Jeremiah 9:23 – 10:25
- 9:23, 24. What is better than wisdom, power and wealth? Cf. also 1 Cor. 1:25-31; Phil. 3:8-11. What do you set most store by in the normal course of life?
- Set down, on the hand, the characteristics mentioned here of the idols of the heathen and, on the other, the character of the living God.
- What are the implications of 10:23, 24? Have you learnt to live by them? See 30:11 and cf. Prov. 3:5-7, 11, 12.
- 9:25, 26. All these nations practiced circumcision, and Judah, despite the fact that her circumcision was ordained to mark a unique relationship with God, takes her place here between Egypt and Edom because her spiritually uncircumcised state (cf. 4:4; Rom. 2:28, 29) has rendered her physical circumcision no more meaningful than theirs.
- 10:11. ‘Belongings’: a few hastily gathered possessions for immediate flight.
- 10:21. ‘Shepherds’: see 2:8 and mg.; 3:15.
Jeremiah 11 and 12
These chapters fall into three sections: 11:11-17, Judah’s stubborn idolatry and breaking of the covenant; 11:18 – 12:6, a complaint of the prophet because of plots against his life, and God’s answer to his questionings; and 12:7-17, which seems to refer to the attacks of surrounding peoples (see 2 Kgs. 24:1, 2), and closes with a remarkable promise to these nations on condition of their turning from idols to worship the Lord.
- What were the constituent elements of ‘this covenant’ (11:2)? What was God’s part and what the people’s? Cf. 2 Cor. 6:14 – 7:1.
- What did Jeremiah do with his perplexities, and what answer did he receive? Can we come with his confidence? Note 12:5 and 6 in particular. What does this answer of God imply? Cf. Heb. 12:3, 4.
- Jeremiah is often described as a Christ-like figure. As you read the book chapter, note the similarities. With 11:21 and 12: 6, cf. Mark 3:21; Luke 4:24, 29; 21:16.
- 11:15. See Note on 7:22, 23.
- 12:13. ‘They’: i.e., the people of Judah.
- What is the purpose of the incident of the belt? Which is a truer description of you, verse 10 or verse 11?
- Consider the images used to describe the coming judgment, and their usefulness for preaching today. See Notes below; and cf. Pss. 1:4; 60:3; Is. 8:22; 51:17; Mic. 3:6, 7; John 12:35; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12.
- Verse 23. What answer does the New Testament give to this question? See Rom. 5:6; 2 Cor. 5:17.
- Verses 13, 14. ‘Drunkenness’ is used in a figurative sense to describe mental fear and bewilderment, when men in their panic turn against each other.
- Verse 16. ‘Give glory to the Lord’: a Hebrew expression for confession of sin, recognizing God’s holiness, and turning from sin to obedience. Cf. Josh. 7:19; Mal. 2:2; John 9:24.
- Verse 18: i.e., Jehoiachin and his mother Nehushta (2 Kgs. 24:8, 9). Queen mothers regularly wielded great influence at court.
- Verse 19. ‘The Negev’ is the area of Palestine south of Beersheba.
- Verse 21. Another translation reads ‘he’, i.e., God instead of ‘they’ (Driver). Cf. Deut. 28:13, 44; Lam. 1:5.