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Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a spring of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!- Jeremiah wishes he had more emotional capacity than he has as a person. His desire to weep may mean that he wept before God, and therefore thought he could change God's mind about Judah's judgment.

But like us, Jeremiah didn’t always have such a heart of compassion. Initially he didn’t even want to preach to his people. And he even prayed that he would so grieve for them in regard to the message he gave them, that he would cry for them day and night. And this prayer was heard. For by Lamentations, this is just what he was doing. And if what we read of Jeremiah troubles us, we too can pray for a heart that bleeds, and through the experience of life which the Lord allows us, He will develop such a heart in those who want it. You may be so caught up in your business, your family, your ecclesia even, your web of social contact… that in honest moments, you know that your heart doesn’t bleed as it should. You see the needs and pain and struggle of men and women, but it doesn’t touch your heart very deeply. Jeremiah may well have been like this; but he prayed for a new heart, and so can you. Jeremiah had actually been commanded by God to have such a level of grief for His people: “Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken” (Jer. 14:17). Jeremiah’s grief was God’s word of care and concern to the people; and so it can be with us. Jeremiah was to be like this, to reflect God’s passion for His people; so he prayed that he would have such a heart of true compassion [note that the chapters in Jeremiah are totally out of sequence chronologically]; and in the end, he found it.

The Biblical record contains a large number of references to the frequent tears of God’s people, both in bleeding hearts for other people, and in recognition of their own sin. And as we have seen, these things are related. Consider:

-   “My eye pours out tears to God” [i.e. in repentance?] (Job 16:20)

-   Isaiah drenches Moab with tears (Is. 16:9)

-   Jeremiah is a fountain of tears for his people (Jer. 9:1; Lam. 2:8)

-   David’s eyes shed streams of tears for his sins (Ps. 119:136; 6:6; 42:3)

-   Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Mt. 23:37)

-   Blessed are those who weep (Lk. 6:21)

-   Mary washed the Lord’s feet with her tears (Lk. 7:36-50)

-   Paul wept for the Ephesians daily (Acts 20:19,31).

We have to ask whether there are any tears, indeed any true emotion, in our walk with our Lord. Those who go through life with dry eyes are surely to be pitied. Surely, in the light of the above testimony, we are merely hiding behind a smokescreen if we excuse ourselves by thinking that we’re not the emotional type.  Nobody can truly go through life humming to themselves “I am a rock, I am an island… and an island never cries”. The very emotional centre of our lives must be touched. The tragedy of our sin, the urgency of the world’s salvation, the amazing potential provided and secured in the cross of Christ…surely we cannot be passive to these things. We live in a world where emotion and passion are decreasing. Being politically correct, looking right to others… these things are becoming of paramount importance in all levels of society. The passionless, postmodernist life can’t be for us, who have been moved and touched at our very core by the work and call and love of Christ to us. For us there must still be what Walter Brueggemann called “the gift of amazement”, that ability to feel and say “Wow!” to God’s grace and plan of salvation for us.

Jeremiah wished he had more moisture in his body, so that he could weep both day and night for Judah- and yet he goes on to describe them as proceeding from evil to evil in an ever downward spiral, shooting lies everywhere… Everyone is special, nobody is like anyone else. This is how God sees His children, and we should reflect this perspective. It is this which will make us arrestingly different from the people with whom we daily walk. We will cry out with Jeremiah: “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?”, unmoved and lost as they are in their own petty issues (Lam. 1:12).


Jeremiah 9:2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! For they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men-
"Lodging place" is the same word translated "lodge" in Jer. 14:8. There, Jeremiah seems to see it as tragic that God had felt this way about His people. And indeed it was and is. The desire to leave them was because they were adulterous women and dishonest men. "Treacherous" is used about Judah's marital infidelity in Jer. 3:8,20; Hos. 5:7. And so the God of all grace, the most surpassingly loving husband, wanted to become an endlessly travelling man, weary of the road, who wanted to just turn in to a one night motel and rest from His weariness. He elsewhere speaks as if the emotional drain of the relationship wearied Him (Jer. 15:6). This of course is Almighty God adjusting Himself to mortal man, allowing Himself to feel through our limitations.

We can too easily assume that these are the thoughts of Jeremiah. But the references to "my people" in the passage point us toward God as the person expressing these feelings. And then in Jer. 9:3 we have the speaker defined: "... and they know not me, said the Lord". These were God's thoughts. He wished He had human tear ducts to weep with... this was how He felt for them. There is a mutuality between God and His people. Several passages in Jeremiah shows how the prophet feels or says something, and Yahweh responds to it (e.g. Jer. 9:1,2 = Jeremiah; v.3 = God; v. 10 = Jeremiah; v. 11 = God's response).

Jeremiah 9:3 They bend their tongue, as their bow, for falsehood; and they are grown strong in the land, but not for truth: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they don’t know Me, says Yahweh- Jeremiah's mourning turns into that of God Himself. The process of inspiration meant that Jeremiah felt as God did. The proceeding from evil to evil refers to how God was confirming them in the downward path they had chosen; see on Jer. 7:21,24. Specifically, their gossiping was associated with 'proceeding from evil to evil' (Jer. 9:3); it is part of a downward spiral of spirituality. Once gossip starts a quarrel, it's like water bursting out of a dam; soon the whole land of Israel will be flooded (Prov. 17:14 NIV). Because gossip is such an epitome of the flesh, it is ranked along with sins like fornication, idolatry and murder in Ez. 22:9. There are passages in Jeremiah which describe slander and gossiping as being the reason why God condemned Judah (Jer. 6:28; 9:3-8). The soap operas of the world are full of this kind of gossip and intrigue; they glorify it. And the more we feed ourselves with these things, the more likely we will be to see gossip as just part of life. And yet let's not mistake the words of the prophets; it is seen as murder, because effectively it puts to death a man's relationship with his fellows. God hates the man who sows such discord among brethren through gossip in the church (Prov. 6:19). "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly" (Prov. 26:22). That casual remark, that passing on of information under the guise of 'concern'- it was a body blow to the one you gossiped about, a blow so hard that it caused deep internal damage. 

Jeremiah 9:4 Beware everyone of his neighbour, and don’t trust in any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will go about with slanders-
This speaks to Israel as if they were all Esau, being warned about the cunning of his brother Jacob: “Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant”. Again, in a clever way, both Jacob and Esau are shown to be in the wrong, and Jacob is therefore treated as Esau. See on :26. Perhaps Jeremiah's over positive view of his own people and the priesthood, which would've included his own family and brothers, needed some correction; he is warned here that they will seek to slander and destroy him, which in fact they later did.

Jeremiah 9:5 They will deceive each one his neighbour and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity-
Jerusalem 'wearied herself' with lies in that the "lies" were her dishonest covenants with the various surrounding nations, as well as with Yahweh (s.w. Ez. 24:12). She even became 'weary' of this way of life; but still she would not be purged. The Hebrew word carries the idea of loathing; they in a sense hated their sin (s.w. Jer. 9:12), climaxing in Jerusalem loathing herself and wanting to pluck off her own breasts (Ez. 23:34). The world is full of people weary with sin, who loathe their own addictions and sin, yet they will not surrender themselves to God's demands and be purged. We note that as Judah were wearied in their life of sin, so God was wearied [s.w.] in His endless relenting regarding punishing them, and weary of the pain of being deceived and rejected by them (Jer. 15:6). The picture is being built up of a relationship coming to an end, with both sides eliciting the same negative emotions in the other. The God of Israel is not far off and stone faced; He is passionately in relationship with His people, with all the feelings that go with being in relationship.

Jeremiah 9:6 Your habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me, says Yahweh-
The ESV is correct: "Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the LORD". The sense is of a downward spiral of spiritual declension. They were so obsessed with immediate wealth that they deceived and oppressed their brethren to get it. This is true of some Pentecostal pastors today just as much as it was of Israel in those days. And indeed, materialism is an addiction, and it leads to an ever increasing spiral of deceit and oppression, however indirect or operated through third parties, in order to attain it.

Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how should I deal with the daughter of My people?-
This rhetorical question reflects the 'humanity of God'. He really was as it were in despair at what to do in order to keep them as His people. There was so much dross that He could only melt them in the fire of the Babylonian invasion in order to remove that dross. But it happened that they were resistant even to that; Ezekiel uses the same figure about the same people at this time, and he says that the cauldron holding the metal was destroyed by the heat, and no dross was removed.

Not only in our own self-examination should there be unity between our judgment and that of the Father; elsewhere it is Jeremiah who was told to "know and try" Israel's way, just as God said that He did (Jer. 6:27 cp. 9:7; 17:10). Our 'judging' of others, as well as ourselves, must be according to God's judgments of them. And further; if we know the judgments of God, then we will be more strongly motivated in our preaching and pastoral work, to pull men out of the fire of condemnation (Jude 23).

Jeremiah 9:8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceit: one speaks peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in his heart he lays wait for him-
The idea in Jer. 5:16 was that every arrow in the quiver of the invaders would bring death; but this was because the tongue of the Jews had been as deadly arrows. This reflects the huge importance God places upon honest words and not being hurtful with our tongues.

Our world’s devaluing and misunderstanding of sin has likely affected all of us. We see the rich abusing the poor, manipulation of all sorts going on, petty injustices, hypocrisy in the ecclesia, falsehood, cheating in business, white lies, unkindness to ones’ brethren… and we shrug and think that it’s just normal, part of life as it is. And yet for the prophets, these things were a catastrophe. Saying one thing to someone whilst feeling differently about them in the heart was the reason for God passionately wishing to take vengeance “on a nation such as this” (Jer. 9:8,9)- note that the whole nation are counted as guilty, in that society just shrugged at hypocritical words. What to us are the daily minor sins and injustices of life were to them issues of cosmic proportion.

Jeremiah 9:9 Shall I not visit them for these things, says Yahweh-
The "things" are those of :8, the apparently relatively minor sins of deceit and dishonest words. We would rather think that the "things" in view would be idolatry. But dishonest words and hypocritical speaking are of such critical importance to God.

Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?- God had been Israel's wife and was in love with her. His deep desire for avenging was therefore absolutely connected with His great love for her. There had to be response from Him. This rhetorical question, enquiring as to whether Yahweh should take vengeance on Israel, is thrice repeated in Jeremiah (Jer. 5:9,29; 9:9). The answer of course is "Yes, God would be justified in doing so". And that answer was perhaps the repentance which God sought in order to avert the coming of His judgment.

Jeremiah 9:10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the pastures of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none passes through; neither can men hear the voice of the livestock; both the birds of the sky and the animals are fled, they are gone-
Jeremiah so believed the words he was relaying to Israel, that he now interjects with his own grief at what was to happen. Jeremiah speaks of the pain of his heart after having spoken of the pain that would reach unto the heart of Judah (Jer. 4:18,19). The pain of their heart became the pain of his heart. And yet Jeremiah had the mind of God in this sense, as David was after God’s own heart. This is reflected by the way in which it is very difficult at times in Jeremiah to decide who is speaking- Jeremiah, or God. Jer. 9:1-3,10,11 is a good passage to work through from this perspective, asking ‘Who is speaking? Jeremiah, or God?’. Their minds were clearly so intertwined. Both of them are described, in consecutive verses, as rising up early to plead with Israel (Jer. 25:3,4).

But the picture presented here is of the complete destruction of all life in the land, through fire. But this didn't happen; soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, the people who remained [who were many] still brought food offerings to the site of the temple (Jer. 41:5). This word will come finally true, for the 'heavens and earth' of Israel are to be destroyed by fire in the last days just as the world of Noah's time was destroyed by water (2 Pet. 3). But in Jeremiah's time, the full extent of the planned wrath didn't come about. Perhaps there was a modicum of repentance or intercession which stopped it, or perhaps God delayed, reapplied or rescheduled His full intentions because He knew that Judah would not repent as intended.

Jeremiah 9:11 I will make Jerusalem heaps, a dwelling place of jackals; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant-
As explained on Jer. 9:10, this didn't completely happen to the extent here prophetically envisaged. As noted on :10, we note again the shift of speaker from Jeremiah to God. What began as Jeremiah's interjection of pain in :10 now merges into the actual prophetic thoughts of God. The jackal comes to eat what the lion has left in the carcase; the idea was that after the lions of Babylon had finished with Jerusalem, there would be others who came to totally destroy her. But this didn't historically happen, because it seems God relented from the full execution of His wrath. The language here of Jerusalem's destruction into heaps haunted by jackals is applied to Babylon (Jer. 51:37). What latter day Babylon does to Jerusalem shall be done to her; and that is the theme of the book of Revelation, where the seals of judgment upon Israel become the vials of judgment upon the beast system.

Jeremiah 9:12 Who is the wise man, that may understand this? Who is he to whom the mouth of Yahweh has spoken, that he may declare it?-
Whoever truly understood God's word would declare it. Hearing God's word in faith is associated with declaring it (Jer. 9:12). “Your participation in the [preaching of the] gospel” is paralleled with “your faith” (Phil. 1:5). If we really believe, we will be involved in the preaching of what we believe. The false prophets were the "wise men" of Jer. 8:9. If they were truly wise they would declare the same truths which Jeremiah was stating. It would be true to say that attitudes to evangelism reflect the sincerity of an individual's belief.

Why is the land perished and burned up like a wilderness, so that none passes through?- Already God had sent famine, so the land was perished, and for fear of the Babylonian incursions, Palestine was no longer a highway and the Jews were scared to travel. Perhaps "the land" in view is also specifically that of the ten tribe kingdom which had already been destroyed, and which Judah was intended to take warning from.

Jeremiah 9:13 Yahweh says, Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, neither walked therein-
God's law and His voice are paralleled. The word was to be seen as a living word, God actively in ongoing communication with people; rather than a set of regulations which could be partially obeyed on the level of cultural conformity to the faith of their fathers. And that is a challenge which echoes to God's people of all generations.

Jeremiah 9:14 But have walked after the stubbornness of their own heart, and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them-
The choice was between walking after God's word (:13), or walking after their own hearts. This is where God's word is not like any other literature. It is to take a grip upon the human heart and to inculcate a way of thought which is contrary to our own natural heart or thinking. This points up the danger of using the Bible simply to reinforce our own natural ideas, whilst disregarding the rest. "Stubbornness" also can mean "imagination". Dt. 29:19 speaks directly of Judah at this time- when they heard the words of the curses for disobedience, they would think they would still have peace because they walked in the imaginations [s.w. "stubbornness"] of their own hearts. The false prophets were preaching exactly such "peace" (Jer. 6:14; 8:11). The heart [mind] is a fountain of imagination, of fantasy, and it is this which can be redirected by the influence of God's word and Spirit upon the human heart. But the sense of "stubbornness" in the Hebrew word for "imagination" shows that by exercising our own imaginations without the influence of God's word, we become set in those ways of thought, until they come to define us.

Jeremiah 9:15 Therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink-
This judgment was taken by the Lord Jesus on the cross, who was there "the servant of Yahweh", which Israel had been intended to be. Wormwood and gall were what would be the result of false teachers encouraging the people to commit idolatry (Dt. 29:18). So they had fed themselves with these things, and their judgment to drink them was therefore God's confirmation of people in what they themselves had chosen. And that is how all His judgments operate.

Jeremiah 9:16 I will scatter them also among the nations, whom neither they nor their fathers have known-
Judah were to be scattered to the Babylonian empire, whom they had not "known"; although they eagerly served their gods, to the point of sacrificing their children to them. But they didn't "know" them in the Hebraic sense of having relationship with them. For Yahweh was and is unique in offering passionate personal relationship. This sets the background for the magnificent statement in :24 that God's true people "know" Him.

And I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them- As explained on Jer. 9:10, this didn't completely happen to the extent here prophetically envisaged. The jackals who were to come after the Babylonian lions to finish off the carcass (see on :11) didn't come.

Jeremiah 9:17 Thus says Yahweh of Armies, Consider, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for the skilful women, that they may come-
The wonder of this is to be 'considered'; for as explained on :18, it is quite something for God Almighty to invite mourning over "us", the failed relationship He was in with Israel, with all the tragedy of that statement. The idea of mourning women was that they were intended to provoke mourning in others, and this was God's desire too. Or it could be that in line with the statement in :1, both God and Jeremiah felt unable to lament as much as they wished, they were at full personal capacity, and 'needed' others to mourn in addition.

Jeremiah 9:18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters-
“The Lord of hosts” even calls the mourning women to come “and raise a lament over us” (Jer. 9:17,18). The “us” is God and Israel. The tragedy is awful, beyond words. All commentary is bathos. His love is wondrous. The intimacy is such that some versions replace the "us" with "you". But this is an example of translation bias when the translator cannot accept the wonder of God's true revelation.

Jeremiah 9:19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we ruined! We are greatly confounded-
We are either ashamed of our sins in repentance; or we will be made ashamed of them in the judgment (Jer. 6:15 RVmg.)- it’s shame either way. We either wail for our sins now, or we will wail for them at judgment day (Jer. 9:19,20).

Because we have forsaken the land, because they have cast down our dwellings- The idea is "Our dwellings have cast us out". This is picturing the inhabitants of Zion as they realize they are going to be taken into captivity. Hence GNB: "Listen to the sound of crying in Zion: "We are ruined! We are completely disgraced! We must leave our land; our homes have been torn down". The homes that were torn down are those of the wealthy, the historical records emphasize that both the "great houses" and the temple were thrown down. So those "in Zion" who are wailing are the wealthy leadership; for it was they and not the poor of the land who were taken into captivity. The mourning women are called to add their voice to these women who are actually wailing as they face captivity (:18).


Jeremiah 9:20 Yet hear the word of Yahweh, you women, and let your ear receive the word of His mouth; and teach your daughters wailing, and each one her neighbour lamentation-
To "hear the word of Yahweh" is a call to repentance. Even when facing captivity, these women could still repent. We note in Jeremiah that the women are given more emphasis than in contemporary accounts. Later in Jeremiah we learn that they were absolutely behind the behaviour of their men. If they lamented for the tragedy of what had happened in spiritual terms, and not just for the human tragedy of it all, then they would soon return. We see God's enthusiasm for their repentance, imagining it, wanting to even teach them repentance.

The women were to teach this song of repentance through lamentation to others. Those who heard God's call to repentance are to naturally teach repentance to others (Jer. 9:20 cp. 19). If we have really received forgiveness, and have thereby grasped hold of salvation here and now, the wonder of our own experience will inevitably lead us to tell others, as it did David and Peter.

Jeremiah 9:21 For death has come up into our windows, it is entered into our palaces; to cut off the children from outside, and the young men from the streets-
This is part of the dirge of repentance God wanted them to learn (:20). They were to accept that the judgment of death had come upon them like a flood, right up to their windows out of which they were looking. Their great houses, or "palaces", had been entered by death. But they were still alive. It was like the living lamenting their own death. The idea was that they recognized that the judgment of death was correct and appropriate; and yet by grace they would be saved out of it. It was as if from the windows they were watching the children and youths perishing in the streets- even though they had sacrificed their own firstborns to the idols. This was the picture alluded to in Zech. 8:5, where in the reborn Zion, the youth and children would play happily in the streets when all possibility of such condemnation was taken away.

Jeremiah 9:22 Speak, Thus says Yahweh-
It is as if the funeral dirge was being taught to them in stanzas.

The dead bodies of men shall fall as dung on the open field, and as the handful after the harvester; and none shall gather them- This is a repeat of Jeremiah's prophetic words, but the repentant women are asked to repeat them. By so doing they would demonstrate their acceptance of the justice of the condemnation. The harvester dropped handfuls of grain which the impoverished gleaners like Ruth then picked up; but there would be no gleaners. Repentance involves accepting that God's judgments are right, and placing them in our own mouths in agreement.

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus says Yahweh, Don’t let the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, don’t let the rich man glory in his riches-
This is still part of the song of mourning and repentance which Yahweh wanted them to sing (see on :20). The false prophets were the "wise men" of Jer. 8:9. And so the repentant dirge was to involve a repudiation of those men in favour of a humble acceptance of God's word and principles (:24). The rich and mighty are identified here with the "wise men". They had become wealthy through religiously and spiritually abusing the people. The wealthy women who were about to go into captivity (for the "poor of the land" didn't go into captivity) were to resign the importance of personal wealthy and glory. This too is part of repentance.

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he has understanding, and knows Me-
The repentance song (:20) was to involve the recognition that the only true understanding is repentant relationship with Yahweh. This must be given full weight today, where "understanding" and "knowledge" have become understood to mean pure academic, theological knowledge. But the true understanding is in repentance and from our knees, arising to relationship with God. The glory in 'knowing' Yahweh is set against the background of :16. Judah were to be scattered to the Babylonian empire, whom they had not "known"; although they eagerly served their gods, to the point of sacrificing their children to them. But they didn't "know" them in the Hebraic sense of having relationship with them. For Yahweh was and is unique in offering passionate personal relationship.

That I am Yahweh who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says Yahweh- The women were about to go into captivity and had lost their loved ones. But the repentance song involves accepting that Yahweh is just, and full of grace, kindness and righteousness. His "delight" is in them; He just loves doing them. But Israel had turned away from them. Although God does slay the wicked, He has no "delight" in that (Ez. 18:23,32 s.w.). Repentance involves the faith that God's dominant desire is kindness and salvation, although He does justly judge sin. This would have been a hard funeral dirge to sing, lamenting over the dead bodies of those who had just been slain. Repentance and humility before God involves accepting that He is essentially just as well as gracious. And so many find this song hard to sing. It is the spirit of Hab. 3:17,18, where despite the hard reality of the Babylonian destruction, Habakkuk still rejoices and exalts in the God whose ways he obviously struggled to immediately understand. This is in fact the true understanding and knowledge of God.

Jeremiah 9:25 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will punish all those who are circumcised along with the uncircumcised-
Jer. 9:25 RV speaks of punishing “them which are circumcised in their uncircumcision”. As Paul makes clear, one can be circumcised physically but not spiritually. A person can be circumcised yet effectively uncircumcised at one and the same time. This is the nature of the spiritual schizophrenia which so afflicts us. This verse ends the funeral dirge of repentance which God had wished the women to sing in :20-24; now He points out that physical circumcision is not going to make any difference. Perhaps the false prophets had taught that circumcision meant that the covenant was with Judah and they could not therefore be destroyed. The fact the ten tribes were destroyed, although circumcised, was wilfully overlooked. As circumcision was seen as something which was the duty of the women to perform, this point is perhaps made at this point because the women have just been specifically addressed. Covenant relationship involved understanding and knowing God in repentance (see on :24)- not in physical circumcision.

Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt, Judah, Edom and the children of Ammon, Moab and all that have the corners of their hair cut off, who dwell in the wilderness; for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart
- This makes it clear right back then that circumcision was a matter of the heart more than the flesh; and that therefore there was no essential difference between a spiritually uncircumcised Israel and their apostate cousins. See on :4. The surrounding nations had their various signs of identification, often connected with how their hair or beards were cut. The sign of identity God had chosen was not visible; it was upon the most concealed part of the male body. And this spoke of how the real sign of identity as God's people was in fact nothing external, but in the state of heart, a way of thinking with the flesh cut off from it. This is why we may look the same as others in this world, on some counts. But the difference is in our hearts.