The nation had “blood on their hands” and “blood on their skirts” as they used the law to steal and kill the poor.  All the evidence made it obvious to everyone but themselves. And yet there will be no remorse or no repentance on their part. Jeremiah indicts them again but 25 fonzythis time it’s not for their sin but their failure to acknowledge it. Jeremiah 2:35 says, “Yet in spite of all these things you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’” They would not acknowledge any wrongdoing on their part and insisted that the good things they had in life were obviously the result of God’s blessings on them and His acceptance of their lifestyles.

Constance says, “Their moral blindness was so great that they were not conscious of the fact that their sin was in violation of all God’s requirements. They felt that they were innocent and imagined that God ultimately would wink at their wickedness and that his anger would pass away. Sin can so sear our conscience that all sense of right and wrong is totally distorted. This was the condition of Israel at this time. How familiar this is today. Things once considered in violation of God’s Word are now twisted to the place that wrong is considered right. How important it is that we study God’s Word and not be led by what society considers right but base our character and conduct on what God’s Word has to say about living a godly life and that which is in opposition to a godly life. These are sobering thoughts.”[1]

The judgment that God brings in this verse is not on their sin itself, rather it’s on the fact that they say “I have not sinned.” Yes, as the Cornerstone Commentary puts it, “Israel claims she has not sinned. Failure to see evil for what it is is itself an evil.”[2] It might even be the greatest evil. Confession and repentance can lead to forgiveness and restoration, but failure to acknowledge one’s fault cannot be resolved in any way. Isn’t that the major problem in most failed relationships? It’s not so much the behavior as the  failure to acknowledge it and be willing to deal with it. Feinberg closes his discussion on this topic by saying, “Judah’s argumentative self-justification will do nothing to avert the visitation of God. It is always easy to justify oneself, no matter how sinful one’s life. From Adam on, human beings have been experts at such self-justification.”[3] I’ve known people who have found it impossible to say, “I was wrong,” and “I’m so sorry.” I hope I’m not like that, don’t you?

[1] Mrs. T. M. Constance, Jeremiah, vol. 1 (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 1978), 13.

[2] Larry L. Walker, Elmer A. Martens, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, & Lamentations, vol. 8 (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005), 323.

[3] Charles L. Feinberg, “Jeremiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 396.