Pause for prose.  Once again, our editors slow down the pace and passion of Jeremiah’s poetry with a pillar of more sermonic prose.  Once again, the main reason is to summarize the message with clear rationale.  And, once again, we find that the pain of Jeremiah is a window into the grieving heart of God.  This time, however, Jeremiah faces a very specific threat – a conspiracy against him from those of his own home and family.  When Jeremiah challenges God as to why God allows such wickedness to continue, God answers with a direct parallel to himself.  He, too, is the victim of a conspiracy from His own home and family.  Whatever pain and anger Jeremiah feels is vastly amplified in the heart of God, and Jeremiah’s cry for justice will be answered – but with a surprising twist of compassion in the end.

The opening sermon (11.1-17) introduces the third major section of the whole book, running from here to the end of chapter 17.  This section is suspended between two prose sermons that emphasize the demands of the Sinai covenant.  The overall message is the dismantling of Israel’s trust in their covenant relationship with YHWH.  They needed to be reminded that the Sinai covenant itself included threat and curse, along with promise and demand.  The covenant had now become so broken and disregarded that nothing remained but the outworking of its curse in the horrors of invasion, defeat, and exile.

This third section of the book (chapters 11-17), then, builds on the second section (chapters 7-10), where the major thrust was to dismantle Israel’s trust in the temple and declare it “a lie.”  Now, Jeremiah turns his full attention to the covenant in all its scriptural weight, and declares it “broken” (11.10).

From: The Message of Jeremiah: Against Wind and Tide by Christopher J. H. Wright; The Bible Speaks Today series (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), p. 141.  Comment on Jeremiah 11.1-12.17.

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