Israel, the unfaithful wife

Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying,  “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord:

“I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord, The firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend; Disaster will come upon them,” says the Lord.’ (Jer 2:1-3)

At the start of chapter 2, the prophet is told to lament, loudly and in public, so that the people of Israel will hear that God’s heart is broken.

We often associate poetry with the verse found in a birthday or anniversary card, but poetry is very common in the prophetic books and the wisdom literature. Poetry was often used to express resistance to a societal wrong in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and formed songs in the 60s and the Vietnam era.

So, Jeremiah writes this poem of lament, written by the husband (God) about his wife (Israel). He thinks back to their courtship and the honeymoon, how that Israel, a virgin nation went after the Lord in the wilderness, and enters into a covenant relationship, symbolized by a betrothal.  As a new bride, she was dedicated and set apart for her husband, and he blessed her.  However, it is clear that she has gone after another, unspoken here, but relating to the evil of idolatry we mentioned yesterday. The poem ends with a warning to those who harvest what they did not sow. Having offended Yahweh, disaster would come upon them.

Because they were experiencing a time of revival, the princes, priests, the people, and the prophets laughed at Jeremiah, and refused to hear his words, or harken to his cry.

Published by Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.

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