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©John Yerkes

Chapter 4:9-18 (ESV)

Posted on June 19, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:9-18 (ESV) - “In that day, declares the LORD, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.” Then I said, “Ah, LORD God, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.”

At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.”

Behold, he comes up like clouds;
    his chariots like the whirlwind;
his horses are swifter than eagles—
    woe to us, for we are ruined!
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil,
    that you may be saved.
How long shall your wicked thoughts
    lodge within you?
For a voice declares from Dan
    and proclaims trouble from Mount Ephraim.
Warn the nations that he is coming;
    announce to Jerusalem,
“Besiegers come from a distant land;
    they shout against the cities of Judah.
Like keepers of a field are they against her all around,
    because she has rebelled against me,
declares the LORD.
Your ways and your deeds
    have brought this upon you.
This is your doom, and it is bitter;
    it has reached your very heart.”

Question to consider: Why would Jeremiah think that the LORD had deceived the prophets and priests?

Jeremiah was a young man from Anathoth in the land of Benjamin which was a town of priests. Even though Jeremiah was from a line of priests, the LORD told him that He had set him apart from the womb to be a prophet to the kings. The first king to receive a word from the LORD through Jeremiah was King Josiah. Jeremiah was prepared for the LORD to speak out against the wickedness of those exiled from the northern Kingdom of Israel, and he may even have been prepared for the LORD’s word against the cities of Judah. What was shocking to him was God's proclamation of judgment against Zion, the holy temple mount in Jerusalem.

“Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not!” During times of trouble, people were expected to flee into the protection of the city walls, not away from them. Jeremiah comments that the LORD had surely deceived the prophets, for the message that had been given the kings and priests from those who proclaimed to be prophets was one of peace. Even if the LORD was going to judge the people in the Judean countryside, the nobles, priests, and prophets thought they were safe inside the holy city.

Of course, the LORD did not deceive the prophets— the prophets were feeding the king information they claimed was from the LORD but was from their own imagination. Those today who profess to be prophets do the same. They have a feeling or think they’ve heard a still small voice in their minds and attribute it to the LORD. However, the true prophets of the LORD convicted the people of their idolatry and pointed people to Christ. I know people go through these prophetic texts and want to apply all of these promises to modern-day Israel, but Jesus was emphatic that these passages all pointed to Him. To the men on the road to Emmaus, Luke wrote, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) Jesus was the culmination of the holy line dating all the way back to Seth, son of Adam.

The description of the Babylonian armies were of overwhelming force with chariots like a whirlwind and storm clouds rolling in. Once the siege started, there would be no time to repent and escape the hordes coming down from Mount Ephraim and down through Dan. The warning came with enough time for people to flee if they heeded this word to Jeremiah. However, with the false prophets contradicting him, and the Pharaoh of Egypt promising to fight at their side, it was doubtful that many listened.


Dear heavenly Father, please open our eyes and ears to the promises that You gave to the prophets which were fulfilled in Christ. Let us heed their warnings of judgment today, turn from our sin and cling to the promise of resurrection given to us in our baptism. Amen.