“Assyria shall not
We will not ride
We will say no more.
To the work
Of our hands.
The orphan finds mercy.”
There was no hope in trying to form alliances with other countries. Assyria would not save them. They would not be able to ride horses. They no longer could call upon God to help them with the work of their own hands. The orphan would only find mercy in God alone.
“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.
“You have forsaken
The ways of your people!
O house of Jacob!
You are full of diviners
From the east.
You are full of soothsayers
Like the Philistines.
They clasp hands with foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver.
Their land is filled with gold.
There is no end
To their treasures.
Their land is filled with horses.
There is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols.
They bow down
To the work of their hands.
They bow down
To what their own fingers have made.”
Isaiah speaks out strongly against idol worship that must have been common among the house of Jacob in eight century BCE. The Israelites have forsaken the ways of their people since they had a lot of eastern diviners, like priestly prophets who foretold the future in the name of some god, roughly the equivalent of a Yahweh prophet among the non-Israelites. There were also the fortune tellers or soothsayers from Philistine, from along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. There must have been some kind of magic handshake with foreigners that was also forbidden. Why were they doing this? Their land was full of silver, gold, many treasures, horses, and chariots. What else did they want? Despite all this, they still bowed down in worship to the idol gods that they had made with their own hands and fingers. Why were they worshiping these false idol statutes that they themselves had made?
To the choirmaster leader, a Maskil of the Korahites
“We have heard with our ears!
Our ancestors have told us.
What deeds you performed in their days,
In the days of old,
You with your own hand
Drove out the nations.
But then you planted them.
You afflicted the peoples,
But you set them free.
Not by their own sword
Did they win the land.
Their own arm did not give them victory.
But your right hand,
Your arm led them.
The light of your countenance shone
Because you delighted in them.”
Just like Psalm 42, Psalm 44, is one of the 11 Korahite Maskil psalms, that reference the sons of Korah, who were first mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 9. These present psalmists had heard with their ears the stories of their ancestors about the good old days. God had been good to their ancestors. With his own hand he drove out the various nations and planted his favorite afflicted people. They did not accomplish this with their own swords. They did not capture the land with their own hands. God gave them victory with his right hand, his arm and the light of his face because he delighted in them.