PERSECUTED IN HIS HOME TOWN
The length of this lesson may alarm, but preparation for it only requires the reading of the chapters two or three times. One who has gone through Isaiah will soon catch the drift of the Spirit’s teaching and be able to break up the chapters into separate discourses and the discourses into their various themes. The main object of the lesson is to dwell on the prophet’s personal experience in his home town which is reached in the closing chapters.
It is thought that the discourses in this section were delivered prior to the finding of the law-book in 2 Kings, which explains their more moderate tone as compared with the later ones, but this is a feature not relevant to this work.
Note in chapter 2 the divine expostulation (Jeremiah 2:1-13); the reminder of the divine goodness (Jeremiah 2:14-22); the vain excuses made by the nation (Jeremiah 2:23-28); and the lamentation of the Lord over its condition (Jeremiah 2:29 to Jeremiah 3:5).
In chapter 3, beginning afresh at Jeremiah 3:6, we have God’s complaint against Judah for learning nothing from “her treacherous sister,” i.e., from Israel’s experience (Jeremiah 3:6-11); this is followed by a plea to that same Israel (now scattered through the north country by Assyria), to return if she would, and mercy would be shown her. In this connection the promise for the future is set before her (Jeremiah 3:12-17); Judah and Israel will be reunited then, and so on to Jeremiah 4:1-2.
Chapter 4 and the following, indicate that a mere outward reformation is not sufficient to bring divine blessing. Judgment is coming from the north! “A lion out of his thicket!” “A stormwind!” The prophet laments.
In chapter 7 there is a call to repentance and a spiritual religion. In chapters 8 and 9 coming judgment is again announced.
THE TREACHERY OF FRIENDS
Coming to Jeremiah 11:18, we see the beginnings of the persecution that farther on became so bitter against the prophet as to make him a striking type of the suffering Savior. It takes its rise among his neighbors and kinfolk in Anathoth. At first he is unsuspicious, but God reveals the plot to him. They would kill him, destroying the tree to be rid of the fruit. He appeals to God, whose answer is in the closing verses of the chapter. Anathoth was to suffer, but not immediately.
In chapter 12 the prophet expresses his surprise at this in the spirit of Job, and that of Psalms 37, 73. The divine comfort he receives is to be told that worse things will follow. His friend Josiah is now on the throne, but wait till he is gone and Jehoiakim and Zedekiah reign! He is now like a man running a race with men, but then it will be like running a race with horses! He is dwelling in a land of comparative peace now, but then he will be in “the swellings of Jordan.”
To understand this keep the politics of the period in mind. Judah is turning to Egypt for help against Babylon, the Gentile nation now in great power. But the divine purpose is that she shall submit herself to the yoke of Babylon. The prophet is proclaiming this against a strong party in the nation that will not have it so. They consider him a pessimist, a traitor to his country who must be silenced. And silenced he would have been if it were not for God.
1. How should one prepare himself to get the results out of these lessons?
2. When, presumably, was this series of discourses delivered, and how is that fact supposed to be exhibited in them?
3. Name some of the leading features of these discourses.
4. Of whom is Jeremiah a type, and in what aspect?
5. Give the history of his earliest persecution.
6. Who is the human author of Psalms 73?
7. How does God “comfort” the prophet?
8. What is the outward cause of his persecution?
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Gray, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 2". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany