This subject of judgment is pursued in Jeremiah 5, while the prophet still shows the frightful moral condition of Jerusalem, and he warns them of the penalties about to come: "How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken Me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith Jehovah" (verses 7-9).
And the worst phase of the national evil was that not merely a certain portion of the people were guilty, but "a wonderful and horrible thing," he says, "is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (verses 30, 31).
Thus all the springs of moral rectitude were corrupted; and consequently it was plain that nothing but judgment could come to them from the Lord.
This subject is continued to the end of Jeremiah 6. Jeremiah calls upon the nations to hear his message: "Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto My words, nor to My law, but rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to Me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country?" Their ceremonies were vain hopes to stay the judgment. "Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto Me. Therefore thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish." At the same time, the prophet's heart is full of sorrow for the nation. "O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us" (verse 26).