No refuge for the shepherds (Jer 25:34-25:38)

“Wail!

You shepherds!

Cry out!

Roll in ashes!

You lords of the flock!

The days of your slaughter

Have come.

The days of your dispersions

Have come.

You shall fall

Like a choice vessel.

Flight shall fail the shepherds.

There shall be no escape

For the lords of the flock.

Hark!

The cry of the shepherds!

The wail of the lords of the flock!

Yahweh is despoiling their pasture.

The peaceful folds are devastated.

Because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.

Like a lion,

He has left his covert.

Their land has become a waste

Because of the cruel sword,

Because of his fierce anger.”

Yahweh continues his diatribe against the rulers in Judah. These leaders or shepherds should cry out and roll in ashes. The days of slaughter have come when they will be dispersed. They are going to fall like a chosen vessel. The shepherds will not be able to flee. The lords of the flock will not escape. Both the shepherds and the lords of the flock will cry out because Yahweh is going to ruin their pasture. These peaceful flocks and folds will be devastated. Yahweh was angry like a lion that has left its covert of little cubs. The land will become a wasteland because of the anger and the sword of Yahweh.

The reaction to this report (Jer 6:24-6:26)

“We have heard news of them.

Our hands fall helpless.

Anguish has taken hold of us.

We have pain

Like a woman in labor.

Do not go into the field!

Do not walk on the road!

The enemy has a sword.

Terror is on every side.

O daughter of my people!

Put on sackcloth!

Roll in ashes!

Make mourning

Like for an only child!

Make mourning

Like most bitter lamentations.

Suddenly the destroyer

Will come upon us.”

When the Israelites heard the news of this invasion, they felt helpless and anguished. They were pained like a woman in labor. They were told not to go into the fields or on the roads because terror or fear was everywhere. The sword was raised against them. Against all this, Jeremiah wanted these Israelites to put on sackcloth, roll in ashes, and go into mourning, as if they had lost their only child. They should lament because the destroyer would suddenly come upon them.