“Yahweh said to me.
Among the people of Judah,
Among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They have turned back
To the iniquities of their ancestors.
They have refused to hear my words.
They have gone after other gods
To serve them.
The house of Israel,
The house of Judah,
Both have broken the covenant
That I made with their ancestors.’
Thus says Yahweh.
Assuredly I am going to bring
Disaster upon them.
They cannot escape.
Though they cry out to me,
I will not listen to them.’”
Once again, Yahweh speaks in the first person singular directly to Jeremiah. He said that there was a conspiracy among the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. This terminology persists throughout Jeremiah with an emphasis on the city of Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah. They are acting like their iniquitous ancestors, because they refuse to listen to the words of Yahweh. Instead they are going after other idol gods to serve them. But this applies both to the northern house of Israel and the southern house of Judah. They have both broken the covenant that was made with their ancestors. Therefore Yahweh was going to bring disaster upon them that they would not be able to escape. Even if they cried out to him, he was not going to listen to them. The result is set in stone.
“Yahweh said to me.
‘Proclaim all these words
In the cities of Judah,
In the streets of Jerusalem.
Hear the words of this covenant!
This is almost a repeat of the first 2 verses of this chapter. Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah directly. Once again, Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to speak to the people in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem about the words of the covenant. However, here they must not only hear the words of the covenant, but they must also observe or do them.
“Then Yahweh said to me.
‘Out of the north,
Disaster shall break out
Upon all the inhabitants of the land.
I am calling
All the tribes of the kingdoms of the north.’
‘They shall come.
All of them shall set their thrones
At the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem,
Against all its surrounding walls,
Against all the cities of Judah.
I will utter my judgments against them.
All their wickedness is in forsaking me.
They have burned incense
To other gods.
They have worshiped
The works of their own hands.’”
Once again Jeremiah presents how Yahweh spoke directly to him. Disaster was going to happen in the north, however, it had already happened a century earlier in the 8th century BCE, not the 7th century BCE of Jeremiah. All the kings of the north would leave their thrones at the gates or the walls of Jerusalem. They would leave some in the cities of Judah. They suffered this judgment because they had become wicked in forsaking Yahweh. They had sacrificed with incense to false gods that they had made with their own hands.