‘This is your lot.
This is the portion
I have measured out to you.
Because you have forgotten me.
You trusted in lies.
I myself will lift up your skirts
Over your face.
Your shame will be seen.
I have seen your abominations.
I have seen your adulteries.
I have seen your neighing.
I have seen your shameless prostitution
On the hills of the countryside.
Woe to you!
How long will it be
Before you are made clean?’”
Yahweh was really upset, as Jeremiah indicates. Yahweh has chosen their lot and measured the size of it. They had forgotten Yahweh, but trusted in lies. Thus Yahweh was going to violate them by lifting up their skirts over their face, so that everyone could see the shame of their nakedness. Yahweh had seen enough of their abominations that included adultery, complaining, and senseless prostitution on the hills in the countryside. Thus Yahweh issued his curse on them. He had no idea how long it would take to make them clean.
“As a thief is shamed when caught,
So the house of Israel shall be shamed.
Their kings shall be shamed.
Their princes shall be shamed.
Their priests shall be shamed.
Their prophets shall be shamed.
Who says to a tree?
‘You are my father.’
Who says to a stone?
‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me.
They have not turned their faces to me.
But in the time of their trouble,
But where are your gods
That you made for yourself?
Let them come!
See if they can save you
In your time of trouble.
You have as many gods
As you have towns!
Jeremiah says that the house of Israel should be shamed like a thief who gets caught. This shame includes their kings, officials, priests, and prophets. Think of this, these people were saying to a tree, you are my father. They were saying to a stone that they were born from a stone. They turned their backs on Yahweh, since they would not show their face to him. However, whenever there was a problem, they would come running to Yahweh, asking him to come and save them. Where were their gods that they had made? Let them come and save them. However, they had as many gods as there were towns. Each town in Judah had their own little god image for protection.
“They will come with dread
When their sins are reckoned up.
Their lawless deeds
Will convict them to their face.”
The unjust impious ones will come with dread to the judgment of God. Their sins will be reckoned against them. Their lawless deeds will convict them right to their face. This is pretty simple. The unjust lose.
“They turned aside from following him.
They had no regard for any of his ways.
They caused the cry of the poor to come to him.
He heard the cry of the afflicted.
When he is quiet,
Who can condemn?
When he hides his face,
Who can behold him?
Whether it is a nation or an individual,
The godless man should not reign.
Those who ensnare the people should not reign.”
Elihu wanted to point out that the godless wicked person should not be in charge. They have no regard for God’s ways. They do not care about the poor or the afflicted. How can you condemn someone when they are quiet and hiding their face, whether it be a nation or an individual? Clearly they should not rule others.