The punishment (Jer 9:10-9:11)

“Take up weeping!

Wail for the mountains!

Take up a lamentation

For the pastures of the wilderness!

Because they are laid waste,

Thus no one passes through.

The lowing of cattle is not heard.

The birds of the air

Have fled.

The animals are gone.

I will make Jerusalem

A heap of ruins.

I will make it

A lair of jackals.

I will make the towns of Judah

A desolation without inhabitants.”

Now Yahweh reveals his punishment but he laments doing it. He wants them to cry and weep for the mountains and the pastures because they were going to become a wasteland. They will not hear the cattle, the birds, or other animals because they will have gone and fled away. Jerusalem will be a ruined heap and a home for jackals, while the towns of Judah will become desolate towns without anyone living there.

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The devastation of the land (Isa 7:23-7:25)

“On that day,

Every place where

There used to be a thousand vines,

Worth a thousand shekels of silver,

Will become briers.

They will become thorns.

With bow and arrows,

One will go there.

All the land

Will be briers and thorns.

All the hills

That used to be hoed with a hoe,

One will not go there

For fear of the briers,

For fear of the thorns.

But they will become a place

Where cattle are let loose.

They will become a place

Where sheep tread.”

On this faithful day, the vineyards will shrivel up. Thousands of vines worth about $23,000 in silver shekels in today’s money would be abandoned to thorns and briers. Places that were hoed before would now be overrun with briers and thorns. People would be afraid to go there because of these briers and thorns. Only the cattle would roam all over the place. The sheep would also tread on any crops that might be growing. Things would be bad, as the land was devastated.

King Antiochus attacks Jerusalem (1 Macc 1:29-1:35)

“Two years later, the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute. He came to Jerusalem with a large force. Deceitfully, he spoke peaceable words to them so that they believed him. However, he suddenly fell upon the city as he dealt it a severe blow. He destroyed many people of Israel. He plundered the city as he burned it with fire. He tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. They took captive the women and children. They seized the cattle. Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers as it became their citadel. They stationed there a sinful people, men who were renegades. These strengthened their position. They stored up arms and food. They collected the spoils of Jerusalem and stored them there. They became a great menace.”

Around 167 BCE, King Antiochus IV again attacked Jerusalem. This time he sent mercenaries with a leader who was to collect tribute for the king. Instead of just collecting the tribute, he and his men attacked the city of Jerusalem. They killed people and plundered the city. They destroyed the houses and walls. They took the women, children, and cattle. Somehow, then they rebuilt the wall around the city of David and made it a citadel or fortress.   Here they put those renegades, those terrible Jews who sided with Syria. They collected the spoils of Jerusalem and stored them there. This citadel will become the home of the army garrison for controlling Judea.