Jeremiah sees the coming destruction that’s about to fall upon his people because of their rebellion against their God. As Jesus wept over what He knew was in store for Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD, so too does Jeremiah weep for 20 christ diedJerusalem when he sees what is about to happen to Jerusalem and its temple in 586 BC. We read about that in Jeremiah 4:19. He says, “My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.”

In the course of the book of Jeremiah he will bring some harsh condemnation to his people. As Craigie observes, the sections on God’s judgment “are stern and almost ruthless in substance.” Yet there is another side to the prophet. Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction to come in 70AD was harsh also. He said that there will not be one rock left upon another when the Roman armies are finished. Yet there were tears in His eyes all along. There is another side to the Prophet Jeremiah as well. Craigie continues his discussion and says that this verse illuminates “…the internal torment of a man who is torn, precisely because he is himself so gripped by the urgency of his public preaching. He is not stern in public because he is heartless; it is because he loves his nation and people so dearly that he speaks the severe word, but it takes a terrible toll on his own emotional life.”[1]

Today’s English Version translates the first parts of this verse, “The pain! The Pain! I can’t stand the pain!” I remember watching my youngest son nearly drown in a swimming pool in Pearl Harbor. In full uniform I was in the water in seconds trudging to where my son was upside down strapped into a floating toy. He was only 18 months old but had managed to turn the Styrofoam turtle upside down by all his kicking and splashing.  The grief that overwhelmed me for just a few seconds is what I imagine Jeremiah felt during his entire life for his people. No wonder he’s called “the weeping Prophet.” No wonder he wrote the book of Lamentations! More importantly, the pain we feel when our children suffer was what God voluntarily took upon Himself as His one and only Son was crucified. The blameless one suffered for the guilty ones.  Oh yes! What a glorious Savior!

[1] Peter C. Craigie, Jeremiah 1–25, vol. 26, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 79.