The Study of Jeremiah Chapter 4
Posted in the Yukon Forum
#1 Sep 4, 2013
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is my sincere prayer that you are being Blessed even as you read this email.
Today, we will continue the study of the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 4.
4:1-4. These verses conclude the message begun at 3:6 by using literary figures drawn from Israel's daily experiences. From agriculture comes the admonition to weed out totally their present practices and break up their fallow ground, and then sow the new seeds of spiritual fruitfulness for God. Repentance and a broken heart must precede renewed spiritual vitality. The second figure comes from religious ceremony. Mere outward conformity to the standards of the covenant were insufficient (cf. Gen. 17:10-14; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Josh. 5:2-7; Rom. 2:28. 29; 4:9-25).
4:5, 6. The rest of the chapter contains a new message emphasizing the proclamation of God's judgment. The sounding of the trumpet was a well-known sign of danger in the ancient Near East (cf. Hos. 5:8; 8:1; Joel 2:1; Amos 3:6). It could also mark a time of national self-examination (Joel 2:15-17). The standard (conspicuous flag upon a pole would point to the appropriate place of refuge (cf. v. 21).
4:7. The descending judgment of Babylon is described as a lion coming up from his thicket.
4:8. Sackcloth was the traditional attire of grief and repentance.
4:10. Many suggestions have been given as to the meaning of this difficult verse. One theory builds upon a textual variant found in a few ancient manuscripts that reads "said they" for said I, attributing the words to Judah's false leaders. Some lay great stress on Jeremiah's exhausted emotions. Perhaps it is best to see the verse as an expression of Jeremiah's realization that God in His sovereign wisdom was allowing Judah and Jerusalem to cause their own destiny by believing their own lies, even though He continued to urge their repentance (vv. 14-18).
4:23-26. Having warned of the winds of destruction (vv. 11-13), Jeremiah gives a prediction of the awesome extent of that coming event (vv. 23-31). That disaster is described in terms of a gigantic cosmic and terrestrial cataclysm. The words without form and void are used of the original conditions at Creation (Gen. 1:2). Therefore, some have suggested that Jeremiah is actually describing the early earth in term of the effects of a primeval judgment. Similar language is also found in Isaiah 45:18. However, the context of judgement in Isaiah and here are both future. Accordingly, both have merely applied the phraseology of Genesis to emphasize strongly the severity of Judah's coming judgment for sin.
4:26. Jeremiah often uses the wilderness to represent God's judgment (cf. 9:10; 12:10-12; 17:6; 22:6; 50:12). For a similar use of this expression, see Isaiah 32:15-20; 51:3.
4:30, 31. Jeremiah returns to the personification of Judah and Jerusalem as a woman, first as a prostitute (cf. 2:18-34; 3:1, 2), and then as a woman enduring labor pangs alone, and deserted by all.
Yours in Jesus Christ,
Bishop William B. Caractor
#2 Sep 9, 2013
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