Unfaithful Israel (Jer 2:20-2:22)

“‘Long ago you broke your yoke.

You burst your bonds.

You said.

‘I will not serve.’

On every high hill,

Under every green tree,

You sprawled.

You played the whore.

Yet I planted you

As a choice vine.

You were from the purest stock.

How then did you turn degenerate?

How did you become a wild vine?

Though you wash yourself with lye,

Even if you use much soap,

The stain of your guilt is still before me.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Jeremiah has another oracle of Yahweh about the unfaithfulness of Israel. It is just not recently. Long ago, they threw off the yoke of Yahweh and burst out of their bonds, since they said that they would not serve. They ran to every high mountain and under the green oak trees to worship false gods. They lay there sprawling and playing the whore or prostitute. Yahweh had planted them as a vineyard from the purest stock. However, they had become degenerate and a wild vine. No amount of lye or soap could cleanse them from this stain of guilt. What was he to do with these unfaithful Israelites?

Yahweh sends Isaiah to King Ahaz (Isa 7:3-7:3)

“Yahweh said to Isaiah.

‘Go out!

Meet King Ahaz!

You!

And your son,

Shear-Jashub!

A remnant shall remain.

You will meet

At the end of the conduit

Of the upper pool

On the highway

To the Fuller’s Field.’”

The story of King Ahaz (736-716 BCE) can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 16 and 2 Chronicles, chapter 28. However, there was no mention of the prophet Isaiah in any of the stories about King Ahaz. Here, Yahweh told Isaiah to go with his son, whose name Shear-Jashub meant a remnant shall remain. They were to meet King Ahaz at the end of the upper pool on the highway to Fuller’s Field. This seems odd. Why not go to his palace or the king’s home in Jerusalem? Fuller’s Field was west of the walls of Jerusalem, where apparently some kind of soap was made. There is something symbolic going on.