The end of happiness (Jer 25:10-25:13)

“‘I will banish from them

The voice of mirth,

The sound of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

The sound of the millstones,

The light of the lamp.

This whole land shall become

A ruin,

A waste.

These nations

Shall serve the king of Babylon

Seventy years.

Then after seventy years are completed,

I will punish the king of Babylon

With that nation,

The land of the Chaldeans,

For their iniquity.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Make the land

An everlasting waste!

I will bring upon that land

All the words

That I have uttered against it,

Everything written in this book.’”

This section begins with a reference to what Jeremiah had said in chapters 7 and 16. In the cities of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem, there would be no longer the voice of mirth or gladness. In fact, the voice of the bride and bridegroom would be banished, also hinting at no more weddings. There would be no more millstones or light. The land would become a ruined wasteland. The Babylonian king would rule them for 70 years. However, after 70 years, Yahweh would punish Babylon and the Chaldeans, by making them an everlasting wasteland because of their iniquity. Everything that was written in this book of Jeremiah would come to pass upon them.

 

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King Shallum (Jer 22:11-22:12)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning King Shallum

The son of King Josiah

Of Judah.

He succeeded his father,

King Josiah.

He went away from this place.

He shall never return here.

But in the place

Where they have carried him captive,

There he shall die.

He shall never

See this land again.”

King Shallum or King Jehoahaz (609-609 BCE) was the son of King Josiah (640-609 BCE). At the age of 23 he succeeded his father who had died in battle. As you can see, he lasted less than a year, only 3 months, before he was banished to Egypt by King Necho II of Egypt (610-595 BCE), where he died in prison. His brother King Eliakim or King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) succeeded him with the blessings of King Necho II of Egypt. Jeremiah recounts that Yahweh had him succeed his father. Then he was sent away to Egypt from which he never returned. He never saw his homeland again. There is a good deal of historical artifacts about this time, showing the problems of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians with the king of Judah in the middle.

No more happiness (Jer 16:8-16:9)

“‘You shall not go

Into the house of feasting

To sit with them,

To eat with them,

To drink with them.’

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘I am going to banish

From this place,

Before your eyes,

In your days,

The voice of mirth.

I will banish

The voice of gladness.

I will banish

The voice of the bridegroom.

I will banish

The voice of the bride.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, told Jeremiah that he should stay away from any place that was feasting and celebrating. He should not sit, eat, or drink with these merrymakers. They were going to be banished from Judah and Jerusalem. No longer would there be the voice of mirth or gladness in his days. In fact, the voice of the bride and bridegroom would be banished also, hinting at no more weddings.

The city in chaos (Isa 24:7-24:13)

“The wine dries up.

The vine languishes.

All the merry hearted sigh.

The mirth of the timbrels is stilled.

The noise of the jubilant has ceased.

The mirth of the lyre is stilled.

No longer do they drink wine

With singing.

Strong drink is bitter

To those who drink it.

The city of chaos is broken down.

Every house is shut up

So that none can enter.

There is an outcry in the streets

For lack of wine.

All joy has reached its eventide.

The gladness of the earth is banished.

Desolation is left in the city.

The gates are battered into ruins.

Thus it shall be on the earth.

Thus it shall be among the nations.

It will be

Like a beaten olive tree,

Like the gleaning

When the grape harvest is ended.”

Isaiah points out that without wine, there is no joy, just sighing. The vines and the wine have languished and dried up. The sound of the jubilant musical instruments of the timbrels and lyre was no more. There were no more drinking and singing. Strong drink had become bitter, like raw alcohol. The city of chaos broke down. It is difficult to figure out whether this was a specific city or the symbolic end of the world chaos. All the houses were closed, so that no one could come in or go out. People complained about the lack of wine with no joy in this city, since gladness had been banished. It was now a desolate chaotic city with broken down gates. This felt like the time after the olive trees and vines had been harvested with nothing left to do, even though there was no harvest. The vines and trees were empty and barren.

The war with the Idumeans (2 Macc 10:15-10:17)

“Besides Gorgias, the Idumeans, who had control of important strongholds, were harassing the Jews. They received those who were banished from Jerusalem. They endeavored to keep up the war. But Judas Maccabeus and his men, after making solemn supplication and beseeching God to fight on their side, rushed to the strongholds of the Idumeans. Attacking them vigorously, they gained possession of the places. They beat off all who fought upon the wall. They slaughtered those whom they encountered. They killed no fewer than twenty thousand.”

Once again, this conflict can be found in 1 Maccabees, chapter 5, where there was some burning, but without the number of people who died. The Idumeans were the people from Edom who continuously harassed the Jews. The supporters of the banished high priest Menelaus had fled here. Here, Judas Maccabeus and his men prayed to God that he might be on their side as they rushed the strongholds of the Idumeans. Then they attacked and took the strongholds, as they killed 20,000 Idumeans, quite a slaughter.