Friday, June 26, 2009

The Burial of an Ass

James Neil was a minister who wrote in the early part of the 1900's about his travels in the Holy Land. He took delight in finding real life illustrations for Biblical verses and his folksy style engaged the readers of his day.

To be deprived of a proper burial was a sign of covenant cursing, and that is what Jeremiah alludes to with this prophecy against Jehoiakim. Neil's visual makes it come alive.

He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem Jer 22.19

"See how our horses start and sniff. It is that dreadful stench which has just saluted our nostrils. This is a land of the strongest odors, both good and bad. The fearful smell now comes from the carcass of some beast which has been left as usual to rot where it fell by the side of the road, if the beasts and birds of prey do not devour it first. Ah! there it lies just in front of us, an ass that has fallen under its two heavy burdens of small building-stones. The stones are left as usual lying unremoved in the middle of the road, where they have been upset. This is the allusion of Jeremiah when he declared of the violent death that should overtake the wicked Jehoiakim."