Dave Burnette's Commentary

Jeremiah Chapter 2

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (627-586 BC)
Overview: To Urge God's People to Turn from Sin to God (c 1-52)
Theme: God's Judgement on Judah (c 1-45)
Message: Jeremiah Condemns Judah for Her Sins (v 1-37)

Jeremiah 2 Commentary 

(2:1) Judah's Faithlessness - In this section, the marriage analogy sharply contrasts God's love for his people with their love for other gods and reveals Judah's faithlessness. Jeremiah condemned Judah (he sometimes referred to Judah as Jerusalem, the name of its capital city) for seeking security in worthless, changeable things rather than the unchangeable God. We may be tempted to seek security from possessions, people, or our own abilities, but over time these will fail us. No lasting security can be found apart from the eternal God. 

(2:2) Keeping Our Commitment - We appreciate friends who remain true to their commitments, and we are disappointed with those who fail to keep their promises. God was pleased when his people obeyed him initially, and he became angry with them when they refused to keep their commitment to him. Temptations distract us from God. Think about your original commitment to obey God, and ask yourself if you are remaining truly devoted to him. 

(2:3) Firstfruits - Both the firstfruits of the harvest and the firstborn sons of each family were to be set apart for God (Deuteronomy 26:1-11). That's how God's people had declared their allegiance to him in years gone by. The people of Israel had been as eager to please God as if they were his young bride--a holy, devoted people. This contrasted greatly with the situation in Jeremiah's time. 

(2:4-8) Learning from History - The united nation of Israel included both the "house of Israel" and the "house of Jacob" (Judah). Jeremiah knew Israel's history well. The prophets recited history to the people for several reasons: (1) to remind them of God's faithfulness; (2) to make sure they wouldn't forget their history (since they didn't have Bibles to read); (3) to emphasize God's love for them; and (4) to remind them that at one time they had been close to God. We should also learn from history so that we can build on the successes and avoid repeating the failures of others. 

(2:8) Ignoring the Lord - The priests, leaders, and prophets did not ask God for advice (2:6). They ignored their history, their law, their identity, and their purpose. If we have reached the point where we no longer seek God's teaching or direction, we have put up some idol in his place. Israel had set up Baal in God's place. Baal was the chief male god of the Canaanite religion. He was the god of fertility, and his worship included animal sacrifice and sacred prostitution (both male and female) in the high places on the mountains. Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, introduced Baal worship into the northern kingdom, and eventually it spread to Judah. The sexual nature of this worship was a constant temptation to the Israelites, who had been commanded by God to have sexual relations only in the context of marriage. 

(2:10) Loyalty - God was saying that even pagan nations like Chittim (Cyprus, in the west) and Kedar (the home of Arab tribes living in the desert east of Palestine) remained loyal to their national gods. But Israel had abandoned the one and only God for a completely worthless object of worship. 

(2:13) Rejecting the Lord - Who would trade a bubbling fountain or spring of fresh water for a cracked, broken cistern--a pit for collecting rainwater--that couldn't even hold water? God told the Israelites they were doing that very thing when they turned from him, the "fountain of living waters," to the worship of idols. The people had built their own belief system to store what they thought was better, but it turned out to be leaky and worthless. Why should we cling to the promises of broken "cisterns," such as money, power, self-made beliefs, or whatever we are choosing in place of God, when God promises to constantly refresh us with himself, the living water (John 4:10)? Only he can truly satisfy.

(2:16-17) Rebelling Against God - Noph (also called Memphis) was near modern Cairo's present location in lower Egypt, and Tahpanhes was in northeastern Egypt. Jeremiah could have been speaking of Pharaoh Shishak's previous invasion of Judah in 926 BC (1 Kings 14:25), or he may have been predicting Pharaoh-nechoh's invasion in 609 BC, when King Josiah of Judah would be killed (2 Kings 23:29-30). Jeremiah's point was that the people brought this on themselves by rebelling against God. 

(2:22) Spiritual Cleansing - The stain of sin is more than skin-deep. Israel had stains that could not be washed out even by the strongest cleansers. Spiritual cleansing must reach deep into the heart-and this is a job that God alone can do. We cannot ignore the effects of sin and hope they will go away. Your sin has caused a deep stain that only God can remove if you are willing to let him cleanse you (Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:25; Titus 2:14; 3:4=7; Hebrews 9:13-14). 

(2:23-27) Idols - The people are compared to animals who search lustfully for mates during mating season. Unrestrained, they rushed for power, money, alliances with foreign powers, and other gods. The idols did not seek the people; the people sought the idols and ran wildly after them. Then they became so comfortable in their sin that they could not think of giving it up. Their only shame was in getting caught. If we desire something so much that we'll do anything to get it, this shows that we are addicted to it and out of tune with God. 

(2:30) Prophets - Being a prophet in Jeremiah's day was risky business. Prophets had to criticize the policies of evil kings, and this made them appear to be traitors. The kings hated the prophets for standing against their policies, and the people often hated the prophets for preaching against their idolatrous lifestyles (see Acts 7:52). 

(2:31-32) Forgetfulness - Forgetfulness can be dangerous, whether it is intentional or by oversight. The people of Israel deliberately ignored God by focusing their affections on the temptations of their day. The more we focus on the passing pleasures of this life, the easier it becomes to forget God's care, God's love, God's dependability, God's guidance, and most of all, God himself. What pleases you most? Have you been forgetting God lately? 

(2:36) Evil Alliances - God is not against all alliances or working partnerships, but he warns against people trusting others for the help that should come from him. This was the problem in Jeremiah's time. After the days of David and Solomon, Israel's leaders turned to other nations and gods instead of the true God. They played power politics, thinking that their strong neighbors could protect them. But Judah would soon learn that their alliance with Egypt would be just as disappointing as their former alliance with Assyria (2 Kings 16:8- 9; Isaiah 7:13-25).


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Not Politically Correct

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue in the Book of Jeremiah 2. In our text today,  Jeremiah condemns Judah for her sins as Israel turns away from God. In applying, we see our nation following the same path as Israel did in our text. Promiscuity, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, idolatry, pride, etc., run rampant in our world today as people follow the path of sin versus the Word of God. Just as the Lord called Jeremiah to tell the Lord's people of their disobedience to God, we are called to do the same today. It is not politically correct to say to others of sin. Still, standing for the truth and exposing light on sin's darkness is Biblically accurate. How about you? Do you tell others the truth of the Bible when confronted with others' sins? Let us learn from our text today and the example of Jeremiah to remember that it might not be politically correct to tell others of sin, but it is Biblically accurate.


Jeremiah 2

Jeremiah 2

 1Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

 2Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

 3Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.

 4Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:

 5Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

 6Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?

 7And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.

 8The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

 9Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead.

 10For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.

 11Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.

 12Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

 13For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

 14Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?

 15The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.

 16Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.

 17Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way?

 18And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?

 19Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

 20For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.

 21Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?

 22For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.

 23How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

 24A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.

 25Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.

 26As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.

 27Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.

 28But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.

 29Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.

 30In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.

 31O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?

 32Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.

 33Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.

 34Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.

 35Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.

 36Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.

 37Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.