Examine the compositional sources, textual witnesses, chronology, and theological significance of Jeremiah with Peter Craigie. Review and evaluate modern critical perspectives to Jeremiah, and consider the legacy of nineteenth-century “higher critical” understanding of Jeremiah as an evolutionary document. Organized for easy reference, Word Biblical commentaries make an ideal Bible study companion whether you are studying a single passage or a complete biblical book.
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“Jer 8:4–12 described the almost unheard-of situation of a people perpetually apostate. In these verses we have the response of both the people and Jeremiah to this situation. These verses are written in the shadow of the Babylonian invasion. The people seem unaware of the reason for their punishment and are resigned to their fate. They are content to retreat to their fortified cities and weep over their losses (8:14). They feel they have trusted God to no avail, for the sounds of defeat are closing in upon them (8:15–16). Jeremiah also weeps over the situation. He weeps not just because of the calamity coming upon the people but mainly because of their blindness (8:19–21).” (Page 140)
“Unlike many of the biblical prophets, who remain perpetually as figures in the shadows of history, Jeremiah stands out as a truly human figure. He is torn between faith and doubt, he is deeply involved in the contemporary affairs of his time, and, in the pages of his book, he passes from youth to old age against the backdrop of the history of his era.” (Page xxxvii)
“The call, in other words, was to be a prophet in an international setting; though the primary message was to Judah, its implications involved no less Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and other states.” (Page 11)
“But the invitation to search is followed by a warning; he may find people superficially orthodox, who use the proper formula of oaths (‘As the Lord lives,’ v 2), but their language is false, a hypocritical veneer covering the lies within.” (Page 87)
“Either, we may suppose that the prophet saw a branch in bud: soon the beautiful almond blossom would break forth from the bud in splendid flower. Or, it is possible that the branch was already in flower, an incontestable sign of the advent of spring. In the first instance, the vision would indicate to Jeremiah that the divine word he was to proclaim was like the blossom in bud: it was about to break forth. In the second instance, the proclamation of the word was itself a sign of the advent of God’s action in bringing about the substance of the prophetic word. In both approaches, there is a sense of certainty and inevitability; the prophetic word declared by Jeremiah would necessarily be fulfilled.” (Page 16)
Peter C. Craigie (1938–1985) was dean of the faculty of humanities at the University of Calgary. He is the author of The Book of Deuteronomy: New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Ugarit and the Old Testament: The Story of a Remarkable Discovery and its Impact on Old Testament Studies, and The Problem of War in the Old Testament.