A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming

A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming

A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming

A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming


Jeremiah's poignant lament over Judah's social and religious disintegration reflects God's own pathos-laden yearning for his disobedient covenant people. In this widely praised expository commentary Walter Brueggemann, one of the premier Old Testament scholars of our time, explores the historical setting and message of Jeremiah as well as the text's relevance for the church today.

Offering a fresh look at the critical theological issues in the Jeremiah tradition, Brueggemann argues that Jeremiah's voice compels us to rediscern our own situation, issuing an urgent invitation to faith, obedience, justice, and compassion.

This combined edition of Brueggemann's original two-volume work, published until recently as part of the International Theological Commentary series, is an essential resource for students, pastors, and general readers alike. It is reprinted here with a new introduction by Brueggemann that surveys the current state of Jeremiah studies.


The book of Jeremiah is reflective of and responsive to the historical crisis of the last days of Judah, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 587 B.C.E. This crisis is the dominant and shaping event of the entire OT. The destruction evoked an extensive theological literature of which the book of Jeremiah is one major component.

The last days of the 7th cent., the time of Jeremiah, witnessed the abrupt collapse of the Assyrian Empire and its prompt displacement by the Babylonians under the governance of Nebuchadnezzar. The Judean crisis must therefore be understood in the context of Babylonian imperial ambitions and expansionism. The power of Babylon to the north of Judah, however, was not the only foreign power with which Judah had to deal. Judah had to attend also to the Egyptians to the south, whose policy was to maintain Judah as a buffer against Babylonian pressure. Thus Judah was placed precisely and precariously between Babylon and Egypt. The Judahite kings in the years after Josiah (639–609) vacillated between Babylonian and Egyptian alliances. Finally Babylonian policy would no longer

1. See Peter R. Ackroyd, Exile and Restoration, Old Testament Library (Philadelphia: Westminster; London: SCM, 1968), and Ralph W. Klein, Israel in Exile, Overtures to Biblical Theology 6 (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979).

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