Jeremiah 10 and 51

While reading on lightning in the Bible I noticed that Jeremiah 10: 12 – 16 and 51: 15– 19 are almost exactly the same.  Having the same theme run through a book or even several books is not unusual, after all, God can repeat Himself if He wants.  But if God repeats Himself it is usually to stress a point or confirm what was said, or in the case of the History Books – Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles two different people wrote for two different audiences. (See Kings and Samuel)  The repetition here seems to be for making the point of God’s power and authority to do the acts that were to follow.

In Jeremiah 10:12 -16, the passage is introduced by a statement that false gods did not make the heavens and earth, the NIV has a footnote that it is written in Aramaic.  (Probably for the people of/in Babylon or as a further study has found, it was a common language of the day.)  God is angry because of the idols His people are making and worshiping.  So after the passage, the destruction of Israel and Judah is foretold.  This apparently made people mad because Baruch son of Neriah, his scribe, notes that the people of Anathoth, his hometown, wanted to kill him.  Jeremiah is a member of the priestly class and Anathoth is a city that was set apart for the priest by Joshua and Moses; nothing like making your family mad, especially if they are church leaders.

In Jeremiah 51: 15 -19 the introduction to the verse is the prophesying that Babylon will be filled with men eager to destroy the place, and it is followed by the acts that will happen when the city is destroyed.  The end of this story is chapter 51:59 – 64 where Jeremiah asks Seraiah, Baruch’s brother, to pronounce complete and lasting ruin on Babylon. (Saddam Hussein tried/started rebuilding ancient Babylon before the Gulf War, it came to a stop.)  It is interesting that the last sentence is, “The words of Jeremiah end here.”

The final part of this study is found in Psalm 135: 7.  The passage about the lightning, rain, and wind is also here as it is found in Jeremiah.

He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.” (NIV)  In a previous post I compared Psalm 135 and 136 for similar content (see that post).  But the same themes in Jeremiah are here also:

  1. The Lord does what pleases Him. (vs. 6)
  2. The destruction of an enemy is told. (vs.8 – 11)
  3. Idols are worthless pieces of silver and gold. (vs. 15 – 18)
  4. Jacob and Israel are treasured possessions. (vs. 3 – 4)

I can still see David writing Psalm 135 but the prophetic nature of this Psalm now becomes even clearer.  Ok, maybe Jeremiah/Baruch did write it and threw in verses 19 – 21 just to aggravate his kinsmen.

Bible studies are fun, you start with lightning and end up comparing prophesy in Jeremiah.