No one listens to Jeremiah (Jer 25:3-25:4)

“For twenty-three years,

From the thirteenth year

Of King Josiah,

The son of King Amon,

Of Judah,

To this day,

The word of Yahweh

Has come to me.

I have spoken persistently to you.

But you have not listened.

Although Yahweh

Persistently sent to you

All his servants

The prophets,

You have neither listened

Nor inclined your ears

To hear.”

Once again, Jeremiah is precise in his dating of this oracle. Jeremiah had been prophesying for 23 years before 605 BCE, which meant that he would have started in 628 BCE. He said that this was when King Josiah was 30 so that Josiah would have been born in 658 BCE. Thus King Josiah was 18 when he took over from his father King Amon who died in 640 BCE. For over 23 years, Jeremiah had persistently spoken to them about the word of Yahweh. However, they had not listened to him or the other servant prophets of Yahweh. They would not let their ears hear. Now we know why everyone was to hear Jeremiah because they had not been listening to him.

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The failure of Judah (Jer 3:7-3:10)

“I thought.

‘After she has done all this

She will return to me.’

But she did not return.

Her false sister Judah saw it.

She saw

That for all the adulteries

Of that faithless one,

Israel.

I had sent her away

With a decree of divorce.

Yet her false sister Judah did not fear.

But she too went

To play the whore.

Because she took her whoredom so lightly,

She polluted the land.

She committed adultery

With a stone.

She committed adultery

With a tree.

Yet for all this

Her false sister Judah

Did not return to me

With her whole heart,

But only in pretense.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah, but this time it was about Judah, not the northern Israelite tribes. Yahweh had expected the northern tribes to return to him. However, the southern tribe of Judah saw what happened and did the same as her northern sisters. Judah had no fear, even though Yahweh had divorced northern Israel. Then Judah, the false sister, played the whore. She polluted the land as she turned to worshiping the stones and trees during the reigns of the preceding kings of Judah, King Manasseh (687-642 BCE) and King Amon (642-640 BCE) the father and grandfather of King Josiah. Thus they committed adultery with these false worship services. Judah only pretended to return to Yahweh. Thus Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah.

Title (Jer 1:1-1:3)

“These are the words of Jeremiah,

Son of Hilkiah,

Of the priests

Who were in Anathoth

In the land of Benjamin.

The word of Yahweh

Came in the days of King Josiah

Son of Amon of Judah,

In the thirteenth year of his reign.

It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim,

Son of Josiah of Judah,

Until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah,

Son of Josiah of Judah,

Until the captivity of Jerusalem

In the fifth month.”

Jeremiah probably was a prophet in Judah from 627-587 BCE, about 40 years, much like the 40 years of Moses in the desert. He was the son of Hilkiah, who was mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 26. Although this priest Hilkiah served under King Josiah (641-609 BCE) of Judah, it is not clear that he is the same person as the father of Jeremiah. This Hilkiah, the father of Jeremiah, was among a number of priests who lived at Anathoth, in the Benjamin territory, about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem. If this is the 13th year of King Josiah, who had succeeded his killed father, King Amon (642-641 BCE), the call of Jeremiah to be a prophet took place around 627 BCE. These are the words about Jeremiah during the reigns of King Josiah, and under his sons, King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE) and King Zedekiah (598-587 BCE). There is no mention of the other two sons of King Josiah, who only were kings for 1 year each, King Jehoahaz in 609 BCE, and King Jehoiachin in 598 BCE. King Zedekiah was the king at the time when the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem took place in 587 BCE.