Like Zeke, I’ve been going a bit bonkers in the head lately, so I’m going to take a day off and rest. I’ll be back with more of Zeke’s hijinks on Monday. Be good, y’all.
The governor is assassinated by the man his friends warned him about. He and ten men kill the governor secretly and then slaughter a bunch of other people for good measure and throws their bodies into a cistern. Ten of the men buy their way out by promising him food and wine.
Then realizing that the Babylonians or his fellow Jews will probably want his head, he kidnaps some of the remaining royal women and heads off to the country of Ammon.
But an army goes out to track him down and his captives get away, but the assassin Ishmael escapes.
The remaining Jews now realizing that they have a dead governor that Nebuchadnezzar had personally appointed to run the country decide they should probably get out of Dodge to and make plans to go to Egypt.
So the people come to Jeremiah:
People: Hey, Jerry. Can you talk to God for us and tell us what to do?
Jerry: Yeah, yeah, I’ll call the Big Guy. But you guys never follow my advice anyway.
People: Dude, we’ll totally follow your advice.
Ten days later…
Jerry: Sorry, He was on holiday. God says to stay put. He’ll fix things with Nebuchadnezzar. But if you go to Egypt, He’s going to kill you all.
Then the people all replied, “This guy’s nuts. Let’s go to Egypt.”
So they go to Egypt and take Jerry with them.
Then Jerry says, “Nebuchadnezzar will conquer Egypt and you guys are seriously going to be sorry.”
Jerry: “Guys, what the hell? Seriously? You’re sacrificing critters to Egyptian gods now? Don’t you realize how much God hates that?”
“We don’t care. We’re going to keep doing it in the hopes that they’ll give us food and prosperity again. God’s always pissed at us and mean and judges us and shit.”
“Well, guess what? God is pissed and he’s going to be mean and judge your shit again. You’re all going to die in Egypt and he’s going to kill the Pharaoh.”
A while before all this took place, Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch was sad because his country was about to be overthrown, so God tells him it’s cool, God will protect his life no matter where he goes.
Jerry is in jail. Jerusalem is under siege by Babylon, and King Zedekiah has arrested him for saying that the Babylonians would take the city and kill the king and cart everyone off to Babylon.
God has another object lesson for Jerry. This time Jerry’s uncle shows up with a piece of land that is currently worthless as the Babylonians are trampling it, but Jerry is told by God to buy it anyway as proof of his faith that God will bring the Jews back. So Jerry buys the land and has his friend put the deed into safekeeping so one day it can be redeemed, even though Jerry will be dead by then and God has commanded him to live a life of celibacy… Kind of poor planning there…
God and Jerry have a conversation about everything we’ve been talking about for the last 31 chapters.
God says Jerusalem will be restored with Judah again. He prophesies that a Messianic king will appear from David’s line and David will never lack a man to sit on the throne of Judah and the priests will always offer sacrifices to God forever, but loophole! If the Jews break God’s covenant, then he has taksie-backsies rights on that prophesy, so there, Mr. Skeptic.
Jerry said, “Hey, King Zedekiah, the city will be overthrown and you’re going to have to look the King of Babylon in the eye and explain to him why you rebelled and then you’ll be carted off to Babylon.”
Maybe that gets to the king, because he orders the release of all of the Jewish slaves and the people all agree to that, but then decide that they really like having slaves and go back on their word.
So God says, “Hey! When I made the rules for owning people, I specifically said Jews go free after six years! You can keep the Gentiles and their children forever, but Jews go free! And you didn’t do that. In fact, none of you ever did that… which… really, I guess I should have seen that coming being God and all and just told you not to own people, but come on! So now I have to kill you all.”
“Time for another object lesson. I want you to invite these guys over to dinner and offer them some wine.”
“Sigh… okay. Hey, guys, want some wine?”
“We don’t drink wine because one of our ancestors said, ‘don’t drink wine, live in houses, plant crops, or grow fruit.’ We’re nomads and we’re only here because of the Babylonians.”
“See? They obey this dead dude, but Judah doesn’t obey Me!”
“Yeah, we get it…”
“Oh, and because you guys listened to your dead dude, I’ll make sure Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t kill your whole family. You know… at least one of you will be left to stand before Me forever.”
And God said, “When a man divorces his wife… heh, yeah a man, cause my law ain’t letting no chicks file for divorce… and his wife leaves and marries another dude, does her first husband go get her? Wouldn’t that make you all sick? We don’t share vaginas here, people. But you guys are totally letting all these other gods into your spiritual vagina… and then coming back to me. God is not going to be an Eskimo brother with Dagon… I don’t want to smell like fish, man… but you guys keep slutting it up with Baal, so I’ve stopped the rains. But you guys keep whoring it up with other gods, so why are you bugging me now?”
“Hey, Jeremiah, do you see what a slut Israel and Judah have been? Getting it on everywhere with other gods. So I got sick of it and divorced Israel and sent them to Assyria. But Judah kept whoring it up anyway, so Israel is better than Judah. So Israelites? Come back, admit your whorin’ ways, and I will bring you to the perfect kingdom of Zion, and you guys won’t be whores anymore, but faithful to me.”
“But seriously, you guys are all spiritual sluts and I don’t like you right now… seriously, I’m much more handsome than Ba’al.”
“If you guys just come back to Me, then everything will be great again. We totally won’t end up on another episode of Cops yelling at each other on our lawn in our underwear.”
“Why don’t you guys cut off the foreskins of your heart?”
“That sounds painful and possibly deadly… we kind of need the pericardium.”
“It’s figurative! Anyway, I’m going to bring up a nation to kill most of you and cart the rest of you off as slaves anyway.”
“Seriously?” Jeremiah said. “Right after telling us that if we come back, it’ll be cool again? That sounds like you’re lying to us.”
“Yeah, but if you guys repent, it’ll all be fine, but seriously, bad stuff is coming.”
Jeremiah goes off to cry while God continues to spout doom.
“Just to be fair, why don’t you go look around the city, Jerry and see if you can find one guy who acts with justice. Then I’ll spare the city.”
“Do I count?” Jerry said.
“You won’t find anyone, you know.”
“Then why are you sending me out looking for one?”
“I’ve tried. I’ve tried beating the shit out of them, but no one returns to me.”
“Maybe if there was less beating the crap out of them and more just showing up in Jerusalem with the glory and the shining…”
“Hey, do I tell you how to do your job?”
“Yes! All the time!”
“Well, that’s beside the point…”
“Well, maybe they don’t know your law. Why don’t I go teach them about how you like your animals killed?”
“Medium-rare… seriously, how hard is it to get a decent medium-rare from your priests? Anyway, I’m pissed off with all of you and you’re all going to die now. Well, not now, but soon… and not all of you, but most of you. And it’s because you cheated on me, you filthy whore!”
“And then when those Babylonians come up and kill most of you, then they’ll say, “Why has God forsaken us?” and you’ll say, “Because you were dirty whores with your whoring with other gods!” Burn.”
Hi, all, Jeremiah here. God started speaking to me during the reign of King Josiah of Judah right through the fifth month after the sack of Jerusalem. So God told me:
“Hey, before you were even born, I knew you. You’re going to be my spokesman.”
“But Lord, I can’t speak…”
“Let me stop you right there. Moses already tried that crap on me and I didn’t let him out of it. You’re my guy.”
“Hey, Jeremiah, what do you see?”
“A rod from an almond tree.”
“Good eyes, kid, what else do you see?”
“A boiling pot facing South.”
“Out of the North, enemies will come and lay siege to Jerusalem. I’m bringing them here to punish you guys for worshipping idols. God tell the people this and don’t worry, I’ll protect your life when they try to kill you.”
“Kill me? Uh… tell me again, why you just can’t tell them yourself?”
“There’s a very good reason for that.”
“None of your business. Now get to the talking, kid.”
“Hey, kid, God here. Go tell the people this:
I remember how you guys were devoted to me way back after I brought you out of Egypt. How you loved me and killed animals for me.”
“Wait. I’ve read the first five books of the bible and those guys were assholes and you kept killing them and threatening genocide on them pretty much from day one.”
“What fault have you people found in me that you turn from killing animals for me and start killing animals for other gods? Look around? Has a nation ever changed gods before? I mean, when they weren’t really gods? I’ve done nothing but good things for you, and you’re going after Baal and looking to Egypt and Assyria for military help. I set you guys free and you guys refuse to love me, but like donkeys in heat keep going to other gods. Well, let those gods help you now, huh? But you’ll still refuse to come to me. So just know that Egypt will fail you because I’m tired of you all stepping out on me and killing animals for other gods and for oppressing the poor.”
Literally, cannot speak.
Good way to start a weekend.
They killed a girl today.
No, that ain’t right.
We killed a girl today.
Susanna Shepherd. She was in my Sunday School class. I didn’t know her that well, on account of boys and girls not being allowed to play together. My brother Martin talked to her though. I think he had a crush on her and was hoping to have pa talk to her dad and arrange a marriage, but Lloyd’s dad beat ‘em to it.
We killed her on the doorstep of her parents’ house, just like Pastor Jim told us the Good Book said. He said she had ‘played the harlot’ and ‘brought wickedness to the congregation.’ She swore she was innocent. She begged us to spare her life. She said that she had never known a man until her wedding night, but Lloyd appeared with a clean bedsheet and Pastor Jim called her a liar and said the sign of her virginity would have been the blood.
Lloyd threw the first rock. I will always remember the sound of it hitting her head. I made me feel like I was going to be sick. Then Pastor Jim and then the other men joined in. Susanna cried and kept swearing she hadn’t done anything. Then a rock hit her in the side of the head and she fainted, I think. She didn’t say anything else after that.
After a while, pa handed me a stone too. I didn’t want to throw it. Pa told me it was the Lord’s will. We had to please the Lord to make sure the crops grew this year.
I threw the damn thing. It landed on her back with a thud.
I prayed to Jesus hoping she was already dead.
Pastor Jim said the Lord was pleased with us for performing his law and removing wickedness from our midst, but I can’t stop thinking about her. Maybe she was innocent. Maybe we just murdered her like Cain murdered Able. The bloody dress. Her face crushed and broken. The limp body they hung from the tree in the middle of town. The smell… the crows picking at her.
It don’t seem like a thing God would be happy over.
Don’t seem like a thing that ought to be done.
I hope I don’t see her eyes tonight
– Excerpt from The Diary of Jim Harlan, New Zion Settlement, New Canaan Confederacy