Jeremiah 9 Commentary

Knowledge of the only true God (9:23-10:16)

People may have knowledge, power and wealth, but these are no substitute for a true understanding and knowledge of God (23-24). The Judeans may have been circumcised as a sign that they are the covenant people of God, but in their hearts they have not been true to God or the covenant. They might as well be uncircumcised like their heathen neighbours. Israel’s rite of circumcision is no more beneficial to disobedient people than the heathen rite of cutting the hair into certain shapes (25-26).

Jeremiah warns God’s people against copying the practices of other nations and worshipping the sun, moon and stars. He warns them also against worshipping idols, which he describes as merely decorated pieces of wood (10:1-5). Judah’s God, Yahweh, is not just one among many national gods. He is the only God, incomparable and all-powerful (6-7). People may be very artistic in carving or moulding their idols, and may go to much expense to clothe and decorate them, but the idols are still senseless and worthless. Yahweh alone is the true and living God (8-10).

Idols cannot make anything or do anything (11), but God created the universe and keeps it going.

Idols are lifeless, and those who make them have no sense; but God is a living being, and all his works are the products of his wisdom (12-15). This God is the almighty Yahweh, the one who created all things and who chose Israel to be his people (16).

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