The Book of Comfort

30:1 to 31:40

595 BC during the eleven-year reign of Zedekiah

The messages leading up to this section are extremely negative. But the Book of Comfort is totally different from everything before it and after it. Jeremiah responded to the call of YHVH with a fresh scroll that records words of good news. Now comes a very positive message. These verses are a light in the midst of darkness.

As we read through these chapters we find evidence of a layer of earlier poems that the prophet had addressed to the now long-dead northern kingdom of Yisra’el. Notice, for example, in 31:5, the reference to Samaria, the capital of the northern Kingdom, and the repeated reference to Ephraim, the chief northern tribe, in 31:6, 9, 18 and 20. At the time the poems were delivered, King Josiah hoped to bring about a reunion with the people in the northern territory, whom the Assyrian were loosening their grip on. The priest from Anathoth proclaimed words that both appealed for repentance and promised return from exile as previously seen in 3:12-14.

Now YHVH’s prophet sees that the old words addressed to the north have a new meaning: the people of Y’hudah must submit to Nebuchadnezzar, but someday, they, too, can be called upon to return (shuwb) to the Land. Consequently, God’s messenger takes the old words directed to the northern Kingdom and interweaves them with fresh words to give them relevance to the southern Kingdom.264 Words that would sustain her even during her time in exile.

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