“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,
Whom I send to you urgently,
Even though you
Have not heeded them,
Then I will make this house
I will make this city
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.
“‘Cursed be anyone
Who does not heed the words
Of this covenant
That I commanded your ancestors,
When I brought them
Out of the land of Egypt,
From the iron furnace,
‘Listen to my voice!
Do all that I command you!
So shall you be my people!
I will be your God!
Thus I may perform the oath
That I swore to your ancestors.
‘I will give them a land
Flowing with milk and honey,
As it is until this day.’
Then I answered.
‘So be it, Yahweh!”
Here are the words that Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to proclaim to his people. Anyone who does not heed the words of this commanded covenant will be cursed. Yahweh had brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt that was like an iron blast furnace. Jeremiah was to be clear. They were to follow his commands. They will be his people and he will be their God. Yahweh had sworn this to their ancestors since he said that he would provide a promised land of milk and honey. Jeremiah responded that he was up to the task as he said the famous Amen, or so be it.
“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.
‘Cut down her trees!
Cast up a siege ramp
This is the city
That must be punished!
There is nothing but oppression
As a well keeps its water fresh,
So she keeps fresh her wickedness.
Violence is heard within her.
Destruction is heard within her.
Sickness is ever before me.
Wounds are ever before me.
Otherwise I shall turn from you
I will make you a desolation.
I will make you an uninhabited land.’”
Yahweh, via Jeremiah, warned Jerusalem. They were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem because this city needed to be punished. There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her. Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around. Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.
“Therefore those who lived
In an unrighteous way,
In a life of folly,
Through their own abominations.
They went far astray
On the paths of error.
They accepted as gods
That even their enemies despised.
They were deceived like foolish infants.
Therefore as though like children,
Who cannot reason,
You sent your judgment to mock them.
But those who have not heeded
The warning of light rebukes
Will experience the deserved judgment of God.
When in their suffering,
They became incensed
At those creatures
That they had thought to be gods,
They were punished by means of them.
They saw the true God.
They recognized the true God
Whom they had before refused to know.
Therefore the utmost condemnation
Came upon them.”
Once again, we are reflecting on God’s actions in Egypt. The unrighteous ones (ἀδίκους) were tormented by their own abominations. They had accepted various animals as gods (θεοὺς) as if they were unknowing little infants. When they reached the age of reason you mocked their gods with mild rebukes or the so-called plagues. But they did not heed these mild rebukes or plagues. Finally they recognized the true God (Θεὸν ἐπέγνωσαν ἀληθῆ) and thus they received the ultimate condemnation at the end. This was an attempt to justify the killing of the first born of Egypt. The Egyptians should have known better.
“The beginning of wisdom is
The most sincere desire for instruction.
Concern for instruction is love of her.
Love of her
Is the keeping of her laws.
Giving heed to her laws
Is assurance of immortality.
Immortality brings one near to God.
Thus the desire for wisdom
Leads to a kingdom.”
You begin to get wisdom with the desire for instruction about her. You must love her and her instructions. If you keep and heed her laws (νόμων αὐτῆς), you will be assured of immortality as you come near to God (ἀφθαρσία δὲ ἐγγὺς εἶναι ποιεῖ Θεοῦ). This desire for wisdom (ἐπιθυμία ἄρα σοφίας) will lead to a kingdom (βασιλείαν). Is this an eternal kingdom with God? This also was part of the Greek Stoic journey of the various steps or desires to get to wisdom.
“A fool despises a parent’s instruction.
But whoever heeds admonition is prudent.
In the house of the righteous
There is much treasure.
But trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge.
The minds of fools do not spread knowledge.”
Fools do not listen to their parent’s advice. However, those who heed the admonition of their parents are prudent. If you are righteous, your family will have much treasure. However, trouble will come upon the income of the wicked fools. The wise spread knowledge with their lips, but the mind of fools cannot spread any knowledge, because they have nothing to give.