Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
The occasion of this prophecy Jer. 14-15 was a drought, the terrible effects of which are described with much force. Probably, therefore, it belongs to the early years of Jehoiakim, when Jeremiah saw all the efforts of Josiah's reign utterly frustrated.
The dearth - Really, the drought,
They are black unto the ground - The people assembled at the gates, the usual places of concourse, are in deep mourning and sit humbly on the ground.
Little ones - mean ones, the common people. The word is unique to Jeremiah Jer 48:4.
The pits - i. e., tanks for holding water.
Covered their heads - The sign of grief.
Is chapt - Rather, is dismayed. "The ground" is used metaphorically for the people who until the ground.
In the earth - i. e., "in the land."
Like dragons - "Like jackals" Jer 9:11.
No grass - The keen sight of the wild donkey is well known, but they look around in vain for herb.
Do thou it - Rather, "deal thou, act thou for Thy Name's sake, i. e., not according to the strict measure of right and wrong, but as a God merciful and gracious.
Astonied - The word may possibly mean "one who is taken by surprise and loses his presence of mind."
The answer is addressed to the people. Jeremiah had prayed as their representative, but he must not intercede: for to the same degree that God was determined to punish them, to the same degree (thus) they love to continue their offence." Compare Jer 15:6 note.
Therefore the Lord ... - Translate:
"And Yahweh hath no pleasure in them:
Now will He remember their iniquity and visit their sins."
Interference in their behalf is out of the question.
Their cry i. e - prayer offered aloud.
Oblation - A meat-offering Lev 2:1.
The sword, famine, and pestilence - The two latter ever follow upon the track of the first Eze 5:12, and by these God will consume them, yet so as to leave a remnant. The chastisement, which crushes those who harden themselves against it, purifies the penitent.
The false prophets in Jeremiah's days were so numerous and influential an to counteract and almost nullify the influence of the true prophet. We find in Isaiah the first indications of the internal decay of the prophetic order; and Micah, his contemporary, denounces the false prophets in the strongest terms Mic 3:5, Mic 3:11. For the secret of their power see Jer 5:31.
Divination - i. e., "conjuring," the abuse of the less understood powers of nature. It was strictly forbidden to all Jews Deu 18:10.
A thing of nought - Probably a small idol made of the more precious metals Isa 2:20. These methods the prophet declares to be the "deceit of their heart, i. e., not self-deceit, but a willful and intentional fraud.
I will pour ... - i. e., their wickedness shall be brought home to them.
A message from God to the effect that the calamity would be so overwhelming as to cause perpetual weeping; it is set before the people under the representation of Jeremiah's own sorrow.
The virgin daughter of my people - The epithet testifies to God's previous care of Judah. She had been as jealously guarded from other nations as virgins are in an oriental household (compare Sol 4:12).
A second (compare Jer 14:7-9) earnest intercession, acknowledging the wickedness of the nation, but appealing to the covenant and to God's Almighty power.
Lothed - More exactly, "hath thrown away as worthless."
Our wickedness, and - Omit and. National sin is the sin of the fathers, perpetuated generation after generation by the children.
This verse is in the original very emphatic, and consists of a series of broken ejaculations: "Abhor not for thy name's sake! Disgrace - lightly esteem" in Deu 32:15 - "not the throne of thy glory! Remember! Break not etc. with us!" The throne of Yahweh's glory is Jerusalem.
None of the idols of the Gentiles can put an end to this present distress.
Art not thou he, O Lord our God! - Rather, "art thou not Yahweh our God?"
Thou hast made all these things - i. e., the heaven with its showers.