The pride of Moab (Jer 48:28-48:30)

“‘Leave the towns!

Live on the rocks!

O inhabitants of Moab!

Be like the dove

That nests On the sides

Of the mouth

Of a gorge!

We have heard

Of the pride of Moab.

He is very proud

Of his loftiness.

Of his pride,

Of his arrogance,

Of the haughtiness

Of his heart.

I myself know

His insolence.’

Says Yahweh.

‘His boasts are false.

His deeds are false.’”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, wants them to leave their towns and go live in the rocks and gorges. They should be like doves with their nests on the sides of mountains. The Moabites were very proud and arrogant, much like in Isaiah, chapter 16. They were, in fact, proud of their loftiness and haughtiness of heart. Yahweh personally knew about their insolence. They had both false boasts and false deeds.

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Euphrates or Parah (Jer 13:3-13:5)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me a second time.

Saying.

‘Take the loincloth

That you bought,

Since you are now wearing it.

Go now to the Euphrates!

Hide it there

In a cleft of the rock.’

So I went.

I hid it by the Euphrates,

As Yahweh commanded me.”

A second time, Yahweh came to Jeremiah and told him to take the linen loincloth that he had bought, and was wearing, to a place called Euphrates. Apparently, this was not the Euphrates River. There seems to be an error in the Hebrew, since he meant a place near his home town called Parah. This word is similar to the Hebrew word for the Euphrates River, Perath. Anyway, Jeremiah went there wearing this loincloth. Yahweh told him to hide his loincloth in a cleft or a gap in the rocks there. Jeremiah, as usual, did as he was commanded. He hid his linen loincloth in a gap in the rocks at this place called Parah or Euphrates.

The destruction of the towns (Jer 4:29-4:29)

“At the noise of horseman,

At the noise of archers,

Every town takes to flight.

They enter thickets.

They climb among rocks.

All the towns are forsaken.

No one lives in them.”

Jeremiah recounts the destruction of the towns in Judah. When the people heard that the archers and the cavalry were coming, they abandoned their towns to go live in the brush area or in the caves among the rocks. They knew that their town would be destroyed, so no one wanted to live in them anymore.

Against fertility cults (Isa 57:5-57:6)

“You burn with lust

Among the oak trees,

Under every green tree.

You slaughter your children

In the valleys

Under the clefts of the rocks.

Among the smooth stones of the valley

Is your portion.

They are your lot.

You have poured out a drink offering

To them.

You have brought a cereal offering

To them.

Shall I be appeased for these things?”

Third Isaiah strongly speaks out against the persistent fertility cults among the Israelites. They lusted among the green oak trees that were considered fertility oak trees. They killed their children among the valley gods under the caves in the rocks. They brought drink offerings and cereal offerings to the altar of these gods of the hills and the valleys. What was Yahweh to do with them? How would he be appeased?

The flight from Egypt (Ps 78:12-78:16)

“In the sight of their ancestors,

He worked marvels.

In the land of Egypt,

In the fields of Zoan,

He divided the sea.

He let them pass through it.

He made the waters stand like a heap.

In the daytime,

He led them with a cloud.

All night long

He led them with a fiery light.

He split rocks open in the wilderness.

He gave them drink abundantly.

As from the deep,

He made streams come out of a rock.

He caused waters to flow down like rivers.”

Asaph, this psalmist, then laid out the history of God’s activity as the Israelites left Egypt by passing through the Red Sea. The city of Zoan was another name for the Egyptian city of Ramses. God made the waters into a big heap so that the Israelites could pass through the waters. He led then during the day with a cloud and at night, he led them with a fiery light. He gave them water in the desert by making water come from the rocks like streams or rivers. Most of this is based on the stories in Exodus, chapters 14-17.

Sing to the Lord a new song (Jdt 16:13-16:17)

“I will sing to my God a new song!

O Lord, you are great and glorious!

Wonderful in strength!

Invincible!

Let all your creatures serve you!

You spoke, and they were made.

You send forth your Spirit.

It formed them.

There is none that can resist your voice.

The mountains shall be shaken to their foundations with the waters.

Before your glance,

The rocks shall melt like wax.

But to those who fear you,

You show mercy.

Every sacrifice as a fragrant offering is a small thing.

The fat of all whole burnt offerings to you is a very little thing.

But who ever fears the Lord is great forever.

Woe to the nations that rise up against my people!

The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them

In the Day of Judgment.

He will send fire and worms into their flesh.

They shall weep in pain forever.”

Now this canticle switched back to Judith praising God. Judith was going to sing a new song to the great and glorious God who has invincible strength. Once again there was an illusion to creation as she said that all creatures got their life from God. Therefore, they should praise God, who sent forth his Spirit to form the world. No one can resist the voice of God. He controls the mountains and the rocks. Sacrifices are trifling matters before God. The most important thing is to fear God. The Lord almighty will take vengeance on anyone who rises up against his people. The Day of Judgment is coming where there will be eternal weeping as fire and worms will eat flesh and cause eternal pain. Here we see the eschatological sense of a final judgment day, a post-exilic theme.