The End is the Beginning is the End

Hope after Exile

Is it bright where you are, Have the people changed Does it make you happy you're so strange And in your darkest hour, I hold secrets flame You can watch the world devoured in it's pain ² The Smashing Pumpkins, The End is the Beginning is the End

´Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.µ ² Deuteronomy 30:4-6

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke« But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. ² Jeremiah 31:31-34

Abstract When the final form of the book of Jeremiah arrive d, hot off the press, Israel had just experienced her darkest hour. Babylon has destroyed the nation of Israel, with Yahweh¨s imprimatur. Hope should be lost. The book of Jeremiah then functions as a manual of hope for post-exilic Israel. A nation grappling with questions of identity the fundamental doubt that Yahweh has finally deserted them. and

The book recounts Jeremiah¨s predictions of judgment, predictions that have proven, for the implied reader, to be chillingly accurate. As post-exilic Israelite grapples with questions of identity, there come words of hope for the future.

I will argue that the ©hope in Jeremiahª rests in God¨s promises to his people made throughout the nation¨s history, though especially those of Deuteronomy 30:1 -10, and in the form of a future covenant, where God will step in and realigns Israel¨s hearts.

The End is the Beginning The book of Jeremiah is a message of hope for the hopeless, a promise of delivery for those who hav e just experienced judgment at Yahweh¨s hands. It presents hope on the basis of Yahweh¨s continuing faithfulness to his people , despite their circumstances.

I will argue that this message of hope is a reminder of Yahweh¨s promises, and his faithfulness to them, with particular allusions to Deuteronomy 30 in the Book of Consolation¨s prom ise of a new covenant (Jer 30-31). His message of hope is that even though they have been separated from their land, their temple, their king, and in breach of the original covenant, they are still Yahweh¨s people.

In order to establish this case this piece will argue that Jeremiah and his readers were familiar with ©Deuteronomic theology,ª and particularly the promises of Deuteronomy 30 . The theological relationship between Jeremiah and Deuteronomy is well established, but chronologically complex. It is the opinion of this author that Josiah¨s ©Book of the Lawª has some relationship to Deuteronomy, and that the prophet Jeremiah was familiar with its discovery as he spoke .1

I will argue that understanding the role of a prophet, and the relationship between prophet and book is integral to understanding its

D.W.B Robinson, Josiah·s Reform and the Book of the Law, (Cambridge: Tyndale Press, 1951), 4-40, W.L Holladay, ¶Jeremiah and Moses : further observations,· Journal of Biblical Literature, 85 no 1 Mr 1966, p 17-27, W.L Holladay, ¶Background of Jeremiah's self-understanding : Moses, Samuel, and Psalm 22,· Journal of Biblical Literature, 83 no 2 Je 1964, p 153-164.

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message, 2 and that the final form of the book is ultimately the locale of its hope. The message of Jeremiah the prophet differs slightly from the message of Jeremiah the book . While the prophet spoke a message of judgment, the book speaks a message of hope. The promises of judgment describe Israel¨s past, the promises of hope give Israel a future. 3

For exiled Israel, Jeremiah¨s hope is a new beginning, a new exodus, a new Jerusalem, a new king, and a new relationship with Yahweh, marked by a new covenant.
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Babylon will only be a temporary

measure (Jeremiah 25:11), and Israel will be restored (Jeremiah 29:10). It will not be the same Israel that emerges from exile. Israel¨s relationship with Yahweh will be marked not by the Ark of the Covenant, temple sacrifices, or circumcision, but rather internal change at Yahweh¨s initiative.

Jeremiah and Deuteronomic Theology There is a universally acknowledged thematic link between Deuteronomy and Jeremiah, 5 the question then becomes one of
2

For the sake of clarity within this piece, the canonical work of Jeremiah will be distinguished from the person of Jeremiah. It is almost impossible to completely separate the two from this distance, though many scholars have tried, there is a good case to be made for a compositional history of the book. It is possible to acknowledge such a history without removing Jeremiah, as an historical figure, from the production of the book. See, for example, W. Brueggemann, The theology of the book of Jeremiah . (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Pr, 2007), Chapter 1 3 The original recipients of the final form of the book of Jeremiah, the exiled nation of Israel, were well aware of their current situation, the subject of Jeremiah·s oracles of judgment. For the exiled Israelite, it is the unfulfilled hopes of the book that give a sense of purpose and meaning. 4 Even scholars from the more critical end of the spectrum identify the book of Jeremiah as the starting point of post-exilic hope. R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah: Prophet of Hope,· Review & Expositor, 78 no 3 Sum 1981, p 345-363. ´In a quite striking fashion Jeremiah, who has in popular estimation been remembered as "the weeping prophet," was the prophet through whom the me ssage of hope for the rebirth of Israel came to the fore.µ 5 See, for example, R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah 1-25 and the Deuteronomistic History·, Understanding poets and prophets: Essays in Honour of George Wishart Anderson, ed A.G Auld, (Sheffield: JSOT, 1993), 102

priority

does Jeremiah build on the theology of Deuteronomy, or

were both produced together, in final form, by the same group of authors,6 the assumptions behind this latter view are that Jeremiah could not possibly have thought or taught in a Deuteronomic theological framework. 7

Chronological issues such as the dat ing of Deuteronomy, the start of Jeremiah¨s ministry, the discovery of the scroll by Josiah, and the associated reforms have bearing on how one interprets the book. 8

The book of Jeremiah internally attests to its own compositional history,9 with words attributed to both Jeremiah, and Baruch the scribe (Jer 36),10 and on the basis of similarities to Deuteronomy, 11

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C.R Seitz, Theology in Conflict: Reactions to the Exile in the book of Jeremiah , (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 1989), 2 suggests the works are strikingly similar and this similarity into account in interpreting Jeremiah, W. Brueggemann, ¶Meditation upon the Abyss: The Book of Jeremiah,· Word and World, Vol 22, No. 4, Fall 2002, 343, ´They [the Deuteronomists] continued in their imaginative interpretation in order to extrapolate from Deuteronomy for the sake of the ongoing life and faith of the community of faith in and through the exile. The proposal that the ´Deuteronomistsµ shaped the book of Jeremiah suggests t hat they took up the remembered poems of ´historical Jeremiahµ ³a character now lost to us³and shaped, arranged, and interpreted these materials, inserting among them their own work in prose in order to create a pattern of interpretation.µ 7 M. Leuchter, Josiah's reform and Jeremiah's scroll . (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006), 10 suggests the critics advocating a Deuteronomic redaction have performed a service for scholarship in identifying thematic markers, but that there is ´no reason to assume the book·s redactions should be attributed to a group unrelated to the writer(s) of the original oracles.µ At 13, Leuchter identifies an incident, held to be authentically composed by Jeremiah, where the prophet demonstrates a familiarity with Deuteronomic theology ² Jer 29:5-7 relates to Deuteronomy 20:5-10. 8 Seitz, Theology in Conflict, 2-3, M. Leuchter, Josiah's reform and Jeremiah's scroll , 9 suggests that the similarities suggest ´common heritageµ and that this places the date of parenetic prose in Jere miah somewhere between the late seventh and mid sixth centuries BC ² when Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic History are said to have been composed. 9 M. Leuchter, Josiah's reform and Jeremiah's scroll , 1, in a summary of scholarly positions on Jeremiah·s composition, suggests the debate about the compositional nature of Jeremiah is such that any consensus is hard to establish, except perhaps around the idea that somewhere, at sometime, there lived a man named Jeremiah, he later (8) describes Jeremiah·s testimony to its own development as ´an assortment of collections that constantly form and dissolve their own boundaries and parametersµ. 10 W. Brueggemann, ¶Meditation upon the Abyss: The Book of Jeremiah,· Word and World, Vol 22, No. 4, Fall 2002, 341, see also his The theology of the book of Jeremiah . (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Pr, 2007), J.A Dearman, ¶My Servants the Scribes: Composition and Context in Jeremiah 36,· JBL 109/3 (1990) 403-421

critical scholarship has created an elaborate compositional history where a post-exilic school of Deuteronomic scribes, possibly from the family of Shapan, produced the final form of the book alongside the book of Deuteronomy,
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to consolidate their newfound power and

theologically shape Judaism post exile. 13 Brueggemann (1985, 2007) suggests that this accounts for the twin messages of the book Jeremiah was a prophet of judgment, while the redactors fill the book with a message of hope,14 Clements (1996) has suggested this is a common canonical structure for the prophetic books. 15 Dearman (1990) argues for an appropriate middle ground between the book¨s own record of its compositional history, critical scholarship, and epigraphical evidence to suggest a body of scribes with an interest in

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Clements, and others, have published widely on this similarity, se e for example R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah 1-25 and the Deuteronomistic History,· 96-109, Clements suggests this history is most obvious in those chapters, while C.R Seitz, Theology in Conflict: Reactions to the Exile in the book of Jeremiah , (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 1989), 231 suggests the redactors are most active in chapters 21-45 12 C.R Seitz, Theology in Conflict: Reactions to the Exile in the book of Jeremiah , (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 1989), 285, and W. Brueggemann, ¶Abyss,· 342, support this hypothesis, as does M. Leuchter, Josiah·s Reform and Jeremiah·s Scroll , 172, The question of the role of scribes in producing canonical versions of prophetic teaching within the post-exilic period is an interesting question with little to no bearing in the scope of this piece. 13 The compositional history of the book is almost universally acknowledged, see for example, G. Yates, ¶New Exodus And No Exodus In Jeremiah 26²45 Promise And Warning To The Exiles In Babylon,· Tyndale Bulletin 57.1 (2006) 1-22, those supporting the more complex socio-political basis of this history is a slightly narrower field, for example, W. Brueggemann, ¶Abyss,· 341-345 ´Thus, the book of Jeremiah, in its final form, becomes a harbinger of emerging Judaism t hat came to full expression in the scribal -Torah movement around Ezra, a movement already anticipated in the Deuteronomic -scribal work of the book of Jeremiah that was a remarkable combination of theological passion and political acumen.µ, he cites R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah 1-25 and the Deuteronomistic History·, Understanding poets and prophets: Essays in Honour of George Wishart Anderson, ed A.G Auld, (Sheffield: JSOT, 1993), 107-122, also R,P. Carroll, From Chaos to Covenant: Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah, (New York, Crossroad, 1981), and R.E Clements, ¶Prophets, Editors, and Tradition,· "The place is too small for us" ed Robert P. Gordon. (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1995).444-447 describes the academic development of this idea before urging caution between giving the editors too much free hand, and also too much a role as ´preserversµ of Jeremiah·s teaching. 14 W. Brueggemann, ¶A Second Reading of Jeremiah After The Dismantling, Ex auditu 1 1985, p 156168, The theology of the book of Jeremiah. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Pr, 2007), 9-11, R.E Clements, ¶On Prophecy,· Old Testament Theology: A Fresh Approach (London: Marshall: Morgan & Scott, 1978) 140 15 Ronald E. Clements, ´Patterns in the Prophetic Canon,µ Old Testament Prophecy: From Oracles to Canon, (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996) 191-202.

promulgating Jeremiah¨s thought were involved in the process of collecting and disseminating his works. 16

The Book¨s rhetorical purpose is broader than supplying political propaganda supporting one Jewish community over its rivals . It serves as both promise and warning to the exiles events have

demonstrated the truth of Jeremiah¨s words, which should prompt a reaction from readers hoping to return from exile and avoid future punishment.
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Jeremiah and the Book of Deuteronomy Extreme views of the Deuteronomic influence on the final form of Jeremiah minimise the impact the prophet has on the shape of his titular work. Prophet and book are less separate than some argue. 18 Jeremiah¨s message of ho pe, especially in the ©Book of Consolationª, is a restating and development of the themes of repentance and redemption from Deuteronomy 30. 19 Many assumptions of the critical stream of Biblical scholarship, when assessing the theology of Jeremiah, rest on a post -exilic composition of Deuteronomy. This assum ption goes largely unchallenged and is based on conclusions drawn from a logically fallacious begged

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J.A Dearman, ¶My Servants the Scribes: Composition and Context in Jeremiah 36,· JBL 109/3 (1990) 403-421 17 G. Yates, ¶New Exodus And No Exodus In Jeremiah 26²45 Promise And Warning To The Exiles In Babylon,· Tyndale Bulletin 57.1 (2006) 1-22., 17-19 18 J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: Prophet and Book, 82-85 19 Contra Unterman·s polarising treatment of the two ideas as a marker of development in Jeremiah·s thought, J. Unterman, From Repentance to Redemption, 177 where he suggests Jeremiah·s prophecies of redemption are anti-Deuteronomic in perspective, J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: Prophet and Book, 90 suggests Unterman·s contrast between repentance and redemption cannot be maintained because it does not consider Deuteronomy·s reflection on the relationship between repentance and redemption.

question.20 This first assumption, that Deuteronomy is a late composition by a Deuteronomic school leads to the circular notion that anything that looks Deuteronomic is a late redaction. The assumption that Jeremiah was unfamiliar with Deuteronomic theology for the entirety of his ministry is a difficult position to justify, let alone theologically (especially if such theology is an accurate representation of Yahweh¨s will and relationship with his people). Acknowledging the existence of a Deuteronomic school which pl ayed a part in the formation of the canonical form of the text does not mean that every occurrence of Deuteronomic theology is the result of said school. The theory that similar passages in 2 Kings, Deuteronomy, and Jeremiah that have each been inserted b y the same Deuteronomic redactors relies on the aforementioned logical fallacies.
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It seems plausible that Jeremiah was aware of the theology of Deuteronomy,22 and based his prophetic ©hope oraclesª on Yahweh¨s commitment to his promises. Jeremiah began his ministry in some proximity to Josiah¨s discovery of the ©book of the lawª in the eighteenth year of his reign (2 Kings 22), 23 five years after Jeremiah¨s
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For a more detailed, but still not comprehensive, dismissal of the assumptions leading to the critical position, and the importance of establishing a date for one·s understanding of the Old Testament, see G. Wenham, ¶The Date of Deuteronomy: Lynchpin of Old Testament Criticism,· Themelios 11.1 (September 1985): 15-18. 21 While this seems like a simple logical axiom, W.L Holladay, ¶The so -called ¶Deuteronomic Gloss· in Jer VIII 19b,· Vetus testamentum, 12 no 4 O 1962, 496, felt compelled to say: ´one cannot label every occurrence of a phrase as Deuteronomic simply because most of the occurrences are Deuteronomic.µ M. Leuchter, Josiah·s Reform and Jeremiah·s Scroll , 169 develops this idea further, suggesting Jeremiah identified his mission as Deuteronomistic ´we can no longer speak of the prophet J eremiah as a thinker whose work was brought into a Deuteronomic fold only by later redactors. Deuteronomistic thought permeates both the poetry and the prose, and formal differences should not necessarily be understood as evidence of different authorship.µ 22 Unterman, From Repentance to Redemption,177-8, follows Kaufmann in suggesting that Jeremiah studied Deuteronomy at Anatoth 23 Following Robinson, BLAH, I am suggesting that the Book of the Law is an early, or possibly complete, form of Deuteronomy, contra K. Stott, ¶Finding the Lost Book of the Law: Re-reading the

call (Jer 1:2)

Holladay (1964 and 1966) argues that Jeremiah is

equating his calling with his birth in this passage, and thus his prophetic preaching began significantly later, 24 indeed, after Josiah¨s discovery of what could reasonably be argued was an early form of Deuteronomy,25 Holladay suggests Jeremiah 15 describes the prophet¨s response to the scrol l discovered by Josiah. 26 Even those committed to a late Deuteronomic redaction of Jeremiah are open to the idea that expressions of hope were possible under Josiah¨s reign.27

The final form of Jeremiah cannot be adequately explained as the work of a Deuteronomic school, a better explanation is that it represents Jeremiah¨s mature reflections on the exile and his own Deuteronomic view of the world. 28

While many scholars have suggested thematically unifying the ©authenticª teachings of Jeremiah is an impossib le task, it may be that the unfolding narrative of Jeremiah¨s life is the key to understanding
Story of 'The Book of the Law' (Deuteronomy-2 Kings) in Light of Classical Literature,· Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 30.2 (2005), 153-169 who suggests the book of the law is a literary invention in a common ANE style, see also J. Ben-Dov, ¶Writing as Oracle and as Law: New Contexts for the Book-Find of King Josiah, JBL 127, no. 2 (2008): 223²239 24 W.L Holladay, ¶The years of Jeremiah's preaching,· Interpretation, 37 no 2 Ap 1983, 144-159, this would also explain Jeremiah·s absence from the Deuteronomic History more plausibly than those explanations that suggest Jeremiah was scrubbed out of that history by powerful, pro-Babylon, Deuteronomists ² see Dearman, ¶Composition and Context in Jeremiah 36,· JBL, 420 25 While scholarly opinion is divided over the identity of this book ² it seems, based on the nature of the reforms carried out in Josiah·s response to its discovery, that it very closely resembled Deuteronomy ² whether an early or final form ² see DWB, Robinson, Josiah's Reform and the Book of the Law. (London: Tyndale Pr, 1951), R.E Clements, ¶Prophets, Editors, and Tradition,· 447 argues for the work of a pro Babylonian panel of editors at work on the text. 26 W.L Holladay, Jeremiah and Moses: further observations, Journal of Biblical Literature, 85 no 1 Mr 1966, 15 27 R.E Clements, ¶On Prophecy,· Old Testament Theology: A Fresh Approach, 141-142 ² though he suggests all such hope was lost as exile became inevitable, and then the normative experience of Israel. 28 McConville, Jeremiah: prophet and book, 93-95, M. Leuchter, Josiah·s Reform and Jeremiah·s Scroll , 169 ´

the change in his message from judgment to hope. 29 His life experiences are the thread that binds his work together .30 It is little wonder that critical scholarshi p, once it suggests this narrative is late addition, finds little coherence in Jeremiah¨s preaching.

Text v Prophet: Jeremiah was a prophet, Jeremiah is a book The nature of the hope put forward by the book Jeremiah depends greatly on one¨s views of the relationship between prophet and book. In recent times the interpretive emphasis has been focused on the book, rather than the prophet. 31

Jeremiah the Prophet Many scholars have gone so far as to suggest that Jeremiah is impossible to identify under layers of Deuteronomic redaction. Some, such as the German historicists, put locating beyond the historical figure beyond the means of the modern reader. These historicists attempt to recreate history solely from primary sources, 32 so give up on finding ©factsª wherever a document shows signs of a compositional history,33 concluding that ©what happened in ancient Israel [at the time of Jeremiah] in a positivistic way is no t possible
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McConville, Jeremiah: prophet and book, 93-95 As W. Brueggemann recognises when he suggests the presentation of the person Jeremiah within the book is for ´interpretive reasonsµ ² see note 14. 31 J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: prophet and book, Tyndale Bulletin 47.1 (May, 1991) 81. 32 H.M Barstad, ¶What Prophets Do. Reflections on Past Reality in the Book of Jeremi ah,· Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah, ed. H. M Barstad, and R.G Kratz, (Berlin: Walter De Guyter, 2009), 11 -15. The intellectual regime he refers to is that born out of German historicism, following in the footsteps of Gunkel, and earlier Von Ranke, who claimed that the task of the historian is to recontruct the past on the basis of primary sources alone. 33 ibid, Final forms, by their nature, involve piecing together primary sources ² so are not authentic historical records but rather edited forms, and adopting a final form reading rejects myriad readings from during the text·s development, ultimately Von Ranke·s view of the reconstruction of history has been rejected.

under the new intellectual regime .ª34 A more optimistic, and perhaps more Christian, view of the recording of history allows us some freedom to allow the final form of a Biblical book to be read as a theological retelling of historical events wit h a purpose. 35

Barstad (2009) dismisses the approach adopted by this historicist movement, suggesting recreations of history are within our grasp but to try to pin down exactly what happened in ancient Israel, or to create a portrait of the historical J eremiah, is to ask the wrong questions of the text, he wants to recreate Jeremiah as a phenomenon, rather than as a person. 36 Brueggemann (2002) suggests locating the person of Jeremiah is impossible, 37 though he acknowledges the traditions of the book are rooted in his person. 38

McConville (1991) suggests any reading that plays down the role of the prophet in the formation of the book, especially a Deuteronomic view, plays down its individuality and the role of Jeremiah in its composition, 39 and that studies of Jeremiah¨s message that seek to

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H.M Barstad, ¶What Prophets Do. Reflections on Past Reality in the Book of Jeremiah,· Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah, ed. H. M Barstad, and R.G Kratz, (Berlin: Walter De Guyter, 2009), 11 -15. 35 Following B. Childs, ¶The Canonical Shape of the Prophetic Literature,· Interpretation, 32 no 1 Ja 1978, p 46-55 36 Barstad, 11-15 ´We can recreate history, but not with the same certainty we thought we could« We can recreate Jeremiah not through the dismantling of the Jeremiah scroll, or an attempt to recreate the processes that once led from the historical Jeremiah of the 6 th Century BCE to the prophet of the present Jeremiah book, rather we should approach the historical prophet Jeremiah as a phenomenon. µ 37 W. Brueggemann, ¶Meditation upon the Abyss·, 341 dismisses completely the idea of discovering the historical Jeremiah ´It is now widely concluded that any ´historicalµ person of Jeremiah is in any case unrecoverable and that what we likely have in the text is an imaginative literary construct of the person of the prophet presented for interpretive reasons.µ 38 W. Brueggemann, The theology of the book of Jeremiah . (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Pr, 2007). 39 J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: prophet and book, Tyndale Bulletin 47.1 (May, 1991), 84

do it justice must think carefully about the relationship between man and book. 40

From the book of Jeremiah, and from third party testimony to his place in Israel¨s theological development (2 Chr 36:12), 41 and from the Talmudic tradition which holds him as the author of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and 1 -2 Kings,42 we can assume that Jeremiah the prophet was a man who spoke words of judgment and hope to Israel prior to the exile, an exile he experienced for himself.43 We can posit a plausible situation where Jeremiah was familiar with the theology of Deuteronomy,44 saw his role in terms of Deuteronomy 18¨s ©prophet like Moses,ª
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so framed his ministry according to the message Israel before, during, and after exile.

needed to hear

As Jeremiah spoke this message his audience were with him, taking part in Israel¨s history and in a position to respond to his prophecy.
40

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J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: prophet and book, 86 Tradition suggests Jeremiah penned Lamentations as well as his titular work, while some scholars have suggested he authored at least two of the Psalms. W.L, Halloday, ¶Indicators of Jeremiah·s Psalter,· JBL, 121/2, 2002, 245-261 42 S.D McBride, ¶Jeremiah and the Levitical Priests of Anathoth,· in Thus Says the Lord: Thus says the Lord; essays on the former and latter prophets in honor of Robert R. Wilson, ed J.J Ahn, S.L Cook, vol 502 Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 180-181 (n4) 43 J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: prophet and book, Tyndale Bulletin 47.1 (May, 1991), 84 suggests that even critical scholars acknowledge that Jeremiah preached repentance, C.R Seitz, ¶The Crisis Of Interpretation Over The Meaning And Purpose Of The Exile: A redactional study of Jeremiah xxi-xliii,· Vetus Testamentum, XXXV , 1 (1985) suggests this makes Jeremiah unique amongst the prophets ² that he experienced fulfillment of his oracles. 44 Following W.L Holladay, ¶Jeremiah and Moses : further observations,· 1966, and ¶Background of Jeremiah's self-understanding : Moses, Samuel, and Psalm 22,· 1964, and D.W.B Robinson, Josiah·s Reform and the Book of the Law, (Cambridge: Tyndale Press, 1951), 4-40 45 W.L Holladay, Jeremiah and Moses : further observations, Journal of Biblical Literature, 85 no 1 Mr 1966, p 17-27, and ¶Background of Jeremiah's self-understanding : Moses, Samuel, and Psalm 22,· Journal of Biblical Literature, 83 no 2 Je 1964, 153-164, also McBride, ¶Jeremiah and the Levitical Priests of Anathoth, 181 suggests the works of Jeremiah and Moses were used by the Deuteronomic redactors to bookend the Deuteronomic History, and that this Jeremiah as Moses relationship makes sense coming at either end of Israel·s history in the land, R.E Cleme nts, ¶Jeremiah 1-25 and the Deuteronomistic History·, 101, suggests the Deuteronomic redactors framed Jeremiah·s ministry as Mosaic in nature.

Readers of the canonical work are not waiting for judgment, they are adjusting to post-exilic life and trying to understand what their loss of the promised land means. Had Yahweh deserted Israel?

Jeremiah the Prophet

What is a Prophet?

Spoken prophecy could involve a prediction of future, but these predictions could be mitigated or abated by the response of its hearers.46 So it functions as a warning designed to prompt a response from its hearers, 47 this response is not the response required of the audience of its written form, which in the case of Jeremiah comes after the event . Prophets are as muc h forthtellers, as they are foretellers. 48

Establishing a prediction-fulfillment nexus is a criterion for determining true prophecy against false prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:15), which comes to the fore in Jeremiah¨s confrontation with Hananiah (Jer 28:9),49 but fulfillment is not the only measure of a true prophet.50 By

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At this point judging prophets on the outcomes of their predictions becomes only one applicable measure, contra R. Carroll, ¶Ancient Israelite prophecy and dissonance theory,· Numen, 24 no 2 Ag 1977, 141, who suggests that prophets were not concerned with the distant, but the immediate future, and that prediction was part of the job. He uses this framework to sugg est that Jeremiah was potentially a partly failed prophet because the return did not happen in his lifetime, though he suggests that the repentance element of the prophecy gives the prophet little chance of his prophecy being falsified. While Carroll stops short of suggesting that Jeremiah is a failed prophet, he suggests the early Christian church essentially hijacked the Jewish disappointment by interpreting unfulfilled prophecies as messianic predictions (147). 47 Carroll, ibid, acknowledges that this is an element of prophetic proclamation, while J.T Hibbard, ¶True and False Prophecy: Jeremiah·s revolution of Deuteronomy,· Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 35.3 (2011), 353, suggests this was an evolution in expectation of the prophetic role. Hibbard·s view becomes easier to defend taking a final form reading of the book and assessing its predictions and warnings from the perspective of the implied reader. J. Ben-Dov, ¶Writing as Oracle and Law,· 48 B. Childs, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 144, suggests they are more forthteller than foreteller. 49 How much Jeremiah framed his prophetic ministry in Mosaic terms is a question of some debate, Carroll tends to beg the question in order to promote his own theory that the covenant Jeremiah puts

Jeremiah¨s time this understanding of prophecy as warning had been realised.51 Both foretelling and forthtelling at play in the account of Jeremiah¨s ministry as the nature of his hopes change. And Jeremiah¨s message of hope is present in both aspects of his prophetic message. Some scholarship seems determined to measure development of Jeremiah¨s thought, 52 where perhaps it would be more appropriate to chart changes in his teaching based on his hi storical context. Pre-exile his hope is that Israel will repent and avoid punishment,
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post-exile his hope is that Yahweh will deliver and

restore Israel.54 It is this hope that permeates the canonical book of Jeremiah.

forward in the Book of Consolation is the Deuteronomic Covenant, with Jeremiah exemplifying the Deuteronomic standard of prophecy (Deut 18:15-22) ² a position argued for in R.P Carroll, From Chaos to Covenant: Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah , (New York, Crossroad, 1981), W.L Holladay, ¶Background of Jeremiah's self-understanding,· 1964, ¶Jeremiah and Moses : further observations,· 1966, J. BenDov, ¶Writing as Oracle and as Law,· 235 ² suggests a ´warµ between classical prophecy and institutional prophecy is at play in this conflict which explains Jeremiah·s hostile relationship with the prophets he encounters (Jer 23:9²40; 27:14²18; 28:1²16) 50 Speaking the truth and changing behaviour is another marker of successful prophecy, J.T Hibbard, ¶True and False Prophecy: Jeremiah·s revolution of Deuteronomy,· Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 35.3 (2011), 353 51 Especially following the ministry of Michah, though those holding to a later date for the entire composition of Deuteronomy believe that ´fulfillmentµ as a yardstick for prophecy was being established at around the time Jeremiah began his ministry ² see C.R Seitz The Crisis Of Interpretation Over The Meaning And Purpose Of The Exile: A redactional study of Jeremiah xxi-xliii, Vetus Testamentum, XXXV, 1 (1985), 78 52 Unterman, From Repentance to Redemption, (1987) identifies three stages of development in Jeremiah·s thought, suggesting that under Josiah, Jeremiah was hopeful that Israel would enjoy national repentance, then under Jehoiakim the hope rested with those experiencing judgment in Babylon. R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah: Prophet of Hope,· Review & Expositor, 78 no 3 Sum 1981, p 345-363 suggests that traces of hope in Jeremiah·s preaching are post-exilic, and that they represent his personal, surprised, revisions of his earlier works. 53 Which some scholars, eg Carroll, would suggest is indicative of his prophetic failure, a failure that must then be grappled with by the community in exile. Carroll tends to beg the question in order to promote his own theory that the covenant Jeremiah puts forward in the Book of Consolation is the Deuteronomic Covenant, with Jeremiah exemplifying the Deuteronomic standard of prophecy (Deut 18:15-22) ² a position argued for in R.P Carroll, From Chaos to Covenant: Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah , (New York, Crossroad, 1981) 54 This progression in Jeremiah·s ´authenticµ teaching is recognised by all, though labelled as a progression of thinking, by J. Unterman, From Repentance to Redemption, JSOT Supplement Series 54, (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1987), by Moberly, Prophecy and Discernment, 95-96, by J.G McConville Jeremiah:

Jeremiah the Book The message in Jeremiah¨s preaching (Jer 21:8 -10) is that Israel must make the same choice that confronts them in Deuteronomy 30 choose life, or choose death. The choice is between staying and dying, or choosing to enter captivity in Babylon. 55 The book of Jeremiah is a word of encouragement for those good figs living in Babylon awaiting restoration (Jer 24), Yahweh¨s judgment has passed, his readers have made the right choice. T he written work is a work of hope for Israel¨s future, teaching that Yahweh had not deserted his covenant promises.

Jeremiah is a piece of ©reflective theologyª,56 looking back on God¨s judgment and forward towards redemption. This is a development of a particularly Deuteronomic idea (especially Deuteronomy 30). Even if the final form of Jeremiah is the result of a Deuteronomic school seeking power in this post -exilic context, the message of hope in the final form of the book remains largely unchanged. Its rhetorical purpose is to provide a theological and sociological framework for Israel as it comes to terms with the events of 587BC ,57 moving the locus of Israel¨s identity from Temple to Torah, or from external to
Prophet and Book, 87, the timing of the progression is also a matter of consensus ² Jeremiah·s teaching changes under each king he addresses up to exile. 55 R. I. Thelle, ¶Babylon in the Book of Jeremiah (MT): Negotiating a Power Shift,· Prophecy in the Book of Jeremiah, ed. H. M Barstad, and R.G Kratz, (Berlin: Walter De Guyter, 2009), 194 56 J. G. McConville, Jeremiah: Prophet and Book, 86 57 Brueggeman, ¶Abyss,· ´Jeremiah moves beyond prejudgment of 587 (rolling corpus) to produce a ground for what becomes the reformation of the community of faith, now without monarchy, without a significant temple, without a safe city.µ, R.E Clements, ´Jeremiah 1-25 and the Deuteronomic History,µ Old Testament Prophecy, 107-122, G. Yates, ¶New Exodus And No Exodus,· 3 ´If Jeremiah 26² 45 were a drama, the plot would revolve around the question of ¶What is Israel·s future as God·s covenant people in light of the fall of Jerusalem, the removal of the Davidic king, and the exile that is narrated in these chapters?µ

internal and clearly demonstrating Yahweh¨s pivotal role in that process. 58

Judgment and hope are, without question the twin messages in the book of Jeremiah, 59 and since the Israelites have already experienced the former the rhetorical purpose of the book is found in the latter.

The God who judges is the God who produces hope. 60

Jeremiah¨s message of hope

A new, everlasting, covenant

Jeremiah is clear that the exile involves the failure of every institution of Israel the exodus, the Davidic line, and the covenant (Jer 31:32).61 This confirms the need for the renewal of these institutions. Renewal promised in the Book of Consolation, the locus of the main message of hope in Jeremiah. 62

The anti-exodus and the new exodus are two of the key themes of the narrative in the second half of the book. Jeremiah is identified

59

M. Leuchter, Josiah·s Reform and Jeremiah·s Scroll , 182 W, Brueggeman, ¶A Second Reading of Jeremiah After the Dismantling,· 157, even those holding to two authorial schools of though ² Jeremian and the Deuteronomic redactors ² suggest that these messages must be held together in the canonical form of the book. ´If we are to take the lit erature seriously in its fixed canonical form, then we must presume that this literature has integrity and the two parts are in important ways related to each other. While we cannot be clear about the literary and historical connections, we can assume that theologically the assertions of judgment and hope hold together because they are the work of the same God addressed to the same community, albeit in different circumstances.µ 60 ibid. 61 Yates, 3, ´If Jeremiah 26² 45 were a drama, the plot would revolve around the question of ¶What is Israel·s future as God·s covenant people in light of the fall of Jerusalem, the removal of the Davidic king, and the exile that is narrated in these chapters?µ 62 T. Rata, The Covenant Motif in Jeremiah·s Book of Comfort: Textual and intertextual studies of Jeremiah 30 -33, Studies in Biblical Literature vol 105, (New York, Peter Lang Publishing, 2007), 123

58

with Joseph (Jer 38:1-13), and Moses,

63

as the people show their

determination to undo the exodus (Jer 42:1-43:7).64

The failure of the Davidic kingship is another marker of this failure. Jeremiah was a supporter of Josiah¨s Deuteronomic reforms, and carried them on and developed them as Israe l moved through exile.65 The recording of his interactions with Josiah¨s ©sonsª Jehoiakim and Zedekiah (Jer 1:2) contains both explicit (Jer 22) and implicit negative comparisons with the reformer king. When Josiah discovers the written word of the Lord he launches nation wide reforms, when his son Jehoiakim is given scrolls containing the words of Jeremiah he burns the scroll and orders Jeremiah¨s execution (Jer 36) .66 Jeremiah¨s use of the name ©Zedekiahª is an ironic mockery (Jer 24:8-10),67 Zedekiah is passionately disinterested in righteousness. He is the last of the Davidic line, and the covenant has failed. The renewal of the kingship required the provision of a messianic ©righteous branchª who would have an especially close and permanent relationship with Yahweh (Jer 23:1-8, 30:31, 33:15-16).68

63

64

Yates, 5, ´As part of the exodus imagery, Jeremiah himself is portr ayed as a new Moses.µ Yates, 8, suggests ´this might at first recall Jacob·s family going down to Egypt when they were small in number prior to the exodus (cf. Exod. 1:7, 20; Deut. 26:5). However, this journey down to Egypt in defiance of the prophetic word.µ 65 M. Leuchter, Josiah's reform and Jeremiah's scroll , 16 suggests Jeremiah ´carries forward the impulse of Josiah·s reform but channels it in a significantly different directionµ ² I would suggest this channeling is as a response to the changing socio-political circumstances of Israel. 66 J. Ben-Dov, ¶Writing as Oracle and as Law,· 236 67 R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah: Prophet of Hope,· Review & Expositor, 78 no 3 Sum 1981, 349 68 Yates, New Exodus No Exodus, 9, 21, K. Mulzac, ¶The Remnant And The New Covenant In The Book Of Jeremiah,· Andrews University Seminary Studies, Autumn 1996, Vol. 34, No. 2, 247 -8 ´The magnitude of this renewal, especially in view of the Messiah's leadership (Jer 23:I -8), makes the exiles the only ones fulfilling the fullness of the promise of hope extended to the remnantµ

Jeremiah¨s hope has its antecedents early in the book, beginning before the exile (Jer 2:1 3, 3:14 4:4, 23:1 8, 24:4 7), and continuing as exile becomes the present reality where he describes the future for those Israelites carried off to exile into Babylon , and those who fled to Egypt. The former, the good figs (Jer 24), 69 who will return from exile after 70 years (Jer 25),70 and the latter, have literally reversed the exodus, and they are now bad figs. 71 Those who stayed in the land are also surprisingly framed in a negative light ,
72

and as the

story of Jeremiah pans out it is clear that they are not experiencing the promised covenant blessings. 73 It is the action of Yahweh that counts it is his decision who is good and who is bad, and his

actions that are the basis of hope ( Jer 24:4-7).74 This message is picked up again in the Book of Consolation, where the need for , and

69

Brueggemann, ¶A Second Reading,· 158-160 suggests this is a turning point in the message of the book ² towards a more hopeful outlook for Israel, though I would suggest, from a canonical reading, that this message winds through the earlier chapters of the book before being explicitly applied to Israel at this point ² Jeremiah·s ministry is framed from the beginning as switching between the poles of judgment and of hope. R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah: Prophet of Hope,· 346, suggests all Jeremiah·s hope rests on those in Babylon 70 G. Yates, 14 ´The clear intention of the book of Jeremiah is to demonstrate that the hopes for Israel·s future restoration as a nation lay with the exiles in Babylon, who appear t o have taken the brunt of YHWH·s anger.µ 71 Seitz, ¶The Crisis of Interpretation· 94-95 suggests this idea developed in exile, as the Babylonian Jewish community considered their identity, but it is more than possible that Jeremiah held this view himself, rather than it being a product of redaction ² if Jeremiah·s views on those who fled to Egypt (Jer 42:1322) are authentically his, which Seitz seems to acknowledge (94) then there is a consistent view put forward by prophet and book that paints the exilic community in Babylon as the true Israel in whom hope lies. 72 Particularly surprising if the heavy Deuteronomic redaction relied on by some scholars took place, the land is meant to be a huge part of Israel·s identity in Deuteronomic theology, but here tho se who have stayed in the land, as though they are still in the covenant relationship, are told quite clearly that they are not, it is clearly YHWH·s decision who is good and who is bad, it is not dependent on one·s geographic location. See Brueggemann, ¶A Second Reading of Jeremiah,· 158-159 73 G. Yates, ¶New Exodus and No Exodus,· 3 ² ´The contrast between the hope of chapters 30²33 and the doom of chapters 40²43 emphasises the fact that the experiences of the survivors remaining in the land post-586 (chs. 40²43) are the exact opposite of what Jeremiah envisages for Israel in the land at the time of the future restoration and renewal (chs. 30²33). As a result, these contrasts highlight the message of both promise and warning communicated in Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon.µ 74 W. Brueggemann, ¶A Second Reading of Jeremiah after the Dismantling,· 160

nature of, the ©new covenantª 75 is laid out (Jer 31:31-34). The new covenant will not include an immediate return from exile (Jer 27:12 17, 38:17-20),76 Yahweh¨s blessing is not solely dependant on living

in the land (Jer 29),77 but Israel¨s hope is based on such a return from the nations (Deuteronomy 30:1 -10, Jer 32:36ff), a new exodus, 78 an eventual return to their land (Jer 32:6-8, 15)79 as a reunited Israel (33:7)80 under a new king (Jer 23:5 -6, 33:19-26).81 For the time being, the implied reader¨s hope is to be found in remaining in Babylon, as a good citizen, trusting Y ahweh (Jer 29:4-9).

It is clear from the failure of the kingship, and the exodus, that Israel has done its best to turn its back on its covenant relationship with Yahweh, which is why the presentation of a new covena nt in the Book of Consolation is a surprising offer of hope to a nation questioning if they have been deserted by Yahweh. In a sense there is nothing new

75

G. Yates, 6, ´As in the first exodus, the deliverance from exile will be accompanied by the establishment of a covenant between YHWH and Israel, but this ¶new· covenant will be qualitatively different from the Sinaitic covenant in that it will guarantee Israel·s perpetual fidelity and obedience to its stipulations (cf. 31:31 -34; 32:3941). The future will be radically different in that there will be no need for Israel ever again to experience national judgement. This future act of salvation will secure the relationship between Y HWH and Israel intended but never fully realised by the first exodus.µ 76 Seitz, Theology in Conflict, 223, ´Nothing in this material stands at odds with pre -597 language, beyond a greater sensitivity to the possibility of continued life in Judah once the catastrophe of 597 had passed«µ but he still argues that it is a redaction. 77 B. Childs, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986) 244, Yates, ¶New Exodus and No Exodus,· 9 The role of the house of David is another specific point of contrast between chapters 30²33 and 40²43. 78 Yates, ¶New Exodus and No Exodus,· 4, ´Like other Old Testament prophets, Jeremiah portrays the promised return from Babylonian exile as a new exodus. Chapters 30²33 portray a new exodus surpassing the old in magnitude and scope (cf. 23:7-8).µ 79 R.E Clements, ¶Jeremiah: Prophet of Hope,· Review & Expositor, 78 no 3 Sum 1981, 350-351 80 Yates, ¶New Exodus and No Exodus,· 9, The Book of Consolation in panel one looks forward to the reuniting of Israel and Judah as one people. 81 ibid, 3, ´The answer of the Masoretic Text of Jeremiah is that there is hope for Israel·s glorious future that lies beyond the bleak experiences of the present. The future lies not with those who remained in the land following the fall of Jerusalem, but with those who will return from exile i n Babylon.µ, also, R.E Clements, Old Testament Theology, 145

about the new covenant, 82 Yahweh¨s promises are consistent with his promises throughout Israel¨s histor y (e.g. Gen 12, 17, Exodus 34, Deut 6, 30, 2 Samuel 7, Ezekiel 36) 83 prompting speculation that this consolation is an ironic device communicating to a people who have completely forgotten their place under the existing covenant .84 The exile hasn¨t changed the conduct of the people (Jer 40 -43) so now God must step in to change Israel¨s hearts (Jer 32:38 -41).85 The real difference in this ©new covenantª is that Yahweh steps in as guarantor on both sides of the agreement, because Israel demonstrably can¨t keep its side of the bargain. 86

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82

Contra D. Rom-Shiloni, ¶The Prophecy For ´Everlasting Covenantµ (Jeremiah XXXII 36-41): An Exilic Addition Or A Deuteronomistic Redaction?,· Vetus Testamentum, LIII,2, 2003, 201-223, who is keen to see a disjunction between the ´new covenantµ and the ´everlasting covenantµ ² rather than seeing Jeremiah·s work as a development on an older promise. He identifies five points of distinction between the covenants based not on theological but rather linguistic assumptions. 83 T. Rata, The Covenant Motif in Jeremiah·s Book of Comfort: Textual and intertextual studies of Jeremiah 30 -33, Studies in Biblical Literature vol 105, (New York, Peter Lang Publishing, 2007), 123 suggests the covenant inherits the promises of the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants. 84 W.B Wallis, ¶Irony in Jeremiah·s Promise of a New Covenant,· Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society, 107-110, W. Brueggemann, Abyss, 344-345, ´Best known in this corpus, of course, is th e ´new covenantµ passage of 31:31-34 that asserts Yahweh·s readiness to restore the relation of Sinai with this chosen people, an old covenant now reconstituted on new grounds.µ 85 Yates, 9, 11 ´The point of contrast in Jeremiah 40 ²43 is that the people of Judah in the land are as disobedient after the fall of Jerusalem as they were before. The blessing envisaged in 30 ²33 has clearly not arrived because the ¶old covenant· conditions that have characterised the history of Israel and Judah remain in effect. µ 86 W. Moberly, Prophecy and Discernment, 96 ² ´In the oracles of hope for the future there is only marginal reference to human turning, and overwhelming emphasis upon divine initiative in a way that seems to bypass human action.µ also, McConville, 92, ´That is, there is a sustained treatment in the book of the problem of Israel/Judah·s failure to respond to God in the way in which the covenant required. The book in its final form knows the outcome of the preaching of Jeremiah, and therefore the record of his ministry is not merely such, but also a casting of the issues in the context of a discussion a posteriori.

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