5:1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one [these terms were easier than those given to Abraham: God had told Abraham that He would spare Sodom for the sake of ten righteous men (Gen. 18:23-33)] person who deals honestly [a person of integrity] and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city [Jerusalem].
Note: “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” Henry Varley spoke these words to evangelist D.L. Moody. Moody asked God to make him that man.
5:2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives [a solemn oath; see Matt. 5:34-35],’ still they are swearing falsely [the people had no intention to follow-through on their commitments to God].”
5:3 O LORD, do not your eyes look [God can see through sham and pretense] for truth? You [indicates divine discipline] struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction [cf. Job. 5:17]. They made their faces harder than stone [cf. Ezek. 3:7-9] and refused to repent.
5:4 I thought, “These are only the poor [the common people; the powerless]; they are foolish, for they do not know [uneducated] the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.
5:5 So [Jeremiah turned his search for a righteous man in a new direction] I will go to the leaders [men of high station; the powerful] and speak to them; surely they know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.” But [the piety of the upper and more educated was not any greater than that of the poor and uneducated] with one accord they too had [note picture of rebellion and defiance …] broken off the yoke [the yoke of the law and its requirements; cf. Matt. 11:30] and torn off the bonds [ropes used to fasten the yoke to the neck of an animal; an ox that has broken loose from yoke and bonds to roam away is in danger of attack by wild animals].
5:6 [the wild animals mentioned in this verse are metaphorical terms for surrounding hostile empires and hint at imminent judgment] Therefore a lion [represents strength] from the forest will attack them, a wolf [represents ravenousness] from the desert will ravage them, a leopard [represents swiftness] will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings [apostasies] many.
5:7 “Why should I forgive you [these words were likely being addressed to the leaders (v. 5:5)]? [note three transgressions…] Your children [the people of Jerusalem]  have forsaken me [it is a dangerous thing to wander away from God (cf. Ps. 119:67a)] and  sworn by gods that are not gods [idols; cf. Deut. 32:17,21]. I supplied all their needs [a reference to God’s blessings; should have evoked gratitude], yet they  committed adultery [refers to both apostasy and literal immorality (cf. 5:8); what we worship influences our values] and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.
5:8 They [the men of Jerusalem] are [note metaphor…] well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife [idolatry opened the door to immorality].
5:9 Should I not punish them for this [a rhetorical question]?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
5:10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but [a shred of hope follows; God would not allow the complete destruction of His people] do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the LORD.
5:11 The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me [God had not departed from the people, the people had departed from God],” declares the LORD.
5:12 They have lied [the people did not listen to God’s warnings through His true prophets] about the LORD; they said [note the people’s false confidence that no harm would come to them], “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine [cf. Zeph. 1:12].
5:13 The prophets [refers to those true prophets who warned of God’s impending judgment] are but wind [Heb. ruah; some called the prophets “windbags”] and the word [God’s Word] is not [a denial of the inspiration of the message] in them; so let what they say be done to them.”
5:14 Therefore this is what the LORD God Almighty says: “Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your [Jeremiah’s] mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes.