The failure to serve God (Bar 2:19-2:20)

“It is not because

Of any righteous deeds

Of our ancestors,

Or our kings

That we bring

Before you

Our prayer

For mercy.

O Lord our God!

You have sent

Your anger

With your wrath

Upon us.

You declared

By your servants

The prophets.”

They had not served God. Their ancestors, their kings, and they themselves had not done righteous deeds. However, they were willing to bring their prayer for mercy to their Lord God. They knew that he had sent his anger and wrath upon them through his servants and prophets.

The sinners pray (Bar 2:12-2:15)

“We have sinned!

We have been ungodly!

We have done wrong!

O Lord!

Our God!

Against all your ordinances!

Let your anger

Turn away

From us!

We are left,

Few in number,

Among the nations

Where you have

Scattered us.

Hear!

O Lord!

Our prayer!

Hear

Our supplication!

For your own sake

Deliver us!

Grant us favor

In the sight of those

Who have carried us

Into exile!

Thus all the earth

May know

That you are

The Lord our God!

For Israel

With his descendants,

You are

Called by your name.”

These sinners admit that they have been ungodly, doing wrong since they had disobeyed the ordinances of their Lord and God. They wanted him to turn his anger away from them, because they were only a few of them left. They had been scattered among the various nations, not just in one country. They wanted the Lord to hear their prayers and grant them favors among the people who carried them away into exile. Then the whole world would know what the God of Israel had done for his people and their descendants. They will call out his name to all.

 

The mourning in Jerusalem (Lam 2:10-2:10)

Yod

“The elders

Of daughter Zion

Sit on the ground

In silence.

They have thrown dust

On their heads.

They have put on

Sackcloth.

The young girls

Of Jerusalem

Have bowed

Their heads

To the ground.”

There is a change in tone here. No longer was Yahweh with his anger the main point. The emphasis now shifts to those left in the city of Jerusalem itself. The elders, who were left in Jerusalem, were sitting on the ground in silence. They were grieving, as they threw dust on their heads and put sackcloth on. The young girls of Jerusalem also bowed their heads to the ground. Obliviously not everyone was killed or taken captive. These old men and young women left in Jerusalem were in a state of shock and mourning. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Yod. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The wrath of Yahweh for those going to Egypt (Jer 42:18-42:18)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Just as my anger,

Just as my wrath,

Was poured out

On the inhabitants

Of Jerusalem,

So my wrath

Will be poured out

On you

When you go to Egypt.

You shall become an object

Of execration,

Of horror,

Of cursing,

Of ridicule.

You shall see this place

No more.’”

Yahweh did not hold back his anger or wrath. Jeremiah says that Yahweh said that he was not going to make it easy for them. Just as he had shown his anger to the people of Jerusalem with the downfall of that city, so too he would do the same to anyone who went to Egypt. If they went to Egypt, they would become like execration, like a horror. They would be cursed at and ridiculed. They no longer would see this land that they loved so much.

The fault of the Israelites (Jer 32:30-32:33)

“‘The people of Israel!

The people of Judah!

They have done nothing

But evil

In my sight

From their youth.

The people of Israel

Have done nothing

But provoke me to anger

By the work of their hands.’

Says Yahweh.

‘This city has aroused

My anger,

My wrath,

From the day it was built

Until this day.

Thus I will remove it

From my sight.

Because of all the evil

Of the people of Israel,

Of the people of Judah.

They provoked me to anger.

This includes

Their kings,

Their officials,

Their priests,

Their prophets,

The citizens of Judah,

The inhabitants of Jerusalem.

They have turned

Their back to me.

They have not turned

Their face to me.

Even though

I have taught them persistently,

They would not listen.

They would not accept correction.’”

Yahweh includes both Israel and Judah in this diatribe against all the Israelites, since they have done nothing but evil since their youth. By the work of their hands, they have provoked Yahweh to anger. The city of Jerusalem also aroused his anger, since the day that it was built. Yahweh was going to remove it because of all the evil that they had done. No one would be exempt, since their kings, officials, priests, prophets, citizens, and inhabitants of both Judah and Jerusalem had turned their backs on Yahweh, not their faces to Yahweh.  He had tried to teach them persistently, but they would not listen and accept correction.

The judgment on the neighbors (Jer 12:14-12:17)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning all my evil neighbors

Who touch the heritage

That I have given

My people Israel to inherit.

‘I am about to pluck them up

From their land.

I will pluck up

The house of Judah

from among them.

After I have plucked them up,

I will again have compassion on them.

I will bring them again

To their heritage,

To their land.

Then if they will diligently learn

The ways of my people,

To swear by my name,

‘As Yahweh lives!’

As they taught my people

To swear by Baal,

Then they shall be built up

In the midst of my people.

But if any nation will not listen,

Then I will completely uproot it.

I will destroy it.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh gave a warning to the evil neighbors of Judah. They were not to touch the inherited land of the Israelite people, despite his anger at them. He was going to pluck up the people of Judah from their land. However, he was going to later have compassion on them, since he was going to bring all of them back to their land and their heritage. This would happen after they had learned the ways of Yahweh, just as they learned the evil ways of Baal. They had to swear by the living God, Yahweh. They would be built up among his people. However, if any nation did not listen, then Yahweh would then uproot and destroy them also. This clearly was an oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, that showed his compassion for Judah, despite everything.

Chariots of fire (Isa 66:15-66:16)

“Yahweh will come in fire.

His chariots will be

Like a whirlwind.

He will pay back his anger in fury.

His rebuke will be in the flames of fire.

Yahweh will execute judgment By fire.

Yahweh will execute judgment

By his sword upon all flesh.

Those slain by Yahweh shall be many.”

The prophet portrays Yahweh coming in fire with chariots, so that we have the chariots of fire. His anger and fury will be in the flames of this fire. He will execute his judgment with fire and the sword on everyone. Yahweh will kill many people.

Symbolic wine presses of blood (Isa 63:2-63:3)

“‘Why are your robes red?

Why are your garments like them?

Who has tread in the wine press?’

‘I have trodden the wine press alone.

No one was with me

From the various peoples.

I trod them in my anger.

I trampled them in my wrath.

Their juice spattered on my garments.

I stained all my robes.’”

This dialog continues with questions and answers about the red garments and a red robe. The prophet or guard wanted to know why the robes and garments were red. Had he been in a wine press? This visitor from the south, or perhaps Yahweh, responded that he had to tread the wine press alone because no one else was with him. The red on his stained clothes was from the spattered juice or blood of those he had trod under because of his anger and wrath.

Foreigners building Jerusalem (Isa 60:10-60:12)

“Foreigners shall build up your walls.

Their kings shall minister to you.

In my wrath,

I struck you down.

But in my favor,

I have had mercy on you.

Your gates shall always be open.

Day and night,

They shall not be shut.

Thus nations shall bring you

Their wealth.

Their kings will lead in procession.

The nation that will not serve you

Shall perish.

The kingdom that will not serve you

Shall perish.

Those nations

Shall be utterly laid waste.”

Apparently, Jerusalem will be so rich that foreigners will build or rebuild Jerusalem. Kings would minister to them. Just as Yahweh struck down Jerusalem in his anger, so in his favor he had mercy on them. The gates of Jerusalem were to be open all the time, both day and night. Everyone would bring their wealth to Jerusalem with the various kings leading the processions there. However, those nations and kings that were not going to serve Jerusalem would be utterly wiped out and perish. Cooperate or die!

Protect the name of Yahweh (Isa 48:9-48:11)

“For my name’s sake,

I defer my anger.

For the sake of my praise

I restrain it for you.

Thus I may not cut you off.

See!

I have refined you,

But not like silver.

I have tested you

In the furnace of adversity.

For my own sake!

For my own sake!

I do it.

Why should my name be profaned?

I will not give my glory to another.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh protect his name. Yahweh was deferring his anger. He was going to restrain himself. He was not going to cut off the Israelites for the sake of his own praise. He has refined them, not like silver in a fire, but in the furnace of life’s adversities. For his own sake, he did not want his name profaned or glory given to anyone else. Yahweh wanted his name brand protected.