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Georg Fischer

Manuscript Type


Abstract (For book reviews see instructions below)

Jeremiah’s reproaches against God are exceptional in Old Testament prophecy. No other prophetic speaker dares to confront God so harshly and so often. The main passages considered in this article are Jer 4:10; 12:1–6; 15:15–18; 20:7–10; and 32:24–25. Jeremiah’s accusations cover a wide range of motifs: deception (נשׁא ) with false messages, a lawsuit (ריב) about the success of evildoers, unreliability (root כזב), seduction (פתה), and absurd commands. Several times God responds to his prophet—a sign that he respects Jeremiah’s complaints and tries to overcome his queries. The dialogues between YHWH and Jeremiah mirror questions and problems of a believing community which struggles to find hope and to understand its past. The prophet is a model for openly addressing God—even with lament, complaints, and challenges. God reacts mildly to most of Jeremiah’s confrontations, yet Jer 15:19 shows that Jeremiah crossed a red line with the reproach of untrustworthiness. In this way, the prophet’s challenges and the divine responses contribute to seeing YHWH anew; as one deeply empathizing with his messenger, attending to his problems, and supporting him in every instance. Jeremiah’s reproaches become an invitation to pray for all his addressees.

Available for download on Sunday, December 08, 2024