The worship on the mountain tops (Hos 4:13-4:13)

“They sacrifice

On the tops

Of the mountains.

They make offerings

Upon the hills.

They make offerings

Under the oak trees,

Under the poplar trees,

Under the terebinth trees.

Their shade is good.

Therefore,

Your daughters

Play the prostitute.

Your daughters-in-law

Commit adultery.”

The Israelites were sacrificing to the various Canaanite gods on the tops of the mountains. They were making offerings on the hills. They preferred to make these offerings under the various trees, the oak, the poplar, and the terebinth, because the shade of those trees was good. Thus, their daughters became prostitutes, while their daughters-in-law committed adultery. Clearly, they were unfaithful to Yahweh.

Advertisements

A reminder for Israel (Bar 4:5-4:8)

“Take courage!

My people!

You perpetuate

Israel’s name!

It was not

For destruction

That you were sold

To the nations.

But you were handed over

To your enemies

Because you angered

God.

You provoked the one

Who made you!

You sacrificed to demons,

Not to God!

You forgot

The everlasting God,

Who brought you up!

You grieved Jerusalem,

Who reared you.”

This reminder for Israel was for the people to have courage, since they were going to perpetuate the name of Israel. These Israelites had been sold to various nations, not to destroy them, but to punish them. They had been handed over to their enemies, because they had angered God. They had provoked their creator by sacrificing to demons, and not God. They had forgotten their everlasting God who brought them up. There was no mention of the name of Yahweh here. They had grieved Jerusalem, the city that had reared them. Once again there is a personification of Jerusalem that can feel pain.

Breaking the covenant agreement (Jer 34:17-34:18)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh!

‘You have not obeyed me

By granting a release

To your neighbors,

As well as to your friends.

I am going to

Grant a release to you,

A release to the sword,

A release to pestilence,

A release to famine.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will make you a horror

To all the kingdoms

Of the earth.

Those who transgressed

My covenant,

Those who did not

Keep the terms

Of the covenant

That they made before me,

I will make them

Like the calf

When they cut it in two.

As they passed

Between its parts.’”

The people of Jerusalem had not obeyed Yahweh about freeing up their Hebrew slaves. Now Yahweh was going to free them to the sword, pestilence, and famine, the common formula of Jeremiah for destruction. They would become a horror for all the countries in the world. They had broken their covenant with Yahweh. They had not kept the terms of the covenant agreement, since they had re-enslaved the freed Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem. The ancient practice of cutting or sacrificing an animal into two pieces was a way of ratifying an agreement, as can be seen in Genesis, chapter 15. Then the two people would walk between the two pieces of the calf to indicate that if they broke the agreement, they too would be killed. Thus these disobedient ones who broke the covenant were subject to death, just as the calf had been killed and cut up.

The problem of Topheth (Jer 19:6-19:7)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore the days are surely coming,

When this place shall

No more be called Topheth,

Or the valley of the son of Hinnom,

But the valley of Slaughter.

In this place

I will make void

The plans of Judah,

The plans of Jerusalem.

I will make them fall

By the sword

Before their enemies.

I will make them fall

By the hand of those

Who seek their life.

I will give their dead bodies

For food

To the birds of the air,

To the wild animals of the earth.”

This section is very similar to what is in chapter 7 about Topheth, almost word for word, a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites worshipped. It was in this valley of Hinnom that there may have been a place for sacrificing and burning children. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it would become known for dead bodies after slaughters. The people of Judah and Jerusalem would die by the sword there, while the birds and the wild animals would feed on their dead bodies.

False worship (Isa 65:3-65:5)

“A people provoke me

To my face continually.

They sacrifice in gardens.

They offer incense on bricks.

They sit inside tombs.

They spend the night in secret places.

They eat swine’s flesh.

They have broth of abominable things

In their vessels.

They say.

‘Keep to yourself.

Do not come near me.

I am too holy for you.’

These are a smoke

In my nostrils.

They are a fire

That burns all the day.”

These Israelites were practicing false worship right in front of Yahweh, instead of the true Yahweh worship. They were sacrificing in the gardens in some sort of a nature cult. They burned incense on bricks that was both a pagan and Israelite practice. Sitting inside tombs was an attempt to consult with the dead. If they spent the night in a secret place they were trying to conjure up a vision. Obviously eating pork was forbidden to the Israelites. Others drank some kind of terrible abominable broth. Some even wanted to keep Yahweh away because they were already part of some unknown rite or cult that made them holy. They were like smoke in Yahweh’s nose. They were like a continually burning fire. They really bothered Yahweh with their false worship practices.

Tower of Babel and Abraham (Wis 10:5-10:5)

“Wisdom also,

When the nations in wicked agreement

Had been put to confusion,

Recognized the righteous man.

She preserved him

Blameless before God.

She kept him strong

In the face of his compassion

For his child.”

Here there seems to be a link with the Tower of Babel and Abraham. Once again in this abridgment of Genesis, there is a leap from chapter 11 about the Tower of Babel and Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac in chapter 22. Obviously, we then have this abbreviated history of mankind that jumps from Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, to Noah and the flood, without explicitly mentioning their names. Now the jump is from the Tower of Babel to Abraham. Here it is wisdom and not God who caused the confusion as the men were building the high tower. She also recognized and preserved Abraham as the strong righteous man who was blameless before God (ἄμεμπτον Θεῷ). Just as the idea of God dominates over wisdom, she, wisdom, is the one who had compassion for the child (τέκνου) of Abraham, Isaac.