PPL 8 Covenant Curses and Prophetic Complaints

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PPL 8: Covenant Curses and Prophetic Complaints : 

PPL 8: Covenant Curses and Prophetic Complaints Jeremiah 11 - 15

Structure : 

Structure Limits of unit defined by a large inclusio bracketing all of Jer 1-15 (1:19; 15:20) Jer 16 begins with narrative corresponding to those beginning Jer 1-6 and 7-15 Unit consists of two cycles of covenant curses followed by prophetic complaints/ imprecations Cycle 1 (11:1-12:6) Cycle 2 (12:7-15:21) Role of Jeremiah’s complaints in Jer 11-20

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I. Covenant curses followed by prophetic complaint (11:1 – 12:6) A. Chapter 11:1-17 is structurally parallel to chapter 7:1-20 1. Three oracles regarding breech of covenant (11:1-13) a) A curse on the one who breaks covenant (11:1-5) i. word-event formula (11:1) ii. furnace imagery implies refinement of metal (Deut 4:20; 1 Kgs 8:51; Prov 17:3; Isa 48:10) b) The experience of all of the Covenant curses in this generation (11:6-8) c) Judah’s first hand experience of the futility of idolatry (11:9-13) 2. Prohibition against intercession on behalf of Judah (11:14-17) a) Don’t pray. I will not listen. (7:16; 11:14) b) What use is sacrifice? (7:21; 11:15) c) The image of the olive tree (11:16; cf. Deut 24:20; Isa 17:6; 24:13; Hos 14:4-6; Zech 4:11-12; Rom 11:17-24). The planting imagery from 1:10) d) They provoke me with idolatry. (7:18; 11:17)

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B. Chapter 11:18-12:6 – Jerermiah struggles with YHWH’s call 1. Jeremiah’s imprecation against his kin in Anathoth (11:18-20) 2. YHWH’s promise of vengeance on Jeremiah’s kin in Anathoth (11:21-23) 3. Jeremiah takes YHWH to court (12:1-6)

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II. Covenant curses followed by prophetic complaint (12:7 – 15:21) A. Chapter 12:7 – 17 Yahweh’s Promise to Punish Judah and Those Who Seek to Profit from her Demise 1. 12:7-13 The desolation of YHWH’s people and land 2. 12:14-17 A Warning to Israel’s Neighbors not to touch Israel’s Inheritance

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II. Covenant curses followed by prophetic complaint (12:7 – 15:21) B. Chapter 13:1 – 27 Judah’s pride and the ruin it brings 1. 13:1-11 Symbolic act and interpretation: Judah is ruined a) Loincloth indicates the intimate nature of YHWH’s covenant with Judah b) Linen recalls the priestly undergarments worn during sacrifice and ritual (Exod 28:42-43; Lev 16:4; Exod 19:6) c) Significance of Location d) Messiah girded with righteousness/faithfulness (Isa 11:5) 2. 13:12-14 A prophetic proverb and interpretation: Judah’s drunkenness 3. 13:15-27 The exile, rape, and humiliation of Judah

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Anathoth Khirbet Farah

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C. Chapter 14:1 – 15:9 Covenant curses of drought, famine, and exile D. Chapter 15:10 – 21 Jeremiah struggles with YHWH’s call (again) 1. Jeremiah’s first complaint and YHWH’s answer (15:10-12) triggered by the mention of a woman who bore seven (15:9). 2. A brief judgment oracles against Jeremiah’s enemies (15:13-14). The promise to give Judah’s wealth away mirrors the promise made to Passhur (20:4-6) clarifying the judgment oracle as part of YHWH’s response to Jeremiah’s complaint though directed to his enemies. 3. Jeremiah’s second complaint (15:15-18) a) contrast between Jeremiah’s response to the divine word and Judah’s response as portrayed by Jehoiakim in Jer 36 (15:16) b) contrast between Jeremiah’s angry grief and Judah complacent revelry (15:17). c) Jeremiah thinks his wound is incurable but it is not. Judah’s wound is incurable (Jer 8:21-22; 30:12-15)

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4.YHWH’s answer (15:19-21) a) YHWH’s call for Jeremiah’s repentance (15:19) i. Jeremiah called to stand before YHWH not to sit in defeat and self-pity. ii. Jeremiah rebuked for speaking what is worthless, i.e. for accusing YHWH of being a deceitful brook when He is really a reliable spring (2:13). YHWH, unlike Judah’s idols can be counted on for salvation. iii. Jeremiah’s firm stance essential to Judah’s eventual repentance. By resolutely turning to YHWH and not doubting his all-sufficiency, Jeremiah models what Judah should do but will not. b) YHWH’s reassurance of deliverance (15:20-21) i. Not Jerusalem, but Jeremiah is the inviolable city. He will endure both Judah’s persecution and Judah’s judgement. ii. The promise of 15:21 could be viewed as having double significance – first to Jeremiah but subsequently to the exiles (cf. 12:14-17)

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