For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom…
God was doing nothing new or indefensible in allowing Jerusalem thus to be wasted and humiliated. The Israelites had in their possession illustrations more than one of how great sin had been followed by great suffering. Jeremiah quotes Sodom, and he might have said something about Egypt when God visited it with the plagues. We must not, of course, press too literally the statement that the sin of Jerusalem was greater than that of Sodom. The prophet's aim is simply to insist that no sin could have been greater than that of Jerusalem. If it was a right and a necessary thing that Sodom should be so suddenly visited, so completely overwhelmed, then assuredly no complaint could be made against the severe treatment experienced by Jerusalem. Indeed, relatively, Jerusalem might think itself very well off. If the height on which Jerusalem stood had sunk in another Dead Sea, there would have been no ground for complaint. No impartial Israelite, looking at the privileges of Israel, considering how much it had been instructed and warned, and how patiently it had been dealt with, could do anything but confess that on the whole it had been mildly visited. We must, however, be careful here not to attribute anything arbitrary to God. We shall naturally be very much perplexed if we allow ourselves to think that, though Sodom's sin was less than Jerusalem's, yet it received a greater punishment. It is only by a figure that we talk of communities being punished. Punishment is strictly an individual thing. Communities may suffer, and the suffering will be according to the needs of God's government at the time. The cities of the plain were utterly swept away, that the rest of the world might not become as bad as they were. These visitations have to be looked on somewhat in the light of surgical operations. One patient in the hospital needs to have a limb amputated that the whole body may be saved. Another can have his body saved without the loss of a part of it. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.