The return from exile (Jer 32:37-32:39)

“See!

I am going to gather them

From all the lands

To which I drove them

In my anger,

In my wrath,

With great indignation.

I will bring them back

To this place.

I will settle them

In safety.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God.

I will give them one heart

With one way.

Thus they may fear me

For all time,

For their own good,

As well as the good

Of their children after them.”

Yahweh was going to restore the Israelites back in their land. He was going to gather them from all the countries that they had been scattered to, when he was angry, wrathful, and indignant over their behavior. They would be settled in the Promised Land to live safely. They would be his people. He would be their God. This phrase shows the strong love of God for his people. They would have one heart and one way of doing things. They would fear him all the time, for their own good as well as the good of their children to come. Happy days were ahead.

The return to Jerusalem (Jer 29:14-29:14)

“‘I will restore your fortunes.

I will gather you

From all the nations,

From all the places,

Where I have driven you.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I will bring you back

To the place

From which

I sent you into exile.’”

Yahweh is very clear in this letter of Jeremiah that he will restore their fortunes. He will gather them up from all the countries and places that he has driven them into. He was going to bring them back to the exiled places where they started from.

Hananiah predicts the end of the exile in two years (Jer 28:11-28:11)

“Hananiah spoke

In the presence

Of all the people.

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh.

This how I will break

The yoke

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

From the neck

Of all the nations

Within two years.’

At this,

The prophet Jeremiah

Went his way.”

Hananiah the prophet boldly proclaimed in the presence of all the people that Yahweh said that he was going to break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the countries during the next 2 years. With that, Jeremiah had no response. He just left.

 

The cup of wrath (Jer 25:15-25:17)

“Thus Yahweh,

The God of Israel,

Said to me.

‘Take from my hand

This cup

Of the wine of wrath!

Make all the nations

To whom I send you,

Drink it!

They shall drink.

They shall stagger.

They shall go out of their minds

Because of the sword

That I am sending among them.’

So I took the cup

From Yahweh’s hand.

I made all the nations,

To whom Yahweh

Sent me,

Drink it.”

This is sort of an introduction to Jeremiah’s oracles against the various nations. However, there will be more to come later in this work. Yahweh wanted Jeremiah to take a cup of wine that was the cup of wrath from his hand. Yahweh then told Jeremiah to make all the countries that he would send him to, drink from this cup. After they drank from it, they would stagger and go out of their minds. He then would send a sword to them. Thus Jeremiah, as usual, did what Yahweh had asked him to do. He took the cup to the various countries that Yahweh sent him. Then he made them drink from this cup of wrath. This sounds like a difficult task to carry around this wine cup of wrath.

The future good shepherds (Jer 23:3-23:4)

“‘Then I myself

Will gather the remnant

Of my flock

Out of all the lands

Where I have driven them.

I will bring them back

To their fold.

They shall be fruitful.

They shall multiply.

I will raise up

Shepherds over them.

They will shepherd them.

They shall not fear any longer.

They shall not be dismayed.

None shall be missing.’

Says Yahweh.”

At some future time, Yahweh will gather the remnant of his flock from all the countries that they were driven into. He is going to bring them back into the fold where they will be fruitful and multiply. Moreover, he will then put good shepherd leaders over them. They will no longer fear or be dismayed. No one will be missing. Thus the future good times would have good leaders.

Poem on trust (Jer 3:19-3:20)

“I thought

How would I set you

Among my children?

How would I give you

A pleasant land?

How would I give you

The most beautiful heritage

Of all the nations?

I thought

You would call me,

My Father!

I thought

That you would not turn

From following me.

Surely,

As a faithless wife

Leaves her husband,

So have you been faithless to me,

O house of Israel!’

Says Yahweh.”

This seems to be a thoughtful poem about the lack of trust on the part of the Israelites. Yahweh, via Jeremiah, was thinking about his children, the Israelites. He wanted to give them a pleasant land, the most beautiful heritage among all the countries of the world. They then would call Yahweh father. They would not turn away from him. However, they turned out to be like faithless wives, who leave their husbands. So too, the house of Israel has been faithless to him. There is no mistaking his thoughts and intentions.

Vindication of Zion (Isa 62:1-62:2)

“For Zion’s sake,

I will not keep silent.

For Jerusalem’s sake,

I will not rest

Until her vindication shines out

Like the dawn.

Her salvation will be

Like a burning torch.

The nations shall see your vindication.

All the kings shall see your glory.”

Yahweh reassures his people in the first person singular that he will vindicate and save Zion. He was not going to be silent and rest until Jerusalem’s vindication was shinning like the dawn or its salvation like a burning torch. All the countries would see this vindication. All the kings would see this glory.

The nothingness of all nations (Isa 40:15-40:17)

“Even the nations are

Like a drop from a bucket.

The nations are accounted

Like dust on the scales.

See!

He takes up the isles

Like fine dust.

Lebanon would not provide fuel enough.

Its animals are not enough for a burnt offering.

All the nations are as nothing

Before him.

They are accounted by him

As less than nothing,

Emptiness.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh compare the value of all the countries and nations. They amount to nothing. They are like a drop in the bucket or dust on a scale. Yahweh considers all the islands like fine dust. Lebanon with all its trees would not be fuel enough for Yahweh. There were not enough animals there to make a burnt offering for him. All the nations are empty nothingness before Yahweh.

Yahweh against all nations (Isa 34:1-34:4)

“Draw near!

O nations!

Hear!

O people!

Give heed!

Let the earth hear

With all that fills it!

Let the world hear

With all that comes from it!

Yahweh is enraged

Against all the nations.

He is furious

Against all their hoards.

He has doomed them.

He has given them over for slaughter.

Their slain shall be cast out.

The stench of their corpses shall rise.

The mountains shall flow with their blood.

All the host of heaven shall rot away.

The skies shall roll up like a scroll.

All their host shall wither

Like a leaf withering on a vine,

Like fruit withering on a fig tree.”

Once again Isaiah has this important call to listen. This time it is not merely to the people of Israel who should listen, but this is a more universal call to all the nations, all the people, the whole world, and the earth itself. Yahweh is mad at the whole world, everybody, all the countries. He has destined and doomed them for slaughter. There will be so many killed that the stench of their dead bodies will rise up, while the mountains will flow with blood. This is quite a gruesome scene. On top of that, all the hosts of heaven or the false gods will dry up and wither away like a leaf on a vine or a fruit on a tree.

A hymn of praise to Yahweh (Ps 102:12-102:17)

“Yahweh!

You are enthroned forever.

Your name endures to all generations.

You wilt rise up.

You will have compassion on Zion.

It is time to favor it.

The appointed time has come.

Your servants hold its stones dear.

Have pity on its dust.

The nations will fear the name of Yahweh.

All the kings of the earth fear your glory.

Yahweh will build up Zion.

He will appear in his glory.

He will regard the prayer of the destitute.

He will not despise their prayer.”

There is this beautiful hymn to Yahweh, who is enthroned as king forever. His name will endure through all generations. He will rise up and have compassion on Zion, his holy city and temple. The appointed time has come. His servants hold its stones holy. Yahweh should have pity on its dust. All the countries and kings would fear the name and glory of Yahweh. Yahweh would rebuild Zion and appear in all his glory. He has regard for the prayer of the destitute and will not despise their prayers.