This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on August 28, 2016.
Jeremiah shares freely a word of the Lord given him for the house of Jacob and the entire clan that bears the name of Israel. He presents this message and asks them to hear it, to listen to it. There is something transformational about giving pause to hear the word of the Lord.
The people are asked to listen to the cold hard facts of estrangement. God and his people are like a husband and wife at great distance from one another. Yahweh speaks as a husband to a silent wife while the whole family of Israel listens on. Their dreams have died. The beautiful relationship they had hoped for has gone sour. The husband rages with pain. He desires anything but this. Being cut-off is made more excruciating by remembering the kindness and love they shared when they had found each other in a barren land (2:2).
These tender memories bring strength to his argument, and he makes a tenacious case. With an abrupt tone, he confronts his wife by asking what evidence there is that he has not given his all to the relationship. “What faults did your fathers find in me? Tell me one way in which I have done you wrong.” The bride’s ancestors have also left him going after worthlessness and becoming worthless. They have gone away without even asking where is the One who brought us out of the land of Egypt and led us through the wilderness, a parched place, a land of darkness, where no one lives or even travels (2:6). The things they had faced before, they face now. They have forgotten that scarcity in the waste land was met with abundant provision.