Jeremiah 14 and 15
These two chapters consist of a kind of colloquy between Jeremiah and God. The prophet is driven to prayer by a time of drought (14:1-6).
- What pleas of the people does the prophet present before God in 14:7-9, and what does God’s answer (14:10-12) tell us of the people’s confession? Cf. 3:10; 15:6, 7; Is. 59:1, 2. What further pleas does Jeremiah urge in his second and third prayers (14:13 and 19-22)? What are God’s answers in each case?
- The prophet, ceasing to pray for the people, breaks into a lament (15:10) and prays for himself (15:15-18). Observe carefully God’s answer; especially in verses 19-21. How well did Jeremiah know himself? What new element is added in verse 19? Have you ever had a comparable answer to prayer? Cf. 2 Tim. 2:19-21.
- 14:7, 21. ‘For the sake of your name’: God’s name is ‘his nature as revealed in the covenant, which is the ultimate ground of prayer’ (Cunliffe-Jones). Cf. Exod. 33:19; 34:5-7.
- 15:1.Cf. Ps. 99:6-8. Moses (e.g., Exod. 32:11-14, 30-32) and Samuel (e.g., 1 Sam. 7:8, 9) were outstanding in intercession for their people.
- 15:4. See 2 Kgs. 21:1-5, 16.
- 15:11. The Hebrew is very difficult, and NIV, RSV, AV, and RV all differ considerably from each other.
- 15:12. A reference to the Chaldeans.There is no hope of breaking their power.
6.15:19. The tone is severe. Jeremiah must return to a more undivided allegiance. For ‘stand before’ (RSV), cf. verse 1 and Note 3 above, and 18:20.
Jeremiah 16:1 – 17:18
- Consider how hard it must have been for a man of Jeremiah’s affectionate and sympathetic nature to obey the commands of 16:2, 5 and 8. Why did God lay this burden on him? What other trials that Jeremiah had to bear are referred to in 17:14-18?
- How does the passage illustrate Jeremiah’s oft-repeated statement concerning God’s dealings with his people; ‘I will not make a full end of you’? See 4:27; 5:10, 18; 30:11; 46:28. Cf. Ps. 94:14; Rom. 11:1-5.
- Contrast, clause by clause, 17:5 and 6 with 17:7 and 8. How do verses 9-13 reinforce the certainty of curse or blessing? Examine yourself in the light of this contrast. Cf. Ps. 146.
- 16:6, 7. ‘Mourning customs. Cf. Amos 8:10; 2 Sam. 12:17; Prov. 31:6b.
- 17:1, 2. ‘The tablets of their hearts’: i.e., their inmost being. ‘The horns of their altars’: an allusion to their polluted idolatrous sacrifices (cf. Lev. 4:7, 30; and with verse 2, cf. 2:20). ‘Asherah Poles’: probably wooden images of the Canaanite goddess, Asherah.
- 17:15. Cf. 2 Pet. 3:3, 4.
Jeremiah 17:19 – 18:23
- The issue between God and his people turned in the question of obedience. How was it brought in 17:19-27 to a single test? In your Christian obedience are there test issues of this kind, which, although possibly not themselves the most important subject, are the heart of the question of obedience at the time?
- To Jeremiah the condition of the people made the destruction of the kingdom inevitable; yet the destruction seemed to involve the failure of God’s purposes. How does the illustration of the potter throw light on this problem (18:1-12)? What other lessons about God does it teach? Cf. Rom. 9:20, 21.
- How does 18:13-23 reveal the costliness for Jeremiah of being a more faithful spokesman of the Lord? Cf. Matt. 10:24, 25, 28-33.
- 17:26. ‘The western foothills’ (‘The Shephelah’, RSV): the lowlands of Palestine between the coastal plain and the higher central hills.
- 18:14. The Hebrew is uncertain, but the meaning is clear. The snows of Lebanon remain, and its streams do not run dry; but God’s people have failed.
- 18:18. ‘The law… will not be lost …’: the people refused to believe that the present order of things would be destroyed.