Hope In The Midst Of Wrath: Promises For Outsiders In Jeremiah 46–51 -- By: Gary E. Yates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 175:697 (Jan 2018)
Article: Hope In The Midst Of Wrath: Promises For Outsiders In Jeremiah 46–51
Author: Gary E. Yates

Hope In The Midst Of Wrath:
Promises For Outsiders In Jeremiah 46–51

Gary E. Yates

Gary E. Yates is Professor of Biblical Studies/Old Testament and Director of the ThM Program, Liberty University School of Divinity, Lynchburg, Virginia.


The promise of a future and a restoration for certain foreign nations in Jeremiah’s oracles against the nations (Jer 46–51) offers hope in the midst of oracles of devastating judgment. The promise that God would “restore the fortunes” of Moab, Ammon, and Elam matches the promise given concerning Israel’s future restoration and reflects a larger emphasis in the book of Jeremiah on the leveling of God’s treatment of Israel and the nations. This study also examines reasons for the differences concerning these promises of restoration for the nations in the Septuagint and Hebrew texts of Jeremiah and reflects on how Jeremiah’s promises of hope for these nations relate to the larger prophetic message concerning the inclusion of the nations in the blessings of Israel’s future restoration and renewal.

Amy Kalmanofsky’s study of Jeremiah’s oracles against the nations (OAN; Jer 46–51) has characterized these texts as “revenge fantasies” against Judah’s enemies.1 God’s judgment of proud and arrogant nations, particularly his retribution against those that have inflicted harm on Judah in the Babylonian crisis, is certainly the dominant theme of these oracles. At the same time, Yahweh and his prophet weep over the destruction of the nations (Jer 48:31–32, 36). In the Hebrew Masoretic Text, Jeremiah’s OAN also contain the promise of a future for Egypt after

judgment (46:26) and three times assure that the Lord will “restore the fortunes” (שׁוב שׁבות/שׁבית) of specific nations following their judgment (Moab, 48:47; Ammon, 49:6; Elam, 49:39). Lalleman states that “it is hard to find a reason for these positive endings,” and it is particularly difficult to determine why this promise is given to some of the nations and not to others.2 This same expression (

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