Israel was set apart by God for a holy purpose and thus he held a special position with God. God’s expectation for Israel was delayed by his idolatry and so God chose to discipline him by using as His instrument, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.
When you value a relationship you will do what you can to keep it strong. God is saying here that although He is allowing the destruction of Jerusalem in order to bring Israel to repentance He will bring distress, misery, injury, punishment, and calamity upon all those who attack, capture, waste, or fall upon the firstfruits of His increase (1).
When we think of the words “firstfruits” and “increase,” in connection with this scripture, we understand that in the eyes of God Israel was the choicest and chief of all God’s revenue (2). As such, Israel was the best of all God’s wisdom. Yet, sin brought about her chastisement.
Also, when we include Leviticus 23:10-14 and Deuteronomy 26:1-12, we realize that Israel was God’s special portion or “firstfruits” that He was to receive before the remaining harvest could be brought in. This indicated Israel’s dependence on God (3). By not depending on God, Israel opened himself up for discipline and God did so through captivity, but those gentile kings and nations who were the instruments of God were also judged for their cruel actions against the Israelites.