The scorned altar (Lam 2:7-2:7)

Zayin

“Yahweh has scorned

His altar.

He has disowned

His sanctuary.

He has delivered

The walls

Of her palaces

Into the hand

Of the enemy.

A clamor was raised

In the house

Of Yahweh

As on a day

Of festival.”

Yahweh has scorned his own altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. He has disowned his own sanctuary. The enemies have taken over the palaces and its walls. There are now clamorous battle cries in the house of Yahweh, as if it was a festival day, but without anyone there. The house of Yahweh has been destroyed. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Zayin. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The future of Jerusalem depends on the Sabbath observance (Jer 17:26-17:27)

“The people shall come

From the towns of Judah,

From the places around Jerusalem,

From the land of Benjamin,

From the Shephelah,

From the hill country,

From the Negeb.

They will bring

Burnt offerings,

Sacrifices,

Grain offerings,

Frankincense,

Thank offerings

To the house of Yahweh.

But if you do not listen to me,

To keep the Sabbath day holy,

To carry no burden

Through the gates of Jerusalem

On the Sabbath day,

Then I will kindle a fire

In its gates.

It shall devour

The palaces of Jerusalem.

It shall not be quenched.’”

Thus the future of Jerusalem rested on whether they observed the Sabbath correctly. Many people would come from the towns in Judah and the places around Jerusalem. However, there would also be people from Benjamin that is just north of Jerusalem, as well as the people from the area around Shephelah, west of Jerusalem, the hill country, north of Jerusalem, and Negeb, the desert area south of Judah. All these people would bring many gifts and sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem. These gifts included the many kinds of sacrifice offerings like the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the thank offerings, with various sacrificial animals and frankincense. The opposite is true if they did not keep the Sabbath, they would suffer destruction. Yahweh was going to start a unstoppable fire that would devour the gates and the palaces of Jerusalem. The choice was theirs, Sabbath observances and good things, or no Sabbath observances and a big fire.