Chapter nine best begins with Jeremiah 9:3 and introduces a new indictment by God against the Israelites. Not only were they lying under oath (Jeremiah 7:9), a violation of the ninth commandment 1, they were constantly lying to each other in the normal course of life. Jeremiah 9:3-9 expresses God’s displeasure at their lying tongues. Again, Solomon referred to this (twice!) in the seven abominable sins (Proverbs 6:16-19). Jeremiah’s response, again, was to weep over his homeland (Jeremiah 9:10). In one of the harsher passages to this point, God’s promise of destruction seems to leave no room for survival of any kind (Jeremiah 9:17-22).
There are three interesting points of note in this chapter. First, the promise to scatter the people among lands that even their ancestors did not know goes far beyond their exile in Babylon (Abram’s homeland). It is not an exaggeration to see this as being fulfilled all over the modern world. Second, God’s mention of boasting in nothing except knowing God is quoted by Paul in the context of the gospel – “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31). Third, for those who think that circumcision was strictly a Jewish “novelty,” Jeremiah 9:25-26 show that it was common in the Middle East at that time. However, what was meant to be used by the Jews as the physical seal of a spiritual covenant became nothing more than a physical surgery like the other nations. In Galatians Paul addressed this as an issue still going on 650 years after Jeremiah – the Jews trusting in their circumcision rather than in their Christ.
- Although many people read the commandment about “bearing false witness” to mean lying in general, it more specifically refers to perjuring oneself when testifying against a neighbor in court. ↩