New Exodus And No Exodus In Jeremiah 26-45 -- By: Gary Yates

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 57:1 (NA 2006)
Article: New Exodus And No Exodus In Jeremiah 26-45
Author: Gary Yates

New Exodus And No Exodus In Jeremiah 26-45

Promise And Warning To The Exiles In Babylon

Gary Yates


Seeking to contribute to the discussion of the book of Jeremiah as a literary unity, this study examines the contrast between the promise of new exodus in Jeremiah 30-33 and the experience of the remnant in Judah after the fall of Jerusalem that is recounted in Jeremiah 40-43 as a reversal of the exodus. This contrast of ‘new exodus’ and ‘no exodus’ serves as both a promise and warning to the exilic community in Babylon – the promise that they are to be the recipients of the blessings of restoration and a warning that continued disobedience to YHWH will bring further judgement.

1. Introduction

R. R. Wilson comments, ‘From the standpoint of literary analysis, the book of Jeremiah presents some of the most frustrating problems to be found anywhere.’1 More directly, Carroll has observed: ‘The person who is not confused by reading the book of Jeremiah has not understood it!’2 These problems are pronounced in Jeremiah 2645, the largely narrative section of the book recounting various episodes from the life and ministry of the prophet Jeremiah. Commenting on this

section of the book, Carroll states, ‘No central theme can be detected in the twenty chapters which would allow them a unifying title.’3

Several features contribute to the apparent literary disarray of Jeremiah 2645. With the exception of the continuous narrative in chapters 3743, episodes and messages from the time periods of the reign of Jehoiakim (605-697 BC), the reign of Zedekiah (597-586 BC), and the immediate aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem (post-586 BC) are interspersed with little or no regard for chronological sequence. The poetic oracles in Jeremiah 3031 seem out of place in a section of the book that otherwise consists exclusively of prose narratives and sermons. Additionally, the message of hope in the so-called ‘Book of Consolation’ in chapters 3033 conflicts with the largely negative emphasis on doom and destruction that predominates in the surrounding context. Hobbs writes, ‘The reason for the present context of

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