Jeremiah 9

DateVersionReading Plan
@July 1, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Jeremiah grieves for his people


The chapter begins with a lament, most likely by Jeremiah but the poetry leaves open the possibility that it is God speaking. It seems to me to be Jeremiah since in Jer. 9:2, the speaker yearns for a “traveler’s lodging place” in the desert. However, there is a definite switch of speaker to the LORD in Jer. 9:3, speaking of the growth of falsehood in the land.

In Jer. 9:4, the focus is on neighbors among the people. Both neighbors and the ones who have neighbors are described as slanders and deceivers. Corruption had become entire and comprehensive. This leaves God with no choice but refinement and correction (Jer. 9:7).

Jer. 9:10-11 describe the ruins that Jerusalem will become, that no one will pass through and “both birds of the air and the beasts have fled and gone. The whole ecosystem will collapse, leaving only scavengers (jackals).

Jer. 9:12-16 is God speaking about the waywardness of the people and its consequences. No one could hear the counsel of the LORD because there was no one left who could understand it. In Jer. 9:13-14, God gives four specific reasons for His judgment: 1) law forsaken, 2) not obeyed His voice, 3) followed their own hearts, 4) gone after Baals (idolatry). The clarity provided destroys any possible sentiment of ignorance.

Jer. 9:17-22 addresses the “mourning women”, to “let them make haste and raise a wailing over us” (Jer. 9:18). Death is symbolized in this section as an intruder, that it “has come up into our windows; it has entered our palaces” (Jer. 9:21).

Jer. 9:23-24 are an instruction of proper boasting. Improper boasting is one who boasts in 1) wisdom, 2) might, or 3) riches. All boasting should be that one understands and knows the LORD (Jer. 9:24). Closely tied to this understanding is that we are to see how God conducts Himself, delighting in steadfast love, justice and righteousness.

The final verses (Jer. 9:25-26) are a declaration of the punishment to come for all “who are circumcised merely in the flesh”. Israel is mentioned alongside other nations in their uncircumcision, showing that real circumcision is of the heart, not of the flesh.


The precision of God’s instruction and of the people’s complete inability to hear it is unmistakable in this chapter. He lays things out in almost bullet point manner. Their persistent disloyalty leaves no other avenue but intense reform.

God’s Word beautifully illustrates His instruction and means by which we can live in alignment with our Creator. It is given to us for our flourishing, not limitation. However much the world and enemy may effort to portray Him otherwise, we serve a God whose heart is to bless. When viewed rightly, we will begin to celebrate and embrace the path of righteousness to which we have been called.

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