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.

Reproach against false worshippers in the Temple (Jer 11:15-11:17)

“What right has my beloved

In my house?

She has done vile deeds.

Can vows

Avert your doom?

Can sacrificial flesh

Avert your doom?

Can you then exult?

Yahweh once called you,

‘A green olive tree,

Fair with goodly fruit.’

But with the roar of a great tempest,

He will set fire to it.

Its branches will be consumed.

Yahweh of hosts

Planted you.

He has pronounced evil

Against you.

Because the evil

That the house of Israel has done,

That the house of Judah has done,

Has provoked me to anger.

Because you have been making offerings

To Baal.”

What are the rights of Yahweh’s beloved in his house, the Temple? This is especially so, since they have done such vile deeds. Can their vows and their meat sacrifices avert their coming doom? Israel was once a good fruitful fair green olive tree. However, with the blast of a storm, Yahweh would consume them with fire and destroy them. Yahweh planted them, but now he has pronounced evil against them. They, both the house of Judah and the house of Israel, have done evil provoking Yahweh to anger with their offerings to Baal.