Jeremiah 2:1-17 Breakdown
2:1 The Lord spoke to me. He said:
Jehovah spoke to Jeremiah, so this was not Jeremiah’s human opinion. Every time that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, He was giving him a new prophecy. In chapters 2-45, Jehovah revealed prophecies concerning Judah. In verses 2-6, Jehovah would reveal Judah's guilt and punishment. Jeremiah's message was not good. His message was not uplifting and encouraging reading. His message would not tickle Judah’e ears. Most of these prophecies were recorded during the reign of the good King Josiah.
2:2 “Go and declare in the hearing of the people of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: “I have fond memories of you, how devoted you were to me in your early years. I remember how you loved me like a new bride; you followed me through the wilderness, through a land that had never been planted.
Jeremiah was commanded to take Jehovah’s message directly to the capital of Judah. Jehovah would speak through Jeremiah. He would give a short summary of Israel’s history.
The Hebrew word for “memories” זָכַר (zachar), meaning to remember in a fond and affectionate way. Jehovah possessed three fond memories of Israel.
First, Jehovah remembered the devotion that Israel showed him in the early years when he first brought Israel out of the slavery of Egypt. The Hebrew word for “devoted” is חֶ֣סֶד (chesed), meaning covenant loyalty.
Second, Israel loved Jehovah like a new bride. She wanted to be around Him all of the time.
Third, Israel followed Jehovah through an unplanted desert land into the Promised Land. The unplanned land was Sinai. She trusted Jehovah to provide for all of her needs.
This early stage of love between Jehovah and Israel occurred during the exodus from Israel to Mount Sinai. There was some complaining, but no apostasy. Israel did not go after other gods.
2:3 Israel was set apart to the Lord; they were like the first fruits of a harvest to him. All who tried to devour them were punished; disaster came upon them,” says the Lord.’ ”
The Hebrew word for “set apart” is קֹ֤דֶשׁ (kodesh), meaning a holy calling from God to perform a special task for God. Israel was the first fruits of God, meaning that Israel alone was dedicated to God. Only God could touch her. All others who attempted to devour these first fruits violated the Abrahamic Covenant and were punished by the kind-for-kind curse.
2:4 Now listen to what the Lord has to say, you descendants of Jacob, all you family groups from the nation of Israel.
In verses 4-13, Jeremiah would become a prosecuting attorney sent by God to accuse all 12 tribes of Israel of apostasy. He would not tickle the ears of Judah or Israel.
2:5 This is what the Lord says: “What fault could your ancestors have possibly found in me that they strayed so far from me? They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to me.
Jehovah challenged Israel. Did God keep His part of the covenant? Can the ancestors of Israel bring to court one piece of evidence where God did not keep His part of the covenant? Israel paid allegiance to idols which were nothing. Israel chose the worship of nothing over God.
Evolutionists make this same mistake today. They believe that nothing created all things, including themselves. They believe that they evolved from nothing. They are choosing to place their faith in nothing instead of God.
2:6 They did not ask: ‘Where is the Lord who delivered us out of Egypt, who brought us through the wilderness, through a land of desert sands and rift valleys, through a land of drought and deep darkness, through a land in which no one travels, and where no one lives?’
Israel could not have escaped Egypt without the divine aid of God. They could not have survived in the wilderness without the divine provisions of God. One person cannot walk across the Sinai desert without provisions. God provided food, water, and shelter for two million people in the desert for forty years.
2:7 I brought you into a fertile land so you could enjoy its fruits and its rich bounty. But when you entered my land, you defiled it; you made the land I call my own loathsome to me.
God brought Israel into the most fertile land on earth and Israel defiled it with her sexual sins, spiritual adultery, and infant sacrifice.
2:8 Your priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those responsible for teaching my law did not really know me. Your rulers rebelled against me. Your prophets prophesied in the name of the god Baal. They all worshiped idols that could not help them.
The leadership of Israel was responsible for leading Israel away from God. The Levites were called to teach the Word of God, but they did not know the Word of God well enough to teach it. Many pastors and Bible teachers make this same mistake today. They teach error, because they are too lazy to study the entire counsel of the Word of God in its original language.
The rulers rebelled against God. They refused to enforce the Mosaic Law.
The prophets were prophesying in the name of Baal. This meant that Israel was getting advice and counseling from demons.
The leaders were worshiping demonic idols, which were actually nothing. They rejected the Living God and worshiped lifeless wooden and stone statues instead.
2:9 “So, once more I will state my case against you,” says the Lord. “I will also state it against your children and grandchildren.
In verses 9-13, God took Israel to court and charged Israel with adultery. In Exodus 34, God had stated that these sins would visit four generations. God was bringing the fathers, sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to court.
2:10 Go west across the sea to the coasts of Cyprus and see. Send someone east to Kedar and have them look carefully. See if such a thing as this has ever happened:
God challenged Israel to go west and east and see if they could find any god who had ever made a covenant with their people.
2:11 Has a nation ever changed its gods (even though they are not really gods at all)? But my people have exchanged me, their glorious God, for a god that cannot help them at all!
God challenged Israel to travel around and point out any nation who had exchanged their gods for another god. The Jewish nation was the only nation on earth who was worshiping the one true God, yet they had exchanged the one true God for a god of nothingness.
2:12 Be amazed at this, O heavens! Be shocked and utterly dumbfounded,” says the Lord.
In Deuteronomy 32:1, the heavens were called to be the witnesses to the Mosaic Covenant between Jehovah and Israel. The heavens had witnessed how Jehovah had faithfully kept His part of the Covenant, but Israel had continually rejected the God who sustained them. Heaven was shocked at this behavior and ingratitude of Israel.
2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong: they have rejected me, the fountain of life-giving water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”
Israel was the only nation in the world chosen by God, yet Israel rejected Him. Jehovah was “the fountain of life-giving water,” meaning that He sustained the life of Israel. Israel rejected the water from this fountain and decided to trust in broken cisterns which were cracked and could not contain water.
2:14 “Israel is not a slave, is he? He was not born into slavery, was he? If not, why then is he being carried off?
There are two different types of slaves mentioned in this passage. The first slave is עֶ֙בֶד (ebed), meaning a Jewish slave who could possibly be set free by a kinsman redeemer or by the Year of Jubilee. The second slave is מַדּ֖וּעַ, (madoa), meaning a Gentile slave who was born into slavery and would never be set free. God did not call Israel to be either of these two types of slaves. He called Israel to become “priests to all of the nations.”
2:15 Like lions his enemies roar victoriously over him; they raise their voices in triumph. They have laid his land waste; his cities have been burned down and deserted.
The Gentiles had become lions who were devouring Israel. They defeated Israel and cried out victory shouts. They destroyed the cities of Israel and left them as heaps of stone. They burned down the cities and deported the people out of the Promised Land.
2:16 Even the soldiers from Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skulls, people of Israel.
Memphis and Tahpanhes were two Egyptian cities which controlled the exit entrance from Judah into Egypt. Judah will attempt to escape the Babylonian Captivity by fleeing into these two border cities. However, these two cities would crack the skulls of the Jews who attempted to migrate and dwell there.
2:17 You have brought all this on yourself, Israel, by deserting the Lord your God when he was leading you along the right path.
Israel has brought these judgments upon themselves. Jehovah gave them more light, but Israel rejected it.
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