Lamentation over Judah (Jer 8:18-8:20)

“My joy is gone.

Grief is upon me.

My heart is sick.

Hark!

The cry of my poor people

From far and wide in the land!

‘Is Yahweh not in Zion?

Is her King not in her?’

‘Why have they provoked me to anger?

They have their images.

They have their foreign idols?’

‘The harvest is past.

The summer is ended.

We are not saved.’

Jeremiah laments the situation in Judah. His joy is gone. His grief has made him heartsick. The cry of the poor people can be heard far and wide all over the land. Why hasn’t Yahweh helped? Why is the king gone? They have provoked Yahweh to anger with their images of foreign idols. The harvest has past as summer has ended. They are not saved. What can he do?

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The menace from the north (Jer 8:16-8:17)

“The snorting of their horses

Is heard from Dan.

At the sound of

The neighing of their stallions

The whole land quakes.

They come.

They devour the land.

They devour all that fills it.

They devour the city.

They devour all those who dwell in it.

See!

I am letting snakes loose among you.

These are adders

That cannot be charmed.

They shall bite you.’

Says Yahweh.”

Here Yahweh, via Jeremiah, warns them that the destroyer is coming from the north, much like in chapter 4 of this work. The horses and the stallions are snorting and neighing in the territory of Dan, the most northern part of Israel, near Syria. The land was beginning to quake as they are getting closer. They would come and devour the land with everything in it. They would devour their cities and everyone living there. Yahweh was going to let the snakes and the adders loose in Judah so that they would bite them.

The lost peace (Jer 8:14-8:15)

“Why do we sit still?

Gather together!

Let us go into the fortified cities!

We will perish there!

Yahweh our God

Has doomed us to perish.

He has given us poisoned water to drink.

Because we have sinned against Yahweh.

We look for peace.

But we find no good.

We look for a time of healing,

But there is terror instead.”

Here Jeremiah presents the views of the people of Judah. They were sitting together, before they went to their fortified cities. There they expected to perish because Yahweh had doomed them to die. He gave them poisoned water to drink, which was the wrath of God. They finally admitted that they had sinned against Yahweh. They wanted peace, but there was none. They looked for healing, but there was only terror instead.

No grapes on the vine (Jer 8:13-8:13)

“Says Yahweh.

‘When I wanted to gather them,

There are no grapes on the vine.

There are no figs on the fig tree.

Even the leaves are withered.

What I gave them

Has passed away from them.”

Yahweh compared Judah to a vine that had no grapes, as well as a fig tree than had no figs. Even the leaves were withered up. Whatever Yahweh had given to them was gone. They were barren.

The false prophets and priests (Jer 8:10-8:12)

“Therefore I will give their wives to others.

I will give their fields to conquerors.

Because from the least to the greatest,

Everyone is greedy for unjust gain.

From prophet to priest,

Everyone deals falsely.

They have treated

The wound of my people carelessly.

Saying.

‘Peace!

Peace!’

When there is no peace.

They acted shamefully.

They committed an abomination.

Yet they were not at all ashamed.

They did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall

Among those who fall.

At the time that I punish them,

They shall be overthrown.’

Says Yahweh.”

This is a copy word for word of the same thing that was found in chapter 6. Yahweh was going to give away their wives and their fields, since he is not happy about the false priests and prophets. This goes for the least of the people to the most important ones in Jerusalem. All of them were greedy for monetary gain. They were all careless with his people. They pretended that there was peace when there was no peace there. They acted shamefully, but they were not ashamed since they didn’t even know how to blush. These priests and prophets would fall with all the others, as they will be overthrown at the time of punishment.

The law and the scribes (Jer 8:8-8:9)

“How can you say?

‘We are wise.

The law of Yahweh is with us.’

When,

In fact,

The false pen of the scribes

Has made it into a lie.

The wise

Shall be put to shame.

They shall be dismayed.

They shall be taken.

They have rejected

The word of Yahweh.

What wisdom is in them?”

Jeremiah complaints against the false written interpretations of the law by the scribes. They proclaim that they are the wise ones because they understand the law of Yahweh. However, they have turned it into a lie with their false writings. They will be dismayed and put to shame. They cannot be wise if they have rejected the word of Yahweh.

The indifference of Israel (Jer 8:4 -8:7)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘You shall say to them.

When people fall,

Do they not get up again?

If they go astray,

Do they not turn back?

Why then has this people turned away?

Why are they perpetually backsliding?

They hold fast to deceit.

They have refused to return.

I have given heed.

I have listened.

But they do not speak honestly.

No man repents of wickedness.

Saying.

‘What have I done?’

All of them turn to their own course,

Like a horse

Plunging headlong into battle.

Even the stork in the heavens

Knows its times.

The turtledove

Observes the time of its coming.

The swallow

Observes the time of its coming.

The crane

Observes the time of its coming.

But my people do not know

The ordinance of Yahweh.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, points out the indifference of Israel. Most people when they fall, they get up. If they are lost, they turn back. Why are these Israelites continuing to backslide? Why do they refuse to return? They are deceitful. Yahweh was listening, but they were not speaking honestly. No one was repenting for what they had done. All of them went their own way like a horse plunging headlong into a battle. The various birds, like the stork, the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane, know when to come and go. However, the people of the Lord do not know and are indifferent to his ordinances.