God tells Jeremiah not to bother prayer for the people. “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own shame?” The prophets were known for interceding with God on behalf of his people. But God is telling Jeremiah not to bother. It’s too late! This is corporate. It’s for the nation of Judah not for individuals. There is always hope for an individual to repent and come to faith in Jesus. But for the Jews in Judah, during the days of Jeremiah, they had crossed the Rubicon. There are individuals that will be taken as captives into Babylon that have not bowed the knee to other gods, but the nation, in general, had crossed the point of no return. The whole nation is involved, the children, the men, and the women. But Huey is probably right. “No one would be so foolish as to use these words as a proof text to cease praying for others. God knew that the hearts of the people of Judah were so hardened that they had already made their irrevocable decision to ignore his warnings. Therefore, prayer was useless. Sometimes it is too late to pray for another person. We are not privileged as Jeremiah was, however, to know by special revelation when that time has come.”[1]

The “Queen of Heaven” that is mentioned here is the goddess of sex, associated with Ishtar.  Walker says, “This is probably Ishtar, an astral goddess of love (Venus, in the Targum) worshiped by the Babylonians, and later by the Assyrians, who in Jeremiah’s time occupied the territory of northern Israel.”[2] Venus, even in our day, represents female Beauty and sexuality. She is also called Aphrodite. “Aphrodite was the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty, desire, and all aspects of sexuality. She could entice both gods and men into illicit affairs with her beauty.” “The Roman poet Ovid recounts that Aphrodite bore Hermaphrodites by Hermes, who was the epitome of effeminacy and androgyny.”[3] I can’t help but fear for our own country when I think of the direction the liberal left is taking us with regard to sex education and the blending of the sexes in the woke agenda.

The degradation of humanity into the elevating of sex to a divine level and ignoring the instructions of the creator of mankind will always result in shame and disgrace and eventually judgment. When Paul addressed the Romans who worshipped the sex goddess under the name of Venus, he wanted them to know that these vile sexual practices did not shame Him. They shamed themselves. In Romans 1:21-25, Paul tells us, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

[1] Huey, F. B. 1993. Jeremiah, Lamentations. Vol. 16. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Walker, Larry L., Elmer A. Martens. 2005. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah, Jeremiah, & Lamentations. Vol. 8. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[3] WWW. Worldhistory.org/venus/Aphrodite