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Bible Commentaries

Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 45

Verses 1-5

SECTION 2 (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5 continued).

As we have previously seen this Section of Jeremiah from Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 45:5 divides up into four main subsections, which are as follows:

1. Commencing With A Speech In The Temple Jeremiah Warns Of The Anguish That Is Coming And Repudiates The Promises Of The False Prophets (Jeremiah 26:1 to Jeremiah 29:32).

2. Following On After The Anguish To Come Promises Are Given Of Eventual Restoration, Central To Which is A New Covenant Written In The Heart And The Establishment Of A Shoot (Branch) Of David On His Throne (Jeremiah 30:1 to Jeremiah 33:26).

3. YHWH’s Continuing Word of Judgment Is Given Through Jeremiah, The Continuing Disobedience Of The People Is Brought Out, And Jeremiah’s Resulting Experiences Leading Up To The Fall Of Jerusalem Are Revealed (Jeremiah 34:1 to Jeremiah 39:18).

4. Events Subsequent To The Fall Of Jerusalem Are Described Including The Rejection By The Remnant Of Judah Of YHWH’s Offer Of Full Restoration (Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 45:5).

We have already commented on Subsections 1 in Jeremiah 4:0; subsection 2 in Jeremiah 5:0; and subsection 3 in Jeremiah 6:0. We must now therefore consider subsection 4 here. This subsection deals with various experiences of Jeremiah amidst what remained of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem.

SECTION 2. Subsection 4). Events Subsequent To The Fall Of Jerusalem, Including The Rejection By The Remnant Of Judah Of YHWH’s Offer Of Full Restoration, Resulting In Further Judgment On God’s Recalcitrant People (Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 45:5 ).

Within this subsection, which opens with the familiar words ‘the word which came to Jeremiah from YHWH --’ (which in this case indicates that the section as a whole which follows contains prophecies of Jeremiah which are put into an historical framework, for what immediately follows is historical narrative), we have described events subsequent to the fall of Jerusalem:

· ‘The word that came to Jeremiah from YHWH --.’ The appointment of Gedaliah as governor of Judah and his attempt, along with Jeremiah, to re-establish it as a viable state (Jeremiah 40:1-16).

· Gedaliah’s assassination by a recalcitrant prince of Judah, who himself then had to flee to Ammon, resulting in the feeling among many who had been re-established in Judah that it would be necessary to take refuge in Egypt (Jeremiah 41:1-18).

· The people promise obedience to YHWH and are assured by Jeremiah that if they remain in Judah and are faithful to Him YHWH will ensure that they prosper, whereas if they depart for Egypt it can only result in disaster (Jeremiah 42:1-22).

· Jeremiah’s protestations are rejected by the Judeans who take refuge in Egypt and are warned by Jeremiah that soon Nebuchadrezzar would successfully invade Egypt itself (Jeremiah 43:1-13).

· ‘The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt --.’ Having settled in Egypt the people return to idolatry, rejecting Jeremiah’s warnings of the consequences, and are assured by him that they will suffer as Jerusalem has suffered, with only a remnant being able to return to Judah (Jeremiah 44:1-30).

· ‘’The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah --.’ YHWH’s assurance given to the faithful Baruch in the days of Jehoiakim that He would be with him, come what may (Jeremiah 45:1-5).

It will be noted that the markers given by the author actually divide the subsection into three parts, Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 43:13, Jeremiah 44:1-30 and Jeremiah 45:1-5. Thus ‘the word that came to Jeremiah from YHWH --’ is a phrase which covers the whole of Jeremiah 40:1 to Jeremiah 43:13, with Jeremiah 40:1-6 being the necessary historical introduction to the actual ‘word from YHWH’ given in Jeremiah 42:7 onwards. The importance of this word is emphasised by the ten day wait. (In comparison with this incorporation of a prophecy within an historical framework we should note how constantly in Genesis covenants and words from YHWH were regularly put within an historical framework).

The main purpose of this section is in order to establish:

1. that what has happened to Judah and Jerusalem was YHWH’s own doing, as verified even by Nebuchadrezzar’s imperial guard commander.

2. that nevertheless YHWH had not totally forsaken His people but would re-establish them if they looked to Him and were obedient,

3. that their future success depended on that obedience, an obedience which proved to be lacking.

It is difficult for us to realise quite what a crushing blow the destruction of Jerusalem would have been to Jewry worldwide. All their pet beliefs had been brought crashing down. Whilst many were in exile far away from their homeland they had gained confidence from the fact that the Temple still stood and that the covenant worship still continued. But now the idea of the inviolability of the Temple had proved invalid, Jerusalem had been destroyed, and the very power of YHWH was being called into question. Could therefore now any trust be placed in YHWH? It was therefore necessary in this regard that it be emphasised by Jeremiah that it was not YHWH Who had failed, but His people. He brought out that they had in fact brought their devastation on themselves. The new beginning that he had promised could only arise out of the ashes of the old, because the old had been distorted beyond all recognition. His words would be a bedrock on which their new ideas about YHWH could be fashioned.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 45". "Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pet/jeremiah-45.html. 2013.