Pentecost - Vol. 1

By Morris Niedenthal; Andre Lacocque | Go to book overview

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
LutheranRoman CatholicEpiscopalPres./UCC/Chr.Methodist/COCU
Jer. 20:7-13 Jer. 20:7-13 Jer. 20:7-13 Jer. 20:10-13 Jer. 20:7-13
Rom. 5:12-15 Rom. 5:12-15 Rom. 5:12-15 Rom. 5:12-15 Rom. 5:12-15
Matt. 10:26-33 Matt. 10:26-33 Matt. 10:26-33 Matt. 10:26-33 Matt. 10:26-33

EXEGESIS

First Lesson: Jer. 20:7-13 . These verses of Jeremiah constitute the last of the so-called confessions of the prophet (cf. 11:18-12:6; 15:10-21; 17:14-18; 18:18-23). The context is provided by 20:1 ff.: Pashhur, a priest of the temple of Jerusalem, has thrown Jeremiah into prison because of his oracles, a summary of which is given in v. 3 (and repeated here, v. 10): "Terror on every side." The Lord, said Jeremiah, is "bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the evil" wrought by the Babylonian armies (see 19:15). Jerusalem shall be destroyed and the temple reduced to ashes.

It is the first overt scandal in the life of Jeremiah. V. 13 is a song of praise at dawn when the prophet comes out of the dungeon. Vv. 14-18 are a song of death (many critics consider these verses out of place). The crux of the matter is that Jeremiah does not say what the people expect him to say. In fact, the confrontation is less with Pashhur than with God. The situation recalls closely the fight of Jacob with the angel in Genesis 32. There is correspondence between the night in prison and the night of the patriarch whose name is changed from Jacob to Israel.

We are in the days of King Jehoiakim, probably around 600 B.C. (cf. Jer. 36, "the fourth year of King Jehoiakim"). The structure of the lamentation of the prophet is in three parts: vv. 7-9, 10-13, 14-18.

In v. 7, Jeremiah reproaches God for having seduced (deceived, bewitched) him. The term has a definite sexual connotation (cf. Exod. 22:15; Judg. 16:5). There are very few parallels to our text elsewhere, only Psalm 18:8 and the Book of job can be quoted (see, e.g., Job 12 in parallel with Jer. 20:14-18). It is in the same sense that one has to understand "thou hast prevailed." Deut. 22:25 and 2 Sam. 16:11 show that it is a question of violence perpetrated upon a virgin. God seems to use his prophet as a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his will. The complaint we find here is not just the outburst of a wearisome man coming out of a cell. From the outset, Jeremiah has been most reluctant to accept a commission of God which constitutes an assault on the people's morale. From the outset also, be has felt literally compelled to speak out (v. 8). He is mocked by everyone; his very sayings are turned back upon him as nicknames: "Terror on every side" (Magor missaviv; cf. Jer. 6:25; 46:5; 49:29; Ps. 31:14) they say when they see him.

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Pentecost - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • General Preface iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • The Day, of Pentecost 1
  • The Second Sunday After Pentecost 12
  • The Third Sunday After Pentecost 18
  • The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 24
  • The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 30
  • The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost 36
  • The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost 42
  • The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 47
  • The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost 52
  • References Cited 58
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