Jer 15.1-21 contains Yehovah’s answer to Jeremiah’s prayers. Judgment must come. Jeremiah complains about the hardships, but Yehovah will protect him. Judah is going into exile.
v 1…Then the Lord said to me, “Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before me (famous intercessors), my heart (“nefesh” or soul) would not be with this people; send them away from my presence and let them go (tell them this is coming)!
v 2…And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord; “Those destined for death, to death; and those destined for the sword, to the sword; and those destined for famine, to famine; and those destined for captivity, to captivity (this is like the four horsemen of the book of Revelation-Rev 6.1-8).
v 3…And I shall appoint over them four kinds kinds (of agents for doom),” declares the Lord: the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.
v 4…And I shall make them an object of horror among all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem (the idolatry and the murder he did in Jerusalem, even when he had a godly father-2 Kings 23.26).
v 5…Indeed, who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, or who will mourn for you, or who turn aside to ask about your welfare (none will pity them because their sin was so grievous)?
v 6…You who have forsaken me, declares the Lord, “You keep going backward (spiritual movement does not relate to distance that can be measured as in physical movement. “Near” means “similar to” and “far” means “different, opposite”-Jer 7.24), so I will stretch out my hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting (giving you another chance)!
v 7…And I will winnow them with a winnowing fork at the gates of the land (the wheat and the chaff will be separated); I will bereave them of children (die), I will destroy my people; they did not repent of their ways.
v 8…Their widows will be more numerous before me than the sand of the seas (at the siege of Jerusalem and captivity the men were slain); I will bring against them, against the mother of a young man, a destroyer (Nebuchadnezzar) at noonday (not in secret); I will suddenly bring down on her anguish and dismay.
v 9…She who bore seven sons (also seen as Jerusalem) pines away; she has breathed out her last (blew out her soul). Her sun has set while it was yet day (darkness of affliction and distress came sooner than she thought); she has been shamed and humiliated, so I will deliver the rest of them to the sword before her enemies,” declares the Lord (of those who remain).
v 10…Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me as a man of strife and a man of contention in the land (others quarreled with Jeremiah and contended with him, and he was hated by many)! I have neither lent nor have men lent money to me (given cause to be hated by so many), yet everyone curses me (without a good reason).
v 11…Yehovah said, “Surely I will set you free for purposes of good (Yehovah will protect Jeremiah), surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you in a time of disaster and a time of distress (he will be treated better by the Babylonians).
v 12…Can anyone smash iron, iron from the north, or bronze (the strength of Babylon from the north comes from Yehovah in judgment)?
v 13…Your wealth and your treasures (Judah’s) I will give for booty without cost (free spoil to the Babylonians), even for all your sins and within all your borders (everything in the land will be plundered).
v 14…Then I will cause your enemies to bring it into a land you do not know (Babylon); for a fire has been kindled in my anger, it will burn upon you (judgment on Judah).
v 15…Thou who knowest (my case), O Lord, remember me (with favor), take notice me (in mercy), and take vengeance for me on my persecutors (for the sake of God’s name and his glory, in which he was working). Do not, in view of thy patience, take me away (by death); know that for thy sake I endure reproach (in bringing God’s message to the people).
v 16…Thy words were found and I ate them (he was satisfied to communicate them), and thy words became for me a joy and a delight of my heart (accepted into his being); for I have been called by thy name (as God’s agent or “shaliach”); O Lord of hosts.
v 17…I did not sit in the circle (Hebrew “sowd” or inner council) of merrymakers, nor did I exult (the situation was too serious, he did not join the others who mocked God). Because of thy hand upon me I sat alone (did not fellowship with those who he was sent to warn), for thou didst fill me with indignation (at what they were doing).
v 18…Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed (a Hebrew parallelism meaning the pain in his mind had no hope of changing. The people just would not repent and they reproached him)? Wilt thou indeed be to me as a deceptive stream with water that is reliable (a wadi will seem dry, then all of a sudden it rushes with water upon you and you could drown. Jeremiah knew the Lord to be good on his word, but he feared his enemies would rush upon him and triumph over him and say God was not with him).
v 19…Therefore, thus says the Lord, “If you return (from your doubts and lack of self-confidence as seen in the previous verses), then I will restore you (to his function as a prophet) before me you will stand; and if you extract the the precious (truth) from the worthless (your own hasty words and corruptions), you will become my spokesman (as my mouth), they for their part may turn to you (you will influence them), but as for you you must not turn to them (be influenced by them like the false prophets).
v 20…Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall (as promised in Jer 1.18); and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you (contradict what he is saying and take his life); for I am with you to save you and deliver you (from his troubles), “declares the Lord.
v 21…So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked (the men of Judah)), and I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent (the Babylonians).”