Jeremiah - The Rev. Dr. Charles W. Allen

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Jeremiah
Adapted from http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/jeremiah/intro.htm
Not this guy
This guy (by Rembrandt)
Jeremiah
Adapted from http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/jeremiah/intro.htm
O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered
me, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long;
everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout,
“Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a
reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or
speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a
burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I
cannot. For I hear many whispering: “Terror is all around! Denounce him!
Let us denounce him!” All my close friends are watching for me to
stumble. “Perhaps he can be enticed, and we can prevail against him, and
take our revenge on him.” But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will
be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will
never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the
heart and the mind; let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I
have committed my cause. Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has
delivered the life of the needy from the hands of evildoers.
Jeremiah 20:7-13
Josiah hearing the
rediscovered early edition of
Deuteronomy
Jeremiah was born about 650
B.C.E of a priestly family from
the little village of Anathoth,
near Jerusalem. While still very
young he was called to his task
in the thirteenth year of King
Josiah (628), whose reform,
begun with enthusiasm and
hope, ended with his death on
the battlefield of Megiddo (609)
as he attempted to stop the
northward march of the
Egyptian Pharaoh Neco.
The prophet heartily supported the reform
of the pious King Josiah, which began in
629 B.C.E. There are connections in literary
style and content linking Jeremiah and
Josiah to Deuteronomy and the
Deuteronomistic History (Joshua-2 Kings,
minus Ruth). Some scholars (like Friedman)
think Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch may have
been the author of both.
Recently discovered clay
seal with Baruch’s name
After the death of Josiah the old
idolatry returned, and the leaders
continued to exploit the poor.
Jeremiah opposed this with all his
strength. Arrest, imprisonment, and
public disgrace were his lot.
Jeremiah saw in the nation's
impenitence the sealing of its doom.
He saw the newly reborn
Babylonian empire as God’s
judgment on Judah for their
faithlessness, idolatry and social
injustice.
During the years 598-587, Jeremiah
attempted to counsel Zedekiah in
the face of bitter opposition. The
false prophet Hananiah proclaimed
that the yoke of Babylon was broken
and a strong pro-Egyptian party in
Jerusalem induced Zedekiah to
revolt. Jeremiah contradicted him
Hananiah by walking the streets of
Jerusalem wearing a yoke, the
symbol of coming slavery. He
counseled Zedekiah instead to
submit to Babylon and spare his
people, placing all his trust in God’s
power to save.
Jeremiah’s advice
was refused, and
he was labeled a
traitor.
Nebuchadnezzar
took swift and
terrible vengeance;
Jerusalem was
destroyed in 587
and its leading
citizens sent into
exile.
About this time Jeremiah uttered the great oracle of the "New
Covenant" (Jeremiah 31:31-34) sometimes called (by Christians)
"The Gospel before the Gospel." This passage is a landmark in the
theology of the Jewish Bible.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not
be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took
them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant
that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on
their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No
longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the
Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the
greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember
their sin no more.
The prophet remained amidst the
ruins of Jerusalem, but was later
forced into Egyptian exile by a band
of conspirators. There, according to
an old tradition, he was murdered by
his own countrymen. The influence
of Jeremiah was greater after his
death than before. The exiled
community read and meditated on
the lessons of the prophet, and his
influence can be seen in Ezekiel,
certain of the psalms, and the
second part of Isaiah. Shortly after
the exile, the Book of Jeremiah as
we have it today was published in a
final edition.

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