The day of retribution for Yahweh (Jer 46:10-46:12)

“That day is

The day of Yahweh!

God of hosts!

A day of retribution

To gain vindication

From his foes!

The sword shall devour!

The sword shall be sated!

The sword shall drink

Its fill of their blood!

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Holds a sacrifice

In the land of the north

By the Euphrates River.

Go up to Gilead!

Take balm!

O virgin daughter Egypt!

In vain,

You have used

Many medicines.

There is no healing for you.

The nations have heard

Of your shame.

The earth is full

Of your cry.

The warrior has stumbled

Against warrior.

They have both fallen together.”

The day of reckoning for Yahweh was the defeat of Egypt. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh are pro-Babylon and anti-Egypt. This will be a day of retribution and vindication against Yahweh’s foes. The sword will devour them and drink their blood, like a sacrifice in this land north of the Euphrates River. This virgin daughter Egypt would find it useless to seek any medicines to cure her. Not even the balms of Gilead would help Egypt. There will be no healing. Everyone would have heard of their shame and their cries. Their warriors have stumbled against each other as they fell.

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The new covenant (Jer 31:33-31:34)

“‘But this is the covenant

That I will make

With the house of Israel,

After those days.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will put my law

Within them.

I will write it

On their hearts.

I will be their God.

They shall be my people.

No longer shall they teach

One another.

‘Know Yahweh!’

They shall all know me,

From the least of them

To the greatest.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will forgive

Their iniquity.

I will remember their sin

No more.’”

Yahweh says that the new covenant will be written in the hearts of the people of Israel. It will be within them, so that they will not have to teach each other to know Yahweh. Yahweh was going to be their God. They were to be his people, plain and simple. There was no great need for any kind of education. From the least to the greatest, they would all know Yahweh, since he was going to forget their iniquity. He was not going to remember their sins anymore. There would be a clean slate with this new covenant of interior knowledge and love. God, Yahweh, has taken the imitative to create this new spiritual personal covenant of the heart. He was going to take away retribution for past sins but wanted personal responsibility for here on out. The law was no longer imposed from outside but came from within.

Hymn to Yahweh (Jer 20:12-20:13)

“O Yahweh of hosts!

You test the righteous!

You see the heart!

You see the mind!

Let me see your retribution

Upon them!

I have committed my cause

To you!

Sing to Yahweh!

Praise Yahweh!

He has delivered

The lives of the needy

From the hands of evildoers.”

Jeremiah praises Yahweh. He knows that God tests the righteous ones because he sees their hearts and minds. Jeremiah wanted retribution to come upon those who had opposed him. However, he has committed his cause to Yahweh. They were to sing and praise Yahweh, because he has delivered the lives of the needy from the evildoers.

The personal plea of Jeremiah (Jer 15:15-15:18)

“Yahweh!

You know me!

Remember me!

Visit me!

Bring down retribution for me

On my persecutors!

In your forbearance,

Do not take me away!

Know that on your account

I suffer insult!

Your words were found.

I ate them.

Your words became to me a joy.

Your words became the delight of my heart.

I am called by your name.

O Yahweh!

God of hosts!

I did not sit in the company of merrymakers.

But I did rejoice

Under the weight of your hand.

I sat alone.

You had filled me with indignation.

Why is my pain unceasing?

Why is my wound incurable?

Why has my wound refused to be healed?

Truly you are to me

Like a deceitful brook,

Like waters that fail.”

Jeremiah pleaded with Yahweh to remember and visit him. Jeremiah wanted his persecutors to get retribution. He wanted to be saved. He indicated that he had suffered insults because of the name of Yahweh. Jeremiah had eaten the words of Yahweh that were a joyful delight to him. He had called on the name of Yahweh. He has never sat in the company of merrymakers. Rather he often sat alone, because of his indignation. However, Jeremiah continued to suffer continuing pain that was not healing. He thought that Yahweh was like a deceitful stream where the waters had stopped running. Jeremiah was a little upset at Yahweh.

Jeremiah’s prayerful response (Jer 11:20-11:20)

“But you!

Yahweh of hosts!

You judge righteously

Those who try the heart,

Those who try the mind.

Let me see

Your retribution upon them!

I have committed my cause

To you.”

This prayerful response of Jeremiah is addressed to Yahweh. He knew that Yahweh judged righteously the hearts and the minds of all people. Thus Jeremiah wanted retribution to come to those who had plotted against him. However, he was committing his cause to Yahweh, to let him do as he pleased.

 

How should they be punished? (Jer 9:7-9:9)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will now refine them.

I will test them.

What else can I do

With my sinful people?

Their tongue is a deadly arrow.

It speaks deceit

Through the mouth.

They all speak friendly words

To their neighbors.

But inwardly

They are planning

To lay an ambush.

Shall I not punish them

For these things?

Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh wants to test or refine this sinful people. Their tongues are like deadly arrows because of their deceit. They speak friendly words to their neighbors, but they are planning an ambush for them. How are they to be punished? How much retribution should be handed out to such a people and a country?

The wicked scoundrels (Jer 5:26-5:29)

“‘Wicked scoundrels are

Found among my people.

They take over

The goods of others.

They lurk

Like fowlers,

They set a trap.

They catch human beings.

Like a cage full of birds,

Their houses are full of treachery.

Therefore they have become great.

They have become rich.

They have grown fat.

They have become sleek.

They know no limits

In their deeds of wickedness.

They do not judge

With justice

The cause of the orphans,

To make them prosper.

They do not defend

The rights of the needy.

Shall I not punish them for these things?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, justifies his stance against the Israelites. This time he cites the wicked scoundrels in the land among his own people. They actually take the goods of others like robbers. They are like bird trappers, but they set their traps for their fellow humans. They are full of tricks that have made them great, rich, fat, and sleek. They have no limits to their wickedness. When they judge, they judge without justice, especially in the cases of orphans and the needy. Why shouldn’t Yahweh punish them? Why shouldn’t he bring retribution on this whole nation?