Yahweh will send the sword (Ezek 11:7-11:8)

“Therefore

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘The slain

Whom you have placed

Within it,

Are the meat.

The city is the pot.

But you shall be

Taken out of it.

You have feared

The sword.

I will bring the sword

Upon you!’

Says Yahweh God.”

This oracle of Yahweh continues with the theme of the dead in Jerusalem. Using the earlier proverb about the meat in the pot, Yahweh explains that the dead people are the meat and the pot is the city. They will be taken out of the pot or the city. However, the sword or death would come upon them anyway. Cleary Yahweh God has spoken.

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Comparative value of these false idols (Bar 6:59-6:59)

“So it is better

To be a king

Who shows

His courage

Than to be

These false gods.

It is better to be

A household utensil

That serves

Its owner’s need,

Than to be

These false gods.

It is better to be

Even the door

Of a house

That protects its contents,

Than to be

These false gods,

It is better to be

Also a wooden pillar

In a palace,

Than to be

These false gods.”

This author draws a sense of the comparative value of these false idol gods. He explains that it is better to be a courageous king than a false god. That is pretty simple. It is better to be a household utensil that at least serves its owner’s needs than be a false god. It was even better to be a door in a house that protects its contents than be a false god. It was also better to be a wooden pillar in a palace than be false god. You are better off being a practical wooden item than a useless impractical false wooden god.

The captured people of Israel and Judah (Jer 50:33-50:33)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘The people of Israel

Are oppressed.

So too are

The people of Judah.

All their captors

Have held them fast.

They refuse

To let them go.’”

Yahweh explains that both the people of Israel and Judah have been oppressed by their captors, who have held them firmly in their grasp. These captors have refused to let the Israelites and Judeans go free.

The devastating cries from Moab (Jer 48:3-48:5)

“‘Hark!

A cry from Horonaim,

‘Desolation!

Great destruction!’

‘Moab is destroyed.’

Her little ones cry out!

At the ascent of Luhith

They go up weeping bitterly.

At the descent of Horonaim

They have heard

The distressing cry

Of anguish.”

Jeremiah explains that if you listen carefully, you can hear the cries from Horonaim or Horonan that may derive from the god Horon, a word for a cave or valley. These distressing cries of anguish spoke about desolation and destruction. This ascent of Luhith was also mentioned in Isaiah, chapter 15. It is clear that there was a lot of crying and weeping because of the destruction all around Moab.

The defeat (Jer 46:5-46:6)

“‘Why do I see them terrified?

They have fallen back.

Their warriors are beaten down.

They have fled in haste.

They do look not back.

Terror is all around!’

Says Yahweh.

The swift cannot flee away.

The warrior cannot escape.

In the north,

By the Euphrates River,

They have stumbled.

They have fallen.”

How quickly things turn. Jeremiah explains what happens when defeat occurs. These strong warriors were terrified and fell back. They were beaten down and fled in haste, without looking back. Terror was all around them. Yahweh has issued this oracle for Jeremiah. The swift cannot go fast enough to escape. Finally, in the north, by the Euphrates River, they stumbled and fell.

Filling the large cistern pit with dead people (Jer 41:9-41:9)

“Now the cistern

Into which Ishmael

Had thrown

All the bodies

Of the men

Whom he had struck down

Was the large cistern

That King Asa

Had made for defense

Against King Baasha

Of Israel.

Ishmael,

The son of Nethaniah,

Filled that cistern

With those

Whom he had killed.”

Jeremiah explains that this big cistern was able to hold 80 bodies because this cistern was more like a pit or a trench that King Asa of Judah (911-870 BCE) had built over 300 years earlier. At that time he was having a war standoff with King Baasha of Israel (909-886 BCE) about Ramah. Thus, he built the city of Mizpah according to 1 Kings, chapter 15. This was then some kind of large trench pit rather than a simple well, so that it was able to hold all these bodies. There was no mention of the bodies of the other Judeans and Chaldeans who had been killed a couple of days earlier.

Jeremiah brings the Rechabites to the Temple (Jer 35:3-35:4)

“So I took Jaazaniah

The son of Jeremiah,

The son of Habazziniah,

With his brothers,

As well as all his sons,

With the whole house

Of the Rechabites.

I brought them

To the house of Yahweh,

Into the chamber

Of the sons of Hanan,

The son of Igdaliah,

The man of God.

This was near

The chamber of the officials,

Above the chamber of Maaseiah,

The son of Shallum,

Keeper of the threshold.”

Jeremiah went out and got the whole house of the Rechabites. This included Jaazaniah, who apparently was the head of this clan, since Jeremiah lists his father and grandfather. He and his brothers with their sons also came with Jeremiah. This seems to be the whole house of the Rechabites, a small group. There was no mention of their wives or daughters. When they got to the Temple, Jeremiah brought them to a special room or chamber that belonged to the sons of Hanan, whose father was Igdaliah, a man of God or a prophet. Thus some of the prophets may have had a room at the Temple, but Jeremiah does not seem to have one for himself. They were near the chamber of the other Temple officials or scholars. They were above where Maaseiah, the son of Shallum, the same name as King Jehoahaz (609 BCE), lived. Maaseiah was the keeper of the threshold or keeper of the door, a high ranking priest. Thus this episode explains something about what was going on in the Temple.