Yahweh is just (Lam 1:18-1:18)

Cade

“Yahweh

Is in the right.

I have rebelled

Against his word.

Hear!

All you people!

Behold my suffering!

My young women,

My young men,

Have gone

Into captivity.”

Once again, we are back to a personal lament from Jerusalem about how Yahweh was correct in bringing suffering to her. Jerusalem had rebelled against the word of Yahweh. Now Jerusalem wanted everyone to see her suffering, since both her young men and young women have gone into captivity. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Cade. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The attack of King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 52:4-52:5)

“In the ninth year

Of King Zedekiah’s reign,

In the tenth month,

On the tenth day of the month,

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Came with all his army

Against Jerusalem.

They laid siege to it.

They built siege works

Against it

All around.

So the city was besieged

Until the eleventh year

Of King Zedekiah.”

Once again, this is an exact date, word for word as in 2 Kings, chapter 25 and earlier in this book of Jeremiah, in chapter 39. It is rare that we have exact dating, but here it is very specific, not some vague “at that time.” In the 9th year of King Zedekiah, in the 10th month on the 10th day, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his army to Jerusalem in order to besiege the city. King Zedekiah had probably began to plot with the Egyptians and rebelled against the king of Babylon. This siege of Jerusalem began in 588 BCE and lasted about 18 months to 2 years

The evil King Zedekiah (Jer 52:2-52:3)

“King Zedekiah

Did what was evil

In the sight of Yahweh,

Just as King Jehoiakim

Had done.

Indeed,

Jerusalem

With Judah

So angered Yahweh

That he expelled them

From his presence.

However,

King Zedekiah

Rebelled

Against the king of Babylon.”

This is word for word the same as the opening of 2 Kings, chapter 25. Yahweh was angry with King Zedekiah, since he walked in the evil ways of his brother King Jehoiakim, and not in the good ways of his father, King Josiah. However, King Zedekiah also rebelled against the king of Babylon, which was not always a good idea since the king of Babylon had put him on the throne.

The revolt against Ishmael (Jer 41:13-41:14)

“When all the people

Who were with Ishmael

Saw Johanan,

The son of Kareah,

With all the leaders

Of the forces with him,

They were glad.

So all the people,

Whom Ishmael

Had carried away captive

From Mizpah,

Turned around.

They came back.

They went to Johanan,

The son of Kareah.”

When all the people with Ishmael saw Johanan with all his leaders and troops, they were happy. Instead of being taken captive, they now rebelled against Ishmael. They turned around and ran back to Johanan with his forces. Their captivity came to a quick end a few miles outside of Mizpah at Gibeon.

The siege of Jerusalem (Jer 39:1-39:1)

“In the ninth year

Of King Zedekiah

Of Judah,

In the tenth month,

King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

With all his army

Came against Jerusalem.

He besieged it.”

Once again, there is an exact date, almost the same as in 2 Kings, chapter 25. It is rare that we have exact dating, but here it is very specific, not some vague “at that time.” In the 9th year of King Zedekiah, in the 10th month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his army to Jerusalem in order to besiege the city. King Zedekiah had probably began to plot with the Egyptians and rebelled against the king of Babylon.   This siege of Jerusalem probably began in 588 BCE. Like the preceding chapter, this is a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, since they are the latter part of chapter 45 and chapter 46, not chapter 39 as here.

The threat of Yahweh (Jer 27:8-27:8)

“‘But if any nation or kingdom

Will not serve this king,

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon,

I will punish that nation or kingdom.

If they will not put their necks

Under the yoke

Of the king of Babylon,

I will punish that nation

With the sword,

With famine,

With pestilence,

Until I have completed

Its destruction

By his hand.’

Says Yahweh.”

In this oracle of Yahweh, via Jeremiah, if any country would not serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BCE), Yahweh was going to punish them. If they were not willing to wear the yoke of the Babylonian king, Yahweh would punish them either by the sword, famine, or pestilence. This punishment would exist as long as it took for the Babylonian king to destroy them. This was a clear mandate of Yahweh in favor of the good King Nebuchadnezzar. Those who rebelled against him would be punished.

You deserve what you get (Jer 4:17-4:18)

“Yahweh says.

‘You have rebelled

Against me.

Your ways,

Your doings

Have brought this

Upon you.

This is your doom.

It is bitter.

It has reached

Your very heart.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, says that they had rebelled against him. Their ways and actions brought this destruction upon themselves. They were doomed because this bitterness had reached their hearts.

The invitation to repentance (Jer 3:12-3:13)

“Go!

Proclaim these words

Toward the north.

Say!

‘Return!

Faithless Israel!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will not look on you in anger!

I am merciful!’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will not be angry forever.

Only acknowledge your guilt!

That you rebelled

Against Yahweh

Your God!

You scattered your favors

Among strangers

Under every green tree.

You have not obeyed my voice.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh then told Jeremiah to say these words to the northern tribes. Tell them to return. Yahweh was not going to be angry forever with them because he was merciful. They only had to acknowledge that they rebelled against Yahweh, their God. They had scattered their favors under every green oak tree in false worship. They had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh. The problem, of course, was that they had already been sent into captivity, nearly a century earlier.

The punishment of the evil doers (Isa 66:24-66:24)

“They shall go out.

They shall look at the dead bodies

Of the people

Who have rebelled against me.

Their worm shall not die.

Their fire shall not be quenched.

They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

However, those who rebelled against Yahweh will die. Their worms will not die and their fire will never go out. They will be abhorrent to everyone. The punishment of the evil doers is very severe. So ends the book of the prophet Isaiah with this call to punishment.

The redeeming savior (Isa 63:8-63:10)

“Yahweh said.

‘Surely they are my people.

Children will not deal falsely.’

He became their Savior

In all their distress.

It was no messenger.

It was no angel.

But it was his presence that saved them.

In his love,

In his pity,

He redeemed them.

He lifted them up.

He carried them

All the days of old.

But they rebelled.

They grieved his Holy Spirit.

Therefore he became their enemy.

He himself fought against them.”

Yahweh responded that surely his people and children would not respond falsely. He was their savior in times of distress. He did not merely send a messenger or an angel. It was his very presence that saved them. He showed them love and pity as he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them away as in the good old days. However, they rebelled against him as they saddened the Holy Spirit. They became his enemy so that Yahweh had to fight against them.