A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming

By Walter Brueggemann | Go to book overview

A Hard Message to
Stubborn Jerusalem
Jeremiah 11:18–20:18

These chapters of Jeremiah contain rich and diffuse materials. Beyond the identification of recurring themes and motifs, it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to detect any sustained order or intentionality to the editorial process. One can detect here and there suggestions about the juxtaposition of certain elements, but that falls short of any general shaping of the materials. While there are some few elements of hope and an occasional didactic reflection, two central themes dominate this material. On the one hand, there is a steady insistence that Jerusalem will be destroyed, and the poet can find many ways in which to speak this word. On the other hand, interspersed with this theme is the countertheme of grief and anger on the part of the prophet for having to speak this hard message to a community that resists. Given that very general overview, it is necessary simply to take up the texts one at a time. As elsewhere in the book of Jeremiah, this material reflects both rich and imaginative poetry and disciplined prose assertion. There is a commonality in the general direction of all of the material.


A Lamb Led to Slaughter (11:18–23)

These verses comprise the first of a series of passages (11:18–12:6; 15:10– 21; 17:14–18; 18:18–23; 20:7–18) called the Lamentations or Complaints

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