The time of the writing of this passage is around 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ during the days of King Josiah, King of Judah. Daniel and his three Hebrew companions had already been taken into Babylon to be trained as "counselors" in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah, the prophet, receives a message from the Lord, verse 1, a warning to pass along to the Jewish people. The Prophet was to stand at the gate of the Temple complex and to warn all that came up to the Temple to worship.
God's spokesman, Jeremiah, was to tell the Jewish people to amend their ways, in other words, to "get their hearts right with God or else face judgment." The judgment from the Lord was to start at the "house of the Lord," the Temple. The Lord had Jeremiah remind the people of Israel of the judgment that took place at Shiloh, some 500 years earlier, I Samuel 3 & 4.
You might remember that Shiloh was the headquarters for the children of Israel when they came into the Promise Land under the leadership of Joshua. It is also where they erected the Tabernacle, to house the Ark of the Covenant.
Shiloh was the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish people for the first 350 years they were in the Promised Land, Joshua 18:1. The account of God's judgment on the Jewish people at Shiloh in I Samuel 3 & 4 indicates that the "Glory of the Lord departed from Shiloh."
God told Jeremiah to warn the Jews that it could happen again if they didn't get right with Him. Our extended reading for today details the "sins of the people" against the Lord in Shiloh and in the days of Jeremiah's ministry. This was the lifestyle of those coming to the Temple, to supposedly worship the Lord.
This is a similar scenario at many churches in our present world. It was a very sinful time as indicated by the Lord's words to Jeremiah to pray not for these people, verse 16. Verse 17gives us the information of the worship the Jews were offering up to the "Queen of Heaven."
Let me give you some background on the "Queen of Heaven" from extra-Biblical material. The "Queen of Heaven" was the title of the wife of Nimrod, Semiramis, Genesis 11. Nimrod, who built a city, Babylon, Genesis 11:4, also established a religion. This religion was a "mother-son cult" where the mother, Semiramis, and the son, Tammuz, were co-equal recipients of worship.
That worship consisted of serving "cakes" in honor of this false religion established in Babylon. It also involved the parents painting hard-boiled eggs and hiding them for the children to find on their special "holy day" for the "Queen of Heaven" called "Ishtar."
Remember, God told Jeremiah not to pray for those who worship like this. The "mother-son cult," with worship of the "Queen of Heaven," was headquartered in Babylon until the fall of the Babylonian Empire in 539 BC.
The false Babylonian religion moved it's headquarters then to Pergamus in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, until the fall of the Roman Empire when it moved to the "seven-hilled city" of Rome, Italy, where it is today and where it will continue to be during the first half of the Tribulation Period, Revelation 17.
God's judgment will come even to those who supposedly worship Him. As we look at our world today we see a similar scenario, as was described for the last days. Judgment must begin at the "house of the Lord." We are living in the "last days."
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the warning of judgment for sin. Help me to be pure before you in these last days.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?