Jeremiah 7: 27-8:3
27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
29 Cut off your hair and throw it away; raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation that provoked his wrath.
30 For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the LORD; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it. 31 And they go on building the high place of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire– which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. 32 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the LORD, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter: for they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room.33 The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. 34 And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for the land shall become a waste.
8:1 At that time, says the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; 2 and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. 3 Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the LORD of hosts.
It has been a little while since I’ve posted anything on Jeremiah. This has been sitting as a draft for a couple months and it was going to be posted the day the tornadoes went through Moore, Shawnee and Newcastle Oklahoma and I didn’t want any association with the title and what happened there. (Also as an excuse my son who had some of my resources on my e-reader with him while he was in Oklahoma for the first part of the summer) but recently I’ve had a couple events that have encouraged me to get back to Jeremiah, so here you go.
We return to the language of horror and disgust precisely to attempt to get past the walls of resistance that the people have put up around them. Are the people practicing child sacrifice, we will never know, but to the Jewish mind this is the most revolting of the practices of the world around them. A time when death is so prevalent that there is no longer the ability to separate the dead from the living because there are no places left to bury the dead. Death is so prevalent that it invades into the everyday experience of the people and they cannot help but be defiled by the presence of death in their midst. The dead are left in the open for the crows and wild animals to consume, and the wild animals have the run of the land—no one is there to stop them. This is the image of a slaughter. There is no more joy, no more happiness, no more celebration, it is the ending of the world as they know it.
Even kings and priests and officials are not exempt from the sacrilege. Their honored bones are laid upon the ground, prophets have no honor, and they are valued as crap. What remains is the image of the boneyard of Ezekiel 37 where no life seems possible. The world where death and defilement has been kept at bay is suddenly turned upside down and death is everywhere around.