Jer 2.1-37 tells us that Yehovah reminds Israel of the past and the picture is of a bride who can’t see anything else but love for her husband and would follow him. That’s the way Israel was at first, but now there is a problem and general reproofs and admonitions are given.
v 1…Now the word of the Lord (Yehovah) came to me saying (here is the first sermon of Jeremiah),
v 2…”Go and proclaim in the ears of Yehoichim (and all Israel) saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I remember concerning you the devotion (kindness) of your youth, the love of your betrothals (“wedded”-The Torah was given at Sinai and it was seen as a betrothal covenant. Betrothal is a marriage and to separate a divorce was required. This day would become the festival of Shavuot and this event was seen as the “first trump” in Jewish eschatology, and Sinai is seen as a “chupah” or wedding canopy over their heads. Rosh Ha Shanah is seen as the full wedding and it is seen as the “last trump.” If they were faithful to the covenant, they lived. If not, Sinai/Torah would crush them. Horeb is another name for Sinai and it means “destruction”-Matt 21.42-44; Mark 11.22-23; Dan 2.34-35. Who is the bride? It is believing Israel. Rom 11 tells us there is one bride, one olive tree and one assembly and the non-Jews are grafted in-Eph 2.11-22), your following after me in the wilderness (they trusted him) through a land not sown (an arid desert).
v 3…Israel was holy (it had a kedusha-Exo 19.6) to Yehovah (set apart, betrothed, married) the first fruits of his harvest (at Shavuot-Lev 23.17). All who ate of it (preyed upon Israel) became guilty; evil came upon them,” declares the Lord.
v 4…Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel (all twelve tribes in a parallelism),
v 5…Thus says the Lord, “What injustice did your fathers find in me; that they went far from me and walked after emptiness (idols) and became empty (as worthless and empty as their idols. Idolatry is the main theme in this book-Jer 2.8-33; Jer 3.2-23 for example)?
v 6…And they did not say, “Where is the Lord who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of deep darkness (“shadow of death”), through a land that no one crossed and where no man dwelt (they made no inquiry about Yehovah after awhile and forgot what he did, living in the land of promise so long)?
v 7…And I brought them into the fruitful land, to eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled my land (by idolatry), and my inheritance you made an abomination (by devoting it to idols).
v 8…The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?” and those that handle (teach) the law (Torah) did not know me; the rulers (civil rulers) also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal and walked after things that do not profit (these three groups failed to lead properly and it is the same with the leaders of today-2 Pet 2.1. Hezekiah made some reforms as a civil ruler but reaped what his fathers had done, and so did Josiah, until Yehovah said “enough”).
v 9…”Therefore I will yet contend (bring charges) with you,” declares the Lord, “and with your sons’ sons I will contend.
v 10…For cross the coastlands of Kittim (Cyprus, but it is also a name for Rome and Europe in prophecy eventually) and see, and send to Kedar (Arab black tents in Arabia) and observe closely (in other words, go to the farthest borders), and see if there has been such a thing as this (such foolish behavior as they have been showing in their apostasy)!
v 11…Has a nation changed gods (which were worshiped by their enemies), when they were not gods (but imaginary)? But my people have changed their glory (Yehovah) for that which does not profit (empty, worthless idols).
v 12…Be appaled, O heavens (the occupants there) at this, and shudder (be afraid), be very desolate,” declares the Lord (deprived of life-marrow).
v 13… For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters (truth in the Torah-Psa 19.7-11; John 8.6; Jer 17.12; Isa 12.3; John 4.13-14) to hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water (idols have no life; false teaching).
v 14…Is Israel a slave? Or is he a homeborn servant (to be abused like a slave, was that the destiny)? Why has he become a prey (if Israel was not a slave. The answer is in v 15-16 and this has already happened and will continue).
v 15…The young lions (the character of Babylon) have roared at him, they have roared loudly (in triumph). And they have made his land a waste; his cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant (desolate).
v 16…Also the men of Memphis (Noph) and Tahpanhes (two former capitals of Egypt) have shaved the crown of your head (when Pharaoh Necho came against Assyria and Josiah was killed by the Egyptians and Yehoahaz was put in bonds and taken to Egypt-2 Kings 23.29).
v 17…Have you not done this to yourself (by forsaking the Lord and turning to idols), by forsaking the Lord your God, when he led you in the way (the Torah)?
v 18…But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt (which was against the word of Jeremiah in 42.19), to drink the waters of the Nile (by going after their idols)? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the Euphrates (going after their idols. The sense is, they preferred the waters or gods of the Egyptians and the Assyrians rather than Yehovah’s fountains of living water).
v 19…”Your own wickedness will correct you, and your apostasies will reprove you (it won’t work and it may force them to act wisely). Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God, and the dread of me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts (Adonai Yehovah Tzavaot; they were going to learn the hard way).
v 20…For long ago you broke your yoke, and tore off your bonds (the Torah); but you said, ‘I will not serve!’ For on every green hill and under every green tree you laid down as a harlot (spiritual adultery with idols in various places, like harlots going from one place to another).
v 21…Yet I planted you a choice vine (Isa 5.2-7); a completely faithful seed (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, his sons, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, etc). How then have you turned yourself before me into degenerate shoots of a foreign vine (declined to follow the Torah to outright paganism)?
v 22…Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity id before me” declares the Lord God.
v 23…How can you say, ‘I am not defiled (professing innocence like people today), I have not gone after the Baals (plural meaning the many forms this idolatrous worship took).’ Look at your way in the valley (the Valley of Hinnom or “Tophet” where they sacrificed their children)! Know what you have done (in the valley)! You are a swift young camel (she-camel) entangling (braiding, twisting) her ways (turning back and forth in lust),
v 24…A wild donkey (untamed) accustomed to the wilderness, that sniffs the wind in her passion (to direct her way to her next mate). In the time her heat who can turn her away (out of control)? All who seek her will not become weary (won’t be hard to find), she will find you)’ in her month they will find her (when in the last month of her young she can be easlily found, meaning Israel is so full of idolatry if you want to join in you can be sure to find them doing it).
v 25…Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst (don’t wear out your sandals and thirsty walking after other gods); but you said, “It is hopeless (desperate)! No! For I have loved strangers (strange gods), and after them I will walk (they won’t relinquish them, they were resigned to their fate, caught in its grips).”
v 26… As the thief is shamed when he is discovered (for getting caught), so the house of Israel is shamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their prists, and their prophets,
v 27…who say to a tree (an Asherah), “You are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their backs to me (in contempt), and not their face (in prayer and worship); but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us.’
v 28…But where are your gods which you made for yourself? Let him arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble; for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah (this idolatry was massive and everywhere; Judah is addressed so that they won’t think it is meant only for the northern tribes).
v 29…Why do you contend (argue) with me? You have all transgressed against me,” declares the Lord.
v 30…In vain (no results) I have struck your sons (by various judgments); they accepted no chastening. Your sword has devoured (killed) your prophets (Neh 9.26), like a chastening lion (savage hatred of the idolatrous against the prophets of Yehovah).
v 31…O generation, heed the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness to Israel (unable to supply and support you), or a land of thick darkness (misery, poverty)? Why do my people say, “We are free to roam (no yoke of the Torah; lawless, like people say today, “We are free from the Law!”); we will come no more to thee (to worship in Jerusalem and the Temple)’?
v 32…Can a virgin forget her ornaments (not likely), or a bride her attire (no)? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
v 33…How well you prepare your way to seek love (to gain the attention of idolatrous nations and their assistance). Therefore, even the wicked women you have taught your ways (your evil was so bad, you taught the idolaters new tricks).
v 34…Also (not just idolatry) on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor (the people they murdered and sacrificed to Baal and Moloch, like abortion today); you did not find them breaking in (they were not thieves). But in spite of all these things (the idolatry and murder),
v 35…yet you said, “I am innocent (in defiance); surely his anger is turned away from me (shall not come upon me, which parallels v 23).” Behold, I will enter into judgment with you (proceed against you) because you say, “I have not sinned (continued to justify themselves).
v 36…Why do you go around so much changing your way (like a harlot who goes from one lover to the next; seeking the aid of others)? Also, you shall be put to shame by Egypt (they will fail you and be of no help in their alliance. Eschatologically, this alludes to Europe and the False Messiah. Their military treaty of Dan 9 will be of no value when Russia attacks) as you were put to shame by Assyria (2 Chr 28.16-21 with Ahaz).
v 37…From this place also you shall go out (into captivity) with your hands on your heads (in shame); for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust (like Egypt), and you shall not prosper with them (because of them).”