Jeremiah among the Prophets

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Jeremiah among the Prophets : 

Jeremiah among the Prophets Prophecy in the ancient Near East and in ancient Israel

An International Movement : 

An International Movement Klaus Koch – “Prophecy was an international movement”

Mari : 


Israelite and ANE Prophecy : 

Israelite and ANE Prophecy Prophet as messenger – “Now go, I send you. Thus you will say” (cf. Jer 1:7) Signs and portents Purification of the mouth (mīs pî ) “O Shamash, I am placing in my mouth pure cedar (resin). . . . I wiped my mouth with . . . cedar resin. . . . Being clean, to the assembly of the gods I shall draw near.” (A. Goetze’s translation of Babylonian prayer of a diviner) Compare Isa 6 (cedar wood? Cf. Jub21:12); Jer 1:9; Num 19:6

Israelite and ANE Prophecy : 

Israelite and ANE Prophecy Ecstatic prophecy – muhhû (Mari prophet) Visions Zabbu (self-inflicted wounds cf. 1 Kgs 18) eššeBu (letting hair grow long cf. 2 Kgs 1:8) Salvation (or War) oracle “Ishme-Dagan’s auxiliary troops will be scattered, furthermore, they will cut off the head of Ishme-Dagan and put it under the foot of my lord. Thus (my lord may say): ‘The army of Ishme-Dagan is large and if I arrive, will his auxiliary troops be scattered from him?’ It is Dagan, Adad . . .who march at my lord’s side.” (cf. 2 Chron 20:14ff) Scattering of Army and “God will deliver into your hand”

Israelite and ANE Prophecy : 

Israelite and ANE Prophecy Prophets as covenant lawyers (the rîb) Marriage Suzerain-vassal treaty Adoption Critique of cultic religion in the face of moral failure

Israelite vs. ANE Prophecy : 

Israelite vs. ANE Prophecy Rejection of divination Mari used both intuitive prophecy and divination Israel prohibited from divination (Deut 18) Prophecy = alternative to divination Haruspicy – inspection of entrails (Ezek 21:21; barûm = haruspex) extispicy hepatoscopy Necromancy (1 Sam 28:7) Belomancy (Ezek 21:21) Cleromancy (Jonah 1)

Israelite vs. ANE Prophecy : 

Israelite vs. ANE Prophecy Concerns of Hebrew Prophecy Socio-ethical Religious National/global Concerns of Mari Prophecy Mundane concerns Daily living (construction of bldgs or city-gates) King’s wellbeing (Lokalpatriotism) Centrality of Israelite prophet vs. marginality of Mari prophet Authoritative prophecy vs. suggestive prophecy

Function of Prophet : 

Function of Prophet Terminology not particularly helpful (prophet, seer, visionary, man of God) “Now, then, return the man’s wife since he is a prophet so that he can intercede for you. Therefore, choose life! Otherwise, if you do not repent, know for certain that you will die – you and all who are associated with you.” Genesis 20:7 (author’s translation) Abraham as prototypical prophet

Function of Prophet : 

Function of Prophet Recipient and mediator of God’s word (Gen 15:12-21; Jer 1:7-9) Witness of Shekinah in visions (Gen 15:17; absent in Jeremiah) Stands in the divine council (Gen 18:17-21; Jer 23:18-22; Psalm 82:1; 2 Kgs 22:19-22) Intercessor (Gen 18:22-23; Jer 7:16; 27:18)

Types of Prophetic Oracles : 

Types of Prophetic Oracles Work of Herman Gunkel & Claus Westermann Accounts – historical narratives (cf. Amos 7:10-17; Jonah; Isaiah 7) Prophetic oracles Doom oracles to individuals Doom oracles to God’s chosen nation (or groups within nation) Oracles against foreign nations Salvation oracles Prophetic prayers/confessions (cf. Jer. 15:15-18; Amos 4:13; 5:8-9; 9:5-6)

Slide 13: 

TIME pre-classical classical post-classical Accounts; historical narratives Prophetic Speeches Doom Oracles Indiv Natl OAN Salvation Oracles exile Prayers; confessions

Doom Oracles to Individuals : 

Doom Oracles to Individuals Introduction +/- commissioning of messenger Summons to hear YHWH’s word +/- identification of addressee Accusation Question or Declaration Announcement of Judgement “therefore, thus says YHWH . . .” or just “therefore . . .” or “hinneh (beware)” Description of judgment (lex talionis) Example: Jeremiah 22:11-19

Doom Oracles to God’s People : 

Doom Oracles to God’s People These often take the form of a covenant lawsuit (byr or reev): marriage, vassal treaties, adoption Call for witnesses God’s case against his people Their breech of covenant/specific instances of guilt Contrasted with God’s covenant loyalty Indictment/declaration of guilt The sentence Expressed in terms of covenant curses (Deut 28) Summons to repentance to avoid sentence Example: Jeremiah 2:4-19

Oracles Against the Nations : 

Oracles Against the Nations Perhaps oldest form of prophetic speech (Gottwald, Christensen) More likely a development of Zion theology. Constitutes significant section of all major and some minor prophets Isa 13-23 Jer 46-51 Ezek 25-32 Amos 1:3-2:6; Zeph 2:4-15 Often take the form of a doom oracle May take the form of a taunt or lament (cf. Ezek 27; Isa 14) Sometimes end on a note of salvation (Jer 48:47; 49:6,39)

Oracles Against the Nations : 

Oracles Against the Nations OAN serve as a thematic transition from Doom oracles to Israel to Salvation Oracles to Israel. Judgment against the nations is the signal of salvation to Israel. In turn, salvation oracles specifically addressed to Israel eventually expand to include all the earth. Israel is saved to serve and bring salvation to the nations (Isaiah 2:1-7; 42:6; 56:7)

Disputation Speeches : 

Disputation Speeches Prophetic speeches conveying a “mock” debate between YHWH and his people. Provokes a dialogue between God and Israel Introduction Quotation Explanation Refutation 1 Rebuttal Refutation 2/Conclusion Examples: Jeremiah 18:11-18

Woe Oracles : 

Woe Oracles Begins with “woe!” (hoy) Description of offense/accusation Judgment Cf. Jeremiah 23:1-8 Another type of oracle = summons to repent Sometimes part of doom oracle Calling a righteous remnant out of the corrupt people (Jeremiah 3:11-14) Admonition Accusation threat

Salvation Oracles : 

Salvation Oracles Judgment in the prophets is normally with a view to renewal/salvation. Judgment is often a severe mercy, a step in the process of salvation. Indication of situation Prediction of salvation Concluding affirmation Vision accounts constitute a separate form that eventually evolves into apocalyptic literature Indication of vision/description Question Interpretation

Jeremiah's Contribution to Prophecy : 

Jeremiah's Contribution to Prophecy “What seems to be happening is that the basic prophetic idea of instrumentality, being called and used for a transcendent purpose, is becoming increasingly a matter not just of speaking but of a service tending toward a total life investment. While we do not detect a straightforward trajectory toward this point, the increased emphasis in Jeremiah on prayer, lamentation, suffering, interiority, identification with the grief and anger of God, are indicative in this sense and suggest a notable broadening in the way the prophetic function is perceived.” Joseph Blenkinsopp, A History of Prophecy in Israel. Louisville: WJK, 1983, 1996, p. 146.

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