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CHAPTER 5 Sep. 4 
A Prayer for Mercy
Remember, Yahweh, what has come on us: look, and see our reproach. 2Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. 3We are orphans and fatherless; our mothers are as widows. 4We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold to us. 5Our pursuers are on our necks: we are weary, and have no rest. 6We have given the hand to the Egyptians, to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7Our fathers sinned, and are no more; we have borne their iniquities. 8Servants rule over us: there is none to deliver us out of their hand. 9We get our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword of the wilderness. 10Our skin is black like an oven, because of the burning heat of famine. 11They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah. 12Princes were hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. 13The young men were made to grind at the mill; the children stumbled under the wood. 14The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music. 15The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. 16The crown is fallen from our head: woe to us! For we have sinned. 17For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim; 18for the mountain of Zion, which is desolate: the foxes walk on it. 19You, Yahweh, remain forever; Your throne is from generation to generation. 20Why do You forget us forever, and forsake us so long time? 21Turn us to Yourself, Yahweh, and we shall be turned. Renew our days as of old. 22But You have utterly rejected us; You are very angry against us.


5:7 In this very context, Ez. 18 later emphasized that the people at that time were suffering for their own sins, not just for those of their fathers. Yet Jeremiah seems in his grief to have overlooked that; and yet by grace he remained amongst the faithful, despite circumstances leading him to overlook parts of God’s truth and not facing up to the seriousness of Israel’s sin as he ought to have done.
5:20,21 Jeremiah’s prophecies of gracious restoration were known by the exiles; but many passages in Isaiah, the Psalms (e.g. Ps. 137:7-9) and Lamentations (:20,21) indicate that the exiles had little conviction they would be fulfilled, considering Judah as “utterly rejected” by God, and just getting on with their lives in Babylon without any real hope in God’s salvation. Considering the prosperity of their lives there, this was an all too convenient conclusion for them to draw. Once again we see that false interpretation of Scripture invariably has a moral subtext to it. Is. 40:1,2 speaks a message of comfort to the exiles: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God”. But [in full allusion to this prophecy], the exiles were like Rachael who refused to be comforted over her loss (Jer. 31:15); they claimed they found “none to comfort” (1:2,16,17,21). But they were wilfully refusing the comfort of God’s repeated word of hope and restoration. They didn’t grasp the plain teaching of the prophetic word because they didn’t want to- it demanded too much of them, and a giving up of the comfortable Babylon life. Hence Is. 43:19 laments: “I am doing a new thing: now it springs forth [in the decree to return to Zion?], do you not perceive it?”. And do we "not perceive it?" time and again in our own lives, as to the potentials God is opening up?