Jeremiah 2

Jeremiah 2:1-13
2:1 The word of the LORD came to me [cf. 2 Pet. 1:21]:

2:2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of [“cry in the ears of”] Jerusalem: “‘I remember the devotion [Heb. chesed refers to faithful love] of your youth [a reminder to the people of their earlier devotion to Him], how as a bride [Israel pictured as a bride] you loved [Heb. ‘ahabah (the quality of love which led the Lord to initiate the covenant)] me and followed me through the desert [a honeymoon period], through a land not sown.

2:3 Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits [dedicated to the Lord (cf. Lev. 23:10-14); imply a full harvest to follow; set aside for the priest and his family (cf. Lev. 22:10,16)] of his harvest; all [those (nations) who harmed Israel] who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’” declares the LORD.

2:4 Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob [Jacob’s name changed to Israel (Gen. 32:22-32)], all you clans of the house of Israel.

2:5 This is what the LORD says: “What fault did your fathers find in me [what did they find lacking in their relationship with God that caused them to stray from Him], that they [the people had broken the marriage covenant by pursuing other lovers] strayed so far from me ? They followed [to go after; Jeremiah is essentially an elaboration of the people’s sin of idolatry (cf. Jer. 1:16)] worthless [empty or vain; cf. 1 Kings 16:13] idols [straying from God made the people vulnerable to god-substitutes; “an idol is nothing at all in the world” (1 Cor. 8:4)] and became [we become like that which we pursue] worthless themselves.

2:6 They did not ask [implication is that they were not concerned about God’s presence], ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness [describes a place where there are no settled inhabitants], through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness [literally ‘shadow of death” (cf. Ps. 23:4)], a land where no one travels [hyperbole] and no one lives?’

2:7 I brought you into a fertile land [a productive land] to eat its fruit and rich produce [a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His promise]. But you came and defiled [by idolatry (cf. Ps. 106:34-39)] my land and made my inheritance detestable.

2:8 [note four classes of leaders charged with responsibility for the prevailing idolatry] The [1] priests [Israel’s spiritual leaders] did not ask [implication is that they were not concerned about God’s presence], ‘Where is the LORD?’ [2] Those who deal with the law [probably the scribes who were responsible for studying and interpreting the law to the people] did not [a sad commentary] know [more than mere knowledge, to “know” indicates personal commitment to God] me; the [3] leaders [literally “shepherds” (temporal or political rulers) as in Ezek. 34:2] rebelled against me. The [4] prophets [probably professional Temple employees; these were some of Jeremiah’s worst enemies] prophesied by Baal [the principal deity (storm and fertility god) of Canaanite worship; reference here is to idols in general], following worthless idols [cf. Jer. 2:5].

2:9 [God declared His intention to enter into legal proceedings] “Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the LORD. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children [descendants].

2:10 Cross over to the coasts of Kittim [to the west] and look, send to Kedar [to the east] and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this:

2:11 Has a nation [heathen nation] ever changed its gods [heathen nations remained faithful to their worthless idols]? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But [how sad when God’s people “outpagan” the pagans] my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless [that which does not profit; a play on the name Baal in Heb.] idols.

2:12 Be appalled [be astonished] at this [the people’s breach of faith], O heavens [served as witnesses], and shudder [be agitated] with great horror [be devastated],” declares the LORD.

2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me [the living God], the spring of living water [the source of life (cf. Ps. 36:9); metaphor often used of God, salvation, Christ (cf. Isa. 12:3; 55:1; Jn. 4:10-14; 7:37-39)], and have dug their own cisterns [used to store rain water; often yielded stagnant water], broken cisterns [cannot hold water to satisfy the thirsty] that cannot hold water [worthless and powerless idols that could not satisfy spiritual thirst; god-substitutes that inevitably disappoint].

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