8 Dec. Jeremiah 6:1-8,13-23

8 Dec. Jeremiah prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem

“’Run for your lives, people of Benjamin! Run away from Jerusalem! Blow the war trumpet in the town of Tekoa! Raise the warning flag over the town of Beth Hakkerem! Disaster is coming from the north; terrible destruction is coming to you.’”

“’Jerusalem, I will destroy you, you who are fragile and gentle. Shepherds with their flocks will come against Jerusalem. They will set up their tents all around her, each shepherd taking care of his own section.’”

“They say, ‘Get ready to fight against Jerusalem! Get up! We will attack at noon! But it is already getting late; the evening shadows are growing long. So get up! We will attack at night. We will destroy the strong towers of Jerusalem!’”

“This is what the LORD All-powerful says: ‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem and build an attack ramp to the top of its walls. This city must be punished. Inside it is nothing but slavery. Jerusalem pours out her evil as a well pours out its water. The sounds of violence and destruction are heard within her. I can see the sickness and hurts of Jerusalem.’”

“’Listen to this warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn my back on you and make your land an empty desert where no one can live…’”

“’Everyone from the least important to the greatest, is greedy for money. Even the prophets and priests all tell lies. They tried to heal my people’s serious injuries as if they were small wounds. They said, “It’s all right, it’s all right.” But really, it is not alright.’”

“’They should be ashamed of the terrible way they act, but they are not ashamed at all. They don’t even know how to blush about their sins. So they will fall, along with everyone else. They will be thrown to the ground when I punish them,’ says the LORD...”

“’Why do you bring me offerings of incense from the land of Sheba? Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a faraway land? Your burnt offerings will not be accepted; your sacrifices do not please me.’…”

“This is what the LORD says, ‘Look, an army is coming from the land of the north; a great nation is coming from the far sides of the earth. The soldiers carry bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring ocean when they ride their horses. That army is coming lined up for battle, ready to attack you, Jerusalem.’”

          (Jeremiah 6:1-8,13-15,20,22-23)

 

 

The Book of Jeremiah was written during the years immediately before the fall of Judah in 587 BC. Jeremiah prophesied from c.620BC to 587BC during the reigns of Josiah (642-610BC), Jehoiakim (610-598BC) and Zedekiah (597-587BC), kings of Judah (see 2 Kings 22-25).

Jeremiah's message was clear, but the narrative is sometimes difficult to follow as it was written over a period of some 30 years, and the chapters do not always follow in chronological order.

In his prophesies, Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem that catastrophe would result from their evil ways and their worship of idols. If only they would change direction and turn back to God's ways, he would forgive them, and Jerusalem wouldn't be destroyed by the Babylonians.

A later appendix (Chapter 52) records the fall of Jerusalem and the exile in Babylonia.

In the opening two chapters of his prophesy, Jeremiah warned the people of Judah that idolatry would bring their downfall: “Go across the sea to the island of Cyprus and see. Send someone to the land of Kedar [Arabia] to look closely. See if there has ever been anything like this. Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Of course, its gods are not really gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for idols worth nothing.” (Jeremiah 2:10-11)

In today’s passage, Jeremiah, trapped inside the walls of Jerusalem, warned the people that their destruction was near.

As he prophesied, Jerusalem was surrounded by Babylonian forces coming from the north – probably in 605BC when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded Judah during the reign of King Jehoiakim: “Run away from Jerusalem! Blow the war trumpet in the town of Tekoa! Raise the warning flag over the town of Beth Hakkerem!” (Jeremiah 6:1)

Jeremiah warned the people that their destruction was near: “Jerusalem, I will destroy you, you who are fragile and gentle… They say, ‘Get ready to fight against Jerusalem’.” (Jeremiah 6:2-4)

Jeremiah looked on as a siege ramp was built: “Cut down the trees around Jerusalem and build an attack ramp to the top of its walls. This city must be punished. Inside it is nothing but slavery.” (Jeremiah 6:6)

Jeremiah warned the inhabitants of God's wrath: "To whom can I speak? Whom can I warn? Who will listen to me? The people of Israel have closed ears, so they cannot hear my warnings. They don't like the word of the LORD; they don't want to listen to it." (Jeremiah 6:10)

He told them that he LORD rejected their sacrifices:  “Why do you bring me offerings of incense from the land of Sheba [modern-day Yemen]?  Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a faraway land? Your burnt offerings will not be accepted; your sacrifices do not please me." (Jeremiah 6:20)

Instead, Jeremiah told of what the LORD promised: "I will put problems in front of Judah. Fathers and sons will stumble over them together. Neighbours and friends will die."  (Jeremiah 6:21)

The photo (by Mattes) shows the 6th century Madaba mosaic map of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

You can read more about the historical context of Jeremiah’s prophesy @ The Bible Journey | Jeremiah says idolatry will bring Judah's fall


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