Jeremiah: The World, the Wound of God

By Daniel Berrigan | Go to book overview

3
The People Dwell in
Moral Darkness (5:1–31)

The first chapters have stressed religious failings, the dolorous omnipresence of idolatry. Now we enter another form of code violation, that of social sins—a vast arena indeed. In it, one after another, the prophets wrestled with the powers.


Your Eyes Seek Only Truth, Yahweh (5:1–10)

Verses 1 to 6 present a dialogue between Yahweh and Jeremiah. For sake of one person “who does justice, who seeks truth” (or who is “upright, faithful,” and forgets not hesed [that third in the triad of gifts that define the ideal human])—for sake of this rare spirit, God would save Jerusalem, as he would have saved Sodom (Gen. 18:22).

This one person: Is he not present, we ask, in Jeremiah? Does he not do justice and seek truth? Does he not shine bright amid the darkness? Or is such nobility taken for granted, God meantime seeking another?

“They swear falsely” (v. 2), a common tactic (then and now). That is, they invoke God, but only in furtherance of a shady deal. Thus a spate of sacred smog is released on the air, wonderfully obscuring the truth of the issues at hand.

In the short run, the tactic works well, not merely in the wide world of wheeling and dealing, but in “religious” circles as well. In

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