The Wailing Women of Jeremiah 9:17

In Study the Women of the Bible by revealadmin1 Comment

Prepare: to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use or activity; to put in a proper state of mind. To work out the details of or plan in advance, a strategy (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary). Preparations are being made by the Lord for a purpose and a plan. According to Amos 3:7, God prepares His people for what He is about do, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.” For good or punishment, the Lord directs the paths of His people.

Israel has yet again fallen away into temptation. Unrepentant hearts are about to hear a cry in the wilderness. Not a cry of repentance from a herald such a John the Baptist proclaiming Good News, but one of sorrow and lament.

The prophet Jeremiah is weeping. Sorrow has wracked his soul to it’s core for God’s nation, “Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (Jeremiah 9:1) He laments the sinfulness and consequent of punishment for the Lord’s people. Their calamity is directly related to Judah’s idolatry, and for this sin the people will go into exile [1]. At the Lord’s direction and preparation, Jeremiah calls the wailing women.

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us til our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids. The sound of wailing is heard from Zion.” (Jeremiah 9:17-19)

Professional mourners take center stage as God announces to His people the just verdict. “These women were mourners by occupation. Jeremiah invited the wailing women to let their tears flow into the eyes of their friends and neighbors so the whole nation could weep together. Jerusalem would need as many mourners as she could get. Lamentation would become a growth industry, ‘Now, O women, hear the word of the Lord; open your ears to the words of His mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament’. There were to be plenty of job opportunities for professional wailing women. Perhaps God spoke to women here because they are more given to tears, but verses are not just for women. Every Christian is called to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).” [1]

As God’s heart grieves, ours should as well. His heart was in anguish over His people and their choices. What did they do you ask? The question should be what did they not do! “You name it, they had done it: idol worship, adultery, lying, child sacrifice, not praising God, prostitution, unfaithfulness, treachery, shady dealings, false preaching, not fearing God, covenant-breaking, violence, greed, not walking in God’s way, hypocrisy, racism, murder, goddess worship, slander, and rejecting the Word of God.” [1]

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that He made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6) God’s heart mourns over His people. Our Lord feels sorrow and sadness, pain and hurt just as we do for the Bible says Jesus of Nazareth offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries to the One who could save Him (Hebrews 5:7) and the prophet Isaiah describes Him as a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”. (Isaiah 53:3)

As Christians, our own hearts grieve over our children, a death close to us, loss of a job, financial desperation, loss of friendships, foreclosures, bankruptcies, lost items, and the destruction of something precious to us. As each of these heart tugs are grievous, are you also mourning man’s sinfulness today as Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, mourned his nation? Are you offering up prayers to the One who can save the sex trafficked, the aborted, the starving, the beaten and bruised, the martyrs, the loss souls, the adulterers, the mockers, the thieves, the murderers, the imprisoned, the homeless, the suicidal, the mentally ill, the greedy, the sick, and our enemies? Has the Lord heard your wailing?

We can grieve the Holy Spirit today, just as those in Jeremiah’s day did. Ephesians 4, written by the Apostle Paul, encourages Christians today to walk worthy of the divine calling to which you have been called with complete lowliness of mind, meekness, with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (do not offend or vex or sadden Him), by whom you were sealed (marked and branded as God’s own) for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

I want to encourage you to pray. Pray for those who are in bondage. Pray for the ones who are lost and have no idea. Pray for the ones who need healing mentally, physically, and spiritually. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, missionaries spreading the Gospel, and preachers and teachers of the Word to be unashamed to pronounce Truth. Pray to the Lord where you can be used to help those in need. Offer up your own prayers in lament over those who refuse God’s call on their lives. Pray to the One while He can be called on today and offer your own prayers to our precious King!


  1. Catherine

    Yes we must continue to pray over ourselves, our families, our friends, the lost, the unsaved, the backslidden, our country and our leaders.

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