Jeremiah Chapter 6  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Jeremiah 6
Jer 6:1

“O children of Benjamin.” Literally, “sons of Benjamin,” referring to the people of Benjamin. Jerusalem was in the tribal territory of Benjamin, so many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were Benjamites. But it is likely that because people of other of the tribes of Israel had lived in Jerusalem for generations, even from the time of David hundreds of years earlier, that they were being considered as Benjamites also.

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.

“raise a signal on Beth-haccherem.” The location of Beth-haccherem (“house of the vineyard”) is not known, but it would have been on a hilltop. The signals were fires that were lit and could be seen for miles.

Jer 6:2

“Daughter Zion.” The Hebrew is idiomatic for Zion itself, i.e., Jerusalem (see commentary on Isa. 1:8).

Jer 6:3

“Shepherds with their flocks.” This refers to leaders with their armies. The NET reads, “Kings will come against it with their armies.” Kings and leaders were referred to as “shepherds” (see commentary on Jer. 2:8).

Jer 6:4

“let’s attack at noon.” In the ancient world, almost all wars were fought during the daytime, and the armies did not like it as the darkness came, as this verse says. Jeremiah 6:5 then expresses the urgency felt by Judah’s enemies, as they decide to attack at night.

Jer 6:5

“let’s go up by night.” See commentary on Jeremiah 6:4.

Jer 6:6

“punished.” The Hebrew is literally, “visited,” but people and places were “visited” to be blessed or to be punished, and in this context it means to be punished.

“she has nothing but oppression within her.” When ungodly people rule, they, and the systems of government they set up, are ungodly and oppressive. Ungodly people want control over others and make laws and regulations that oppress people and unnecessarily restrict their freedom.

Jer 6:7(top)
Jer 6:8(top)
Jer 6:9(top)
Jer 6:10

“they cannot pay attention.” The people of Judah had become so ungodly in their thoughts that they lacked the knowledge and background to even understand the word of Yahweh. It is similar to when someone today has such a darkened conscience that the laws and justice of God seem harsh and unreasonable.

Jer 6:11

“the aged and the one who is full of days.” That is, the older people and also those who are very old. The point of the verse is that when God’s judgment came on Judah, it would come on everyone, both the young and old, both on the men and the women.

Jer 6:12

“and their wives.” The wives would be part of the booty of Judah that would be given to the victorious Babylonian army (cp. Jer. 8:10; 2 Sam. 12:8).

Jer 6:13(top)
Jer 6:14

“‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.” If we understand the Hebrew shalom to mean “wholeness” or “wellness,” which it does in most contexts and seems to here in Jeremiah as well, we should understand the Hebrew text to be saying, “‘All is well, all is well!’ When nothing is well.” It is very common for evil people to either be deceived about the truth of a situation or else deliberately lie about a situation and say that things are well when they are not. In this case, we see that things were not “well” in Judah during Jeremiah’s time, but that was not keeping the evil leaders from saying all was well. This is stated again in Jeremiah 8:11.

Jer 6:15(top)
Jer 6:16

“Stand at the crossroads and look.” What the people would look at was what they were doing and how that would turn out, and what they could be doing if they followed God’s way, and how that would turn out. The people of Judah were at a crossroads. They could listen to Jeremiah and repent and change their ways, or they could continue to live like they were living (which they did) and be destroyed as a result (which they were).

“the old paths.” This is most likely idiomatic for the ancient wisdom, “ask about the ancient wisdom.” Thus, “the good way” was the proper and godly way to live. The “ancient paths” were laid out in the Law of Moses. When people lived in accordance with the laws of God they found rest for their souls. There was no apparent value in simply walking on an old dirt pathway.

Jer 6:17

“I set watchmen over you.” These “watchmen” were the prophets who warned them of the coming disaster if they would not repent and change (cp. Ezek. 3:16-21).

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet. The shofar warned of danger and battle and people did well to pay attention to it and prepare for potential disaster, but the people of Judah refused to pay attention, and as a result were conquered and deported by Babylon.

Jer 6:18

“hear, you nations, and know, O assembly.” The Hebrew text is short and unclear. The “assembly” seems to be the assembly of nations that Yahweh was speaking to, and He had called them as witnesses to know “what is going to happen to them,” that is, to Judah for defying their God. The last phrase in the Hebrew text is quite unclear, and simply reads, “what is among them,” but it seem to mean, “what is going to happen to them.” God would be visiting their sin among them and they would be suffering the consequences of their sin.

Jer 6:19(top)
Jer 6:20

“your sacrifices are not pleasing.” Sacrifices and offerings made to God by wicked people are detestable to God; He has no respect for them and will not accept them. Sacrifices and offerings were never designed to make a person with an evil heart acceptable in the sight of God. Proverbs 21:27 and 28:9 say that the sacrifices of a wicked person are an abomination to God. [For more information about the sacrifices of wicked people being of no value, see commentary on Amos 5:22].

Jer 6:21(top)
Jer 6:22(top)
Jer 6:23

“Daughter Zion.” The Hebrew is idiomatic for Zion itself, i.e., Jerusalem (see commentary on Isa. 1:8).

Jer 6:24(top)
Jer 6:25(top)
Jer 6:26(top)
Jer 6:27

“I have made you.” Here in Jeremiah 6:27, Yahweh speaks directly to Jeremiah about his role as believer and prophet.

“an assayer.” The Hebrew text of this verse is difficult because it does not use complete thoughts and because it apparently uses meanings of words that are not common meanings, and that explains the big difference among the English translations. Nevertheless, the meaning of the verse seems clear, especially given the context, so most of the modern translations have a basic agreement on what the verse means even if their translations differ somewhat (cp. CJB, CSB, ESV, NAB, NASB, NET, NIV, NJB, NLT, NRSV, RSV).

The people of Judah were like impure metal, mixing mostly bad with some good. God appointed Jeremiah as an assayer and tester of that metal to show the impurities in the metal (i.e., the people) and also to see if there were any “pure” people in Judah. But how was Jeremiah supposed to test the people to see if any were pure? He was to speak the words of God to them. How each person responded to the words of God revealed what kind of metal they were. The “pure people” would listen and obey, while the “dross people” would ignore or defy Jeremiah and the God he spoke for. This verse is important because it shows one way that men and women of God are fellow-workers with God (1 Cor. 3:9). Believers who walk in obedience to God and speak the word of God to others help reveal which people are godly and which people are ungodly. This is important here and now, but it will also be important on Judgment Day, when the thoughts and deeds of each person will be revealed and it will be obvious to everyone who heard the word and obeyed it and who heard the word and rejected it.

The smelting of metals to remove impurities was an apt metaphor for God trying to remove impurities from His people and it is used several times in the Bible (cp. Jer. 6:27-30; 9:7; Isa. 48:10).

Jer 6:28

“rebels of rebels.” That is, the worst rebels, or hardened rebels. In the Hebrew text, the words translated “rebel” and “rebels” are verbs, and thus inherently have the idea of actively rebelling.

“going around spreading slander.” The Hebrew text is more literally, “going around with slanders,” and the word “slanders” is plural because they are speaking much slander wherever they go. In English we would not say the people go around “with slanders,” we would say “spreading slander” or something similar. We use the singular “slander” as a collective noun instead of pluralizing it and saying “slanders.”

“bronze and iron.” The meaning is that the people of Judah are hard and unyielding; they will not listen to the words of God.

Jer 6:29

“the lead is consumed by the fire.” The mention of lead points to how the ancients smelted metal. The NET text note says, “In the ancient refining process lead was added as a flux to remove impurities from silver ore in the process of oxidizing the lead. Jeremiah says that the lead has been used up and the impurities have not been removed.” The people of Judah have not been purified even though the Word of God has been spoken to them and they have had a chance to repent and believe.

Jer 6:30

“because Yahweh has rejected them.” Yahweh God will try and try to win over the people, as He did by sending Jeremiah and other prophets, but eventually God will reject those who reject him. Jesus Christ told parables about this, such as the parable of the greedy farmers (Matthew 21:33-42; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19).


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