And the Last Shall Be
The handing over of the deed of purchase to Baruch is a momentous occasion. Fittingly, Jeremiah marks the event with a prayer. We have here, so the experts tell us, a pastiche of postexilic phrases, with only verses 24 and 25 of Jeremian origin. Be that as it may, the prayer is nobly worthy of the good man’s spirit, and thus a gift in itself—as well as for its placement here, classical, typical. Notable occurrences, that is, are to be immersed in prayer.
The law is reverenced in our testament as well. Jesus prays, whether before or after or in the course of events exemplary, symbolical, or crucial to his vocation (or to ours).
Turning to Yahweh in prayer also places the world and one’s presence there, dense and absorbing as it is, for the moment “on hold”; it is as though the soul, gone too far ahead, returned to itself.
32:17–20. As to the prayer, it is a classical Jewish outpouring of praise, a doxology Such acts are free, in the manner of God’s own giving. All other considerations, whether of need, recompense, result, favor, are for the moment banished. Praising God asks only that God be God. The heart responds to the divine “first step” in our direction.
32:21–22. There follows a recounting of the “magnalia Dei.” It is as though a Feast of Liberation were in progress, its immemorial question