No pity (Ezek 7:8-7:9)

“Soon now,

I will pour out

My wrath

Upon you.

I will spend

My anger

Against you.

I will judge you

According to your ways.

I will punish you

For all your abominations.

My eye

Will not spare you.

I will have no pity.

I will punish you

According to your ways,

While your abominations

Are among you.

Then you shall know

That it is I,

Yahweh,

Who strikes.”

This is exactly the same as the opening verses of this chapter. Yahweh’s anger was going to be let loose on them. He was going to judge them according to their ways. He was going to punish them for their abominations. He would not spare them. He would not have pity on them. By punishing them for their evil ways, they would come to recognize that Yahweh was in charge. He was the God Yahweh who was striking them. They better not forget this.

The captain takes the high priests captive (Jer 52:24-52:24)

“The captain of the guard

Took the chief priest,

Seraiah,

With the second priest,

Zephaniah,

With the three guardians

Of the threshold.”

This is exactly like 2 Kings, chapter 25. Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian captain of the guard, rounded up the priests from the Temple, the high priest Seraiah, as well as the lower priests, including Zephaniah, the second in command. He also took the 3 guardians of the Temple door also.

The destruction of Jerusalem (Jer 52:13-52:14)

“Nebuzaradan burned

The house of Yahweh

As well as the king’s house.

He also burned

All the houses of Jerusalem.

He burned down

Every great house.

All the army

Of the Chaldeans,

Who were with

The captain of the guard,

Broke down

All the walls

Around Jerusalem.”

This is exactly word for word like 2 Kings, chapter 25, but slightly different than the earlier chapter 39 description of Jeremiah. There was no mention about the burning of the Temple in the earlier Jeremiah description. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard of the Babylonian king, had his Chaldean fighters burn the Temple of Yahweh and the palace of the king, as well as all the great houses of Jerusalem. They also broke down all the walls around Jerusalem.

The God of creation (Jer 51:15-51:16)

“He made

The earth

By his power.

He established

The world

By his wisdom.

By his understanding,

He stretched out the heavens.

When he utters

His voice

There is a tumult of waters

In the heavens.

He makes the mist rise

From the ends of the earth.

He makes lightning

For the rain.

He brings forth

The wind

From his storehouses.”

This is exactly the same, word for word from chapter 10 about the power of Yahweh. Jeremiah proclaimed that Yahweh was all powerful. He made the earth by his power. Thus he established the world by his wisdom. He stretched out the heavens by his understanding, so that when he uttered his voice, the waters in the heaven could create a mist from the ends of the earth. He made lightning in the rain. He also brought wind from his various wind storehouses. Thus you can see this author’s cosmology about the powerful God, Yahweh, who has control of the world and its climate.

 

Baruch reads the scroll at the great fast (Jer 36:8-36:10)

“Baruch,

The son of Neriah,

Did all

That the prophet Jeremiah

Ordered him

About reading

From the scroll

The words of Yahweh

In Yahweh’s house.

In the fifth year

Of King Jehoiakim,

The son of King Josiah,

Of Judah,

In the ninth month,

All the people in Jerusalem,

With all the people

Who came from the towns

Of Judah to Jerusalem,

Proclaimed a fast

Before Yahweh.

Then,

In the hearing

Of all the people,

Baruch read

The words of Jeremiah

From the scroll,

In the house of Yahweh,

In the chamber of Gemariah,

The son of Shaphan,

The secretary,

Which was in the upper court,

At the entry

Of the New Gate

Of Yahweh’s house.”

Baruch did exactly as Jeremiah had told him to do. He read the scroll of Jeremiah that had the words of Yahweh that had been dictated to him by Jeremiah, in Yahweh’s Temple. This occasion was a great fast that had been called to ward off the king of Babylon. This was about a little over a year after the original oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah, about 604 BCE. Thus at this assembly, Baruch read from the scroll in the chamber of Gemariah, the son of a friend of Jeremiah, Shaphan, who was a secretary. All this took place in the upper court at the entry to the New Gate at the Temple.

King Zedekiah learns of his imminent defeat (Jer 34:2-34:3)

“Thus says Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

‘Go!

Speak to King Zedekiah

Of Judah!

Say to him!’

‘Thus says Yahweh!

I am going

To give this city

Into the hand

Of the king of Babylon.

He shall burn it

With fire.

You yourself

Shall not escape

From his hand.

But you shall surely

Be captured.

You shall be

Handed over to him.

You shall see

The king of Babylon

Eye to eye.

You shall speak

With him

Face to face.

You shall go

To Babylon.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, spoke directly to Jeremiah. Jeremiah was to go and tell King Zedekiah about the coming defeat of Jerusalem and his own personal fate. Yahweh told Jeremiah exactly what to say to the king. Yahweh was going to hand over the city of Jerusalem to the king of Babylon, who was then going to burn it down. As for King Zedekiah, he was not going to escape. He was going to be captured. Then he would be turned over to King Nebuchadnezzar. He would then see him eye to eye and speak to him face to face. He would be sent off to Babylon. This prophecy is much like the same prophecy that Jeremiah had given to King Zedekiah earlier in chapter 32.

Yahweh informs Jeremiah what to say (Jer 26:4-26:6)

“You shall say to them,

‘Thus says Yahweh.

If you will not listen to me,

To walk in my law

That I have set before you,

Then there will be a curse.

If you do not heed the words

Of my servants,

The prophets,

Whom I send to you urgently,

Even though you

Have not heeded them,

Then I will make this house

Like Shiloh.

I will make this city

A curse

For all the nations of the earth.’”

Yahweh tells Jeremiah exactly what to say to the people of Judah. If they do not listen to Yahweh and walk in the law that he gave them, he will curse them. If they do not heed the words of his servants, his prophets that he sent to them, then he would make their Temple like that of Shiloh in Samaria. Both the ancient Canaanites and the Israelites had used Shiloh as a cultic worship center, until the Temple was built in Jerusalem during the time of King David (1010-970 BCE) and King Solomon (970-931 BCE). Since they had not listened to the prophets of Yahweh, he was going to curse this city of Jerusalem in a way that all the countries of the world would know about it.

The tragic suicide death of Razis (2 Macc 14:37-14:46)

“A certain Razis, one of the elders of Jerusalem, was denounced to Nicanor as a man who loved his compatriots. He was very well thought of. For his good will, he was called father of the Jews. In former times, when there was no mingling with the gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism. He had most zealously risked body and life for Judaism. Nicanor, wishing to exhibit the enmity which he had for the Jews, sent more than five hundred soldiers to arrest him. He thought that by arresting him, he would do them an injury. When the troops were about to capture the tower, they forced the door of the courtyard. They ordered that fire be brought and the doors burned. Being surrounded, Razis fell upon his own sword. He preferred to die nobly rather than to fall into the hands of sinners and suffer outrages unworthy of his noble birth. But in the heat of the struggle he did not hit exactly. The crowd was now rushing in through the doors. He courageously ran up on the wall. He bravely threw himself down into the crowd. But as they quickly drew back, a space opened and he fell in the middle of the empty space. Still alive and aflame with anger, he rose up. Although his blood gushed forth and his wounds were severe, he ran through the crowd. Standing upon a steep rock, with his blood now completely drained from him, he tore out his entrails. He took them with both hands and hurled them at the crowd, calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to give them back to him again. This was the manner of his death.”

Wow, what a gruesome description of the death of Razis! Razis was a well respected Jewish elder, sometimes referred to as the father of the Jews. He was accused of Judaism because he would not mingle with the gentiles. Nicanor wanted to make an example of him so he sent 500 troops to arrest him. So far this does not sound outlandish. Then when they got to his house, they decided to set fire to his door to get in. Then Razis was surrounded and decided to kill himself with a sword, a common Roman practice, rather than die in disgrace. However, in the heat of the excitement with the 500 troops running at him, he somehow missed killing himself but merely cut himself. So Razis ran to the top of the wall. He wanted to hurl himself into the crowd, but they stepped back and he fell into an empty space. Now as he was angry and still alive, he ran through the crowd of troops until he got to a sharp rock. The blood was gushing out all over the place. Somehow he tore out his own intestines and threw them at the crowd. This was some weird scene. Here then is the main point. He cried to the Lord of life to give them back to him. Of course, he died. Somehow this father of Judaism believed that his intestines would be restored in some kind of afterlife, a resurrection. This is one of the few times that we have a Jewish attempted suicide.