Utter desolation would overtake them so that death would be chosen rather than life. This sin of idolatry had been aggravated by the people's terrible persistence therein. If men fall it is naturally expected that they will rise, if they wander that they will return. In the case of Jerusalem this had not been so, their backsliding had been perpetual. There was no sign of repentance. The people did not know the ordinance or judgment of the Lord.
Because of this perpetual backsliding the judgment was again pronounced, and with the same care the prophet declared the reason to be their complete corruption, the false healing of their wound by prophet and priest, and their lack of shame. Therefore the judgment was to be complete.
The prophet then voiced the cry of the people in answer to the doom. It was characterized, first, by rebellion against the action of Jehovah, and then by remorse. The message ends with a new declaration of the certainty and imminence of judgment.
The strain of the terrible message on the prophet now became evident as he poured out his soul in lamentation. His perplexity was great, and he was conscious of the offended King, and the unhealing physician, and in his anguish cried out, "Why have they provoked me to anger?"
the Second Week after Epiphany