Against the false prophets (Jer 23:11-23:12)

“‘Both prophet

As well as priest

Are ungodly.

Even in my house

I have found

Their wickedness.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore their way

Shall be to them

Like slippery paths

In the darkness.

They shall be driven

Into them.

They shall fall.

I will bring disaster

Upon them

In the year of their punishment.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, condemns both the priests and prophets. They have brought their wickedness into the Lord’s house. Thus they will be driven into dark slippery paths where they will fall. At the time of the great punishment, disaster will come upon them. Yahweh was clearly opposed to these false prophets and evil priests.

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The bad shepherds (Jer 23:1-23:2)

“‘Woe to the shepherds

Who destroy

The sheep of my pasture!

Woe to the shepherds

Who scatter

The sheep of my pasture!’

Says Yahweh.

Therefore thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

Concerning the shepherds

Who shepherd my people.

‘It is you

Who have scattered my flock.

You have driven them away.

You have not attended to them.

So I will attend to you

For your evil doings.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, condemns the bad shepherds or the bad leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. Yahweh blames them for destroying and scattering the sheep of his pasture, his people, the Israelites. There is no question in the mind of Yahweh that that it was these leaders who scattered and drove away his flock. They had not attended to them. Instead, they went on their evil ways. Now Yahweh will attend to their evil actions. This oracle of Yahweh is clearly pointing the blame on the leaders.

Defiled Israel (Jer 2:23-2:25)

“How can you say.

‘I am not defiled.

I have not gone after the Baals.’

Look at your way in the valley!

Know what you have done!

There is a restive young camel

Interlacing her tracks.

There is a wild ass

At home in the wilderness.

In her heat,

It is sniffing the wind!

Who can restrain her lust?

None who seek her

Need weary themselves.

In her month,

They will find her.

Keep your feet from going unshod!

Keep your throat from thirst!

But you said.

‘It is hopeless.

I have loved strangers.

After them.

I will go.’”

Jeremiah condemns the Israelites for defiling themselves, even though they deny it. They claim that they have not gone after the Baal pagan gods. However, Jeremiah points out that they know what they have done in the valley. They were like restless camels or a wild ass in the wilderness. They were sniffing at the wind. No one could restrain their lust. It would not be difficult to find them. They should, on the other hand, wear shoes and not be thirsty. Their response was disappointing, since they said that this was hopeless. They loved strangers and ran after them.

Do not depend on your wife (Sir 25:21-25:22)

“Do not be ensnared

By a woman’s beauty!

Do not desire a woman

For her possessions!

There is wrath

When a wife

Supports her husband.

There is impudence

When a wife

Supports her husband.

There is a great disgrace

When a wife

Supports her husband.”

You should not be trapped by a woman’s beauty. You should not desire any woman for her possessions or dowry. Now in something that might seem strange today with stay at home dads, Sirach condemns this behavior. A wife should not support her husband, because that is a rage, disrespectful, and a great disgrace, pure and simple. Of course, that was the common attitude in a male dominated society.

Wickedness (Wis 17:11-17:14)

“Wickedness is a cowardly thing.

It is condemned

By its own testimony.

Distressed by conscience,

It has always exaggerated the difficulties.

Fear is nothing but a giving up of the helps

That come from reason.

Fear gives up hope.

It is defeated

By this inward weakness.

It prefers ignorance of what causes the torment.

Throughout the night,

That was really powerless,

Which came upon them

From the recesses of powerless Hades.

They all slept the same sleep.”

Wickedness (πονηρία) is cowardly. Its own witness (μαρτυρεῖ) condemns it. Wickedness always exaggerates difficulties so that it fears (φόβος) everything that comes from reason (λογισμοῦ). The wicked give up hope. They are defeated by their own inner weakness. They prefer ignorance of what causes problems. They are powerless throughout the night, like a powerless hell or Hades (ἀδυνάτου ᾅδου). However, everyone sleeps the same sleep, no matter what.

A good person (Prov 12:2-12:3)

“The good person obtains favor from Yahweh.

But those who devise evil,

Yahweh condemns.

No one finds security by wickedness.

But the root of the righteous

Will never be moved.”

Good people find favor with Yahweh. On the other hand, Yahweh condemns those who devise evil ways. You cannot find security in wickedness. The root of the good or righteous person cannot be moved. They are as steady as a rock. The root is what keeps trees and humans straight.