6 “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!
Flee from Jerusalem!
Sound the trumpet in Tekoa!
Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!
For disaster looms out of the north,
even terrible destruction.
2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,
so beautiful and delicate.
3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her;
they will pitch their tents around her,
each tending his own portion.”
4 “Prepare for battle against her!
Arise, let us attack at noon!
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
and the shadows of evening grow long.
5 So arise, let us attack at night
and destroy her fortresses!”
6 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Cut down the trees
and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
it is filled with oppression.
7 As a well pours out its water,
so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence and destruction resound in her;
her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8 Take warning, Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you
and make your land desolate
so no one can live in it.”
(Jeremiah 6:1-8 NIV)
Chapter 5 verse 29 ends with the Lord’s charge against His people: The Lord has amassed and presented the evidence regarding the guilt of HIs people. How can He be a just and righteous God and not hold His people accountable for their unrighteousness?
Chapter 6 is the Lord’s answer to His question. In today’s passage, the Lord describes the attack on Jerusalem. The Lord begins with a warning to Jeremiah’s tribe, the Benjaminites. Usually, when attackers were on their way, people would run to the fortified cities like Jerusalem for protection. In this case, the Lord tells Jeremiah’s tribe to run from the city, because Jerusalem will be attacked.
The Lord tells Jeremiah that Jerusalem’s attackers will come from the north, so they should sound the alarms on the south and west sides of the city, indicating the direction the people should flee to get away from the attackers.
Verses 2 – 3 describe Jerusalem (Daughter Zion) as a beautiful meadow, full of delicate wildflowers and grasses. Shepherds and sheep (depicting the enemy kings and their troops) would soon spoil her beauty, coming in and eating everything up (ransacking the city and taking its valuables) and pitching their tents (taking control of Jerusalem by force, making it their own).
Verses 4 – 5 are the enemy king’s relentless determination to conquer Jerusalem. In a very uncharacteristic move, the enemy kings order night battles to overtake Jerusalem. If the troops can’t win during the day, then the enemy kings will order the sieges to continue past sundown.
Verse 6 describes the enemy cutting down the trees outside Jerusalem and using them to build siege ramps against the city walls. The Lord says that the capital cannot defend herself, as there is nothing but falsehood and oppression within (reference chapter 5:26-28).
Verses 7 – 8 compare Jerusalem to a well that constantly and consistently produces fresh water. Sadly, Jerusalem constantly and consistently produces evil instead of good. The Lord uses this illustration to show Jerusalem that she is sick and needs healing. If she does not repent and turn from her wicked ways, the Lord will be forced to turn His back on her and let her suffer the consequences of her rebellion and evil ways.
May we not break God’s heart (verse 8) by turning away from Him and going our selfish way. May we be the tender branch attached to Him, the True Vine, relying on Him for every part of our life and living.