment with their sin. It never occurred to the Chosen People that the failure of the rain, the withering of their crops, and the assault of their foes, were all connected with their sin. There is nothing unusual in this obtuseness for as we read the history of our own times, men are equally inapt at connecting national disaster with national sin.
   How good it would be if the national cry of today were that of Jeremiah 5:24: Let us now fear the LORD our God! Notice the delightful metaphor of Jeremiah 5:22. When God would stay the wild ocean wave a barrier of sand will suffice. The martyrs were as sand grains but wild persecutions were quenched by their heroic patience. —Through the Bible Day by Day


All of human experience is not contained in seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. The five senses are not the boundaries of human knowledge. Humanity is endowed with higher faculties than these. If one chooses to live on a plane higher than that of the brute he may experience emotions and aspirations that are higher than those of the animal kingdom. He may also rise still higher and think the thoughts of God. To do so, however, one must approach God in the proper attitude and in a manner consistent with His being. God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. They that approach the throne of mercy in any other manner, whether in vaunting conceit or by impertinent inquisition, will find the heavens a brazen canopy that will send back the echo of their prayers. The starry skies reveal no beauty to those who cover their telescopic lens with a flannel rag, and God’s revelation contains no word of promise to those who cloak it with their own conceit.

Jeremiah 5:21

Jeremiah 5:22—The sand for the bound of the sea, that it cannot pass.

​   What an insignificant atom is a grain of sand! But God has chosen to arrest the advance of the mighty billows by a barrier of sand-grains. Let the ocean chafe as it will, it cannot pass its defined limits. It may destroy the solid masonry of human construction, but it is foiled by a bank of soft sand.

       “What cannot his power accomplish for me,
       Who makes of soft sand a strong bar to the sea!”

   There are many illustrations of this in the history of the Church. The pride of the persecutor has been arrested by the prayers and tears of men, women, and children, who have had no more strength in themselves than a bank of sand-grains, but have succeeded in arresting the might of their foes. The persecutions of the Roman Empire were finally renounced because they actually promoted the cause they were intended to destroy. By the weak things of this world God brings to naught the things that are reckoned mighty.
   What a picture of weak submission, of suffering patience, of unresisting gentleness is the sand! What a type of God’s hidden ones, whom the world knows not! Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings He ordains strength: out of weakness He makes strong: out of the passive sufferers He makes his strongest ramparts.

       “The race of God’s anointed priests shall never pass away;
       Before his glorious face they stand, and serve Him night and day.
       Though reason raves, and unbelief flows on a mighty flood,
       There are, and shall be, till the end, the hidden priests of God.” —Our Daily Homily