Drought and wild animals in Babylon (Jer 50:38-50:40)

“‘A drought

Against her waters!

Thus they may be dried up!

It is a land of images.

They go mad

Over idols.

Therefore,

Wild animals

Shall live

With hyenas

In Babylon.

Ostriches

Shall inhabit her.

She shall never again

Be inhabited

For all generations.

As when God overthrew

Sodom and

Gomorrah,

With their neighbors,

So no one

Shall live there.

No one

Shall settle there.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh was clear. He was going to make Babylon an abandoned desert. The waters of the land would dry up and leave a drought. It is hard to believe that he meant the Tigris River and the Euphrates River. He wanted their images and idols destroyed.   Thus wild animals, hyenas, and ostriches would live in Babylon. No humans would live or settle in Babylon. It would become like the ancient destroyed cites of Sodom and Gomorrah as in Genesis, chapter 19, a desolation.

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The great drought (Jer 14:2-14:6)

“Judah mourns.

Her gates languish.

Her people lie in gloom

On the ground.

The cry of Jerusalem goes up.

Her nobles send their servants

For water.

They come to the cisterns.

They find no water.

They return

With their vessels empty.

They are ashamed.

They are dismayed.

They cover their heads.

Because the ground is cracked.

Because there has been no rain

On the land.

The farmers are dismayed.

They cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field

Forsakes her newborn fawn.

Because there is no grass.

The wild asses stand

On the bare heights.

They pant for air

Like jackals.

Their eyes fail.

Because there is no herbage.”

This drought had Judah in mourning. Gloom was all around. The nobles sent their servants for water, but the well cisterns had no water. Thus they returned empty handed, being ashamed and dismayed. They too went into mourning by covering their heads. The dry ground was cracking because there had been no rain in the land. The farmers were dismayed and went into mourning by covering their heads. Even the deer were giving up their young fawns since they could not find any grass. The wild asses on the bare heights had breathing difficulties. Their eyes were failing because they could not find any wild green plants to eat. Everyone was having difficulty in this drought.

Elijah announces the curse of the drought (1 Kings 17:1-17:1)

“Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to King Ahab. ‘As Yahweh the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’”

Suddenly Elijah from Tishbe in the Gilead, which is on the east side of the Jordan River, appears on the scene, without much indication of his background. Elijah is a major almost romantic prophet whose name appears more than 100 times in the biblical literature. His influence on the evangelical authors was also important. Thus this cycle of stories with him and King Ahab of Israel plays an important role. He went to King Ahab to tell him that Yahweh controlled the rain. This would be in opposition to those who think that the god Baal controlled the rain. The idea that God or a higher power controls the rain is a common religious theme throughout the world.