Jeremiah 5

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 27, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Jerusalem refused to repent
  • The Lord proclaims judgment


The chapter opens with a challenge by God for the people to find a righteous man among them. They talk out of both sides of their mouth, saying “’As the LORD lives’, yet they swear falsely.” (Jer. 5:2) And this did not change when God struck them down. They made their faces “harder than rock” and “refused to repent.” (Jer. 5:3)

In Jer. 5:4-5, Jeremiah thinks that maybe it is only the poor who rebelled and that the leaders remain obedient. But, this is found not to be the case as Jer. 5:5 says that, “they all alike had broken the yoke”. Wickedness had permeated the people from the top down.

Jer. 5:6 pronounces a judgment on the people using animals to figuratively designate Israel’s enemies. A lion, wolf and leopard represent the coalition of nations that composed the Babylonian empire.

Jer. 5:7-9 show how God fed the people to the full but they squandered it with idolatry. God rhetorically asks in Jer. 5:9 if He shall not avenge Himself “on a nation such as this?” It is all to drive home the understanding that God is fully justified in His judgment on the people.

However, despite their rebellion, God will keep a remnant, saying, “But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you.” (Jer. 5:18) The “even in those days” is shows that a) things are going to get really bad and b) God will demonstrate His mercy while they are in the thick of it.

The final verses (Jer. 5:30-31) provide a succession of apostasy within the leadership strata, that the “prophets prophecy falsely” → “the priests rule at their direction” → “my people love it so”. The people had not only become accustomed to their lives far from God, they had grown to love it. This leads to the powerful final question posed by God in the chapter: “what will you do when the end comes?” (Jer. 5:31)


This final question of the chapter makes me think about our modern Western context. People have grown to love their worldly lives apart from God. Big houses, nice cars, comfortable living. No attention is paid to His provision and much effort is placed in accumulating possessions and pursuing experiences in order to make this place heaven.

As believers, we are to be thankful that God He has chosen to let remnants of original creation remain as a reflection of His grace. But, even while doing so, we must keep our eyes fixed on the glorified reality to come; a world in which everything is restored, living in fullness of joy as we dwell with the Lord forever.

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