Against Kedar (Jer 49:28-49:29)

“Concerning Kedar

With the kingdoms of Hazor

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Defeated.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Rise up!

Advance against Kedar!

Destroy the people of the east!

Take their tents!

Take their flocks!

Take their curtains!

Take all their goods!

Carry off their camels

For yourselves!

A cry shall go up.

‘Terror is all around!’”

Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.

The destroying waters from the north (Jer 47:2-47:2)

“Thus says Yahweh!

‘See!

The waters are rising out

Of the north.

They shall become

An overflowing torrent.

They shall overflow

The land

With all that fills it.

They shall overflow

The city

With those who live in it.

Men shall cry out.

All the inhabitants

Of the land

Shall wail.”

Much like the preceding chapter with the rising waters from the Nile River, here the rising waters are from the north. Their overflowing torrent will destroy the land and everything in it. This roaring water will destroy the cities and all who live in them. Everyone shall cry out and wail since King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was coming.

The restoration in Samaria (Jer 31:4-31:6)

“Again I will build you!

You shall be built!

O virgin Israel!

Again you shall take

Your tambourines!

You shall go forth

In the dance

Of the merrymakers!

Again you shall plant vineyards

On the mountains of Samaria.

The planters shall plant.

They shall enjoy the fruit.

There shall be a day

When sentinels will call

In the hill country

Of Ephraim.

‘Come!

Let us go up to Zion!

Let us go to Yahweh

Our God.’”

Yahweh was going to build up his virgin Israel again. Once again, they would have tambourines, merrymaking, and dancing. They would be able to plant vineyards on the Samarian mountains. Clearly, this was an outreach to the old northern Israelites who had been captured in 721 BCE. Their vineyard planters would enjoy the fruit of their crops. There would even come a day when the hill country of Ephraim, just north of Benjamin, would cry out that that they were going to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh, their God. In other words, the local places of worship in the north would be abandoned. They would all worship their one God, Yahweh. This was the wish of Yahweh, via Jeremiah.

The great pain and hurt (Jer 30:12-30:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Your hurt is incurable!

Your wound is grievous!

There is no one

To uphold your cause!

There is no medicine

For your wound!

There is no healing for you.

All your lovers

Have forgotten you.

They care nothing for you.

I have dealt you

The blow of an enemy,

The punishment

Of a merciless foe,

Because your guilt is great,

Because your sins

Are so numerous.

Why do you cry out

Over your hurt?

Your pain is incurable.

Because your guilt is great,

Because your sins

Are so numerous.

I have done these things to you.’”

Yahweh says that the Israelites are in great pain. They have a serious incurable wound that will not heal. There is no medicine available to help them. There is no one who will defend them in court. All their lovers have forgotten about them. Yahweh has helped their enemies deliver a severe blow. Yahweh repeats himself twice saying that the guilt of the Israelites is very great and numerous.   They should stop crying about their terrible pains. Yahweh has done all to this to them. Just cry out to Yahweh and forget all the other stuff.

No refuge for the shepherds (Jer 25:34-25:38)

“Wail!

You shepherds!

Cry out!

Roll in ashes!

You lords of the flock!

The days of your slaughter

Have come.

The days of your dispersions

Have come.

You shall fall

Like a choice vessel.

Flight shall fail the shepherds.

There shall be no escape

For the lords of the flock.

Hark!

The cry of the shepherds!

The wail of the lords of the flock!

Yahweh is despoiling their pasture.

The peaceful folds are devastated.

Because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.

Like a lion,

He has left his covert.

Their land has become a waste

Because of the cruel sword,

Because of his fierce anger.”

Yahweh continues his diatribe against the rulers in Judah. These leaders or shepherds should cry out and roll in ashes. The days of slaughter have come when they will be dispersed. They are going to fall like a chosen vessel. The shepherds will not be able to flee. The lords of the flock will not escape. Both the shepherds and the lords of the flock will cry out because Yahweh is going to ruin their pasture. These peaceful flocks and folds will be devastated. Yahweh was angry like a lion that has left its covert of little cubs. The land will become a wasteland because of the anger and the sword of Yahweh.

The Lebanon lamentation (Jer 22:20-22:23)

“Go up to Lebanon!

Cry out!

Lift up your voice

On Bashan!

Cry out

From Abarim!

All your lovers

Are crushed!

I spoke to you

In your prosperity.

But you said.

‘I will not listen.’

This has been your way

From your youth.

You have not obeyed

My voice.

The wind shall shepherd

All your shepherds.

Your lovers shall go

Into captivity.

Then you will be ashamed.

You will be dismayed

Because of all your wickedness.

O inhabitant of Lebanon!

Nested among the cedars!

How you will groan

When pangs come upon you!

You will have the pain

Of a woman in labor!”

Apparently, Jeremiah wanted the people in the high mountains of Lebanon, on the Bashan mountains in the south, as well as on the Abarim mountains in the north to cry out for their lost lovers. These would have been the various allies that they thought that they had, but were now all crushed. The prosperous people had not listened or obeyed Yahweh from their youth. Their shepherd leaders and their lover friends will all be sent into captivity, ashamed and dismayed because of their wickedness. The people of Lebanon, those living among the built cedars in the palace, will feel the pain of a woman in labor about to give birth.

Sound the alarm in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 4:5-4:6)

“Declare in Judah!

Proclaim in Jerusalem!

Say!

‘Blow the trumpet

Through the land!

Shout aloud!

Say!

‘Gather together!

Let us go Into the fortified cities!’

Raise a standard toward Zion!

Flee for safety!

Do not delay!’”

Jeremiah warns the people of Judah and Jerusalem that they ought to gather together in their fortified cities. They should sound a trumpet throughout the land, as well as shout and cry out. They should raise the standard in Zion. They should flee to safety without delay. They should get their defenses ready for an attack.

The repentance (Jer 3:21-3:23)

“A voice on the bare heights

Is heard.

The plaintive weeping of Israel’s children

Is heard.

Because they have perverted their ways.

They have forgotten Yahweh

Their God.

‘Return!

O faithless children!

I will heal your faithlessness.’

‘Here we come to you.

You are Yahweh

Our God.

Truly the hills

Are a delusion.

The orgies on the mountains

Are a delusion.

Truly in Yahweh our God

Is the salvation of Israel.’”

The weeping of the children of Israel can be heard on the mountains from the useless pagan sites. They admit that they had perverted their ways. They had forgotten Yahweh, their God. Jeremiah wants these faithless children to return to Yahweh, their God, since they would be healed. In a remarkable response, these Israelites cry out that the hills and the orgies on the mountains were a delusion. They wanted to return to Yahweh, the God of salvation for Israel.

The voice (Isa 40:6-40:8)

“A voice says.

‘Cry out!’

I said.

‘What shall I cry?’

All people are grass.

Their delicacy is

Like the flowers of the field.

The grass withers.

The flower fades

When the breath of Yahweh

Blows upon it.

Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers.

The flower fades.

But the word of our God

Will stand forever.”

Second Isaiah heard a voice tell him to cry out. However, he wanted to know what he should cry out about. The response was that all people were like grass and the flowers of the field. Both the grass withers and the flowers fade when the breath of Yahweh blows on them. Thus the people are grass or flowers that wither and fade. However, the word of God will stand forever and not wither or fade.