Universal death (Jer 25:33-25:33)

“Those slain

By Yahweh

On that day

Shall extend

From one end of the earth

To the other.

They shall not be lamented.

They shall not be gathered.

They shall not be buried.

They shall become dung

On the surface of the ground.”

There will be a lot of people killed on that day. They will lay all over the earth from one end to another. This last part is similar to chapter 8 of this work, where people would not be gathered or buried, but rather scattered on the ground like dung. There would be just too many dead people with not enough people alive to take care of them.

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The dead bodies (Jer 9:22-9:22)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Speak!

Human corpses shall fall

Like dung upon the open field,

Like sheaves after the reaper.

No one shall gather them.’”

Yahweh told Jeremiah to speak. Dead human bodies would be falling all over the place. These bodies would be like dung in the open fields. They would be like handfuls of grain after the reaper has cut the wheat. However, there would be no one to gather up this wheat, since all these dead bodies would be laid all over the harvested field.

The bones of the dead people (Jer 8:1-8:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘At that time,

The bones of the kings of Judah,

The bones of its officials,

The bones of the priests,

The bones of the prophets,

The bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Shall be brought out of their tombs.

They shall be spread

Before the sun,

Before the moon,

Before all the host of heaven.

They have loved these heavenly bodies.

They have served them.

They have followed them.

They have inquired after them.

They have worshiped them.

Their bones shall not be gathered.

Their bones shall not be buried.

They shall be

Like dung

On the surface of the ground.

Death shall be preferred

To life

By all the remnant

That remains of this evil family

In all the places

Where I have driven them.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, speaks in ironic terms about the bones of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. The bones of all the people, whether they were the kings, the officials, the priests, the prophets, or the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would be brought out their tombs. These bones would be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the hosts of heavens. They had followed, loved, served, and worshiped these heavenly bodies. Thus their bones would not be buried, but rather scattered on the ground like dung. People would prefer death over life. This also refers to all the remaining people of this evil family, no matter where they have been driven to. Thus Yahweh has spoken about the disgrace of the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

Zophar responded about the wicked ones (Job 20:1-20:11)

“Then Zophar the Naamathite answered.

‘Pay attention!

My thoughts urge me to answer,

Because of the agitation within me.

I hear censure that insults me.

A spirit beyond my understanding answers me.

Do you not know this from of old?

Ever since man was placed on earth,

The exulting of the wicked is short.

The joy of the godless is but for a moment.

Even though they mount up high as the heavens,

Even if their head reaches to the clouds,

They will perish forever like their own dung.

Those who have seen them will say.

‘Where are they?’

They will fly away like a dream.

They will not be found.

They will be chased away like a vision of the night.

The eye that saw them will see them no more.

Their place will not behold them anymore.

Their children will seek the favor of the poor.

Their hands will give back their wealth.

Their bodies,

Once full of youthful vigor,

Will lie down in the dust with them.’”

Zophar said that he could not restrain himself anymore since he was so agitated about this matter. He maintained that since the beginning of man on earth, the wicked have tried to succeed. However, they have been unsuccessful. Their joy is fleeting, even though they have tried to reach the heavens. The wicked would perish like their own dung. They will seem to vanish as if they were never here. Eyes will not seem them anymore. Their children will be like the poor as their wealth will be dissipated. Their bodies would return to dust.

The dying words of Mattathias about the law (1 Macc 2:61-2:64)

“Thus observe, from generation to generation,

Those who put their trust in him,

They will not lack strength.

Do not fear the words of sinners.

The splendor of the sinners will turn into dung and worms.

Today they will be exalted.

However, tomorrow they will not be found,

They will have returned to the dust.

Their plans will perish.

My children,

Be courageous and grow strong in the law.

By the law,

You will gain honor.”

Mattathias wants his children to always follow the Mosaic Law. They are to grow strong in the law and thus gain honor. If they put their trust in God, they will not lack strength. They should never fear the words of the sinners because their splendor will turn into dung and worms. They may be exalted today but tomorrow they will be dust as their plans perish.