The defiled prostitution (Hos 6:10-6:10)

“In the house of Israel,

I have seen a horrible thing.

Ephraim’s prostitution

Is there.

Israel is defiled.”

The house of Israel has committed a terrible thing. They have allowed the prostitution of Ephraim to continue. Thus, the northern kingdom of Israel has defiled itself, with their false worship of other gods.

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.

The negative response of the Judean refugees (Jer 44:15-44:16)

“Then all the men

Who were aware

That their wives

Had been making offerings

To other gods,

Stood by

With their women.

This was a great assembly.

All the people

Who lived in Pathros

In the land of Egypt,

Answered Jeremiah.

‘As for the word

That you have spoken

To us

In the name of Yahweh,

We are not going

To listen to you.’”

There is an admission at the beginning of this response to Jeremiah that the wives of these men had been offering sacrifices to other gods. There is no attempt to hide this fact. All the people tried to respond, which is a euphemism for a spokesman, at least. They are quite concise and to the point. They are not going to listen to Jeremiah and his oracles about Yahweh. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that these are the people who live in Parthos, the southern part of Egypt, near Nubia, not the northern area around Memphis and the upper Nile of Tahpanhes, where the first refugees stopped at. This might indicate that there were other Israelites or Judeans in Egypt.

The questions for the Judeans (Jer 44:7-44:8)

“Now thus says Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Why are you doing

Such great harm

To yourselves?

Why are you cutting

Yourself off from

Men,

Women,

Infants,

As well as children

From the midst of Judah?

Why are you

Leaving yourself no remnant?

Why do you provoke me

To anger

With the works of your hands?

Why are you making offerings

To other gods

In the land of Egypt

Where you have come to settle?

Will you be cut off?

Will you become

An object of cursing?

Will you become a ridicule

Among all the nations

Of the earth?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, has a series of questions for these immigrant Judeans. Why were they harming themselves? Why were they cutting themselves off from the other Judeans, the men, women, children, and infants? If they continued in this way, there would be no remnant left. Why were they provoking Yahweh to anger with their own hands? Why were they already making offerings to other gods in Egypt, where they wanted to settle? Are they going to become an object of cursing and ridicule among all the other countries of the world? These are good questions for the new Judean immigrants to Egypt.

They would not listen (Jer 44:4-44:6)

“Yet I persistently sent

To you

All my servants,

The prophets,

Saying,

‘I beg you not to do

This abominable thing

That I hate!’

But they did not listen

Or incline their ear.

They did not turn

From their wickedness.

They continued to make

Offerings to other gods.

So my wrath,

With my anger,

Was poured out.

I kindled a fire

In the towns of Judah

As well as in the streets of Jerusalem.

They became a waste.

They became a desolation,

As they still are today.”

Once again, Yahweh reminded these Judeans in Egypt that he had warned them, since he had persistently sent his prophet servants to tell them to stop doing those hated abominable things. However, they never listened to these prophets. They never turned away from their wicked ways of presenting offerings to other gods. Thus Yahweh, the God of Israel, got mad. He poured out his wrath on the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. They both became a waste and desolation, like they were today, at the time of this oracle.

The disaster in Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 44:2-44:3)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘You yourselves have seen

All the disaster

That I have brought

On Jerusalem,

As well as on all the towns

Of Judah.

Look at them!

Today they are a desolation.

No one lives in them.

Because of the wickedness

That they committed,

They provoked me to anger.

They went

To make offerings.

They served other gods

That they had not known,

Neither they,

Nor you,

Nor your ancestors.’”

Yahweh, the God of Israel, via Jeremiah, reminded them of the disaster in Jerusalem and Judah. They saw with their own eyes. No one lives there anymore because of the wickedness of the people who had lived there before. They had committed evil that provoked Yahweh to anger. They had made offerings and served other gods that neither they, nor their ancestors had ever known. Their big sin was offering and serving gods other than Yahweh.

The example of the Rechabites (Jer 35:14-35:15)

“The command

Has been carried out

That Jonadab,

The son of Rechab,

Gave to his descendants,

To drink no wine.

They drink none

To this day.

They have obeyed

Their ancestor’s command.

I myself have spoken

To you persistently.

But you have not obeyed me.

I have sent to you

All my servants,

The prophets.

I am sending them persistently,

Saying.

‘Turn now every one of you

From your evil ways!

Amend your doings!

Do not go after other gods!

Do not serve them!

Then you shall live

In the land

That I gave to you,

That I gave to your ancestors.’

But you did not incline

Your ears.

You did not obey me.’”

Yahweh was upset that the Rechabites precisely followed the commands of their ancestor Jonadab up to the present day, as they refused to drink wine based on Jonadab’s command. However, the people of Judah and Jerusalem have not listened or obeyed Yahweh, even though he has continually told them to listen to his commands. They have not listened to his persistent servants, the prophets, who told them to change from their evil ways and amend their life style. They kept going to other gods to serve them. All they had to do to live in this land was to serve and obey Yahweh, something their ancestors knew about. However, they had not inclined their ears or obeyed Yahweh.

The Chaldeans take Jerusalem (Jer 32:26-32:29)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Jeremiah.

‘See!

I am Yahweh!

The God of all flesh!

Is anything too hard for me?’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh.

‘I am going to give this city

Into the hands of the Chaldeans.

I am going to give this city

Into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon.

He shall take it.

The Chaldeans,

Who are fighting against this city,

Shall come.

They will set this city on fire.

They will burn it.

They will burn the houses

On whose roofs

Offerings were made

To Baal,

Where libations

Have been poured out

To other gods.

They did these sacrifices

To provoke me to anger.’”

Yahweh once again has an oracle for Jeremiah. Yahweh was the God of all flesh. There was nothing too hard for him. He was going to give Jerusalem over to the Chaldeans who were fighting there. He was going to hand the city over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Babylonians and the Chaldeans were going to set the city on fire and burn it down. Thus the houses with the roof tops that had made offerings to Baal or libations to the other gods would be destroyed. These Israelites had offered these sacrifices to provoke Yahweh to anger. They had succeeded.

The message of Yahweh’s prophets (Jer 25:5-25:7)

“They said.

‘Every one of you!

Turn now

From your evil ways!

Turn now

From wrong doings!

You will remain

Upon the land

That Yahweh has given

To you

As well as your ancestors

From of old

And forever.

Do not go

After other gods

To serve them,

To worship them!

Do not provoke me to anger

With the work of your hands!

Then I will do you no harm.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Yet you did not listen to me.

Thus you have provoked me

To anger

With the work of your hands

To your own harm.’”

Jeremiah says that Yahweh’s prophets had told all of them to turn away from their evil ways and wicked doings. If they had done that, they would remain in the land that Yahweh gave to them and their ancestors forever. However, they were not to go after other gods, serving and worshipping them. Thus they should not provoke Yahweh to anger with their own hands. Yahweh was not going to harm them. However, they did not listen. They had to provoke him to anger with the works of their own hands that only brought harm to them.

The cause of the punishment for Jerusalem (Jer 22:8-22:9)

“Many nations

Will pass by this city.

All of them

Will say to one another.

‘Why has Yahweh dealt

This way

With this great city?’

They will answer.

‘Because they abandoned

The covenant of Yahweh

Their God.

They worshiped

Other gods.

They served

Other gods.”

If anyone was to pass by this destroyed city of Jerusalem, they might ask why Yahweh had dealt with this great city in this way. The answer was simple. These people had abandoned the covenant that they had with Yahweh, their God. They worshipped and served other gods. Thus they were disloyal to their God Yahweh.