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267

CHAPTER XXVI

INTRODUCTORY

"I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."—Jer. xxxi. 1.

In this third book an attempt is made to present a general view of Jeremiah's teaching on the subject with which he was most preoccupied—the political and religious fortunes of Judah. Certain254254   xxx., xxxi., and, in part, xxxiii. chapters detach themselves from the rest, and stand in no obvious connection with any special incident of the prophet's life. These are the main theme of this book, and have been dealt with in the ordinary method of detailed exposition. They have been treated separately, and not woven into the continuous narrative, partly because we thus obtain a more adequate emphasis upon important aspects of their teaching, but chiefly because their date and occasion cannot be certainly determined. With them other sections have been associated, on account of the connection of subject. Further material for a synopsis of Jeremiah's teaching has been collected from chapters xxi.-xlix. generally, supplemented by brief255255   Brief, in order not to trespass more than is absolutely necessary upon the ground covered by the previous Expositor's Bible volume on Jeremiah. references to the previous chapters. Inasmuch as the prophecies of our book do not form an ordered268 treatise on dogmatic theology, but were uttered with regard to individual conduct and critical events, topics are not exclusively dealt with in a single section, but are referred to at intervals throughout. Moreover, as both the individuals and the crises were very much alike, ideas and phrases are constantly reappearing, so that there is an exceptionally large amount of repetition in the Book of Jeremiah. The method we have adopted avoids some of the difficulties which would arise if we attempted to deal with these doctrines in our continuous exposition.

Our general sketch of the prophet's teaching is naturally arranged under categories suggested by the book itself, and not according to the sections of a modern treatise on Systematic Theology. No doubt much may legitimately be extracted or deduced concerning Anthropology, Soteriology, and the like; but true proportion is as important in exposition as accurate interpretation. If we wish to understand Jeremiah, we must be content to dwell longest upon what he emphasised most, and to adopt the standpoint of time and race which was his own. Accordingly in our treatment we have followed the cycle of sin, punishment, and restoration, so familiar to students of Hebrew prophecy.


NOTE

SOME CHARACTERISTIC EXPRESSIONS OF JEREMIAH

This note is added partly for convenience of reference, and partly to illustrate the repetition just mentioned as characteristic of Jeremiah. The instances are chosen from expressions occurring in chapters xxi.-lii. The reader will find fuller lists dealing with the whole book in the Speaker's Commentary and the269 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. The Hebrew student is referred to the list in Driver's Introduction, upon which the following is partly based.

1. Rising up early: vii. 13, 25; xi. 7; xxv. 3, 4; xxvi. 5; xxix. 19; xxxii. 33; xxxv. 14, 15; xliv. 4. This phrase, familiar to us in the narratives of Genesis and in the historical books, is used here, as in 2 Chron. xxxvi. 15, of God addressing His people on sending the prophets.

2. Stubbornness of heart (A.V. imagination of heart): iii. 17; vii. 24; ix. 14; xi. 8; xiii. 10; xvi. 12; xviii. 12; xxiii. 17; also found Deut. xxix. 19 and Ps. lxxxi. 15.

3. The evil of your doings: iv. 4; xxi. 12; xxiii. 2, 22; xxv. 5; xxvi. 3; xliv. 22; also Deut. xxviii. 20; 1 Sam. xxv. 3; Isa. i. 16; Hos. ix. 15; Ps. xxviii. 4; and in slightly different form in xi. 18 and Zech. i. 4.

The fruit of your doings: xvii. 10; xxi. 14; xxxii. 19; also found in Micah vii. 13.

Doings, your doings, etc., are also found in Jeremiah and elsewhere.

4. The sword, the pestilence, and the famine, in various orders, and either as a phrase or each word occurring in one of three successive clauses: xiv. 12; xv. 2; xxi. 7, 9; xxiv. 10; xxvii. 8, 13; xxix. 17, 18; xxxii. 24, 36; xxxiv. 17; xxxviii. 2; xlii. 17, 22; xliv. 13.

The sword and the famine, with similar variations: v. 12; xi. 22; xiv. 13, 15, 16, 18; xvi. 4; xviii. 21; xlii. 16; xliv. 12, 18, 27.

Cf. similar lists, etc., "death ... sword ... captivity" in xliii. 11; "war ... evil ... pestilence," xxviii. 8.

5. Kings ... princes ... priests ... prophets, in various orders and combinations: ii. 26; iv. 9; viii. 1; xiii. 13; xxiv. 8; xxxii. 32.

Cf. Prophet ... priest ... people, xxiii. 33, 34. Prophets ... divines ... dreamers ... enchanters ... sorcerers, xxvii. 9.


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