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CHAPTER 15 Ju1. 25 
The People Will be Punished
Then Yahweh said to me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind would not be towards this people: cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth. 2It shall happen, when they tell you, Where shall we go forth? Then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh: Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for captivity, to captivity. 3I will appoint over them four kinds, says Yahweh: the sword to kill, the dogs to tear, the birds of the sky and the animals of the land, to devour and to destroy. 4I will cause them to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the land because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem. 5For who will have pity on you, Jerusalem? Or who will bemoan you? Or who will turn aside to ask of your welfare? 6You have rejected Me, says Yahweh, you have gone backward: therefore have I stretched out My hand against you and destroyed you; I am weary with relenting. 7I have winnowed them with a fan in the gates of the land; I have bereaved them of children, I have destroyed My people; they didn’t return from their ways. 8Their widows are increased to Me above the sand of the seas; I have brought on them against the mother of the young men a destroyer at noonday: I have caused anguish and terrors to fall on her suddenly. 9She who has borne seven languishes; she has given up the spirit; her sun is gone down while it was yet day; she has been disappointed and confounded: and their residue will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, says Yahweh.
Jeremiah Complains to God 
10Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole land! I have not lent, neither have men lent to me; yet everyone of them curses me. 11Yahweh said, Most certainly I will strengthen you for good; most certainly I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you in the time of evil and in the time of affliction. 12Can one break iron, even iron from the north, and brass? 13Your substance and your treasures will I give for a spoil without price, and that for all your sins, even in all your borders. 14I will make them to pass with your enemies into a land which you don’t know; for a fire is kindled in My anger, which shall burn on you. 15Yahweh, you know; remember me, and visit me, and avenge me of my persecutors; don’t take me away in Your long suffering: know that for Your sake I have suffered reproach. 16Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me the joy and the delight of my heart: for I am called by Your name, Yahweh, God of Armies. 17I didn’t sit in the assembly of those who make merry, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of Your hand; for You have filled me with indignation. 18Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You indeed be to me as a deceitful brook, as waters that fail?
God Replies
19Therefore thus says Yahweh, If you return, then I will restore you, and you shall stand before Me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is base, you shall be as My mouth: they shall return to you, but you shall not return to them. 20I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to save you and to deliver you, says Yahweh. 21I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the hand of the terrible.


15:1 The implication is that when an individual or group of God’s people have a modicum of spirituality, then one individual like Moses is able to make Him feel positively toward them. The power of third party intercession for others means that we should constantly be in prayer for our brethren. But ‘the power of one’ works the other way, too; for :4 speaks as if all Judah suffered because of the sins of one man.
15:15 Jeremiah asks for vengeance on his persecutors, and in :18 accuses God of deceiving him. God’s response is to ask him to repent of this, so that he can resume his prophetic work: “If you [Jeremiah] return, then I will restore you, and you shall stand before Me [prophetic language]. If you utter what is precious, and not what is base, you shall be as My mouth” (:19). Perhaps Jeremiah had this incident in mind when he commented: “The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against His word” (Lam. 1:18). This indicates that at least in Jeremiah’s case, he was not irresistibly carried along by the Spirit in some kind of ecstasy, having no option but to speak God’s word. His speaking of God’s word required that he shared the essentially loving and gracious spirit / disposition of his God. This incident is also another example of how God’s preachers so often don’t want to do the work; God tends to use those who are weak and feel inadequate to share His word with others, not the fluent and self-assured.
15:16 Jeremiah had found God’s word and eaten it, and as a result, “I am called by Your name”- the language of a woman marrying and taking her husband’s name (Is. 4:1). The word of God was his “joy [and] delight”- two words used four times elsewhere in Jeremiah, and always in the context of the joy of a wedding (7:34; 16:9; 25:10; 33:11). Jeremiah saw his prophetic task as actually a marriage to God, an inbreathing of His word and being, to the point that he could say that he personally was “full of the wrath / passion of God” (6:11). No wonder these prophets felt alone amongst men. They had a relationship with God which others couldn’t enter into, which totally affected their lives and beings. The preacher / testifier of Jesus knows something of this spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
15:17 Jeremiah “sat alone”. Not only was the prophets’ perspective on human sinfulness so very different to that of their audience. They preached a message which was counter-cultural and attacked the very bases of the assumptions which lay at the core of individual and social life in Israel. They appeared to back Israel’s enemies. They and their message was therefore rejected.
15:19 Jeremiah often makes a play upon the Hebrew word shub- it can mean to turn away (from God), and also to 'turn back' or repent (e.g. 3:1,7,10,12,14,19,22; 4:1). If Jeremiah and Judah turned in repentance, then God would return / restore them to their land; if they turned away from Him, He would turn them out into the Gentile world. Our lives are a twisting and turning, either to or away from God; and God is waiting to confirm us in those twists and turns.