Jeremiah 8

1 “At that time,” says the LORD, “they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves; 2 and they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the army of the sky, which they have loved, and which they have served, and after which they have walked, and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried, they shall be for dung on the surface of the earth. 3 Death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue that remain of this evil family, that remain in all the places where I have driven them,” says the LORD of Armies. 4 “Moreover you shall tell them, ‘the LORD says: “‘Shall men fall, and not rise up again? Shall one turn away, and not return? 5 Why then have the people of Jerusalem fallen back by a perpetual backsliding? They cling to deceit, they refuse to return. 6 I listened and heard, but they didn’t say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Everyone turns to his course, as a horse that rushes headlong in the battle. 7 Yes, the stork in the sky knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people don’t know the LORD’s law. 8 “‘How do you say, “We are wise, and the LORD’s law is with us?” But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has worked falsely. 9 The wise men are disappointed. They are dismayed and trapped. Behold, they have rejected the LORD’s word. What kind of wisdom is in them? 10 Therefore will I give their wives to others, and their fields to those who shall possess them. For everyone from the least even to the greatest is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. 11 They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall amongst those who fall; in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, says the LORD. 13 “‘I will utterly consume them, says the LORD: no grapes shall be on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.’” 14 “Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the fortified cities, and let us be silent there; for the LORD our God has put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. 15 We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of healing, and behold, dismay! 16 The snorting of his horses is heard from Dan: at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones the whole land trembles; for they have come, and have devoured the land and all that is in it; the city and those who dwell therein.” 17 “For, behold, I will send serpents, adders amongst you, which will not be charmed; and they shall bite you,” says the LORD. 18 Oh that I could comfort myself against sorrow! My heart is faint within me. 19 Behold, the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people from a land that is very far off: “Isn’t the LORD in Zion? Isn’t her King in her?” “Why have they provoked me to anger with their engraved images, and with foreign vanities?” 20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” 21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt: I mourn; dismay has taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there? Why then isn’t the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-3

Though no real hurt can be done to a dead body, yet disgrace to the remains of wicked persons may alarm those yet alive; and this reminds us that the Divine justice and punishments extend beyond the grave. Whatever befalls us here, let us humble ourselves before God, and seek his mercy.

Verses 4-13

What brought this ruin? 1. The people would not attend to reason; they would not act in the affairs of their souls with common prudence. Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. 2. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. 3. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, Jer. 8:7. They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. Many boast of their religious knowledge, yet, unless taught by the Spirit of God, the instinct of brutes is a more sure guide than their supposed wisdom. 4. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto.

Verses 14-22

At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.

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