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CHAPTER 5 Ju1. 15 
The Sins of Jerusalem
Run back and forth through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places of it, if you can find a man, if there are any who does justice, who seeks truth; and I will pardon her. 2Though they say, ‘As Yahweh lives;’ surely they swear falsely. 3O Yahweh, don’t Your eyes look on truth? You have stricken them, but they were not grieved. You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than a rock. They have refused to return. 4Then I said, Surely these are poor. They are foolish; for they don’t know the way of Yahweh, nor the law of their God. 5I will go to the great men, and will speak to them; for they know the way of Yahweh, and the law of their God. But these with one accord have broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. 6Therefore a lion out of the forest shall kill them, a wolf of the evenings shall destroy them, a leopard shall watch against their cities; everyone who goes out there shall be torn in pieces; because their transgressions are many, and their backsliding is increased. 7How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken Me, and sworn by what are no gods. When I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled themselves in troops at the prostitutes’ houses. 8They were as fed horses roaming at large: everyone neighed after his neighbour’s wife. 9Shouldn’t I punish them for these things? says Yahweh; and shouldn’t My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 10Go up on her walls, and destroy; but don’t make a full end. Take away her branches; for they are not Yahweh’s. 11For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against Me, says Yahweh. 12They have denied Yahweh and said, It is not He; neither shall evil come on us; neither shall we see sword nor famine. 13The prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them. 14Therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Armies, Because you speak this word, behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire and this people wood, and it shall devour them.
Israel to be Invaded
15Behold, I will bring a nation on you from far, house of Israel, says Yahweh. It is a mighty nation. It is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you don’t know, nor understand what they say. 16Their quiver is an open tomb, they are all mighty men. 17They shall eat up your harvest and your bread, which your sons and your daughters should eat. They shall eat up your flocks and your herds. They shall eat up your vines and your fig trees. They shall beat down your fortified cities in which you trust with the sword. 18But even in those days, says Yahweh, I will not make a full end with you. 19It will happen, when you say, ‘Why has Yahweh our God done all these things to us?’ Then you shall say to them, ‘Just like you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve strangers in a land that is not yours’. 20Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah saying, 21‘Hear now this, foolish people, and without understanding; who have eyes, and don’t see; who have ears, and don’t hear: 22Don’t you fear Me?’ says Yahweh ‘Won’t you tremble at My presence, who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it can’t pass it? and though its waves toss themselves, yet they can’t prevail; though they roar, yet they can’t pass over it’. 23But this people has a revolting and a rebellious heart; they have revolted and gone. 24Neither do they say in their heart, ‘Let us now fear Yahweh our God who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season; who preserves to us the appointed weeks of the harvest’. 25Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good from you. 26For among My people are found wicked men. They watch, as fowlers lie in wait. They set a trap. They catch men. 27As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit. Therefore they became great and grew rich. 28They have grown fat. They shine; yes, they excel in deeds of wickedness. They don’t plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless, that they may prosper; and they don’t judge the right of the needy. 29Shall I not punish for these things? says Yahweh. Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30An astonishing and horrible thing has happened in the land. 31The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority; and My people love to have it so. What will you do in the end of it?


5:1 All of Jerusalem would have been forgiven if there was even one that truly executed justice. This is the colossal significance to God of the individual. Abraham ceased at 10 people when interceding for Sodom, but if he had gone down to asking for the city to be spared for just one righteous person, likely he would’ve been heard. See on 26:13.
Who does justice- The Hebrew Bible very often demands “justice” from individuals within Israel and almost considers this to be the epitome of righteousness. We may consider that because we’re not judges nor part of the judicial apparatus of society, therefore this doesn’t apply to us. But daily if not hourly, we’re confronted with situations which demand our correct response, our fairness, our application of Divine principle when dealing with others, often to our own cost; and in our own minds, we do have to judge, not in the sense of condemning but in forming opinions. Thus “justice” is required from each of us, daily.
5:5 We see here Jeremiah’s naivety, assuming that the leaders of God’s people must surely be spiritual people. The disciples were the same, initially. We too easily tend to confuse status or seniority amongst God’s people with spirituality, and so often this assumption is wrong.
5:7 When I had fed them to the full- So often we find that comment that God’s kind material blessings to His people led them into unfaithfulness to Him (Dt. 32:15). It’s not surprising, therefore, that the requests of the new Israel for material blessing are so often unanswered; for God seeks relationship with us above all, and earnestly desires our eternal good.
How can I pardon you?- This opens a window on the self-questioning which is associated with God- e.g. "What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?" (Hos. 6:4; 11:8; see too Jer. 9:7,9). These aren’t purely rhetorical questions- they reflect the actual and real self-questioning of Almighty God, reflective as it is of the turbulence of emotion which is part and parcel of being in a relationship which has gone painfully wrong. There even seems at times a difficulty on God's part to understand why the people He had loved could hate Him so much (2:14,31;8:5,19; 30:6; Is. 5:4; 50:2). "What more could I have done for my vineyard... why did it yield wild grapes?" (Is. 5:1-7). This is so much the anguished cry of bewildered middle age parents as they reflect upon a wayward child. This Divine struggle to understand reflects the extraordinary depth of His love for them; and it warns us in chilling terms as to the pain we can cause God if we spurn His amazing love. 8:4-7 records God reflecting that even the stork 'returns' predictably; but His people have inexplicably not returned to Him. This reveals a powerful thing- that our rejection of God's love is inexplicable even to God Himself. And yet humanity persists in this utter madness. For all our education, business sense, scientific knowledge- we are revealed as inexplicably foolish in rejecting God's love and not 'returning' [repenting] to Him.
5:11 It is not He- A denial of the meaning of ‘Yahweh’- I am that I am. Yet they weren’t atheists. But by denying the reality of judgment to come and the constant, insistent presence of God in our lives and His continual claim upon every part of our lives, they were denying the essence of God- He is, who He is, and shall be who He shall be in our lives.