There are 4 primary characters in the book of Jeremiah. God is the source of the message and He does the speaking for the most part through Jeremiah. Jeremiah is addressed personally by God. God speaks to the third and fourth identities through Jeremiah. He speaks to 15 marriageHis own wayward people, Israel and Judah. And He also speaks to the pagan nations around Israel who will simply serve as instruments in His hands. God, Jeremiah, Israel, and the nations are the four prime addressees. In a very interesting way Jeremiah therefore addresses believers (Jeremiah), wayward or backsliding believers (Israel), and non-believers (the Nations around them; Egypt, Babylon and Assyria). There is something for everyone!

In Jeremiah 2:1-2 we read, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD…’” So this passage begins God’s address to His wayward people. God is not addressing Jeremiah personally. He is not addressing the pagan nations. He addresses Jerusalem as representative of His people as a whole. Willis acknowledges this; he suggests that Jerusalem could, “…represent the nation of Judah as a whole, just as ‘Washington’ and ‘Moscow’ can be used today in talking about relations between the U.S. and Russia.”[1] Jeremiah is the master of imagery. He shows us pictures as Wiersbe observes, “In this chapter (chapter 2), he paints ten pictures that expose the sins of the people.”[2] These images describe and define this infidelity. 1) The unfaithful wife (Vs 2-8), 2) the Broken cistern (Vs 9-13), 3) The plundered slave (Vs 14-19), 4) A stubborn animal (Vs 20), 5) A degenerate vine (21), 6) A defiled body (Vs 22), 7) An animal in the desert (Vs 23-25), 8) A disgraced thief (Vs 26-28), 9) Incorrigible children (29-35), and 10) Prisoners of war (Vs 36-37).

The use of “Jerusalem” is significant for another reason in my opinion. We get a glimpse of the depth of the infidelity by noticing that Jerusalem is often seen as the bridal suite. It’s the place God chose for His people where their love was expressed to Him and His love was expressed to them at the Temple. It was the symbol of their “covenant” relationship. It was where He would meet with His people and they would meet with Him through the sacrificial system. It was here they would receive forgiveness and would be restored after sinning. If I may be so crude, the first picture I see in Chapter two is actually in verse 1. Jerusalem was the marriage chamber of God and His bride! It was the place of consummating their love for each other. It was a sacred relationship. But it was here, their marriage bed, where Israel committed adultery!

[1] Timothy M. Willis, Jeremiah/Lamentations, College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 2002), 42.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Decisive, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24.