Against Odds, Yahweh’s Love
And at length we touch the high point of the prophecy of Jeremiah. The tide has turned; once more divine favor falls to the demoralized, broken people. In a sense, the poems of this section are out sequence of both time and place; they have little connection, except by indirection, with events that precede or follow. All the more powerful!
There have been hints and starts all along on the theme of “return.” But the dark was so deep, deep as the maw of hell. And the dawn so long in arriving!
First, the unthinkable. The skies crashed down over Jerusalem; the bad times all but swallowed in darkness the promise of good to come. A long, heavy, foggy interlude. Belief and hope all but extinguished, an entire people flattened to ground.
Another image. Those whose fate is a mere gleaning after the harvesters are diffident of prospect and promise. A seat at the banquet of the Realm? So you say, but when and by what means? And meantime what relief is at hand, here and now? For the present, an awful wasteland stretching to the horizon and beyond, seventy terrible years—for this “present” there is no relief at all. They must make the simple, brutal best of the worst.
30:1–31:26. The prophet sets his own timepiece. These first poems,