Ruin, Hope (6:1–30)
Chapter 6, all of it, is a vivid resume of a polemic familiar to us, stark, febrile—and now nearing realization: no one, it appears, has attended to the word of Jeremiah; no hearts have turned round. Therefore ruin. The wheels of war are in motion; the catastrophe previously threatened is underway.
Change the Heart (6:1–8)
6:3, 4. Jerusalem is hemmed in. Among the besiegers, various battle plans are bruited about. Day or night, what serves our advantage? Uncertainty riles the enemy camp. (Uncertainty also on our part, as to the point of the text!)
Is the vivid account a reminder to the besieged that the attack, when it comes, will be a matter of life and death? that the besieged had best take seriously, if not the admonitions of the prophet, then the guile and ferocity of the enemy?
6:7, 8. An image, robust, adroit: Jeremiah flings it like a stone straight at brow or heart: “As a well keeps its water fresh, so Jerusalem keeps its wickedness fresh.” Nothing stale, nothing banal about evil; at least this evil! Wickedness is drawn from the well’s depths, ever clear (clearly evil? yes, at least to the prophet).