The plight of Jerusalem (Jer 4:30-4:31)

“You!

O desolate one!

What do you mean

That you dress in crimson?

Why do you deck yourself

With ornaments of gold?

Why do you enlarge your eyes

With paint?

In vain,

You beautify yourself.

Your lovers despise you.

They seek your life.

I heard a cry

Like a woman in labor.

I heard a cry

Of anguish,

Like one bringing forth

Her first child.

This was the cry

Of the daughter Zion

Gasping for breath.

She was stretching out her hands.

‘Woe is me!

I am fainting

Before killers.’”

Jeremiah took on desolate Jerusalem that put on crimson dresses and golden ornaments. She painted her eyes to make them look larger. She was ready to party, but she beautified herself and gussied up in vain. In fact, her lovers wanted to kill her. Jerusalem was also like a woman in childbirth labor pains, much like a woman giving birth to her first child, which is always more difficult. She was gasping for breath. She stretched out her hands, realizing that she was fainting before her killers. Jerusalem was about to go down also.

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Fear Yahweh (Prov 31:28-31:31)

Shin

“Charm is deceitful.

Beauty is vain.

But a woman

Who fears Yahweh

Is to be praised.

Tav

Give her a share

In the fruit of her hands.

Let her works praise her

In the city gates.”

Although charm and beauty are deceitful and vain, a woman who fears Yahweh is to be praised. She should share in the fruits of her hands. She should be praised at the city gates among the elders of the village. So Proverbs comes to an end with this eulogy to the perfect hard working wife. It is interesting to note that this author says that charm and beauty are not what makes a good wife.