The ingratitude of their ancestors (Jer 2:5-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘What wrong did your ancestors

Find in me?

They went far from me.

They went after worthless things.

They became worthless themselves.

They did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?

He brought us up

From the land of Egypt.

He led us in the wilderness.

He led us in a land of deserts.

He led us in a land of pits.

He led us in a land of drought.

He led us in a land of deep darkness.

He led us in a land that no one passes through.

He led us in a land where no man dwells.’

I brought you into a plentiful land.

I brought you to eat its fruits.

I brought you to eat its good things.

But when you entered,

You defiled my land.

You made my heritage an abomination.

The priests did not say.

‘Where is Yahweh?’

Those who handle the law

Did not know me.

The rulers transgressed against me.

The prophets prophesied by Baal.

They went after things that do not profit.”

Jeremiah has Yahweh complain about their ancestors. Why did they go far from Yahweh, going after worthless things, so that they themselves became worthless? They seem to have forgotten that Yahweh led them out of Egypt through the desert wilderness with its pits, drought, and darkness. Very few people were able to make it through the lifeless wilderness. He brought them into a wonderful plentiful land that had many fruits to eat. However, as soon as they entered the land, they defiled it and made his heritage an abomination. The priests did not know Yahweh and follow his laws. The rulers transgressed the laws of Yahweh. The prophets used prophecies by the pagan gods of Baal. They all went after unprofitable and unproductive things.

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The ingratitude of Israel (Isa 43:22-43:24)

“Yet you did not call upon me!

O Jacob!

But you have been weary of me!

O Israel!

You have not brought me

Your sheep

For burnt offerings!

You have not honored me

With your sacrifices!

I have not burdened you

With offerings.

I have not wearied you

With frankincense.

You have not bought me sweet cane

With money.

You have not satisfied me

With the fat of your sacrifices.

But you have burdened me

With your sins.

You have wearied me

With your iniquities.”

Once again, Second Isaiah uses the first person singular for Yahweh, as he complains about the ingratitude of the Israelites. Notice that he calls them both Jacob and Israel. They were not calling on Yahweh, since they have been weary of him. They have not been bringing burnt offerings, sacrifices, and other offerings of frankincense. They have not brought any sweet cane or money. This sounds like a Levitical priest complaining about the lack of good sacrifices. Instead of fat sacrifices, they have burdened and wearied Yahweh with their sins and iniquities.   This also sounds like a settled people with a temple altar.