What contradictions we find in Jeremiah chapter nine!
There is the contradictory desire to weep for Israel on the one hand, and desert them on the other. A feeling for them on the one hand, a desire to refine, test and punish them on the other.
And then, there are these decisions to make the land a heap of ruins, make the people eat bitter herbs, and have the dead piled up in the city like so much garbage. On the other hand, these punishments come from the Lord “who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth.”
How can these contradictions coexist?
They are not really contradictions. The holy God does not think or feel as we do – nor is He required to do so. His sense of justice is such that he cannot abide the injustices of of liars to take advantage of others (vs. 3), of hypocrisy that seeks cordiality face to face but treachery behind the back (vs. 8). He cannot abide the blindness of those who lose their fortunes because of deliberate unfaithfulness, mourn only the loss of earthly wealth and never morn the spiritual bankruptcy that caused it in the first place.
God cannot abide these things. And He will not.
There are no contradictions. God longs to bless. But He will curse.
Have you ever heard “wailing?”
Real wailing will knock you to your knees and bring tears to your eyes and you won’t know why. It’s the cry of a parent who has tragically lost a child. Some people can do it spontaneously – for virtually anyone. In some cultures, there are professional wailers. Those are the ones called for in verse 17. The idea is to bring in these “pros” to see if they cannot evoke some feeling and remorse in an unrepentant Israel. There is plenty to feel bad about. But Israel simply doesn’t care.