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Jeremiah;- The lion comes down on Jerusalem (ch4)

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posted on Feb, 11 2022 @ 05:02 PM
“Blow the trumpet through the land” Jeremiah ch4 v5

This prophecy gives warning of a great invasion. The prophet may already be thinking of Babylon. Because the east of the land was filled with desert, most hostile invasions of that time would be coming from the north.

The prophet gives a description of the experience that he foresees, with interjections from the Lord pointing out the moral. Jeremiah’s prophecies have not been collected in their proper order, and a few remarks from other times have also been inserted in this chapter.

What Judah should be doing;
“Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities! Raise a standard towards Zion, flee for safety, stay not”

Why? Because the Lord is bringing evil and destruction from the north.
“A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone forth from his place” (v7). The season when lions did this was always a time of alarm.
He would make the land a waste, the cities uninhabited ruins.
Dropping the lion metaphor, “He comes up like clouds, his chariots like the whirlwind” (v13).

The moral is the need for repentance;
“For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the Lord has not turned back from us” (v8).
Specifically for Jerusalem, “Wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long will your evil thoughts lodge within you?” (v14)

“For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims evil from Mount Ephraim”, giving warning that besiegers are coming down against the cities of Judah. This is happening because “she has rebelled against me, says the Lord. Your ways and your doings have brought this upon you” (vv15-18).

Why Dan and Ephraim? In the first place, because they are on the invader’s route, assuming that he comes via the valley of Lebanon. They are Jerusalem’s “distant early warning stations” (who remembers those?).

Another reason is that Dan and Ephraim were the tribal locations of Jeroboam’s calf images. That is why both their names are omitted from the Revelation ch7 list of tribes, so that they can be replaced by the names of faithful Joseph and faithful Levi. Anyone who focusses on the omission of Dan from that list is only getting half the story. But more lately they experienced the destruction of the kingdom of Israel (in two stages) at the hands of the Assyrians. So they are now telling Jerusalem “You are in danger of suffering the same fate as us, for much the same reason. Be warned by our example!”

The Lord says the doom is very bitter and “has reached your very heart”. That is illustrated by an emotional outbreak in which the “I” who speaks may be the nation or may be the prophet himself;
“My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!... My heart is beating wildly, I cannot keep silent; for I hear the sound of trumpets, the alarm of war… Suddenly my tents are destroyed, my curtains in a moment” (vv19-20).

Then the Lord himself speaks again, giving the explanation; “My people are foolish, they know me not… They are skilled in doing evil, but how to do good they know not” (v22).
The RSV puts v22 in quotation marks, distinguishing between that speaker and the anguished speaker of v19 (who seems to continue from v23), and they are probably right. But the placing of the verse invites us to consider the possibility that the Lord himself is in anguish over the suffering of his people, even at the same time that he is causing it, compelled by the necessity of reforming them.

There follows a sequence of four verses (vv23-26), in which each verse begins with “I looked”, describing the resulting havoc in extreme terms.

V23 “I looked on the earth, and lo it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.” This takes us back to the second verse of Genesis. It is as if the work of Creation is being undone.

V24 The mountains and hills quaking.

V25 There was no man visible, even the birds of the air had fled.

V26 The fruitful land was a desert, the cities laid in ruins.

Vv27-28 One final explanation from the Lord;
“The whole land shall be a desolation… For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be black; for I have spoken, I have purposed; I have not relented nor will I turn back.”

Yet the verses just quoted also include the promise “Yet I shall not make a full end”.
I think Jeremiah must have added this qualification at a later stage of his life, When you are first making dire threats against people, in the hope of turning them from their bad ways, that is not the right time to tell them that you “don’t really mean it”. When the warnings are being fulfilled and people are beginning to believe them, then you can adjust the message by adding reassurances. When the siege of Jerusalem was being brought to its fatal conclusion, then the people would certainly need to know that the Lord was not going to “make a full end”.

The last two verses of the chapter should be of great interest to the readers of Revelation.

V30 “And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you deck yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paints? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life”
Surely this is Revelation ch17. This verse is the original model of the Harlot of Babylon.

Great powers like Egypt and Assyria and Babylon are the “lovers” of Jerusalem, in the “adultery” metaphor, because she prefers their alliance to seeking help direct from the Lord.

V31 “For I heard a cry as of a woman in travail, anguish as of one bringing forth her first child… fainting for breath… Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers!”
As in the earlier Micah ch4, this image is about the pain suffered by the city, as she is attacked by enemies and forced into exile.
Yet the same “anguish of childbirth” image is to be found at the beginning of Revelation ch12, relating to “the woman seen in heaven”.

In effect, the two opposing women of Revelation have divided up these two verses between them.
They are both “Jerusalem”, but they are the faithful and unfaithful versions of Jerusalem, the faithful and unfaithful versions of God’s people.

posted on Feb, 11 2022 @ 05:03 PM
Vv9-12 have been associated with this prophecy by similarity of theme, but they are in prose instead of poetry, and I think they were given to Jeremiah at an earlier time.

V9 “In that day, says the Lord, courage shall fail both king and princes; the priests shall be appalled, and the prophets astounded”. Compare ch1 v18.

Vv11-12 “At that time”, a word will be given to the people and Jerusalem about a “hot wind from the desert”, representing the fact that the Lord is peaking in judgement against them.

There is also the astonished complaint of the prophet in v10;
“Ah, Lord God, surely thou hast utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying ‘It shall be well with you”; whereas the sword has reached their very life.”
Surely this comes from the time when Jeremiah was first learning about the judgements intended upon Judah. It belongs to the “prophet’s calling” setting of the first chapter, when he was being briefed about his mission.

As for “deceived this people”, that was a first reaction which would be corrected once he had thought things through. “It shall be well with you” was not coming from the Lord, but from the professional prophets who were claiming to speak for the Lord. It had been valid in the past and would be valid again, but it was not appropriate for current circumstances. They were prophesying on autopilot, telling the people what they wanted to hear, instead of listening to the Lord. They were the great deceivers of the people.

posted on Feb, 12 2022 @ 12:29 PM


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