The two evils (Jer 2:13-2:13)

“My people have committed two evils.

They have forsaken me.

I am the fountain of living waters.

They dug out cisterns for themselves.

These broken cisterns cannot hold water.”

The Israelites had committed two evils. First, they gave up on the living fountain of water, Yahweh, in forsaking him. Then secondly, they relied on their own dug out wells or cisterns for water. But their leaky cisterns could not even hold stagnant water in them. They gave up on God and relied on themselves, but even that was not successful.

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The lack of water is a great concern to the Israelites (Jdt 7:19-7:22)

“The Israelites cried out to the Lord their God. Their courage failed. All their enemies had surrounded them. There was no way of escape from them. The whole Assyrian army, their infantry, chariots, and cavalry, surrounded them for thirty-four days. All the water containers of every inhabitant of Bethulia were empty. Their cisterns were going dry. On no day did they have enough water to drink because their drinking water was rationed. Their children were listless. The women and young men fainted from thirst. They were collapsing in the streets of the town and in the gateways. They no longer had any strength left in them.”

The Israelites cried out to God. Their courage was failing. Their enemies, the great Assyrian army, surrounded them with no way to escape during 34 days. All the water containers were empty. What water they had was rationed. The children were listless. People were fainting all over the place, collapsing in the streets. They had no strength left. This is somewhat similar to the story in 2 Kings, chapters 6-7, where the prophet Elisha and King Jehoram (852-842 BCE) were surrounded by the Arameans in Samaria.

 

Ezra explains the landing in the Promised Land (Neh 9:22-9:25)

“You gave them kingdoms and peoples.

You allotted to them every corner.

They took possession of the land of King Sihon of Heshbon.

They took possession of the land of King Og of Bashan.

You multiplied their descendants like the stars of heaven.

You brought them into the land

That you had told their ancestors to enter and possess.

The descendants went in and possessed the land.

You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites.

You gave them into their hands,

With their kings and the peoples of the land.

Thus they might do with them as they pleased.

They captured fortified cities and a rich land.

They took possession of houses filled with all sorts of goods.

They took possession of hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive orchards

And fruit trees in abundance.

They ate.

They were filled.

They became fat.

They delighted themselves in your great goodness.”

Our ancestors got to the Promised Land. They took possession of the kingdoms of Heshbon and Bashan on the east side of the Jordan. Their descendents became as numerous as the stars. They took over the land and the people inhabited by the Canaanites. They captured the fortified cities and the rich land. They took possession of the cisterns, the vineyards, and the olive trees already there. They ate and became fat. They delighted themselves with the great goodness that they had received.