Oracles against the Nations
So we enter upon the second great division of the book of Jeremiah, the “oracles against the nations.”
Technical questions of authenticity and the like need not detain us. Sufficient to recall that in the matter of the ethos and behavior of superpowers, Jeremiah is at one with his lineage; all prophets turn a fiery gaze on the “nations.”
“Judgment is Mine!”
The empires are weighed in the scales of Yahweh, the scales on which the prophets weighed their own leaders and people—and oftener than not, found them wanting.
Judgment yes, and fierce; and the primacy of judgment is of enormous import. It is basic to a grasp of prophecy itself. Which is to say, the constant drumbeat of accountability falls, first of all, on the chosen. No exemption is allowed; no excuses suffice. The excuses, be it noted, are commonly based on prerogatives attached to status of being “chosen.” There follows, in a tawdry logic: chosen, therefore beyond, above accountability.
The divine logic is otherwise, and quite austere: chosen, therefore all the more accountable!
The eye of Yahweh falls on his own, and rests there in discomfort. So the entire first part of the book lingers over the theme—judgment