With the ancient Near East in a state of ferment and the nation of Judah experiencing a succession of political crises, God stationed a man on the scene to speak the divine word. Jeremiah was called by God to the unhappy task of telling an unheeding nation it was going to be judged and destroyed. Often he seemed to despair, yet he continued to utter God's truth fearlessly, leaving as part of his spiritual legacy a demonstration of a man's ability to make religious life an essentially personal relationship with God. The structural analysis of this commentary, along with the historical and cultural background it provides, opens up to modern readers one of the Old Testament's most fascinating books.
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“Jeremiah seems to have been influenced profoundly by the way in which Josiah consistently renounced the corrupt polytheism which his father Amon and his grandfather Manasseh had espoused.” (Page 17)
“The unchanging constancy of God furnishes a firm ground for the tentative outreachings of hope for the future.” (Page 230)
“About five years after Josiah instituted his reforms in Jerusalem, Jeremiah received a divine call to prophesy to the people of Judah. Between this time (c. 626 bc)2 and the religious reformation of 621 bc, Jeremiah concentrated upon warning the nation about the imminent invasion from the north (1:13f.) and denouncing the various corruptions of contemporary life. When a law-scroll was discovered in the temple during renovations to the fabric of the building it was brought to the attention of the king, and the resultant reformation which Josiah instituted brought Jeremiah to the forefront as a vocal exponent of the covenant relationship between God and Israel (11:1–8).” (Pages 17–18)
“However, if the book of Job describes calamity and its outcome in the area of personal life, Lamentations can be said to deal with the problem of suffering at the national level, treating as it does of the supreme crisis which saw the end of community life as previously experienced in Judah.” (Page 203)
“The Mosaic covenant will not be sufficiently flexible for the new age of divine grace, and so will be replaced. The new covenant will be written deeply into the wills of the Israelites, who will obey it by choice rather than by compulsion. Past apostasy will be replaced by an attitude of fidelity to God, so that never again will the nation be in bondage to others. Jeremiah insists that apostasy is at the root of all Israel’s troubles.” (Page 139)