Jeremiah – Chapter 8

Apochryphal Proof

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

When G-d makes the wicked pay, they will exhume the bones of the kings, idolatrous priests and false prophets in order to make them pay posthumously. Their bones will be spread out under the heavenly bodies that they worshipped, never to be re-interred. (The fulfillment of this prophecy is not found in Tanach, but it is mentioned in the Apochryphal book of Baruch, chapter 2 verse 24-25: “But we would listen to Your voice, to serve the king of Babylon, therefore You have fulfilled that which You said through Your servants the prophets, that the bones of our kings, and the bones of our fathers, would be removed from their resting places. They are cast out to the heat of the day to the frost of the night…”)

Death will be better than life to those Baal-worshippers who survive the death of their co-religionists. But should they only fall and not rise? If they repent, G-d will return to them. Why do the people of Jerusalem keep relapsing into their bad ways, refusing to repent sincerely? They don’t speak properly to one another and they do not regret the evil they do. They’re as enthusiastic in their evil as a horse rushing into battle. Birds can tell when it’s time to migrate, but these people can’t seem to remember to listen to G-d! They consider themselves knowledgeable in Torah, but they’re deluded. They will be ashamed when it becomes apparent that they have rejected G-d’s word. They will lose their wives and their property to others because everyone, great and small, deals deceitfully. The false prophets comfort the people with baseless reassurances of peace; they should be shamed because of their actions. Since they were not ashamed, they will be among the fallen, utterly destroyed.

Why is everyone so complacent, as if everything’s okay? Go up to the strongholds and mourn there, for the evil that comes from abandoning G-d. Instead of peace and healing, there will be terror. From Dan, the home of Yeravam’s golden calf idol, there will come the horses of the invaders to devour the land and its inhabitants. Fiery snakes that cannot be charmed are coming to bite. (At this point Jeremiah swoons because of the harshness of the prophecy that is revealed through him.) Eventually the people will cry from distant lands, where they will be exiled. This is so unnecessary – G-d is right here! If they would just turn to Him, all this could be avoided! But they continue to antagonize Him. Summer has come and gone and Egypt still hasn’t sent aid.

Jeremiah mourns that he is wounded because his people are wounded; is there no salve or doctor to heal them? If only his head were a vessel full of water and his eyes fountains of tears – he would cry day and night over the fate of his nation!

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