“and that they have worshiped.” The people worshiped and loved the sun, moon, and stars, and looked to them for guidance and protection. Now their bones will degrade into dust without being buried, unprotected by those same astronomical wonders. Thus, in the context of the spiritual battle between Yahweh and celestial deities, the deities are seen to be powerless against the vengeance of God, the Most High God and creator of the heavens and the earth. It was a terrible cultural disgrace to be exposed and decompose like this and to not be properly buried. John A. Thompson correctly notes, “Even in modern times, the opening up of graves and the throwing about of the bones of the departed is practiced as a mark of extreme contempt. In recent wars in the Middle East such desecration and insult were perpetrated” (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Jeremiah).
The text could also read, “and that they have bowed down to.” The same Hebrew verb, shachah (#07812 שָׁחָה), is translated as both “bow down” and “worship;” traditionally “worship” if God is involved and “bow down” if people are involved, but the verb and action are the same, the act of bowing down is the worship. The common biblical way of bowing down before people or God was to fall to one’s knees and bow the upper body to the earth. [For more on bowing down, see commentary on 1 Chron. 29:20].