We were sinners also (Bar 1:21-1:22)

“We did not listen

To the voice

Of the Lord,

Our God,

In all the words

Of the prophets

Whom he sent to us.

But all of us followed

The intent

Of our own wicked hearts

By serving other gods,

Doing what is evil

In the sight

Of the Lord,

Our God.”

Following the bad example of their ancestors, the Israelites and Judeans did not listen to the voice of the Lord, their God, even when he sent his prophets to tell them about their wicked hearts. They all followed their own wicked ways, instead of following the Lord. They served other gods. They did evil right in front of the Lord, their God.

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Yahweh informs Jeremiah what to say (Jer 26:4-26:6)

“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,

The prophets,

Whom I send to you urgently,

Even though you

Have not heeded them,

Then I will make this house

Like Shiloh.

I will make this city

A curse

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.

The rebellious people (Jer 2:29-2:32)

“‘Why do you complain against me?

You have all rebelled against me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘In vain

I have struck down your children.

They accepted no correction.

Your own sword devoured your prophets

Like a ravening lion.

You!

O generation!

Behold the word of Yahweh!

Have I been a wilderness to Israel?

Have I been a land of thick darkness?

Why then do my people say?

‘We are free.

We will come to you no more.’

Can a girl forget her ornaments?

Can a bride forget her attire?

Yet my people have forgotten me.

They have done so for days without number.’”

The Israelites had rejected Yahweh. They complained and rebelled against him. Their children would not take any kind of correction. They killed his prophets with a sword. Was Yahweh a wilderness or darkness to the Israelites? Why did they say that they were free? They no longer came to Yahweh. How could this happen? Would a girl forget her jeweled ornaments? Would a bride forget her clothing attire? Yet these people have forgotten Yahweh for many unnumbered days.

The wandering Israelites (Ps 105:12-105:15)

“When they were few in number,

Of little account,

Strangers in it,

They wandered from nation to nation.

They wandered from one kingdom to another people.

He allowed no one to oppress them.

He rebuked kings on their account.

He said.

‘Touch not my anointed ones.

Do my prophets no harm.’”

At one time the Israelites were not that large. They were strangers in other lands. They wandered from one country to another, from one kingdom to another. However, Yahweh did not allow anyone to oppress them. He would rebuke kings on their account. He told them not to touch his anointed ones. They were not to harm his prophets. Yet somehow, many of the Israelites complained about being persecuted by various countries and people.