Our reading today begins with Jeremiah continuing his lament over Judah for the coming judgment. 9:1 (8:23 in the Hebrew Bible) is the verse that gave Jeremiah the name of “weeping prophet.” He wishes that he could cry more than he is for the people of Judah! And we see the emotion of the prophet. He in verse 2 wishes he could just leave the people of Judah and not see their wickedness.
In verse 3, YHWH speaks of their deceit and their lack of knowledge of Him. In verses 4-5, God warns the wicked Judahites from trusting each other. They are all guilty of the deceit of verse 3. And that means that they do not know the Lord truly (v. 6). So YHWH of hosts (picturing God as the divine warrior) says His hands are tied and He must judge the people. (v. 7, 9) for their rampant deceit (v. 8). God Himself says He will weep (v 10). But not for the people. He weeps for the land, and the cattle, and the birds because of the judgment coming in Judah. He again says He will make Judah a wasteland (v. 11).
God that asks who is wise enough to understand what is about to happen (v. 12). He has already declared all the people foolish and senseless (5:4-5, 21). Their forsaking of Him and His Law is foolishness (v. 13). Their refusal to repent and their seeking other gods is foolishness (v. 14). So God will judge them and send them into exile (vv. 15-16).
God then calls for the professional mourners (v. 17 – yes, that was a thing) to run to Judah to mourn over them (v. 18). This is because even His spiritual people are affected by the sin of Judah (v. 19). The punishment will be severe (vv. 20-22). All that the people find value in are worthless (v. 23) – only a knowledge of YHWH is worth anything (v. 24). This is why the physical people are going to be punished (v. 25). They are no different from the nations around them (v. 26)!
In chapter 10, God begins by calling Judah to not be like those nations (aside from Judah, obviously) that He spoke of in 9:26 (10:1). They are nothing but idolaters (vv. 3-5). Their idols are powerless. In contrast, Jeremiah says that YHWH is like no other god. His name is great! Who wouldn’t fear Him (v. 7). The wise fear Him! This is why Judah is foolish (v. 8 – see 9:12). Idols are man made (v. 9), but YHWH is the true God (v. 10). So He will judge all other gods, too (v. 11). They are made, but He is the Maker (v. 12). He is the Sustainer of His creation (v. 13).
In verse 14, God returns to the idea of the foolishness of wicked man. They worship lies (v. 15). God is not anything like them (v. 16). And He is bringing judgment on Judah (v. 17): captivity (v. 18)! n verse 19, YHWH again speaks for the people. They will bear their punishment. They will be taken and their children killed (v. 20). Their kings (shepherds) are the greatest fools (v. 21 – this refers to Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah – see 2 Chr 36:5-16). So their people will be scattered (see 2 Chr 36:20). In verse 22, Jeremiah again prophesies of the judgment coming from the north. They will make Judah a wasteland.
Jeremiah then prays to God. Man is incapable of saving himself (v. 23). He is incapable of doing right on his own. Man needs the loving chastisement of God to learn how to obey Him (again, we see the prominence of justice in God’s commands). Note that the prayer is for chastisement, not punishment (v. 24). Because who can stand against God’s punishment (see Ps 130:3)?!? So Jeremiah prays that God would punish the nations that do not know Him and who do not call on His name (v. 25). Jeremiah is praying for God to turn His wrath against Babylon, and not Judah (v. 25). But God will not relent (see 7:16). Judah has become like those nations.