The example of the Rechabites (Jer 35:14-35:15)

“The command

Has been carried out

That Jonadab,

The son of Rechab,

Gave to his descendants,

To drink no wine.

They drink none

To this day.

They have obeyed

Their ancestor’s command.

I myself have spoken

To you persistently.

But you have not obeyed me.

I have sent to you

All my servants,

The prophets.

I am sending them persistently,

Saying.

‘Turn now every one of you

From your evil ways!

Amend your doings!

Do not go after other gods!

Do not serve them!

Then you shall live

In the land

That I gave to you,

That I gave to your ancestors.’

But you did not incline

Your ears.

You did not obey me.’”

Yahweh was upset that the Rechabites precisely followed the commands of their ancestor Jonadab up to the present day, as they refused to drink wine based on Jonadab’s command. However, the people of Judah and Jerusalem have not listened or obeyed Yahweh, even though he has continually told them to listen to his commands. They have not listened to his persistent servants, the prophets, who told them to change from their evil ways and amend their life style. They kept going to other gods to serve them. All they had to do to live in this land was to serve and obey Yahweh, something their ancestors knew about. However, they had not inclined their ears or obeyed Yahweh.

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Jeremiah defends himself (Jer 26:12-26:15)

“Then Jeremiah spoke

To all the officials,

To all the people.

Saying.

‘Yahweh sent me

To prophesy

Against this house,

Against this city,

All the words you have heard.

Now therefore

Amend your ways!

Amend your doings!

Obey the voice of Yahweh!

Your God!

Then maybe

Yahweh will change his mind

About the desolation

That he has pronounced against you.

But as for me,

Here I am in your hands.

Do with me

As it seems good

And right to you!

Only know for certain

That if you put me to death,

You will be bringing

Innocent blood

Upon yourselves,

Upon this city,

Upon its inhabitants.

In truth,

Yahweh sent me to you

To speak all these words

In your ears.’”

Jeremiah defended himself, as he spoke to the royal officials and all the people. Yahweh had sent him to prophesy against this Temple and this city.   They should amend their ways and actions. They should obey the voice of God, Yahweh. Perhaps Yahweh would change his mind about the coming disaster that he had proclaimed. Jeremiah was willing to put his own fate in their hands. However, he reminded them that if they hurt him, they would have innocent blood on their hands, upon the city, and its inhabitants. Yahweh had sent him to speak all these words to them. They were not his words, but the words of Yahweh, their God.

The call to repent for Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 18:11-18:11)

“Now,

Therefore,

Say to the people of Judah!

Say to the inhabitants of Jerusalem!

‘Thus says Yahweh!

Look!

I am a potter

Shaping evil against you.

I am devising a plan against you.

Turn now!

All of you!

From your evil way!

Amend your ways!

Amend your doings!’”

Yahweh then told Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem what he wanted done. He said that he was a potter that was shaping evil against them. He was devising a plan against them. All of them had to turn from their evil ways. They had to amend their life styles and what they were doing. The choice was theirs. Change or suffer!

The role of the Temple (Jer 7:3-7:4)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Amend your ways!

Amend your doings!

Let me dwell with you

In this place.

Do not trust

In these deceptive words.

‘This is the temple of Yahweh!

The temple of Yahweh!

The temple of Yahweh.’”

The first part of this pericope sounds like the many other times that Yahweh had spoken to his people. He was the God of Israel with his hosts. The Temple visitors were to amend their ways and what they were doing. Yahweh wanted to dwell with them in his Temple. However, the second verse is a little strange. Yahweh told Jeremiah not to trust the deceptive words about the Temple of Yahweh. In fact, the statement is mentioned 3 times, “Temple of Yahweh”. Was this a reminder to enter the Temple 3 times a day? Was this against the false prophets who told them not to worry, since as long as they had the Temple everything would be fine? Is it a rebuke to those who just loved the majesty and beauty of the Temple? This triple cry about the Temple of Yahweh as deceptive words is not really clear.