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©Michael Player

Chapter 2:9-19 (ESV)

Posted on June 11, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 2:9-19 (ESV) - “Therefore I still contend with you,
declares the LORD,
    and with your children's children I will contend.
For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
    or send to Kedar and examine with care;
    see if there has been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
    even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
    for that which does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
    be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
    the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
    Why then has he become a prey?
The lions have roared against him;
    they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
    his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
    have shaved the crown of your head.
Have you not brought this upon yourself
    by forsaking the LORD your God,
    when he led you in the way?
And now what do you gain by going to Egypt
    to drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what do you gain by going to Assyria
    to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
Your evil will chastise you,
    and your apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
    for you to forsake the LORD your God;
    the fear of me is not in you,
declares the LORD God of hosts.

Question to consider: How did Judah forsake the fountain of living waters for their own broken cisterns?

Because Israel had begun to forsake the LORD from the very first harvest since they occupied the land, He would contend with this generation, their children and the children after that. The land would become utterly desolate for seventy years for the seventy Sabbath years in which Israel neglected to let the land rest according to the Law. When Peter asked Jesus, “How many times should I forgive my brother, seven times?” Jesus had said, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” I actually think it should be translated like the King James version which states “seventy-times seven,” because it would then be in line with what the LORD had done for Israel before their exile.

I realize that Jesus could have been using the number figuratively to emphasize that we should always be willing to forgive a repentant brother, but it is important to recognize that the LORD’s patience and mercy is not infinite but perfect. For Israel, the time for judgment had come.

The LORD pointed out the fact that from the West to the East, there were no examples of any nations who had forsaken their gods, but Israel had forsaken Him. So heathens were willing to cling to false gods with more zeal than Israel was willing to obey the one true God. Just as Judas was willing to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, Israel betrayed the LORD for more lucrative trading relationships with the nations that surrounded them even though the LORD had already given them a land that abundantly supplied all their needs.

The LORD compared this to forsaking a fountain of living water (a well that bubbled up from a natural spring) to using broken rain cisterns that could hold no water. When we put our trust in worldly things that do not last, we are never content or satisfied with them. The LORD was using water as a metaphor for their sustenance. Rather than relying upon the God who delivered them from slavery, they chose to seek their fortunes with countries like Assyria and Egypt who would prey upon them and enslave them.

It was the LORD who conquered the nations and delivered Israel from their enemies. Rather than repenting of their sins and turning back to God, Judah tried to make a treaty with Egypt to go up against Babylon. The end result would be their destruction and exile.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Christ who gives us living water bubbling up to eternal life. May we desire to do the things that bring life and salvation and not depend upon the things of this world. Amen.