God spoke to me another time and said, Human! Prophesy against Israel! Tell the Jews i will destroy them with war and famine. I will scatter the survivors to the winds! The Jews are cheating cheaters and worship other gods. Go tell everyone this and be sure to stomp your feet and clap your hands while you do so! That way everyone will take you seriously.
One day after the year and a half I spent laying down, feeling my body atrophy and rot around me, God’s voice came to me and said, Human, take a sword and shave your head! Then divide the hair into three bunches. Burn the first, cut up the second with the sword, and scatter the third to the winds! But keep some of it and sew it into your clothes. Your hair represents that cheating whore Jerusalem. She will feel my wrath. Her people will starve until parents eat their children and children eat their parents! Exile will scatter those that war does not consume!
Then God told me to carve Jerusalem on a brick, and then to carve an army besieging it. Then It commanded me to lie on my left side for 390 days with the brick on my side to symbolize Israel’s punishment, and then to roll over and lie on my right side for another 40 days to signify Jerusalem’s. It said, You will only drink a scant pint of water and eat an 8 ounce slice of multi-grain bread that you will cook on your own shit each day! But I was all, Please don’t degrade me so bad, God! So It relented and said I could cook my bread on cow shit instead.
Eat it, human! It commanded. So I ate it, and it tasted like honey. Then God said, Human, go to the Jews and give them my messages in plain Hebrew! Don’t fear them. You are as stubborn as they!
Then God beamed me up into the cherubim thing and took me back to Tel Abib where the exiles were refugees. There, I brooded a week but then God spoke to me, in my head, and said, Human! You are now the guardian of the Jews! From now on, you will only be able to speak or leave your house when I permit! And it is now your responsibility to criticize people’s bad behavior! You must tell the wicked that they are wicked, even if they don’t listen. Though they will die for their sins, it is your soul that will be stained! You must warn the righteous to stay that way anytime one of them thinks of slipping. Otherwise, their fall will be on your soul!
God boomed out, Human! Stand up like a man and listen!
So I stood up and then It said, Human, I am sending you to prophesy to the Jews, my rebellious and stubborn people. It doesn’t really matter if they listen or not. It’s enough that I send you with my messages!
It must have seen my skepticism because It was all, Human! Do not be afraid. They will not heed you, but I will protect you! Now eat!
And it gave me a book filled with sad stories and songs.
Five years into King Jehoiachin’s exile, when I was 30, I was down by the Chebar River when I saw God. There was this humongous thundercloud that rolled in from the north, but the center was glowing. In that radiance, there were these cherubim, and these things were terrifying. They each had four faces–a human one, a lion, a cow, and an eagle–and four wings. Two covered their bodies and two made them fly and each moved by an infinity wheel that sparkled like a jewelry store. Above the cherubim was a crystal floor with a sapphire throne in the middle. On that throne sat God. God looked like a man, but all fire or rainbows from the waist down and molten chrome from the waist up. It had a voice like thunder. You better believe, I kissed the ground.
Jeremiah sent word of Babylon’s impending destruction to the Jews in exile there. He told them that Babylon would be invaded and all its people murdered in retaliation it did to the Jews and Israel and Judah–even though God ordained that harm to punish them for their own misdeeds. But logic aside, when the fighting started, Jews were advised to flee!
By the way, it is really important to know that back when Baruch was helping Jeremiah write his book, he kept whining about his hard lot at being stuck at helping Jeremiah, so Jeremiah told him that God had a message: Suck it up, buckaroo. God was turning everyone’s life to shit. But…for helping Jeremiah out, God would make sure that Baruch wouldn’t be murdered during the wars.
Being forcibly carried into Egypt by his compatriots of course didn’t change Jeremiah’s tune. He continued preaching destruction and desolation. In particular he singled out the idolatry of the women who continued offerings and prayers to the Queen of Heaven, hallowed by her name, be it Asherah, Ishtar, Isis, or Aphrodite. Jeremiah intoned, The cheating on God continues, especially among the women, and for that, you are all doomed to destruction!
The men folk told Jeremiah, Go suck an egg, you old debbie downer! Mind your own business and leave us to tend to our women! If you wanted a wife to boss, you shoulda got married! If God didn’t want our wives to make offerings to the Queen of Heaven, then It should have manifested Itself a feminine version for them!
Jeremiah just raised his eyes and said, You should all renew your vows to God and stop cheating on It, or you’ll be sorry! But because you won’t, you’ve condemned Pharaoh Wahibre Haaibre and all his people to death and destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar!
Everyone was all, You’re just a Babylonian spy, Jeremiah! You’re a traitor and a liar! God doesn’t talk to you. Fuck you and your prophecies. We’re going to Egypt, and by damned, you’re coming with us!
When they got to Egypt, to Tahpanhes on Lake Manzala, where Pharaoh had a summer palace, Jeremiah took some stones and hid them in the pavement in front of the one of the palace gates and was all, Mark this spot! For here, Nebudcadnezzar will destroy Pharaoh and all Egypt! He will cast down the obelisks of Heliopolis–well most of them anyway! In any case, Egypt will not prove a safe haven. It will burn, just like Jerusalem!