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FRAMEWORKS: Jeremiah 14: Drought, famine, sword


[Preliminary Comment : Drought was so often a sign of the Lord's displeasure with His people [Deut 28:22-24], a specific curse on their disobedience, and so it appears there is now a drought over the land. Jeremiah sees this as a time where there is a need to intercede for his people which includes confession and a plea for the Lord to act on their behalf. He acknowledges that the people are being led astray by false prophets who prophesy peace when he knows that will not be. He knows the drought will bring famine and the sword will also come upon this people. It is a chapter of anguish.]



v.1-6 A severe drought has come on the land

v.1   This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

v.2  ‘Judah mourns,
     her cities languish;
they wail for the land,
     and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.
v.The nobles send their servants for water;
     they go to the cisterns
     but find no water.
They return with their jars unfilled;
     dismayed and despairing,
     they cover their heads.
v.4  The ground is cracked
     because there is no rain in the land;
the farmers are dismayed
     and cover their heads.

v.5  Even the doe in the field
     deserts her newborn fawn
     because there is no grass.
v.6  Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights
     and pant like jackals;
their eyes fail
     for lack of food.'


v.7-9 A plea for the Lord to intervene

v.Although our sins testify against us,
     do something, Lord, for the sake of your name.
For we have often rebelled;
     we have sinned against you.
v.8  You who are the hope of Israel,
     its Saviour in times of distress,
why are you like a stranger in the land,
     like a traveller who stays only a night?
v.Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
     like a warrior powerless to save?
You are among us, Lord,
     and we bear your name;
     do not forsake us!


v.10,11 The Lord rejects them

v.10  This is what the Lord says about this people:

‘They greatly love to wander;
     they do not restrain their feet.
So the Lord does not accept them;
     he will now remember their wickedness
     and punish them for their sins.'

v.11  Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not pray for the well-being of this people.


v.12,13 He will not listen even though they offer sacrifices for there is false prophecy

v.12  Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.'

v.13  But I said, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, “You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.”'


v.14-16 The prophets say there will be no famine or sword – but there will!

v.14  Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

v.15  Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, “No sword or famine will touch this land.” Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine.

v.16  And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.


v.17-19 Jeremiah knows the truth and anguishes and pleads for them

v.17  ‘Speak this word to them:

‘“Let my eyes overflow with tears
     night and day without ceasing;
for the Virgin Daughter, my people,
     has suffered a grievous wound,
     a crushing blow.
v.18  If I go into the country,
     I see those slain by the sword;
if I go into the city,
     I see the ravages of famine.
Both prophet and priest
     have gone to a land they know not.”'

v.19  Have you rejected Judah completely?
     Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
     so that we cannot be healed?
We hoped for peace
     but no good has come,
for a time of healing
     but there is only terror.

v.20-22 He acknowledges their guilt and pleads with the Lord

v.20  We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord,
     and the guilt of our ancestors;
     we have indeed sinned against you.
v.21  For the sake of your name do not despise us;
     do not dishonour your glorious throne.
Remember your covenant with us
     and do not break it.
v.22  Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
     Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
     Therefore our hope is in you,
     for you are the one who does all this.



Continue to Chapter 15