Jeremiah 9-10


Kings of Judah
2 Kings
2 Chronicles
1 Nephi and Jer
(640-609 BC)
2 Kgs. 22:1-2
2 Chron. 34:1-7
Jer. 1-3
2 Chron. 34:8-19
2 Kgs. 22:3-20
Jer. 11
2 Chron. 34:20-33
Jer. 7-8
2 Kgs. 23:21-23
2 Chron. 35:1-19
Jer. 4-6
2 Kgs. 23:24-28
2 Chron. 35:20-27
2 Kgs. 23:29-30
Jer. 9-10
Jehoahaz or Shallum
2 Kgs. 23:31-35
2 Chron. 36:1-4
Jer. 22-23
Jehoiakim or Eliakim
(609-598 BC)
2 Kgs. 23:36-37
Jer. 12-13, 26, 25, 35-36, 45-49
2 Chron. 36:5-8
2 Kgs. 24:1-7
Jer. 15-20
Jehoiachin or Coniah
2 Chron. 36:9-10
2 Kgs. 24:8-16
Jer. 24
(598-587 BC)
2 Kgs. 24:17-20
2 Chron. 36:11-16
1 Ne. 1, Jer. 27-31, 21, 37-38
2 Kgs. 25:1-3
Jer. 32, 14, 33-34
2 Kgs. 25:4-21
2 Chron. 36:17-21
Jer. 39, 52:1-30, 40
2 Kgs. 25:22-26
Jer. 41-44, 50-51
2 Kgs. 25:27-30
Jer. 52:31-34
(Jeremiah chapters 11, 14, and 50-51 are placed based on content rather than chronology in an effort to match current events with Jeremiah’s prophecies. The prophecies may have been given either earlier or later.)

Jeremiah 9:1-2 Oh… that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people

Jeremiah’s pain, eloquently expressed in Lamentations, is really a continuation of chapter 8, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” (Jer. 8:22)  Jeremiah’s soul is suffering, and there is no medicine or bandage for the emotional wound.  If he could cry and weep for days, could it really make him feel better?  If he could actually find a cabin in the wilderness, if he could just runaway from the wickedness of his people, would the pain go away? Ether hid in solitude in a cave, but still “by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people” (Ether 13:13).
Mormon knew this feeling, writing after the destruction of his people instead of before:
   My soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried:
 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus who stood with open arms to receive you…
O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. (Mormon 6:16-22)
Joseph Smith
(January 4th, 1833) For some length of time I have been carefully reviewing the state of things, as it now appears, throughout our Christian land; and have looked at it with feelings of the most painful anxiety. While upon one hand I behold the manifest withdrawal of God's Holy Spirit, and the veil of stupidity which seems to be drawn over the hearts of the people; upon the other hand, I behold the judgments of God that have swept, and are still sweeping, hundreds and thousands of our race (and I fear unprepared) down to the shades of death. With this solemn and alarming fact before me, I am led to exclaim, "O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night."
I think that it is high time for a Christian world to awake out of sleep, and cry mightily to that God, day and night, whose anger we have justly incurred. (History of the Church, 1:313)
Jeremiah 9:3-5 they proceed from evil to evil… and weary themselves to commit iniquity
An interesting phrase—an interesting state of wickedness—that they would “weary themselves to commit iniquity.”  The alcoholic doesn’t want another drink but can’t help finishing the bottle.  With knees sore from praying to dumb idols, the Jews were too afraid of how it would look if they stopped.  Fatigued with sinful friends, some wanted to end the madness, go home, and go to bed.  But they stayed with the crowd, pressed in by the power of peers. Deep into the night, the porn addict, no longer interested, still can’t get himself to turn off the computer.  They “proceed from evil to evil” literally because they can’t stop.
Wickedness will wear you out.  It is never worth it (Alma 41:10). The Jews had become addicted to evil, but it leaves you physically exhausted, spiritually bankrupt, and morally bereft. Properly understood, it is hard to see the attraction. The opposite state of affairs is described by King Benjamin’s people, who “had no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (Mosiah 5:2)
Jeremiah 9:4-6 Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother
Hugh Nibley
Don't trust your brother, your neighbor, or anybody: that's the principle. He (Jeremiah) says he's got to get out of there. There's too much, and he can't take it. When you can't trust anybody anymore, what's the point of going on? (Teachings of the Book of Mormon--Semester 1, 1988--1990 [Provo: FARMS] vol. 1, p. 67)
Jeremiah 9:7 Behold I will melt them and try them
The image is the Lord as the worker of fine metals, heating them to the molten state to eliminate all impurities, “for he is like a refiner’s fire… And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:2-3)
“Some months ago, a few ladies, who met together in Dublin to read the Scriptures and make them the subject of conversation, were reading the third chapter of Malachi.
“One of the ladies gave it as her opinion that the ‘Fuller's Sope’ and the ‘Refiner of Silver’ was the same image; both intended to convey the same view of the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ.; while another observed, ‘there is something remarkable in the expression in the third verse, He shall SIT as a refiner and purifier of silver.’
“They agreed that possibly it might be so, and one of the ladies promised to call on a silversmith, and report to them what he said on the subject: She went accordingly, and without telling him the object of her errand, begged to know the process of refining silver. This he fully described to her; ‘but,’ said she, ‘do you sit while the work of refining is going on?’
“’Oh, yes, madam,’ replied the silversmith, ‘I must sit with my eye steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining is exceeded, the silver is sure to be injured.’
“At once she saw the beauty and the comfort of the expression, ‘He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.’
“Christ sees it needful to put the children into the furnace-but He is seated at the side of it-His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying, and wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come at random. The very hairs of their head are all numbered.
“As the lady was leaving, the silversmith called her back, and said he had further to mention that he only knew when the work was complete by seeing his own image reflected in the silver.
“A beautiful figure! When Christ SEES His own image in His people, the work of purifying is accomplished!” (
Jeremiah 9:13-14 they… have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart
Samuel the Lamanite could have been talking to the Jews of Jeremiah’s day when he said,
   …behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
   Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.
   O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light? (Hel. 13:27-29)
Jeremiah 9:16 I will scatter them also among the heathen
“Through the extensive scattering of Israel during the past twenty-seven hundred years, the house of Israel is now found among all nations. Nephi said that ‘the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations’ (1 Ne. 22:31 Ne. 22:3). That means not only that they are situated all over the earth but also that they have intermarried with all peoples.” (Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 574)
James E. Faust
The scattering of Israel throughout the world sprinkled the blood that believes, so that many nations may now partake of the gospel plan. The history of the Nephites is one of trial, calamities, and suffering, but through it all the experiences gained brought strength and development. (Reach Up for the Light [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 78)
Bruce R. McConkie
"If a complete history of the house of Israel were written, it would be the history of histories, the key of the world's history for the past twenty centuries" (Compendium, p. 85) and more, for Israel has been scattered among all the nations of the earth and has acted as a leavening and enlightening influence wherever her scattered remnants have found lodgement. (Articles of Faith, pp. 314-327.) Israel, meaning those comprising all 12 of the tribes, was scattered and afflicted because of unrighteousness and rebellion against the Lord and his covenants. (Lev. 26; Deut. 28; Jer. 16:11-13.) (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 678)
Jeremiah 9:17 call for the mourning women
“As stated in the Old Testament student manual prepared by the Church Educational System… ‘the Lord referred to the custom in ancient Israel of hiring professional mourners, women who were paid to wail and lament for long periods of time at someone's death. Jeremiah was told to hire professional mourners to lament over Judah.’” (LDS Church News, 1994, 08/13/94)
Jeremiah 9:24 let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me
Who says that Old Testament teachings are irrelevant and outdated?  Isn’t Jeremiah teaching the same principle taught in the New Testament, “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)?  Apparently, we are not wasting our time reading the more obscure chapters of Jeremiah!
Joseph B. Wirthlin
“It is one thing to know about God and another to know him. We know about him when we learn that he is a personal being in whose image man is created; when we learn that the Son is in the express image of his Father’s person; when we learn that both the Father and the Son possess certain [specific] attributes and powers. But we know them, in the sense of gaining eternal life, when we enjoy and experience the same things they do. To know God is to think what he thinks, to feel what he feels, to have the power he possesses, to comprehend the truths he understands, and to do what he does. Those who know God become like him, and have his kind of life, which is eternal life.” (Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC, 1:762) In other words, to possess a knowledge of Christ, we must become as he is. We become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). He instructed his Nephite disciples: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27). (“Our Lord and Savior,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 7)
Hans B. Ringger
It is essential to know God so that we can gain eternal blessings and salvation through living in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gaining a knowledge of Christ and God is a prerequisite for a true understanding of our mission in life. Lowell L. Bennion writes in his book Legacies of Jesus: “One of the most important things we need to learn is what are the attributes of God. Christ came to earth to reveal to us the character of God. He is the revelation of God to human beings, teaching us by precept and example the meaning of faith, humility, integrity, and love” (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990, p. 61).
We learn of God through Christ’s life; we know God through following Christ’s example. My dear brothers and sisters and friends and listeners, let us truly know our Savior and his Father. We should ask ourselves if our decisions are in accordance with the example of Christ, that we may follow in Christ’s footsteps. Let us not be deceived or dissuaded from Christ’s way, but let us reap the blessings of peace and eternal joy through following him. (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 83)
Neal A. Maxwell
It is up to us. Therein lies life’s greatest and most persistent challenge. Thus when people are described as “having lost their desire for sin,” it is they, and they only, who deliberately decided to lose those wrong desires by being willing to “give away all [their] sins” in order to know God (Alma 22:18). (Ensign, Nov. 1996, 22)
Jeremiah 10:2 be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them
A documentary about Babylon, available on Youtube, gives us an idea how the heathens viewed signs from heaven. Clay tablets with Babylonian cuneiform writings dating to Jeremiah’s era have been found in and around the ruins of Babylon:
“The inscriptions provide detailed accounts of life in the Babylon Empire.  Within the finds is a record of an event that plunged the people into fear and terror over 2500 years ago—an eclipse of the moon. The clay tablets tell of the day when the moon disappeared and priests all over the city had to light fires.  People quickly gathered in the streets and used their clothes to shield themselves from the site as prayers and hymns filled the entire city. The soldiers of the king dipped their hands into dark clay and smeared it over their faces covering them entirely.  Only in this way could the moon, believed by the Babylonians to be a god called Sin, be appeased. Only then would the god be prepared to show his face to mankind once more.”  (“City of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar II,” Discovery Civilization Documentary)
Jeremiah 10:3-5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go
Ridiculous is the best word to describe the absurdity of carving an idol out of wood, covering it with gold, decorating it to look human, and then worshipping it as a god.  You can paint a mouth on the idol but it can’t speak.  You can carve out legs but it can’t walk.  You can paint on some eyes but it can’t see.  How could any rational being believe in such a god? 
The modern mind can’t make sense of such idolatry.  But let’s look at the advantages of worshipping and idol!  The biggest difference between the idol and the true and living God is that you can see the idol.  You can’t see God and therefore it is harder to believe in Him.  If he were visible, there would be no comparison.  The idol has the advantage of appealing to the natural senses.  The true and living God can only be seen with spiritual eyes.  It requires faith to believe in the true and living God.  It requires no faith to believe in a carved stick figurine, just stupidity.
If the people could see the Lord, then they would have the same response as Jeremiah, “Who would not fear thee, O King of nations?... there is none like unto thee… He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” (v. 7-12)
Jeremiah 10:8-15 they are altogether brutish and foolish… for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them
The best anti-idolatry story comes from Abraham. This story, from the Book of Jasher, demonstrates the foolishness and brutishness of idol worship. It may be a bit long but it is worth the read:
16. And Abram came to his father's house and saw twelve gods standing there in their
temples, and the anger of Abram was kindled when he saw these images in his father's
17. And Abram said, As the Lord liveth these images shall not remain in my father's house;
so shall the Lord who created me do unto me if in three days' time I do not break them
18. And Abram went from them, and his anger burned within him. And Abram hastened
and went from the chamber to his father's outer court, and he found his father sitting in
the court, and all his servants with him, and Abram came and sat before him.
19. And Abram asked his father, saying, Father, tell me where is God who created heaven
and earth, and all the sons of men upon earth, and who created thee and me. And Terah
answered his son Abram and said, Behold those who created us are all with us in the
20. And Abram said to his father, My lord, shew them to me I pray thee; and Terah brought
Abram into the chamber of the inner court, and Abram saw, and behold the whole room
was full of gods of wood and stone, twelve great images and others less than they
without number.
21. And Terah said to his son, Behold these are they which made all thou seest upon earth,
and which created me and thee, and all mankind.
22. And Terah bowed down to his gods, and he then went away from them, and Abram, his
son, went away with him.
23. And when Abram had gone from them he went to his mother and sat before her, and he
said to his mother, Behold, my father has shown me those who made heaven and earth,
and all the sons of men.
24. Now, therefore, hasten and fetch a kid from the flock, and make of it savory meat, that I
may bring it to my father's gods as an offering for them to eat; perhaps I may thereby
become acceptable to them.
25. And his mother did so, and she fetched a kid, and made savory meat thereof, and
brought it to Abram, and Abram took the savory meat from his mother and brought it
before his father's gods, and he drew nigh to them that they might eat; and Terah his
father, did not know of it.
26. And Abram saw on the day when he was sitting amongst them, that they had no voice,
no hearing, no motion, and not one of them could stretch forth his hand to eat.
27. And Abram mocked them, and said, Surely the savory meat that I prepared has not
pleased them, or perhaps it was too little for them, and for that reason they would not
eat; therefore tomorrow I will prepare fresh savory meat, better and more plentiful than
this, in order that I may see the result.
28. And it was on the next day that Abram directed his mother concerning the savory meat,
and his mother rose and fetched three fine kids from the flock, and she made of them
some excellent savory meat, such as her son was fond of, and she gave it to her son
Abram; and Terah his father did not know of it.
29. And Abram took the savory meat from his mother, and brought it before his father's
gods into the chamber; and he came nigh unto them that they might eat, and he placed it
before them, and Abram sat before them all day, thinking perhaps they might eat.
30. And Abram viewed them, and behold they had neither voice nor hearing, nor did one of
them stretch forth his hand to the meat to eat.
31. And in the evening of that day in that house Abram was clothed with the spirit of God.
32. And he called out and said, Wo unto my father and this wicked generation, whose hearts
are all inclined to vanity, who serve these idols of wood and stone which can neither
eat, smell, hear nor speak, who have mouths without speech, eyes without sight, ears
without hearing, hands without feeling, and legs which cannot move; like them are
those that made them and that trust in them.
33. And when Abram saw all these things his anger was kindled against his father, and he
hastened and took a hatchet in his hand, and came unto the chamber of the gods, and he
broke all his father's gods.
34. And when he had done breaking the images, he placed the hatchet in the hand of the
great god which was there before them, and he went out; and Terah his father came
home, for he had heard at the door the sound of the striking of the hatchet; so Terah
came into the house to know what this was about.
35. And Terah, having heard the noise of the hatchet in the room of images, ran to the room
to the images, and he met Abram going out.
36. And Terah entered the room and found all the idols fallen down and broken, and the
hatchet in the hand of the largest, which was not broken, and the savory meat which
Abram his son had made was still before them.
37. And when Terah saw this his anger was greatly kindled, and he hastened and went from
the room to Abram.
38. And he found Abram his son still sitting in the house; and he said to him, What is this
work thou hast done to my gods?
39. And Abram answered Terah his father and he said, Not so my lord, for I brought savory
meat before them, and when I came nigh to them with the meat that they might eat, they
all at once stretched forth their hands to eat before the great one had put forth his hand
to eat.
40. And the large one saw their works that they did before him, and his anger was violently
kindled against them, and he went and took the hatchet that was in the house and came
to them and broke them all, and behold the hatchet is yet in his hand as thou seest.
41. And Terah's anger was kindled against his son Abram, when he spoke this; and Terah
said to Abram his son in his anger, What is this tale that thou hast told? Thou speakest
lies to me.
42. Is there in these gods spirit, soul or power to do all thou hast told me? Are they not
wood and stone, and have I not myself made them, and canst thou speak such lies,
saying that the large god that was with them smote them? It is thou that didst place the
hatchet in his hands, and then sayest he smote them all.
43. And Abram answered his father and said to him, And how canst thou then serve these
idols in whom there is no power to do any thing? Can those idols in which thou trustest
deliver thee? can they hear thy prayers when thou callest upon them? can they deliver
thee from the hands of thy enemies, or will they fight thy battles for thee against thy
enemies, that thou shouldst serve wood and stone which can neither speak nor hear?
44. And now surely it is not good for thee nor for the sons of men that are connected with
thee, to do these things; are you so silly, so foolish or so short of understanding that you
will serve wood and stone, and do after this manner?
45. And forget the Lord God who made heaven and earth, and who created you in the earth,
and thereby bring a great evil upon your souls in this matter by serving stone and wood?
46. Did not our fathers in days of old sin in this matter, and the Lord God of the universe
brought the waters of the flood upon them and destroyed the whole earth?
47. And how can you continue to do this and serve gods of wood and stone, who cannot
hear, or speak, or deliver you from oppression, thereby bringing down the anger of the
God of the universe upon you?
48. Now therefore my father refrain from this, and bring not evil upon thy soul and the
souls of thy household. (The Book of Jasher, 11:16-48)
Jeremiah 10:23  it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps
John Taylor
I feel, as it is expressed in the Scriptures, “That it is not in man to direct his steps,” and it is not especially in man to teach things pertaining to eternity, or to the everlasting welfare of the human family, unless he be under the guidance and direction of the Almighty, and feels that he is simply an instrument in His hands to unfold and develop certain principles that are made manifest unto him. I feel always willing to hear, to teach, to receive instruction, or to communicate unto others those principles that are calculated to promote their happiness and well-being in time and in eternity. These things lie at the foundation of the happiness of the human family; they emanate from God, our Father, in whom, we are told, “we live, and move, and have our being,” and upon [Acts 17:28] whom we are dependent for all the blessings we enjoy, whether they pertain to this world or the world to come. Ignorant of all true principles without inspiration from him, we feel at all times that it is necessary for us to be under his guidance and direction, and to seek for the aid of his Holy Spirit, that we may be led and taught, instructed and directed in all of our acts and associations in life, that we may be prepared for any events that may transpire, associated with the affairs of this world or relative to the world to come. (Journal of Discourses, 14:355-357)
Jeremiah 10:24 O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger
Quite a brave thing it is to ask the Lord for correction.  We want Him to tell us how well we are doing, not where we need improvement.  Asking for His correction is a true sign of humility—that we are placing His will before our own.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952] p. 160)
Henry B. Eyring
You might prefer that God simply tell you how well you are doing. But he loves you, wants you to be with him, and knows you must have a mighty change in your heart, through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, humble repentance, and the making and keeping of sacred covenants. That’s why the Proverbs record this:
   My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
   For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Prov. 3:11–12.)
As you have listened to God’s servants here, you have felt pricked in your heart to do something. You could react with a hard heart: “Why is an imperfect man telling me to repent?” Or you could hear instead the loving invitation of your Heavenly Father, who… delights in the prospect that you will accept his loving correction. (Ensign, May 1991, 67)