In Ezekiel 16:13 we read of Jerusalem’s glory, “Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.” In chapter 4 of Lamentations, Jeremiah laments over the former glory of Zion and compares that with their present condition. We read in verses 1-2, “How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!” The glory of the Lord in His city was taken away because of their great sins. We read in verse 6, “For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.”

The wretchedness of the city is told out in the first ten verses of this chapter. I encourage you to read this chapter carefully. We will try to restrict ourselves to the verse in question. Lamentations 4:10 says, “The hands of the compassionate women have cooked their own children: they became food for them in the destruction of the daughter of my people.” (NKJV) It is hard to imagine what is written here. Mothers would boil their own children for food. How barbaric, how horrendous is such a deed! Yet, Jeremiah calls these mothers ‘compassionate’, which is the true meaning of the word ‘pitiful’. I believe that Jeremiah is telling us that the conditions were so horrid that the normally compassionate, tender-hearted women had been driven to such a terrible act. Perhaps suffering from insanity from their starvation, they did not think of their children first; they thought of themselves. Instead of sacrificing their own lives so their children could eat, they ate their children. Is it actually possible that a mother could do this to her own child? Yes, it most certainly is possible. Isaiah 49:15 says, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” There is a similar event like this found in 2 Kings 6:24-33.

Let’s consider this dire warning and prophetic word from the Lord to His people. In Deuteronomy 28:1 the Lord said, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth.” Let’s go down now and read Deuteronomy 28:15, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” Some of those curses are found in Deuteronomy 28:56-58, “The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for SHE SHALL EAT THEM FOR WANT of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD.”

All these things came about when the Lord’s people lost their fear (reverence) of Him. 1 Samuel 12:24 tells us, “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for CONSIDER HOW GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE FOR YOU” No wonder King David sings out in Psalms 19:9-11, “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them THERE IS GREAT REWARD.” (289.8)