Yes, another prophet of God tells pretty much the same story that we’ve already heard twice before. This book (so far) does have a tendency of showing the softer side of God, and it has made for an interesting read (so far).
The Call of Jeremiah-God called out and said to me that He had chosen me before I was even born. He had chosen me to carry his words to people near and far and be a great prophet. Now, I was dubious and told God so, but He was like Do what the hell I’m telling you to do. I intend to punish my people, which will be scary, but I will protect you.
Israel Forsakes God-I (God) remember when our love was young, and you followed Me around the desert like a puppy. But those days are gone, and now you turn your back on Me! You worship idols and “Say to wood ‘You are my father,’ [you] say to stone, ‘You gave me birth.'” You’ve been prostituting yourself around with every god and idol in the land. And you don’t even show Me the courtesy of being embarrassed or secretive about it. You think I don’t see you? You call out, “Father” to Me but act vile.
Unfaithful Israel-Israel is an adulteress whore, so I (God) gave her divorce papers and sent her on her way. But Judah isn’t much better. If only Israel and Judah would come back to me and be faithful, I would give them great lives. But they won’t, so I’ll just punish the shit out of them.
Disaster from the North-Hey, guys, I’m (God) going to destroy you for being nasty little buggers. Are you sorry? No? Ok, well I’ve unleashed your demise from the north; they’re on their way. Sorry now? No? Because now, you’re completely surrounded and your doom is near. Still not sorry? I really didn’t want to do this, but here goes. And you’re destroyed. I feel sad.
Not One is Upright-Jeremiah, if you can find one guy in this place who “deals honestly and seeks the truth,” I will forgive the city. But you won’t because they’re all jerks. They’re all adulterers thronging to the houses of prostitutes. They’re “well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife.” I’ve had it with them. They lie and cheat, they do not defend the right of the poor and fatherless. Their leaders “rule by their own authority,” and the people “love it this way.”
Jerusalem Under Seige-Flee for safety, people of Jerusalem! I have sent your destroyers to your city walls, and you will be destroyed. I tried to warn you, to help you do right, but you “have no shame at all.” You “don’t even know how to blush.” I have rejected you, people of Jerusalem.
False Religion Worthless-Look, guys, I will save you right here and now if you “do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” But no, you come to be temple and call out my name, thinking that I haven’t seen what you’ve been doing. You can burn sacrifices all you want, but if you’re just going to go home and offer sacrifices to idols right after, all the sacrifices in the world will not matter! I see your deceit.
The Valley of Slaughter-My people have broken my heart. This land will no longer be known by its current name, it will be known as the Valley of Slaughter. I will cut them down and leave their carcasses for wild beasts to pick at. I will unbury their dead and leave their bones exposed to the sky. I will end the sound of laughter. Those who survive will wish they had not.
Sin and Punishment-Even animals can figure out the correct ways to go about their lives, but not men. Men do not repent and do not learn. They are happy in their wicked ways. Why do they refuse to heal themselves? “I weep day and night for the slain of my people.” They go from sin to sin and refuse to acknowledge me. Now, I must test and leave my people in ruin. “What else can I do?” “I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”
God and Idols-Your stupid man-made idols are stupid. They can’t speak or bless or smite you. Only God can do that.
Coming Destruction-I suggest you get out of Judah, because God is going to destroy it. Which really sucks.
The Covenant is Broken-I’ve (God) tried to be patient, Jeremiah, but these people are stubborn and will not listen. They come to my temple and burn their sacrifices, but then they go and cheat on me with Baal. I’m not having it, and now I’m going to destroy them. They will wail and they will pray once I’ve begun their destruction, but I will not listen or save them.
Plot Against Jeremiah-Some dudes were trying to get Jeremiah to stop prophesying, telling him to cut it out or they’d kill him. But Jeremiah prayed to God to help him, and God told him that He would. God told Jeremiah that He would kill the dudes and their entire families.
Jeremiah’s Complaint-God, the people here are just awful. “You are always on their lips, but far from their hearts.” They are wicked and prospering by it; how long do you intend to let this go on?
God’s Answer-Yes, they are awful. Even your own family. They stab you in the back like all the time. So I will uproot them and take away the land I gave them. They will get a second chance, if and only if, they give up their addiction to other gods and praise My name alone.
A Linen Belt-God told Jeremiah to buy a belt and put it on. So Jeremiah did. Then God told him to take the belt and bury it. So Jeremiah did. Then God told him to go dig it up. So Jeremiah did, but when he dug it up the belt was ruined and useless. God told Jeremiah that the belt symbolized Israel. God had “bound the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah” to Himself to be His “renown and praise and honor.” But the people were bad, so now he would have to ruin them just like the belt.
Wineskins-God instructed Jeremiah to get everyone schnockered. Apparently, it would be easier to set them against each other and destroy them that way.
Threat of Captivity-Exactly what it sounds like, God threatens his people with captivity. The wording in this one is interesting, though. “It is because of your many sins that your skirts have been torn off and your body mistreated.” Now, throughout the entirety of Jeremiah and Isaiah, Israel and Judah are always described as feminine entities, which is interesting in and of itself. But this is new. This is the first time that the punishment of Israel and Judah has been described in a sexual way. Unfortunately, it could be taken as an argument for shaming the victim of a rape. Which happens anyway, and we don’t need people taking the Bible out of context to argue it further. Of course, the Bible doesn’t say that anytime a woman’s body is “mistreated” that it is her own fault, but in this book all it takes is one iffy line for people to start running with it. I hate this line, which is unfortunate because I am really like the book of Jeremiah.
Drought, Famine, Sword-I (God) have set a drought upon the peoples of Israel and Judah. They have no water or crops, and so now their crying out My name. They pray to Me and fast, but I will not listen. Do not pray for them, Jeremiah. They do not deserve it. I will not forgive them so easily, because if I did, they would go right back to their evil ways. Not even Moses could talk Me out or destroying them now. But I will save you, Jeremiah, so long as you continue to speak My words and no one else’s.
Day of Disaster-I (God) am gong to destroy Israel and Judah. There will be no one left in the land to mourn or bury their dead. I will allow them to be taken into slavery in other lands to worship the gods they hold so dear.
Keeping the Sabbath Holy-I (God) have repeatedly asked that the Sabbath be kept holy. Is that so much to ask? I’ve asked that you do no work on the Sabbath and that you do not bring loads through the city gate on the Sabbath. What is so hard about that? I’ve asked you not to work for one day. One day. It isn’t that hard. If you can’t keep that one, single, freakin’ damn day holy, I’m going to have to destroy you.
And I’m spent. More Jeremiah next time!