The righteous become wicked (Ezek 18:24-18:24)

“But when the righteous

Turn away

From their righteousness,

Shall they live?

If they commit iniquity,

If they do

The same abominable things

That the wicked do,

Shall they live?

None of the righteous deeds

That they had done

Shall be remembered.

For the treachery

That they are guilty of,

As well as the sin

That they have committed,

They shall die.”

What happens if the righteous turn away from their righteousness, will they live? If they commit iniquity and do abominable things like the wicked do, will they live? None of their righteous deeds would be remembered. The guilty treacherous sins that they committed will bring them death.

Your sister Sodom (Ezek 16:48-16:50)

“As I live,

Says Yahweh God.

‘Your sister Sodom,

With her daughters,

Has not done

As you

With your daughters

Have done.

This was the guilt

Of your sister Sodom.

She,

With her daughters,

Had pride,

Excess of food,

A prosperous ease.

But they did not

Aid the poor.

They did not

Aid the needy.

They were haughty.

They did abominable things

Before me.

Therefore I removed them,

When I saw it.”

The story of Sodom was based on Genesis, chapter 19.   Sodom was a city in the plains, south of Jerusalem, near the Dead Sea. Jerusalem was like the city of Sodom because Jerusalem had done the same things as they had done. Sodom with her daughters was guilty of pride, too much food, and too easy of a life style. Sodom did not aid the poor and the needy. There was no explanation here of all the abominable things mentioned in Genesis. However, Yahweh had removed them. He had destroyed them, when he found out about their behavior.

Confession of guilt (Bar 2:6-2:10)

“The Lord

Our God,

Is in the right.

However,

There is open shame

On us

With our ancestors.

This very day,

All those calamities,

With which

The Lord threatened us,

Have come upon us.

Yet we have not entreated

The favor of the Lord,

By turning away,

Each of us,

From the thoughts

Of our wicked hearts.

The Lord

Has kept

The calamities ready.

The Lord has brought them

Upon us.

The Lord is just

In all his works

That he has commanded us

To do.

Yet we have not obeyed

His voice,

To walk

In the statutes

Of the Lord

That he set before us.”

Their Lord was right. Thus they and their ancestors were shamed. The Lord’s threatened disasters have come upon them. However, instead of asking for favors and forgiveness, they turned their thoughts and wicked hearts away from God. The Lord kept these calamities ready to use at any time since he was just. They were the people who would not obey the voice of the Lord in following his statutes. They were guilty of sinning against their Lord and God.

Israel and Judah have not been forgotten (Jer 51:5-51:6)

“Israel

Has not been forsaken!

Judah

Has not been forsaken

By their God,

Yahweh of hosts!

Even though their land

Is full of guilt

Against the Holy One

Of Israel,

Flee!

From the midst

Of Babylon!

Save your lives!

Each one of you!

Do not perish!

Because of her guilt!

This is the time

Of Yahweh’s vengeance.

He is repaying her

What is due.”

Yahweh declares, via Jeremiah, that the Israelites and Judeans should not worry. They have not been forsaken, left behind like widows, even though the land is full of guilty ones, who have sinned against the Holy One of Israel. They should flee Babylon. They should save their lives. They will not perish because of the guilt of Babylon. Yahweh would be bringing vengeance and repaying Babylon for what she had done.

The devoured lost sheep (Jer 50:6-50:7)

“My people

Have been

Like lost sheep.

Their shepherds

Have led them astray.

They turned them away

On the mountains.

From mountain

To hill,

They have gone.

They have forgotten

Their fold.

All who found them

Have devoured them.

Their enemies have said.

‘We are not guilty!

Because they have sinned

Against Yahweh,

Their true pastor,

Their lord,

The hope of their ancestors.’”

The people of Israel and Judah were like lost sheep. Their shepherds or leaders had led them astray. They let these sheep loose in the mountains where they wandered around from hill to mountain, forgetting about the rest of the flock. Anyone who found them killed them and ate them. The response of these enemy snatchers was that they were not guilty, because these sheep and their shepherds had sinned against Yahweh, the true pastor and hope of their ancestors. Thus they justified their actions against them.

The universal judgment (Jer 25:30-25:31)

“You!

Therefore,

Shall prophesy

Against them

All these words.

Say to them.

‘Yahweh will roar

From on high.

He will roar

From his holy habitation.

He will utter his voice.

He will roar mightily

Against his fold.

He will shout,

Like those who tread grapes,

Against all the inhabitants

Of the earth.

The clamor will resound

To the ends of the earth.

Yahweh has an indictment

Against the nations.

He is entering into judgment

With all flesh.

He will put the guilty

To the sword.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh told Jeremiah that he was to prophesy against all these people. He even told him what to say. He was to tell them that Yahweh roars from on high from his holy dwelling. He was going to shout, like those who are threading grapes, against all the people on earth. They would be able to hear him from the ends of the flat earth. Yahweh had an indictment and a judgment against all countries. He was going to put to death with the sword those who were guilty.

The prosperous wicked people (Jer 12:1-12:3)

“Yahweh!

You will be in the right

When I complain to you.

But let me plead my case

Before you?

Why does the way of the guilty prosper?

Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

You plant them.

They take root.

They grow.

They bring forth fruit.

You are near in their mouths.

Yet you are far from their hearts.

Yahweh!

You know me!

You see me!

You test me!

My heart is with you.

Pull them out

Like sheep for the slaughter!

Set them apart

For the day of slaughter.”

Jeremiah wanted to know why the wicked ones prospered. Much like Job, and the sapiential literature, this was the question of why do bad or evil people succeed? Jeremiah pleaded his case before Yahweh. Yahweh was the one who planted them and gave them roots. Thus they have grown and born fruit. They say the right things, but their hearts are not in it. Jeremiah complained that Yahweh knew what kind of person he was, since Yahweh knew, saw, and tested him. His heart was with Yahweh. Now he wanted these wicked guilty people to be pulled out and put to slaughter like sheep. Jeremiah was not happy about these prosperous wicked people.