The judgment of the righteous and the wicked (Ezek 33:18-33:20)

“When the righteous ones

Turn

From their righteousness,

When they commit

Iniquity,

They shall die for it.

When the wicked ones

Turn

From their wickedness,

When they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall live by it.

Yet you say.

‘The way of Yahweh

Is not just.’

O house of Israel!

I will judge

All of you

According to your ways.”

Yahweh said that he was going to make his judgment based on what they do. If the righteous one turned away from his righteousness by committing iniquity, he was going to die for it. On the other hand, if a wicked person turned from his wickedness by doing what was lawful and right, he would live. However, they complained by saying that Yahweh was not just. Yahweh reiterated that he was going to judge all of them according to their own ways and deeds. Actions speak louder than words.

The end of Jerusalem’s lewdness in Egypt (Ezek 23:27-23:28)

“‘So I will put an end

To your lewdness.

I will put an end

To your prostitution activities

That you brought

From the land of Egypt.

You shall not long for them.

You shall not remember

Egypt anymore.’

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will deliver you

Into the hands

Of those whom you hate.

I will deliver you

Into the hands

Of those from whom

You turned in disgust.’”

Yahweh was going to put an end to the prostitution activities and lewdness of Jerusalem that she had brought from Egypt. Jerusalem had longed for and remembered her youth in Egypt. Yahweh was now going to deliver Jerusalem into the hands of those who had hated her. He was going to give her over to those former lovers from whom she had turned away from in disgust.

Some will remain (Ezek 6:8-6:10)

“But I will spare some.

Some of you

Shall escape

The sword.

Among the nations,

They will be scattered

Through the countries.

Those of you

Who escaped

Shall remember me

Among the nations

Where they are carried captive.

They will remember

How I was crushed

By their wanton hearts

That turned away

From me.

They will remember

That their wanton eyes

Turned after their idols.

Then they will be loathsome

In their own sight

For the evils

That they have committed,

For all their abominations.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.

I did not threaten

In vain

To bring this disaster

Upon them.”

Yahweh was going to spare some of these Israelites from his sword of death. They would escape scattered among the various nations and countries. Those that escaped would remember Yahweh in their captivity countries. They would remember how Yahweh had crushed their reckless hearts and eyes that turned away from Yahweh to their idols. They would become despicable in their own eyes. They would realize that they had committed evils and abominations. They would then know that Yahweh had not threatened in vain about this disaster that came upon them.

The grieving widow Jerusalem (Bar 4:9-4:12)

“Jerusalem saw

The wrath

That came

Upon you

From God.

She said.

‘Listen!

You neighbors of Zion!

God has brought

Great sorrow

Upon me!

I have seen

The exile

Of my sons.

I have seen

The captivity

Of my daughters,

The Everlasting one

Brought this

Upon them.

With joy,

I nurtured them.

But I sent them away

Weeping

With sorrow.

Let no one rejoice

Over me!

A widow!

I am bereaved of many.

I was left desolate

Because of the sins

Of my children.

Because they turned away

From the law of God.’”

The author of Baruch points out that Jerusalem saw the wrath of God that came upon them first hand. This personified city of Jerusalem said that the neighbors of Zion should listen. God had brought great sorrow on Jerusalem, since her sons and daughters were captured and exiled. The Everlasting One, the name of God used here instead of Yahweh, brought this exile on them. Jerusalem had nurtured them, but she sent them away weeping and in sorrow. No one should rejoice about this situation, since Jerusalem was now a widow, grieving over many people. She had become desolate because of the sins of her children. They had turned away from the law of God.

They would not listen (Jer 44:4-44:6)

“Yet I persistently sent

To you

All my servants,

The prophets,

Saying,

‘I beg you not to do

This abominable thing

That I hate!’

But they did not listen

Or incline their ear.

They did not turn

From their wickedness.

They continued to make

Offerings to other gods.

So my wrath,

With my anger,

Was poured out.

I kindled a fire

In the towns of Judah

As well as in the streets of Jerusalem.

They became a waste.

They became a desolation,

As they still are today.”

Once again, Yahweh reminded these Judeans in Egypt that he had warned them, since he had persistently sent his prophet servants to tell them to stop doing those hated abominable things. However, they never listened to these prophets. They never turned away from their wicked ways of presenting offerings to other gods. Thus Yahweh, the God of Israel, got mad. He poured out his wrath on the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. They both became a waste and desolation, like they were today, at the time of this oracle.

The curse of Yahweh (Jer 17:5-17:6)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Cursed are those

Who trust in mere mortals!

Cursed are those

Who make mere flesh

Their strength!

Cursed are those

Whose hearts turn away

From Yahweh!

They are

Like a shrub in the desert.

They shall not see

When relief comes.

They shall live

In the parched places

Of the wilderness.

They shall live

In an uninhabited salt land.’”

Jeremiah had Yahweh issue a curse, not a blessing. If they trusted in mere mortals, if they made their own flesh their strength, and if their hearts turned away from Yahweh, they would be cursed. They are like shrubs in a desert that do not know when help is coming to them. They will live in a wild parched land. They will live in uninhabitable salt lands. Their punishment would be a hard life with bad soil.

The stubborn rebellious heart (Jer 5:22-5:25)

“‘Do you not fear me?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Do you not tremble before me?

I placed the sand

As a boundary for the sea.

This is a perpetual barrier

That it cannot pass.

Though the waves toss,

They cannot prevail.

Though they roar,

They cannot pass over it.

But these people have a stubborn heart.

They have a rebellious heart.

They have turned aside.

They have gone away.

They do not say in their hearts.

‘Let us fear Yahweh our God.

He gives the rain in its season.

He gives the autumn rain.

He gives the spring rain.

He keeps for us

The weeks appointed for the harvest.’

Your iniquities have turned these away.

Your sins have deprived you of good.”

Why don’t they fear Yahweh? Why don’t they tremble before him? Yahweh has placed sand as a perpetual barrier against the sea so that the sea cannot pass over it. Even though the waves toss and roar, they still were not able to prevail and pass over the sand. They have a stubborn and rebellious heart. They have turned away and gone astray. They do not fear Yahweh their God. Yahweh gives the perfect rain for every season with autumn and spring rains. Yet they have sunshine for the harvest time. Yahweh, via Jeremiah reminds them that their iniquities have turned them away from him. Their sins have deprived them of the good things in life.