In Jeremiah 6:12 – 15 and 8:10 – 12 are two identical thoughts/statements. Actually, the body of those verses is the same with just the first verse in both carrying the same thought with different wording. Psalm 14 and 53 are also similar sets of verses, so things being repeated in the Bible are not unusual. When you find “repeats” it is a good idea to give them some extra attention.
Jeremiah, the book, is a collection of prophecies, history, and “family” problems that are recorded by Baruch son of Neriah (36:4 and chapter 45). Jeremiah’s ministry covers about forty years (1:2+3), Josiah had eighteen more years, and the other two kings had eleven-year reigns. (There will be other studies on topics of Jeremiah’s life and ministry.)
We will start with a summary of those two sets of verses and then look at some of the topics before, in-between, and behind 8:12. In this block of prophecies are many “says the Lord” with a few variations off of this idea. Since we like to read things in a linear timeline within “books of the Bible” it is really hard for us to deal with the concept that not all of these may have been said one right after the other. We know Baruch wrote more than one copy of this text. The “history” with in the book does seem to go fairly linear but chapters 46 through 51 could have been “pieced together” by Jeremiah/Baruch for better reading. It seems that Chapters 6 – 9 may have come over a longer period of time than what we would except. Plus 6:27 – 30 seems disconnected within the chapter. (That is a section on metals, the people, and Jeremiah. See What Type of Metal Are You.) I would have put it there because of Jeremiah’s statement that starts this group of prophecies – Jeremiah does not know who he will speak this message too (6:10+11). However, in keeping with the restating of the same thought, 9:7 does refer to refining and testing. NOTE. I do think that the similar verse in chapters 6 and 8 was spoken at different times and these utterances may have been years apart.
I will work from 6:12 – 15 as this is really the section that caught my attention. Verse twelve (actually the thought starts in 11b) promises that land, houses, and wives will be taken away and given to someone else. This promise is focused on prophets and priests (v 13). I need to remind myself that Jeremiah is of the priestly family and he is a prophet. He is speaking to family, which is why the priest and prophets come against him so hard. A reference for prophets is 28:1 and for the priest, it is 5:30 + 31.
Some of the standout thoughts are that these “men of God” dress the “wound” of the people and proclaim “peace, peace” while they are lying and looking out for themselves. The fact that the wound is singular in both sections brings me to think at unfaithfulness is the problem, with the priest excusing bad conduct, in all of its forms, as not a real problem. The people can see that judgment is coming but they are being told that it will not affect them because they such “good people” and are “okay”.
Other areas that will be worked with are below.
- Verse 6:16 is one statement that caught my attention in reading this section. It is part of the message that John the Baptist spoke as he prepared the way for Jesus.
- Chapter 7: 1- 29 calls out the regular people for their unfaithfulness and unwillingness to follow God. Verse 23 is the Lord restating His commands and expectations. This will be a separate post, but these commands were given to the family of Israel starting in Genesis and restated in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
- 7:30 to 8:3 talks about Topheth. This valley had a long ugly history that possibly started with Solomon and his unfaithfulness to God as he honored his many wives over the Lord.
THOUGHTS: I will extend this series and cover other topics in Jeremiah. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are contemporaries but are writing from three different viewpoints.