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Voice of Doom, Hope of Restoration

The Book of Jeremiah

Jeremiah is a transitional prophet. His career begins before the exile, but he lives to see it and he experiences it with his people. Unlike Isaiah, Jeremiah comes through as a real personality. We share his personal experience, his sorrow, and his inner torment.

Jeremiah was known for his pessimistic proclamations, and in these he was proven right. He was uncompromising in the honesty with which he predicted the horrors to come. In fact his message was so harsh and so difficult to hear that he was imprisoned as a traitor, accused of supporting the enemy with his discouraging words.

But he also has some beautiful passages of comfort and restoration comparable to the poetry of Second Isaiah. He speaks of a “new Covenant” that God will make with the people, in which they will know God in their hearts and will not have to seek outside for proof. He recalls the balm for which Gilead was famous, symbol of the divine healing of separation and grief. His prophecies of the restoration to desolated Jerusalem of the voice of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, have been set to music and are sung at many a Jewish wedding.

Jeremiah is also known as the author of Lamentations, a dirge on the fall of Jerusalem that nevertheless concludes with hope of restoration to nearness with God as in former days.

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